Monday, November 24, 2008

What a Difference a Day Makes

"I am a man of faith and hope. Instead of reclining in misery, I choose to celebrate my blessings. I have so much to be grateful for and I refuse to lose sight of that. The road doesn't end here; this is but another facet of the journey. I've got more work to do in the business of music. I, John will be home soon.”
John Forté (2002)

John Forté is one of 16 people President Bush freed from prison today through pardons or commuted sentences. Forté went from a student at a prestigious prep school (Phillips Exeter Academy), to a student at a lauded university (NYU), to an acclaimed producer/lyricist/performer, to an inmate and now he’s a free man. Through 7 years of restricted movement, constantly monitored behavior and all those other ills prison imposes upon its inhabitants—he has maintained his own dignity and managed to elevate others. His letters preach perseverance and a dedication to excellence and truth. After 7 years of a 14 year prison sentence, Forté is free (technically not until Dec. 22nd)!!!!!!!!!!!

My cheeks are starting to hurt, but the smile on my face will be here awhile.

If you don’t know about the man and his music/philosophies visit the site below:

STAY UPalways, is the moral of this one.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Lumberjack Chic

A friend of mine dressed up as a hipster for Halloween.
Looks like Pharell to me. Who digs?

Mad (Tom)Foolery

With all the unfortunate happenings (i.e. financial crisis, war in Iraq, natural disasters, terrorist threats, criminal activity, the multiplication of idiots at an alarming rate, the dissapearance of Mystic beverages, and general fuckery) beleaguering our nation, it is normal to want to turn a blind eye to current events. Newspapers bring solemn tales of death and destruction BUT Amanda Diva brings laughs!!! So, if you're looking for a way to stay abreast of the issues without running the risk of suicidal thoughts-- peep Diva Speak TV. Of the numerous episodes, I've opted to share the one below on account of the fact that I almost peed on myself watching it...get it?



Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"Invisible Man Got The Whole World Watchin'..."

My eyelids sweep over my eyeballs, pushing the tears from the top to the bottom, where they pool around my lashes. Sometimes they're softer and quicker and only the corners of my eyes feel wet. And sometimes, the sweeps amount to nothing. Be they fast and fervent or slow and solemn, the tears don't jerk.

My mother says a sense of relief flooded her when she heard the news. She sat loosely in the chair with a slight smile and a serene expression as analysts discussed the politcal climate and speculated about the new commander in chief's cabinet. I could see her chest lift and swell, fall and deflate with every breath. The rythm was even and comfortable, like her posture in the chair. Arms resting on the arm rests. Slight smile. Knowing, comforted, hopeful smile. Triumphant smile. Confident, reassured, faithful smile. Ecstatic smile. Bright and believing.

Now...some sweeps are strong sweeps and send the salty liquid streaming down my face where it settles on my cheek and causes the skin to itch. It was that smile that made me cry and helped me understand the impact of the historic moment I had witnessed.

The above image is the creation of an artist by the name of Dwayne Rodgers. Copy the link to read more about his piece and the reactions it's inspired.

Banana Man

A "homeless" man panhandling holds his hand in front of my face expectantly. With a sad smile and a sorry, I refuse him aid. He continues down the line. This car is full of bad will. Cold stares, humphs, sighs and faces glowing with annoyance greet his requesting hand--devoid, except for a dime and a penny that haughtily refuse to jingle. Maybe if they made a merry little song, we'd be more apt to add more coin to the choir. Off he goes despite previous rebukes...same expectant hand cupped and thrust under more unsympathetic noses. He reaches a man deeply engrossed in eating his banana. It's covered in brown spots and looks less than appetizing but this man is savoring every bite...not even bothering to discard those annoying tendrils, part peel and part fruit, that don't taste like much and have a funky texture and snuggle down to sleep in between your teeth.

I noticed this man earlier, on the panhandler's first sweep. Partially because as a young woman traveling alone on the subway, it is imperative that I am alert and aware of my surroundings, so I was aware that he was of average height, had a healthy build, dressed in dark, slightly dingy clothing, with a hat and hood obscuring a portion of his face. He seemed serene enough but the ultra slight, barely perceptible movement of his lips and sporadic but vigorous darting of his eyes also struck me. This behavior is usually attributed to those who are unwell in mind. But moving lips and eyes are also displayed by those deep in thought, more often than not problem solving thought. Think pursing, biting in an attempt to facilitate focus, nibbling to ease the tension some thoughts arouse, licking. Think side to side, circular motions, scanning. If he was crazy, I was curious and if he was thinking, I was mulling over what he might be pondering. I also noticed him because he was visibly saddened, maybe angered, by the cold responses to the panhandler’s begging. And he looked away from the scene as the panhandler struggled to maintain his balance and a shred of dignity as the train swayed and he made his way to the far end of the subway car.

