Friday, December 11, 2009

Nads "for men"!

OMG! I was in Duane Reade today getting a prescription filled when I passed this.  It's a product called "Nads" (snicker, snicker...yes, I know. I'm so mature.)  It's a hair removal product for men for way down there.  At least the torture isn't just for women.

What was particularly amusing was I was catching up the Savage Love Podcast by Dan Savage.  Believe me seeing "Nads" hair remover while listening to Dan opine on sex topics and give his wonderfully blunt advice? Entertaining ;)

Posted via email from Regina's posterous

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Happiness is a bag of 김 (dried sheets of seaweed)

Crunchy, high in iron, bliss.

Price tag kept on for authenticity ;)


Posted via email from Regina's posterous

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Friday, November 6, 2009

South Koreans Struggle With Race from the NYTimes

This is a really good article and I don't want to comment on it now.

Read it. Comment. I'll chime in later. Here is a bit of the article and click over for the full article.

South Koreans Struggle With Race

SEOUL — On the evening of July 10, Bonogit Hussain, a 29-year-old Indian man, and Hahn Ji-seon, a female Korean friend, were riding a bus near Seoul when a man in the back began hurling racial and sexist slurs at them.

The situation would be a familiar one to many Korean women who have dated or even — as in Ms. Hahn’s case — simply traveled in the company of a foreign man.

What was different this time, however, was that, once it was reported in the South Korean media, prosecutors sprang into action, charging the man they have identified only as a 31-year-old Mr. Park with contempt, the first time such charges had been applied to an alleged racist offense. Spurred by the case, which is pending in court, rival political parties in Parliament have begun drafting legislation that for the first time would provide a detailed definition of discrimination by race and ethnicity and impose criminal penalties.

For Mr. Hussain, subtle discrimination has been part of daily life for the two and half years he has lived here as a student and then research professor at Sungkonghoe University in Seoul. He says that, even in crowded subways, people tend not sit next to him. In June, he said, he fell asleep on a bus and when it reached the terminal, the driver woke him up by poking him in the thigh with his foot, an extremely offensive gesture in South Korea.

“Things got worse for me this time, because I was with a Korean woman,” Mr. Hussain said in an interview. “Whenever I’ve walked with Ms. Hahn or other Korean women, most of the time I felt hostilities, especially from middle-aged men.”

South Korea, a country where until recently people were taught to take pride in their nation’s “ethnic homogeneity” and where the words “skin color” and “peach” are synonymous, is struggling to embrace a new reality. In just the past seven years, the number of foreign residents has doubled, to 1.2 million, even as the country’s population of 48.7 million is expected to drop sharply in coming decades because of its low birth rate.

Many of the foreigners come here to toil at sea or on farms or in factories, providing cheap labor in jobs shunned by South Koreans. Southeast Asian women marry rural farmers who cannot find South Korean brides. People from English-speaking countries find jobs teaching English in a society obsessed with learning the language from native speakers.

For most South Koreans, globalization has largely meant increasing exports or going abroad to study. But now that it is also bringing an influx of foreigners into a society where 42 percent of respondents in a 2008 survey said they had never once spoken with a foreigner, South Koreans are learning to adjust — often uncomfortably.
Click over for more.

No, there is nothing after the "read more". (accept the code will never be fixed).

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Monday, October 19, 2009

RIP, my sweetheart

Kitty, my well-traveled and sweet cat, died this morning.  I woke up and she wasn't at the foot of the bed, but sometimes she's sleeping on a pillow on the living room floor.  She wasn't there either.  I saw her sitting on the floor in the living room and thought all was okay.  It wasn't.  She walked to my bedroom door and fell on her side.  I guess she'd gone to the living room to eat, sleep or visit one of her litter boxes: one close to the bedroom door and the other closer in the corner of the living room. She had two because 19 years for a cat is equal to 92 human years, I was making her senior years easy.

I scooped her up right away and then I started freaking out.  However, Kitty could tell when I was upset.  I pulled it together, put her on her pillow and started looking up emergency vet centers. (Remember, I just moved here in August.)  I chose the Animal Medical Center on 62nd St and York Ave.

She got a bit spirited this morning. She realized she was unable to get from point A to point B and that made her really upset. When she started getting really upset, I put her in her travel bag. She's used to it. It is soft, and she knows I'm not far away when she's in it. It's a long story but I realized when I moved to Korea in 2000 that, for her, home was where I was (by 2000 we'd be together for 10 years). I'd left her in San Francisco because I thought she'd be more comfortable there. Then got reports she was terrorizing the girl subleasing my room (ooops).  I made arrangements to get her immediately and never left her anywhere after that.

Somewhere between leaving my apartment and getting to the vet this morning she died. I checked on her a few times en route and it didn't look like she was breathing. I was just hoping that maybe her breathing was shallow and a magic shot would make her okay again. 

19 years is a long and full life for a cat.

People are telling me she was lucky to have me. However, I was incredibly lucky to have her too.

She was with me through a lot. She was there when:
  • I lost my parents 5-weeks apart from each other (she was a mere tot - around 4 years old then)
  • I moved to San Francisco for law school (just a few months later)
  • I moved to Korea and living there for 8 years with me (I moved in August 2000; I came back to get her in December 2000.)
She was:
  • a trooper of a traveler when we moved back (March 2009)
  • a trooper of a traveler from San Francisco to Philadelphia (May 2009) - sat on my lap in the airport and let me pet and feed her (what cat does that?)
  • a trooper of a traveler from Philadelphia to Manhattan (August 2009)
Between the two of us, I was the lucky one.

Hanging out with me after I fell face first on Memorial Day weekend due to low blood sugar (common for diabetics - the low blood sugar, not the head impact) and went to the ER for stitches.

RIP my sweetheart.  Thanks for putting up with me.

She ALWAYS walked on or sat on my laptop (I think I paid it way too much attention for her liking.)

More Kitty laptop hate ;-)


To my feline baby:
Barbra Streisand - Evergreen Love Theme Froma S Mp3

(of course, the code isn't fixed and there is no way I'm doing it today - the "read more" link doesn't work.)

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I think this covers it

I don't even need to get on a soapbox about the stupid Balloon Boy hoax. Plus, technically we should be calling him Attic Boy or something.

