East Of Eden

"A curious mix of the relevant and reverential"


East Of Eden

Lent 2019: Uncommonly common.

Still posing for selfies even with two needles in my chest for plasmapheresis... while wearing a jaunty beret. (taken March 2019)

 

Last Sunday, Z and I met up with my girl Nicole and her daughter for church. We visited an Anglican/ Episcopal parish close to my home. Although we are all officially members of another Episcopal church a couple of towns away, neither of us, for various reasons, have been there since last year. (Look, maybe I'll go into why in another post, but that's not what this is about). We weren't first time visitors- her aunt is a member and I first checked the place out in 2014.

The Gospel reading came from I Corinthians 10. Check out verse 13:

"No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind...

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Lent 2019: Are you there God? It's me, Alisha.

Some of the contents of the inside and from the outside of the recently departed fridge.

 

I've had a few days lately that have made me wonder what is up with me and God's communication. Life is life... and sometimes it just piles up like a stack of dishes being dirtied by my family on a snow day with only me picking up the sponge and Dawn to clean. 

 

Last week, our refrigerator became "a dead appliance running" so to speak when it suddenly stopped pushing out cold air. After tossing out over a hundred bucks of groceries, K decided to give it one last chance to cool by turning the temp to 9 and banning us from so much as cracking it open the width of a Kraft single. And to my amazement, it haltingly came back to life..

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Lent 2019: Lacking merit in the meritocracy.

(Image Credit)

 

In the midst of teaching Zoe about The Stamp Act and The Sugar Act, and a bunch of other lead-ups to the American Revolution this morning, news broke that a number of Hollywood stars and other elites were snagged by the FBI for attempting to pay out bribes to ensure their kids got into top colleges. From The Hollywood Reporter:

 

Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin are among 40 charged in a nationwide college entrance exam scandal, according to court documents filed Tuesday in Boston and obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.

...
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Lent 2019: Dreading the unexpected, even when it's expected.

 

(Image Source)

 

Last month, my mom was admitted to the hospital for a list of reasons: kidney stones, a urinary tract infection, dehydration, anemia, and the flu. When my brother Joe called to tell me, my heart began to pound. He sounded concerned, but not overly-worried, as he explained how Mom's nursing home doctor had her transported to a nearby, affiliated hospital. This has been something of a semi-regular experience over the last few years. She has breast cancer, and being on chemo makes her very susceptible to infection. She's had so many bronchial infections at this point, I've lost count. Still... my heart was pounding and I was... scared.

 

This week, during one of my Lenten devotions, I came across Matthew...

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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)

...
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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...

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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...

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Festivus 2018


 

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

 

 

...
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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...

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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...

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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.

...
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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...

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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.

...
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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...

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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...

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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.

...
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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...

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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...

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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

 

 

...
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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:

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