Category Archives: Rant

Over the Rainbow

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Over the Rainbow

I was born in LA.

I didn’t move here to pursue a dream. I’m not a waitress waiting to be discovered. I don’t want to be famous. I don’t think of this place as the center of the movie industry.

To me, Los Angeles is just home.

Recently, I watched a music video for a song called “The City of Angels”, by 30 Seconds to Mars. I think I’ve heard the song in passing a few times before this, and it never really struck any kind of chord with me. I probably even vaguely noted that it was most likely another one of those homage-to-LA songs without really having to stop to listen to it. There are plenty of those, at least a third of which being written by the Chili Peppers, and the rest being divided up between Sublime, West Coast rappers, and maybe Greenday, I don’t know. The point is, I’ve heard the “I love you in spite of your imperfections, LA” song. We all have.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the city, too… In fact, I ironically even happen to love it in spite of its flaws. That’s all well and good, and if someone wants to write a song reflecting those well meaning if clichéd feelings, I’m all for it. At the very least, not listening to music I don’t like has always been a relatively easy task for me.

But then, there’s this “music video” (an 11 minute long movie patting Hollywood on its back), and what I don’t understand, is the near complete lack of representation from anyone who actually lives here (outside of the bad Marilyn Monroe and Michael Jackson impersonators, of course, but you’ll forgive me if I feel that those don’t exactly count). Was this video supposed to tear me up with pride? It wasn’t even talking to or about people like me. The super rich and famous experience a part of this place that is so completely removed from what the majority of us will experience that, for all intents and purposes, they are talking about a different world.

Of course, having said all that, I might be remiss if I didn’t at least mention that, yeah… the video did almost, almost, choke me up a little. Which is irritating and, I imagine, as confusing to you as it was to me.

Perhaps getting emotional is the kneejerk reaction of being proud to see someone praise something I love. Maybe, in some weird way, I feel a kind of lame kinship with anyone willing to claim my city as his own. However, I don’t appreciate the glaringly obvious acting for the camera with such gems as Ashley Olsen’s “Fame is an illusion,” and Lindsay Lohan’s pregnant pause before stating “No one’s perfect.”

Really? I mean… really?

Also… I’m pretty sure that Ashley Olsen lives in New York. Why does she even get a say?

In any case, the video isn’t really the problem. Even the commercial for California is laden with shots of celebrities doing very out of the ordinary things. The Olsen twin was wrong. Fame is real. Hollywood is an illusion. Now, before you go and roll your eyes at that particular bit of absurdity, I don’t mean Hollywood the town; I mean Hollywood the idea. There is an image of LA that is perpetuated by the media and by those who have come here to “live the dream”, and that’s kind of all people see. They see the so-called glitz and glamour, and what’s more, they see a culture of superficiality.

No one sees me getting up at 3:30 in the morning to get to work on time. No one sees my fiancé wading through traffic for 3 hours a day. No one sees the first dates, or the broken hearts, or the skinned knees, or the high school graduations, or the birthday parties at the park, or the beach picnics, or… well, any of it. And as much as I’d love Olivia Wilde’s view of LA as “the promised land” to have anything to do with me, it doesn’t. And, unless you’re one of the very few extremely lucky people, it doesn’t have anything to do with you either. That place, Olivia Wilde’s Promised Land, doesn’t really exist.

LA is just a place where people live. Hollywood, however, is somewhere over the rainbow, where much different rules apply.

I’m not saying the spray tans and fake body parts don’t run rampant here, but I am saying there’s a lot more to The City of Angels than the Hollywood sign and Sunset Boulevard.

Disneyland, for instance.

5 Reasons No One Likes You

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You know, I find that most people are actually pretty easy to like. It’s easy, because I want to like everyone. I like to think of myself as extremely friendly. If there was one thing people say about me, my hope is it would be that… Actually, my hope is that they’d say I’m funny and incredibly intelligent, but closely after that I’d like them to think I was really nice. It’s such a waste of time and energy to hate or dislike someone, so you could say this writer is too lazy to be choosey about people. Every once in a while, though, I encounter a person who wants to make me work to think well of them… and that cuts in to my me time. If you make me have to work to like you, if you make anyone have to work to like you, you’re doing it wrong.

