East Of Eden

"A curious mix of the relevant and reverential"


To borrow some words from Drake, "I'm more than just a number." But if I WERE a number, it would be 7. Since it's God's number, the 7th day is one to rest, and... well, I think it rocks. But if life were a scale of 1-10, then me being a 7 fits too, because I'm not perfect. But I'm not your average girl, either. :-) I'm 30, a Christ-follower, slightly off kilter (but aren't all "ar-teeests"?), and happily married to Keiron, my solid and strong rock. And Techie-extraordinaire. We are the proud parents of a baby girl, Zoe. Hope you enjoy my rantings, don't take my sarcasm too seriously and know that comments are welcome. Very welcome... ahem, HINT, HINT, HINT! But enough about me, time for this 7 to give it a rest. xoxox

Flashback Friday: Marlon Brando's Eulogy for a Black Panther.


Bobby Seale Marlon Brando at Bobby Hutton Memorial Rally 0468 by Jeff Blankfort web

Black Panther Bobby Seale with actor Marlon Brando. (Image Source: San Francisco Bay View)

 

In a San Francisco Bay View film review for the 2015 documentary "Listen to Me Marlon", the story of Marlon Brando's press-making eulogy for slain Black Panther Bobby Hutton is retold:

In the late ‘60s, Marlon Brando and Jane Fonda are credited with helping to bring the Black Panther Party and their politics to a mainstream white audience. In 1967, Brando gave a speech at the funeral of 17-year-old Black Panther Bobby Hutton who was unjustifiably murdered by Oakland police.

 

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The Preachers: Aimee Semple McPherson, America's first female celeb evangelist.


 

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Aimee Semple McPherson, the Pentecostal Preacher who could've been a Silent Screen Star. (Image: Foursquare Church)

 Aimee Semple McPherson was... so much. A Canadian missionary to China as a young newlywed; a widow with a sickly infant daughter a few years later; an acutely depressed and miserable mom of two and housewife in New England in marriage number two; and a traveling evangelist headlining packed tent revivals for Whites and Blacks, even in the segregated U.S. South. Oh yes, and that was all before she was 27 years old.

Thing is, when Aimee is remembered today (actually, if), she is reduced to the scandal that irrevocably altered her perception in the eyes of the public. She suddenly disappeared from a public beach in California in 1926, and was presumed by thousands to have drowned. After a month, she reappeared just as abruptly in Mexico, with claims that she been abducted by a trio of baddies looking for a steep payday by ransom. She ruined their plans by escaping out a window and walking for hours through the scorching desert. However, this tale was just too tall for many to accept, and alternate theories for Aimee's being M.I.A. abounded, most notably that she had been on a secret rendevous with a married lover.

 ASM in DouglasAZHospital

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Flashback Friday: When Grace Kelly stormed out of the Stork Club after they refused to serve Josephine Baker.

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Grace Kelly and Josephine Baker, circa 1951. (Image sources here and here)

In October 1951, Grace Kelly, just beginning to make a name for herself, decided to have a night out on the town at famous Manhattan nightclub, Stork Club. Also at the club that night was Josephine Baker, internationally renowned singer, dancer and famous ex-pat who was in the States to perform a series of concerts after years living in France.

Unfortunately, Baker wound up leaving the eatery after an hour of non-service; she stormed out claiming she had never received her dinner because of her race. Some dispute this, but one person who did not was Kelly. Observing the scene, she was shocked and left, too. From Mental Floss:

When the racist staff refused to wait on Baker, Kelly, who was dining with a large party of her own, flew into a rage and walked out of the club in support of Baker.

 

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Come Clean: Glenn Lewis, don't forget what, exactly?


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Basically my face everytime I actually try to sing the lyrics to this song over the past fifteen years. (Image via Vevo)

 

Welcome to the first in my new series, "Come Clean", where I'll admit something. Or some things. Today, I'll admit that despite bumping Glenn Lewis' "Don't You Forget It" on the regular during the Early Aughts epoch of Neo-Soul, I didn't actually have a clue what he was talking about. Sure, I heard the chorus admonishing "Don't forget your way home for that little girl", but I wasn't sure who that little girl is. The unknown protagonist, looking back at her younger self? Then who is he to her? And what the heck do these words have to do with the video, which was pretty much one long "Whoops, just missed you!" If you need a refresher, here's the vid:

 

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Flashback Friday: The Black Actress Who Launched her career in "The Birth of a Nation".

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(Madame Sul-Te-Wan, Image Source: BlackPast.org)

 

And no, I absolutely do NOT mean last year's controversial Nate Parker flick, "The Birth of a Nation". I'm talking the D.W. Griffith, 1915 film that celebrates the supposed end of the "treachery" that was Reconstruction and the birth of the Ku Klux Klan. From Wikipedia:

The Birth of a Nation (originally called The Clansman) is a 1915 American silent epic drama film directed and co-produced by D. W. Griffith and starring Lillian Gish. The screenplay is adapted from the novel and play The Clansman, both by Thomas Dixon Jr. Griffith co-wrote the screenplay (with Frank E. Woods), and co-produced the film (with Harry Aitken). It was released on February 8, 1915.

