Thursday, September 30, 2010

Two Become One: Gorety & Wesny



Gorety & Wesny.

Note: This is part of a series on Love, Sex, & Relationships from a Christian Perspective. It was inspired by "No Ring, No Ting".

What a year it's been for the state of marriage. Tiger cheated. And cheated. And cheated some more on Elin. Their marriage over, Elin has the kids and hundreds of millions. Jesse cheated on Sandra, and now they're splitsville. David Boreanaz behaved in a very un-"Angel"-ic manner when he was unfaithful to his wife Jaime. Then there was Tiki Barber, dumping his very pregnant wife (carrying twins) for an NBC intern. Former American Idol Winner Fantasia Barrino was involved with a married man, while Alicia Keys began a relationship with a married Swizz Beatz- and now they are married and expecting a baby.

With all these musical chair style relationships, there's no wonder quite a few people have declared themselves off marriage. They fear that once the music stops playing, they'll be the odd person out, grasping for a spot now taken by another.

"I think the whole concept of marriage is outdated. In the past, yes, it made sense. People had life expectancies of 40. So you could get married young and 'til death do you part.' But now, people are living double that or more, so it's silly to believe the average person should have one life partner." These scary sentiments came right out the mouth of a twenty-something female. Taken aback, I just allowed the sentiments to percolate without response. Obviously, to a number of men AND women, marriage (and fidelity) went out of style some time in the last century, along with poodle skirts, phones with cords and cassette tapes.

But not to all of us. Gorety is a happily married mother of two little boys who takes the sanctity of marriage very seriously. Not just in her own 5 year marriage to husband Wesny, but for all couples. After seeing a need for couples to have support from each other (especially in a world that is so dismissive of marriage), she helped found Kingdom Sowers, a group dedicated to helping spouses stay strong in God and each other. Most of the members are in their 20's and 30's, a particularly rough time for couples who may have to balance jobs, school, children and a number of other responsibilities simultaneously. However, there is no age requirements, and although most in the group are Christian, there are people outside of the faith who attend get-togethers, too.

Sometimes the group is held at a home for informal chat sessions, allowing the spouses to fellowship. Other times, Kingdom Sowers has headed out for a "Date Night", and the husbands and wives have found themselves getting dressed to the nines for each other- something many haven't done since they were dating.

Ever on the move, I wanted to get a chance to ask Gorety her personal views on marriage. I caught up to her to get a few answers:

How important do you feel sex is in marriage?
"Sex is very important in  a marriage because it bring us to a common ground of being one.  
When a couple make love they are fulfilling the command that GOD gave them."

Do you feel there are certain sexual acts that even married folks should not do? Why or why not?
 "I believe if it does not go against the will of GOD… a bedroom is undefiled so it is 
 between a husband and wife."
Do you believe there is a difference between abstinence and chastity?
"No."
Can and should chastity be practiced in marriage?
"No, because your body does not belong to u and that was the whole purpose of getting married."
How do you keep the romance burning in marriage, especially with kids?
"Making time for each other without kids and making sure that the fire is still burning…. Doing little things that one is not expecting.  Try  putting the kids to bed early to enjoy the night."
Did you and your husband wait until the honeymoon to have sex? Yes or no, are there any regrets?
"Yes… it was worth it because we were blind but we now see. No regrets…."
What do you think the role of the husband is in the Christian marriage?
 "Treating your wife like GOD treat the church..being the provider, supporter, the initiator of the house going before GOD." 

 What about the role of the wife?
  "To submit to her husband, care for the family and to fulfill household duty."
  Do you think it’s okay for one partner in the marriage to withhold sex from the other for any reason?
   "No...it’s not your body when you decided to share it with someone else. Sometime duty sex has to take place because if u do not fulfill ones needs who will."  

   What about affection?
   "Same goes for affection."
   What role does communication play in your relationship?
    "The biggest role because without communication nothing can get done."
    How would you advise Christian women who have very little interest in being intimate
     with their husbands?
    "Change things up, remember the memories that made you fall in love and ask questions."
 
    Who proposed? You or him?
      "My husband."

      How did the proposal go?
      "We go to the same church and my husband knows how I love my church so he decided to ask me to marry him right before the benediction."   
     Do you feel it’s wrong to use toys in the bedroom? 
     "The bedroom is undefiled so it's up to the couple."


      Gorety's group, Kingdom Sowers, will soon have a Facebook page up. When it debuts, I'll make sure to post the link. If you are interested in talking about sex and relationships from the Christian perspective, email me at alishadefreitas@gmail.com.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Smells Like Mean Spirit(-edness)


My apologies, Dear Readers, for my corny Carrie Bradshaw-like habit of titling my blog entries like that. I just can't help it. Believe me, one of my favorite songs of the 90's is Nirvana's angsty "Smells Like Teen Spirit." So I guess that's why when I caught a mega backlash for chopping my hair and going natural, my mind flashed back to cruel schoolyard taunts and, yes, Nirvana. At 28, I suddenly felt 13. Powerless, sensitive and hurt. Only my attackers weren't fellow middle schoolers but grown-behind folks who should know better. But they didn't. And it stunk. Far worse than any quick-fading, cheap, fruity-smelling deodorant ever could. 

"...Here we are now, entertain us..."

