Friday, January 30, 2009

Just Wing, Baby!

A heartfelt 21-gun Asphalt Eden Salute to Jersey native, 23 year-old inspiration, and Wing Bowl 17 Champion Jonathan "Super Squibb" Squibb. A Rutgers graduate and amateur pro eater, he destroyed the competition by eating 203 wings, beating the next best tally by 23 juicy, tender, flavorful wings (I'm starvin' here). The Wing Bowl began in 1993 by Philly talk show hosts Al Morganti and Angelo Cataldi and is held annually, this year at the famed Wachovia Center. Hail to the King.... The King of Wing.

Your Message Here

This sign is one of the display windows at an Urban Outfitters in Philadelphia. [Via Oh Joy] Wish we had one in New York City. They're taking suggestions for what the sign should say. What would you say?

And doesn't it remind you of David Kramer's work, which closes this weekend?

The Proverbial Gold Ring in a Pig's Snout

Like a gold ring in a pig's snout
is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.
~ Proverbs 11:22

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Take a Staycation to the Caribbean

Escape the cold with a Caribbean staycation. People shows how to host a tropical party in their November 16, 2009, issue. Turn up your radiator, whip up some sweet treats, and pump up the reggae.

The Proverbial Kind Man

A kind man benefits himself,
but a cruel man brings trouble on himself.
~ Proverbs 11:17

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Cute Way to Hail a Cab in the Winter

Aren't these the cutest way for a New Yorker to hail a cab in the winter? They're from Kate Spade and cost $95. [Via Oh Joy]

Belief is in the Cards

A Few interesting segments from an article by Mike Vaccaro in today's New York Post about Superbowl-bound Arizona Cardinals Quarterback Kurt Warner, talking about how facing the Pittsburgh Steelers will not faze the faith-filled QB this Sunday:

"So that is a large segment of Warner's armor, the belief that no matter what happens from here, no matter how much the Steelers want to hit him and pound him and send him limping off into the night this weekend, he's already known the hardest of hard times. He's already seen the abyss. Twice. That strengthens him. And people can root for that.The other part . . . Well, that's the one that makes some people squirm, the part where he lifts up his Bible and gives praise and thanks to his Savior and does it gladly and gleefully. People can tolerate a quarterback praising his offensive line for protection; they are less forgiving to hear that it was Jesus who delivered instead of a left tackle.

"I believe in Jesus. It makes all the difference in my life. Everything I do, everywhere I go, I'm trying to live up to or to represent Jesus. Having the faith that I have, believing what I believe, it's the first and foremost thing in my life. "

It is good, and refreshing, to see a rather *somewhat* non-biased article in a New York paper (if it didn't have at least a little sass and sarcasm to it, it wouldn't be a NY Sports column) openly discussing the role of the Christian faith in an athlete's life, especially in someone like a Kurt Warner, he of the 'road-less-travelled-to-get-to-this-point' fame (This road included stocking shelves for a living, playing in the football wasteland known as Europe, and being cast off by both the St. Louis Rams and the New York Giants). He is one of those guys people love to hate, because he is a good guy with few or no outside-the-field issues. Everyone can thank God when they succeed, few can thank him before the victory.

The Proverbial Ruthless Man

A kindhearted woman gains respect,
but ruthless men gain only wealth.
~ Proverbs 11:16

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bibleman Spun Out of Control But Getting His Life Back on Track

Willie Aames, who depending on your age range you'll remember as Tommy on "Eight is Enough," Buddy Lembeck on "Charles in Charge," or Bibleman, has an ongoing struggle with alcohol and drug addiction. He got his life in order when he became a Christian, but as life began to unravel for him last year he turned back to his old ways. This past Thanksgiving Aames tried to commit suicide. Beliefnet reports he said:

"I was also taking antidepressants and antianxiety pills. It got so bad, I put a knife to my throat and cut myself in six places. The police came, put me in handcuffs and whisked me away. I was completely devastated... I kept asking, 'What did I do wrong?'"

In the January 19 issue of Star Magazine, Aames opened up about about what drove him over the edge and what brought him back.

The Proverbial Fallen Nation

For lack of guidance a nation falls,
but many advisers make victory sure.
~ Proverbs 11:14

Monday, January 26, 2009

7 Minutes in Heaven with Diego Costa

Diego Costa is a musician and producer working to inspire others toward compassion. Born in "the most musical city of Brazil: Salvador," he moved to New York City in 2000 to further his international career. He uses his musical gift as a way to promote peace and unity, and has performed in the September Concert Festival in NYC, the Peace Vigil Day in Central Park and the United Nations’ Peace Day. He is also the co-founder of, which "fosters young artists to use their talents to make a positive impact in other people’s lives."

Asphalt Eden: What inspires you?
Diego Costa: People allowing God within to come alive and then living their best lives by loving and serving others.

Asphalt Eden: Who would you want to be stranded on a deserted island with?
Diego Costa: Definitely my wife. She's the only one who can handle me!!!!

Asphalt Eden: If you had to have a portrait of yourself made, what artist would commission?
Diego Costa: Could it be a documentary? I would invite my brother-in-law Daniel to direct it.

Asphalt Eden: What is your favorite time of day?
Diego Costa: Early in the morning, when I have the time to be alone with God while meditating and practicing Yoga. Another great time is when I turn off everything and sit down to create music.

Asphalt Eden: Where in New York is the closest place to your own personal Garden of Eden?
Diego Costa: There's a secret spot in Central Park that I love to go to journal, look at the city skyline from another perspective and refocus.