This cartoon brings it home. Our priorities are just backwards. (And yes, I intentionally post-dated this to 2:30 so that my post about my cat is still first...that's probably indicative of my priorities being backwards.)



(code needs to be fixed, not doing it...don't click on the "read more" link - oh to people reading this on FB or on a direct link, you won't see the "read more" link.)

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Counterfeit Whiskey Detectors in Korean Cell Phones

A wee bit of a mistake happened over at The Next Web Asia blog. My editor posted this piece but somehow linked to the source and is unable to fix it.

Just so that this is forever exhiled to the back page never to be found again, I'm posting it here.

The Next Web Asia is a new blog in The Next Wave family of blogs.  It just went live this week.  You can check out my contributions here (well, for the article below, as I explained, you can't due to a mistake.)  

Counterfeit Whiskey Detectors in Korean Cell Phones


If you keep up with mobile phone technology, it’s pretty well-known that South Korea is high on the list of the most advanced nations.  There is massive competition between the three carriers: SK Telecom, KTF, and LG Telecom.  That keeps the industry innovating to leech customers away from the competition. That benefits the consumer. You can get a signal just about anywhere including when you’re up on the ski slopes or underground in the subway. The phones are sturdy, functional and, in many cases, multilingual.  Plus, your average Korean citizen is very used to using the extended features from text messages to banking.
If you’ve been to or lived in Korea for any amount of time, you know that it’s a drinking culture.  It’s expected that when your boss says “let’s go have dinner and drinks” to the staff that they go and that they drink, to excess (if the boss drinks to excess).  Like many vibrant economies, there is also a love of status objects, including expensive brand name liquors.
That means you’ve got a group of people more than willing to pay exorbitant amounts of money for their expensive booze.  In response, there is an industry of fake brand name liquor that has developed to rip these people off.
The problem for the South Korean government is that people taken in by this fraud aren’t paying the taxes levied on genuine brand name bottles of booze. To solve this problem, the South Korean National Tax Service is adding another level of functionality to the Korean cell phone.  They’re going to have detectors that can verify whether a bottle of expensive whiskey is legit or not. The detectors are scheduled to be put into use this month. I think it’s pretty clever to craft the solution around a piece of technology that everyone in Korea uses.
This is how the detectors will solve this problem:
The plan is to attach RFID chips that contain production history data to whiskey bottles, so that anyone with a cellphone can use a plug-in scanner (which is to be stored in major bars and pubs) to see if the costly bottle of liquor he is about to order is real or bogus. National Tax Services is rolling this out to make sure they are collecting liquor taxes to the fullest. They are starting with 2 million bottles of whiskey.
Now I’m not sure who exactly gets busted here.  I’m assuming it’s got to be the establishment or the liquor distributor.  If someone knows what’s supposed to happen when a fake bottle is detected, let me know.
News release from the Hankyoreh (한겨레) website (in Korean): “너 가짜양주지?” 휴대전화로 판별
Source: Web 2.0 Asia

(yes, the code is still buggy...skip the "read more" link)

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Car Ownership, Climate Change and Personal Responsibility - #BAD09


I'm not a scientist, but I feel strongly that you shouldn't own a car unless you need one. That's a view that has gradually dawned with me. I grew up in Los Angeles, CA. In L.A., owning a car is a way of life. My parents bought me a car at 16 or 17. This is because the transit system in L.A. isn't good. It was really bad when I was a teenager. You had buses and that was it going over the sprawl that is L.A.

What's funny is that the rail system was good in the past. In fact, it was one of the most extensive in the country. However, as cars became more affordable, the car industry actually bought the rail system infrastructure. You can imagine what happened then:
At first automobiles were too expensive for the average paycheck until the late 20s when car prices came down, sales went up and rail ridership started to decline. This was made even worse in the late 40s with the opening of Los Angeles's first freeways (called parkways then) which made traveling by car more convenient and enjoyable. However, these were not the only reasons for the demise of the Los Angeles rail system and rail systems around the world. A consortium of oil, rubber, General Motors and other companies bought up rail lines worldwide then replaced interurbans and streetcars with buses. By 1961 the last remaining interurban rail line in Los Angeles went out of service and in 1963 the last streetcar line shut down.

from Los Angeles Public Transportation
As a result, I grew up in a city that was all about cars and freeways.  Now, I'm seeing other cities follow in L.A.'s footsteps.  Seoul is clogged with big fancy cars going from one nice part of the city to another. Beijing is started to go in the same way.  It's scary.


Traffic runs slowly as heavy haze hangs over Beijing, China. Photograph: Diego Azubel/EPA

When I moved to San Francisco for law school, I moved with my car loaded with three cats (my cat and my friend's two cats I'd agreed to look after while she was in NYC), boxes and all my possessions.  I wouldn't let the car go. However, during exams I was studying all week. I went out to move my car and it had been totaled! Someone hit it, destroyed it and drove off...lovely. My car was insured, so I got a check for the car and that's where it ought to have ended. However, silly me. I bought another car. It was a waste or resources and money. I was paying to park it in a private lot. I never really drove it. I learned a good but expensive lesson. For the rest of my time in San Francisco, I relied on mass transit. It was great. I could walk short distances between my apartment and places I needed to go. I could take the bus, train or streetcar everywhere else. If I needed to drive to L.A., I'd rent a car.

That's how I think now. That's what I do now.

When I lived abroad, I didn't have a car initially. However, I got one because I was out in a remote area. That's the situation where I think it's okay. However, even then, I owned a small economy car. When I moved to Seoul, I decided I didn't need a car. Again, I was in a vibrant city with great mass transit!

Now I'm back in the USA in New York, NY. I definitely don't own a car here. I use mass transit. When I need a car I use ZipCar.com. I don't know if my actions help thwart climate change. I hope they do.

I'm just telling my story in the hopes that others in big urban areas start to agree with me. You don't need a car if you're lucky enough to be in a city with great mass transit. If you're well off enough to be able to afford a car in a big city, good for you, but don't buy a car.  Hire a car service when you need one. If you're in a city with crap mass transit like L.A. get on the local and state government to develop a great mass transit system that people will use. For those who don't live in urban areas and need cars, think economically. Get a hybrid.

