Monday, December 18, 2006

Christmas Shopping--The Rules of Engagement

Yeah, I know, its been a minute.... SO SUE ME!

Attempting to complete my holiday shopping reminded me why I HATE SHOPPING AT CHRISTMASTIME. Now, the fact that the phrase "I hate shopping..." (prefaced by ANYTHING) came out of the mouth of a card carrying member of Shop-A-Holics Anonymous means that conditions for engaging in my favorite passtime have become insipidly annoying. Therefore, I feel that as one who holds the activity of shopping in such high regard, I must take this opportunity to provide people with some guidelines (just 5) to make the shopping experience enjoyable and efficient for you, and to keep the people around you from wanting to dig your eyeballs out of your head with a rusted spoon and serve them to you on a lead plate.

1. Have a game plan people. Remember the lyric "He's making a list, checking it twice..." ? Santa is a smart man. He goes in there knowing who he needs to get gifts for and what they want. Since he is the High Holy Priest of All Gift Giving, don't you think you should follow his lead?

2. Map out an efficient route. Whether you are cruising around the mall or going from store to store in your trusty SUV, make sure you know where the heck you want to go. It saves me the aggravation of walking or driving behind you while you are vascillating on which store you need to go to next. That's why they have maps of the mall... USE THEM! Make sure you plan appropriate bathroom and meal breaks....

3. For the love of all that is good in the world, if you are going shopping with small children in tow, please have some method of wrangling those little ankle-biters in. I cannot tell you how many times I have nearly knocked some little cutie pie over with my shopping bag because his parent (usually MOM) is not paying attention and the child is wandering aimlessly about. In addition, this is the season when all manner of things, including children, get stolen. The last thing I want to see is some sobbing parents on the TV talking about "I just looked away for a second...."

4. Please check all items to make sure they have price tags BEFORE YOU GET TO THE REGISTER. Price checks during a regular shopping day are annoying. Multiply that by a long line of weary would-be Santas behind you and a less than jolly sales associate in front of you, and you have a recipe for disaster. SOMEBODY is going to cuss you out... or at least curse at you under their breath...

5. Lastly, I'm not one to tell people how to manage their finances and Lord knows I'm still working on being more fiscally responsible. But seriously, don't go into bankruptcy trying to fulfill the wishes of everyone on your list. I am a huge fan of bargain shopping and I am in the leauge with some of the best (Nechi, I still remember the $4 Gap Jeans!) Cause guess what... those credit card bills will show up in January and all of that holiday cheer will be forgotten under the cloud of $500 minimum payments. Its nice to be Santa... it will be even nicer to be able to eat/drive/pay rent in 2007....

Just some tips to make sure that your holiday shopping is good for you as I hope it will be for me.. if you have any suggestions I may have overlooked, feel free to add...

Happy ChristmaHanuKwanzakah!

Peace and love,
The Retrospect

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The Sensenbrenner Bill (HR 4437) and The Fugitive Slave Act: A comparitive study

So I know that you have been waiting for me to talk about it. You probably wonder what's been taking me so long.

I've been biding my time, taking in everything that has been said (and has not been said) and forming an intellectual opinion rather than a visceral reaction. Also, I'm a full time grad student who works nearly full time running a community program-- you do the math.

So let's talk IMMIGRATION.

At one point I was itching to go on a rant about how on God's blessed Earth the House could have possibly passed such a clearly prejudiced and inhumane bill. A bill that would make undocumented immigrants aggravated felons and criminalize people like me, who work with immigrants-- many whose immigration status is unclear to me. But I didn't.

What I did do was take the time to read the bill and, by virtue of being a MPH candidate, engage in some intellectual discourse about the situation. During one of my many conversations about this, someone said something that set the cherries ringing in my head. The statement was so profound, I was speechless (and those of you who know me know THAT never happens.)

Quite simply she said this: "If you think about it, HR4437 is really not very different from the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850."

She's right.

Think about it carefully... go all the way back to your high school American History Class (I know, its painful for me too). If your school curriculum even covered slavery in any great detail, there was mention of this act as part of the Compromise of 1850.

