Saturday, January 31, 2009

Stone Worthy

What happened to Ted Haggard is unfort
unate. Really unfortunate.

Founder and former pa
stor of the New Life Church in Colorado, and leader of the National Association of Evangelicals - and married father of five - admitted to having a sexual relationship with a male prostitute, that also involved meth usage.

I do believe what Haggard did was wrong. There's no denying it. He obviously had some very strong, personal issues that he unsuccessfully tried to cope with, all the while, living a double, hypocritical life.

And no mater where people stand on the subject of homosexuality and Christianity, that is not the point of contention of this post.

What bothers me most about the Haggard sca
ndal is how the "church" has reacted in all of this debacule.

On Thursday, HBO premiered, "The Trials of Ted Haggard."

The documentary follows up with Haggard - after the church th
at he founded, exiled him from his hometown - and the repercussions he and his family faced after the scandal.

New Life not only reprised Haggard's position, rightfully so, but they banned him from living with his family in the state of Colorado. In additi
on, the thousands upon thousands of "friends" and "church folk," dropped Haggard like a hot potato. Some even leaked private correspondence/information to the media, fueling the sensationalism of everything.

Are we living in a Nathaniel Hawthorne novel or something? Who gets exiled anymore (I mean besides political prisoners and Michael Jackson?) Why do we brand people so easily with scarlet letters? That's so 1850s man.

If we, and by we, I mean those of us who call ourselves Christians, can't forgive one of our own, how can we EVER expect those who don't believe?

What Haggard did was deplorable. How Haggard misled an
d deceived his congregation and thousands of followers, was also deplorable.

But the way New Life treated Haggard is by far, the most deplorable.

Where is the message of God's love and forgiveness? They treated Haggard as if he had some sort of leprosy. And for
what mainly? Yes, Haggard did wrong things, but the main driving force behind the lynch mob, was his homosexual dalliances.

If Christians can't demonstrate God's true and unconditional love, for ALL people: heterosexuals, homosexuals, Christians (saved), non-Christians (sinners), blacks,
whites, browns, rich and can we blame those who say, "I want no part of your God."

We HAVE to be living, breathing, exercising examples of God's love and forgiveness. God reveals Himself through us. If God can...and does forgive us for our sins...then we HAVE to do the same for others.

The actions of New Life is how the world sees us. And yes, Haggar
d gave us a bad name through his actions, but he is honestly trying.

I would like to think that the church I currently attend wouldn't treat any one of our pastor/teaching staff the way New Life treated Haggard.

If one of the two senior pastors were to...gasp!...make a mistake and reveal their innate sinful humanity, I can only hope and have faith that we won't treat either of them the way Haggard was treated.

I can only pray.

I wonder if the senior leadership at New Life somehow fo
rgot this little Bible story, from their Sunday school days?...

1 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives.
2 At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them.
3 The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group
and said to Jesus, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery.
In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?"
6 They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger.
When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them,

"If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her."

8 Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.

9 At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.

10 Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"

11 "No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you,"

Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."

John 8:1-11 (New International Version)

Will any of us ever really be truly worthy to cast stones?

I surely, am not.

Song of the Day #2: White Wedding

I guess my mind's on a Billy Idol kick. Not that I'm complaining or anything...

Woke up singing this.'re welcome.

Mom Genes

Jessica Simpson has been making headlines due to her recent weight gain.

And yes, Simpson is definitely heavier than when she was fi
lming the 2005 "Dukes of Hazard." No one is denying that. Pictures don't lie.

But seriously???!!!

The relentless coverage of Simpson's weight gain is just plain...well...redunkulous!

So freaking what?!

The Texas native loves her comfort food! And she obviously has genes that make it a challenge for her to indulge in her cravings. But then again, who doesn't?

The double standard in our society regarding women and weight is once again painfully brought to light.

There are COUNTLESS males in the entertainm
ent/media industry who have let themselves go.

Why is it when men pack on the pounds, it doesn't make the nightly news? Why are men still respected and revered, when they DON'T age gracefully and become overweight? Why is that a ticket to "distinguished?" I mean if Diane Sawyer or Katie Couric even gained an OUNCE of poundage...and it showed, you better believe they would be getting a public outlash.

When Simpson and other public women gain weight, it's plastered all across print and broadcast.

According to the "reports," Simpson is now a size 10. The world thinks that size 10 is fat?! Have we forgotten that the national, average dress size for women is a size 14?!

When Kevin Federline packed on the pounds, it did get some coverage, but nothing on the

I'm just sick of these double standards.

Sick. Of. Them.