Asphalt Eden: What's on repeat on your iPod?
Diego Costa: I'm just IN LOVE with a song from the band Avalon called "New Day" I play it everyday! Seriously!

Asphalt Eden: If you could ask God one question, what would it be?
Diego Costa: What if there was One thing I could practice every day to make sure that I'm on track, what would that be?

The Proverbial Exalted City

Through the blessing of the upright a city is exalted,
but by the mouth of the wicked it is destroyed.
~ Proverbs 10:11

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Proverbial Cheer for the Good Guy

When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices;
when the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy.
~ Proverbs 10:10

Friday, January 23, 2009

"Do Short-Term Missions = Christian Tourism?"

We got an email with the header "Do Short-Term Missions = Christian Tourism?" It turned out to be an advertisement. Still, it raises an interesting question.

There are tons of organizations that offer short-term mission projects. It seems like a great way for those who are tied down to their career and family to get to serve God through missions. However, with the wrong motive, it could turn into an all-expenses paid vacation. Plus, it's not like all outreaches are in remote, impoverish lands. Some specifically target major cities that also happen to be hip tourist destinations.

Should the screening process be harsher for short-term missions?

With New York City so full of nonChristians, homeless people, and people involved in the sex industry, is it selfish to go on missions outside of our own city?

The Proverbial Worthlessness of Wealth

Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath,
but righteousness delivers from death.
~ Proverbs 11:4

Thursday, January 22, 2009

2008 in Photographs

Record Online posted an incredibly moving series of photographs called 2008: A Year in Pictures. These are the type of images that stop you in your tracks. Some come across as portrayals of the everyday, while others are monumental in their significance.


This picture, for example, gives a visual of the 100,000 Amity Press Chinese-English Bible that were delivered for free distribution during the Beijing Olympics.

Other photographs depict an after-school program in New Jersey, children in Rwanda, and a little girl in Brazil.

The Proverbial Prideful Person

When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom.
~ Proverbs 11:2

(from my original painting)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

3rd Ward On the Hunt for ... You!

You could be the next big thing. 3rd Ward just announced that they are "on the hunt for one artist with a groundbreaking voice and a hunger for exposure" for their Spring Solo Show:
3rd Ward Spring Solo Show: A hunt for one artist with a groundbreaking voice and a hunger for exposure.

3rd Ward Wants You! Our 2009 Spring Solo Show will award one amazing artist with fame, fortune and an incredible Solo Show! This nationwide open call is open to artists working in all mediums - sculpture, photography, painting, printmaking, illustration, installation, graphic design, video, and more!

Gawker Artists joins us again as a sponsor and this Spring's Judging Panel includes: Janet Ozzard, Editor at New York Magazine, Liz Dimmitt, Curator at Gawker Artists and Jarrett Gregory, Curator at the New Museum.

The Selected Artist will be announced in 3rd Ward’s quarterly publication with a 2-page spread and will receive:

  • $1,000 cash grant
  • 1-month residency at 3rd Ward with FULL facility access
  • A solo exhibition in 3rd Ward's gallery, complete with a massive opening reception
  • City-wide exposure
Submit your best work now through February 11, 2009.
What would you do for your solo show?

Lunch with Wayne Jacobsen

City Grace is hosting a free lunch with author Wayne Jacobsen on Sunday, February 8, from 12:15 to 1:15 PM, at the church (219 Sullivan St.):
Come and fellowship with us following the service as we welcome Wayne Jacobsen to talk about his powerful book, He Loves Me. If you haven't read the book yet, it comes highly recommended to us by friends who have said that it has taught them to see God's love for them in a new way. Hopefully, Wayne will be willing to share with us a bit about how he came to some of his conclusions about God's love.
What questions do you want to ask the author?

What other guests would you like to have lunch with?

The Proverbial Fool

The lips of the righteous nourish many,
but fools die for lack of judgment.
~ Proverbs 10:21

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Which President Is the Best Decorator?

Domino Magazine is taking you on a tour through the White House that shows how it has changed with different administrations. You can take their poll of who decorated best here.

How would you decorate the White House?

The Proverbial Disciplinarian

He who heeds discipline shows the way to life,
but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.
~ Proverbs 10:17

Top 5 Things to Do Inauguration Day 2009


1. Get a final night of George W. Bush with Will Ferrell's You're Welcome America. The play premiers on Broadway tonight and runs through March 15.

2. Enjoy the Last Days of W., Alec Soth's latest exhibit, at Gagosian Gallery (980 Madison Avenue). Opening reception from 6 pm to 8 pm.


3. If you aren't actually going to DC to see Obama get sworn in, watch the inauguration on television.

4. Party for the Democratic party at the Blue Ball, featuring DJ Whoo Kid.

5. Be the catalyst for change. Attend the Brooklyn Inaugural Ball at Bell House, which not only features performances by Karen Gibson Roc and the South African Music Collective but also is a benefit for P.S. 261.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Historic TV Watching

The Christian Cultural Center will be hosting an inauguration viewing:
On January 20th, America will celebrate the inauguration of its 44th President,
President Elect Barack Obama!

Christian Cultural Center would like to invite you to witness this historic event by coming together as a community of believers to watch the live televised broadcast this Tuesday, January 20, 2009.

Doors will open at 10:45am and the inauguration ceremony will begin at 11:30am.

Where will you be when a new chapter in America¹s history begins?
The Christian Cultural Center is located at 12020 Flatlands Avenue in Brooklyn.