Breifly stated, after the U.S. obtained the territory that is now California, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona from Mexico, California applied for Statehood. California wanted to be admitted as a Free State, throwing off the balance between so-called Free States and Slave States in America. To appease the Southern Slave States Senator Henry Clay proposed a compromise. Part of this compromise was that escaped or fugitive slaves whether they resided Slave or Free Sates were now considered aggravated felons who were to be captured by the Federal Government who had the right to use local enforcement agencies and deputized citizens with or without their consent to aid in the capture and return of slaves (and free born Blacks-- they made no distinction). The alleged fugitive slaves may or may not receive a trial in which they were not allowed to testify-- only the testimony of the alleged slave owner was admitted to evidence Moreover, anyone who helped a fugitive slave IN ANY WAY was considered to be a criminal to be prosecuted, fined and sent to prison.

The Sensenbrenner Bill HR4437 proposes in broad terminology that immigrants who are undocumented in the United States should be considered aggravated felons. Certain aspects of the language in the bill include using Federal money and agencies to have these people deported back to their country of origin. The Federal Government will be enabled to use local law enforcement, community agencies (with or without their consent) and deputized citizenry to assist in the apprehension and detainment of undocumented immigrants until they can be deported . The undocumented immigrants may or may not receive a trial in which they may or may not be able to testify on their own behalf. Finally, anyone who helps an undocumented immigrant IN ANY WAY is considered to be aiding and abetting a felon-- a criminal act punishable by inprisonment.

Hmmm... part of me wonders if Representative Sensenbrenner just lifted the Fugitive Slave Act from the shelves, dusted it off and replaced "fugitive slave" with "illegal immigrant."

I had the unique opportunity of speaking with a policy advocate who had actually had a meeting with Rep. Sensenbrenner. She told me that he made a statement to the effect of
"I have no problem with immigrants. Except for those Latinos."
Then he caught himself when he realized what he said and who he had said it to. But you know the saying "Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks."

Well, I'm not going to inject any editorial comments on this one. I'm going to leave you to your own intellectual devices. If you think what I wrote above is poppycock and that I'm taking it too far, I suggest you check out these links and read for yourself. Be warned, the legislation is a little dense and you have to 'cut through the mustard' to get the gist of everything. But it is a worthwhile activity. (Sections 5-7)

I leave you with this to ponder.

Given the implications of HR 4437 and the fact that it has already passed in the House and has a pretty decent chance of passing in the Senate, do you think the American government is trying to test the limits of the American Consciousness? Seeing what extremes we will actually put up with? And are we paying attention? Because if they can pass a bill so similar in its root philosophy to the Fugitive Slave Act, what are they going to try and pass right under our noses next?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Some people are disgusting- Public Service Announcement


For your own health and safety... DO NOT BUY COSMETICS THAT ARE OUT IN THE OPEN AT YOUR LOCAL DRUG STORE. You might be getting more than you bargained for...

I was totally skeeved out by what I witnessed at the drug store last night. So much so that I called my soror in HOUSTON to rant about it (she is the only person who truly understands my randomness-- and my need to vent immediately lest I explode, but I digress).

I stopped by my neighborhood CVS last night to pick up a tube of mascara and a chocolate bunny for my goddaughter (ok... and some for me too... I'm on a MAJOR chocolate bender right now). As I entered the cosmetics aisle I saw a middle aged white woman testing out different lipsticks. Wouldn't have been so disgusted if it weren't for the fact that she was trying them out ON HER LIPS! And it wasn't just a couple of tubes. Much like a train wreck, I wanted to look away, but since I could not, I witnessed her do this with at least 8 different tubes from different manufacturers.

Yeah... disgusting right? Well even more so for me because I am in Public Health. So in my mind, not only am I noting how inherently WRONG her behavior is, but I'm also going through the number of infectious diseases that she could be catching from each tube of lipstick or WORSE what she could be passing along to another unsuspecting consumer.

Here is a BREIF list (see Prevention article for more)

Staph infections
Herpes (oral and genital),5778,s1-5-53-146-4961-1,00.html

And if she's got kids and a husband? I'm so sorry for them. Cuz she will be kissing them goodnight.

And people wonder WHY I spend obscene amounts of money at M.A.C and Sephora for my cosmetics.

Because when I buy the shit, it is in a SEALED container in a SEALED box that comes to my hands from a certified cosmetologist from the drawer directly behind the display.

This has been a public service announcement brought to you by The REBEL INTELLECTUAL.

