East Of Eden

"A curious mix of the relevant and reverential"

Some Saturday Stuff: July 12th.


Diane Keaton as Annie Hall.


Happy Saturday, All. I've been texted and questioned a few times this week on Instagram about how I'm doing, and I figure I'll restate here: I'm okay. I haven't been on Facebook for the past two weeks (well, I've logged into my dummy account to update this blog's and my church's respective pages), not because of some horrid decline in health but because I was getting way too aggravated over stuff I was reading on there. Irrational and uninformed arguments against the soccer, Christianity, Christians in general and that kind of stuff. It's not that I cannot tolerate con arguments- I actually like them, when they're done well. Quite frankly, I find it boring to log onto sites that serve up what I'm already thinking. Challenge me. Question my beliefs. Pop my epistemic bubble and so on and so forth.


But what I saw popping up in my Newsfeed was tired old posts about Christians as sheep, idiots, and liars. The stories were coming because I "liked" some sites that cater to the educated, the freethinking. I guess freethinkers think religious people are enslaved and should be emancipated. Or something. There were similarly annoying posts about how unAmerican soccer is- which pretty much amounted to we here in the U.S. already have one sport called football, so the rest of the world can (and should) go shut up and sit down. Or something.

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Is rap poetry?

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Jay Z: a 21st century poet?


John McWhorter, writing at The Daily Beast, answers with a definitive yes:



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Although I have four cousins who are part German, I'm backing Pope Francis, uh er, Argentina.

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The Simpsons foretold it.

Well, not really.


The "it" is Brazil losing to Germany in the World Cup, which happened on Tuesday. Boy did it ever happen. Losing is one thing, but seven to one!? This is only my second World Cup, but I knew I was watching history.


Perhaps you're wondering what this has to do with "The Simpsons"? Well, a few months back, they aired "You Don't Have to Live Like a Referee" in which Homer lands a plumb spot being a ref at the World Cup because of his outstanding morals (!) in only calling fair plays during soccer games (this is a throwback to an earlier episode where as a ref he threw daughter Lisa out a game; so if he's so honest he'd throw his own little girl out, the officials believe he could not be bribed and restore some integrity to soccer officials). In the alternate Simpsons world, Brazil and Germany wind up facing each other in the final game.


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She's still dying on Facebook.

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Joscelyne's Facebook profile.



Yesterday morning, I nearly choked on my coffee. The near-choke came while reading "She's Still Dying on Facebook" at The Atlantic by Julie Binton. The story recounts the last days of Binton's former BFF Leah which is on display in perpetuity on Facebook.


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Fifty years on...




Yesterday marked the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act into law, and this post is going to be chock full of information and links. First up, this story fromHuffPo which shows far we haven't come



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What have camera phones wrought?



Lately, I've noticed a disturbing trend from friends on social media sites-they have begun covertly snapping photos and making videos of strangers. They then upload them to Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Tumblr or Twitter to poke fun for all the world- well, all their friends and possibly friends of friends and/or assorted followers- to see.


I've been "treated" to pictures of women in ill fitting jeans, leggings and tops, or fat people riding in mobilized scooters at Wal-Mart. There have been photos of feet looking ashy, full of corns and bunions. Children running wild in stores, and oh-so-many bad weaves, haircuts, dye jobs and split ends. In fact, hair (or lack of) may just be the most popular subject to capture for social network scorn. Wigs slightly off-kilter, gray-wite roots, and of course, the "horror" that is natural afro-textured hair.


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Well, well, well.



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Zoe has started doing this thing where she walks up to me, arms crossed, and says slowly, "Well, well, well." I don't where she got it from, but everytime she does it, I stop whatever I'm doing. I get befuddled and between laughs, I say, "I don't know if I like you saying that. Especially like that."

As I sat down to start this post, her well-cubed phrase popped in my head. I think because it feels appropriate. Like you, yes, you, the reader of this here blog could- should- be saying it to me. Nice and slow, with arms crossed. Well. Well. Well. After rarely posting over the past couple of months, I'm putting this up. Kind of out of nowhere. Kind of like, "Well, well, well, she returns."

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Bad News.



Today I received a letter from MES Solutions, the independent medical board contracted by Horizon BCBSNJ to conduct an external review of my case. They have chosen to uphold Horizon's denial of coverage.


Shortly after reading their decision, I received a phone call from a very helpful Horizon Rep who informed I actually have one last chance for a reversal through the State Appeal Commission. They are in charge of New Jersey State Employees' Pensions and Benefits. I just finished a letter to the Appeals Coordinator. Hopes and prayers that it will be successful.


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Some Saturday Stuff: April 26th.

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My new model hand for sketching. I think it's art all in itself.



This month really flew by, didn't it? Almost May. Here's hoping that the weather around here will start to match the calendar consistently. Let's get to some links... I haven't done a Some Saturday Stuff since March!


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Easter 2014

I've been pretty quiet on the blog lately, since a good chunk of my free time has been taken up with the Horizon campaign or painting. As far as Horizon, I don't have any news to share. I still haven''t found out if they are going to allow my case to be sent to an Independent Medical Review board for an External Review. I did get the long awaited news that I finally have a court date scheduled for my Social Security Disability case. It's in July. My lawyer said my name just "happened" to come up (after a year), but I think it has more to do with the official inquiry filed on my behalf by my district Congressman's office. Just a week after that call, I "coincidentally" got a court date... yeah, sure...