Everyone’s different, and everyone finds different things irritating, but the following 5 things are personality traits that are more or less deal breakers for me when it comes to wanting to be around someone. Maybe you’ll agree, or maybe you won’t… but at the very least, please tell me I’m funny and incredibly intelligent.

1. You’re rude.
You may think that this is common sense, but it’s not really. Maybe having a bad day can lead you to being short with any kind of service staff you come in to contact with, even if you’re usually a nice person… but, really, that’s not an excuse. Rudeness is rudeness no matter what day of the week it is, or how many texts your boyfriend got from Suzie. Also, if you look at it from the other side, the person you’re being rude to doesn’t know that you spend your weekends nursing sick baby dolphins back to health. All they know is that you are unusually angry that your latte wasn’t exactly 143 degrees, and had one crystal too much of sugar in it. Nope, they will dislike you with reckless abandon now, and you have no one to blame but yourself. Everyone has a bad time every so often, but not everyone chooses to take it out on the world, or especially on people who really can’t fight back. That’s just mean and kind of cowardly.

2. You’re a serious pedant.
Being educated is great, and you should be proud… but you shouldn’t be pretentious. No one other than you and your book club is really going to care that you spent your weekend reading War and Peace, or Les Miserables for fun. I had a roommate who loved to get in to weird pissing contests with his girlfriend over who knew more about obscure historic details. It was always under a thin guise of trying to have an interesting conversation, but usually just came off as two freshman college students talking about everything they just learned in the first session of their Introduction to Facts course. A freshman will assume they know everything now (because they have not yet learned the golden rule of “the more you know, the more you know you don’t know”), and assume everyone else knows nothing. Some people don’t needlessly lord their intelligence over others… and it’s probably because they’re too smart for that.

3. You complain too much (you’re negative).
You have to be a special kind of person to delight in Mondays, and yeah, traffic kind of sucks. The thing about it is, if something is bothering you, you can probably bet you’re not the first person it’s bothered. If you’ve studied psychology at any point in your college career (which, as it turns out, is most everyone), you’ve learned about something similar the Fourfold Table of Life, wherein people tend to have selective memory and perception in recalling instances in their life. It often leads to thinking stuff like “I always end up choosing the slow line in the bank”, or “crazy people always come out during full moons.” It’s easy to remember when crappy things happen as it’s more significant to you than when they don’t. This is relatively normal… But when a person convinces themselves that bad things constantly happen to them and only them, and that they somehow have it worse than everyone else, they become very difficult to be around.

At any given moment, if pressed, I’m sure everyone could count things not going right for them off on their fingers, but they probably weren’t forcing you to listen to them hate their lives. Voicing concerns, looking for support, and needing to vent are all perfectly acceptable, and everyone needs to do it sometimes. If you’re the kind of person who adopts a “poor me!” kind of attitude, however, you suck the life out of everyone around you. Not everyone deserves to be miserable just because you are, and you’re going to earn yourself the reputation of being an emotional tyrant: No one gets to be happy if you’re not.

4. You’re dramatic.
This one really needs to stop, guys. You know something’s irritating when even a 16-year-old boy thinks it’s immature. For some reason, there are those who like to make a show of their problems. Everything is made to seem like a much bigger deal than it actually is, and eventually everyone involved is exhausted. We all have someone in our lives who can’t enjoy themselves unless everything is revolving around them. Let’s not mince words here, friends. If you’re one of these people, please rest assured that people think you are nuts. They think this, because you probably are… or at the very least, you seriously come off that way. If you’re passed a certain age, there’s no excuse for drama. It’s manipulative, and it’s childish.

As a personal aside: PMS is not an excuse to be a terrible human being.

5. You’re kind of a fun killer.
If fun was painful, the “fun killer” would be called Tylenol.

One night, some friends of mine and I headed out for some good old-fashioned drunken karaoke. I decided to invite a coworker to come along with us. Now, karaoke isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Making an ass of yourself in front of strangers is kind of an acquired taste. I made it very clear to her what kind of people we were and that we were going to be getting in to it. She still agreed to go. Unfortunately, from the moment she sat down in the car and realized the level of eccentric she was dealing with, she made it relatively clear that she was not going to be having fun that night. What’s more is that she wasn’t even going to bother trying.

