Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween, Charlie Brown!

I love Adult Swim! This is Robot Chicken turning Charlie Brown's Great Pumpkin upside down. Sort of. 


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

...so much gratitude...

  1. i’m grateful for God’s presence in my moment-to-moment life.
  2. i’m grateful for intuition, that sixth sense, the ability to simply know things. when i listen to it, when i let go and trust it, it’s never wrong.
  3. i’m grateful that my marriage is more beautiful than my wedding.
  4. i’m grateful that i’m following through all the way, truly committed to doing the purely physical hard work that it takes, the hard choices that must happen in order for me to transition into on-camera work: namely, i’m losing weight; i’m getting my teeth fixed (thank God for invisalign); and i’m growing my hair out (go team natural). everything is coming together, at long last – finally. it’s nothing short of a miracle.
  5. i’m grateful that i wake up with more and more ideas – songs, lyrics, plotlines, recipes. you name it. i don’t know if any of it is good or not but there sure is a lot of it. i wonder where it comes from.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Next Gig: Jazz at Superfine in DUMBO, 10/27


...because after all the Halloween fun you'll have on Saturday night, you'll want to have a cocktail, listen to me sing fine and mellow standards, and chill all the way out.  (And maybe eat something delicious...!)

I'll be playing with Marvin Sewell and Ben Rubin -- only two sets, straight up. And it's FREE, my favorite price. Selah.

Friday, October 25, 2013

13 reasons you're not as successful as you should be.

unbelievable but true: most people don't have goals. i can't imagine living in new york city without them. because of the pace and the pressure and the high cost of living here financially and mentally,  i've always had to have a good reason to stay. i mean a really good reason -- because i like it here or i feel like it was somehow never good enough. 

make no mistake: this place can be hell on earth.  trying and trying and trying and trying and not getting anywhere -- living through that, time and again, has got to be some subset of hell. and for some of us, for a time, that is exactly what it's like to be an artist in new york city. the thing is, you have to put your time in. you have to keep going. or not. i knew a lot of people who hit that wall and went home. i hit that wall and climbed right over it. i just couldn't live with myself if i quit. i'd never know what could have happened. so i kept going.

having time-based goals anchored me. failures made me rethink things and try something new. accomplishing things every day gave me little victories that compelled me to stay the course. and then something gigantic would happen and there would be so much success, even daddy stopped hassling me. and then all of that would die down, and eventually daddy would crank right back up again, which brought me back to square one. 

as it turns out, i had a mindset for success -- and i really had no idea.  i was just trying to survive new york city.

i work extremely hard, sure. hard work is what's required -- and i'm certainly not afraid of it. and yes, i'm highly creative. i'm an artist and i'm harmelodic, so it comes with the territory. creativity helps when it's time to find a new way to unravel an old problem, when i've run out of options, when i need to turn on a dime and make a quick decision. i'm always having to learn new things, usually right when i'm comfortable with what i already know.  sometimes i'm eager to learn but more often than not, it's something that 's foisted on me out of nowhere and i'm freaking out, because i have so much catching up to do. and then i catch up and there's something else to learn, right now. running around with highly creative people who have to change and adapt in a snap helps a great deal. 

the impossibilities start rushing in when i have ideas and no real way to develop them -- no money, no time, no equipment, no nothing.  i don't care. i keep strategizing and thinking my way through it. i keep going. i keep waiting for a crack in the ice. and somehow, that crack happens and i get all the way in there.  success! another victory erupts. and then it's on to the next.

and as if all of that weren't enough, i never, ever, ever give up.

that's the real reason why i'm still in the city. it's not about auditioning and getting the part and doing eight shows a week for months or years on end. it is but it's not. not exactly. i'm not finished with everything that i want to do here, not yet.

this is how new york city infects you. when will i ever not think like this. how can i stop. 


Thursday, October 24, 2013

Africa - It's bigger than you think!

with over a billion people that call the motherland their home, africa is almost 12 million square miles big.  but how big is that, exactly.  as it turns out, it's ginormous.

nothing like a visual to put it all in perspective...