If we women can "put up" with men and their beer bellies, then they...and the rest of the world...OWE it to us, to put up with ours.

Fair and simple.

On a side note, the real travesty in all the Simpson-weight-a-plazooa? Simpson's fashion sense...or lack there of.

No one...whether a size 00 or 30...should be caught dead, wearing "mom jeans."

No one.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Pearls & Swine

"Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces."
Matthew 7:6 (New King James Version)

Song of the Day #1: More, More, More!

Have you ever woken up singing/humming a song? I mean literally, as you woke from a deep REM sleep and as you slipped back into consciousness, a tune was already playing in your head and you were mouthing the lyrics?

Well, it happens to me. A lot. I don't know exactly when it started happening, but it definitely started sometime after I entered my twenties (~ nine years ago.)

Some days, the genre varies, I have woken up singing everything from Nine Inch Nails, to Johnny Cash, to Run D.M.C., to gospel hymns. It's wacky crazy.

And I don't think that anything really triggers the singing. Nothing from the previous day/night, any media influences, or any dreams that I've had. I just wake up singing random songs. And then for the rest of the day, the song's stuck in my head and all I do is think about/sing the song.

I'm a HUGE music junkie. At one point, I had more than 4,000 mp3 files on my old desktop...that I actually PAID for. If it weren't for a bad virus wiping out my hard drive...and me NOT backing up my data, I would've still had those files...and I prolly would have closer to 10,000 files today. Oh well, you live and you learn.

I'm sooo into music that I sometimes wonder if I missed my calling somehow. Please refer to #13, here.

But I digress...

This morning? I woke up singing this...

Let the Friday dance party commence.

You're welcome.

Good. God. Billy Idol is sexy.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Stuff a Brown Girl Likes: Stuff White People Like

Is it just me, or has anyone else caught onto this phenomena?! Why aren't more people talking about this around the water cooler?! Somebody please explain this to me.

I mean, I know that there are people out there that have heard about it...more than 300,000 daily hits and more than 40 million over-all hits attest to its I realize that maybe just a tad few folk have caught on.

But if you aren't one amongst the above listed data, I s
trongly encourage you to check out the geniousness (is that even a word?) of....

Stuff White People Like

It's a blog started by Canadian, Christian Lander...who happens to be white, and coauthored by his Filipino friend, Myles Valentin...who happens not to be white.

The blog, which launched just a year ago, attempts to chronicle - in almost a time-capsule fashion - what makes the affluent, wel
l-educated - (particularly in the liberal arts), left-wing (e.g. environmentally conscious, anti-corporate), and/or hipster white North Americans - tick.

Here's a complete list of the Stuff White People Like.

It's absolutely brilliant.

Needless to say, Lander has capitalized on his fame and success, turning his blogtastic musings into a neatly-published book and is currently on tour promoting it. (Lander why no love for the Cintucky?! There are tons of white people...and the people that love!)

In any event, if you want a good, yet surprisingly educational blog surf, then head to the site. I bet even if you are a white person, you'll learn something.

This brown girl sure did.

Click here to see the master himself.

He's kinda cute, in a geeky sorta way...for a white boy.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

NBC! Grow Some Balls!

PETA's new ad, "Veggie Love," - featuring a bevy of beauties who are powerless to resist the temptation of veggie love - was deemed too hot for Super Bowl XLIII.

Watch the ad below...

'Veggie Love': PETA's Banned Super Bowl Ad

NBC's justification for banning the ad? Well, you can read more about it in detail
here, but basically the network thought the ad, "depicts a level of sexuality exceeding our standards."

Are you freaking kidding me?!!

In this day and age of an economy built on the sole concept of "sex sells," NBC only had that feeble excuse to give?! Wow. That was lame. I don't even have to waste my time rationalizing the hypocrisy of this decision. You all are smarter than that. I hope.

I mean c'mon now! At least have come up with a better excuse!

Especially, since the following ads apparently
DID meet their level of "standards" and onto previous/future Super Bowl ad line ups.

Oh, BTW, if you were wondering...yes...vegetarians/vegans DO have better sex.

Just sayin.

The Great Survival Guide of The Great SnOMG of '09

The sun shined...briefly! View of backyard.

So how does a girl entertain herself during The Great SnOMG of '09 in Cintucky?

I present to you, listed in no particular order, how I "survived." (I'll be adding to this as the day(s) go on)...