The whole night, no matter what anyone did or said, she just sat there with her head in the palm of her hands. We danced, we sang, we laughed… and she refused to have any of it. To this moment, I have no clue what was going through her head or why she took it upon herself to go on a Crusade for Fun Killers United, but she all but sucked the energy out of the table.

The honest truth, though, is that the girl is very sweet and pretty easy to be around. So, I think the lesson we can learn from this is that even if you’re a relatively cool person, you can come off as a Fun Hater 2000. Which will make it hard for people to like you. No one wants to be around you if you’re going to make it hobby to be bored. So, you know, knock it off.

Of course… there are probably exceptions to all that. I’m pretty sure if you suddenly pulled the plug on all the electricity everywhere, and the world was suddenly plunged in to darkness, people would probably cut you some slack if you were stressed out and unhappy for the rest of your life. Of course, everyone would probably hate you anyway, so I suppose it wouldn’t make a difference to you one way or the other.

I think, at the very least, we can all be glad that there isn’t a Great Big Plug to Everything. Until there is, try to make it hard for people to dislike you, and be cool, Ringo.

Be cool.

Conjunction Junction, Serve That Function!

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Throughout my life, I have loved different people and things, and I’ve gone through phases and trends like any other normal person my age. Now that I’m older, though, I have whittled my passions down to only four. That isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy other activities or people, but I know what is nearest and dearest to my heart. Those things are, in no particular order: my family, Dan (Boyfriend Scott unveiled), tea, and writing.

For those of you who haven’t noticed, writing is sort of a hobby of mine. Ideally, I’d like to channel my love for writing in to a career, but opportunities in that field are few and far between; especially for a long suffering college student who still hasn’t managed to pick up her degree. In any case, it’s something I love to do and happen to care a lot about. Also, to clarify, when I say “writing”, I actually mean an all encompassing arena that includes both reading and researching. It’s all part of the same package. To write well, you have to know your subject. To know your subject, you have to research it… which means a lot of reading. Even if it’s not something a person enjoys or is good at, I believe that writing in general aids tremendously with intelligence and vocabulary.

Unless, of course, you refuse to acknowledge the importance of our language.

If that sounds a little silly to you, congratulations. It should. Language is certainly important. It’s how we communicate; it’s how get our points across. It effects how others perceive and understand us. It may not be as universal as math or science, but if it weren’t for words, we’d be reduced to grunting monosyllabically and drawing pictures in the dirt. Which is fine, I guess, if you’re in to that sort of thing. Also, by fine I actually mean “sad”.

As with most things in life, English comes with its own set of rules. I know it’s part of human nature to rebel against rules and question authority, but when it comes to writing, I ask you this: What exactly is the point? What is the point of spelling words like a child inclined to scrawl his letters backward? What is the point of leaving out punctuation when punctuation does, in fact, help people to understand what the hell you are trying to say? I promise to whoever is reading this that I am not big on judging, and I am by no means a grammar snob. If someone doesn’t want to take the time to write well, or if they have not received the kind of education that would lend itself to their writing savvy, it is certainly not for me to condemn. When someone decides to publicly insult those of us who do take care when penning even trivial things (such as “status updates”), however, I believe the topic becomes fair game.

No, Facebook updates are not “research papers”. In that, at least, the anonymous Facebook user to which I am referring is correct. As to his other claim that people who use proper spelling and punctuation are douche bags, though, I must disagree.

You see, I love my language. English and I go way back. This is why you will never see me abbreviate “you” to a one letter ambassador of its former self. You will never see me abbreviate whole phrases to unnecessary acronyms (i.e. “OMG”). That’s just not me. As a matter of fact, since I am so accustomed to writing things correctly, it would take more thought not to. Muscle memory and habit being two reasons for that. I fail to see how this makes me a douche bag, and I am left wondering if this Facebook user is acquainted with the guy who thinks I’m an asshole for not eating chicken even though I’m a vegetarian. It doesn’t make much sense to me. It just so happens that an appreciation of grammar does exist outside of school. It is less and less common, though, which I feel is kind of a dismal social commentary. Personally, I am proud of my skills and of my education. If my parents don’t yet have their daughter’s degree to show for all the billions they’ve spent on my schooling… well, at least they can have this. I can write and speak well, and I can represent myself and my family with graceful aptitude. Since I can, I figure I might as well.