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fall Bucket List 2013 -- The Harlem Edition


This list reads like it came straight out of an all-American Midwestern suburban wonderland of epic proportions. (Go on a hayride? Here? Really?) I live in New York City -- in Harlem, to be exact.  In spite of rampant gentrification and much ballyhooed "progress", this neighborhood is still a ghetto. And since I don't have gobs of money or a driver's license, I tend to have my fun whereever the subway can take me.

It's especially nice when fun can be had within walking (or biking) distance. Although I do love the idea of putting a wreath on the door for every season, I don't have a porch to decorate. And my alma mater doesn't have a football team -- or a sports team of any kind, for that matter.  So, alas -- no tailgating.

Don't get me wrong. I'm from the South. If I were home, the game would be on, delicious things would be roasting (or popping!) in the fireplace, there'd be a pie or two in the oven, and raking leaves into a massive pile over and over and over for all of us to dive onto them and roll around, screaming and laughing and freaking out would be the most fun thing to do in the history of ever.

But I'm not at home. 

All of this begs the question: if I had a Harlem bucket list for fall, what would be on it?  Well. Here it is, folks. 
  1. There aren't any pumpkin patches to visit in the ghetto, unfortunately -- but Harlem Meer does have a Halloween Parade and Pumpkin Sail. That's right. At dusk, they create the biggest pumpkin flotilla in the city on the meer.  (To see how beautiful it is, click here.) 
  2. Enjoy cider? No, thank you -- I'll be making my delicious, irresistable Mexican hot chocolate at the first sign of a serious cold snap.
  3. I can't make a bonfire in the living room of my apartment and have s'mores -- but I can go to Cosi and make s'mores at my table, with my own little blue flames and all the fixin's.  Or if I'm feeling especially saucy, I'll order a set and have s'mores at home. Too perfect.
  4. Caramel apples? Not with this dental work. Next!
  5. I don't do chili. I've certainly eaten my fair share of it in my lifetime and I make better chili than anyone I know but it's not my thing. I'm from the Lowcountry.  I'd prefer to roast oysters. If I can't find a friend with a fireplace, I think I can roast a few with a hibachi in the park. (Mental note: the home I purchase will definitely have a fireplace or an "outdoor kitchen" -- or both!)
  6. I bake pie all the time, anyhow. (I've got to stay in good form for my next pie contest.) Next! 
  7. I give thanks to God, absolutely every single day of my life. I can't wait until Thanksgiving. There's too much to be grateful for, right now. Next!
  8. There's way too many beer gardens in Harlem -- with excellent food! -- to not enjoy Oktoberfest.  Harlem Public has a fireplace, so I can check that off the bucket list in short order, too.
  9. Why carve a pumpkin when I can make something with it instead? (See #6.)
  10. I don't know how to drive, so going on a fall color drive isn't really an option. Instead, I'll ride my bike through Riverbank State Park, past the little red lighthouse and all the way to Fort Tryon Park -- 67 acres of lush, green wonder, filled with all kinds of flora and fauna and wildlife.  I can't go all the way up there without wandering through The Cloisters. I can take in some breathtaking scenery and medieval art and architecture, lose myself in their gardens, play in the leaves (with a camera!) and perhaps collect a few. Check, check and check.
BONUS: The Medieval Festival at Fort Tryon Park

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Uh-Oh -- Mercury is in retrograde...!

According to astrologists everywhere, Mercury will be in retrograde in Scorpio from 10/21 to 11/10. Everything will be wonky for the next three weeks -- eight weeks for the whole thing, according to some. That means the entire month of November is a bust, if you're enough of a hippie to follow that sort of thing.  And let's face it: isn't there a little bit of a hippie in all of us?

How wonky will things get? I suppose that depends on who you ask -- and which planet rests in your sign.  I think it feels like my world is still turning and yet everything is on pause.  This gives me a moment to assess and reassess, and get my proverbial house in order.