Last year this time, the... I'll call them... "Mean Kids", were after me about gaining weight.After I stopped taking Lyrica, I dropped the extra 10 pounds.But they've found something new to obsess on. My hair. This year, inspired by a horrific viewing of Chris Rock's "Good Hair", writing about Natural Girls, and being counseled by my doctor to stop using chemicals, I kicked the creamy crack habit. I did it gradually, choosing to just stop getting relaxers and stay away from heat. At first things were alright. Somewhat. But after I cut my hair in July, the chattering began in earnest. Why did I chop it? Why a bob? What did it all mean??? I felt like I was once again cast in the role of poor Jessica Simpson (who I don't really consider "poor" at all), this time being ripped apart for a bad Ken Paves hair piece.

Okay, I'll admit it- I did cut off quite a bit of hair. But transitioning is not easy, and it's especially hard with more length. Besides, I like my sassy bob. :-)


I had inadvertently stumbled afoul of Black People Hair Rule #1: Thou Shalt Not Cut Thy Hair. Very few females are exempt from this rule, such as Halle, Nia and Rihanna. And you'll notice my name is Alisha. So when the "Mean Kids" began to taunt, I cracked. Now, if I had any common sense, I would've listened when my friend Angel said "Tell them to go kick rocks." Well, I didn't. I wrote that on my Twitter and on Facebook, but aside from social networks, I allowed the taunts to get to me.


The taunts turned into all out insults once I washed my hair and it's true kinkiness was revealed. I'm not going to post anymore pics of myself since I don't want this blog to detour into a "Hair Story". I'll get around to talking more about this whole experience another time. Besides, you can just look at my "About Me" pic to see my now bushy head. 

 "Oh, no, I know a dirty word..."

Anyway, after being threatened with a "you need to get a hot comb taken to THAT", "THAT" of course being the beast formerly known as my hair, I went home in tears. The insults culminated with the beast being called "n***er hair". Yes, the "n" word, and not "nappy". Nappy, I'm cool with. But the "n" word? I was (and still am) aghast that the first time I personally got hit with that word, it would be thrown out by another Black person, a highly educated one at that. A co-worker. With kids. 

"...I feel stupid and  contagious..."


I KNOW I'm not a n***er. I also know it was that incident that finally made me stop and really ponder. I know about "b****es". I've slid into that role. But this was different. Where a b**** just strikes out, this was a lingering nastiness. It was spiritually draining. Dark. Festering. Day in and day out ugliness shabbily disguised as cheap jokes. My hurt, shock and sadness put on display for entertainment. My tears, their laughter. 


Such ugliness produces the most repulsive of odors. It doesn't just linger, it seems to absorb itself into all subjected to it. Kind of like the rancid "B.O." on that old "Seinfeld" episode. A fake smile don't cover the funk of that soul. And this has nothing to do with James Brown, who exemplified great Funk in his Soul.

Fearing the stench would overtake me, and I would be overcome with such meanness, I did the only thing I could think of- pray. And pray some more. Pray for strength, courage and wisdom as if I were India Arie. 



 Not the particular stained glass Joan I gazed at, but similar.

 
A few days into my prayer-fest, I found myself sitting in my friend Clarissa's church, waiting to... be prayed for. As I sat in the pew, I looked over at the pretty stained glass window closest to our row and saw Joan of Arc. No, not some amazing vision, literally, a stained glass Joan, decked out in armor, ready to battle for God.Feeling weak and pathetic, I found myself staring at little Miss Teen Braveheart with a bit of jealousy. Then conviction. If she could be courageous and strong in the face of overwhelming adversity (and what must've been spiritually, the equivalent of a garbage dump the size of Texas in stench), I needed to buck up. Far stronger than "Mean Kids"and any mean things they can dish out is my God. My God, and through Him, I can do all things. Including withstanding attacks about my physical that had begun to cut spiritually. 

 "A denial, a denial, a denial, a denial..."

Joan famously said, "I am not afraid... I was born to do this." Funny that it took some colored glass for me to realize I was being wounded by fear. I was afraid that the "Mean Kids" were right. I was fat, I look stupid, unattractive, unworthy... their taunts acted as magnifiers of my own insecurities. Just like some of the mean kids' cracks when I was in middle school. I've grown up, long since dropped the "Teen Spirit" but have replaced it with a very obvious "Secret"- I'm still afraid.


I wish I could end this long blog with a nice tight little resolution, that I'm not a scaredy cat anymore, but that would be a huge denial. I have at least sniffed out the icky smell of fear... on myself. And I'm working on it. Better to stop it now before it spreads to all out stinky meaness.


I also wish I could write the "Mean Kids" are sorry. But as I wrote this, I received a clear confirmation the one who said the "n" word, is not. Talk about denials...





Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Survey: Atheists Know More About Religion Than Believers


Wow, EPICFAIL to all of us "Believers". According to a new Pew Forum Poll, atheists know more about what they don't believe in than the Christians who supposedly believe it. From MSNBC:


"A new survey of Americans' knowledge of religion found that atheists, agnostics, Jews and Mormons outperformed Protestants and Roman Catholics in answering questions about major religions, while many respondents could not correctly give the most basic tenets of their own faiths.
Forty-five percent of Roman Catholics who participated in the study didn't know that, according to church teaching, the bread and wine used in Holy Communion is not just a symbol, but becomes the body and blood of Christ.

More than half of Protestants could not identify Martin Luther as the person who inspired the Protestant Reformation. And about four in 10 Jews did not know that Maimonides, one of the greatest rabbis and intellectuals in history, was Jewish.