That doesn’t make me a douche bag. That just makes me awesome.

Now, the truth of the matter is that my opinion on the subject is much harsher than I’m really willing to voice on a blog.  I will say that I think writing is becoming something of an old world art, and that this is having a profound impact on how we interact with one another.  It’s beginning to translate to other areas of our lives, and it’s exactly forums like Facebook where the break down starts. We stop taking care with little things, and then the bigger things don’t seem as big. Messages are getting shorter and less personal. People are forgetting the importance of presenting themselves with class and poise and, to be honest, I find it to be a bit tragic.  I will always believe that eloquence and cleverness recommend a person better than most anything else. I’m not perfect at this, but I do put in an effort every day.

If you are not like me and happen to not take these things to heart, I am not trying to put you down. Like I said, I really don’t judge. Different people do different things, and not everyone is passionate about writing like I am. It’s perfectly acceptable for it not to be your cup of tea. I will never get on your case for it, much the same as I will never get on anyone’s case for eating meat. As is often the circumstance, it’s not my place or my business. So, for those of you who feel similar to the Facebook user who thinks people like me are douche bags, fine.  Just keep quiet about it and let me do my thing, and I’ll let you do yours.

Just don’t pick a fight with me about it, because I’m better with words than you are and will likely come out on top.

Wherein I Apologize To A Chicken For Being A Vegetarian

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During my tenure as a human being, I discovered rather early on that people don’t seem to like people who are different from them.  Even when they accept your differences, well, they still have to make it known that they accept you even though you’re different.  In fact, you’re not just yourself, you’re actually just a sub-classification of what everyone else is.

I recently witnessed an internet argument wherein someone decided it’d be a barrel of laughs to bash vegetarianism publicly.  The argument had started when a man had posted a link to a captioned picture that basically called any vegetarian who wouldn’t eat a piece of chicken that accidentally ended up on their plate an “asshole”.  Now, I’m not one to get easily offended or back off from things so quickly, so I kind of chuckled to myself and decided to read on to find out why, exactly, I was being called an “asshole” by  someone who’d never met me or most of the people he was insulting.  You see, I would not eat that piece of chicken.

Well, internet, it turns out I am being termed as an expletive, because that chicken would have died in vain because of me.  I preach for the animals, and then I let them go to waste. Apparently.

Firstly, no. No, I don’t preach for the animals.  I keep my thoughts mostly to myself, especially lately in this weird hipster-vegan vegetarian climate.  I don’t want to force my views on anyone, but here I am being called an “asshole” by someone who wants to label my sense of conviction as “hypocritical”.  If I were to eat every single piece of animal that ended up on my plate, I wouldn’t be a vegetarian. I’d be a meat-eater who ate meat very selectively.  Your argument, whoever you are, that it’s my fault that chicken is going to waste is just your way of forcing the issue that, for some reason, you don’t like vegetarians.  We can’t do anything right because you don’t like what we believe, and since you can’t understand why we wouldn’t eat that piece of chicken on our plate… we’re hypocritical assholes.  It’s not my fault that there’s a farm out in the middle of nowhere slaughtering animals, nor is it my fault if some waiter accidentally slips me a piece of chicken or even the completely wrong order filled with meat. I don’t eat meat for an array of reasons, and some of the less important reasons include the fact that the idea of putting that in my mouth makes me want to gag.  So, no.  I wouldn’t eat it.  That doesn’t make me an asshole, that makes me a vegetarian.

Or, you know, just an omnivore who’s choosing not to eat meat… according to some people.

So, after having been called names for sticking to my belief system in times of trial, I went on to read the comments to the aforementioned post.  A woman who seemed to agree wholeheartedly with it, remarked that vegetarians are all ridiculous.  We’re not born vegetarians, we choose to be. Remember how I said that “you’re not yourself, you’re just a sub-classification” of what everyone else is? Yeah, that gem belongs to her.  Apparently, there’s no such thing as “vegetarians”.  Humans are omnivores by nature, and “choosing” not to eat meat doesn’t change that fact.  I would like to address my next paragraph to this woman.