Here's a few highlights. (You've heard this stuff before, right?)
  • Expect lots of missed calls, missed appointments, wrong messages, computer glitches, your smartphone on the fritz, misleading information, weird misunderstandings, slower connections and the like -- because Mercury rules communication.
  • It also affects all modes of travel, so expect traffic jams, delays, holdups, etc.
  • Commitments made during this period are most often not kept, so don't make any binding agreements of any kind (ie marriages, contracts)
  • No medical appointments. No surgery.  (Mercury rules the hands, apparently.)
  • Don't start anything new -- no relationships, no jobs, no splashy career moves -- because according to lore, they won't last. 
  • Don't buy anything major.  Like a house.
Here's another way to look at Mercury in retrograde.
  •  This moment is all about ordering your inner world.  (Sounds like a spa visit is in order.)
  • 'Tis the season to trim the fat from your life in every way imaginable, whatever that means. Let go of excess. Tie up loose ends. Finish whatever you started -- whatever it is.
  • This is a good time to clear the decks -- edit your closets, clear out that pesky junk room, get organized.
  • It's also a good time to deal with anything that's lingering, whether it's spiritual (forgive that idiot), emotional (the ex you're still in love with), work-related (finish that frackin' project) or physical (drop that last 10 lbs already)
  • Rewrites are favored -- so, there's my silver lining. 
And I thought I was having a spring cleaning fit.



This nice white robot lady explains Mercury in retrograde in fairly clear terms. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sunday Sermonette

Here's a real gospel shouter, if there ever was one -- Dorothy Love Coates (imitated by many pop/soul vocalists, including Wilson Pickett, Little Richard and Mavis Staples) and The Original Gospel Harmonettes (also imitated to death), singing I'm Just Holding On. Listen in and be blessed.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

This Land Is Mine

 ...and now, the conflict in the Middle East, explained in its entirely believe it or not -- and in the simplest, most straightforward way imaginable -- in a little animation called This Land is Mine by Nina Paley, with a little help from Pat Boone and the dulcet honeyed tones of the incomparable Andy Williams.  Effing brilliant. Watch and learn.



This Land Is Mine from Nina Paley on Vimeo. A brief history of the land called Israel/Palestine/Canaan/the Levant.

Who's-killing-who viewer's guide here: http://blog.ninapaley.com/2012/10/01/this-land-is-mine/

NEW: we now have MERCH! A This Land Is Mine silk pocket square: http://questioncopyright.com/sm-tlim-pocket-sq.html Makes a great fashion accessory or matzoh cover, and supports the artist.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Photo Op -- Eartha Kitt and...Marilyn Monroe?!?


Look! It's the legendary Eartha Kitt, having a moment with everyone's favorite movie star Marilyn Monroe and her then husband, playwright Arthur Miller, somewhere in 1957.  They seem to be having a fun evening. Why do you suppose you haven't ever seen this photo before?

Well, this is interesting. Their eyes are locked, Miss Kitt is in mid-sentence and they're obviously having an actual conversation about something substantial. I wonder what they're talking about?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

my latest (skin) favorites

Don't get it twisted: my skin doesn't look this good because I'm black. Not exactly.  My skin looks this good because I have always worked at it religiously, with clean living -- no smoking, no alcohol, a minimal amount of sun -- and clean eating, and great products.  I love to experiment and try new things. Here's my top three products that I am embracing at the moment.

1. Algenist with Alguronic Acid: Regenerative Anti-Aging Moisturizer  Right now, every extra nickel I've got is going towards dental work. Once I get my teeth fixed, though (by next summer, I hope), this will be my new moisturizer.
I got a sample from my Beautyfix box subscription a few months ago and I seriously can't believe how wonderful it is. Alguronic Acid is incredible stuff, available only in Algenist products -- and you can only get those at Sephora.

 *sigh* Too bad this is so expensive. It's worth it, though.

2. La Roche-Posay Anthelios 60 Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid  This product is hands down, far and away the best sunscreen for your face that's out there, bar none, in my humble opinion  -- and at $29.99 it's actually affordable.  Leave it to the French, I guess. La Roche-Posay is no joke.


