East Of Eden

"A curious mix of the relevant and reverential"


East Of Eden

The Preachers: Jerry Falwell, Sr.: Part 2

President Ronald Reagan and Reverend Falwell. (Image Source)

 

When last we left off on Falwell, it was the mid-60's, his Thomas Road Baptist Church was growing, and he was staunchly against the Civil Rights Movement, integration, and Christian leaders, like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who was actively involved in politics. Falwell would eventually change his mind on the first two, but rather quickly changed course on the whole politics-stuff. 

(Image via IMDB)

...
Continue reading

Untitled. Or "Yes, I do prefer the company of the dead."

"Sarah Mae Flemming (2nd from left) is joined by Julia E. King and attorneys Lincoln C. Jenkins & Matthew J. Perry.The photograph was taken by John W. Goodwin, a Columbia [S.C.] photographer." (Caption and photo via Columbia SC 63 Twitter)

 

For the past three months, I've fallen into a hole of sorts. Fallen... or actually, jumped.

Back in August, I tested my Mom's DNA through Ancestry (I've tested it before, but that other company turned out to be pretty shaky, and a quick Google search turns up a slew of angry customers... I'm not sure if it's still even in existence), and received the results back in September, just in time for her birthday. To our shock, I was matched with a few 1st and 2nd cousins, and far more shockingly, I...

Continue reading

Flashback Friday: That time Lincoln planned to free the slaves and send them south of the border.


Engraving by Thomas Nast in 1865. (Source)

 

I recently binge-listened to "Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom" by David W. Blight on Audible. It clocks in at nearly 37 hours, and makes great use of every minute. While this book contains an incredible wealth of historical, social and political information I recommend reading (or listening) to it all, I want to hone in on a particular event, which, quite interestingly, does not actually involve Douglass. Instead, Blight takes us to the White House in 1862 for a meeting between Lincoln and a group of Black leaders to discuss the future of the slaves after The Civil War. First, a little background from the book:

 

“Lincoln, a longtime sympathizer with colonization, set in motion...

Continue reading

Festivus 2018


 

It's Festivus, and if you don't know what it is, or need a refresher, watch this:

 

 

...
Continue reading

Some Sunday Stuff: December 23rd.


Merry Christmas Eve's Eve! If you're still doing last minute holiday shopping/ cooking/ cleaning/ running ragged, I understand! I spent the hours before my mom-in-law flew in from Trinidad on Friday literally scrubbing tiles, walls (look, I'm not sure how or why, but walls by doorways collect an ungodly amount of dirt over time), and sinks. I had on the thick yellow gloves and all, Friends. 

Even more telling, I didn't even put up the Christmas tree until Wednesday, less than a week before Christmas, making this year the latest I've ever done so. I'm not quite sure what happened. Thanksgiving came around, and for some reason after making a pine cone turkey and hanging artificial autumn leaves on the piano and flatscreen, I just...

Continue reading

Some Sunday Stuff: December 9th.


Albert Einstein (via Bored Panda)

 

It's been a while since I posted a "Some... Stuff". My bad. Allow me to rectify that today with some links that I find interesting, and I hope you will, too. First up, this post on a letter written by Albert Einstein in 1954 that recently sold at auction for millions. From Bored Panda: 

Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who transformed humankind’s understanding of nature and the universe. He laid the foundation for modern physics and changed the views on space, time, energy and mass. He is best known for proposing the theory of relativity and his mass-energy equivalence formula. In 1921 Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics “for his services to theoretical...

Continue reading

The opposite of her.

Me, on my 3rd birthday, and Jos, 6 months, in 1985. 

 

"A sister is both your mirror - and your opposite." - Elizabeth Fishel

 

It's the sixth year since she left, quietly, in her sleep. Joscelyne- loud, and laughing, and singing, in lip gloss and heels and body mist- closed her eyes, and then... silence.

...
Continue reading

The Preachers: Jerry Falwell, Sr.: When Religion & Politics Mix.

Jerry Falwell, Sr. (Image Source)

Ever since Donald Trump's run for president began over three years ago, there has been a whole lot of talk about the "Evangelical Vote," "White Evangelical Christians," or some amalgamation of "silent", "family", "value", "moral", and "voters".

None of this is new, of course. The Religious Right has been a force to be reckoned with since before The Gipper took the oath of office. I remember all too well the cringey time in the late 90s when the Lewinsky Scandal had taken over the news, and every socially conservative Christian televangelist, talking head or megapastor worth his holy oil was castigating Clinton and the country in general, for his, and our, wickedness. Bad times, Folks, bad times. 

But...

Continue reading

The Problem is... you think you're in control.


