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.
Incredible Dolphin Birth at Dolphin Quest Hawaii YouTube
The video below features the amazing 25,000-acre (40 square miles) Fair Oaks Dairy Farm in Indiana, where 32,000 dairy cows produce 2.5 million pounds of milk every day, which is enough milk from that one farm for all of the people in Chicago and Indianapolis (8 million residents). The herd of dairy cattle is so large that more than 80 calves are born every day, and the public is allowed to watch the births in a special glass-walled theater, as well as tour the entire facility. All of the farm’s energy is generated from the cow manure that is collected, processed and turned into methane, which then powers 100 percent of the farm’s electricity.
A Love Story in 22 Pictures. True love indeed, bring your kleenex.
The young Filipina who stepped up to a Karaoke machine in a Singapore grocery store and became an internet sensation.
Gratitude by Louie Schwartzberg
Song of the earth. The sound of radio waves in the earth's magnetosphere sounds a lot like birds chirping in a dawn chorus.
Puncturing the notion of 'You didn't build that' brilliantly.
Every two years, a huge floral carpet is laid out on the Grand Place in Brussels
It takes just four hours with everyone pitching in.
Possibly as an act of vengeance, a history professor--compiling, verbatim, several decades' worth of freshman papers--offers some of his students’ more striking insights into European history from the Middle Ages to the present.
Winners of the National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest 2012 The one below is by Ken Bower. But you really have to go to the link to see winners in all their glory.
What do you see when you look in the mirror? Tom Hussey's series on Reflections
Father Barron comments on "The Dark Knight Rises" and the problem of evil. Evil is solved by the great heroic self-sacrificing act of love on the part of a savior. The Christ archetype, he argues, haunts the Western culture even in a secular age. Bruce Wayne is an icon of Christ.
It's not just another day, not just another year. It's the gift of a new year. May you enjoy it to the full and be grateful for it all.
This is just wonderful.
Psychology Today reports Porn numbs body’s response to sexual pleasure
Robinson explains that the brain can become desensitized to dopamine, the neurotransmitter that activates the body’s reaction to sexual pleasure, through the kind of over-stimulation readily available via the internet’s porn culture.
The article cites one recovered porn addict who lays down three facts that other addicts should be aware of: “1. This is 100% fixable; 2. It will likely be one of the most difficult things you’ve ever done; 3. If you ever want a normal sex life again, you kinda don’t have another choice.”
Simcha Fisher in Pornography Addiction, Documented, points to the award-winning documentary, Out of Darkness, by Sean Finnegan that features stories of people who escaped from the prison-like world of pornography.
Judith Reisman, a world-renowned authority on the fraudulent world of popular sex science, gives her testimony, which is both academic and personal. Her own daughter was raped at the age of 10. She searched frantically for guidance, but got the same advice from everyone. They told her, “Well, children are sexual beings from birth” and “Your daughter was probably sending out vibes that she wanted it.”
Horrified, she searched for the source of these ideas. “I know a party line when I hear it,” she says cannily, in the film. Her research led her to Alfred Kinsey as the impetus for the sexual revolution, and she now works to expose what she sees as both his shoddy and perverse research and the damage done by his influence.\
Another expert, psychiatrist Richard Fitzgibbons, also offers insight which is both professional and personal. An experienced family therapist, he was baffled at the increase in young patients who were narcissistic and desperately lonely, suffering great emotional pain. Fitzgibbons found a common thread: His patients all sought “a temporary lift of spirits” through pornography. “It’s the temptation of the lonely,” he says in the documentary, but these young people “have no idea how to have a friendship.”
You can see a trailer at Anteroom Pictures. On the same page are links to the The Pink Cross Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization that reaches out to adult industry workers to offer healing from porn and The Porn Effect.
established to expose the reality of porn for what it is; a weak and whimpering counterfeit of love which is emasculating men, degrading women and destroying marriages.
Dustin Farrell has made astonishingly beautiful time-lapse videos of the American West that you must see. I can not embed them.
You can see Landscapes Volume Two on Vimeo here and learn how he did them.
I found out about him from this article in the Daily Mail Astonishing photographs in time-lapse video which capture the American landscapes as you've never seen them before
His Twitter followers described the photographs as 'breathtaking', 'spectacular' and 'stunning'. One wrote: 'Name your superlative. Just brilliant.'
I love movies and for years would see 2 or 3 a week. When Netflix first appeared I was ecstatic because I could see all the movies that I had missed over the years.
But these days there are fewer and fewer movies I even want to see. Somehow movies today don't move me. They just don't matter. I couldn't put my finger on it but John Podhoretz did in Say, What?
Movies make plenty of noise, but don’t speak to us.
audiences no longer engage with them as they once did. They do not expect to be drawn in—and they aren’t. The movies they have been trained to attend for decades are contrivances, amusement park rides, seemingly designed to be disposable, forgettable, pointless.
David Clemens follows on Colleges' Lost Love of Film
Movies used to matter a great deal, as did film criticism; films were anticipated events (a new Fellini!) and they established cultural milestones (2001: A Space Odyssey); films found and shaped the zeitgeist (La Dolce Vita, Blow-Up, The Graduate). Critical responses, too, were eagerly awaited. I learned more about close analysis and criticism from reading Pauline Kael, John Simon, and Stanley Kauffmann than I ever learned in grad school English.
Why even mention box office bonanzas such as Titanic, Mama Mia, Sex and the City, Avatar? Nothing but soap opera and melodrama.
Instead of offering joy, suffering, passion, or anything else remotely human, academics and universities first embalm, then inter, the arts whose beating heart should afford students a personal awakening to what Kauffman calls “the increments of their cultural life.”
