The following are the nominees for the 2014 Academy Awards (the ones I care about) announced by Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, on Thursday. For some strange reason, she was joined by "Hunger Games" actor Chris Hemsworth. Weird. I wonder who he had to screw to get that spot... Anyway, The Academy Awards will air live on ABC on March 2, starting at 7 p.m. ET. Share your picks in the comments.
CNN Coverage | Official Oscar Site
This is a difficult subject for me because the pursuit of knowledge and eventual (possible) wisdom, at least in the scientific world, contradicts faith in mystical, spiritual things. I am constantly undercutting my faith and spirituality by saying I believe in all the laws of science and reason. There's nothing scientific or reasonable about pearly gates, an omnipotent being who lives in the sky, angels playing harps, or a fiery pit called hell that's home to a red man called the devil.
So, when my mom passed away in January of 2008, where did she go? Did her energy burn out like a pilot light that loses its source of fuel? Or did her spirit float up to Heaven, stop to check in with Saint Peter at the gates, and proceed to meet God while angels heralded her arrival? The bottom line is I don't want to think the person I love most in the world met a terrifying demise consisting of blackness, emptiness, and loneliness. The latter option called Heaven is much more comforting. When I suffered such great loss, I wanted to be comforted like a child, and told stories of happiness and positivity. While I do think the version of Heaven I just talked about is a fairy tale designed to be told for consolation, I've settled on a nice balance between the two theories of eternal light and eternal darkness: an enlightened spiritual afterlife.
If you think about it, there's got to be a reason for this very visceral, sinewy life. Everyone, no matter how intelligent and privileged, experiences some form of great pain and suffering at least once. Some experience more than most. I believe the reason for this is to prepare us for something better later, and if we're let in on the secret, it will just blow our minds and ruin the plan entirely. Who is the master of this plan? I believe it to be God.
I use the term God loosely because I believe there is a force that is all-knowing and all-powerful, but even though the word "omnipotent" exists, there's no way we could possibly know what that entails or what it looks like in action. What does something look like when it creates, knows, watches, and orchestrates everything that exists in the known universe? There's no way to know, so faith is required to be humble enough to get through this gritty, dirty, and often mundane life. To think that we are the be-all end-all is just ridiculous. While I am a proponent of reason and logic, I believe they are faculties gifted to us by our creator. I don't think that we are equipped to understand or explain the force that created the universe, the sun, the moon, Earth, and its inhabitants; nor do I believe we can begin to grasp how it is controlled.
No matter how skewed or evil some forces in the world may be, how relentless nature can be, everything returns to a semi-peaceful balance at some point--a stasis. The fact that we haven't annihilated our species and blown up the planet is a miracle, and proof that equilibrium exists. I don't think all this happens by chance, or if it does, chance is controlled by a greater force disguised to look like what we call "chance", leading us to believe that we have "free will."
What's the reason for believing? Just as I think it's excessive to believe in the gilded gates and harps of a kingdom in the clouds, I believe it's obtusely selfish, narrow minded, and down right depressing to believe that there's nothing beyond what we can see in this life. Since the beginning of recorded history, people have imagined fantastic things about Heaven, various gods, and afterlives with good reason. Why do we decorate and put up lights for holidays and festive occasions? Why do we celebrate anything? Because without these beliefs and celebrations, our imaginations would be starved, and our lives would be dark, cold, purposeless, and pointless.
I'm in a good mood today. If you want to read more of what I think about a bleak life under the supervision of an unforgiving God whose existence I question, catch me on a bad day.
Ugh, my brain hurts. I know that this is a controversial topic, and my views change regularly. They've centered on optimism lately, though, because I'd rather try to be happy than sad and depressed. I've traveled the path of a skeptic, and it's not pleasant. I turned around midway and took the path of faith instead. I just keep my hand on the railing in case. Please don't be offended by any of this. I'm just a nobody who thinks he has a decent opinion...but you know what they say about opinions.
Last night, I was watching documentaries on Netflix with my boyfriend Corey. One of them was called "Park Avenue: Money, Power, and the American Dream," which features clips of Ayn Rand speaking about her vision of Laissez Faire Capitalism. This brought me into research mode, wanting to find out a little more about the Ayn Rand Institute. I have loved Ayn Rand and "Atlas Shrugged" for years, but I never knew that ARI was a political powerhouse. On my quest, I came across an article George Saunders had written for the New Yorker called "I Was Ayn Rand's Lover."
I had known about Ayn Rand's affair with Nathaniel Branden from reading her many biographies, in particular "The Passion of Ayn Rand." It creeped me out quite a bit back then, but now to see that she prowled on more than one innocent young man left me with a sour taste. If you know Ayn Rand and her philosophy of Objectivism, you wouldn't be too surprised that Nathaniel Branden was a target on her radar. To hear Saunders recount his having essentially been "raped" by her was a little off-putting to say the least, but his developing jealousy over Ayn having set her eyes on a young Paul Ryan disturbed me. It wasn't his feelings of jealousy that disturbed me, rather her voracious appetite for bedding young men in late puberty is what was particularly disturbing.