  1. All things blog related: posting, reading, surfing, brainstorming, etc.
  2. Eating more calories because of boredom.
  3. Imbing copious amounts of alcohol: including PBR and wine.
  4. Playing with Fiona & Kitty.
  5. Watching crap load 'o movies: "Good Will Hunting,"Definitely Maybe," "The Passion of the Christ," "Eyes Wide Shut."
  6. Fielding numerous, multiple calls a day, from folks (mom especially), checking in from the Caribbean.
  7. Not doing cardio, like I should.
  8. Catching up on reading: "The Purpose Driven Life," "He's Just Not That into You," TIME, O Magazine, Bible.
  9. Taking copious pictures of snow outside.
  10. Waiting excitedly and with bated breath for Jonathan Hawgood's live, field reports because he said this during the first day of coverage, "...snow is not mashed potato consistency."
  11. Getting buzzed with the sis, belly-laughing at anything/nothing.
  12. Tweeting like never before, being amused, amusing others.
  13. Reviewing prospective job offers, making life decisions.
  14. Feeling nostalgic, rummaging through old family pictures.
  15. Making/eating copious amounts of quesadillas.
  16. Texting/chatting/calling friends.
  17. Tweezing eyebrows.
  18. Facebooking/Myspacing like there's no tomorrow.
  19. Preparing for meetings to make life decisions.
  20. Taking random, 2hr naps at all times of day.
  21. Catching up on DVR'd shows.
  22. Being a human sofa for Fiona and Kitty.
  23. Surfing the net.
  24. Eating spicy peanuts.
  25. Eating copious amounts of hummus and crudité.
  26. Downloading new music.
  27. Listening to Tool, E.S. Posthumus, Tori Amos.
  28. Making new playlists on iTunes.
  29. Drinking lots 'o English tea.
  30. Figuring out/explaining what the different snow emergency levels are.
  31. Watching "Inside the Actors Studio" comedian marathon. Chris Rock was phenomenal.
  32. Cooking: Thai noodles
  33. Being snow-blown out by kind neighbor, not just once, but twice!
  34. Driving around with Mands, looking for salt, on our lil "adventure."

Since, Mayor Mallory just declared it Family Day, and the majority of people are on their second snow day from work/school, I'm did all of you make do and "survive" The Great SnOMG of '09?

Let me know!

Crazy Cat Lady Series #3: snOMG Kitty

(click image for larger view)

SnOMG '09 Intrepidation

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Crazy Cat Lady Series #2: snOMG Fi

"Is it gone yet? Is it gone yet?
Is snOMG '09 gone yet?!!"

snOMG '09 Miracle of the Day

Woke up with the rest of the OH/KY/IN region to the Great snOMG of '09 (and in case you didn't get the memo...
Snow + OMG! = snOMG! Or conversely, "Snow, My God!" = "snOMG!" Duh.)

As of 11:38 a.m. EST, the reports have been a mixed bag, with some areas receiving more/less snow than others, but according to WLWT, Northern KY (my 'hood), got hit with as much as 7.5 inches.

This kind of snow accumulation spells disaster, in particular for us, because we have a very long...and deep...driveway. A section of the driveway has a retaining, sto
ne wall, which creates a kind of well-effect in our driveway, causing the slightest accumulation to be inches deeper than it actually is. So you can imagine what 7+ inches means.

This morning, I was already dreading the thought of having to shovel outta
the mess - if we don't, our cars are stuck in the garage and we can't get out - and the thought of why, of all the people in our cul-de-sac, how did we get stuck with such poorly designed driveway architecture? Our house builder (thanks Henry Fischer) surely must've hired some designer dude...or dudette...who lives in warmer temps, and hence, the inconsideration for designing for colder...WINTER...Midwest climates.

So there I am, about 4 layers snow-wise, as I waited for the garage door to open, and I see this...

Our driveway was completely cleared! I rubbed my eyes and stared at the driveway dumbly...was I hoping/imagining/seeing things?!

Nope. I was right! The driveway had been cleared. And not just shoveled had been cleared with a snow-blower (click on pic to see track marks.)

What the?! Who the?! How the?! See, we don't have a snow blower. So, it definitely wasn't the sis.

Apparently, our neighbor, who lives caddy-cross from us, found it in his heart to come clear our driveway for us. As I was clearing some remaining spots of snow, he drove by and said, "Sorry I missed those spots."

After gushing with gratitude, I went inside thinking, it's the little (in this case, not so little), kind deeds that people do, that really make you appreciate life more.

I thanked God for showing favor on us and said a prayer of blessing on our neighbor for his kind deed.

