Wednesday, May 21, 2008

I'm in love

My first hint that I would fall irreparably in love came my first day in my neighborhood. I was driving, trying to maneuver my way around the craziness that is metro DC, and I stumbled upon the impetus for this feeling inside (that I can't hide): The Baptist Church marquee. At that point I knew I could do nothing but fall in love with where I live. The marquee had the following written in glorious bold-face: "God is like Coca Cola. He's the real thing." Over the months, our corner church has provided many opportunities for my love to deepen. Here is the most recent:

Notify your face, man.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Why I can never own an ipod

I have felt this way for a while, but it was confirmed to me at work on Friday. I don't know if anybody else has this problem, but I simply cannot listen to music without singing along. It's a sickness. This is why it would be unconscionable for me to own an ipod. I'm certain that it takes enough of a toll on those around me when I sing along to a cd or the radio. But, if people had to listen to me sing along to an unheard melody, well... I think I just might lose friends pretty quickly. On Friday, I was in my office listening to an excellent Mana song (with headphones placed just so over my ears). Without thinking, I began to sing along, of course being unaware of my volume since I had headphones on. I was alerted to my embarrassing situation when a passerby poked his head into my office and gave me a strange look. "Yes, I'm singing in Spanish while I sit alone in my office - move along." To my dismay, an ipod is not in the stars for me. An ipod would multiply these embarrassing situations exponentially. I just can't bear the thought of that.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

FaceBook In Reality

Hilarious and hauntingly accurate. Need I say more?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Proverbial Pangea

Yesterday I participated in Pangea Day, which was fabulous. Pangea Day (as one might imagine with such a title) seeks to bring people all over the world together: to allow humanity to supersede borders, religion, race, and politics. This idea of uniting with people of all backgrounds - people whom I have never and probably will never meet - is a powerful one. It suggests that, despite superficial and substantive differences, humanity possesses deeply rooted similarities which bind us together. Robert Kurzban explains that as human beings, "we have the capacity and tendency to separate 'us' from 'them'. Once established, we're more tolerant to those we call 'us' and more brutal toward 'them.'" I have seen this mentality in action many times in my life. We easily identify ourselves with a set of people based on the color of our skin, religion, monetary status, gender, vocation, or political bent. We begin to define ourselves based on those characteristics; people who do not fall within those parameters belong to the "them" category. I saw this dramatically displayed in the DR. There was a strong "us" "them" sentiment between Dominicans and Haitians. As an outsider, it was almost laughable - except for the tragedy - to see how the Dominicans separated themselves from the Haitians because the Haitians were black. I have been thinking specifically about the divisions based on skin color as of late because I just finished reading Black Like Me. John Griffin changes his skin color from white to black to white throughout the book. As a black man, he describes the hate stares he receives from white people that are based solely on his color. He details the woes of being unable to convince white people to give him a job despite his high qualifications. In contrast, he feels an immediate sense of camaraderie with black strangers. He talks about the look blacks exchange with one another, a look that tells all - the suffering, the understanding, the willingness to help one another. When he goes back to being white, he notices the immediate change in the way people treat him. Suddenly a policeman nodds affably; he takes a "seat beside a white man at the counter and the waitress smiles at [him]. It was a miracle. [He] orders food and is served. It was a miracle." However, just as immediately, he loses his solidarity with black people. Black men speak to him obsequiously, and will not carry on conversations with him. He finds himself"back on the other side of the wall. There was no longer communication between [them], no longer the glance that said everything."
This division, this deliberate separation from other humans, fascinates me. We are human, and as such, experience the same emotions: love, hate, fear, hope, sadness, despair, joy. We pass through the majority of the same experiences. So, why is it, then, that we are so predisposed to associate ourselves with an identity that deliberately excludes another? Robert Kurzban gave me hope when he explained the research he has been doing. He talks about how, while we still have a tendency to join ourselves to a group, our definitions of us and them are not impervious. They are constantly changing to include other people, to form larger groups. "Increasingly, science shows there's no limit to who we define as us. Eventually, someday, there might not be any more 'thems'." I think that we all feel a sense of connection to humanity and that we possess capacity beyond our understanding to accept, love, and unite. We just need to exercise that capacity more frequently.

Sunday, May 4, 2008


My recent activities have aroused many suspicions and raised not a few eyebrows. Rightly so. Like any good bank or credit card company, some devoted friends have begun to investigate this suspicious activity. Please, friends: ease your minds. I have not been held at gun point, nor have I delivered up my integrity. I have not experienced any form of conversion, nor have I "seen the light." And, finally, I have not given in to your seemingly interminable pleas and mockeries. I have been a simple victim of Facebook scandal. I suddenly feel a sense of solidarity with Moroccan Prince Moulay Rachid; however, sadly, I lack the importance necessary to get my perpetrator thrown into jail.
Barring the possibility of jail, I suppose I will cede to you Austin Baird's punishment for the commission of this heinous crime. Do as you will.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

30 Days for a million voices

Raise your hand if you've ever heard of Burma. Raise your other hand if you know what's been going on there for the last few, oh... decades. Raise your leg if you've ever done anything to support human rights in Burma. Well, now's your chance to join with the U.S. Campaign for Burma to raise a million voices in support of Burma in 30 days. Each day in May there will be a different celebrity video promoting this, so check them out.
Day 1: