East Of Eden

"A curious mix of the relevant and reverential"


Your brain on video games

videogames



Just watched an awesome TED talk on the benefits  of playing video games. This post, I dedicate to my brother Joe.

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Of snips, snails and/or sugar and spice

sommers boydoll post

Epic, Liz Lemon eyeroll, right here, for this ridiculousness straight out of Sweden. From The Atlantic:

Is it discriminatory and degrading for toy catalogs to show girls playing with tea sets and boys with Nerf guns? A Swedish regulatory group says yes. The Reklamombudsmannen (RO) has reprimanded Top-Toy, a licensee of Toys"R"Us and one of the largest toy companies in Northern Europe, for its "outdated" advertisements and has pressured it to mend its "narrow-minded" ways. After receiving "training and guidance" from RO equity experts, Top-Toy introduced gender neutrality in its 2012 Christmas catalogue. The catalog shows little boys playing with a Barbie Dream House and girls with guns and gory action figures. As its marketing director explains, "For several years, we have found that the gender debate has grown so strong in the Swedish market that we have had to adjust."

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Footprints, drag marks, it's all good

footprints

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Holidazed



Jon Acuff writes at Stuff Christians Like:

Recently, someone emailed me a photo of this billboard[.]

My first thought was, “Do you know why Jesus misses hearing you say Merry Christmas? Because no one said it to him in the Bible.”

It’s true. When Joseph held the sweet baby Jesus in his arms, he didn’t say, “Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night.”

The wisemen didn’t get down off their awesome camels and say, “Here are some Christmas gifts.”

 

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Aiming at Heaven and getting Earth thrown in

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 K and Z this summer in Netcong, NJ.
 


I read an interesting post by Rod Dreher that got me thinking about Evangelicalism, nature, the Arts and mysticism. He writes:

... I read a book by an Evangelical author with whose work I was unfamiliar. She writes about her experience of God in a sacramental way — that is, how her experience of the beauty of creation awakened something in her, and brought her closer to God through her awareness of His presence in the natural world, and in the world of things His people have made to His glory. It’s the kind of thing that’s an ordinary part of Catholic and Orthodox theology and spirituality, and I thought she wrote beautifully about this awakening.
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I fight sins not tragedies.

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 Joscelyne's Memorial Service



Thursday was Joscelyne's memorial. It was a beautiful service and I guess a good 200 people came out. I didn't cry and I believe a large part of that is due to the presence of those 200.

My former boss, Nancy, and her husband. My heart leaped at seeing her face. She was my boss when I was 19, working part time mentoring freshmen.

Tamara, one of my oldest friends. We use to make mud pies in my backyard when I was 7.

Carly, my friend of 15 years who I hadn't seen for over one.

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To sing a requiem and such rest to her.

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"For in that sleep of death what dreams may come."
 
Hamlet,  Act III, scene 1, line 66



I pulled into the driveway, and put the car in park. It was a risk, just showing up like this to see my sister, but I missed her. I pulled out my cell and hit her number on my contact list.

After two attempts and nothing but voicemail, I called her husband, Manny, who was at work.

"Hey Man, she is home, right?"

"Yeah, Li, she is. She doesn't have the car, and it's what, 11? Where else would she be?"

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What's the opposite of suckage?

christian-music
 (Source)



So I did a post about Contemporary Christian Music's (CCM) supposed suckage in the minds and ears of quite a few. It went up, but the views for it didn't. At least that is, until the very cool Matt at The Church of No People kindly retweeted the link.

Quite suddenly, a bunch of peeps in the Twitterverse let me know, in no uncertain terms, that CCM is, if not awesome, at the very least, the opposite of "suckage". At first, I got scared. Really. See, I've found myself cornered by anonymous folks on the Interwebs in the past, trying to converse to no avail. So when I saw all those "@alishadefreitas" comments... I felt a chill.

But I warmed quickly when I actually read through the replies. There was no attack on me, just heartfelt defenses by music lovers. Once the convo got going, I asked two of the Tweeps if they would do an interview via email... and they agreed. Yeah! So please allow me to introduce you to Claire (@claireshegoes) and Ben (@bhrome).

Ladies first, so without further delay, the lovely, bespectacled Claire from Canada:

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Claire
 
AD: How long have you listened to Christian music?
 
C. I want to say that I’ve been listening to Christian music in some form my whole life. When I was a child my parents played different records. I can’t remember the artists’ names. But I recall that certain artists sang only about Jesus and God's love. 

My parents also sang in church.  My mother often did solos.  I remember crying because her voice touched me so deeply.


AD: CCM is a broad term. Which particular type of Christian music do you listen to most? Rock? Rap? Worship? Country? Gospel?  

C: In the CCM world, I listen mostly to gospel and pop, along with some rock.

AD:  I quoted a lot of folks in that post. Are there any points you agree with? With what did you most disagree?
 
C: Among the people you quoted, I agreed the most with Benjamin Drew Griffin.  There will be diversity among the sounds—and quality of sounds—in the CCM canon.  I don’t think it’s realistic for people to expect anything else.  

I also agreed partially with a quote you took from Action Magazine. I know from experience that repetition of lyrics can grate on people’s nerves. 

However, I disagreed with the writer later on within the same passage. I remember that he had an issue with people referring to God as “worthy”. When I read his words, I became upset.
I wondered who he was that he felt qualified to criticize someone's diction so closely. All any of us has when we approach any subject is our own humble, human vocabulary. Although the word "worthy' may not do God justice, I don't know how someone could fail to see that someone was using it with the intent of honoring Him. 

Beyond that, I absolutely disagree with Father Longenecker, who stated that--regarding CCM, “Too often the audience actually like the crap that is being dished up.” Different lyrics, tempos, and styles of music mean different things to different people. I don’t see his reason for tarring all Christian music with a “crap” brush. 

More importantly, though, I have a question about a declaration that he made, which was echoed in D-Sane’s words. Father Longenecker said, “…the problem with most ‘Christian’ music is that it is secular music with Christian words.”What do people mean when they say this? And honestly, what do they expect? Is CCM supposed to utilize other-worldly instrumentation and lyrics? Human beings are only capable of doing so much.

To be fair, though, I will admit something. A few years ago I caught myself cringing over a couple of CCM artists. When I listened to them, all I heard was a bastardized version of Britney Spears. 

Hence, I'd like to clarify my position. Although I can see the problem with plagiarism and artistic laziness, I don’t object to parallel genres within the field of CCM. The majority of society has been conditioned to listen to music that adheres to certain patterns. 

Which brings me back to my main question: what do critics want CCM to sound like?
If it is supposed to be different from secular music, just how different is it supposed to be? Are there specific guidelines that musicians ought to follow? For all of their complaining, there has been very little explaining.

A great deal of energy is spent insulting CCM and stating what it shouldn’t be. How about some concrete ideas regarding what it should be?


ChristianMusicRocksToo

AD: Do you listen to secular music? If no, why? Do you believe its wrong or sinful? If yes, who? What do you listen to most, secular or Christian?

 
C:  I listen to secular music, probably more often than Christian music.  I enjoy pop,  as well as contemporary and classic rock and soul.  I appreciate artists such as Jill Scott and Jason Mraz.

AD: How long have you been a Christian?
 
C: I’ve been a Christian since childhood. However I haven’t always gone to church.
 
AD: Do you go to church regularly? If yes, what type of music is sang? Hymns? Praise & Worship?
 
C:  I’ve recently begun to attend services again. The church I am visiting plays a combination of traditional hymns along with contemporary praise and worship music.

AD: How important is music to you?

C: Music is my lifeline. I truly believe it is one of God’s greatest gifts to humanity. It restores my soul. It helps me to stay sane and focused.

 
AD: How do you listen? iTunes? CDs? Radio? Pandora?
 
C: I usually find music via iTunes. 
 
AD: Do you have a favorite artist?
 
C: Currently my favorite CCM artist is Mali Music.

AD: What would you say to those who feel CCM is weak or lacking artistry?
 
C: Stop whining. There are terrible artists in every genre of music. Get over the idea that the quality of any and all “Christian” music represents you.

Let’s look at another genre. Based purely on stereotypes, I’m supposed to be attached to R&B. But do you think I’m happy with every so-called soul singer that I hear? Absolutely not.

Meanwhile, I actually feel defensive when people say things such as “rap sucks” because I know differently. I don't see the sense in insulting an entire style of music because of a few unimpressive artists.