Some stops later the beggar re-enters the subway car. His palm is as pitifully full as it was on his initial run, and now instead of blaming the lack of coins already present, I blame him. The hand is invasive and aggressive. It is more of a demand for assistance than a quiet plea for anything that can be spared. One person isn’t turned off by it. When the expectant hand is thrust towards Banana Man, he extends one of his bananas. The care with which he selects it and the solemnity with which he proffers it indicates to me that these bananas are all this man has by way of sustenance. It helps me understand the head that lowered and the mouth that sagged when the panhandler was refused aid. I smile at this selflessness…but then my mouth sags as his golden gift is swatted away.

“Nah man, I want cash,” spits the panhandler.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Prop H8TE

Hate is a vile emotion that poisons our psyche and blinds us. It stifles our thought process. It causes us to make decisions out of fear and ignorance rather than clear reasoning and legal validity. It has no place in our heads and hearts and it definitely has no place in government. This sentiment is made abundantly apparent in the Equal Protection Clause.

The clause is a portion of the 14th amendment to the United States Constitution. It states that all citizens are entitled to equal protection under the law. This means that no matter what your race, gender, or sexual orientation you’re entitled to equal respect, equal dignity and equal representation.

On May 15th 2008, 4 out of 3 California Supreme Court Justices voted to overturn a ban on gay marriage. They did this because marriage is a basic civil right and denying any person this right is unlawful. They did this because persecution based on sexual orientation should not be tolerated. They did this because, as former Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan once wrote, “In view of the Constitution, in the eye of the law, there is in this country no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens. There is no caste here.” Which means no group of people has the right to deny any other group of people their basic rights.

On November 5th 2008, Prop 8 did just that! It overturned the decision made by the California Supreme Court seven months prior and amended the California State Constitution’s definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Prop 8 ultimately declared that Gays were second class citizens capable of being stripped of basic rights because religious zealots and other small-minded people found the thought of same sex marriage sacrilege and/or revolting.

The reasoning behind not wanting gay marriage is illogical. The fact that it was even on the ballot is utterly ridiculous. This past Saturday, November 15th 2008, a nationwide protest against the ratification of Prop 8 was held. Massive amounts of people rallied in support of gay marriage and civil rights. It was a hugely important step but the fight has just begun. I implore everyone to get involved in their communities and do what they can to reverse this decision no matter what their personal view or tolerance level towards same sex relationships is. One of the most often quoted phrases from the declaration of Independence has something to do with man’s inalienable rights. They are listed as being “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. Denying gay people the right to marry those they love is a blatant denial of their right to pursue happiness. It is hateful, it is wrong and you have the power to stop it. Choose to.

And watch the vid below. Ashton is cute and his passion is inspiring.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Obama on the Left

I know this video has been floating around for a bit and most of you have already viewed it is absolutley adorable and I am posting it!!! The lyrics are below for those who have difficulty hearing.

"You Can Vote However You Like"
Obama on the left
McCain on the right
We can talk politics all night
And you can vote however you like
You can vote however you like, yeah

Democratic left
Republican right
November 4th we decide
And you can vote however you like
You can vote however you like, yeah

(McCain supporters)
McCain’s the best candidate
With Palin as his running mate
They’ll fight for gun rights, pro life,
The conservative right
Our future is bright
Better economy in site
And all the world will feel our military might

(Obama supporters)
But McCain and Bush are real close right
They vote alike and keep it tight
Obama’s new, he’s younger too
The Middle Class he will help you
He’ll bring a change, he’s got the brains
McCain and Bush are just the same
You are to blame, Iraq’s a shame
Four more years would be insane

Lower your Taxes - you know Obama Won’t
PROTECT THE LOWER CLASS - You know McCain won’t!
Have enough experience - you know that they don’t
STOP GLOBAL WARMING - you know that you won’t

I want Obama
Stick with McCain and you’re going to have some drama
We need it
He’ll be it
We’ll do it
Let’s move it

Obama on the left
McCain on the right
We can talk politics all night
And you can vote however you like
You can vote however you like, yeah

Democratic left
Republican right
November 4th we decide
And you can vote however you like, I said
You can vote however you like, yeah

I’m talking big pipe lines, and low gas prices
Below $2.
00 that would be nice

But to do it right we gotta start today
Finding renewable ways that are here to stay

I want Obama
Stick wit McCain you gone have some drama
More war in Iraq
Iran he will attack
Can't bring our troops back
We gotta vote Barack!

Obama on the left
McCain on the right
We can talk politics all night
And you can vote however you like, I said
You can vote however you like, yeah

Democratic left
Republican right
November 4th we decide
And you can vote however you like, I said
You can vote however you like, yeah