Food

A beginner's guide to single malt scotch

Six mini bottles of scotch. From left to right: Deanston’s, Glen Scotia, Tomintoul 12, Glendronach 18, Glendronach 12, bunnahabhain 12
Six mini bottles of scotch. From left to right: Deanston’s, Glen Scotia, Tomintoul 12, Glendronach 18, Glendronach 12, bunnahabhain 12
My personal distillery tour

Apparently, whiskey is Irish and whisky is Scottish. I learned that from a very sexy in a hot-for-teacher way grad student from Glasgow. If you haven’t read my article Navigating Scotland as a First Time International Traveler*, feel free to check it out now. I’ll wait.

Okay, so as you now know, one of the best things about Scotland is that it’s the home of single malt scotch. Just as true champagne can only be made in France, true scotch can only be made in Scotland. …


Travel

And what to skip

Sticky toffee pudding in white bowl topped with a scoop of ice cream
Sticky toffee pudding in white bowl topped with a scoop of ice cream
Sticky toffee pudding. Need I say more? All photos are the authors.

If you’ve been following my adventures in Scotland series, you already know that my first international voyage taught me three things: Heathrow is the seventh circle of hell, it’s whisky, not whiskey, and everything tastes better in Scotland.

I could write an entire book on my undying love affair with Scottish food. For now, I’ll focus on the three things I really wish we could get in the United States.

Food in Scotland is generally much better quality than food in the States. I am told that this is because of EU regulations on produce and…


Travel

Planes, trains, and automobiles

The Queen’s castle in Edinburgh sits above a green hill
The Queen’s castle in Edinburgh sits above a green hill

When God first told me to go to Scotland, I knew exactly two things about the country: scotch and Highland romance novels. While that’s not a bad foundation for a relationship with a person, it’s probably less than ideal for visiting a foreign country. This was my first experience with international travel, and I was going to a cold and rainy land I knew nothing about.

Navigating Scotland was an adventure complete with breathtaking views and rom-com worthy foibles. Consider this one part cautionary tale, one part how-I-spent-my-winter-vacation.

My flight plan was… unconventional. Traveling on a…


Race in America

I can’t be sure

Photo by Alex Radelich on Unsplash

My best friend says I’m a glass-half-empty type of person. I prefer to think of myself as a realist, if a bit cynical. Yesterday, Derek Chauvin, the man who murdered George Floyd in broad daylight on a public street with dozens of onlookers, was found guilty on all counts.

Most people are celebrating this, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. What does this verdict change?

And I don’t mean that in the what-does-this-change-in-the-great-scheme-of-things-because-we-have-a-shitty-criminal-justice-system way, although that is a valid question I’ll get into later in this article.

I mean, how does the emotional impact of this verdict…


Writing

Black or black? And yes, it matters.

Brown skinned black woman in denim jacket writing in notebook with a pencil. A cup of coffee and two books rest on the table.
Brown skinned black woman in denim jacket writing in notebook with a pencil. A cup of coffee and two books rest on the table.
Photo by Kat Stokes on Unsplash

Six years before I was born, James Baldwin gave a speech at UC Berkely about what it means to be a Black writer.

“What a writer is obliged to some point to realize is that he is involved in a language which he has to change. For example, for a black writer, especially in this country, to be born into the English language is to realize the assumptions of the language, the assumptions by which the language operates, are his enemy.”

The English language, at its default setting, is inherently racist. It is…


Economics

For the purpose of this article, I’ve settled on a theoretical reparations payout in the amount of half a million dollars each for every Black American

Attractive Black man with braided locs smiles while holding hundred dollars bills like a fan
Attractive Black man with braided locs smiles while holding hundred dollars bills like a fan
Photo by REX WAY on Unsplash

Last week, the United States Senate passed a 1.9 trillion dollar Covid-19 relief package that includes modest cash payments for American families and massive asset purchases for banks — proving once again where our national priorities lie.

Historically speaking, the United States has a track record of doing what it takes to keep the uber-rich happy while generally screwing over everyone else. That’s why in 2018 Congress solidified and expanded the tax exemption for being a private jet owner. It’s why in 2008, banks got bailed out by the government while homeowners got put out in the streets.

It’s why…


Equality

Brown skinned Black woman with waist lenghth locs wearing a white t-shirt that says “First of all, no.”
Brown skinned Black woman with waist lenghth locs wearing a white t-shirt that says “First of all, no.”
Photo by Jazmin Quaynor on Unsplash

Last month, I wrote about America’s Sordid History of Paying Reparations to White Enslavers. After reading my article, a church member reached out to me to let me know about the Haitian revolution and how France charged them 21 billion dollars (in 1825!) to acknowledge their freedom, a sum Haiti is still paying today.

“Will France pay it back?” he asks.

*groans in irritated Black girl*

I’m not sure what was going on in his head when he wrote this response (or why he insists on copying my entire article into an email instead of sending out a link to…


A new generation of Black womxn are making music ‘like they used to do’

VanJess performing with mood lighting live with a Spotify logo in neon at the back. They are singing into their microphones and gesturing at each other.
VanJess performing with mood lighting live with a Spotify logo in neon at the back. They are singing into their microphones and gesturing at each other.
VanJess perform during the Spotify House Of Are & Be Late Night Jam Session With Raphael Saadiq on July 06, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo: Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for Spotify

If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone over 30 say “they just don’t make good music anymore!” I would finally be able to live out my dream of becoming the Black Tinsley Mortimer. Alas, I fear becoming a rich eccentric is not in my future.

Fortunately, I can guarantee that all the good music is not in my past. There are several new artists making music with mass appeal for Grandmas, aunties, and folx whose knees survived the “Buss It” challenge. …


Race in America

If you don’t see color, you don’t see yourself

Photo by Taylor Smith on Unsplash

I once had a commenter tell me: “most of us white people in America want to live in a place where skin color doesn’t matter, because to most of us it really doesn’t. And the only way we know how to get there is to behave like skin color doesn’t matter.”

This is flawed logic. What social problems have we fixed by ignoring them? Sexism? Classism? Ableism? Transphobia? Xenophobia? Youth Suicide? Seriously, think about it for a minute — if social problems could just magically be solved by ignoring them we wouldn’t have any social problems in the first place.


History

Large white plantation style home with immaculately manicured lawn
Large white plantation style home with immaculately manicured lawn
Photo by Adam Kring on Unsplash

The first Americans to receive reparations were white enslavers.

After the Revolutionary War, George Washington and a British dude named Sir Guy Carleton (I swear I’m not making this up, his parents obviously hated him) sent letters back and forth to negotiate some of the cloudier details of the Treaty of Paris.

At this point, the American Revolution was like an ongoing fight with your spouse — it was over, but it wasn’t over over. Heck, the Treaty of Paris wasn’t even signed until 1783, but that didn’t stop us from declaring ourselves a country waaaay back in 1776. …

Ajah Hales

World Changer. Social Thinker. Business Owner.

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