Monday, April 03, 2006

My Personality DNA

I am a benevolent creator.... :)

My Personal DNA Maps (scroll over the colors to see what they mean)

Benevolent Creator

Who am I?

My Personal Dna Report

This is fun... try it :)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

People you can only take in small doses

I am a people person. The evidence is obvious. I'm gregarious, a shameless flirt, I have friends from all walks of life and I work in a profession where I deal with many different kinds of people every day, and I love it.

However, there are certain people in the world you can only stand in EXTREMELY small doeses. For whatever reason (and it varies from person to person) being in the presence of these people for more than a modicum of time can cause everything from nausea vomiting and hives to a pronounced foul mood--or just make your good day a bad one.

What makes it worse is that these kind of people tend to gravitate towards each other and form groups-- so that they can inflict duress on innocent victims at levels that should be considered akin to criminal corruption.

Case in point-- a particular group of ladies that I have the dubious pleasure of being in graduate school with. These ladies have formed a tight knit circle and had the nerve to give their group one of the most obnoxious names possible (more on that later). While there are members of this group whom I find to be lovely individuals, once they join their herd, it is difficult to tell them apart from their perpetually annoying 'friends'. Therefore, for all intensive purposes, I will be dealing with all of them with the same amount of venom. Sorry ladies, but you are called on the carpet for being "Accessories to Extreme Annoyance."

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present for your condemnation-- The Super 7.

I'm mad that they have the nerve to call themselves "The Super 7." I am sure that it started off innocently and they thought it was cute ('There's seven of us and its pretty super that we are all friends...') but the name seems to have given them carte blanche to be-- well-- irritatingly self- righteous. They seem to think they are the only "normal" ones in our class and and confer a "lackof social skills" judgement upon other people. Apparently, they feel they have cornered the market on being 'the All American Girl' (cue: VOMIT). I recall sitting in class next to one of them during our final presentations and I happened to glance at her laptop. She had the nerve to start ripping another student's presentation to shreds (this person she was criticizing also happens to be someone in the class I am quite friendly with). Then she got up and do her presentation-- I must say, I had to stretch my mind to see the relevance of her selected topic to the class material we had spent the previous 10 weeks covering.

Another one who I am going to call "Her Royal Shallowness" ripped into another girl in the class on her blog (Curse you MySpace!-- Blogging for the WEAK) about not having social skills. Now mind you, "HRS" is quite possibly one of the most shallow, materialistic and generally unpleasant people you will ever meet. When I first encountered her, I thought I had met a kindred spirit when I saw her Coach bag and Kate Spade (faux?) shoes. But then I realized, unlike myself, she has an almost (self admitted) unhealthy obsession with expensive accessories. I like to purchase a nice Coach or Balenciaga (or both) every once in a while , but she's taking it to "Paris Hilton" levels... and I can only assume she has "Paris Hilton" cash to back it up-- or she shops on Canal Street. Otherwise she's got the most fucked up credit in the world.

The rest of them, I don't have an exceptional amount of experience with due to the fact that (thankfully) I've managed to avoid the madness. And like my above disclaimer, some of them are really nice people... ON THEIR OWN. However, the majority of the members of the "Super 7" have managed to say something that "rubs the wrong way" at least once in my presence. And by "rubs the wrong way"I mean that less tolerant people (especially less tolerant African American, Latino and Asian people) would find these comments offensive.

Oh.... did I forget to mention the fact that they are seven privileged WHITE women? Who are completing their Master of Public Health? A career field that leads you to professions where you work mainly with marginalized minority groups who have an inherent distrust of the establishment? I'm sure that they feel so very good about the fact that they are doing an MPH so that they can have a "fulfilling" career and "give back to the community"*snicker* (Damn, I can't say that with a straight face!) -- looking good while do-gooding, I suppose.

Aside: If I hear one more privileged, spoiled little asshole use the phrase "give back to the community" ONE MORE TIME....

I am by no means saying their motives are not pure or that they don't have the best of intentions-- they very well may genuinely give a crap about people besides themselves. What I am saying is that their constant stream of self righteous, judgemental bullshit needs to stop-- and soon.

They could benefit from a serious attitude adjustment. Their future careers depend on it. God forbid I end up working with one or more of them after we graduate, and they are still the same people that they are now. They don't want me to dress them down... they'll find out real quick how "abnormal"I can be and "lack social sklls"-- when I get GHETTO up in there.