3. Shea Moisture  I use all of these products faithfully on my hair and body because simply put, this stuff works.  The ingredients are all natural and certified organic, they're affordable and accessible (available at Target!), they do wonderful things for my skin and hair, and all of it smells amazing.  Here's the real kicker: they're one of the only independently black owned and operated companies that manufacture, package and ship their own products. That's why all of it is so inexpensive.

It's going to take a lot to get me to stop using any of this.




If these products ever got to black folk of the entire diaspora -- Paris, Nairobi, Moscow! -- the owners of Shea Moisture would be billionaires.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pithy Thought of the Day

Always remember: hate = fear.  And none of their issues have anything to do with you.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Happy Columbus Day? Really?

Why anyone would openly celebrate Cristopher Columbus -- a money-grubbing pedophile, a rapist and the absolute definition of a genocidal maniac -- is beyond me.  So much misinformation has been dumped into the our educational DNA about him for so long that his "accomplishments" are some of the first bits of history that are collectively learned by rote (kind of like George Washington and that cherry tree) and hardly ever considered.  And then one day, you open a well-researched biography and are shocked beyond reason that Columbus is anyone's hero.

How can our leaders think that this country embodies freedom and justice and anything that's good when genocide is openly celebrated?  I know, I know -- there's a bad side to every historical figure. But this is pure evil. 

Can you imagine Germans celebrating Adolph Hitler with parades and festivals and whatnot? Unthinkable, right? Yet I've had conversations with Germans who have declared privately that Adolph wasn't all bad. He fixed the economy which was in ruins after World War I, he rebuilt the military, he united a nation, he built the Autobahn...

But I digress.

I don't think they're going to cancel on Columbus Day because it's a federal holiday and that would involve way too much hoopla and paperwork and whatnot.  I mean, have they ever undone a federal holiday? Is there a precedent for that?  If they did pull it off, it would go over like a lead balloon. Columbus Day is celebrated in South America, too. I wonder how Columbus Day celebrations are going in the Dominican Republic right about now.

Should Cortez the Killer have his own holiday, too?

I'm hopeful that in time, it'll turn into a holiday with no absolutely no participants. No parade attendees. No celebrations.  We'll all take the day off and stay in and watch Fellini movies. And Italians can throw themselves a party over something else.

In the meantime, get thee to a bookstore or a library if you're really broke (no excuses, folks) and dig into something on this reading list:
  1. They Came Before Columbus: The African Presence in Ancient America by Ivan van Sertima That's right, Italian white folks -- Africans were here way before the Vikings. (Ka-BOOM.)
  2. 1493: Uncovering The New World Columbus Created by Charles C. Mann
  3. A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn (This one is a basic.)
  4. A People's History of American Empire by Howard Zinn, Mike Konopacki and Paul Buhle (This is a very accessible, beautiful and ultracool graphic novel, an absolute must-read.)
  5. Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong by James W. Loewen
...and in the spirit of a perpetual visual education for all, here's a video from howcast that sums up the Columbus Controversy neatly and a comic from The Oatmeal that breaks Columbus all the way down to some ugly truths.






Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sunday Sermonette

...and now, I give you The Jackson Southernaires, a legendary gospel group from Mississippi and a personal favorite, singing The Old Ship of Zion.  Be blessed.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Black Don't Crack -- A Parting Thought: Eat (and topically apply) Your Antioxiants!

Let's review, shall we?

With Black Don't Crack Part One, I told you to wear sunscreen if you want beautiful, wrinkle-free skin. In Black Don't Crack Part Two, I told you not to smoke.  (Anything!)  And in Black Don't Crack Part Three, I told you not to drink alcohol. There's more stuff I could have mentioned -- like how chronic stress ages you like crazy and so does ghetto miasma for that matter -- but I wanted to cut to the chase and hit the highlights.  Correct me if I'm wrong but I think I've done just that.

With a minimal amount of toxins and carcinogens actively damaging your system and a daily intake of antioxidants improving your overall health by leaps and bounds, you're on your way to agelessness -- the point at which you (subconsciously) pick a year (35, let's say), hit your stride, stop the clock and maintain that ageless equilibrium for the rest of your life.  The choice is entirely yours.