I just feel very strongly that we've got to take responsibility and stop making excuses. I can't say I like what Tony Blair had to say on the subject of China and cars.  I do like that he, at least, wants to focus on technology.  However, China and other countries with fast developing economies has newly rich citizens who MUST buy a car there is going to be smoke cloud over Asia that will be no joke because that smoke cloud is going to impact the whole world.

Owning a car when you don't need one is wasteful. I learned. I hope more do because we've got to reverse climate change.

(I need to fix the code, so the "read more" leads you nowhere...sorry).

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Blog Action Day 2009: Climate Change


I've not written my 2009 Blog Action Day post yet. It will go up tomorrow. However, I want to remind folks that it's tomorrow.

This is the concept:

Blog Action Day is an annual event held every October 15 that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day with the aim of sparking discussion around an issue of global importance. Blog Action Day 2009 will be one of the largest-ever social change events on the web.
You can check out the link in the sidebar or just click on the link above. However, if you blog, seriously think about joining and helping to focus the conversation on climate change tomorrow!

(I need to fix the code, so the "read more" leads you nowhere...sorry). 

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Saturday, October 10, 2009

BTW, Congratulations Mr. President

You see I've been spending time arguing that the 2009 Nobel Peace Price recipient, President Barack Obama, is a good one. The gist of the counter argument seems to be that the award is simply premature. I'd say to a certain degree, yes, it is. However, President Obama has already fostered an amazing environment on the international political scene because he says that the USA is ready to work with the world again. (The only problem with that is the next president of the USA could be another idiot on the international politics front and mess it all up again.) Also, amongst Americans I saw some pretty amazing things that I thought I'd never see including a fair number of people crossing party lines to vote for him. Also, just having the energy of positivity and hope back to the USA was nice to see.

There are also practical things like Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the gradual drawing down of US troops in Iraq. We've still got plenty of challenges like how to handle the war in Afghanistan. However, all three of these things: Guantanamo Bay, the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan are things he didn't start. He inherited them. It takes time to make errors on a massive scale like this but it also takes time to fix.

My critique of the other side is that it's the same negative and cynical vision that the USA has had for the last 7 or so years. When you take a negative view of human nature and expect that worst, usually, that's what you get. The people on the other side of the debate, of course, are heartily offended that I've said that. I say it because that's how I see it.

When you don't look at the history of the Nobel Peace Prize in the context of previous winners, you can miss that other people in the midst of their incredible work got the prize. My belief is it's done in those context to give the people momentum and to encourage them to keep up the good fight. Sometimes they fail and, unfortunately, there is a big hateful group of people who want to see Obama fail.

Even if you aren't against Obama, you can still think that the award is premature. However, I'm noticing that there are people who really don't know the history of the award and don't know this has been done before. In fact, it's been done by the Nobel Prize committee many times before. For all of those saying that now the award has no value, then the award hasn't had value for a long time.

Rachel Maddow, whose got a great show but whose podcast I've stopped watching, summed it up nicely. I guess I resubscribe now too ;) (the link takes you to the iTunes page, so don't click it if it's not installed on your computer.)

Thanks Rachel.

More links:

Newsweek: Obama Not First Surprising Nobel Peace Prize Winner: Seven Controversial Recipients

(yes, the code, still buggy and me, still busy...the "Read More" link is just there for show and confusion)

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Harry Connick Jr Speaks Up About Jackson Blackface Skit in Australia

THIS is what you're supposed to do when you experience stupid racist crap. You're supposed to speak up.

This is a clip from the Associated Press: Australian TV show apologizes for blackface skit

Connick said he would not have appeared on the show if he'd known about the skit.

"I just want to say, on behalf of my country, I know it was done humorously, but we've spent so much time trying to not make black people look like buffoons, that when we see something like that we take it really to heart," he told Somers after his apology.


I'm glad Harry spoke up. That performance was 100% buffoonery. I don't think it was hateful racism. I think it was a true lack of empathy and understanding. We've got to get more of both for everyone!

It reminded me of this incident from a few years back in Korea: Okay, the Bad Side of Korea: "It's not racist; it's a joke!". As far as I know, excuses were made and an apology? Never.

It's got to come from all sides: an awareness of and sensitivity to how others feel.

I say this because I've been in situations when I was abroad where it was mostly foreigners who where going to town with racist generalizations about Koreans. Look, living anywhere that's different and where it's not your country is HARD at times. However, when I saw that stuff, I called them out as going a bit too far down Racist Lane.

Good job Harry and thanks.

More links:
Analysis: 'Blackface Jacksons' embarrassing to Australia
Harry Connick, Jr. denounces blackface skit in Australia
Harry Connick Jr weirdly unimpressed by Australia's blackface Jackson 5

(code not fixed yet, the "Read More" doesn't lead you anywhere...sorry)

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Friday, October 9, 2009

Will you take the stairs if it's fun?

Simply because I'm fat, I make an effort to take the stairs. I usually wear flats and that makes it easier. There are tons of stairs in NYC if you're taking the subway to get around. Sure enough, the sedentary fat is melting away little by little.

Here is the concept:

We believe that the easiest way to change people’s behaviour for the better is by making it fun to do. We call it The fun theory.

http://www.rolighetsteorin.se/

Piano Steps. “Take the stairs instead of escalators or elevator and feel better” is something you often hear or maybe read in Sunday attachments. Few if any people have followed this advice. Can we get more people to take the stairs over the escalator on a normal day in Stockholm, by making it more fun to take the stairs? The result you see here.
Anyway, this is an experiment they did. I think it's clever. What do you think?



I read about this here: Subway Stairs Turn Into Piano Fun
(too busy to deal with the code, the "read more" link is just an evil tease...skip it.)

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Technology Regression

Clearly, months into this and reverse culture shock pain is still an issue.

You see, after living in South Korea for so long, I adjusted to the incredibly high level of technology that was there and adjusted to how people used that technology. In some ways that means my habits have changed. I remember sitting on the Seoul subway watching TV. Here in Manhattan you can't even get a phone signal on the subway. IT.IS.TRAGIC.