Where will you be watching the inauguration?

Kid Logic, Jesus, and MLK Jr.

There's this great little piece on the radio show This American Life called "Act One. Baby Scientists with Faulty Data" that retells a conversation a parent and a child have about Jesus and Martin Luther King, Jr. Without giving too much away, it's about trying to make sense of why bad things happen to good people.

The Proverbial Minimum Wage

The wages of the righteous bring them life,
but the income of the wicked brings them punishment.
~ Proverbs 10:16

Top 5 Things to Do January 19, 2009

1. You already rode the subway without your pants earlier this month. Now, ride for free. Dunkin' Donuts will be giving out free metrocards from 6:30 am - 9:30 am at the Lexington Ave and 53rd Street metro stop.

2. You thought Eve was a temptress you should see Liz Renay. For the first time in fifty years, the sex kitten's paintings are being shown in New York. The exhibit, How to Attract Men: The Art of Liz Renay, opened earlier this month and will be on display at Deitch Projects (76 Grand St., Manhattan) through the end of the month.

3. Usually, PAINTstain (766 Grand, Brooklyn) is just a cool night to sit down with some friends and make art out of found objects, but tonight at the Williamsburg joint there will be a staged still life.

4. While the Poe Toaster is visiting Edgar Allan Poe's grave in Baltimore, celebrate the time the poet spent in New York. Plan a trip to his cottage in the Bronx, which is open on Saturdays and Sundays only.

5. The Met is usually closed on Mondays, but you can get in today!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sit Down in the Living Room with Ashley Jones This Saturday

Ashley Jones is playing a highly anticipated show tomorrow night at The Living Room (154 Ludlow Street). Her set starts at 9 pm and she will be joined on stage by Justin Depuydt on keys, Robert Hellyer on bass, Paul Stivitts on drums, and Joely Pittman on background vocals. The concert is free. Any money collected in the tip jar will go toward Jones' trip to Rwanda next month.

Jones' heart is for both music and Rwanda. She says:
In February of 2008 I traveled to Rwanda to build houses and relationships. I performed a concert at the University in Butare, donated guitars to a vocational school for street kids after a quick strumming lesson, and wrote two songs about my time in this beautiful country -- and those are only the music-related aspects of the trip. It was an awesome experience that changed my life in yet another way....
Jones' talent and passion is evident to anyone who has ever heard her sing. Not surprisingly, the New York-based musician has a lot of fans. First across the interweb came an invite to see her show from City Grace Church, where she is music director, then exactly ten minutes later I was Facebooked (anyone lobbying for "facebook" to become a verb like "google"?) about it by the bassist for the show. But it's not just her friends that dig her -- The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences Committee placed her album To Feel Alive Around Here and song "For Now" on the Official Ballot for the 2008 Grammy Awards.

NYC's First Multi-Day, Multi-Venue Christian Festival Announced

Breaking news::: The Christian music industry has suddenly set its eyes on New York City. A multi-day, multi-venue Christian music festival called Rock the Sound NYC was just announced. Set for July 31 through August 1, it is the first of its kind in New York.

Among the artists that will be performing are Casting Crowns, Newsboys, Jeremy Camp, Shane & Shane, Aaron Shust, Phil Wickham, Run Kid Run, and Tenth Avenue North. More are expected to be announced.

It's very rare that a mainstream Christian artist tours New York, but to have a whole festival of them is unprecedented. Guess we should always be prepared for the thief in the night.

We expect Rock the Sound NYC to be Creation meets CMJ. What do you think?

Who do you want on the line up?

Cycle World International Motorcycle Show: January 16-18

Cycle World International Motorcycle Show will take place at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center January 16-18. Tickets are $17 at the door. According to the Javits Center:
The New York International Motorcycle Show exhibits the latest motorcycles models and accessories including apparel, ATV accessories, fairing and parts, goggles and eyewear, helmets, leather, novelties, off road products, parts and performance products.
The event is open to the general public. If you are interested in meeting up with Christian motorcyclists, the New York City Chapter #866 of the Christian Motorcyclists Association will be attending.

Shout out: A couple of years ago I had the great pleasure of meeting the members of Riders for the Cross, a Christian motorcycle ministry, based out of Allendale, New Jersey.
They were some of the nicest people I've met, and I highly recommend getting in touch with them if you're a biker in northern New Jersey.

Inflatable Sculpture!

Balloon arcs, inflatable chairs, blow-up dolls ... why do inflatable things always get such a hard rap? 3rd Ward (195 Morgan Ave.; Brooklyn) is here to change all that tonight from 6 to 9pm. Listen to this:
3rd Ward presents Brooklyn's first exclusively air-filled art show:
Inflatable Sculpture! For this one-night exhibition, students from
3rd Ward's Inflatable Sculpture Class will fill 3,000 sq. ft. of
space with towering sculptures that by morning will fit into the
pocket of even your skinniest jeans.

Also, featuring the work of Instructor Patrick Flibotte, his former
students from University of Miami and Billie Grace Lynn.