The survey released Tuesday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life aimed to test a broad range of religious knowledge, including understanding of the Bible, core teachings of different faiths and major figures in religious history. The U.S. is one of the most religious countries in the developed world, especially compared to largely secular Western Europe, but faith leaders and educators have long lamented that Americans still know relatively little about religion.

Respondents to the survey were asked 32 questions with a range of difficulty, including whether they could name the Islamic holy book and the first book of the Bible, or say what century the Mormon religion was founded. On average, participants in the survey answered correctly overall for half of the survey questions.

Atheists and agnostics scored highest, with an average of 21 correct answers, while Jews and Mormons followed with about 20 accurate responses. Protestants overall averaged 16 correct answers, while Catholics followed with a score of about 15." To read the whole story, click here.


Sigh. Did half of all Christianity skip Sunday School? Obviously quite a few people were not properly catechized. Anyway, if you're interested in finding out what the Bible actually says, log on to Equip.org.And if you're one of those Catholics who don't know a thing about Rome but the Pope, you can check out EWTN.

Be My Guest: Fall TV Premiere Week-Planes, Explosions and Terrorists, Oh My!!





A special guest post by Joseph Flemming.


From global conspiracies, undercover power couples and precocious 10 year old girls, the fall 2010 TV season premiere week kicked off with an dizzying array of shows.
Part 1 of 3




Panic. Screams pierce through the air like twisted Steel being ripped asunder. News channels broadcast frantic pleas for help even as the video signal blinks in and out; as you continue watching the chaos the familiar sound of a plane's strained turbine engine begins to rumble...The video feed cuts out as you hear a voice yell "O my God! Run drop the camera!"

This is the first  27 seconds of the new NBC show "The Event" and it does a good job of setting the pace for the remaining forty two or so minutes that follows. There is a lot of information thrown at the viewer from beginning to end. In fact by the time the credits roll, you'll be surprised by the people, locations, and plot lines you'll readily recall; maybe even ask yourself -how do I remember all of this?




The answer to that question is, while the amount of content is dense, the editing cinematography and pacing is terse. This is a show that is on a mission and will not waste a single solitary frame, or moment of dialogue.. not even in the quietest of scenes. Be warned for every scene involving expository dialogue and characterization, there is a payoff around the corner. So if you have to go to the bathroom or get the door for the pizza guy,do yourself a favor &  hit the pause button on the DVR.

What is "The Event"?

For viewers who have watched shows like Lost and dare I say- Flashforward, recognizing "The Event" fits into the genre of "hard to define action/drama/suspense/thriller" would be an easy deduction.

For those who are uninitiated to this style of programing. (hey some people grew up solely on reality TV)  The new serialized shows takes a weekly digestible story and mixes in mystery, action, suspense and an overarching storyline that spans the entire season and series.

From ordinary to extraordinary
The Event-follows Sean Walker (Jason Ritter), a man who, while investigating the mysterious disappearance of his girlfriend, Leila, begins to discover a huge conspiracy that even The President Elias Martinez (Blair Underwood) was not privy to. Director of National Intelligence Blake Sterling (Željko Ivanek) knows far more about this mysterious plot and has been overseeing a secret research facility in the Alaskan mountains. This complex houses 97 individuals being detained & experimented on (shades of Gitmo)


When President Martinez discovers the  existence of the Mount Inostranka complex, he meets with the detainees leader Sophia Maguire, (Laura Innes) ; He then decides to call a press conference, where presumably he would tell the American people all that had transpired  in that frigid complex and who these people are. Unfortunately moments before his press conference, an assassination attempt is made using a hijacked aircraft.

So, if your still reading this you've probably noticed that I still haven't covered anything about the actual "Event" at all..well I can't because the show hasn't provided that answer yet...
...and that's OK as long as the writers keep the script tight, reward the viewers with logical answers during major revelatory plot points, and keep the action moving.

Is It good?
Of course a show like this lives and dies by the quality of the performance the actors bring to the table... In the face of a narrative that shifts perspective, location and even jumps back & forth through time telling it's tale (flashbacks); it's a  good thing they hold their own.

Blair Underwood is appropriately presidential, at times asking the right questions; adequately balancing taking the advice of his cabinet and making quick decisive bold decisions (Mr. Obama please take notes)

Željko Ivanek portrayal of Director of National Intelligence Blake Sterling, puts the "spook" back into the CIA. His play at secretive, smarmy, evil power broker is more insidious than overt. With every shift of his eye you know that he has all the makings of a megalomaniac just waiting for an executive order to allow him all sorts of control.

Yeah, he's creepy.
Željko Ivanek

Jason Ritter's Sean Walker gives a solid performance as the confused boyfriend who's love is earnest, and is thrust into a chain of events that is larger than he can imagine, he grounds the mystery with an human element standing in as a proxy for the viewer who is equally confused and guessing the myriad sets of plot twist.

Final thoughts
Premiere episodes for dramas can be tough, there is the dearth of characterization, plot points and Key figures you have to introduce but executive producers Evan Katz, Steve Stark and  Jeffrey Reiner keeps all of the chaos controlled. Even better  Executive producer Evan Katz has promised some of the questions raised in the pilot episode will be resolved as early as the second episode.(trust me some are, no joke!) If they can keep up this pace the show has a shot at becoming the next lost, or at least the first couple seasons of Heroes.