 

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Flashback Friday: That time Eartha Kitt made the First Lady cry.


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LBJ LIBRARY PHOTO BY KEVIN SMITH

 

I love the above picture. I love that in 1968, Eartha Kitt, singer, dancer, Catwoman, invited to one of those oh-so proper "Ladies who Lunch" type-lunches by THE First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson, wife of LBJ, at the White House, and kept it really-real on the Vietnam War. From The Hollywood Reporter:

Debuting on Broadway in 1943, Kitt, born dirt-poor on a South Carolina cotton plantation, built a multifaceted show business life that included stage acting, dancing, singing (a come-hither 1953 hit version of "Santa Baby") and movies. When she made the 1958 film Anna Lucasta with Sammy Davis Jr., THR said her performance "is best summarized by the word 'great.' " In 1953, Kitt was making $10,000 per week ($90,000 today) singing at the El Rancho Vegas casino/hotel. By 1968, she was playing Catwoman on ABC's Batman — and was famous enough to be invited to the 50-women luncheon the first lady hosted (with seafood bisque, chicken and ice cream on the menu) to discuss "What Citizens Can Do to Insure Safe Streets."

 

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Joan Crawford has risen from the grave.


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Joan Crawford in 1959, by Eve Arnold.

 

I wrote about FX's "Feud: Bette And Joan" during my Lenten series of blog posts. I just watched the finale, "You Mean All This Time We Could've Been Friends?", and I'll admit, I may just have shed a tear or two at Jessica Lange's heartbreaking portrayal of the last days of Joan Crawford. 

To be clear, I was far less impressed with "Feud" in it's entirety. While the casting was on point (how fun was Judy Davis as Hedda Hopper?), and the settings were great, the pacing on a whole was off. Some episodes zoomed by ("And The Winner Is..."), while others seemed like slow-moving, unnecessary filler ("More, Or Less"). Also unnecessary was all of the MANY times the audience was explicitly told just how sexist Hollywood was. Hopefully, there will be less telling and more showing, for the next "Feud".

 My friend Brittany passes on this excellent piece on Crawford by Angelica Jade Bastien at Roger Ebert.com, published last year:

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The Preachers: Father Divine, god to millions.


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(Image Source: NewsWorks)

 

I first heard the name "Father Divine" as a child from my mom, musing over her grandmother's occasional penchant for following (via correspondence, radio or TV) some rather interesting ministerial leaders. Her mom, my Nana, was no stranger to church hopping. She was a "spiritual seeker" decades before it became a thing. Raised Baptist, Nana left and checked out Jehovah's Witnesses, Catholicism and even Christian Scientists before settling on Holiness Pentecostal. BUT... Father Divine was way too much for her, and scoffed at her mom's interest in a man who would deign himself the Lord God incarnate. She needn't had worried; my great-grandmother's attention quickly flamed out for Reverend Major Jealous Divine.

 

More recently, I came across Divine's name last month when his widow, Mother Divine, passed away at the age of 91. The NY Times euologized: 

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The sophistication of "The Simpsons".

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(Complex)

If you don't know by now, I'm a huge fan of "The Simpsons". The classic, early years AND the current episodes. I never stopped watching, even during that *very* rough period in the ealy aughts. 

Why? Just watch the video below from Vulture which celebrates the landmark show's thirty years on television (it first appeared as a series of shorts on "The Tracey Ullman Show" in April 1987 before getting it's on show in 1989).

 

For more fun, check out this Complex article from 2012 showcasing "The Simpsons" love of high brow art, or "The Simpsons and Philosophy: The D'Oh! of Homer", a book that critically analyzes the family from various views such as American anti-intellectualism, Aristotle and Sartre, or this Traveller article on the funniest takes on international travel from Homer and co.

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The Preachers: Rev. Jim Jones and the horror in Guyana.

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(Image and Caption from "The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones & The Peoples Temple")

 

I just finished "The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones & The Peoples Temple" by Jeff Guinn and, really, I'm not trying to sound cliched or hackneyed here, but the book is stomach-churning, frightening and by it's end, downright disturbing. This is actually a compliment to Guinn; he vividly captures the horror of the story of Jonestown and the turbulent societal years that led up to it.

 

Speaking of hackneyed, despite occurring a few years before my birth, I was quite familiar with the Jonestown Massacre. At least, I thought I was. Much like my experience of watching the OJ Simpson documentary "Made in America" last year, what I "kind-of-sort-of-pick-up-from-pop-culture" is most definitely not the same as learning the actual facts of a case. Below are some facts that surprised me most:

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Easter 2017

Happy Easter! Sunday was very warm, bright and sunny. Our church's sanctuary was decorated with many lilies and tulips, and the smell of incense wafted through the building. The sun's rays poured through the stained glass windows depicting various scenes of Jesus Christ's earthly ministry. The organ accompaniment, the crisp taste of the consecrated host, followed by the sweetness of the wine- attending Easter services at an Episcopal church is a rhapsody for the senses. Here are a few pictures of our day. I hope you all had a Blessed Resurrection Sunday.