Expect live music from DJ Tanner, complimentary drinks and a crash
course on how to make an inflatable sculpture of your own.
Kinda reminds me of Jeff Koons' larger-than-life balloon animals at the Met over the summer:

[photo: Stephanie Nikolopoulos]

But apparently it looks more like this:

[photo: 3rd Ward]


The Proverbial Fortified City

The wealth of the rich is their fortified city,
but poverty is the ruin of the poor.
~ Proverbs 10:15

Top 5 Things to Do This Weekend, January 16 - 18, 2009

1. Flight of the Conchords' Eugene Mirman will be at Comix on January 16 and 17. FMI

2. Catch two acts with religious-sounding names even though they're not religious bands (as far as we know at least), The Muslims (okay, okay, they're actually called The Soft Pack now) and New Rock Church of Fire, at Mercury Lounge on Friday the 16th.

3. They can paint and snap pictures! Artists Making Photographs: Chamberlain, Rauschenberg, Samaras, Ruscha, Warhol opens at the Whitney on Friday.

4. Team Robespierre will be at The Delancey on Saturday.

5. Free beer at Ellis Bar in Brooklyn on Sunday from 3 to 4 pm. FMI

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Handmade Music Night: Before You Make Music, Make an Instrument

A lot of people make their own music, but how many make their own instruments? Now that'll get you some bragging rights. Whether you're sonically savvy or just musically adventurous, tonight (7:30 - 10:30 pm) 3rd Ward (195 Morgan Ave., Brooklyn) is the place to be:
3rd Ward,, Make Magazine, and present
Handmade Music Night. Part party, part mixer, part Science Fair, and
part performance, this is an informal chance for geeksters and the
geek-curious to come together, relax, discover new sounds and drink
some complimentary Pabst.
[image 3rd Ward]

Handmade Music Night is January 15 and every third Thursday of the month.

Pump up the volume or reach for your earplugs?

MuteMath on Tonight Show

What is it with Christians and vampires? We all know about Anne Rice, but did you realize that the band MuteMath that sings "Spotlight" in the Twilight movie has Christian roots? Well, it's kinda controversial.

The story, as told by Wikipedia, goes as follows: Several of the member of MuteMath used to be in a decidedly Christian band called Earthsuit. When the band reemerged as MuteMath it was without the Christian moniker. Band member Paul Meany told Boise Weekly:
For us, we just try to keep it simple. We're obviously a band; that's really all we ever wanted to be from the very beginning without catering to any particular genre or political or religious agenda. We just want to make music with no barriers.
Warner Music Group, however, still had it in their heads to market MuteMath as a Christian band, which in mid 2005 led to a little thing called the Teleprompt Controversy.

In 2005 MuteMath had won a Dove Award (the Christian equivalent of a Grammy) for Best Modern Rock Song, "Control." Three years later, post Teleprompt Controversy, they were nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video for "Typical"; they were not nominated for a Dove Award.

Have Christians turned their back on the band now that they are not labeled a Christian band? Or are Christians stuck inside such a bubble that they are not even aware of music if it is not marketed directly to them?

Will Twilight fans will be the only ones to watch when MuteMath performs tonight on the Tonight Show?

The Proverbial Man of Integrity

The man of integrity walks securely,
but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.
~ Proverbs 10:9

Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service

Martin Luther King, Jr., was born today, January 15. He was both a Baptist minister and an activist. The two labels should be synonymous but far too often outreach has become an organized activity and not a way of life. This MLK Day, January 19, make it a point to make a difference in the world and reach out to those in need. Check out the Martin Luther King Day of Service ideas here to find ways to volunteer if you have the holiday off on Monday.

Top 5 Things to Do January 15, 2009

1. Stargazers might appreciate The Journey to Palomar, what is billed as "a film about American astronomer George Ellery Hale’s dramatic public and private struggle to build the four largest telescopes of the 20th century." Afterwards Dr. Ben Oppenheimer will discuss contemporary astronomy. FMI

2. Heloise & The Savoir Faire, described as "one part theatrical pop, one part post-punk revival,"
at Bowery Ballroom. FMI

3. Would you care for a spot of tea in the grand ballroom at Gracie Mansion? FMI

4. Forget tea. You can pay with beer to attend the
Jugger-Nut Comics #2 "Wak Fantastic" release party at the Bowery Poetry Club (308 Bowery).

5. Necrophiliacs might appreciate the talk on Green Wood Cemetery at the B&N in Park Slope. FMI

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

You Became a Better You in 2008

Publishers Weekly announced 2008's best sellers today. Although they reported that "There was no single title that dominated the top spot," Joel Osteen’s Become a Better You stood out as the hardcover with the longest run and as one of the only two hardcover religion books to have double-digit monthly runs.

It's nice too that he's totally capitalized on the success of the book by repackaging the book as a 90-day devotional.

Maybe it's just his hair, but he seems cheesy. Anyone actually read this so-called best seller? Did you become a better you?

Copycat Celebrates Elvis

Just learned via FreeNYC about a party going on tonight with a super-cool theme:

Date: Wednesday, January 14th
Time: 10:00pm
Location: Ottos Shrunken Head (538 East 14 Street)
Cost: Free

You've got mixes, remixes, covers, samples, everyone is stealing and borrowing and reinterpreting from one another, so why shouldn't there be a night dedicated to the art of recreation. Copycat is a monthly night of cover songs, remixes and all the hits with DJ Xerox. This onth [sic] is a special Elvis Presley birthday celebration with a special live tribute performance by The Bowery Boys, Tom Ward & Friends, and a late solo performance by Breraoke (Brer from NY Howl). 21+

Can you think of anything more outrageously post-modern?!

