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
U.S. to Recognize Utah Gay Marriages Despite State Stance
The Obama administration on Friday said that it will recognize as lawful the marriages of 1,300 same-sex couples in Utah, even though the state government is refusing to do so.
Wading into the fast-moving legal battle over same-sex marriage rights in one of America’s most socially conservative states, the administration posted a video on the Justice Department’s website. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said that the federal government will grant federal marriage benefits to the same-sex couples who had rushed to obtain marriage licenses after a federal judge last month unexpectedly struck down Utah’s ban on same-sex marriage.
“I am confirming today that, for purposes of federal law, these marriages will be recognized as lawful and considered eligible for all relevant federal benefits on the same terms as other same-sex marriages,” Mr. Holder said in the video. “These families should not be asked to endure uncertainty regarding their status as the litigation unfolds.”
Click the article title for full coverage by the New York Times.
My feeling is one of cautious optimism. I think it's great that the U.S. government is going to step in and recognize these marriages, but I'm afraid how this will be viewed by those who advocate state sovereignty. That aside, I think our country is heading in the right direction in terms of recognizing the rights of homosexuals in general. When is Pennsylvania going to join the party?
Rev. Frank Schaefer was, under Methodist church law, sentenced to a thirty day suspension on Tuesday as the result of Monday's hearing which determined he broke his vows by officiating his son's marriage to another man. If, during those thirty days, Rev. Schaefer violates any church laws or breaks another vow, he will lose his credentials. More importantly, the church is calling on Rev. Schaefer to surrender his credentials if he decides he can't uphold all of the church's Book of Discipline.
Before the punishment ruling, Schaefer, who was convicted for officiating at his son's 2007 wedding ceremony in Massachusetts, told the jury Tuesday that he is unrepentant and refused to promise he wouldn't perform more gay unions.
Rather than beg for mercy Tuesday in the trial that has rekindled debate within the nation's largest mainline Protestant denomination over church policies on homosexuality and same-sex marriage, the pastor upped the stakes, telling jurors that he has been called by God to be an advocate for the rights of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgendered people.
The church "needs to stop judging people based on their sexual orientation,'' he said. "We have to stop the hate speech. We have to stop treating them as second-class Christians.''
Schaefer donned a rainbow-colored stole on the witness stand and told jurors it symbolized his commitment to the cause.
"I will never be silent again,'' he said, as some of his supporters wept in the gallery. "This is what I have to do.''
> NBC Philadelphia's Coverage of the Story
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:
Angelo Merendino Documents His Wife's Fight with Cancer
My Wife's Fight With Breast Cancer
by Angelo Merendino
The first time I saw Jennifer I knew. I knew she was the one. I knew, just like my dad when he sang to his sisters in the winter of 1951 after meeting my mom for the first time, “I found her.”
A month later Jen got a job in Manhattan and left Cleveland. I would go to the city – to see my brother, but really wanting to see Jen. At every visit my heart would scream at my brain, “tell her!!” but I couldn’t work up the courage to tell Jen that I couldn’t live without her. My heart finally prevailed and, like a schoolboy, I told Jen “I have a crush on you.” To the relief of my pounding heart, Jen’s beautiful eyes lit up and she said “Me too!”
Six months later I packed up my belongings and flew to New York with an engagement ring burning a hole in my pocket. That night, at our favorite Italian restaurant, I got down on my knee and asked Jen to marry me. Less than a year later we were married in Central Park, surrounded by our family and friends. Later that night, we danced our first dance as husband and wife, serenaded by my dad and his accordion – ♫ “I’m in the mood for love…”♫
Five months later Jen was diagnosed with breast cancer. I remember the exact moment…Jen’s voice and the numb feeling that enveloped me. That feeling has never left. I’ll also never forget how we looked into each other’s eyes and held each other’s hands. “We are together, we’ll be ok.”
With each challenge we grew closer. Words became less important. One night Jen had just been admitted to the hospital, her pain was out of control. She grabbed my arm, her eyes watering, “You have to look in my eyes, that’s the only way I can handle this pain.” We loved each other with every bit of our souls.
Jen taught me to love, to listen, to give and to believe in others and myself. I’ve never been as happy as I was during this time.