I just hope that my neighbor's kind deed was just that...and I won't now have to worry about him being creepy/stalker/neighbor.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Purpose Driven Life #1: View Master

I started reading "The Purpose Driven Life" a few weeks ago. I'm at a point in my
life, where I desperately need direction and guidance from God, in trying to figure out exactly what the heck I'm supposed to do with myself and my life. Ya know, simple stuff like that.

No matter what you think or feel about the book's controversial author, Rick Warren, the book is really a great, thought-provoking devotional (besides the Bible of course), ideal for those like me, seeking some sort of spiritual direction.

Periodically, I'll be posting my reflections from my readings here. ***Spoiler alert! If you were planning on reading the book, then STOP reading right now and don't read any future-related posts! I don't wanna ruin anything for you. Don't say I didn't warn you.***

Chapter 5: "Seeing Life from God's View," talks about how determining one's life's view and how the way you see your life shapes your life.

It talks about how defining your life, determines your destiny, and how your perspective on life influences how you invest
your time, spend your money, use your talents, and value your relationships, etc.

One of the best ways to understand other people, and yours
elf, is to ask:

"How do you see your life?"

According to Warren, most people often answer the question in terms of worldly metaphors..."My life is like a circus," "My life is like a minefield," "My life is like a party," "My life is like a roller coaster," "My life is like a journey." Okay, okay, you get the point...

These metaphors have way more influence than we may think. For instance, if you think your life is "like a party," then your primary motivation in
life will always be about having fun. If your metaphor is "life is a battle or game," then your motivation will always be about winning.

The challenge is to replace those worldly metaphors with biblical metaphors.

Warren believes that the Bible offers three metaphors that te
ach us God's view of life:
  1. Life is a test
  2. Life is a trust
  3. Life is a temporary assignment

Life on earth is a test.
This is the view that I really want
to focus on.

The metaphor of life being a test is mentioned more than 200 times in the Bible. 200 times! According to Warren, God constantly watches our responses to EVERYTHING: people, problems, success, conflict, illness, disappointment, etc.
God was/is continually testing His children, mainly because He is building our character, but also to see how faithful we really are to Him, and to see if our claims of loyalty are all not just lip service. Tests are really a weeding out system, to reveal who truly, really loves Him.

I'm sure, I'm like most other Christians, who feel that their life has been a huge freaking test, well...all their life. I've even had a family member say that when they think of my life, they can't help but compare me to Job in the Bible. Now granted, I haven't experienced ALL the trials that Job faced (and I pray that I won't ever have to), but I feel my life always has this sign hanging over it...

It took years for me to fully recognize this. When I was younger, I took everything at face value and didn't realize the real meaning behind everything I faced. So the time when my so-called best friend betrayed me, wasn't really about how awful a person she was, but it was really a test to see how I handled the situation and to see if I really had the ability to forgive someone, who I cared about deeply, when they wronged me.


Knowledge is power. When I started understanding that EVERYTH
ING, no matter how minuscule it might seem, was a test, my perspective on life completely changed.

I realized that no matter what I'm faced with, I know that somehow/some way, God was trying to teach me a lesson and strengthen my character. Now that doesn't mean I've figured out exactly what the lesson is, I just recognize that it is a lesson.

So, to answer Warren's question, "How do you see your life?" Well, I see my life as a test. A test that I'm determined to pass...with flying col
ors. A test that my teacher will be proud that I did so well on.

My whole view on life has changed because I know that I'm looking through His view...He's my View Master. do you see your life?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Would You Like Some Cupcake with that Bacon?

Even before I became a vegan, I really wasn't a die-hard fan of bacon, as apparently the rest of the world is. I know! Was something wrong with me?

It wasn't something I necessarily actively sought out or craved. I did appreciate its subtle, smoky flavor in certain dishes and foods, but when given the choice, I used to most always choose sausage over bacon.

So, it was certainly surprising to me when I did finally become vegan, I found myself craving bacon and its smoky deliciousness. I guess it's the whole I-want-what-I-can't-have phenom.

Vegan soy bacon is surprisingly very tasty. Especially if it's Lightlife Smart Bacon. I've tested it out on many, many of my non-vegan family and friends and they all say, admittedly, of course, it's not the real deal, but tastes pretty similar, for the fake version.

When I crave "bacon" nowadays, it's most always in the form of a BLT. I make a mean vegan BLT. Trust me, it's pretty sweet. If I like you, I MIGHT make you one...someday. If you behave.

So, I found myself surprising myself once again, when I came across this culinary anomaly...

That's right folks, it's a Vegan Bacon Maple Walnut...wait for it...cupcake!!