So, we now know of three men in their late teens who were successfully pursued by Ayn Rand. There are probably plenty more, but my interest stops there. Seeing Paul Ryan run wild with Ayn's version of Laissez Faire Capitalism as it pertains to our present day economy was like being punched in the gut by Ayn Rand herself. All of her theories sound good as just that -- a theory, but when put into practice as Paul Ryan has done as a congressman, they are truly frightening. I don't know what plagues me more: the affairs with young boys, or being disillusioned by Paul Ryan's crazy plans for American prosperity.
To understand what I'm talking about, you'll have to do a little research. Most of it can be done by watching the "Park Avenue" documentary, reading "Atlas Shrugged," "The Passion of Ayn Rand" (also a film), and then reading George Saunder's New Yorker piece (which is very well-written, I might add). It amounts to a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, I'll bet, because that's what I'm feeling right now. It can all be summed up in one word: UGH!
Watch the entire "Park Avenue" documentary:
Barbara Branden (Nathaniel Branden's wife) on The Passion of Ayn Rand:
< Queenie Liao, a mother, photographer, and artist, decided to make the most of her son Wengenn's naptime by creating these fantastic dreamscapes around him as he slept. They are beautiful, intricate, and imaginative. She then photographed them, and the collected images were formed into a book called Sleepy Baby. Visit the gallery on Bored Panda for a few more images, and like her gallery, "Wengenn in Wonderland," on Facebook.
Another creative parent, Anna Eftimie, drew chalk scenes and landscapes around her baby as he slept. She called the collected photographs "Blackboard Adventures." She also maintains a website called Cute Moments Photography.
While we're on the subject of kids, mother Lee Samantha plays with her kid's food, forming scenes out of rice, fish, meat, vegetables, and sauces. It's something you have to see to believe. Like the mothers mentioned above, her food art went viral and she has a blog where she posts her daily meal time creations. The memories that these moms are creating show how much they adore their children.
> I was engrossed by BuzzFeed's article "22 Things That Belong in Every Bookworm's Dream Home," and ended up spending over an hour just staring at the photos with envy. My very favorite photo is of the book reading nook to the right, which includes a chair and ottoman, ceiling fan, shelving and storage, a day bed with comforter and pillows, and a beautiful window to gaze through between chapters. I would never leave the house if I had a nook like this. Other items I enjoyed included a staircase made of books, some very clever shelving, a headboard made of open books, and clever seating designed specifically for reading books comfortably.
This past Tuesday, the New York Times featured a New York City photographer named Flo Fox, who has been photographing her urban surroundings for decades. What makes her particularly unique is that Flo is blind in one eye, and slowly but surely losing the sight in her other eye. She is confined to a wheelchair because her Multiple Sclerosis is progressing rapidly, but she doesn't let that stop her! Watch the video and be inspired.
< I was in awe of some of the photographs featured in TwistedSifter's article "18 Striking Images from Space Show Earth's Rich Tapestry." The image to the left shows several perfect circles which are Libya's Al Jawf Oasis. I find it incredible that these perfect dark circles are springs of water, naturally occurring in the middle of a vast desert. Other impressive photos show the Mississippi delta, algae and plankton flourishing in the earth's oceans that put on a beautiful show which is visible from space, and the agricultural structure of Kansas in shades of red which is particularly striking. I don't think I'll get a chance to view the earth this way first hand, so this is the next best thing.
> Everyone knows I adore animals; therefore, I love animated pet GIFs. BuzzFeed compiled the "30 Best Cat GIF Pictures in the History of Cat GIFs," and I was in pet heaven for about 30 minutes. These loveable little cats are caught in the most hilarious situations just being awesome. Some may not consider this art, and even though I am more of a dog person, I definitely do!
Upworthy, an inspirational blog, posted this really odd project coordinated by photographer Richard Rinaldi. He is working on a series of portraits where he poses two or more random people--strangers--together in loving poses. These folks are posed hugging and touching in ways that look like they are lovers, family, or very close friends, but these strangers have never met until now. Subjects say that when posed together, lovingly touching, they begin to feel a closeness that they would only experience with actual friends and loved ones. In a world where we are connected mainly through digital means, this project brings a sense of unity to a society used to minding their own business and keeping a safe distance.
Everyone loves their grandmother's cooking, and we all have a treasured memory of our grandmother in the kitchen preparing her signature dish. Gabriele Galimberti traveled the globe to photograph grandmothers from all cultures and walks of life with their signature dish. It brings back all the warm and fuzzy feelings of standing next to your grandmother in the kitchen, probably in her way, watching her expertly prepare a dish she had been making for decades. I'm warning you, though: don't look at this photo collection if you're hungry. Results may be disastrous!
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My name is Nicholas Emeigh, but everyone calls me Nick, and I prefer it. I'm usually called Nicholas when I'm in trouble. I'm from the Philadelphia area, work in business, and fancy myself as a freelance graphic designer, writer, and artist. I have a passion for art in all its forms including music, but I restrict my singing to the shower and the car for the good of society. If you'd like to know more, just send me an e-mail. I really appreciate you stopping by.