I was the teenager who was on the phone forever. Now you're only going to catch me on the phone for a long time if I'm talking to a close friend or something like that. I still have those conversations, but they're much more rare. Who has the time? I'm not going to get on the phone just to give someone a brief message. I'll send you a text or an email, but I'm not calling. I actually think it's less intrusive to send a text or an email. Why make someone pick up the receiver or have to dial into their voicemail? (BTW, Google Voice is awesome...they transcribe voicemails!)

However, I am still very communicative. It's just that you can bet that you're probably going to get a text or an email rather than a phone call.

Anyway, I have an appointment to meet someone tomorrow for a project I might help him with. He emailed me, and I replied. I honestly didn't even think to give him my number. However, he asked for it, so my bad.

His assistant writes me back pretty much stressing that before they'll can lock down a time that they need a number. That's fine. I'm not holding on to it because I don't take phone calls. It just didn't click as I'd just woken up. However, it didn't click for a much deeper reason. It didn't click because talking on the phone for anything isn't my first instinct anymore.

He had my email. For me THAT'S how you find me these days.

I've got a Blackberry and that thing is always on. In fact, I've learned the hard way to always keep it plugged in. I've had nights where I've come in and not taken it out of my purse. I wake up the next morning to a phone completely out of power. I guess there is so much data coming in that the power just drains completely. That little red light is always flashing. (I also heard they're pretty notorious power hogs...eh, it's what I have, so I deal.)

I just thought it odd that for this person having a phone number was so important that before making an appointment he had to have my number.

It led me to think of a recent freelance job I was on. One day the woman who hired me and I were talking. I said I'm not the type to be on the phone when someone can just send me a quick text message or email. That way I don't have to stop what I'm doing for long. I just check it and keep working. She took that as me saying I don't like to talk on the phone. No, I just don't talk on the phone unless it's important. However, for her, she's still very much in the calling people up mode. It works for what she does: sales. Therefore, I get it. But, for me, I see no reason to make a phone call when all I have to say is something I can send to you by text or email.

If this graph is right, and it sure feels right, I'm stuck between "missing other culture" and "adaptation". I'm still much closer to "missing other culture" right now. I'll admit as much.

There is a new age. It's weird being back in a place where they've not caught up, so I've got to recallibrate. I think kids have. I see the shows where they lament the kid who sends text messages all the time or shake their heads over some kid setting a record for sending the quickest text message. I kind of understand those kids more than I want to admit.

Now I have to see how I can get back to using the phone as my primary means of communication.

Do I HAVE to?

Well, I had to adjust when I was abroad, so I'm going to have to readjust. I'm surprised that it's sort of difficult for me to do.

(no more to read, the "read more" is a code glitch that I, clearly, refuse to fix.)

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Excellent! "Drinking Like Mad Women" from SlateV


I've never seen Mad Men. Remember I've been away, so cut me some slack. However, I get the concept and, because the show is so good, people talk about it all the time.

However, I regularly listen to Slate's Political Gabfest. A couple of weeks ago Emily Bazelon, a Gabfest co-host and their legal expert, was in the middle of an experiment. She also is an editor for Slate's Double X blog. That blog focuses on news and issues from a women's perspective. Well, they love Mad Men and simply wondered how on Earth the characters on the show got through a full day of productive work drinking the whole time. Therefore, they tried it.

That day Emily had to record the Slate's Political Gabfest. They later titled The Pie-Eyed Gabfest. Emily was amazingly thoughtful and well-spoken. If politics is your thing, check it out: The Pie-Eyed Gabfest (this link is going to try to open iTunes, just so you know.) I was listening to it while running errands, so I was standing in the post office and sitting on the subway giggling. She came off really great. I, in contrast, came off as yet another weirdo laughing to themselves in NYC.

Here is the video covering their Mad Men experiment.


I wonder if they're hiring?

(disregard that "read more" - I've not gone in the fix the code.)

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William Safire's Rules for Writers

This is the best way for me to give a nod to William Safire. Safire was a conservative columnist and speechwriter. He was also the writer of the On Language column in the New York Times.

I didn't agree with his political views. For me, he's an example of how someone can be skilled with one thing but not be skilled with something else.

His skills with the English language were incredible. I only hope to one day come close. I make mistakes more than I want to admit. It's really humbling to find something that I didn't proofread carefully and then have to change it.

To that end, RIP William Safire.

Here are his Rules for Writers:

Remember to never split an infinitive.

The passive voice should never be used.

Do not put statements in the negative form.

Verbs have to agree with their subjects.

Proof read carefully to see if you words out.

If you reread your work, you can find on rereading a great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.

A writer must not shift your point of view.

And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.

(Remember, too, a preposition is a terrible word to end a sentence with.)

Don't overuse exclamation marks!!

Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words, to their antecedents.

Writing carefully, dangling participles must be avoided.

If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.

Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors.

Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky. Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing.

Always pick on the correct idiom.

The adverb always follows the verb.

Last but not least, avoid cliches like the plague; seek viable alternatives.

("read more" - nope...I still need to fix the code.)

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Friday, September 18, 2009

I'm a geek!

Anyone who has stuck around over the years, knows I'm a Star Wars geek: older posts tagged with "Star Wars".

I saw this video on the Metro.co.uk site and had to share it.

In it Darth Vader gets down to MC Hammer's Can't Touch This. Funny...



Okay, I'm in a Starbucks near Grand Central Station and I'm freezing. It's time to head home.

(the code is buggy, still.)

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Jimmy Fallon and The Roots Make Healthcare Sexy With a SlowJam

Hilarious...



(coding sucks...ignore the "read more" link)

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Alicia Keys' New Song - "Doesn't Mean Anything"

I was out and about in my new neighborhood of Harlem tonight. Alicia sent out this tweet:

Here is the track!



I just hope Lil Mama doesn't pop up from behind my stereo ;)

Update...the video:

Alicia Keys - Doesn't Mean Anything

Alicia Keys | MySpace Video


I had to add the video code from the VMAs. It's just so random that Lil Mama was so inspired she jumped up on stage at the end. After that show I say aspiring celebs and a lot of their fans seriously need finishing school.




(code still needs fixin' but who has the time?)

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Beyonce At The VMAs: A Class Act

I'm not going to focus on the ridiculousness of what a certain person did. I called him out for his stupidity awhile back in 2006.