Ingeniously engineered by the folks over at Sweet Ave Bake Shop, a gourmet vegan cupcakery in Rutherford, NJ. And from the looks of it, that lil snippet of "bacon," looks like it may be the beloved Lightlife variety! That can ONLY be a good thing!

Instead of me rambling on and trying to wrap my brain about what this confection is all about, here's the verbatim from the web site:

"Yes, it’s got bacon on it. Vegan soy bacon, of course. We know the whole bacon cupcake thing isn’t new, but we’re also pretty sure there aren’t many other VEGAN bacon cupcakes. And just for the record, it’s a delicious maple walnut cake, topped with a buttery glaze, drizzled with maple syrup, and of course, topped off with a slice of vegan bacon."

I can't wait to place an order and self-taste test pronto! I'm just highly intrigued by how it will taste. That one, and the many others (they have one for each day of the week! Eek!) FYI friends and family who read this blog...not a bad idea at all, to remember this sweetery for future celebratory confections. Just saying.

There is a God. Nom nom nom nom nom.

And yes, I'm THAT kinda girl that just devoted an entire post to a vegan bacon cupcake.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Real Housewife

I watch a lot of TV. I'm not too proud...or admit that I'm a self-confessed TV junkie.

For half of the time, I watch "good" TV, catching up on educational programming, arts, religious programs, and the news, all the while ensuring that I'm up-to-date on the goings-ons of the world around me.

It's the journalist in me, I suppose. I can't help,
not knowing what's going on, out there. I truly believe that I know half as much I do, because of my viewing habits, allowing me to, most of the time, initiate/carry on conversations, on mostly any topic, in any social situation. My viewing habits have also been excellent fodder for my career in brainstorming story ideas for either print, broadcast or online media. So I guess I skew all the data done by those researchers who claim that TV kills brain cells. Maybe they kill the brain cells of the kiddies, but I'm one tough, grown woman.

The other half of the time though, I watch "bad" TV and my Dish Pass reads like an abashedly, trashy, guilty-pleasure collection. I indulge in these shows, just because I
can. They don't really have an effect on me either way, positive or negative. I take them at their face value: mindless entertainment. I think the balance of "good" and "bad" TV is absolutely imperative, otherwise your brain cells will actually die. Maintaining the ying and the yang is crucial.

But I digress...

One of the "bad" shows that I indulge weekly in is "The Real Housewives of..." franchise. I watch all of them, "The Real Housewives of Orange County," "The Real Housewives of New York City," and last, but not least, "The Real Housewives of Atlanta."

I love the shows mainly because I'm genuinely intrigued and interested in seeing how the "real-life," "Sex and The City," rich, successful, beautiful women of the world live.

I just have a genuine curiosity in understanding these women. I consider my regular viewing more as an anthropological observation. Watching these women live in their "natural" element (as much as "reality TV" allows one to be "natural.")

In particular, I'm intrigued by the women on "The Real Housewives of Atlanta."

Of the all the women on the three shows, the Atlanta women, seem to possess a superior status of wealth and lifestyle of decadence, mainly due to the majority of them being/have been associated with professional athletes. I think it's this extra "edge" of wealth that intrigues me, for it gives the women another level of motivation in life. A motivation that I just can't relate to.

The Atlanta women always seem to want more, want bigger and want the best in life. If it isn't the best-of-the-best, they act like life isn't worth living. It's always about the pursuit and maintenance of a never-fulfilling pipe dream.

All the women, seem to live lives that are, sadly, immersed in the pursual of fading, earthly things/attributes: money, status, wealth, beauty, fame, youth, etc.

If only these women focused the same energies on something more substantial, such as their eternity.

What if Bravo had the guts to produce a show called "The Real Housewives of Proverbs 31?!" I know, I know, it's a stretch and probably asking too much, but bear with me...

So here's the premise, a reality show based on a bunch of women, (no more than six; apparently that's the magic-ratings formula that Bravo has down pat), who all are striving to be a Proverbs 31 woman.

What the heck, you may ask, is a Proverbs 31 woman?

See exhibit A...

10 A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.

11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.

12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.

13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.

14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.

15 She gets up while it is still dark;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her servant girls.

16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.

17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.

18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.

19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.

20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.

21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.

22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.

23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.

24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.

25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.

26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.

28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:

29 "Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all."

30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

31 Give her the reward she has earned,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Proverbs 31:10-31 (New International Version)

Now, I ain't no dummy. I realize the power of media and understand that a reality show based on the premise of virtuosity is a ratings snooze bomb, but a girl can dream right?

I just wish that we, as a world, would put more weight and value on the really important things in life: character, morality, spirituality, etc., instead of the frivolous, materialistic, fleeting "stuff" of this world.