 

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Lent- Day 39: Good Friday.

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C.S. Lewis (Image Source)

 

An excerpt from today's reading of my Lenten devotional book, "Preparing for Easter" by C.S. Lewis, titled "What Are We to Make of Jesus Christ?": 

 

Then we come to the strangest story of all, the story of the Resurrection. It is very necessary to get the story clear. I heard a man say, ‘The importance of the Resurrection is that is gives evidence of survival, evidence that the human personality survives death.’ On that view what happened to Christ would be what had always happened to all men, the difference being that in Christ’s case we were privileged to see it happening. This is certainly not what the earliest Christian writers thought. Something perfectly new in the history of the universe had happened. Christ had defeated death. The door, which had always been locked, had for the very first time been forced open. This is something quite distinct from mere ghost-survival. I don’t mean that they disbelieved in ghost-survival. I don’t mean that they disbelieved in ghost-survival. On the contrary, they believed in it so firmly that, on more than one occasion, Christ had had to assure them that He was not a ghost. The point is that while believing in survival they yet regarded the Resurrection as something totally different and new. The Resurrection narratives are not a picture of survival after death; they record how a totally new mode of being has arisen in the universe. Something new had appeared in the universe: as new as the first coming of organic life. This Man, after death, does not get divided into ‘ghost’ and ‘corpse’. A new mode of being has arisen. That is the story. What are we going to make of it?

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Lent- Day 38: Tonight we eat and drink, for tomorrow He dies.

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The Last Supper.

 

Today is Maundy Thursday, A.K.A., the day before Black Friday. From Wikipedia:

 

Maundy Thursday (also known as Holy Thursday, Covenant Thursday, Great and Holy Thursday, Sheer Thursday, and Thursday of Mysteries, among other names) is the Christian holy day falling on the Thursday before Easter. It commemorates the Maundy and Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles as described in the Canonical gospels.[1] It is the fifth day of Holy Week, and is preceded by Holy Wednesday and followed by Good Friday.[2]

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Lent- Day 37: Consumed.

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(Image Source)

This week in Bible lessons, Zoe and I discussed the story of Jesus in the Temple with the money changers. We read from Mark 11:15-19:

15 Then they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling and those who were buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves;

 

16 and he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple.

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Lent- Day 36: Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?

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My palms from Sunday, twisted into a cross. Please note, I have no idea how to do this and just kept bending until I got this.

 

On Sunday at church, we read from Matthew 27. Verse 46 always breaks my heart:

About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" (which means "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?").

 

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Lent- Day 35: The Last Temptation of Alisha.

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Beloved, my husband brought home the cake pictured above. Along with a large tray of brownies.

There was a bakesale at his job, he said, and well, he brought me... a cake. And a large tray of brownies. 

As I mentioned earlier in this Lenten season, I gave up sweets until Easter. So I haven't so much as popped a peanut M&M since February.

And here we are, at the start of Holy Week, looking ahead to celebrating... and my husband, the man I vowed to love and honor before God, came strolling into our home with some kind of green frosted chocolate cake. And a large tray of brownies. Oh, the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

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Lent- Palm Sunday: Hosanna


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(Image Source: Youtube)

 

Happy Palm Sunday! Today's song is Israel Haughton's "Hosanna". I hope you have a blessed Holy Week. Please remember to say a prayer for our Coptic Brothers and Sisters in Egypt.

 

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Lent- Day 34: Why blog?

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(Image: John P. Weiss)

 

Yesterday's post, complete with cutie-pie pic of Z, got over 70 hits. Thursday's barely hit 20. My most popular post in this Lenten series got something like 150. So basically, I'm not even half a blip on these here interwebz.

Sometimes, I'll get discouraged. Afterall, I started blogging in April 2009 at Far Above Rubies, and it's sad knowing thousands of posts have pretty much collected the online equivalent of dust without having been read by more than 7 or 8 people.

At least, it would be sad if I primarily wrote for others. Thing is, I don't. You lovely Readers matter of course, and sometimes, I do write for you (I'm especially talking about Kiki, Thomas, Maria, and Xiamora... ya'll are loyal). But I owe my blogging longevity to my own desire to write. I started journaling around 7, and I wasn't consistent with it. Weeks or months may pass between entries, but inevitabaly, I'd be back at it. Writing is like my social awkwardness, introversion, or sensory neuropathy: chronic.

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Lent- Day 33: Say a little prayer for you.

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This week, Zoe painted an old glass pasta sauce bottle, put pen to note cards and listed names of family and friends, then dropped said cards into the bottle. Every day since, she has opened the lid and pulled out a card. With clasped hands, she says a little prayer for the Loved One.

 

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Lent- Day 32: Be you.

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While straightening up earlier, I came across the above picture made by Z. She explained it as, "the name of my new song I'm writing." She never ceases to amaze me.

The message- "Be you."- made me smile. A little command to remain. It made me think of I Corinthians 12:14-27:

 

14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many.

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