Instead, I want to focus on the grace that Beyonce showed by choosing to give Taylor Swift a chance to accept the VMA she was given.

video

It was a class act Beyonce!

Thank you.

My write up on it for OpenFashion.com: Compassion Is Always In Fashion

Check it out.

David A. Arnold clowning Kanye - funny:



(as had been the case for the last few posts, the code is off and there is nothing after "read more"...)

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Maia Campbell and My Community

I'm so behind the curve on this one. I've got to admit it's because I'm doing what people do in a new situation. I'm adjusting to life in my new big city and trying to figure out where I fit. What that means, however, is that I completely missed a story about Maia Campbell, daughter of the writer Bebe Moore Campbell. She's all grown up. She is a famous beauty and, thus, is a target for people who want to take advantage of her.

It looks like that's exactly what someone did. I'm not linking to the video. However, within the community of black bloggers and websites, the mockery is shameful. It really does seem that all of the hate that we perceive coming at us from society we've managed to take and make our own. Now we turn on, mock and deride each other with the same level of hate.

This morning I read Tara L. Conely's take on what's happened, and I agree. Also, for me, the fight against the Black Superwoman myth is something I hold dear. We're strong. We've had to be. However, both mainstream and black culture seems to be blind to the challenges black women face.

And in saying that black women face challenges I'm not implying that other women don't...so please, don't be simple.

I also empathize because I lost my parents five weeks apart. I mention it because after it happened, people seemed to think I'd just bounce back. I did on the outside. I moved to a new city, got into a top law school and kept it moving. However, it's disturbing that society expected that of me. I don't think that's tied to race but just a general insensitivity to loss in our society. I'm glad Tara brought it up that Maia's mother is dead and gone. Tara mentioned her own loss. I know that my loss touches me pretty much daily. I can function and even thrive, but there is always the reality that I can't call my mom like I used to and have her guidance, advice and love wash over me.

I'm posting what Tara had to say here, turning comments off and hoping you'll head over there to leave a comment for her.

Maia Campbell & The Curious Case of Social Blogging

I suspect that many women of color suffer quietly or at best receive inadequate attention from family practitioners, internists, or clergy when afflicted by even the most commonplace maladies, such as mood and anxiety disorders . . . With educational efforts of the past decade, mood, anxiety, eating, and substance-abuse disorders are being increasingly recognized in the general population, and larger numbers of women of color are seeking and receiving treatment for the first time. Paradoxically however, women of color may still be less likely to receive adequate evaluation for psychotropic medications, even when their presenting symptoms are recognized (or recognizable) by health providers . . . It is not uncommon, for example, that African American, Latinas, and Native American women feel patronized by a health care system that tends to portray them as either ‘victims’ or ‘perpetrators’ of societal ills such as drug abuse, crime, and so on, rather than as individuals. On the other hand, some groups–such as Asian Americans–have a tendency to ‘delay and underutilized’ psychiatric care (Lin, Innui, Kleinman, & Womack, 1982) leading to an ‘invisibility’ of their problems.”

Frederick M. Jacobsen, MD, MPH in Women of Color – Integrating Ethnic & Gender Identities in Psychotherapy (Lillian Comas-Diaz and Beverly Greene, Eds. 1994).

trip2

With the recent viral video of actress Maia Campbell appearing disoriented and detached, it’s time our virtual communities, particularly communities of color, recognize that mental illness, whether brought on by genetics, trauma, or drug abuse, most certainly should not warrant exploitative and childish mockery in the name of increasing YouTube and blog hits. I’m sickened by some of my fellow gossip bloggers, and bloggers of color that chose to distribute this video without providing context, but instead posted cheeky bylines to attract viewers, or otherwise, start shit. YouTube users that posted the video on their channels with links to their websites, record labels, and blogs, are just as pathetic. Campbell’s recent video is not the first of its kind to surface. About a year ago, Campbell appeared withdrawn yet again while being video taped by some guy who thought it would be a cool idea to record her engaging in sexual acts.

For obvious reasons I refuse to post or link to any of the videos currently being distributed virally. I also refuse to link or track back to certain bloggers that choose to use their medium as means of speculating about Maia Campbell’s mental state and circumstance.

While other sites continue to propagate Campbell’s tragedy for hits, a few bloggers, listed below, chose the grown-up route to discuss the Campbell controversy. Among some of them include:

I going to assume there are plenty more out there blogging responsibly (I hope), but these few above were among the top searches via Google.

To those bloggers and Tweeters that choose the dickhead route:

Stop speculating that “word-on-the-street-is” bullshit as a form of ‘reporting’ on an obviously serious social issue. Stop insinuating Campbell’s condition is based on her lack of integrity, particularly when you post headlines or Tweet updates like “Cracked out Prostitute” to describe Campbell’s behavior. And by all means, at the very least, search Google before you run with a story or post a Tweet. Trend with truth, as Robin Caldwell asserts in her post above. To bloggers specifically, you simply cannot hide behind your computer screens and relish in your “I’ma blogger not a journalist” shtick, when the truth is that a large majority of people get their news from urban sites, including gossip and blog sites. Blog responsibly, and grow the fuck up.

While I’m not 100% certain Maia Campbell suffers from a specifically diagnosed mental illness, I got a sense from her late mother, Bebe Moore Campbell’s, biography that the Campbell family struggled with mental health issues. Ms. Campbell, a notable journalist, wrote several books, including Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry, and one play, “Even with the Madness,” both of which highlight issues stemming from mental illness. Likewise, Bebe Moore Campbell is a member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and founding member of NAMI-Inglewood. As a long-time advocate for mental health, supposedly inspired by a close relative’s battle with schizophrenia, Ms. Campbell’s book was recognized by The National Alliance on Mental Illness for Outstanding Literature in 2003. Bebe Moore Campbell, Maia’s mother, died in 2003 from brain cancer.

With Campbell’s mother gone, I imagine that it only intensifies her day-to-day struggles. Not knowing Maia Campbell personally puts me in a position of observer, so I in no way want to speak for her, narrate her story, or define her womanhood by what I’ve only seen in a 5-minute video. I simply want to acknowledge Maia in a way that folks within our own virtual communities have obviously failed to do overall.