The quality of any type of music depends on the artist that a person is listening to. I think that it’s foolish to negatively depict an entire genre of music simply because a few artists are flawed.
If nothing else, I think that the critical vocabulary surrounding CCM needs to change. Alisha, your blog post isn’t the first time that I’ve heard that Christian music “sucks”.  I think that those who dislike CCM could do a lot better in terms of how they describe what they dislike.
Over the years I’ve heard a lot of complaining about CCM with very little offered in terms of means of improvement.
 
Hence, if someone thinks CCM sucks, I say to them, “Fine.”

Write your own material. Record it. Perform. 

But whatever you do, go beyond the notion that CCM is the worst thing ever. Because really, it’s not.

AD: Do you identify as a particular type of Christian? Baptist? Presbyterian? Pentecostal? Catholic?
 
C:  I think of myself as a non-denominational Christian.

AD: Anything you want to add?
 
C: Thank you for asking me to share my thoughts with you! I'm really grateful for this opportunity.
 
You're welcome! Thank you for taking the time to respond and to do so with so much thought, depth and charity! 
 
If, like me, you find Claire to be smart and interesting, follow her on Twitter or check out her blog. Next up, D.C.'s Ben Rome takes the virtual center stage.
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Circles, Squares & Me

When I sat in that doctor's office over a year and a half ago, being told I should consider terminating my Zoe because I might have a genetic condition that I may pass on to my daughter, I knew deep in my heart, she was- and is- a gift.

I knew that even if some cold, detached doctor did not, could not, would not see her value, she deserved life.

And when she was born, a beautiful, squiggly girl of seven pounds and seven ounces and a long twenty inches, the precious gift I was blessed to carry for thirty-eight weeks entered the world, full of curiosity, attentiveness and hunger.

Zoe Lyne Hope. Zoe means "life". Abundant life.

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 The first time I held my precious little Zoe.
 


The thing is, while I had all the hope in the world for my sweet baby girl, the doctor's advice cut me deeply. Whether she was aware of it or not, she had sent a very clear message. If my daughter should die because she might wind up like me, why should I go on living?

Tough words for me to write, but they were downright terrifying for me to think, believe and finally live. I began to see myself through broken, twisted lens. As my health declined last year, this view quietly took a hold of me, so thoroughly that when I was admitted to the hospital to treat my neurological problems, I felt I was wasting the doctors' and nurses' valuable time. I was squandering our insurance money.

What made me worth helping?

I was on medical leave from work, not bringing in a paycheck.

My FMLA time was up, and my last disability payment from having Zoe had come two months before all this.

In Randian speak, I was a taker, mooching off those who truly count, the makers.

Circles and squares. My thoughts were caught in a seemingly endless loop of boxed in despair and brokenness.

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Right after getting the tube used for plasmapheresis (dialysis) removed from my neck. It had been in for 9 days.
 
 
Oh, how God works through the broken. Through liars, adulterers, punks, whores, murderers, the blind, and the enslaved.
 
And in a little squiggly five month old named Zoe.
 
To some I might be a carrier of deficiency and defects. To others, a huge and unnecessary expense. 
 
To Zoe, I'm mommy, giver of food, milk, kisses, hugs and baths. 
 
Giver of Life.
 
The more I have given to Life, the more purpose I have received.
 
I chose Life, and she gives life to me.
 
 
 
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My first time back at church after being released from the hospital.
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Splits & Schisms

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 Me after the 8AM service on Sunday. All these pics are of my church, taken by me.



Despite being Unapologetically Episcopalian... well, liking it on Facebook, I've been feeling something like sorrow for the denomination to which my church belongs. It seems every other day there's yet another story about it's decreasing numbers and entire parishes breaking off to become Roman Catholic or join up with other theologically conservative Anglican communities.

And little by little, I've been feeling out of step, too. There was the little devotional that left me at a loss for words. Then there was this post based off of last Sunday's Liturgical Gospel Readings. It was written by David Henson who is currently undergoing training to become a priest. Here's an excerpt:

"Was Jesus a racist?
This might be an uncomfortable question for Christians to ask, but, given this week’s lectionary text, I think it’s one we must ask. And we must ask it unvarnished.
Our immediate response likely is, “Of course not! Jesus couldn’t possibly have been racist!” But Jesus’ exchange with the Syrophoenician woman seems to tell a different story. In it, Jesus calls the woman, who was desperate for a miracle for her child, a dog, a dehumanizing ethnic slur common at the time. No matter what theological tap dance we might create to avoid this uncomfortable truth, eventually, we have to face this stark truth.
Jesus uttered a racial slur.
Part of the difficulty of this passage is that as Christians, we want Jesus to be the simple, easy answer to all our problems and to all of society’s problems. When faced with the complexities of personal and institutional racism, it is much easier to think of Jesus as transcending them all and loving all peoples regardless of skin color or culture of origin.
After all, that’s what our children’s song teaches us. Jesus loves the little children. All the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white. They are precious in his sight.
But what of the little dogs? Does Jesus love them too?
The difficulty of this passage particularly for white Christians is that we want Jesus to be colorblind. We want Jesus to be colorblind because that’s what we want to be or think we should be. But, in truth, at least in the Gospel of Mark, Jesus is anything but colorblind. In fact, rather than being part of the solution to racism or ethnic prejudice, Jesus seems to be very much part of the problem, according to this story.
So what does it mean, exactly, that the Son of God, the Incarnation, the Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity, utters a racial slur?
Because that is exactly what Jesus does in his exchange with the Syrophoenician woman. When confronted with the gentile pagan in this story, he explains that his message and ministry are for Israelites only, a comment of ethnic exclusion and prejudice that calls to mind a similar refrain – whites only – that reverberated throughout the South not too long ago.
It wouldn’t be fair, Jesus explains, to take the banquet prepared for his people – the children, the humans – and give it to gentiles – the dogs, the less than human."
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In my 14 years of Christian school, and lifetime of attending various churches, I've never heard of such an interpretation of Mark 7:24-37. I never even thought of it in such a way. I think there is a real danger in juxataposing 21st Century Western sociological issues onto Scripture.

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I'm not the only one feeling alien. I read an unintentionally (?) funny post on HuffPo by Christina Pesoli. She feels so out of sorts with the Roman Catholic Church she wants a major schism.

"For decades I prayed that the Catholic Church would evolve, but not anymore. Now I'm holding out for a schism, instead. We'll be the Social Justice Catholic Church and they can be the Conservative Catholic Church.
We'll take Melinda Gates, Stephen Colbert, all of the Kennedys, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, John Kerry and, yes (because we have a sense of humor), even Joe Biden. Oh, and for edgy vibe, we'll take Jack White. The Conservative Catholics can have Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Paul Ryan and Justice Antonin Scalia.
In the Social Justice Catholic Church, there will be no more of this nonsense over contraception. Once we've put that non-issue to rest, we'll be freed up to tackle other non-issues, too -- like marriage and gender equality.
In the Social Justice Catholic Church, everyone will be treated equally -- men, women, gay or straight. And everyone will be allowed to marry, even priests. And speaking of priests, no one will be disqualified from being one based on gender or sexual orientation. Priest shortage? What priest shortage?
So, what makes the Social Justice Catholic Church different from any other inclusive and reasonable church, like the Unitarian Church, for example? Two thousand years' worth of rituals and a treasure trove of accessories, that's what. We're keeping all of the cool incense burners, water-sprinkler thingies, holy days, saints and sacraments. Oh, and the wine. We're definitely keeping the wine"

Geez, I'm not even Catholic and I'm shaking my head. By the way, I wrote it was perhaps unintentionally funny because what Pesoli is advocating for kind of started happening back in the 1500's. It was called The Reformation. Martin Luther and John Calvin... Ring any bells? At any rate, she might be more at home in the Episcopal Church. No need for some major theological battle. And we've got "cool incense burners, water-sprinkler thingies, holy days, saints and sacraments", too. Oh, and we've got wine.

See, we've got wine! No Welch's here!


My thoughts about Pesoli are echoed in advice by Ellen Painter Dollar to Rachel Held Evans. Dollar, also an Episcopalian, advises Evans, an Evangelical who is feeling at odds with those like Mark Driscoll and John Piper, to simply leave for a mainline church.

"While I am sympathetic to those who wish to bring reforms, of feminist and other natures, to the evangelical movement, I also want to remind those who are fed up with how women and their voices are welcomed (or not) in evangelical churches, publications, and conversations that there are many churches (that is, movements, denominations, and congregations) where women and other marginalized groups (such as LGBT Christians) don’t have to fight for respect, equality, and a voice. I think many frustrated evangelicals would be amazed (and breathe some huge sighs of relief) to discover that issues that are hot within their circles are non-issues for many other dedicated Christians. And that Christians of an evangelical bent can find a home alongside those other dedicated Christians, even in communities that don’t define themselves overtly as “evangelical.”
 ...  many American Christians are living a lively faith within vibrant faith communities, without having to argue for full inclusion and respect for all people, and without having to navigate many of the gender-related controversies that occupy evangelicals.