Monday, March 06, 2006

My Apologies

Our President is a liar. He lied about the federal governments knowlege about the destructive potential of Hurricane Katrina( an offense more impeachable than getting sucked off by an intern in the Oval Office by the way) ... there is no mistaking that.

So now, I have to apologize to Michael Brown for being so hard on him about Hurricane Katrina. He took the heat for a 'f**ked up a la Republican on toast' response to the disaster on the Gulf Coast. That's right, he was the fall guy for the government. No wonder he sang like a bird on everyone else involved. He knew he was out anyway, so why not just tell on everyone? I would do the same shit.

So to Michael Brown... I am sorry for sending you up the way I did. It wasn't your fault. You were just doing what they told you to do as a faithful flunkie for our massively ineffective (corrupt) government.

To the f**king morons who voted Bush into office in the first place-- IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT. Sleep with that on your conscience tonight.

The Ghettofication of the Academy Awards/ African American Oscar Nominations: Double Edged Sword?

I know you have all heard it by now and were just WAITING for me to say something....

As you may or may not know, the Academy tradition is that all the songs nominated for Best Original Song are performed during the awards show, and after the last performance, the award it given.

For those of you who missed the show let me paint the picture for you.

Three-6 Mafia was the last group/artist to perform, and the graced the Oscars with their original song for the film "Hustle &Flow" which was titled "Its Hard Out There for a Pimp". For those of you who don't know who Three-6 Mafia is, they are a Southern rap group with hits such as "Stay Fly." They were introduced by Chris Bridges aka Ludacris (who by the way, looked very dapper that evening. I was very impressed with his overall look). Teraji P. Henson, who starred in "Hustle & Flow" sang the hook (" You know its hard out here for a pimp. Just tryna get that money for the rent.") while dressed in a rather unflattering white "Marylin Monroe Seven Year Itch" knockoff-- someone needed to tell her that she needed to wear a bra or some stickies or something... she was about to fall out of the thing. They had a 'pimped out' set, complete with pimps, hoes, theatrically coreographed and staged street fights and bitches getting the hell slapped out of them by their pimps. Of course, Three -6 Mafia came dressed for the occasion in throwback jerseys, baggy jeans, platinum chains and grills in their mouths.
They got permission to say 'bitch' and 'shit' in the performance of the song.
Interestingly enough, Terrence Howard, who was given the nomination for Best Actor for "Hustle..." was also supposed to perform, but the rumor is that the Black Hollywood Elite 'encouraged' him to sit this one out. And he shonuff did.

Immediately following the performance Academy Award Nominee Dana "Queen Latifah" Owens presented the award for best orignal song... and had the pleasure of handing the Oscar over to..... Three-6 Mafia.

I swear, I thought I was watching the Source Awards.

The best parts... Morgan Freeman's look of COMPLETE mortification, Queen Latifah's inability to contain herself, the Arsenio Hall "woof woof" arm motions from Three-6 Mafia's cheering section in the back, and Three-6 Mafia's acceptance speech which was sprinked with a few expletives.

That whole fiasco just set Black people back 15 years...

Then to add insult to injury, Terrence was nominated for portraying a pimp. Let's look at a few recent Academy nods to Black Actors....

Denzel Washington-- Best Actor-- Played a corrupt cop
Halle Berry-- Best Actress-- Got f**ked by Billy Bob Thornton, buck ass naked

I am noticing a disturbing trend here...

Not that the Academy is all bad or anything. They did give awards to African American actors for playing roles other than being a "unsavory" character but still...

Three-6 Mafia wins the Academy Award for Best Original Song: "Its Hard Out There for a Pimp"....I have lost all respect for the Academy, dammit.

Sunday, February 19, 2006


So, its no secret to people who know me understand that I have personally come to despise Valentine's Day. Not only because it is a "holiday" motivated by commercial gain for the chocolate, floral and greeting card industries, but because the day itself holds a special disgusting meaning for me. You see, Valentine's Day would have been my 9 year anniversary with my ex-fiance. Moreover, his birthday just happens to fall on the next day.

Yeah.... those 48 hours SUCKED ASS.

Let's compound the fact that that day reminds me of a broken (in more ways than one) relationship... it also marked 6 months since I had been laid.... well... not exactly. It had been 6 months since I was laid-- WELL. Bad sex never counts.