I empathize with Maia’s battle. On a personal note, I lost my father only several months ago. Since then I’ve been struggling with learning how to cope with losing a significant piece of my identity. It wasn’t until recently when I finally sought help that I realized I’ve been suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, otherwise known as PTSD, for some time. In addition to the trauma of losing my father, I’ve experienced a series of of other traumatic events since childhood, namely death. And at 28-years-old, I’m just now learning how to cope with it all.

This, my friends, is why we cannot publicly speculate, assume, and for god-sakes condescend those of us who continually deal with mental illness on a daily basis. For bloggers and journalists to say to Maia via their written posts, “Maia, you are too beautiful to be doing this” – (yes, I’m talking to you, WorldStarHipHop.com), you have completely marginalize an entire segment of people who quietly suffer because they’d rather not feel, as Dr. Jacobsen writes above, “patronized” by the rest of society. To equate someone’s “beauty” (a socially constructed ideal, at that) with an obviously self-destructive illness not only shows your lack of brevity as a writer, but also your dearth of intellectual capacity and moral code as one with a public platform to disseminate ideas. Again, grow the fuck up.

But unfortunately this type of virtual behavior is no surprise, when considering that who we are as virtual people tend to mirror who we are and how we believe as people living in the offline world. Stereotypes, misjudging, mockery, and all out inane sensibility permeate through our social networks and web-based platforms. Instead of utilizing our new media platforms to progress as a collective, we’ve chosen to mimic regressive public behaviors online, thereby stymieing our growth and progress as a culture conscious of itself. In the case of Maia Campbell’s recent video tragedy, bloggers of color, in particular, really dropped the ball this time around. Instead of researching, folks posted without context. Instead of respecting a life, folks chose to demean and exploit. Instead of calling out others in the virtual media who got all their facts wrong, folks eagerly posted their own publicly damaging blog based on a 5-minute video clip. And instead of supporting a woman of color, who obviously appears to be suffering quietly (like so many of us have been for years), you – the folks – chose to promote your own self-serving cause; a fucking makeshift blog or record label.

#epic fail.

To Maia,

You, my dear, have my support in sisterhood and in love.

“You’re only as sick as your secrets.” (Anonymous)

Code is still buggy. I'm still busy. "read more" leads to nothing...just skip it.

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

An Intervention ;)

I'm getting back into the swing of the American holiday cycles. Since I've been back, I celebrated Memorial Day with a friend from college by staying on the Avalon area of the Jersey Shore and ended up in the emergency room (no need to worry, it was major but diabetes-related, so nothing new). I didn't celebrate the 4th, outside of just enjoying having some time alone. I was staying with a friend who was off on vacation and I was enjoying the benefits of just being alone. However, being near Valley Forge, PA meant I saw some great fireworks and didn't have to go very far. This was Labor Day weekend. Between work and resuming my search for work, I planned to lay low again.

However, I'm officially living in Manhattan now, and work is only one part of life. A good friend whom I went to both college and law school with had a different idea on how I'd spend my weekend. I'll admit that more often than probably is good, I like being alone. Out of habit and, I'm sure, because coping habits I developed as an only child, I just don't like going out much when things get stressful. It makes sense within the context of my life. I've had to cope with stress alone. I also find that people can be more trouble than not when you're stressed out. With having life-rocking events like my parents dying five weeks apart, I'm most comfortable coping with retreating, getting centered and, eventually, reemerging.

Right now, things are stressful: new city; new job (well, more accurately lots of freelancing); new apartment which means new neighbors and a new neighborhood to adjust to; and just a lot of searching and little tweaks adjusting to make.

What's missing there? The social element and sometimes an intervention is necessary. Thanks to my friend's peer pressure, I gave in and decided to attend a party thrown for her. I took the train up to Westchester county instead, and spent part of my Labor Day weekend with my friend, her husband and their friends. I've got to say being new to a big city like NYC, it was nice to be around people I've known for years while meeting new people too. It's out of character for me to change course, but I'm glad I did.

So those of you with solitary friends? Give them a bit of a nudge from time to time. They might not say it, but they'll appreciate it.

(I've really got to go in and fix the HTML code on this blog, but, again, I'm too busy to worry about tweaking the code right now. Just ignore the "read more" link.)

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

OMG! OMG! What a great Seoul promo!!! Finally!


It looks like after the disastrous Korea Sparkling madness of last year, they've truly listened to the feedback and got it right.

Now, you still have to know who Rain is to care, but you might get curious.

This has what others lacked. A taste of Korea - you hear Korean language and you have English subtitles. Then you get a bit of English at the end. I felt a little bit of homesickness because I'd made Seoul my home for a few years. So a lot of those lights and sights I've walked past at night. I can't say I feel half as safe here in Manhattan, but I did in Seoul and had a blast most of the time too. (Don't take that as a put down of NYC. You probably have to be slightly crazy to feel safe in NYC...)

Check it out: CNN Vignette | Seoul City Promo

Comments are off. Take the discussion there please ;)

(the "read more" link is out of order, it leads you nowhere)

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Michael Jackson's Birthday Celebration in Prospect Park (Brooklyn, NY)


Oh, fun!

I've been busy adjusting to life in NYC. It's all been pretty normal with the typical worries associated being in a new place. But today I went over to Brooklyn to attend Michael Jackson's 51st Birthday Celebration. The event was put together by Spike Lee (whom, as a side note, I met years ago when I was a hard working student at UCLA Campus Events and we'd invited him to speak.)

It was a fun event. I wasn't sure if I was going to go for a few personal reasons, but after a phone call and just realizing that I could just go home if it wasn't my cup of tea, I headed to Brooklyn. I'm glad I did. It was a lot of fun. What's exciting is Spike would like to try to make this a yearly event. That would be even more fun to make this a yearly event.

I recorded some video with my little digital camera, so check it out.

Wanna Be Starting Something
:


Electric Slide Going Viral (being done simultaneously in a few spots at the same time) song playing - Get On The Floor:


Man in the Mirror (the last song of the day):
(Again, ignore the "read more" tag...it leads you to nowhere).

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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Laura and Euna are out - yeah!


I'm a few hours behind the curve on posting this as I heard the news hours ago.

President Bill Clinton went to Pyongyang to seeking the release of Euna Lee and Laura Ling. It was announced hours ago that he was successful and the two journalists were pardoned.