If you are fed up with churches in which all you have to do to be controversial is to be a woman who speaks her mind, I invite you to find a different church.

Contrary to some stereotypes, mainline American churches are not repositories of chilly, rote religion practiced by people more interested in tradition than the movement of the Spirit....

... What could be more radical within a traditional Christian community than welcoming those who are unsure of how far they want to commit to this Christianity thing?

Sometimes I miss the energetic, informal worship and easy Jesus talk of my evangelical college fellowship. But I’ve gladly traded those things for a church where the Jesus talk is a little more subdued, but no less vital, and where the gender (or sexual orientation, for that matter) of those doing the talking matters not at all."


Sounds like Pesoli would REALLY like her church.

Maybe there will be a schism, though. Not a Eastern Orthodox vs. Roman Catholic or Roman Catholic vs. Protestant, but a Traditional vs. Liberal.

Sigh. So much for that whole "we are one in Christ" teaching.

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A lived-through Saturday.

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 I don't get very many invites these days, so it's very striking I managed to get three for events all on the same day, May 19th.

Three parties celebrating three very different occasions. But all for beautiful women who are about to experience life-changing events.

Candace has been my friend since before Dawson and Pacey but after the Macarena. We were both transfers to a now-shut down Christian school, new girls in the eleventh grade.

She was-and is- everything I'm not. Tall, thin, charismatic and adventurous. We clicked immediately.

After college, she moved to Miami, preferring the heat and sun to Jersey's cloudy gray. She's traveled the world- London, Port of Spain, Acapulco- with aplomb. So it makes perfect sense that she's taken a job as a flight attendant, stationed in the exotic where billionaires play. She's leaving in a few days.




The second event was to honor- and exhort- Dawn, mother of six,  loving daughter and sister, faithful Christian, domestic abuse survivor, and youth leader. She'll be undergoing a mastectomy this week, and her daughters put together a surprise party.

A cancer diagnosis would probably drive most folks into silence, but it's the opposite for Dawn. She pulled out her camera, and began a video blog of her journey



 

...
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Circles, Squares & Z

We sat, mouths slightly agape, staring. We were shocked and hurt, K and I. We had just been counseled briefly that the child inside me might be genetically "defective". And then asked flatly, if we would like to consider terminating the pregnancy?

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Hospital-stark-hallway thum


Six weeks ago, K and I left work early to go the hospital where I plan to have Z, named after an early Christian saint and martyr evoked at times when peace is needed.

We sat in the full waiting room with other expectant parents, waiting to be called. After an hour, a doctor assigned to be our genetic counselor came out and said she needed five minutes to review my file. I suppose she hadn't expected the additional medical records I had brought along, results of various tests related to my sensory neuropathy ( for info on this, click here or here). But whenever I go to a new doctor, I tag along a 20 page summary of the litany of tests I've gone through in the past two years. So, I sat back down for another fifteen minutes and waited for "Tina" to return.

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Let it Be.

I'm sitting in the local diner writing this on my laptop, the diner being every good Jersey girl's version of "The Max" that Zack and Slater hung out in "Saved By The Bell." But I'm by myself, sans Lisa and Screech, so I guess this would be like a deleted "Jesse studies alone” scene that wouldn't even make the DVD collection. Of course, circa 2010.

 

I've got "Eat Pray Love" with me, which is pretty sad because I've been lugging this now worn book around for a month and Liz is just in India. Considering I typically devour books the way I just devoured the tuna triple decker I ordered, quick and easy, my inability to read this book straight through is beyond strange. I mean, I got through 3 Hemingway novels in less time than this a few months ago- including the ominous "For Whom The Bell Tolls."


 

At first, I attributed the slow pace to a general dislike of the book. After all, Liz is needy and weepy and emotionally a wreck... at least when she's not eating. She is funny and witty, and the self-deprecation, charming. But overall, she was grating at me somehow. It took to last week to pinpoint it- she's so narcissistic... just like me.