Why is the life of a glamorous professional athlete's wife more desirable than that of a woman who is trying to live right by her faith?

The world's priorities are so screwed up.

All I can say is that WHEN...not IF...Bravo does decide to go ahead with the show concept (hey! you never which top-exec at Bravo may happen upon this blog!), I'll be the first in line for the city-wide castings.

In the meantime, I will continue to watch these shows, and at the end of each hour, be comforted in the fact that I am trying my darndest in living my own reality of becoming a Proverbs 31 woman.

Crazy Cat Lady Series #1

Thursday, January 22, 2009

This Lil Piggie Went Home...

Are you freaking kidding me?!!

I really didn't believe the words that I was reading in my Twitter timeline:

"Jean-Robert at Pigall’s to close as famed chef leaves restaurant group."

This is, one of the many reasons, why I have issues with this city. We have a handful of things to be proud of and use to our advantage...tourism/economy-wise, and yet, we somehow just don't seem to be able to keep them.

Why is a hardcore vegan so upset about a stereotypical gourmet French restaurant closing - due to management/partnership issues between Robert and Martin & Marilyn Wade -
its doors at the end of February 2009 (the 28th to be exact- thanks K)? (FYI, I've never dined there.)

While I'm certainly not a fan of its ridiculously expensive and inhumane, NON-VEGAN menu, I am upset of what the closing means to the city: another set of bragging rites to be filed away. Of how things once were. Just like we had to do with The Maisonette.

And even though the restaurant might possibly reopen in the Spring, what would the Cincy culinary scene be without Jean-Robert on 4th St.? (even though he says he'll stay in the area.) And sure, all the other restaraunts Jean-Robert is involved with will remain open, but they just aren't Pigall's.

Is it a coincidence that on the same day that Pigall's was awarded its 5th four-star Mobil rating, that they announce the closing?

I think not.

Wonder how its PR agency came around to that decision. However the decision came about, it was definitely badly played because it just leaves the city dazed and confused on a roller coaster of emotions: "Yay! We got 4 stars again!...oh wait...the restaurant's closing?! Whaaat?! Boo."

I just hope that the Pigall's closing won't affect Twist Lounge at Pigall's. And I wonder if Twist will keep its original name, drop off the "Pigall's" part, or adopt a new name: "Twist Lounge at Formerly-Known as Pigall's?"

Pigall's: 4
Jean-Robert de Cavel: 0
Martin and Marilyn Wade: 0
City of Cincinnati: FAIL

No More Bush!

Absolutely priceless. Apparently it's some store up in Canada.

Thank you Canada. Thank you for your wit.

And thank you for putting up with our Bush, for the past eight years.

Jai Ho!

Slumdog Millionaire just received a nomination for Best Picture for the 81st Annual Academy Awards. No surprise there. It also got nominated for 10 others.

Amongst the nominations, were two for Best Music (Song): "Jai Ho" and "O Saya." I personally think that "O Saya" should take it home, because it's the genius collaboration between
A.R. Rahman and Maya Arulpragasam, A.K.A., M.I.A. But I have a feeling "Jai Ho" may come out on top, just for the cool dance factor alone.

After watching/listening to the two videos below, there's no need to explain why these songs were acknowledged.

And if you didn't tap your toes, snap your fingers, or move some other part of your body in some fashion, while watching/hearing...then you, my friend, are dead. And that's your problem.

***Update (6:30p.m. EST) Apparently, all the videos showing scenes from the movie were removed from You Tube, due to a copyright claim from Twentieth Century Fox. Geesh.
So know we just have to settle with just the soundtrack.***

"Jai Ho"

"O Saya"

No one can do it like Bollywood. No one. Ok, maybe
M.I.A. can.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Piece of Me

When I first heard "Tear in Your Hand" by the incomparable
Tori Amos - who, for the record, happens to be (in my opinion) one of the most prolific singer/song writer/performer of our time - I was simply floored.

The poignancy of the lyrics really took me a while to digest and when I finally did - years and countless plays later - I
really understood what Tori was trying to convey.

I was only a teenager when I first heard the song, and initially, I liked it because it just sounded good and I loved how Tori's voice had the hypnotic quality of lulling the listener into her world, but once the words registered with me, in some way, the song changed my perspective on relationships.

I think that when relationships deteriorate and people go their separate ways, more cases than not, the breakdown is due to a third party. A good friend of mine, a male at that, told me that men don't necessarily cheat or "stray" because the woman that they're with isn't good's that the
other woman is just different. I think this can apply for women as well.