Throughout our battle we were fortunate to have a strong support group but we still struggled to get people to understand our day-to-day life and the difficulties we faced. Jen was in chronic pain from the side effects of nearly 4 years of treatment and medications. At 39 Jen began to use a walker and was exhausted from being constantly aware of every bump and bruise. Hospital stays of 10-plus days were not uncommon. Frequent doctor visits led to battles with insurance companies. Fear, anxiety and worries were constant.
Sadly, most people do not want to hear these realities and at certain points we felt our support fading away. Other cancer survivors share this loss. People assume that treatment makes you better, that things become OK, that life goes back to “normal.” However, there is no normal in cancer-land. Cancer survivors have to define a new sense of normal, often daily. And how can others understand what we had to live with everyday?
My photographs show this daily life. They humanize the face of cancer, on the face of my wife. They show the challenge, difficulty, fear, sadness and loneliness that we faced, that Jennifer faced, as she battled this disease. Most important of all, they show our Love. These photographs do not define us, but they are us.
Cancer is in the news daily, and maybe, through these photographs, the next time a cancer patient is asked how he or she is doing, along with listening, the answer will be met with more knowledge, empathy, deeper understanding, sincere caring and heartfelt concern.
“Love every morsel of the people in your life.” – Jennifer Merendino
Published on Mar 30, 2013
The thing Jen loved the most about my camera was when I would hold it at arm's length and make a photo of the two of us. This video is a collection of some of these photographs. Since Jen passed passed from breast cancer, in December of 2011, I have looked at these photographs a countless amount of times. I still struggle to believe that Jen is not here with me. A few years ago I was the drummer in a band called Jonka, a group started by husband and wife duo Jon and Annika. Of all the bands I played in this was Jen's favorite, she loved Jon's quirkiness and Annika's beautiful voice. Aside from the catchy 80's pop hooks and dance beats, Jonka's lyrics make me think. The song in this video, Ever After, could easily have been written for Jen and me and it has become my anthem over the last few months.
I was shocked to see Josh Hutcherson, who plays Peeta Mellark in the Hunger Games movies, on the cover of Out magazine's October issue. I remember very carefully concealing the cover of the magazine as I brought it to the cashier at Barnes and Noble before I came out. It was exhilarating and very scary at the same time. Now, in 2013, you have stars appearing on the cover who aren't really gay, but wouldn't rule out the possibility of having love for another man. As is the case of Josh Hutcherson who, in an interview, says he wouldn't kick a handsome man out of bed.
“I would probably list myself as mostly straight," Hutcherson, who Jennifer Lawrence has joked is "in love" with their "Hunger Games" co-star, Sam Claflin, said. “Maybe I could say right now I’m 100% straight. But who knows? In a f**king year, I could meet a guy and be like, Whoa, I’m attracted to this person.”
Josh, who had two gay uncles who passed away from AIDS, seems to be a firm ally of the gay community. He said his mother is an advocate for the LGBT community and he has decided to use his celebrity to do the same, which earned him GLAAD's esteemed Vanguard Award in 2012. I'm really impressed with this 20-year-old actor, who is more open minded than some gay people I know. I'm proud to have Josh on our team. You go, Josh Hutcherson!
< 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!
Indian Prince Manvendra Singh Gohi is living the life of a proud gay man, though he is shunned by his family, people, culture, and religion. He lives in New York City after being cut-off financially by his parents after coming out as gay. He does have a stunning apartment, though, which begs the question, "Did he and his parents reconcile?" I certainly hope so. Come to think of it, I never saw his coming out in the news, so I wonder if it was only a small deal in the news media when it happened. It's a big inspiration for me.
Do you know what N.A.R.T.H. stands for? It stands for National Association for Research and Therapy for Homosexuality, also known as an organization that tries to cure gay people of their gayness.
When will people realize that being gay is something you're born with? The man in the picture, Dr. Joseph Nicolosi, is a medical doctor practicing in therapy for "ex-gay" patients. For the filming of the video to follow, they were unable to contact any of Dr. Nicolosi's patients who had been successfully "cured," but did speak with one man who was gay and proud.
To think the practice of "curing" homosexuality exists is frightening. On the dawn of gay marriage being legalized almost nation-wide, the archaic thinking required of heterosexuals to believe that homosexuality can be treated is congruent to thinking someone can be cured of their heterosexuality. Please take a look at the video below, and spread the word. This type of treatment should be put to a stop. The fact that it hasn't means there's a market for it, which means that there are lost homosexuals out there who have been taught to believe that they are wrong for feeling the way they do. That has got to be a painful existence.