Academicizing produces cataloguers, historians, theorists, careerists, and docents. In such a climate, can film art in college be saved or is the visual future just YouTube and TEDTalks? Andrew, a former student, told me that after watching Au Hasard Balthazar, he was so moved that he was unable to speak for two days. Perhaps his reaction is a key to how higher education might better approach all the arts: select for the humane and aesthetic, in film, in books, in painting. Set aside theorizing, historicizing and deconstructing, those three offensives in the academy’s war against beauty and transcendence. Return to film viewing as an experience rather than an occasion for didacticism. When using film, just let students watch and absorb.
From the New York Times, A Director's Many Battles to Make Her Movie
Sonia Nassery Cole knew that shooting a movie on location in Afghanistan could get her killed. The most vivid reminder came a few weeks before filming, she said, when militants located her leading actress and cut off both of her feet.
But Ms. Cole, an Afghan expatriate with a flair for the dramatic and a history of not taking no for an answer, had her mind made up. Unable to find another actress to take the part — the film is overtly critical of the Taliban — Ms. Cole, 45, decided to play the role herself.
“Come hell, come shine, I was going to make this movie,” said Ms. Cole, a novice filmmaker whose primary job is running the Afghanistan World Foundation, a charity focused on refugees and women’s rights.
Before the film wrapped production last fall in Kabul, Ms. Cole survived a bomb blast that shattered the windows of her hotel, machine gun fire and grim telephone threats warning her to go home.
Three senior crew members — her cinematographer, a producer and a set designer — did just that, abandoning Ms. Cole in the middle of production.
“I know I broke her heart,” said Keith Smith, the cinematographer who left. “But I could feel death. I didn’t sign up for that.”
The movie she made is The Black Tulip, a tragic love story that will premier in Kabul this Thursday before it's off to the Sundance Film Festival.
The Times has a slideshow with some scenes from a movie I'm not going to miss. Courage like hers must be supported.
Normally, I see a lot of movies in the summer, but this year, there are so few I even want to see that I have to agree with Joe Queenan who calls it The Worst Movie Year Ever.
But it's been a boom year for movie reviewers with snark as the accompanying graphic to the piece shows.
Barbara Nicolsi blames the boomers
As cultural power brokers, the Boomers have stamped their downward spiral from stoned rebels to cynical whiners on many aspects of Hollywood's once great storytelling voice. Greedy for the power and control they have lusted for since they came of age, the Boomers created the factory model of blockbuster movies in which the pursuit of mega-dollars eliminated creative story choices again and again. They bequeath to an age desperately in need of hope and heroes, a storytelling industry that is shattered to its core in having forgotten how to weave a good tale. For decades Hollywood had the whole world sitting on its lap. The Boomer elites squandered that global audience in their one lifetime.
First is the effect on the gargantuan Boomer generation of a lifetime of listening to their own voices. The movies being created by and for the Boomers today are a very unentertaining mix of "Never regret! Life starts at 70!" and "Life is a cruel joke, ‘full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.'" Movies like It's Complicated showcase a bunch of grey hairs still acting badly, swallowing their shame and ignoring their appropriate role as the wise mentors of the younger generations. The Dorian Greyish dark echo of this kind of story are movies like There Will Be Blood and the chillingly titled No Country for Old Men, in which the characters' lives of narcissism and greed devolve into cynicism and brutality.
If they would be saved, the Boomer Generation must be guided into repentance for the way they self-righteously sacrificed all others as they fled from the simple heroism of adult human life. The rigid eradication of tradition, the gross materialism, the unbridled license, the embarrassing promiscuity -- all always accompanied by shrill distortion and denial -- have left our society disconnected, bloated, poorly educated, unable to trust and simmering in resentment. If the Boomers don't begin to admit to the rest of us where they went wrong, we all risk losing any of the positive achievements the generation has contributed to human history. I see many of my Millennial Generation students clamoring to set back the clock to a day before the Sixties, when there were grown-ups.
In tune with the apocalyptic mood of our times, here's a new archeological find in Saudi Arabia that threatens to change the dynamics in the Mid East with consequences no one can imagine.
It may be the biggest archaeological discovery to date, but it is also the most dangerous
A quick look at what has been found easily explains all the fuss. Dr. Moller points out that the site at Nuweiba he identifies as the Red Sea crossing point has an underwater land bridge, upon which damaged  chariot parts and bones remain, engulfed in coral. The top of Jabal al-Lawz, the alleged real Mt. Sinai, is black , as if burned from the sky as described in Exodus 19:18, where it says “the Lord descended upon it in fire.” This feature sets it apart from all the other surrounding mountains which do not have darkened tops. The BASE Institute’s film shows Cornuke, who snuck onto the mountain, examining the rocks he cracked, observing that they are not merely black rocks and that only the outside had become darkened by whatever had occurred at the site. Moller has a photo of one of these rocks, which he identifies as “obsidian or volcanic glass, a mineral formed at high temperatures.”
Is Jabal al-Lawz the real Mt. Sinai where Moses encountered God?
One of the greatest — and most doubted — miracles of the Exodus is the story about God instructing Moses to hit a large rock with his rod, which resulted in a flow of water for the Hebrews to drink from. Near Jabal al-Lawz is a large rock, standing about 60 feet high, split  down the middle. The edges of the split and the rock underneath it have become smooth, as if a stream of water had poured forth from the rock, creating a river. Given the annual rainfall in Saudi Arabia and the fact that the erosion is only present on that rock and no other ones in the surrounding area, it’s hard to find a plausible explanation for this remarkable find.
Is this the rock Moses struck to bring forth water in the desert?
I'm certainly going to keep my eye out the new documentary, The Exodus Conspiracy .