Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy Birthday Capricorn!

When it comes to professionalism and traditional values, Capricorn wins hands-down. This practical sign loves to tackle life in the most conventional of ways, leaving no stone unturned. Considered the most serious-minded of the signs, the Capricorn possesses an independence that allows for considerable progress both personally and on the job.

Friends and Family

Combining a strong wit and a love of humor, the Capricorn makes terrific company for those they choose as friends. They will surround themselves with people who are honest, loyal, and like-minded when it comes to working values. They cherish loved ones and will go any distance to help a friend or family member. Traditional by nature, the Capricorn loves nothing more than holidays, such as Christmas, that bring people together with a variety of activities. Although a Capricorn isn't apt to have a large social circle, those included in this sign's life will find someone who is steadfast and true. Emotional displays are not common for a Capricorn. They would rather show how they feel through deeds than expression with words.

Work and Money

Ambition is the key word for this sign. The key phrase for Capricorn is I use. The Capricorn possesses a real knack for finding the right tool for the job and getting down to it. Starting at the bottom of the ladder and working their way to the top doesn't scare the Capricorn off. They will go the distance once a goal is set.

In addition to setting high standards for themselves, honesty, perseverance, and a dedication to duty make the Capricorn an excellent manager. Loyalty and a willingness to work as hard as necessary are qualities that this sign values greatly within themselves and in those around them. Careers in management, finance, teaching, and real estate are excellent choices.

Capricorns are resourceful and manage their time and money well. Every now and then, the urge to spend some hard-earned cash can see this sign packing some large shopping bags with fun and frivolous items out of the store. But as a rule, caution goes hand in hand with the Capricorn making practical purchases more likely than anything else. Multifunctional items are definitely favored.

The Capricorn prefers to take things slow and steady. You won't see this sign jumping into anything head-first. Taking relationships one step at a time is the way of the Capricorn. Words can be few with this personality, yet actions speak volumes. The Capricorn values deeds and will go to great lengths to express their affections through them. They're great gift givers and don't bat an eye at the cost of spending a fantastic night out. Genuine and sincere, you can take what few words a Capricorn does say to the bank.


The color of choice for Capricorn is brown. In fact, most dark colors do well for this sign.

Capricorn's star stone is the black onyx.

Lucky Numbers
Capricorn's lucky numbers are 6, 8, and 9.

Capricorns are most compatible with Taurus and Virgo.

Opposite Sign
The opposite sign for Capricorn is Cancer.

The Perfect Gift
Practical, dark-colored, well-made clothing and high-tech gadgets

Family, tradition, quality craftsmanship, understated status, music

Almost everything at some point

Famous Capricorns
Michelle Obama, Mary J. Blige, Nicolas Cage, Tiger Woods, Jon Voight, Denzel Washington, Elvis Presley, Martin Luther King, Muhammad Ali

Best Travel Destination
Mexico, Cuba, India, Delphi, Oxford

Responsible, good managers, disciplined, self-control, dark sense of humor

Know-it-all, unforgiving, condescending, expecting the worst

Best environment
Positive work situation, urban environments with culture and style, anyplace to be in charge

New Music: The OMG Girlz

Tiny and Toya's daughter's have a new group called the OMG Girlz. Check out their new song, "Ain't Nobody."

Friday, December 11, 2009

U.S. teens ignore laws against texting while driving

Karen Cordova, a 17-year-old high school student and part-time supermarket cashier, admits she sometimes texts friends while driving home from work late at night, lonely and bored.

The Arizona teenager knows it's illegal in Phoenix and dangerous. She once almost drifted into oncoming traffic while looking at her phone.

But would a nationwide ban stop Cordova and her friends from texting in their cars? No way, she said.
"Nobody is going to listen," Cordova said.

The number of text messages is up tenfold in the past three years and Americans sent an estimated 1 trillion in 2009.
Some police agencies, while strongly in favor of such mandates, say its tough for officers to enforce them.

"But with the texting it's a little bit more of a challenge to catch them in the act, because we have to see it and if they are holding it down in their lap it's going to be harder for us to see."

Already 19 states and the District of Columbia ban texting by all drivers, while 9 others prohibit it by young drivers.

In July, Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, citing a study that found texting drivers were 23 times more likely to be in an accident, introduced a bill requiring states to prohibit the practice or risk losing federal highway funds.