Just one last thing, remember earlier when I said that an airplane was hijacked and was being used to assassinate the President? well in the final seconds of the show that plane is on a collision course with the presidents summer compound. Secret service frantically running to get the president into his motorcade, the plane towers just several hundred feet above the rooftops bearing down full speed. The ground rumbles and a wind of extreme magnitude stirs around the would be impact site.. and then... the plane...

Find out next episode.


Rating: B+
The Event-NBC Monday 9:00pm EST.

check out the medial gallery for photos from "The Event" Click here

___________________________________________________
Cast
  • Željko Ivanek - Director of National Intelligence Blake Sterling
  • Blair Underwood-President Elias Martinez
  • Laura Innes- Sophia Maguire
  • Jason Ritter as Sean Walker

Friday, September 24, 2010

Be My Guest: "The Sky is Falling!" by Marc Koellhoffer



        So, twice in the last week or so, the almighty social networking site Facebook went offline. The first time was later in the evening, at least by my early bedtime standards, but today it was down in afternoon “primetime”-right around the time many people would be getting home from school or work.

          Come on, you know you do it: no sooner are you in the door then you’re checking your page for updates, friend requests, event notifications, reading and making comments, and changing your status. I am no exception, guilty as charged. But wait!! Not today! The site was not accessible! OH NO! I tried again...still down! I tried to access other sites, to make sure my internet was working--check, all good. So of course, I did the next logical thing that any loyal Facebook user would do, I Googled “Facebook down?” and didn’t get anything promising there--although I didn’t go through anywhere near the 200 pages of results I was bound to uncover. So, yeah, I tried again. Still down. Whoaaaaaaaaa.......


Then I looked around. No nuclear attack had occurred; aliens had not landed, and we were still almost a year and a half away from the Mayan end of the world, so it couldn’t be that. Hmmmm....curious. So I did the unthinkable. Walked away from the computer. I called a friend. Yes, actually called, not texted, or IM’d, or e-mailed, or anything like that.

          Have we forgotten how to have real conversations with people? I think there are “friends” of mine on Facebook that I don’t actually know! This doesn’t make them or me bad people, but the world is slowly losing the ability to be social in-person because we are so busy doing it other ways. Granted, these sites give us the wonderful opportunity to keep in touch with long-lost friends, especially those who have moved away, and lets us have new friends that we would never otherwise have met. I am also much more vocal on Facebook about matters concerning my religion and things affecting the world (especially politics) then I ever would be in person.



 Creepy Ghost-Outline Facebook Guy... might just be YOU in real life! When's the last time you actually been socially active? You know, in real life?


          After the phone call, which regrettably had to be cut short so that my ever so lovable dog could go for a walk, I found myself looking around outside and appreciating the day. It was a little cloudy, but the afternoon heat had vanished, leaving  me feeling very comfortable outside. Then I extended our walk so we could both enjoy it a little more. I saw some neighbors I recognized and did the unthinkable--said “hello” in person! Yes, absolutely no electronic devices used. Just a good old-fashioned face to face hello. I talked with the neighbor down the hall, small chit chat about how his Steelers impressed me by winning with their 4th string quarterback, and that I didn’t expect much from my Giants. I didn’t have to click send or wait for some notification that he had responded, it was all there in front of me. Practically uncharted territory for people nowadays.


What does this all mean? I don’t know. There is a whole world out there, though, beyond what we see on our ever more powerful computers. I hope we don’t turn into a bunch mindless Mildred’s from Fahrenheit 451. I know we all lead busy lives, but stop once in a while and actually say “hi” to someone. I promise, the sky will not fall on you.

          I’d be remiss if I didn’t take a second to thank my friend Alisha for allowing me to do this guest entry on her blog, which I absolutely love reading. She is a wonderful writer who will eventually no doubt be grabbed up by some magazine or publisher who recognizes her incredible talents. Ironically enough, Alisha and I are more “Facebook” friends than “real-life” friends, simply because our paths don’t often cross. I will have to buy her a cup of coffee very soon! You do the same with someone you haven’t talked to in person in a while! And yes, you are all still welcome to “add me as a friend”, both on Facebook and in-person.

          God bless.


Note:I did not coerce Marc in any way to write the above paragraph. (Really.) And thank you for this great post. And let me know if you want to do Starbucks or run on Dunkin'. Or go Jersey style &  hit up a certain diner. ;-)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Is Ethnic Beauty The New "It" Factor?

Gorgeous and exotic: Actress Zoe Saldana, who is of Puerto Rican and Dominican descent (and was born in New Jersey, woot woot!).
From CNN:

"Women who desire a more "exotic" appearance are looking to the fashion world's growing multi-culturalism for inspiration.
 
There was a time when the Caucasian girl-next-door looks of Christie Brinkley, Cindy Crawford and more recently Kate Moss dominated the fashion pages. Then came new fashion icons: Naomi Campbell, Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce - and then Giselle, Kim Kardashian and Shakira.

More voluptuous figures, fuller lips and darker skin, features traditionally associated with women of African, Latin and Asian cultures, are "in." Over the past decade, an appreciation for ethnic beauty has been on the rise, and these natural features are becoming popular among Caucasian women who desire to look more "exotic."

Dr. Nancy Etcoff, a Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital psychologist who studies the science behind the brain and beauty, believes that the shift in our perception of beauty is a sign of the times.



 "Slumdog Millionaire" actress Freida Pinto of Indian descent, caught worldwide attention for her beauty.


"Our standards of beauty are changing and ethnic women are at the forefront today," she said. "It emulates our growing sense of cultural awareness." 