Last I heard, they're all en route to Los Angeles.

I knew this was going to drag out when I first heard about the story months ago. I felt that someone influential would have to intervene. I think, honestly, Clinton was the best. However, I wonder why Gore didn't go. I mean he's on the board of Current TV. Maybe he tried but there is stuff we're not aware of.

Either way, I'm glad they're out and will be home soon.

Here are some links to some news stories:

CNN: N. Korean leader reportedly pardons U.S. journalists
NYTimes: Clinton Secures Pardon for 2 Americans in North Korea
Washington Post: N. Korea Says Two U.S. Journalists Have Been Pardoned

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

SNL: Excedrin for Racial Tension Headaches and Chris Rock

Wow. It's been one hell of a week in the news.

I've not blogged about the Gates arrest because my opinion is simple. What on earth was an old and angry 58 yo black man with a cane going to do to a young cop with a gun that would justify charging him with disorderly conduct and taking him in? It's b.s., and it never would have happened if Gates were a 58 yo white man with a cane and a smart mouth.

Plus, everyone has an opinion on it, and there really is no need to join the fray. This post from Gawker pretty much sums up my opinion and they threw in some legal code, so I love them: No, Henry Louis Gates Is Not a 'Railer,' a 'Brawler,' or a 'Common Street Walker'.

With that said racial tension has been the name of the game this week.

I also got a comment on the Presumptuous Racist post I wrote last year from someone by the name of Tae. I didn't publish it, which is rare. However, not for that particular post. There have been two comments that crossed the line.

Wait, there is more the obviously more intelligent and genetically superior Tae stopped by again to spew more verbage. It's somewhat comical because, if I'm so hopelessly inferior, why bother?

I can always tell when someone has wandered in from a Google search, read one post and has decided they know everything about my point of view. Someone who disagrees with me is not offensive but someone who confuses disagreeing with being disagreeable is offensive. Someone who disagrees, even forcefully, will have their comment published, even if in my reply I'll skewer them ;) However, if a comment crosses the line to just a barrage of insults, it's not getting published.

This is my little section of the Internet and those are the rules. It's like going into someone's house, dropping your pants and taking a crap in the middle of their living room. Since I caught this fool unzipping, I avoided any damage. This is my house. I can reply at will and I did.

Someone on an online forum I frequent posted this video to comment on this week's events. I think it's very apropos, so enjoy. It's pretty funny. I added another from Chris Rock follows simply because he's brilliant.

Saturday Night Live - Excedrin for Racial Tension Headaches



Chris Rock on Race (hilarious)...

The most racist people in the world? "Old black men."



For those who cant see the SNL clip, here is the script that I found here:

Indistinguishable Black Woman (played by Queen Latifah): “Do I get stress headaches at work?” Yes, definitely. From the moment I get in, it's “Denise, we need this,” “Denise, we need that,” which is stressful, 'cause my name is Linda. Denise is the other black woman who works here.

By ten a.m., someone in the Copy room makes a joke about Kobe Bryant, and everyone looks at me to make sure it's okay. And I smile like it's okay, but, really, my head and neck are starting to throb.

Then, I spend the rest of the afternoon training my interns and answering their questions, like “Yes, black people use shampoo” and “No, I don't know any good reggae clubs around here” and, “Yes, Condoleezza Rice is very articulate. Why do you sound so surprised?” And, “No, I can't tell you where to buy weed.”

And that's when I reach for Excedrin—new Excedrin for Racial Tension Headaches.

Excedrin RT works fast, taking me from “Oh no you didn't!” to “I wish a motherfucker would.” I like that.

Voiceover: Excedrin Racial Tension Headaches—fast relief for hundreds of years of nagging pain.


(Please ignore the "read more" field below. I've got some renegade HTML code lurking somewhere.)

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Michael Jackson: Pop Culture Fashion Icon

My post on Michael Jackson and fashion over at the WeAreTheMarket.com blog.

I'm turning comments off here, but comments are welcome on the original post at anytime. I'll even make an effort to answer them all the way I do here ;)

Michael Jackson: Pop Culture Fashion Icon

050523_michaeljackson_hmed_3ph2.jpg

When it comes to the world of fashion, both men's and women's, Michael Jackson is fashion icon.

He inspired us to wear loafers and white socks. He inspired us to wear jackets with military details. He inspired us to wear one glittery glove. He inspired a resurgence of aviator glasses too.

You get the picture. We know the looks. You don't need us to list them for you after the jump.

His influence on the world of trends and fashion is simply undeniable.

Additionally, he inspired designers. All you have to do is tune into some of the Twitter streams of those in fashion. Designer Brian Atwood lamented Michael's death as well as Farrah Faucet's passing on Twitter, RIP Farrah and Micahel Jackson...We will remember you both....!! So sad.”

What's great was the symbiotic relationship that Michael had with fashion and that fashion had with Michael.

The best example is the Spring 2009 Balmine collection.

michael_jackson_balmain.jpg

Their military inspired jacket couldn't help but remind you of Michael. Of course, because fashion definitely influences entertainers we saw other celebrities pick up the trend. Now we're seeing a strong 80s-retro feel probably worn best right now by pop diva Rihanna.

However, it's symbiotic in that Michael was a legendary shopper. This year he was photographed wearing pieces from the Balmine collection.

So who inspired whom?

Does it really matter? He drew from the fashion world and they drew from him.

We won't be able to see Michael in the planned bedazzled Swarovski designs for his scheduled “This is It” concert dates. But what we do know is it would have been attention grabbing and influential.

King of Pop, you'll be missed. You'll inspire fashion for years to come.

Rest in Peace, Michael.

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Friday, July 3, 2009

Totally Behind the Curve ;)


My favorite series ever, Six Feet Under, started and ended while I was living abroad. Initially, I had to download it via IRC. However, I stopped doing that when I quit work to go back to school. I couldn't afford to take a risk I'd ruin my computer when it was necessary for school. I had it in the back of my head that one day I'd get the videos and finish watching the series where I'd left off.

The characters putting Nate into the ground (a green burial).