The Proverbial Grasshopper

He who gathers crops in summer is a wise son,
but he who sleeps during harvest is a disgraceful son.
~ Proverbs 10:5

Top 5 Things to Do January 14, 2009

1. Put pen to the paper and take a free class from the Gotham Writers' Workshop. FMI

2. Catch Titus Andonicus and Vivian Girls at Maxwell's. $10. FMI

3. $10 too pricey in this economy but still wanna get your music on? Well, you're in luck 'cause Los Campesinos will be giving a free show at Sound Fix.

4. Claim you follow the Julian Calendar and celebrate New Year's Day all over again!

5. Knicks have a home game (vs. Washington). FMI

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Proverbial Mocker

Whoever corrects a mocker invites insult;
whoever rebukes a wicked man incurs abuse.
~ Proverbs 9:7

Top 5 Things to Do January 13, 2009

1. Enjoy Brahms on the cheap: Attend ChamberFest 2009, put on by students from Juilliard, at Paul Hall (155 65th Street) at 8 pm

2. Attend FOS' cocktail kick off

3. Live variously through Michael Pearson as he tells about his Semester at Sea during his reading from the Mark Twain-titled Innocents Abroad Too at Barnes & Noble (82nd & Broadway) at 7 pm

4. Dance at the Slavic Soul Party at Barbes (376 9th St. by the corner of 6th Ave., in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn) at 9 pm. $10

5. Geologist Sidney Horenstein uncovers the building stones and fossils in the walls (both interior and exterior) of the Museum of Natural History at 6:30 pm ($30)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Is God a Mathematician?

Most New Yorkers would probably say they believe in a Higher Power. However even many devout Christians have a more difficult time associating God with the minute facts and figures of life. God exists as a warm feeling, but does He show up in science and math? Senior Astronomer and the former Head of the Science Division at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) Mario Livio tackles just how calculating God is in his new book Is God a Mathematician? Tonight at 7:30, January 12, Livio will be at the Museum of Natural History's Hayden Planetarium Space Theater to discuss the connection between math, God, and the world we live in:
For centuries, mathematical theories have proven uncannily accurate at describing–and predicting–the physical world. What is it that gives mathematics such power? Mario Livio attempts to answer this question in his new book Is God A Mathematician?. Spanning such fields as cosmology, physics, and cognitive science, Mario offers an accessible and lively account of the lives and thoughts of some of the greatest mathematicians and scientists in history, from Archimedes to Galileo, Descartes to Gödel, and on up to today.

Tickets are $15 for non-members.

Resolution: Stop Judging Celebrities

Since we're just about halfway through January, let's take a moment to rehash all our over-ambitious resolutions. Statistically speaking, 90% of us have broken or will break said resolutions. Well, here's one we should add to our list and actually keep: stop "being self-righteous judgmental bastards," as per the tagline of Revolution Church.

An email pointed me to an article called "Suggested Celebrity New Year's Resolutions 2009," put out by beliefnet. In the article, the author picks apart everyone from Britney Spears to Sarah Palin, in essence publicly mocking their mistakes, heartbreaks, and traumas while offering advice on what they should do in the future.

If you're just dysfunctional friends with benefits, that's fine, but we'd recommend for the health of everyone concerned, admit it to yourself and to members of the tabloid press so we don't have to suffer through the daily "they're together!/they're broken up" dance. [image and quote]
The article is supposed to be light-hearted and funny, but it's in bad taste. Celebrtities get hounded and ridiculed enough by the secular press. Shouldn't an online magazine with the words "inspiration" and "spirituality" in the tagline be more compassionate and uplifting?

...Or maybe I'm just judging them. Either way, it's a lesson for us all.

The Proverbial Bandit

A little sleep, a little slumber,

a little folding of the hands to rest

and poverty will come on you like a bandit

and scarcity like an armed man.

~ Proverbs 6:10-11

Top 5 Things to Do January 12, 2009

1. Despite being at the epicenter of the world, sometimes New York can feel miles from nowhere. Nami Mun is giving a free reading from her book about a Korean immigrant living in the Bronx at the Tribeca Barnes & Noble at 7 pm

2. Enjoy Mozart on the cheap: Attend ChamberFest 2009, put on by students from Juilliard, at Paul Hall (155 65th Street) at 8 pm

3. Finally get a chance to go to MoMA when it stays open late tonight (and by late, we mean 8:45 pm)

4. When it comes to music, have you ever wondered What Makes It Great? Smarty pans Rob Kapilow, Christopheren Nomura, and Timothy Long will answer that at 7:30 pm at the Walter Reade Theater in this Lincoln Center series

5. Be crafty at PAINTstain (766 Grand St., Williamsburg part of Brooklyn), 5 pm, free

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Rock on Mars

Last week, Stephen Sprouse's retrospective Rock on Mars touched down at Deitch Projects (18 Wooster Street). The exhibit is a visual mixtape of rock, fashion, polaroid photos, and religion.

Rock 'n' roll meets religious iconography in "Iggy on the Cross," a crucifixion portrait of Iggy Pop. Another work, "TV Sketch," calls to mind a futuristic rendering of Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat (see Genesis 37:3). Other works include snapshots of Debbie Harry and some envy-inducing fashion illustrations.

Sprouse's work elevated the style of downtown New York to a higher level before it became mainstream, making the exhibit relevant for fashion vixens and modern-art fans alike.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Jubilee Chorus Holding Auditions

The Jubilee Chorus will be holding auditions this upcoming week on Monday and Thursday, from 6 to 9:30 pm:

Our mission in the Jubilee Chorus is twofold - to create music of excellent quality that we hope will glorify God and edify others, and to build a community Christian performing artists. The desired goal for the music we perform is that we would never merely sing with our lips, but that our hearts would be engaged in an act of worship through every piece we work on. We choose repertoire with this in mind, seeking out music with themes and language and musical expression that we can sink our hearts into, and really believe in what we are singing. The music we sing is mainly classical in style, some which has stood the test of time, and some that hasn't been written yet!