Etcoff, who also authored "Survival of the Prettiest," adds: "If you study plastic surgery textbooks, the notions of an ideal feature have changed. In the 50s, the ideal look featured thinner lips, upturned noses, smaller eyes, and paler makeup," Etcoff said. "Now you see broader noses, darker skin, and larger eyelids. All these attributes suggest shifts in demographics and an appeal to a more multicultural look instead of an overly Caucasian appearance."

 To read the rest of the story, click here

As a woman who falls into the "ethnic" category, I suppose I should be happy about this. But actually, it irks me. The story is written as if the entire world just noticed that beautiful women come in all different packages. When in fact, it's more like a segment of the fashion/beauty industry started realizing they can make bigger bucks off selling cosmetics, clothes and accessories to a wider market by targeting "ethnic" women.

African American R&B phenom Beyonce Knowles is the definition of "bootylicious". Well, she should be. She invented the word, lol.


Okay, so that's harsh. But when it comes down to it, business is about money. And while it's nice to see more models of diversity out there, I still have to give an eyeroll to these companies that push appearance over substance. So let's say you're freckle- faced, blonde, straight haired Becky. You want to be "It" in this game of fashion tag, so you schlep over to CVS, buy self tanner, lip gloss to plump your lips, bronzer, a box of curly perm to give your hair more texture and top it off with a stop by Wal-Mart to buy one of those padded butt-bra underwear. Put it all together and what do you get? Lindsay Lohan sans the booze??? Well, not quite, but you do get a girl who's buying into the notion that there's something wrong with how she looks.
I'm not against make-up or hair dye. Far from it. I put on some eyeliner and lipstick before I headed to work this morning. Well, the lipstick I put on in the car, but that's okay because K was driving. Anyway, it's nice to enhance your looks. But when a girl is stuck on obliterating it- whether it be through a White girl getting fish lips via restalyne injections or a Black girl bleaching her skin white- I just feel a sense of loss. There is beauty in this giant garden of Earth. We aren't all meant to be roses or orchids.

Is There A Black Genocide Happening in the U.S.?


According to a few websites out there, the answer is a resounding yes. From PPAbortsAA.org:

  • In 2007 Planned Parenthood made only 4,912 adoption referrals, yet aborted 305,310 lives.
  • An African American baby is three times more likely to be aborted from the womb than a white baby.
  • Since 1973, abortion has reduced the black population by over 25 percent.
And from BlackGenocide.org

    "On average, 1,876 black babies are aborted every day in the United States.

    'This incidence of abortion has resulted in a tremendous loss of life. It has been estimated that since 1973 Black women have had about 16 million abortions. Michael Novak had calculated "Since the number of current living Blacks (in the U.S.) is 36 million, the missing 16 million represents an enormous loss, for without abortion, America's Black community would now number 52 million persons. It would be 36 percent larger than it is. Abortion has swept through the Black community like a scythe, cutting down every fourth member."


    Although I knew it was a common practice, I still found myself at a loss when I read the statistics. While the Black community has publicly waged war against drugs, poverty,lack of education and crooked cops, there seems to be very few to make a peep about this. Many Black women complain they can't find a good Black man because they're all either taken or gay. Seems pretty likely he was actually never born.

    Tuesday, September 21, 2010

    Getting Their Pants In A Bunch

    This hilarious "Pants Pass" is from Simcha Fisher's funny blog, "I Have To Sit Down". Just make sure to cross your legs when you do, Simcha, or your husband might revoke yours.


    I've been pretty lazy of late, deciding to skip writing and start reading a whole bunch of other people's blogs. I pretend it's "research", but actually, it's an excuse to not write anything here.

    So anyway, by way of Mark Shea's blog, "Catholic & Enjoying It"(which has been FAR's 'Blog of the Week'), I stumbled upon "I Have To Sit Down" a blog by Simcha Fisher. She wrote a hilarious response to an odd CatholiCity piece on women wearing pants. Okay, if you're confused, sorry. It's like this: Me>Mark>Simcha>CatholiCity. But by ">", I am not saying I am greater than Mark or the others. Well, maybe just that odd CatholiCity piece.

    But anyway, let's go to the anti-pant diatribe, which of course, was written by a man:

    "...Ladies, please, discard your pants. Instead, consider wearing comfortable skirts or dresses whenever possible, which means, in practice, in pretty much every normal daily circumstance. Consider the following:

    1.Regardless of your size, shape, or age, the attractiveness of your female figure is virtually always enhanced, while adding to your modesty, when you wear a dress.

    2. Do this for us, the minority of chaste men who merit the gift of enjoying your beauty in such a way as to be grateful to your creator without temptation. Make it so it is good for men to look upon you, rather than requiring us to look away (which is a tragedy).

    3. The godless, sexed-up, secular fashion industry is out to make money and convince you that vice is virtue. They, and their damned pants, accentuate your flaws. If you think the fashion industry is about beauty, I have two words for you: The Seventies.

    4. Sadly, and we understand you may not be aware of this, but almost every style of pants reveals private information about your figure (by way of contour) what only your husband (and if not him, no man, including your sons, if you have sons) should perceive.

    5. Thus, even a woman endowed with the most spectacular genetic form, in the bloom of her youth, can be given the illusion of ugliness, if not cheapness, by wearing pants. Likewise, pants rarely do anything but exaggerate extra volume on our figures."