The problem is not unique to the United States. In Britain, a public service announcement on texting while driving drew worldwide attention for its extremely graphic imagery.

Cordova's classmate, 17-year-old Anna Hauer, says she often texts her boyfriend when she drives and doubts she or her friends would stop because of new legislation.

"By the time they pull you over, the chances are you are going to be done with your text anyway so they can't exactly prove that you were texting," she said.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Are the new Barbie's "black" enough?

Some Parents are saying Mattel's new "So in Style" Black dolls made with wider noses and fuller lips in an array of skin tones are not Black enough, according to "Wall Street Journal". Parents are not too pleased with the straight, long hair and blue or green eye color that some of the dolls have. The dolls also feature the waif-like figure of Barbie dolls, not an accurate depiction of most women in general, much less Black women.

"I thought it was unfortunate that once again we're given a doll with hair that is so unlike the vast majority of black women," one mom said.

"If they had given the dolls short, kinky hair or an Afro, people might have complained that it was too Afro-centric... We're so hard and picky," another mother commented, reported "WSJ".

Mattel consulted a number of high profile Black women, including Cookie Johnson, Magic Johnson's wife, when creating their new line of dolls, created by designer Stacey McBride-Irby who sought to make a dolls that her daughter could identify with. McBride-Irby was a little shocked by the negative comments about the dolls.

The toy company plans to grow the line in 2010 adding more dolls to represent the differences in Black women, including one with an Afro. Mattel also plans to release a Black male "So In Style" doll named Darren.

So....what do you think? Check out the new line here

Ethnic pride key to black teen mental health

Ethnic pride may be as important as self-esteem to the mental health of young African-American adolescents, according to a new study in the Nov/Dec issue of the journal Child Development.

In their study, the researchers viewed self-esteem as the way adolescents feel about themselves as individuals, and ethnic pride as the way they feel about their ethnic group. Previous research generally has considered racial identity a proxy or sub-set of self-esteem.

The new study speaks to the importance of ethnic pride separate and apart from self-esteem. "Psychologists have been theorizing about this for years," Psychologist Jelani Mandara said. "Our empirical evidence indicates that we'll see African-American teens with fewer depressive symptoms if we pay more attention to building ethnic pride."

It's easier to build ethnic pride than it is to influence self-esteem, he added.

Using standard self-report measures, the authors assessed 259 African-American youths from six Chicago public schools when they were in the seventh grade and again a year later in the eighth grade.

In measuring racial identity, they focused on issues of ethnic pride and replaced phrases such as "I have a lot of pride in my ethnic group" with "I have a lot of pride in Black people." They did not address issues of culture or of "public regard" -- how others look at race -- in assessing ethnic identity.

The researchers found that both male and female students showed fewer depressive symptoms if their feelings of ethnic pride rose between seventh and eighth grade whether or not their self-esteem increased.

"The importance of self-esteem to adolescent mental health is well known and accepted," Mandara said. "But it is not uncommon for individuals to have high self-esteem and at the same time exhibit depressive symptoms. Research has long shown that African-American girls have higher self-esteem compared to other girls but also have more depressive symptoms."

The study found that the higher girls' self-esteem was, the more likely they were to report depressive symptoms. Mandara suggested that could be because African American girls often are charged with adult family responsibilities that make them feel competent but also cause them stress.

Determined Divas try to break the cycle of inner city life

Young women sit in a circle at the Danforth Community Center on West Avenue.

In the middle of the formation, Beverly Jackson, a city youth worker, paces.

“You’re all works in progress,” Jackson tells the 25 members of the group known as the Determined Divas, an organization she formed to redirect young women who are either gang members or associates of gangs.

At Jackson’s words, the Divas nod in agreement.

At some time or another, most of them have been suspended from school for fighting or for not showing up for classes. Many have troubled home lives. Some are, or have been, homeless.

They are, for sure, a challenge, a possibly lost generation of young women doomed to bleak futures by circumstances and their own anger. Beyond that, the resources to help them are in short supply.

But a group like the Determined Divas can save these girls and also lower the violence in Rochester, says Renee Turner, the vice principal of I’m Ready, a City School District program for students on long-term suspension from district schools.

“This is the start of something that could turn things around in this city for kids who need help,” Turner says. “…Taken to another level, this could be a national program.”