The Jubilee Chorus is not only an ensemble that sings together, but one that enjoys fellowship together, in which relationships are formed. Our aim is to create a place where Christian performing artists find community, as well as encouragement and opportunities to grow in their gifts.

If this sounds like a choir you would like to be a part of, please join us for auditions next week! We'd love to meet you and hear you sing something (either a sacred classical piece or a hymn is fine). We hope you will find that Jubilee is a place where you can grow and flourish as a Christian and as an artist.

We look ahead to 2009 with excited anticipation as we plan to perform new repertory for a concert at Calvary Episcopal Church in April, our Jubilee Anniversary concert in July, and new Christmas programming in the Fall.
Application online.


Friday, January 9, 2009

The Proverbial Pervert

Put away perversity from your mouth;
keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
~ Proverbs 4:24


Let Your Yes Mean Yes and Your No Mean "$ike!"

It looks like soon-to-be former Atlanta Braves starting pitcher, Chuck Norris look-alike [Compare: Smoltz / Norris], and man of faith John Smoltz is finally calling it quits after 20 years with the team,'s Ian Browne reports. Smoltz, who is the only person in baseball history to record 150 saves and 300 wins , will receive a one-year $5.5 million contract with the Boston Red Sox laden with performance-related incentives that could total $10 million. Smoltz, recovering from shoulder surgery, is due back June 1st, missing 2 months of the 2009 season.

I say 'huzzah!' to Smoltz as it's a win-win situation for both Mets and Yankees fans. The Mets get to see Atlanta's starting rotation become even more putrid than it is, as Smoltz is one of the last remnants of the Braves triumvirate of pitchers (Smoltz, Glavine, Maddux) that KILLED us year-in and year-out (It's sad to see how Mets fans as myself are scared of a 40-something year old pitcher with one healthy arm). The Yankees see the Red Sox spend big money on a 4-month rent-a-pitcher. Every one's happy. I was reminded of the many times Smoltz said "I want to retire a Brave" or "I want to end my career in Atlanta" and the verse
James 5:12 popped in my head. How many times do we see an athlete's yes mean yes? Consider the Evidence:

Exhibit A: "I thought it was flax seed oil."
Exhibit B: "
I always wanted to be a .... " [Enter team of choice here - usually 'the Yankees']
Exhibit C:
"It's not about the money" ( ! - No doubt the office of Scott Boras )

I don't, nor should we, expect someone to always remember what they say or don't say. But because he's a Brave.... or was, he gets special treatment for just one day. Contributor's Note: Yes, I'm a Mets fan, and yes I am well aware of how much they stink. So now that we're past that, good luck in Bahstin, Smoltzie..... meh.

Sunday Sermonizing: January 11, 2009

Here's a rather incomplete list of what's being preached throughout New York this Sunday, January 11:

The Gallery Church -- "Fresh Start"

The Journey -- "My Life to the Power of Service"

Mosaic -- "Dear Mr. President"

What did we miss?

Top 5 Things to Do This Weekend, January 9 - 11, 2009

1. Be inspired the melodic beauty of A Hawk and a Hacksaw at Mercury Lounge in Manhattan on Saturday at 8 pm ($13) or at Union Hall in Brooklyn on Sunday at 9 pm ($12 advance, $14 at the door)

2. Never mind the hawks, get yourself to the Dyckman Fields entrance of Inwood Hill Park by 8 am on Saturday and you might see an eagle

3. While you're at the park, mulch your Christmas tree

4. Can't get enough of The Hold Steady's mustachioed keyboardist? Get your fill first on Friday at 8 pm at Webster Hall ($20), where Franz Nicolay's playing as part of the World/Inferno Friendship Society, and then on Sunday at 10 pm at (le) poisson rouge ($10), where he plays as himself

5. Who shot Alexander Hamilton?

On Sunday, the Morris-Jumel Mansion and the U.S. Parks Service will throw a birthday bash for Alexander Hamilton. There will be costumed interpreters, which makes me think of a certain Chuck Palahniuk book-turned-movie

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Richard John Neuhaus (May 14, 1936 – January 8, 2009)

Richard John Neuhaus passed away this morning at the age of seventy-two from cancer. The New York priest was the author of The Naked Public Square: Religion and Democracy in America among other spiritual books. Time Magazine named him one of the "25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America." You can read more about him here.

According to Catholics in the Public Square:
A Funeral Mass will be celebrated for Father Richard John Neuhaus at the Church of the Immaculate Conception—414 E. 14th Street, New York City—on Tuesday, January 13, 2009, at 10 a.m.

It's Cold Out: You Need The Thermals

The Thermals will heat up the Gowanus section of Brooklyn with their post-punk energy on January 31, when they take the stage at The Bell House. Tickets are $14 and only available to the 21+ crowd.

Overflowing with religious imagery, their music is best appreciated when one has scoured it for meaning. The Burnside Writers Collective review of their most recent studio album, The Body, the Blood, The Machine (2006), is a good place to start.

The Portland-based band recently signed with Kill Rock Stars. Their next album, Now We Can See, is due out April 7.