    Quick, quick! Which one is the sinner, which one the saint? What's that? Both? Yeah, these outfits ARE sins against Fashion, aren't they...


    Sadly, the list actually goes on, and you can go ahead and read it all by clicking here.

    My honest to God first thought was, "Wait, there are Catholics who are against women wearing pants???" As I've mentioned in previous blogs, I was raised Pentecostal, specifically Apostolic, and pants were fashion non grata growing up. Although in my girl mind I could see how skirts could be more tempting to guys, to the Preachers of Pantless Purity, they were straight out of Evil's closet. The Devil wears prada, and Jezebels wore pants.

    Hearing that repeatedly for 17 years (all the while still wearing pants- my parents weren't knickers nazis) resulted in a once girly-girl turning into a near pants only... girly-girl. I still had a few skirts I dragged out for church during college, but they were mainly left-overs from high school. It took until my junior year before I relented and brought a couple of denim skirts.

    A happy medium? Uh, I hope not. I'm a moderate on most things, but not about these hideous pants...um, skirt...er, getup.


    Which is why I find it so interesting whenever people, especially dudes, try to go all anti-pantsie on women and are shocked (!) that only a tiny few will agree with them. Keep up the rhetoric, boys, and you'll only see chicks in cargos, khakis and capris.

    I also find it interesting that it's not just the Holy Rollers with the clothing issues, but also those who bow their knee to the Holy See. Which is making me curious- does anyone else have clothing prohibitors in their churches or places of worship? I know that the burka and hijab is hotly debated amongst Muslims. Does any FAR readers have a story to share of their own?

    As usual, comments are welcome (look people, two comments, one from Don and one from me is sad... COMMENT, dagnabit!). Thank you.

    Be My Guest: Swallowing Truth


    Awesome spoken word piece, "Swallowing Truth". Reality is a bitter pill to swallow for many. For more, check out Truth Chose Me on YouTube.


    Tuesday, September 14, 2010

    He Put The... Ahem... In A WHAT?

    Hey LADIES! Does this do anything for you? Huh? Huh?


    I was talking to my ex-Jersey friend Kandi on the phone last week about Kanye's latest "Monster," which showcases his lyrical prowess along with Jay-Z's, Rick Ross' and Niki Minaj's as well. She had heard of the song, but hadn't listened to it yet. The conversation went something like this:

    Me: Girl, when I heard it on Hot 97, which by the way, had like a trillion bombs going off over it cause Flex was spinning like it was dag-on 1997 (yes, I actually speak like this, too, not just write), my mouth was left in a "O"! My jaw dropped.

    Kandi: What? Funk Master Flex is STILL there? (Okay, I'm embellishing here, she didn't say it but I was thinking that.) Is it really THAT bad?

    Me: Yes! Listen to it!

    Kandi: Li, I don't want to! Just tell me the words.

    Me: Um, well, it's about Monsters (uh duh). Like they're saying they are monsters. Horrible. Kanye sounds like a mix of jerk and bored... but well, that's normal for him. But Jay-Z is like "rape and pillage women and children" and crap, and Niki sounds straight... schizo! She does like 5 different voices in her verse!

    Kandi: Huh? (We both have T-Mobile.)

    Me: Augh, will you just go Google the freakin' lyrics? Read it and you'll see!

    Kandi: click click click click click click...

    Me: No, Honey, I'm still on the phone.

    Kandi: Huh?

    Me: I was talking to Keiron.

    Kandi: Oh... click click clack clickety clack click...

    Me: Well?

    Kandi: I got them! Let's see... "I shoot the lights out/ Hide til its bright out /Whoa, just another lonely night/ Are you willing to sacrifice your life?" Huh, sacrifice your life?

    Me: Keep reading...

    Kandi: "*EXPLETIVE* I’m a monster no good blood sucker/ Fat *EXPLETIVE* now look who’s in trouble..."

    Me: He he he, we know you're a big dude, Rick... Get to Kanye's part...

    Kandi: "... Cause you will never get on top off this/ So mommy best advice is to get on top of this/ Have you ever had sex with a pharoah/ I put the *EXPLETIVE* in a sarcophagus...". What??? Eww, that's not sexy! "Now she claiming I bruise her esophagus/ Head of the class and she just want a swallowship"... No, this isn't right, this is just sick!"

    Me: The sad thing is, dumb guys think this is cool. 'Yeah, I killed that!' For a woman, how is that appealing? A tore up vajayjay and a sore throat! Yeah, so 'kingly'. He is a "Monster". He can kiss my a...

    Again, since this wasn't taped, this was pretty much how the conversation went. My apologies to Kandi for only "pretty much" getting it down. But you get the point, Dear Readers. One, that song is a hot dern mess. And two, as ladies, we really do not get the appeal of the self-centered, painful message that Kanye, acting as some freaky, hood Dr. Suess, delivers. Yes, we get that Kanye & crew are boasting about how monstrous THEY are. But why are so many regular guys tuned into that gross message?

    Kanye, what happened to the Jesus piece? The sweater vests? Non-glowing eyes?

    It didn't take long before the above lines started popping up in my time line on Twitter and Facebook. In a bizarre twist, I've seen this stuff mixed up with VMA reports and an adorable music video by my friends April & Gary. Okay, so it's not bizarre with the VMA stuff. Anything with Lady Gaga is automatically way on the other side of normal. On a side note, you might note her fondness for calling her cult-like fanbase "monsters", too.