A lot of people don't understand why I don't get as much ass as they think I should. To them, an attractive, intelligent woman who is especially fond of sports and kung fu movies shoud have the guys beating down my door. Correct? Well its not so. And its not so for many of my other attractive friends.

So I need some guys to weigh in on this.

Why are the girls you all claim to want, the same ones who are sitting at home alone (or together) on many Friday nights ?

One particularly not so intelligent male associate of mine (who I keep around because he's eye candy, but I repeatedly tell him to shut his yap and just look pretty) observed that I don't go to bars and clubs and that's where the guys are. "Very good, boy! You want a treat? Yes you do!" Of course I don't frequent bars and clubs. Doing that is called "Trolling for Ass."Guys who go to bars and clubs are "coochie-hunting." They're not looking for a girlfriend, they're looking for a quick lay. And after about 7 or so beers, it really doesn't matter how she looks or if she can form a coherent sentence. Hell, it especially doesn't matter if she has any skills in the sack. You're too drunk to care anyway. How are you supposed to get to know someone with music blaring in your ear so loud that the bartender can barely hear your order? But we are going to discuss the current political issues of the day, our careers and make a dinner date for Thursday. PUH-LEEZE.

Another guy friend of mine (who I love to death) said that I might appear to be too independent and empowered. I scare 'em off.

What do guys have against women who can take care of themselves? I drive a nice car, I have a nice home, I dress well, my hair is always done, my bills are paid... and this is a BAD thing? I don't get it.
Just because I'm able to take care of myself, doesn't mean that I wouldn't like to be spoiled every once in a while. I guess the issue is that he won't be able to use it as a bagaining chip later. I've had this happen. The whole "I-bought- you- dinner, you- have- to- sleep- with- me- now" thing, or any variation thereof. I understand why guys think this works. There are some sorry ass women out there who let men get away with it. So if she would go for it, why shouldn't I? If I don't, then I'm a stuck up princess or worse-- a bitch.

On the TODAY show the other day I saw a segment in which a psychology professor had conduced as study that basically came to the conclusion that the more intelligent a woman is, the less likely she is to be able to get married, and that's not for a lack of trying. Apparently men are scared of women who could potentially be smarter than them. I SERIOUSLY HOPE THAT THIS IS COMPLETELY FALSE. Otherwise, that's just SAD guys...

My female friends and associates are completely dumbfounded. We just aren't sure what is going on. I think there is definite value in the male point of view to help figure this out. Consider it a public service, guys. You will be helping hundreds if not thousands of women figure out what is the reason for their current predicament, and what we can do to change it..

Or if I can appeal to your baser motives... a lot of us haven't been laid in a while. Consider this a veritable BUFFET....

Thursday, January 26, 2006


So... its my dad's birthday and I'm sitting in our favorite restaurant on someone elses wireless internet (yes, I know... piracy) WAITING FOR MY PARENTS TO ARRIVE.

CPT is a bitch... especially when you are hungry and sitting in your favorite restuarant-- NOT EATING.

Oh, I apologize to the non-coloreds reading this... CPT stands for Colored People's Time.
It is the phenonmenon in which people of non-caucasian descent are simply not able to be on time for scheduled appointments, parties, or even work. Its an inborn programming that dates back to African culture.

In Ghana where my parents are from, when someone invites you over, or you have an event to attend and the host/hostess says 7:00 you inherently know that they mean 9:00 and plan your departure accordingly. Otherwise, you will be sitting there while the DJ is setting up,the food is still on the stove and the host is still in the shower. Case in point-- my parents went to an African wedding in DC a couple of years ago. The invitations said 3:00 PM. The processional didn't start until 4:30 and the bride didn't walk down the asile until 5:15. Now mind you, it was a garden wedding, in July.... yes, that means people were sitting in the hot sun and the bride was 2 HOURS LATE TO HER OWN WEDDING.

Better yet... how about the 1st birthday party for my nephew, Tyrae... THAT STARTED AFTER THE BABY HAD GONE TO SLEEP-- AT MIDNIGHT.

However, this isn't just an African phenomenon... I've witnessed this in my Latino and API friends as well... we just can't be on time!

(I'm mad that I've had enough time to type all of this and my parents STILL aren't here. The host is giving me that "I'm about to cancel your reservation" look... )

Well... looky here... They just walked in. That means its dinner time! PEACE!