Getting IVIG through a peripheral IV in my right hand in 2012. (photo, my own)

 

Just think of this post as a little corollary to Tuesday's.

I realized pretty much as I hit "Publish" on that post, there had to be some readers who sat in quiet reassurance that they could not, would not, never, ever be one who'd wind up without time.

After all, you're no MLK, JFK or RFK, so no one is gunning for you, right? Nor are you an alcoholic or addicted to drugs like Amy or Basquiat, and you never take sleeping pills, so you'd never overdose like Marilyn.

...
Continue reading

The Problem is... you think you have time.


Clockwise from top right: Jean-Michel Basquiat (image cr.); Dr. Martin Luther King with wife, Coretta, and daughter, Bernice (image cr.); Amy Winehouse (image cr.); and Marilyn Monroe (image cr.).

 

It's Holy Week; Lent is almost over. Unlike last year, I did not write daily Lenten posts. I'm in a weird place when it come to producing work- blogs, sketches, paintings. First, I'm extremely busy with Zoe. Homeschooling, getting her to activities, and the daily demands of parenting leave me with less free time than when she was 2.

Second, January and February were stuffed with medical appointments: a port removal/ new port placement/ six rounds of plasmapheresis, blood work, an EKG, and a 12 hour stint at the ER after an anaphylactic...

Continue reading

Little Lulu, we love you.


"Louise as the winsome French girl in Now We're in the Air (1927)." (Photo and caption from "Lulu Forever") 

 

I think the first time I can recall hearing the name "Louise Brooks" was years ago in a scene from "The Simpsons". In the 2002, season 13 episode "Weekend at Burnsie's", Mr. Burns prepares for a big investor meeting by practicing a speech with these lines: "So, profits will be thinner than...Louise Brooks negligee! You know, Louise Brooks, the silent star of Lulu?" While Mr. Burns got things a bit twisted (Louise played a character named Lulu, but the movie's English name is Pandora's Box, this quirky little tidbit stuck in my mind. Who was Louise Brooks, and being that she was a silent film star, how was she...

Continue reading

Flashback Friday: Dr. Dre before NWA.

Dr. Dre in sparkly gear with a stethoscope before joining NWA. (Image Source)

 

On Thanksgiving, I finally got around to watching the 2015 film "Straight Outta Compton". I liked it, and Ice Cube's son is pretty much his spawn. He is rightfully and most truly, a junior.

The film starts in the years before N.W.A. Eazy-E is a drug dealer. Ice Cube is in high school (dealing with perhaps the scariest school bus commute this side of the Middle East.). And Dr. Dre is spinning records as a DJ... decked out in shiny and/ or sparkly jackets.

Okay, okay, so, this was the early to mid- 80's, we had Rick James being super-freaky, Prince wondering about doves crying, and MJ in rhinestone everything.

...
Continue reading

For Pod's Sake!: Week of November 27th

I'm a huge podcast fan (as longtime readers of this blog know), and I've decided to start (yet another!) new series just to catch you up on my favorite listens. So here goes:

Donna Summer (Image Source)

Check out Hit Parade's Chris Molanphy on the fasinating history of disco diva Donna Summer:

Donna Summer was a hit-maker for two decades and a dance floor deity for more than three. Her collaborations with Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte were formative in dance, electronic, and rock music, influencing everyone from David Bowie and Blondie to Madonna and Moby. But the rock establishment was stinting in its appreciation—whether at Comiskey Park in Chicago in 1979 or the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the 2000s. This month, we examine how...

Continue reading

The Preachers: Jim & Tammy Faye: Part 4.


Jim Bakker in screen captures from his current show, "The Jim Bakker Show". (Google Images)

 

This has been one long, crazy story. Nearly unbelievable, except, very true. Sadly true. As a Christian, especially as one with roots in Pentecostalism, I felt shame and anger while reading about the exploits of Jim Bakker. Yes, I know I personally have nothing to do with the man or his ministry. But the greed, lies, and corruption is reflected back on the entirety of the Body of Christ. We all look awful to the very world to which we are called to be salt and light.

While reading for this series, I swung by the library and picked up Tammy Faye's 1996 autobiography, Tammy: Telling It My Way. Published in the decade after PTL's fall and about...

Continue reading

Even in my sleep.

 

"Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget
falls drop by drop upon the heart,
until, in our own despair,
against our will,
comes wisdom
through the awful grace of God."

-Aeschylus

 

 

...
Continue reading

Flashback Friday: That way awkward dinner party at Bobby Kennedy's in May '63.

James Baldwin, left, and Bobby Kennedy. (Google Images)

 

By the time Robert F. Kennedy was killed in 1968, he had come to be viewed by many as a politician who cared deeply about Civil Rights, poverty, and oppression. 