Darling, you see… “choosing” does, indeed, change the fact.  Just having a choice changes the fact.  I have a mind of my own, and I have free will, and I will never eat meat again. You cannot call me an omnivore, because you would be incorrect.  My body may be built to process meat, but I, as a person, am not.  I’m myself, and not a sub-classification of what you are, just because you think what you are is right or better, or the way people are “supposed” to be.  I can think of quite a few other things that would help me along in this argument, but I’ll keep them to myself seeing as how the majority of this rant has been about vegetarianism.  I’ll just leave it at: it must be hard being your friend if that’s how you think.  Let’s hope it doesn’t translate in to every facet of your life, or you must be a very closed-minded and bigoted person.

I am a vegetarian because I choose to be, but that doesn’t make it any less valid… and since I choose to be, I choose to stick with it even if, every so often, it means a chicken has to die in vain because I refuse to eat it.

By the way, I’m sorry about that, Chicken.

How Much Are You Worth, Anyway?

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It has been pointed out to me quite frequently over the past 2 months (by Boyfriend Scott, an Iowa native) that I have spent my whole life living in a tiny corner of the world which, though true, has never really occurred to me so much.  I’ve been surrounded by the same street names, the same antique stores, and the same parks and sidewalks the whole time I have been on this planet.  I know only what I have seen, and I suppose I haven’t seen much.  I’ve been sheltered, and to be honest, I still pretty much live like a teenager.  So, in that way, perhaps it makes a little bit of sense that I am still always surprised by the depth of pure disgusting to which people can sink.

Now, I’m just going to throw this quick question out: When you imagine a struggling family packing their whole lives away in to boxes and having to leave perhaps the only home they’ve ever known because the bank has taken it away from them, is your first instinct to laugh? It really shouldn’t be, and you want to know why? Because, hi there… it’s not actually funny.  Now, the cynics in us may want to rail away and exclaim, “well, they shouldn’t have bought a house that they knew they couldn’t afford!”.  Which, all right, wouldn’t be a completely unfair assessment. There is a level of irresponsibility involved when it comes to people trying to have something for which their budget will not allow.  It’s kind of the law; you can’t have what you can’t pay for.  Unfortunately, there is a very human face to this problem.  Not to mention its variable nature, wherein sometimes unforeseeable things happen (like, say, a homeowner losing his/her job) and a once payable molehill becomes an overwhelmingly daunting bill mountain.  We can’t really blame these people, can we? And in situations where we can blame, who are we to judge or laugh?

Steven J. Baum law firm, can I admonish thee enough?

There are certain professions of which I am convinced that the desensitization of the people working within those fields becomes necessary.  Healthcare, for instance.  Crime scene investigators, for another.  These men and women need to get past various emotions that most of us have the luxury of being able to feel, because if they didn’t… these emotions might break them down.  I can understand a doctor trying to dismiss a death on their table, consoling themselves with the idea that they’ve saved countless others… but lawyers? Lawyers making light of people losing their homes?  This doesn’t actually make much sense.  People don’t need to be desensitized to that, and we certainly don’t need to make fun of it.

Which is exactly what Steven J. Baum and company did at their cute little halloween party.  The employees thought it would be great fun to dress up as homeless people… as in,  people who had lost their homes. Not only is that not funny, but it’s terribly cavalier if not almost a little sadistic.  I’m fairly certain that “kicking people while they’re down” isn’t actually in the dictionary, but if it were – there might be a picture of this party next to the entry.

Which, anyway, brings me to my point.  It seems like we’re living in a society where simple human decency has become null and void.  We don’t need to be decent to people anymore, guys, because apparently it’s not cost effective.  It won’t make you any money.  The important thing, now, is to learn how to be as inconsiderate and cold hearted as we can be… otherwise, we’ll fall victim to those who have already learned.  Think I’m joking? Maybe we should talk to the guys over at that airline who spent money on research to find out if it’d be more expensive to fix a defect on their planes, or pay out to the families of the victims if something were to go wrong. For the record, they fixed the defect. Because their research showed it would be cheaper.

Scary, isn’t it? Our lives are in the hands of people, every single day, who don’t look at us as human beings… they looks at us as numbers and bottom lines.  What’s a couple laughs over kicking someone out of their house when it got you that huge paycheck, anyway? Nothing. Just like voting one right away is nothing.