It's a proud day for New Jersey, and all gays in the tri-state area. Gay marriage just came a little closer to Philly, and Joanne Schailey and Beth Asaro became the first gay couple to officially tie the knot in Lambertville, New Jersey. (Lambertville, NJ is located right across the bridge from New Hope, PA.) At 12:01 a.m. the couple were married by the mayor in front of friends and family. They walked down the aisle to Shania Twain's "You're Still The One," and as they came together before the mayor, they began singing it to one another. It's too cute to miss, so check out the full article and video at ABC's website, and share it with all your friends! This is cause for celebration!
This is the best article I've read in a long time. It's written on a touchy subject: cheating. I don't do it, and I wouldn't be with anyone who did it to me; and I think there is a different dynamic in the gay world. Gay guys are especially promiscuous, so to find one who isn't is like finding the Holy Grail of gay guys, and you hang on to him with a vulture's grasp.
This article is thought-provoking. Is that how you really are, or know your boyfriend to be? You will hope not, certainly, but after a minute, it sets in. The truth. You'll know, mainly by your Spidey senses, that you or your boyfriend fits into one or both of these roles. What's more interesting is if you're the person who identifies with the role of the writer.
Here is the full article, written by Anonymous, from the Thought Catalog website:
I Will Sleep With Your Boyfriend And This Is How It Will Happen
I will meet him somewhere neutral: a coffee shop, a bar, a bookstore.
I will be cute, but in the way that you never are. With a light sundress that grazes the mid-thigh and a smile that says, “It’s okay, you can talk to me, I don’t bite.” Lately, you have been stressed with work and errands and family problems — you have forgotten that layer of sex appeal that you used to lacquer on before your dates together, the way it used to glimmer in the light and catch his attention from across the room.
He is not a bad person, and neither are you. Times are just difficult and everything loses its shine after a while. The first time he will touch me, his hands will burn because they are still used to the temperature of your body.
When he talks to me in the coffee shop, or the bar, or the bookstore, he will have forgotten how to talk to girls. What once used to come naturally to him, a language he felt he had created himself, will now be stilted and uncomfortable. Everything, he thinks, is going to be a giveaway that he already has a girlfriend and that he shouldn’t be doing this. I already know, of course, but that’s part of why I want him. That’s most of why I want him. He will edge around what he really wants to say, and I will brush my hand against his forearm and he will remember that it wasn’t words at all.
When we go back to my apartment, everything will look different to him, and different has replaced actual sex appeal as the most attractive thing in his world. In my apartment, there are no problems. There are no fights. There is no going to bed in some ugly tee shirt and forgetting to touch one another because you have better things to do, such as play around on your phone. Everything in my apartment will be for pleasure and for now. There won’t be any more complicated subtext.
My friends ask me why I always go for men who are in relationships. I tell them that I don’t know, but that there is something about all the sneaking around they have to do which makes me feel special and rare. I know that it means I am a secret that they need to keep hidden, but the more childish part of me still thinks that secrets are special. I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I know that it can never work, and I don’t really want it to.
As soon as our fucking becomes like the sporadic encounters he has with you, as soon as it carries with it even the slightest note of drudgery or repetition or obligation, he will leave. He will make up a reason and go back to you, a cleansed man who will probably find someone new to replace the monotony with. He thinks that I thought he would leave you, but I knew he wouldn’t. They never do. You are his mother, in many ways, and will one day be the mother of his children. I am a placeholder in the shape of a vagina. Madonna and whore.
You think that he cheated on you because you weren’t hot enough. That’s not true. He cheated because he was the kind of man who cheats, and I sought him out because I like men like that. They thrill me even in the predictability of their deception. You let your love run cold, yes, but only in the way that humans do. A more decent man would have stayed with you through the tougher times, stayed honest, and worked with you on building something that can create sexiness in its stability. He would have found you both comfortable and exciting, because he would be capable of seeing more than one facet of your humanity.
You would be better off without him.
I will sleep with him by reminding him of everything he can no longer have with you, and I will lose him by showing him that, after the warmth of the first couple of fucks dies down, I am just like you are. I am just another partner who gets colds and looks messy in the morning and snores after drinking and argues with her mother over the phone. I will sleep with him as a pixie, and I will lose him as a human.
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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.