But it wasn't always that way. In fact, just five years earlier, at a private dinner party he hosted in NYC with some of Black America's most elite, he was decidedly unwoke.

In Lawrence O'Donnell's new book, Playing With Fire: The 1968 Election and the Transformation of American Politics, he recounts some of the events of the ill-fated shindig:

...
Continue reading

The Preachers: Jim and Tammy Faye: Part 3.

Image and caption from PTL.

 

When PTL fell apart, I was just 5. I didn't know about the sex scandals, but I do remember my parents discussing the Bakkers' outsized lifestyle. The mansions, the cars, the blingy lifestyle- it came up repeatedly. What stuck in my mind, besides how disappointed my mom was (she was a SAHM of 3 and Pentecostal; of course she watched the Bakkers), had to be the air conditioned dog house. We didn't even have AC in our house. We depended on a series of electric fans for three more years, and that little yellow Cape Cod got very hot during the summer months. Yet, their dog chilled in cool comfort. Yup, decades later, I still remember that.

The lobby of the Heritage Grand Hotel. (Photo Credit: Robin...

Continue reading

The Preachers: Jim & Tammy Faye: Part 2.

 

Jim and Tammy Faye (Image Source)

 

It was thirty years ago that the tremendous house of cards that Jim Bakker had constructed out of TV ministry, millions in donations, and a Christian theme park, collapsed. It was a tremendous and precipitous fall, and when the dust settled, the ministry was gone, Jim was behind bars, and Tammy divorced him, ending their more thirty year marriage. 

But, I'm getting ahead of myself. With the end of Part 1, the Bakkers and PTL was just beginning to get huge. It was the late '70s, and America was primed for some religiosity. The 1960s, that decade of hippies, an ever-burgeoning American middle class, and the collapse of Jim Crow was simultaneously a decade of assasinations, political...

Continue reading

Come Clean: 90s Music Videos Had Me Wanting to Go to a Carnival. Or the Shore.


Jordon Knight gave it to us back in '99- the baggy cargos, the long sleeve turtle kneck sweater, the racially-mixed back up dancers.

Seriously, besides a love of belly shirts, glittery eye shadow, and overly large (but super comfy) pants, 90s singers loved them some amusement park backdrops (or at least the music video directors hired to make it appear that way).

Mariah Carey rollerbladed in daisy dukes, serenading us about her "Fantasy" of rollercoaster rides and on BET and urban radio, rapper O.D.B.

Mya snuck out of her overprotective father's house to canoodle with her bad boy... on a giant ferris wheel.

...
Continue reading

The Preachers: Jim & Tammy Faye: Their Incredible Rise & Shocking Fall.

Jim And Tammy Faye Bakker in all their 1980s glory. (Image Source)

 

I started composing this post months ago. I stopped partially because my blogging, as a whole, slowed way down at the start of the schoolyear (Z is now in second grade, and homeschooling demands more and more time). But mainly, I didn't finish this particular post because reading up on Jim Bakker pulled me into some kind of weird online hole.

Really. Do a quick Google search, and you'll see what I mean. 

Complicating things further, Jim is the first subject in this The Preachers series who is actually living (his ex-wife Tammy passed away a decade ago after a long battle with cancer). He's pushing 80, has been in some form of ministry for over half a century...

Continue reading

Recent Blog Posts


Popular Blog Posts

Alisha DeFreitas
25 August 2017
John Lennon, Yoko Ono and Dick Gregory. (Image Source: Yoko Ono's Twitter account)   Dick Gregory, comedian, entertainer, and civil rights activist, died last Saturday, August 19th, at the age o...
Alisha DeFreitas
17 September 2016
September 2016, and I have (some) hair.     ... to get better, but haven't. Yet.  It's been four months since I had the Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) at Northwestern ...
Alisha DeFreitas
09 November 2013
  Happy Saturday, Folks! Pretty good week for me. Cooked almost every day (except yesterday when I had plasmapheresis which usually leaves me feeling wiped; it didn't though-woohoo!- but we stil...

Reviews

"... 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


"A curious mix of the sacred and profane...too nice for a run of the mill blog? "

Joe, my brother, author of The Blog of Blogs


"Are you really bored or something?"

Joscelyne, my sister


"Pretty f****ing intense."

Reader Brooke Farmer, on this entry.


"A great outlet for such a prolific mind and an entertaining mix of spirituality and current events."

Keiron, my husband, also known on here as K, or my Knight & Sunshine

East of Eden on Facebook

Drop Me A Message

Fields with (*) are required.
Please prove you are human!