    These mash-up of messages has left me thinking. Yes, that perhaps there are certain people I should maybe filter on my social networking sites. But mainly on how twisted people can get when it comes to love, strength, admiration and power. Kanye has become the poster boy for hip-hop confusion. He's talking about baptismal water washing over his "Cesar" cut, then telling people to kiss him where the sun don't shine. All the while, his one constant seems to be narcissism. After all, he did rap that "Jesus walks with me"- NOT that he was following in the path of Christ (how's that for "Jesus Is My Homeboy"?). And if we don't like it, we're "Haters" and don't recognize we're in the "presence of greatness". Confidence? Nah. This man doth protest too much. He wears conceit like a pair of $5,000 shades.


    Later, I noticed Gary's posting of a duet with his wife April on Facebook. They sang Damien Rice's "Volcano". Their rendition was simmering, sweet, passionate, questioning... and giving. Funny how their duet seems to describe them, too. Humble, melodic... love. The last line is "You do not need me." This line rings true. April is a whole person without Gary, and Gary, without April. But they come together to make a whole, complete union. The opposite of neediness, they are confident in each other.

    Which brings me back to that little conversation I had with my friend, Kandi, and those "Monster" lyrics. Yeah, I know, it's a song. Just a song. I'm not saying it's the end of the world because millions of people are amazed that a rapper can rhyme "sarcophagus" and "esophagus" in a sexually charged line. I'm actually more amazed by the amount of people who don't know what a "sarcophagus" is and where the "esophagus" is located. But I do think it's a shame that millions of guys are following this stupidity, of "hitting it, then splitting it in two" (no disrespect to the late B.I.G.) as if they are being charmed by a Pied Piper (I'm going to leave out the diatribe I could make about R.Kelly). Forget what some rapper says about sex. When you make love to your wife- yes, make love, and yes, wife... no "y" at the end- does it reflect, a selfless, giving love? Or that you just want to "smash"? Are you holding on to some selfish habits in the bedroom learned before you married? Honestly? Are you treating your wife the way Christ modeled? Or are you trying to get her to earn a "swallowship" with no concern to getting a-head in her class? "Swallowship"...sheesh, no wonder this dude is a "College Dropout"...


    Poor Jane. Her husband Bob thinks Jane is happy because "the neighbors know his name." She was actually saying "Oh, God" and wondering how she could get him to stop listening to that darn Urban Music station during his work commute.

    Anyway, think about it. And if you think your lady is satisfied, go ahead and ask her. Ask her what she wants, what she desires. And before you think everything is cool, please know that EIGHTY PERCENT OF WOMEN FAKE IT. Harry, meet Sally.

    Friday, September 10, 2010

    Music Minute: Willow Smith Can "Whip" It Real Good- at 9

    Mini-Rihanna, uh er, Willow Smith.


    I guess Will Smith & Jada Pinkett-Smith just can't help but spawn greatness. I fell in love with Jaden in "Karate Kid" this summer (HEY! Don't you judge me! At least I didn't pounce around with Justin Beiber playing "Mrs. Robinson" like a certain Kardashian). Now I get to love yet another little Smith, nine year old Willow. Putting all the little R&B divas more than twice her age to shame, Willow has put out "Whip My Hair"- and nabbed a deal with Jigga's Roc Nation. On a side note...psst, Will, Jada... um, if you start seeing Willow with pyramids, t-shirts with a single cyclop-like eye or expressing great admiration for the Def Jam founder who was NOT once married to Kimora Lee... be afraid... be VERY AFRAID.

    Anyway, enjoy the music!


    Willow Smith - "Whip My Hair Clean" by clutchmag

    Thursday, September 9, 2010

    Music Malaise: Christian Rapper Bizzle Takes on Jay-Z, Kanye & Rick Ross


    Christian Rap Artist Bizzle.

    Much has been made about Jay-Z and Kanye's rumored ties to the Illuminati, Freemasonry and even Satanism. If you've been under a cyber rock for the past couple of years and haven't heard this, just do a simple YouTube search and you'll quickly be bombarded about how Hova is anti-Jehovah.

    I've purposely steered clear of this conversation on this blog, but let me just put it to you this way in brief. Whether the whole Roc Nation is following in Anton LaVey's steps, I do not know. I also don't know if Rick Ross squeezes his big self into a hooded robe and has undergone the 33rd degree initiation. To be honest, I don't even know what that is, my "vast" knowledge of the subject actually being confined to a couple of Dan Brown books and a History Channel special.


    Scary? Noooo. There's nothing at all scary in the least bit about them. Now what Lil' Kim line did I mention in "The Secret Life of B****es"? Oh, that's right. "Dressed in all black like an omen". Yes, and we all know how black omens are signs of good things, right?



    What I do know is Jigga's put out a few hibbie-jibbie videos that don't... well, to use my Grandmother's lingo, do not "sit well with my spirit".

    He's never had a problem with violence. I mean Dude came out styled as a latter day Black mobster in "Reasonable Doubt." He's been a"Hustla" but darn it, he was still charming enough to say "Excuse Me, Miss." I mean, any guy who could rap over a little Orphan Annie tune can't be that bad, right? Uh, yeah. I noticed a darker turn when he showed himself get "offed" in "99 Problems", which revealed that his 100th problem was the one he really should have been looking out for-the Grim Reaper. Well, death AND Rick Rubin's scary as death beard. It was actually a toss up for me.

