November 12, 2012

Haunting photographs of Les Miz cast by Annie Leibovitz


Anne Hathaway lost 25 lbs by eating oatmeal paste to look "near death" for her role as the factory worker turned prostitute Fantine in the upcoming, much anticipated movie Les Miserables.

Photographer Annie Leibovitz has some remarkable photographs of the cast which you can see here - They may be miserable, but they are stunning.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:09 PM | Permalink

The First Evangelization

Last month, Pope Benedict XVI opened up a new Year of Faith and called for a re-evangelization, a pilgrimage in the spiritual desert of the contemporary world. 

Pope Benedict said, it’s by using this desert as a our starting point that we can once again re-discover the joy of believing and the value of what is essential for life. In our contemporary world “there are numerous signs of that thirst for God” and the ultimate meaning of life.

The focus of the New Evangelization

calls all Catholics to be evangelized and then go forth to evangelize. In a special way, the New Evangelization is focused on 're-proposing' the Gospel to those who have experienced a crisis of faith.Pope Benedict XVI called for the re-proposing of the Gospel "to those regions awaiting the first evangelization and to those regions where the roots of Christianity are deep but who have experienced a serious crisis of faith due to secularization.

So how did it go in the early days?  Mike Aquilina in an interview by MercatorNet, Early Christianity: a tough gig

For believing Christians the re-evangelization of Europe looks like a tough job. How long did the first evangelization take?

If you look at the odds against Christianity in the first, second, and third centuries, there was really no chance the Church would survive. Rome had brute power. And it controlled everything -- the jobs you wanted, the media and entertainment, travel. And even if Rome had somehow managed to lose its grip, its enemies were no warmer toward Christianity. It's not like the Church could have played the Persians against Rome.

The first evangelization took place at a time when Christians really had no advantages. They were outcast by everyone. Their religion was a capital crime. They were denied a voice in the public square.  Yet Christianity prevailed, and the empires died. I suppose you could say it took just shy of three hundred years,
What were the obstacles faced by the first Christians in the world ruled by the Roman Empire?

The criminalization of Christianity was a big deterrent. Remember, executions were public, and they were enhanced for entertainment value.
What was the moral climate at the time?

It was a pornographic culture. Entertainment was all about sex and spectacular violence. Abortion and infanticide were considered a normal part of family life. Adultery was so common that private investigators were among the few growth industries in third-century Rome. It was legal to sexually abuse a slave. It was socially acceptable to sexually abuse children. All the emperors did it. Domitian was considered moderate because he kept only one boy lover.

There was great material prosperity in Rome, but no hope, really.
What was the appeal of Christianity to the citizens of the Empire? The background of the first Christians was Jewish and alien; the doctrines were strange; you had to give up the baths and circuses… It doesn’t seem like a good deal.
The "good things in life" are just things. They bring momentary pleasure, but never satisfaction. If you're living for pleasure -- and that was the assumption of Roman imperial culture -- you've condemned yourself to dissatisfaction and misery. If you're just living for the next thrill, you're not really living.

Christians had love, so they had peace. They had happiness, even when they were ostracized, insulted, when they lost their jobs. Whatever. They had it all, even when they were put to death. So many of the early Fathers were converted because they saw Christians martyred, they saw Christians put to death. Christians had something to die for, so they had something to live for. The pagans had no such purpose in life, and they found life hardly worth living and not at all worth passing on to the next generation.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:25 PM | Permalink

The Aftermath of Sandy: “You are only as good as the knots you make”

It is always true that the best help you will receive in a disaster is from neighbors, churches, and volunteer groups.  Never depend on the government to help you in  the immediate aftermath.

Highlands, the New Jersey town that Sandy wiped off the map, destroying all but 300 homes and 150,000 STILL without power

 Edith Perez Hurricane Sandy

A majority of the tight-knit town's residents are now taking shelter in the local high school, including Highlands Mayor Frank Nolan, who said he and his family 'lost everything.'

The gymnasium has become sleeping quarters and volunteers have been making three meals a day for everyone in need. In the meantime, Nolan is trying to obtain temporary shelters from the federal government so the school can reopen.
Though New York and New Jersey bore the brunt of the destruction, at its peak, the storm reached 1,000 miles across, killed more than 100 people in 10 states, knocked out power to 8.5 million and canceled nearly 20,000 flights. More than 12 inches of rain fell in Easton, Md., and 34 inches of snow fell in Gatlinburg, Tenn. Damage has been estimated $50 billion, making Sandy the second most expensive storm in U.S. history, behind Katrina.

The Anchoress highlights the work of Team Rubicon with a moving video, showing combat veterans responding to the devastation of Hurricane Sandy and saving themselves in service to others. 

"Disaster is chaos….what combat veterans do best is chaos management, personnel management and logistical management…This is war…full out combat on the front lines without the violence."

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A fine rant and a Featured Comment at small dead animals

FEMA, while it is a clusterfrig of titanic proportions, could not cause this much misery on its own. Although they FAILED to have emergency generators at key fuel distribution points (read gas stations) and although they FAILED to have any kind of plan to move food and fuel to the affected areas, and although they FAILED to even have a forward based supply of bottled water and ran out last Friday
SIX YEARS AGO, which found that Long Island Power Authority had not done the basic maintenance required to secure the power grid from weather damage. The maintenance they're talking about here is tree cutting mostly, and replacing bad power poles.
Its because every time they go to cut down a tree, some local Greenies get up a petition or a court order to make them stop. So they stop. So the trees break and knock down the power lines.
But don't get me wrong, there's a ton of corruption and scamming going on too. Paying off inspectors, hockey tickets for town council, that sort of thing. That's why all those flooded switching stations were within reach of a flood in the first place, because the money to move them was skimmed off by graft.
now that there's been a disaster the LIPA wankers are screaming for crews. And they aren't getting them. You know why Davenport? Because volunteer crews from as far away as Florida showed up Monday -before- the storm and cooled their heels until Friday, didn't get any assignments because they WERE NOT UNION, and then those volunteer crews went the hell back home.

Some of the people displaced by the flooding are still in tents. FEMA is supposed to find or make housing for these people, its been a week and a half now, and they are in tents. Looked out the window today? Its cold. People are going to -die- in tents this time of year. It is reported today that some of these cold tent dwelling people started calling the news media, and the FEMA types running the camps started confiscating cameras and refusing to charge up cell phones. No power, they said.
The only organizations in this whole farce that showed up like they meant it have been churches. Not seeing much of that covered in the MSM are we?

Fisherman, who saved lives with knot-tying in Rockaways during Hurricane Sandy, to teach youngsters survival skills

With just four minutes and a series of well-tied knots, Michael McDonnell saved himself and his Belle Harbor neighbors the night Hurricane Sandy hit.

The experienced fisherman and surfer from the Rockaways fashioned a lifeline from electrical wire and twine to ferry a half-dozen people to safety from raging waters and fire.

“You are only as good as the knots you make,” he said.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:26 PM | Permalink