If it should become that, it will be a tribute to Jackson’s ability to convince young women that many of the things they have heard about themselves are wrong. They are not doomed to fail and to fight; they can change; they do have reason to believe.

“I don’t deal with hopeless chicks,” Jackson tells the girls in the circle, using her best drill sergeant voice. “You have to empower yourselves.”

The Divas were created earlier this year, after Turner asked Jackson to help address the fact that many of the young women in the I’m Ready program got there because of acts of violence. Girl violence has been a “hidden secret” in Rochester, Turner notes, overshadowed by violence among boys in gangs. But the violence among girls is persistent and dangerous, she adds, especially because knives are the “weapon of choice.”

The Divas included young women who had fought with each other, a possible obstacle to success. But the sessions focused on nonviolent ways to resolve conflict and on other coping skills. Jackson and others were there to listen, to advise, but not to judge.

Jackie Campbell, the director of the city’s Bureau of Youth Services, says that the group offered the young women a chance “to be in an environment where the boundaries are in place.”

Inspired by the girls’ enthusiasm for the gatherings, Jackson kept the meetings going over the summer and into the fall, the sessions taking place at the Danforth center. The membership has expanded beyond the original group as the word has gotten out.

Narasonda Gibbs, 17, is an original Diva, someone who was, in Turner’s words, “determined to fight no matter what.”

Gibbs carries reminders of that person on the back of her right hand where “Nonny” is tattooed in cursive. It’s her nickname, her street name, her alter ego.

“This is the angry person,” she says, moving her hand in a video interview with the Democrat and Chronicle. “This is the person who did mistakes in the past.”

When she knows she has her life together, Gibbs plans on having her real name, “Narasonda” tattooed on her left hand.

She’ll know it’s the right time when she has graduated from high school, when she has a steady job, when things are going well between her and her parents.

By her own account, Gibbs started fighting with other girls when she was 13. Before that, she loved school, got good grades and was happy.

Then something happened; anger took over and she got in a fight with another girl over a boy.

She was suspended from school. When she came back she got in another fight and got suspended again. What she calls a “constant pattern” had begun.

Gibbs, who has a gang’s brand on one arm, was squaring off against another girl early this year.

She thought she had been punched in the face, but actually she had been cut. Her blood was everywhere, and she was taken to an emergency room.

“I was scared; I was nervous,” she says. “When I got to the hospital, everything came out. I was crying; I was in pain.”

It took 26 stitches to close the wound, and she has been left with the scar, a reminder of what can go wrong when she loses control.

Life has been better this fall, she says.

“I feel like I’m living up to my expectations for myself,” says Gibbs, who attends Dr. Freddie Thomas High School. “To be a Diva, I have to keep my reputation up. If I hadn’t met Bev (Jackson), I don’t think I would have made it.”

Reasons for anger

Lizz Jackson, 14, a Determined Diva who is not related to Bev Jackson, quickly explains why it is that girls fight. “The gossip, the boys, the jealousy,” she says, going through a mental checklist.

Then there are other reasons. “I get mad at all kinds of stuff,” she says.

For sure, all of the Divas have reasons to be mad, to believe they have been short-changed by life.

In the video, one talks of her father being killed by a gunshot when she was 4; later she sees her mother abused. Others talk of fathers in jail or on their way to jail.

None of them speaks of stable lives.

Tonesha Jackson, who is 18 and not related to Beverly or Lizz Jackson, says that when she was little she moved a lot, and then she ticks off the elementary schools she attended: Schools 9, 22, 14, 7.

Then there was Charlotte High School and some time in a Muslim school. Throughout all of this relocation, she found herself uninterested in school.

For this, she blames no one but herself.

“It was my fault,” she says. “I was just young and dumb.”

“These girls are really trying to change,” Jackson says of her works in progress, her determined and hopeful Divas.

find full story here

Nicki Minaj explains the "Barbie Movement"

The newest female MC takes a moment to explain a new style she's introduced...The Barbie Movement. Check out the nameplate!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Princess Tiara toys are flying off store shelves!

More than 45,000 dolls have sold in less than a month with 17,000 selling last week alone. At one major retailer, The Princess and the Frog bedding has sold nearly triple the amount of regular Disney Princess bedding. At Disney Store locations nationwide and DisneyStore.com, the Princess Tiana role-play dresses are selling above all other Disney Princess characters.