I don't believe that I have to get a heart attack when I reach a certain age or that I have to slow down when I get old.  I don't think that cancer is inevitable.  I don't think wrinkles are inevitable, either.  There are moments when I feel as though I'm fighting against my physical self -- like when I'm learning something new in boxing class and my arms just won't obey me -- but the truth is, my body is not my enemy.  Or at least, it doesn't have to be. If I take care of it, it will take care of itself and ultimately, it will take care of me.

This is the level of discipline as a way of life that Eartha Kitt lived with such conviction. She wasn't about getting it together when she got cast in a role. She was every inch the star and she lived it every day.  And that goes double for Joan Crawford. And of course, there's Annette Larkins -- my number one eat clean inspiration.

My skin doesn't look this good because I'm black. It looks this good because I work at it.

I've spent my whole life not drinking, not smoking, staying out of the sun and not eating fast food and garbage. I have taken care of my skin religiously -- with excellent products, monthly facials and gobs of sunscreen. I have fought the good fight and hit the gym on a daily basis so I wouldn't all of a sudden turn into a giant lard ass.  Every season, if I can't get back into the clothes I've got in my closet, I pretty much work out obsessively until I can wear everything comfortably. Period.

The bottom line is, I want a great quality of life. For some people, that means drinking, smoking, sunbathing and doing some pretty fun drugs. For me, that means that I'll have a healthy, lean, strong body to run around in -- and someday when I'm 60, the world will assume that I couldn't possibly be any older than 32.  Apparently, I'm off to a great start.

Now stop wondering how old that black woman is -- the one whose wrinkle-free skin looks so incredible whenever you see her --  and get to work.






Friday, October 11, 2013

The International Day of the Girl



I love documentaries.

Girl Rising is a doc directed by Oscar-recipient Richard Robbins that takes 9 girls from 9 countries and pairs them with 9 actresses -- Cate Blanchett, Selena Gomez, Anne Hathaway, Salma Hayek, Alicia Keys, Chloe Moretz, Freida Pinto, Meryl Streep and Kerry Washington -- to narrate their incredible life stories.

The cold, hard facts about girls and education in Pakistan are abysmal. Clearly Malala Yousafzai had -- and still has -- a massively huge fight on her hands. This begs the question: what about the rest of the world?

Girls are denigrated, devalued and neglected in a myriad of ways, all over the world.  They have an especially hard way to go in part because many cultures believe that daughters will marry and leave but sons will remain in the family.  To their way of thinking, it's important for boys to be educated so they can get good jobs. Girls should know how to cook and clean, to prepare them for the husbands and children -- and that mother-in-law -- that they'll eventually have to take care of and the household they'll have to run. And that's that.

I'm sorry but to my ears, that sounds like a Southern way of life.  More on that some other time.

 In over 100 countries, you have to pay for your children to attend school. If you're in sub-Saharan Africa and you have a boy and a girl with only enough money for one child, guess who gets to go? 

Not only are girls valued as hard workers around the house and in the fields, they also fetch a high price as virgin child brides -- the younger they are, the more money they bring (probably because their virginity is insured). Fourteen million girls get married worldwide every year. That's over 38,000 girls every day -- or if you prefer, 13 girls in the last 30 seconds. Some of them are as young as 11 years old.  The story of Nujood -- married off at the age of nine to a man more than three times her age and raped on her wedding night -- pretty much sums it up. Not surprisingly, the number one cause of death in the world for girls from 15 - 19 is childbirth.

Stats here at home in the USA aren't as great as you might think.  We have the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the developed world.  Over 50% of Native American girls, 4 out of 10 Latinas, and 4 out of 10 girls of color do not complete their education.

Anyone that thinks that focusing on what girls so desperately need somehow takes anything away from what boys are already getting doesn't really understand the enormity of the problem.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

...and now (another) rock n' roll book review...