...
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Be My Guest: The Poverty of The Prosperity Gospel

prosperity-gospel

 

The Poverty of the Prosperity Gospel

 

This is how the Lausanne Theology Working Group, Africa chapter, defined the prosperity gospel at its consultations in Akropong, Ghana:

 

“We define prosperity gospel as the teaching that believers have a right to the blessings of health and wealth and that they can obtain these blessings through positive confessions of faith and the "sowing of seeds" through the faithful payments of tithes and offerings.”

...
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The Secret Life of B****es

the-secret-life-of-beesNo, no, no, not "The Secret Life of Bees". The Secret Life of B****es! No Dakota Fanning in this category. I think.
 

I've worked with quite a number of men and women over the past ten years, and unfortunately, a few... how shall I put it? Well, I had the dishonor of working for some major b****es. Yes, although those are asterisks, you all know what I mean. Nasty tempered, mean mugging, snotty, back stabbing, lying rhymes-with-witches people. And I say people, because plenty of guys aren't just dogs, no they are b****es.

Now, if I offended some with my use of letters and symbols to clearly communicate a bad word, my apologies. You can stop reading and go pray for me. Then click the tag on the homepage for "Christ the King". Or un-bunch your panties and keep reading. I'd suggest you do both.

Anyway, I was talking to a co-worker this morning about how negatively some people have talked about my transition to natural hair. Me: "Yeah, you should've heard how people were talking to me! One person said 'I'll bring in a hot comb to get THAT fixed for you'". Her: "WHAT? They said that about your hair? They had the nerve to call your hair "THAT" as if there's something wrong with it? With you? Hmph! Well, you're too nice. I would've told that b**** off!" I laughed and went about my day.

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The Naked Truth: Celebs Are Revealing Little More Than Themselves

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What's going on with all the nakey celebrities? Is April National Nude Month? I know it's National Poetry Month, but I'm missing the art in seeing all this celeb skin.

A few weeks ago, neo-soul hippie Erykah Badu bared it all on the streets of Houston for the controversial video for "Window Seat"- controversial because she shot it without bothering to get permits and actually got naked... no pasties or anything. In the video, she walks about a block and a half to the location where President John F. Kennedy was shot, all the while stripping (you can see a number of stunned bystanders, including CHILDREN as she saunters over to the infamous grassy knoll). I've watched the video a few times now (K gave it one viewing before dismissing it as "too weird" for his taste), and I'm still not too sure what the message is. Hmm... rebirth? Letting go of baggage (but didn't she do that already with "Bag Lady")? There's truth if we strip down to the core of history?

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I Went to College for THIS?

DSC00636Meghan, Gi Gi, Rob and I in February 2008


I finally found a little complaint-laden blog I wrote in 2006 and posted on MySpace about my experience working my first full time job out of college (be forewarned class of '09, the real world ain't pretty). I figured I'd share it with you all... enjoy!


Right now, this is just a job. If I advance any higher in this company, then this would be my career. And uh … well, if this were my career, I’d have to throw myself in front of a train.” ~Jim, from the “Health Care” episode of “The Office”



 

 

...
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Requiem for New Millennial Craptastic Trends

ri ri Rihanna and an umbrella-ella-ella. Eh-eh-eh.

 

 

Over the weekend, the hubby and I were watching the 2007 installment of VH1’s “I Love the New Millennium” which pondered such great questions as why did Rihanna add so many syllables to the word “umbrella” (“UM-BRELLA-ELLA-ELLA-EH-EH-EH”), and I started thinking of all the fads and trends that emerged in popular culture this decade. Thankfully, many of the whoops corrected themselves (like, say for instance, the TMI-revealing combo of low rider jeans and thongs, which admittedly, I was guilty of wearing in 2001), and I hope they never return. Following is a list of things K and I did not love about the new millennium:

 

 

...
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Get Hitched or Die Tryin'

Get Rich Or Die Tryin27
 
“Dying” to get married? You might have more in common with this man than you think.
 
 

I couldn’t blame my girlfriends. The girls, who upon learning of my impending nuptials last fall, reacted with varying degrees of annoyance and anger. Yes, I was disappointed, but I understood. I had been there too, excited for your friend but feeling desperate because of your own single status. Like Katherine Heigl in “27 Dresses”, there’s only but so many weddings a girl can attend before she starts to feel exhausted, aggravated, irritated and yes… alone.