I discovered that the second half of SFU's last season is on Verizon's FIOS, so I watched them back to back. They killed off my oh-so-troubled Nate by having him finally succumb to his AVM after cheating on his wife. (Wow, really?) I bawled like a newborn baby because, troubled or not, I grew to love the character. His death was sudden and shocking. Having been through two sudden and shocking losses in my own life, I could relate maybe a bit too easily to the story arc.

The final episode I've watched many times over. It's the end of the story and massively therapeutic for me. Claire, played by Lauren Ambrose, is a young woman trying to decide whether to move to NYC to pursue her dream of being a photographer. Of course, I relate as I'm doing something quite similar now. My calling is with something else, but I've been fighting this pull to Manhattan for years. The "can I do this?" questions and anxiety that a big change brings up I can completely relate to.

I'll quote a comment I left on the award-winning LGBT blog, Towleroad. The show covered it all in terms of subject matter, and, rightly so, featured a gay couple prominently in its story line.
"The draw of SFU for me was always the realness I felt. My parents died within five weeks of each other years ago. My mom first, right after Thanksgiving, which made that Christmas hard to take for me and my father. Then five weeks later, my father died. I should have known something was looming when I woke up to the jolt of an earthquake that morning. Later that day my father died. So, when it comes to death and loss, I've been a bit cynical but also very sensitive.

It was great seeing a show based around death. So often people are just uncomfortable with it. However, for me, it's a real part of life. I'm not morbid. I'm not depressed. But I liked the realism of having both the light and dark of life portrayed in a TV show."
Also, the artistry of the show was gripping. The opening sequence and song are incredible.



Not only that, I commend the series for what felt like an accurate portrayal of the diversity of my hometown, Los Angeles. You have black characters, Latino characters, and representatives of many ethnicities and religions in the various episodes. With it being based around a funeral home, it's easy to work diverse characters in. The thoughtfulness of not being ignored was great. Also, now that I think about it, having the show based in L.A. probably was another reason I connected so well to it. I really did see part of my home when I watched.

What I've had to deal with, of course, shades my perspective now. With the recent high profiles deaths of Farrah and Michael Jackson, last week forced the topic of death to the forefront. Along with the media circus going on, people started talking about their feelings and emotions surrounding these deaths. Farrah, unfortunately, we knew had been suffering with cancer for awhile. In fact, Barbara Walters was plugging an ABC special she'd done on The View the day Farrah and Michael died.

Michael's death was shocking and sudden. I had many people tell me they couldn't believe it. I, however, could believe it. Believing it doesn't diminish the scale of the tragedy, especially, when you consider how traumatic his personal life was. Like everyone else, I didn't want to believe it, but I know that death sometimes comes when you're just not expecting it. I've had deep losses before. Experience with it doesn't make loss easier to handle, and it certainly doesn't make me expect it. It's just that when it occurs I tend to shun hysterics and irritating theories on death. I simply lean towards being as real as I can. That means, I allow myself to initially deny it, accept it, get angry, get sad, get numb and get on with life. There is just this feeling that comes with loss. When someone you love and are connected to dies, a bit of you goes with them.

So with that said, here is the final 10 or so minutes from my favorite TV series ever. It ended in 2005, so I'm almost 4 years behind the curve. No worries. I gave up on the quest of being hip years ago. I much prefer content, confident and happy.

If you've not seen the show, you'll probably miss out on the significance of this segment. Maybe read up on the characters and storyline. However, for me, the final episode is cheap therapy: reflective, thoughtful and cathartic. It was that way for most of the episodes I saw (not all, but most).




Even though the makeup was a big dodgy in some cases, the ending is a perfect wrap: The character's obituaries.

Plus, it ends with Sia's Breathe Me.  Sia and that song are great.

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Monday, June 29, 2009

The ONLY Part Worth It

I'm sorry folks, but I chose to actually watch the BET Awards last night.

Mistake! They pitched it as a tribute to MJ. It started that way and it definitely ended that way. However, during the bulk of the show they lost focus and it ended up being a moments of my life wasted.

Just because I know a lot of folks missed it or didn't set their DVRs for longer than three hours, here is dear Janet making a brief appearance to speak on her brother's death. Then Ne-yo and Jamie Foxx sing.

RIP MJ.

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OMG! BLACK PEOPLE!

It looks like Twitter's current trending topics have some people on the alert and a bit apprehensive.

Check out this tweet. What's ridiculous is Foolish Julie here isn't alone by any stretch. It shows a complete disconnect with how Michael's death has impacted the black community. I don't watch the BET Awards and only did so because they said it was going to be a MJ tribute. Therefore, guess what? There was a huge number of people watching the show and and we talked about it as it happened.

But riddle me this? Even without that, why is it even an issue that black topics trend on the night of a major black awards show? I guess black folks aren't supposed to actually use the Internet.

Sorry, I have to just say it. These people are just stupid.

The USA is now post-racial? Yeah, okay.

Are they serious?

Well, thank goodness for screen shots and blogs. Because, yes, morons there are black people on Twitter.

Say it isn't so!!!

Posted via web from Regina's posterous

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Dear Michael - RIP

Michael Jackson: August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009


I'll always remember him best as a child because he was just a few years older than me.

Weird, as I just had a Six Feet Under marathon going the other day.

Tears have been shed, big time this week because we lost Farrah today too. What a horrible day.

For those like me who are in transit or in transition and are away from your record collections, check out this mix on Brooklyn's DJ Soul's blog mixed by DJ Jaycee: Remember MJ (part 1).

Here are two more mixes that DJ Jaycee made. These were played on his radio show on Sunday, June, 28th:
Oh, here is another mix - more old skool than not: Best of MJ by DJ M.O.S.

Both of the originals ones were done way before MJ died. For some reason, that makes them easier to listen to. Basically, they're shows of respect for his music while he was here rather than a desperate attempt to capitalize on this sad, sad tragedy. The other two by DJ Jaycee were tributes that were done after MJ passed, but my community needs to remember the range of MJ's work. Getting new mixes from someone who was smart enough to recongize MJ while he was living is great.

Update - July 9, 2009 @ 9:12pm

I didn't want to start a new post. But here is a .pdf version of MJ's obituary for the Staples Center memorial service. Thanks to the Chicago Defender for the link: Poignant service says goodbye to M.J., the manMichael Jackson Obituary

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