Since Then: How I Survived Everything and Lived to Tell About itSince Then: How I Survived Everything and Lived to Tell About it by David Crosby

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


more on life lessons learned from that golden-throated felon, ex-drug addict, reformed hippie and pistolero david crosby: his numerous illnesses, surgeries and chronic ailments from decades of drug use, debauchery, and  motorcycle accidents; his many children from famous lesbians, communal living in the 60s and his formerly drug-addled wife jan; his falling off the wagon and out of favor with the AA folks by smoking pot; and of course the usual hi-jinx with the cops.

clearly, he didn't think he'd live this long and now he really wants to live, to be a part of all of his children's lives. he's diabetic. he's got circulatory issues. he's already had one liver transplant. he trashed his life and recovered beautifully. he trashed his body and now he's staggering into old age with his adoring wife by his side (who's had her fair share of drugs), surrounded by progeny and *surprise!* he's broke. (wait, what?!?)

maybe that's why he wrote this book and the one before it -- money! sure, there's the odd musician here or there who wants to hear all about the anatomy of this song or what happened during that recording session but for the most part, this is a chance for "the croz" to set the record straight and maybe get a fat check.

and yes, he explains himself quite well but you're still left wondering what happened to all that money.

this book wasn't as lurid as the first one but yeesh -- i remember finishing it and thanking Jesus that i didn't fall off the deep end with drugs, that i didn't smoke, that i worked hard to take care of myself physically.

if reading something like this doesn't compel you to at least try to live clean for the sake of the middle age years and the old age you might live to see, nothing will.



View all my reviews

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Black Don't Crack, Part Three: Yes, it does -- if you drink alcohol!

Wrinkles! There isn't a soul on the planet that's looking forward to getting those creases all over their bodies  -- but there are very few of us who are willing to do the work that it takes to make sure they don't show up in the first place.  Doing the work means ridding your life of all toxins and carcinogens and taking exercise seriously enough to do it every day.

You're probably thinking, sure -- everybody drinks and gets trashed once in awhile. Everybody smokes cigarettes, smokes pot, smokes all kinds of stuff. Everybody eats fast food. Everybody has a personal list of vegetables that they just don't like -- and even if you don't, it's not that easy to eat healthfully or organically.  Except that's not true -- everybody doesn't do those things.  Some people never do. If you happen to be one of those people and if you exercise and slather yourself with sunscreen and antioxidants -- and eat your antioxidants, too -- congratulations are definitely in order. You have stopped the clock.

In Black Don't Crack: Part One, I emphatically declared that the world should wear sunscreen. In Black Don't Crack: Part Two, I stated the obvious and said don't smoke.  Here I go again, stating the obvious: DON'T DRINK ALCOHOL.

Surprise! Alcohol -- even in moderate amounts -- isn't good for your skin or the rest of your body, either. You probably already knew that but look at it this way: your skin is your largest organ, so if there's something wrong with you, its probably going to show up on your skin first. Alcohol -- in moderate amounts, believe it or not -- depletes your body of essential nutrients, like vitamin A for example, which helps to make collagen and new skin cells.  A lack of vitamin A means less collagen -- the stuff that makes your skin beautiful -- and that means your skin will look older and age faster.

And while you're at it, you might want to lay off the soda and sugary drinks, too.

I don't drink. When I was in high school, it wasn't an option.  When I was in college, I never got trashed every weekend. I just wasn't that girl. When I first got to New York City, I had a drink -- and I didn't like it.  Last fall, I had my first beer after a gig in Stuttgart. I didn't like that, either -- but that didn't keep me from taking the glass home as a souvenir.

Yeah, and MPB is an ex-bartender. Go figure.


A Nutritional Guide to Beautiful Skin
Explore more infographics like this one on the web's largest information design community - Visually.


Next? Antioxidants and why you need them.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Black Don't Crack, Part Two: Yes, it does -- if you smoke!

So what did we learn from my recent blog entry Black Don't Crack, Part One? WEAR SUNSCREEN.