Philanthropy meets Phlag Phasion

[Players revelling in on-the-field action at Giants Stadium]

There will be a flag football tournament at Giants Stadium in Rutherford, NJ on February 7th-8th 2009 to benefit the athletes of the Special Olympics-New Jersey Chapter. Aptly named the 'Snow Bowl', there will be raffles and chances to win signed New York Giants merchandise. The two-day event will offer players competitive and recreational (read: non-competitive) divisions, for those who aren't wanting to recapture the glory of their youth. If you are looking to have some fun, while helping a worthy cause, get your team together and register by visiting here. Food will be provided.

According to the Special Olympics website, last year's event raised $50,000. And yes, check out those 'to-die-for' yellow belts...

7 Minutes in Heaven with David Kramer

David Kramer is the type of artist whose work makes you laugh at self-absorbed characters who ironically lack self-awareness ... then wonder if maybe you're laughing at yourself. Poking fun of hipsters, the art world, American consumerism, and even himself, the New York artist creates cheeky drawings and light-up signs that might just lead to self-actualization.

Kramer's latest exhibit, Snake Oil, opened at Williamsburg's Pierogi 2000 (177 North 9th St., Brooklyn) to a packed crowd on January 2. This is one exhibit you will not want to miss (it closes February 1).

[image of David Kramer's Snake Oil from Pierogi 2000]

We caught up with David Kramer, who answered a few questions for us.

Asphalt Eden: Who would you want to be stranded on a deserted island with?
David Kramer: My therapist. She's an excellent listener.

Asphalt Eden: If you had to have a portrait of yourself made, what artist would commission?
David Kramer: Do you mean like a mug shot? I can't imagine ever having to have my portrait made.

Asphalt Eden: What is your favorite time of day?
David Kramer: 5am.

Asphalt Eden: Where in New York is the closest place to your own personal Garden of Eden?
David Kramer: Coney Island.

Asphalt Eden: What's on repeat on your iPod?
David Kramer: Hypothetically, it would be Destroyer. This Night. I am still an album guy. I don't have an iPod.

Asphalt Eden: If you could ask God one question, what would it be?
David Kramer: The chicken or the egg?

Asphalt Eden: What message do you want people to take away from your art?
David Kramer: I think that in the end my work is funny and optimistic.

The Proverbial Wellspring of Life

Above all else, guard your heart,
for it is the wellspring of life.
~ Proverbs 4:23

(The Hamptons)

Resurrecting Socrates

Socrates in the City will present Emmy Award-winner Yannis Simonides' critically acclaimed performance of Plato's "The Apology of Socrates" on January 24 at The New York Society for Ethical Culture (2 West 64th Street). Tickets are $20 if you order by January 13. Tickets for the hors d'oeuvres and wine VIP reception with Simonides from 6:15 pm til 7:00 pm are $40 if you order by January 13. The event is hosted by Socrates in the City founder Eric Metaxas. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the Socrates in the City website. The event is sure to prompt discussion on "life, God, and other small topics."

[photo of Yannis Simonides as Socrates from Socrates in the City]

Last month, Socrates in the City hosted a gala with Francis Collins, geneticist and author of The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief.

Top 5 Things to Do January 8, 2009

1. Everyone you know full of contradictions? Attend the opening reception for Contradictions in Black and White at Hasted Hunt (529 West 20th St., 3rd Fl.)

2. Discover the hidden branch that tells time in Central Park. Meet at 1:00 in front of the statue of Samuel F. B. Morse (inside the Park at Fifth Avenue and 72nd Street)

3. If you have Peter Pan Syndrome, you might as well join all the kiddies that'll be at the Swedish Cottage in Central Park for the marionette production of Peter Pan and Adventures in Neverland

4. Hey there, karaoke stud, head on over to the Barnes & Noble at 106 Court Street in Brooklyn at 7:00 pm for a free reading of Don't Stop Believin' by author Brian Raftery, who, by the by, calls Night Ranger's "Sister Christian" his favorite karaoke song

5. Itching for a behind-the-scenes look into the Museum of Natural History's Conservation Lab? (Yeah, me too.) The Museum is offering three half-hour sessions, the first at 6:30, for $35 apiece.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

More of Fitzgerald's NYC Coming to a Theatre Near You

Apparently Luhrmann and David Fincher aren't the only ones with their eyes set on Fitzgerald. Today's Shelf Awareness reports that John Curran (The Painted Veil and We Don't Live Here Anymore) is adapting The Beautiful and The Damned for film.

Fitzgerald's semi-autobiographical novel tells what happens when the beautiful elite party too hearty in New York City. Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda Sayre are renamed Anthony and Gloria Patch in the book, but it looks like the film may be using the author and his wife's actual names. According to both Variety and IMDB, Kiera Knightly is cast as Zelda Sayre. No word yet on who will play the Fitzgerald character.

The film, set in the roaring twenties, is scheduled for a 2010 release.

[photo of Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald via Squidoo]

Plagiarizing Might Make for an Awkward Conversation with God

What kind of conversations is Neale Donald Walsch having with God these days? Let's hope it has something to do with not plagiarizing. According to today's Shelf Awareness, the Conversations With God author admitted that his December 28 post was not his own work.

[image via Walk with God]

The New York Times reported that Walsch had changed the first paragraph of Candy Chand's "Christmas Love," but that apart from that slight change it was almost word-for-word her story. In the NYT article, Walsch, a public speaker, says he'd been retelling the story with his own voice for so long that he actually began to believe it was his own story. However, as the article points out, "Christmas Love" is very clearly the work of Chand. It was attributed to her in 2000 when it appeared in Chicken Soup for the Christian Family Soul.