It’s always nothing until it’s something.

Which makes sense, don’t you think?

You Have The Right Not To Like This Post

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All right, Internet… Please affix a pair of steel toed boots to your feet, because I am about to step on some toes.

Putting aside the current mess that is our economy and the never ending ditch that patriotic morale has somehow found its way to the bottom of… there are, in fact, a few things that still make this country pretty great.  For instance, I can come online and write pretty much whatever I want, be it mean, racist, ugly, wrong, or what have you.  People may get mad, yes.  People may not like it… but, in the end, do I care? Maybe.  I might care.  But jeeze, at least I had the right to say it.  I can read what I want.  I can watch what I want.  I can wear what I want.  I have a wondrous cornucopia of rights that I probably take for granted every single day of my life.

But you want to know something? Those rights are not guaranteed to us.  We may think they are, but take a closer look at all those fancy ancient documents our country was founded on.  The fact of the matter is that it’s extremely possible to lose our rights one by one.  Is it a conscious thing?  I really don’t know… but is the loss of rights a gradual process? A process that we can actively participate in every step of the way, and not even realize it until we’ve backed ourselves up in to a corner that we have no right to walk back out of?

Yes.  Yes, it is.

There was a law passed in a city nearby me not too long ago, in which was stipulated a nice and long list of places where people were no longer allowed to smoke.  I don’t smoke.  I never have, and I never will.  Personally, I think it’s a gross and unhealthy habit.  Does this law benefit me? Yes, I suppose it does.  It means I don’t have to breathe in someone’s disgusting smoky air.  If I had had the opportunity to vote on this law, however, I would have firmly punched “no” on the ballot.  Ask me why now, Internet.

Because, as small and insignificant as this may seem, it would have been voting someone’s right away.  Somewhere along the line someone, or some group, gets angry enough about something that they take options out of our hands.  We’re left with one option, and it’s their option.  Like I said, the smoking issue may seem inconsequential, but that’s the point.  It’s a small enough issue now, and we let it slip under our radar.  It’s when this becomes the norm, that it becomes a problem.  When we get used to something, bigger and bigger issues seem smaller and smaller.  Our radar gets more and more blurred.

Now, we live in a strange social and political climate.  It seems that you can’t get away with kicking a damn pebble down the street without someone getting up in arms about how that pebble didn’t want or deserve that kind of treatment.  Personally, I think people take themselves too seriously.

Like you, Sasha Houston.

So, you walked in to an Urban Outfitters and were upset that they didn’t honor your culture?  It’s a clothing chain.  They don’t honor anything, or haven’t you seen the way people dress these days?  Somehow furry boots go with shorts, and tights are now considered pants.  They don’t care about you, they don’t care about me, and they don’t care about the Native Americans. Why should they?  It’s a free market out there, as well it should be.  They make money off this stuff, as is their right.  Do you have to like it? No.  Do you have to shop there? No.  Do you have the right to complain about it?  Yes, you do.  Do I have the right to call you out on your crappy, self-indulgent, “poor me, poor us” attitude? Yes, I do.

No one is going to go around saying that the American Indians didn’t draw the short straw.  We all know what happened to them, and yes, it was terrible.  Having said that, I don’t think that slapping a synthetic feather on a plastic dream catcher was Urban Outfitters’ way of flipping the Native American culture the bird.   This is not something that they did personally to anyone, nor did they do it to purposely make anyone mad.  This is something they did to capitalize on the fact that, today, teenage girls like feathers and fringe.  Tomorrow, it’ll be something else.

People will keep complaining though.  People will keep playing race cards, and culture cards, and comfort cards, and I-have-this-so-I-may-as-well-use-it cards… and pretty soon, no one will be allowed to say or do anything for fear of being sued, being picketed, being boycotted, being arrested, etc…

There’s that corner again; it’s getting closer and closer.

Anyhow, keep complaining, Sasha.  That’s your right.  My advice, though? Get over it, and shop somewhere else.

Or keep shopping there.  Did you know you could get a dream catcher for five dollars at Urban Outfitters? How can you afford not to buy that?

Link to article:

http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/beauty/urban-outfitters-under-fire-for-navajo-collection-2582797/