If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: If you want wrinkle-free skin, you have to get all -- and I mean ALL -- toxins and carcinogens out of your life and get physical every day.  Why am I telling you any of this? So when I'm 70 years old, you won't have to wonder why I look like I'm 35 and hound me about it, like my blackness is the reason why it all came together for me. The truth is, yes it is -- and no, it's not.  Melanin is wonderful stuff but none of that matters if I don't take care of it. And that's that.

Here's your next order of business -- and yes, this is even more important than wearing sunscreen all the time: DON'T SMOKE.

Research has proven that smoking wrecks your looks in general but what you probably don't know is that it damages your skin more than the sun, and the sun damages your skin horribly.  Think about it: if you smoke, literally thousands of toxins and carcinogens are pumped through your bloodstream with every puff you take, sending your body into a state of shock with each inhalation.  Please note: carcinogens are defined as any substance that can cause or aggravate cancer. There are over 70 carcinogens in cigarettes -- stuff like formaldehyde (a chemical used to preserve dead bodies), benzene (which is found in pesticides and causes leukemia) and vinyl chloride (a man-made chemical in cigarette filters that used to make plastics). Yummy!

It doesn't matter how many cigarettes you've smoked or how long ago you quit. You can't completely undo the damage you've already caused by smoking, which is why it's a pretty good idea to not smoke in the first place. Cigarettes  cause deep body wrinkles, too. (Yeesh!) Don't be fooled, hipsters -- hookahs are just as toxic as cigarettes. And marijuana is more toxic than either one of them.

Get this: a study has found that when it comes to cigarette-induced skin damage, white people are affected more than black people, and women more than men. (Wow. That kind of explains a lot, now doesn't it.)

I don't smoke. I've never smoked.  I live in a smoke-free home with a non-smoker, so there's no second-hand smoke, either. Visitors who simply must have a cigarette while they're in my home must leave my home because there's no smoking in my apartment.  They are reduced to getting their nicotine fix whilst perched on the front steps, because there's no smoking in my building, either.

Toxins and carcinogens, be gone!

Don't be fooled: If you're a passive smoker -- someone who is subject to second hand smoke -- you're in big trouble, too.


Sunday, October 06, 2013

Sunday Sermonette

...now this brings back memories.  Dr. Mattie Moss Clark -- choir director and yes, mother to The Clark Sisters -- directs as Timothy Wright sings I'll Be A Witness. Be blessed!


Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Obamacare vs The Affordable Care Act



It's not surprising that so many people in that video clip don't know that Obamacare is a nickname for the Affordable Care Act.  Most of the people that they catch off guard on camera with this man on the street schtick don't know who their representatives are in Congress, either.  Or who Louis Armstrong is, or what Cinco de Mayo means, or lots of other stuff that's fairly basic and slap-your-forehead ridiculous and yes, embarassing.  That's the joke, right? Stupid people say the craziest things! You watch it and think, no wonder the rest of the world thinks Americans are idiots and then you move on to whatever is next.

What's especially disturbing -- and yes, cringe-worthy -- about this video is that clearly, the subjects express a dislike for Obamacare because of their patent dislike of Obama, yet they fully support the Affordable Care Act.  One of them even went so far as to say that Obamacare is socialism. (Impressive, right?) All of it smells racist to me, but then again, I suppose this is what happens when most of the country gets their misinformation from Fox News or some other neo-conservative Republican aggregate.  Unfortunately, fear-mongering is big business and simply flat-out believing what you're told never goes out of style.

Once in the not to distant future when everyone in this country has healthcare, once wellness becomes a part of the fabric of our ordinary lives and seeing a doctor for a serious illness isn't something that has to bankrupt you, once everyone realizes that Obamacare is the Affordable Care Act, we will all collectively wonder how we ever went this long without this plan -- and why anyone would think to oppose it.

Think of it -- getting ongoing medical attention for a potentially serious illness won't mean financial ruin.  Its almost inconceivable, really.  And then you look at healthcare in places like Europe and Scandanavia, and realize it's a first world dream come true.

I was a sick American in Dresden recently.  It was wonderful. If you'd like to read all about it, click here.