 

My own cracking period began a few years ago. I had been to a few weddings during college- they were mostly small affairs for my cousins and were pretty fun. Then came September 2006. The good times started to dry up. First, my sister Joscelyne’s best friend Jennie said her vows to James. The ceremony was fine, but the reception? Um, Jennie if you’re reading this, sorry girl, but being hit on by your husband’s weirdo cousins half the night equalled out to a craptastic time. I couldn’t help thinking if I had a real date (since Joscelyne was my “date”), I could’ve been shielded from the drunken come-ons. But I couldn’t get a (male) date to save my life. I have a theory that happily single guys don’t want to go anywhere near a wedding unless explicitly invited by a member of the wedding party or are part of said wedding party themselves. Contrary to “Wedding Crashers”, the single guys I knew didn’t want to go anywhere near one. They thought it would give me “ideas.” Well, they were right. It gave me the idea to ask Joscelyne who agreed to come with me to the subsequent weddings I attended.

 

Two weeks later, my best friend Giddel married David, and I was (and am) so happy for them. I cried when she walked down the aisle, escorted by her grandfather. They looked beautiful. And I think it was around the reception that I started to feel very… alone. Joscelyne was there, of course, but I felt my singleness painfully. I didn’t have a man. No partner, no one to pose with in pictures lovingly. No man. And part of me felt even more alone since my bff had become a wife. Don’t get me wrong, I felt elated for her. But without any Raputre, I had been left behind. Giddel’s grandfather tried to cheer me up by saying, “Girl, as pretty as you are, you won’t stay single! What do these guys know? Let me bring you down to Puerto Rico, you’ll have guys lining up to marry you!”

Instead of Puerto Rico, the next month found me at my girl Robyn’s wedding to Dan. I almost didn’t go. I had a date (yup, Jos again), but I didn’t like any of my clothes, I didn’t know how to get to the place… and to be brutally honest, at this point, I was ready to plaster a big “L” for loser on my forehead. While Robyn giggled at her bridal shower, I was gagging. Not at her (really, Rob, if you’re reading this, I repeat, not at you!), but at my own pathetic single state. I tried to back out of going to her wedding, but she was relentless, so I conceded and wound up having the best time. Just when I had got my single girl swag going at the reception (at least I thought I did), it was time for the bouquet toss. Life is funny, because I caught it. Later that night at home I couldn’t help but feel that sneaking lonely sadness again. I might have caught the bouquet, but I couldn’t even catch a decent guy’s eye for more than a minute. And if I did, I soon found out, yes, he, too was married.

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What Happened to Miss Independent? She Became Mrs. De Freitas!

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What’s in a name? Everything to some, based on a number of critically biting comments I’ve received since changing my name to “De Freitas” after tying the knot last autumn. It might not be the new millennial, pro-women thing to do, but I had always known I’d do this since I was a little girl. Growing up in the 80’s and 90’s, I was well aware that it was no longer a societal requirement to do so. There were plenty of women who opted to maintain the name they had since birth. Some did so because they were established in their profession and had become well-known by their maiden name. Others had adapted a more modern feminist stance that they didn’t need to shed their name for a man’s—despite the fact that most had their father’s surname.

 

Still others kind of split the difference by use of the very politically correct hyphen, like “Ms. Mary Jones-White” or “Jessica Smith-Hall”. This seemed a plausible solution that could appease both the traditionalists and feminists. Having two names can actually sound quite privileged to me, even stately. So why didn’t I choose this option B? Well, one reason, to be frank, is that having “Alisha Flemming-De Freitas” would’ve just been too wordy. Try fitting that 23 letter behemoth on a driver’s license or bank card. How about taking the time to scribble that every time I made a check card purchase. And the spelling? Forget about it! I already grew up having people assume my name was spelled “Alicia Fleming,” which are the more common spellings. However, my mom opted for “A-L-I-S-H-A” because she thought it sounded phonetically correct. Turns out, I prefer the Indian origin meaning of it better than the European “Alicia” anyway.

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"... the awesomely gifted Alisha DeFreitas... tells her story of  her brush with the Culture of Death and her refusal to play the world’s game. I love that she gives two well-aimed upraised middle fingers: one to the abortion culture of the Left, and one to the Randian Makers vs. Takers class warriors of the Right. She’s one of my heros."

Mark Shea, author and blogger


"While reading your blog I often sense a certain amount of conviction on your behalf, which makes me wonder why isn’t everyone reading the blogs of a woman who actually “gets it.”

Don, at Minus The Bars


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Joscelyne, my sister


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