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My last painting was picked up by my friend Lori. She's very happy with it, and that makes my heart happy.

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I hope by now you've signed my Change.org petition to tell Horizon Blue Cross & Blue Shield of New Jersey to cover the stem cell transplant I need. If not, go. DO IT NOW. Yes, those caps are intentional. I'm yelling. It's been a week and I've got over 500 signatures, but I think we can get 1,000.


Such awesome bloggers/writers like Rod Dreher, Kurt Willems, Mark Shea, Dawn Eden, Binks Webelf, Matt Appling and Matthew Paul Turner among others have already signed... so get to it! A big thank you to everyone who already has and the many who have shared it via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and email.

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Sex and shame.





I read a good post at Today's Christian Woman that I wanted to share, because quite frankly, I can relate. I've had a few conversations with my married Christian girlfriends lately on the same subject. Sex. Specifically, why is there a veil of shame or secrecy around sex to the point that even grown, married friends feel uncomfortable discussing it? The saddest part is flash back a decade ago and we didn't feel squeamish, although none of us were hitched. It's like the Christian Culture curtain descended and our sexuality was to become hidden. Hannah Nitz writes:


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Sign my petition!



Hey, can you take a few minutes to sign my Change.org petition to get Horizon BCBS of NJ to cover the stem-cell transplant I need and then share it on your social network of choice or via email? Thanks a lot, I truly appreciate it! Sign here.

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Some Sunday Stuff: March 30th

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April and Gary, happy new owners of "Gown Girl"



Good Sunday to you. I'm glad to report that my first two art commissions are residing with their owners. Above, you can see the lovely April and the handsome Gary after just unpacking "Gown Girl". Since I haven't written before where I came up with the inspiration for it, I wanted to take the time here. When April and I spoke about what she wanted before I began the project, she gave me free reign. No time limit, either. I still had Ken Burns' wonderful "Jazz" documentary in my mind, so I immediately got the idea to do something jazzy. But I wanted it to be structured, too, pretty modern. I looked up old 1920s photos and some pretty awesome Vogue covers from the time. I decided my girl would have a simple cartoon appearance with a long fitted dress and cropped hair, a la Josephine Baker. I gave her deep, dark chocolate skin after seeing Lupita Nyong'o burning up every red carpet she stepped foot on. I'm drawn to bright colors and it always comes out in my paintings, but I wanted to keep it more toned down, so I went with gray, blue, white and red. The brightness came through in the v-shaped rainbow that held Gown Girl.


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Prayer Request and Update: Mickey G. and Jessica S.

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First, I'm asking for prayer for Mickey G., my friend Naomi's beautiful three year old (and big sister to sweetie Abigail) who was hospitalized overnight after being sick for the past week with a mean bug. She's doing better this morning, but we want her well and home as soon as possible!


Second, an update on Jessica S., my buddy living in Bangledesh who has been in the intensive care unit and on life support due to a massive infection in her respiratory system. Great news is, she's off the beathing machine, and intubation is over! As you can see in the picture above, she's doing so much better, and is even smiling! Next to her is Wafi, her husband, who's been a trooper through all of this. She's not out of the woods yet, so keep up the prayers, and if possible donate to their Go Fund Me. The total raised so far is $4,405.00 out of the $10,000.00 needed, so please consider giving.

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Some Saturday Stuff: March 22nd.

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Happy Saturday, Friends. By now, you've probably seen the American Vogue cover featuring Kimye that is producing a whole lot of backlash. A whole lot is probably an understatement.


Anyway, it didn't really bother me, to be honest. I haven't purchased an issue of Vogue in years, and frankly, I'd noticed the mag's move of far less models on the cover and more celebs. Granted, they were fashionable celebs, but still celebs. So I saw the cover, did a medium paced "SMH" and a little "Kanye shrug" and kept it moving. That is, right up until I read editor-in-chief Ana Wintour's defense of the cover over at Necole Bitchie. Here, check it out:


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Mark Driscoll Apologizes.



Some encouraging news out of Seattle's Mars Hills Church from Mark Driscoll, by way of Benjamin L. Cory at Formerly Fundie:


Mark Driscoll, it appears, is repenting.


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Kid Cudi: Hip Hop is "holding us back as a culture".



Wow! Check out Kid Cudi on Arsenio, saying it's time the whole "Money, cash, hoes" mantra dies.




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Slinging so much Spacey.

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K binged watched "House of Cards" this weekend, polishing off the first season and getting into the second. (His response to the shocking twist in the first episode? "About damn time".) I am of course, thrilled that my Love has gotten into it without my having to Sherlock him, because it really is a great show. Don't believe me? Let's hop over to my Blogger Buddy Binks Webelf at Free Canuckistan (oh, Canada!) for his excellent take:


IT’S JUST ABOUT a perfect show: each episode filmed, written, envisioned, performed like a work of art. It’s a refreshing joy to see such well-done and serious TV as House Of Cards.. not via the Networks, but NetFlix, with 100 million viewers and rising. Network TV literally would never make such a show: their political masters would not allow it.


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