    Anyway, fast forward to "Blueprint 3" (and seriously, if you have to make three blueprints, I'm sorry, but it's time to get a new architect... something's broke) and that terrifying video with Alicia Keys hubby Swizz Beats. Here it is:



    Yeah, I keep it moving when this creepy video airs. On to the next one for real, Man. I just can't understand why the Nikes are bleeding. Although I guess it's nice Marilyn Manson got some work. Next up, Kanye had to get murdered in one of his videos, too. Remember "Flashing Lights"?




    Hmm... was this love gone terribly wrong? His feelings on the paparazzi? And if so, did it inspire Gaga? Maybe Kanye caught a glimpse of his future in September 2009 when the public's opinion of him would spiral into a free fall because of a certain on-stage drunken interruption/video critique? Whatever the meaning, Mr. West still depicted a mighty bloody end. For himself.

    And one last one. Even though Rihanna is not mentioned in Bizzle's song, I figured I had to mention her because she is often linked to the occult via the web, too. Of course it didn't help that "Little Miss Sunshine" was a "Good Girl Gone Bad", but then when she got all "Rated R", the cyber world went wild with speculation. Check out Ri Ri's "Russian Roulette" which-following in her label mates' steps- simulates the Barbadian Beauty's death, a few times over.



    Okay... note to self, listen to some Ce Ce Winans after all this. Anyway, Jiggaman addressed some of the rumors with Rick Ross on "Free Mason".



    Here enters Bizzle. He's not buying Jay's hazy response. So rapping over Nas' classic "Ether", he takes on the guys. Quite well. And with respect.





    Well this Blogger is going to just say, again in my Grandmother's words, "A Hearty AMEN!"

    If you want to find out more about Bizzle, check out his website here.

    Tuesday, September 7, 2010

    Be My Guest: On Glenn Beck & Evangelical Christians



    Woot, woot! My laziness can continue! I have another guest post, this time from FAR reader Alan. He wrote this in response to a recent Christianity Today article, "Beck Wants To Lead, But Will Evangelicals Follow?" Last week I posted a link to this story on the Far Above Rubies Fan Page on Facebook (and if you haven't hit the "Like" button yet, please do!), and Alan took up his pen... well got to his keyboard and submitted this. And by submitted, I mean he wrote this in a combox and I decided to post it here. So, thanks Alan! Enjoy!

    "Ok so here is the deal, we have fallen so far sometimes, that we cant even see the deception in front of us, or we choose not to see it because it suits our needs for the moment. Are we forgetting that this guy is Mormon? I cant sit here a...nd speak about his political stance, as I choose not to listen to him, but I do know that you could put voice changers on him and Rush Limbaugh and not be able to tell the difference between the two.

    How can you call your self a pastor, preacher, leader, bishop, or whatever label you deem makes you feel important, and sit here and say, “Glenn Beck's Mormon faith is irrelevant”. So the next time we need a speaker for the Feed The Children campaign, I suppose we should recommend Osama Bin Laden, since he has such a pull on the rich people of the middle east. Don’t worry his Islamic faith is irrelevant. It’s essential to who you are and what you believe.

    I commend the individuals who stated, "It's sad to see so many Christians confusing Mormon politics or American nationalism with the gospel of Jesus Christ." By electing someone to represent you, you are essentially saying that you want the way this person lives their life, the things they believe in, the things the say, the way they treat others, to represent us to the world. How better to tug on the hearts of believers then to mention your faith in “god” (I use little “g” on purpose). Many people I have spoken with about him, didn’t even realize that he was a Mormon. They have heard him talk about faith, and assumed he was Christian along with the fact he is on the FOX news station.



    Its amazing and sad at the fact that we as a society want to be so co-existent with other religions, that we are now bending the rules and allowing others to speak for us, and appear to be us. And now back to you Mr. Fallwell who thinks that his faith is irrelevant. This is the same individual who allowed Glen Beck to come to Liberty University and give a commencement speech, which turned out to almost be a sermon, as Mr. Beck was speaking on the many things that “god” has done in his life.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrp1a17iIrc&feature=related

    I was actually in the process of getting ready to attend their online degree program, but was so disgusted over their actions I withdrew my acceptance. How can you have a Doctrinal Statement for your university such as this:

    https://www.liberty.edu/index.cfm?PID=6907

    And allow someone to speak on your behalf, to your students, and family, and give them and honorary degree if their beliefs are as such:

    http://www.exmormon.org/fourteen.htm

    Now I don’t want to appear s though I don’t care for people of other religions and faiths, that is the last thing that I am. Even with our differences in who we believe God is, I still believe we should interact with each other, live amongst each other and so on. But when you start to shade out the truth with that which is soooo sooooo false then we have an immediate problem.



    Where our problem begins is that we have made too many compromises in our lives of what is right and wrong. But we do it in such small increments, that you don’t notice how much you have changed until you begin to look at where you came from. We need to restore the standards in our lives and stick with them, don’t sell out what is true for something that is the popular idea of the moment. Don’t allow someone to speak for you under the guise of Patriotism and then allow his religious beliefs to be integrated into yours.

    The enemy will use every power and skill that he has to deceive you and get you to move from Gods right hand to his left. I could go on and on, but I don’t write this to bash the man. Im sure like us all he loves this country, wants to see it protected and enriched. However let us see who the man really is before we allow him to sit at our table and say grace….."


    Do you want to submit something? Hit me up at alishadefreitas@gmail.com.
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