His statement also stunned me, because I had never really considered that motivation and I couldn't agree with it more.

Nothing in this life is guaranteed and nothing lasts forever. Love is something that takes a lot of work to
maintain. It's so much easier to leave than to stay, when those first-dating-falling-in-love-honeymoon-phase emotions vaporize and you're stuck with the reality of the day-to-days of being in a relationship.

Tori sings about the concept of "pieces of me" and how that everyone has sides/facets to them that they never really reveal to even the closest people in their lives. "Pieces" can be anything: character traits, dreams, desires, hopes, wants, personalities, etc.

The concept of how someone can be in a relationship - for years upon end - and not really entirely
know the person that they love and care about the most. Sometimes, it's a voluntary decision of not revealing all those "pieces" but oftentimes, time is the greatest enemy. Sometimes people aren't patient enough to see those "pieces" in the people they love.

And sometimes, I think people just don't want to see those "pieces" in the people they love...and want to find them in someone else. In the song, Tori sings about basically being dumped for another woman and the concept of how the other woman is just "pieces" of Tori that the man hasn't seen yet.

The real question I want answered is, if the man eventually did see those "pieces" would he have still
wanted to stay in the relationship?

Tear In Your Hand

All the world just stopped now
So you say you don't wanna stay together anymore
Let me take a deep breath babe
If you need me
Me and Neil'll be hangin' out with the dream king
Neil said hi
By the way I don't believe you're leaving
Cause me and Charles Manson like the same ice cream
I think it's that girl
And I think they're pieces of me you've never seen
Maybe she's just pieces of me you've never seen well

All the world is all I am
The black of the blackest ocean
And the tear in your hand
All the world is dangling...
Dangling'...Danglin' for me darlin'
You don't know the power that you have
With that tear in your hand
Tear in you hand

Maybe I ain't used to maybes
Smashing in a cold room
Cutting my hands up every time I touch you
Maybe maybe it's time to wave goodbye now
Time to wave goodbye now
Caught a ride with the moon
I know I know you well
Better than I
Used to haze all clouded up
My mind in the daze of why it could've never been
So you say and I say
You know you're full of wish
And your "baby baby baby babies"
I tell you they're pieces of me you've never seen
Maybe she's just pieces of me you've never seen

All the world is all I am
The black of the blackest ocean
And the tear in your hand
All the world is danglin'...
Dangling'...Danglin' for me darlin'
You don't know the power that you have
With that tear in your hand
Tear in you hand
With that tear in you hand

I pray that I have the patience, courage, want and appreciation for the "pieces" in those I love. And I pray that they can return me the favor.

And I often wonder if the men that I encounter are just looking for "pieces" of me in other women and if I ever will have the chance to reveal my "pieces?"

I want someone to want my "pieces." As much as I will want theirs.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Destined Destiny

What do a black president-elect and a Jewish queen have in common?


Exactly in less than 12 hours on this phenomenally historic day - Tuesday, January 20, 2009 - Barack Obama will be sworn in (at noon) as the 44th President of the United States of America.

When I think about Obama and the emotions he elicits in the masses - awe, hope, promise, faith, progress and change - instantly this verse comes to mind:

“...And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:14, NIV

The Book of Esther tells the tale of a troubled time in Israel and a remarkable woman, Queen Esther.

At one point, the whole fate of the nation of Israel rested in Esther's decisions and her destiny. It was only because of Esther's obedience to God, that a massive genocide in Israel was averted. Esther had two choices: 1)obey God's destiny for her life or 2)choose to live the life she always wanted. You can read more about it here.

Besides the obvious difference, I think there are a lot of similarities and parallels between Obama and Esther. Both have "found" themselves in a position of power in a country that is experiencing troubled times. Both have decided to put their people/country first before themselves. Both have decided to take a huge risk in following what they believe in and feel compelled in doing something about it. Both have bucked traditions in order to establish a future. Both had hope and believed in their people. Both were wiling to risk everything for their people.

Both have chosen to follow their destiny.

Whether your blood runs hot red or cold blue, whether you agree/disagree on whether or not a black man should be president, Obama's time is now.

No matter how the next four years play out - good, bad or ugly -
I am strongly convinced that Obama was destined for this day, for this country, for this people, for this purpose, just as Esther was. This man was chosen for this moment. Through his divine destiny, he is here. Just as Esther was. And no matter what happens, we, the people, will be affected by Obama's destiny, because that is our destiny. Just as it was the destiny for Esther and her people, the Israelites.

Divinely-destined change is in the here, and in the now...for such a time as this.