She told the NYT:
“Has the man who writes best-selling books about his ‘Conversations With God’
also heard God’s commandments? ‘Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not lie, and
thou shalt not covet another author’s property’?”
Chand also said this isn't the first time a Christian has plagiarized her work.

Long Island Glitz Coming to the Silver Screen

Right on the heels of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button comes another adaptation of an even more well-known F. Scott Fitzgerald story: The Great Gatsby. And who better to direct this grandiose tale of Jazz Age characters living it up on Long Island and New York City than the man that electrified Shakespeare, Baz Luhrmann?

Who are your picks to play Gatsby and Daisy?

The truth was that Jay Gatsby, of West Egg, Long Island, sprang from his Platonic conception of himself. He was a son of God -- a phrase which, if it means anything, means just that -- and he must be about His Father's business, the service of a vast, vulgar, and meretricious beauty. So he invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen year old boy would be likely to invent, and to this conception he was faithful to the end.
-- from chapter 6

The Proverbial Cost of Wisdom

Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom.
Though it cost all you have,
get understanding.
~ Proverbs 4:7

Play 'Reality' Football - You'll Burn More Calories

In the beginning, Fred created team High Quality H20. Now this team was formless and empty, darkness was over the North Jersey Vineyard Fantasy Football League and the spirit of competition and one-upsmanship was hovering over the live draft....

And Fred said, "Let there be team; a team that drafted Quarterback Drew Brees (fantasy 'stud'), Wide Receivers Braylon Edwards (bust) and Torry Holt (admittedly a bad choice up front- huge bust), running backs LaDanian Tomlinson (bust for an overall first pick) and Brandon Jacobs, kicker Nick Folk (semi-bust) and many other players according to their various kinds. And Fred saw (thought) that it was good... but could always be better.

Sixteen weeks would pass. Many hours would be wasted sitting in front of a computer tracking stats rather than at the games themselves (a term coined by a friend - 'beep-bop-boopin"), following stats across roughly 15 games a week. Frustration mounted as the losses piled up and pushed High Quality H20 out of playoff contention. And behold: The 4 Horsemen of the fantasy football Apocalypse: Underachievement, The Injury Report, Listening to the "Experts", and my personal favorite - "last minute knee-jerk roster changes" --the pale horse itself.

All this... for what? Props? Bragging rights? Do you think fantasy football takes away from the enjoyment of the game? (i.e. Rooting against my Tampa Bay Buccaneers) Does it make you take notice of other players/teams who don't play in the Metro NY Area? It seems like fantasy football has become one of the ever-increasing number of American guilty pleasures (along with 'Dancing With The Stars' and Snuggies) enjoyed by man, woman, and child alike.

Next Year, though, High Quality H20 is gonna go Ezekiel 25:17 on everyone's butts, make no mistake. And this beep-bop-booper will undeniably enjoy every excruciating and annoyingly painstaking moment of it.

If you have no clue what Fantasy football is, click here for a primer.

Cute Way to Stay Dry Today: A Tandem Umbrella

Maybe you'd see the silver lining in today's ice storm if you had one of these umbrellas:

[image from Owens and Raznahan (see below) via Once Wed]

Created by Marc Owens and Jasmine Raznahan.

Want to get in on the cuteness? You can get one at Takashimaya New York.

Top 5 Things to Do January 7, 2009

1. Quit clowning around and experience the Big Apple Circus' "Circus of the Sense" at 11:00 am at Lincoln Center, Damrosch Park (Broadway & West 63rd St.)

2. Discover Central Park's history in a free walking tour. Meet. at 11:00 am outside the Dairy Gift Shop, mid-Park at 65th Street.

3. Experience Stochastic Brooklyn at 8:00 pm at Barbes (376 9th St. @ 6th Ave., in Park Slope) for $10

4. Evaluate the status of those New Year's Resolutions you made

5. Breathe a sigh of relief that what's probably the first full week you've had since Christmas is finally over

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Just What the Doctor Ordered

Be still our sacred hearts! ABC has resuscitated [scrubs]. After endlessly shuffling the show around since it first began airing in 2001, NBC officially pulled the plug last spring. Fortunately, ABC picked the show up, and tonight two all-new episodes aired.

[photo via]

"My Jerks"
Most of our favorite main characters are back. Missing: Dr. Kelso, The Todd, and (new) Laverne. Bonus: We meet three new promising characters: cougar Dr. Maddox (Courtney Cox aka Monica on Friends), who will play the new Chief of Medicine for a four-episode arc, and interns Ed (Human Giant's Aziz Ansari) and the cold-hearted Denise (Eliza Coupe). The episode, written by Angela Nissel, author of the hilarious must-read The Broke Diaries, is full of the surreal moments and ridiculous humor that make [scrubs] a cult hit.

[photo of Aziz Ansari from when I met him in 2007 at Sasquatch Festival]

"My Last Words"
If you looked up the words "dramedy" and "bromance" in the dictionary, you would find this episode. J. D. and Turk ponder the afterlife -- their version of heaven includes a milkshake pool and a cloud of lesbians -- as they sacrifice steak niiiiiight to comfort a dying man (Glynn Turman, the Colonel on A Different World).

Shout out to the [scrubs] club that celebrated the new season with appletinis because they make us feel fancy.