***UPDATE (12:43 p.m. EST)*** Read Obama's Inaugural Address here and watch destiny being made history here.

Monday, January 19, 2009

It Is Well

When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
What ever my lot you have taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul

Though the devil will ruin, though trials may come
Let this blessed assurance control
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate
And He shed His own blood for my soul

It is well, with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul

My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought
My sin not in part but the whole
Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, oh my soul

It is well, with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul

It is well with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul

And Lord haste the day when my faith shall be sight
And the clouds be rolled back as a scroll
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend
Even so, it is well with my soul

It is well with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul

It is well with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul

Horatio G. Spafford, 1873

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Comedic Genius

I've always wondered if God has a sense of humor. I mean, by creating us - the human race - I think without a shadow of a doubt, His humor is profoundly evident.

But I wonder if God chuckles to Himself when He hears humans telling jokes or something funny happens. Or does He have one of those belly laughs that hurt you so much and leave you bawling?

Does God see the submissions sent into America's Funniest Home Videos and laugh like the rest of us? Does He think that one video definitely deserved the $100,000 purse over the other two finalists?

And does God appreciate the jokes told by some of the best and greatest comedians or our time? I wonder who He thinks is the greatest comedian of all time?

And most importantly, does God appreciate the true comedic genius of Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld?

Does God find the following bit as funny as I do, no matter if it's the 10th million time I've watched it?

Somehow, I think He does. I mean after all, He did create us, we're made in His image and don't forget...He did give us the funny bone.

It makes me smile to think that God has a sense of humor. He is the
real comedic genius.

Know Biggie

Just got back from watching Notorious, the biopic of legendary rapper,
The Notorious B.I.G. a.k.a. Biggie Smalls or legally known as, Christopher Wallace.

If newcomer Jamal Woolard - who portrays the big man himself - isn't awarded some sort of accolade for his performance, then it'll be a dirty ole shame (not a dirty ole bastard.)

The line between Woolard and Wallace is completely blurred, as Woolard takes method acting to a whole new level.

This is
the new must-see film. Please, get to know Biggie...

Friday, January 16, 2009

1,000 Beautiful Things

It's a bea
utiful thing what's going on over at Brad Wise's blog!

Beautiful, fun and addictive as heck! I can't stop thinking of things to add!

When the final tally has been reached, I intend on copying all of my contributions and posting them here. In the meantime...what do you consider beautiful? Add them to the list! Or start your own.

Thanks Brad for initiating!

P.s. If you aren't good at math/counting, then you prolly shouldn't attempt. Just saying.


Here are my contributions:

24. Animals
25. Love between a man and a woman
26. Highly-processed "white" foods
27. God's unconditional love

111. Diving into cold water: pool, preferably natural body of water.
119. A long showers
112. Sand between your toes
113. An animal's unconditional love
114. Fried dough
115. Potatoes: fried, roasted, mashed, etc.
116. Warm, tropical breezes
117. Lying in a field of wildflowers, looking up at the clouds
118. Crisp, fall day
120. Chocolate

267. Thunderstorms
268. Freshly-washed sheets
269. Waking up to the sound of rain
270. Sleeping in on a rainy day
271. Full moons
272. Cat purring against your skin
273. Rainbows
274. Cooing baby
275. Dreams of flying
276. Nestling into someone's embrace

364. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
365. Schindler's List
366. Amélie
367. Notes on a Scandal
368. The Shining
369. Seven
370. Caché
371. Lolita (1997)
372. The Kite Runner
373. The Science of Sleep

451. Laughing so hard, your tummy hurts and tears stain your face.
452. Laughing with sister about memories that make you #451.
453. Fiona
454. Kitty
455. Perfectly chilled glass of Asti
456. Anticipation of eating sushi

594. Jasmine flowers
595. Sandalwood
596. Coconut oil
597. Bangles
598. Saris
599. Bindhis
600. Mendhi
601. Smell of frying samosas
602. Call of peacocks in the early morning
603. Smell of garam masala roasting
604. Riding the local Agra express train en route to Taj Mahal
605. Standing in front of the Taj Mahal
606. Tearing into a steaming, pillowy plain naan
607. Smell of good incense
608. Hindi language
609. The sound of paayal (traditional ankle bracelets)
610. Strum of sitar
611. Sound of bansuri
612. The book, "God of Small Things"
613. Pickle
614. Gulab Jamun
615. Murku
616. Basmati rice
617. Monsoon rains
618. Mangoes
619. Sambar
620. Mahatma Gandhi
621. The Kama Sutra