• 78750449

    Wed. August 20

    Teaching Kids Temperance at Lunchtime

    Erin Vargo

    “The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence.” —Denis Waitley

    Childhood obesity is back in the news after a federal law banned schools in dozens of states from selling food items that don’t meet nutritional requirements—specifically as it applies to campus bake sales. It prompts the question: Who are you gonna call if your child is obese? Forget doctors, coaches, and local farmers. Apparently, the Feds are the new gut busters.

    In an age of overdependence on fast food, it’s no wonder we have found ourselves in a (proverbial) pickle.

    Let’s be frank. The matter of declining health among American children is both chilling and ironic. In 2005, The New England Journal of Medicine released a study that predicted the long-term consequences of the trend:

    “‘Obesity is such that this generation of children…

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  • Big-Lebowski-White-Russian

    Wed. August 20

    Jeff Bridges: Great Dude but Bad Philosopher

    Julia Shaw

    Jeff Bridges is a great actor. He played iconic stoner The Dude in The Big Lebowski, a tough U.S. Marshal in True Grit, and a dysfunctional folk singer in Crazy Heart.  And I loved him in them all.  Now he’s the titular character in the new dystopian movie, The Giver.  I might see it just to watch Jeff Bridges.

    Jeff Bridges also seems like a great husband. He’s been married to his wife for 37 years. In an industry where marriages are more easily counted in days than years, Bridges’ commitment to his wife is a praiseworthy exception.

    But while he may be a great actor and an awesome husband, Bridges is a terrible philosopher. In a Wall Street Journal interview this weekend, Jeff Bridges discussed his philosophy of life.

    [Bridges] says that he is constantly dealing with the idea of perfection. ‘Wouldn’t it be great if I…

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  • 57278508

    Tue. August 19

    Why is the State Arresting So Many Parents?

    Abby W. Schachter

    This summer has produced a series of banner headlines about parents who made the mistake of allowing their kids to spend time alone. South Carolina mom Debra Harrell was arrested because she allowed her nine-year-old to play alone at the playground a mile from her work. Florida mom Nicole Gainey was arrested when her 7-year-old son was spotted walking to a park by himself. Another mom was arrested for letting her seven-year-old play alone at a Long Island mall’s LEGO store while she shopped elsewhere in the mall. And this mom was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor for (conscientiously!) standing outside her van to smoke a cigarette, leaving her three kids inside.

    This is not a comprehensive list, just the most prominent of past few months.

    Once you get over the insanity of all this overzealous state-sponsored parental punishment and you remember that this isn’t happening quite as…

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  • The World Premiere Of Marvel's Epic Space Adventure "Guardians Of The Galaxy" - Red Carpet

    Tue. August 19

    Chris Pratt and the Familial Obligations of a Movie Star

    R. J. Moeller

    The biggest (and I would argue best) movie of the summer has been Guardians of the Galaxy. Leading man Chris Pratt brought a new and refreshing take on the whole “gun-slinging cowboy” action star motif, and consequently, he’ll be hammering some sizable paychecks for years to come.

    But with newly found wealth comes newly found relatives coming out of the woodwork to get themselves a piece of the pie. As the late Notorious B.I.G famously reminded us—mo’ money, mo’ problems.

    From RadarOnline.com:

    As the superhero star enjoys life in the celebrity fast lane as a result of his success from Parks and Recreation and Guardians of the Galaxy, there are some people who are still struggling—his family.

    A source tells Star magazine that Pratt is starting to feel the pressure from family members to bail them out of their financial crises.

    “Most of the…

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  • 57277718

    Mon. August 18

    Sugar Dating: A Prettier Name for Prostitution?

    Melissa Langsam Braunstein

    How would you feel if you saw a college gal you know with a significantly older man? What if you knew he was literally her sugar daddy?

    Welcome to sugar dating. Add “sugar” to anything, and it sounds more appealing. “Sugar dating” certainly sounds nicer than transactional dating, escorting, or prostitution, but is it any different?

    According to one sugar baby,

    The job description of a sugar baby . . . is to be fun, happy, busy, sexy, and mysterious. Other feelings freak sugar daddies out—so if you aren’t happy or busy enough, embellish! Text him photos of stylish parties stolen from Instagram while you watch Girls and eat rice pudding alone, on your period. Keep your emotional needs in check via friends and lovers (but don’t mention these “support networks” to your sugar daddy, especially when monogamy is assumed).

    SeekingArrangement, the world’s largest sugar dating website, which boasts over…

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    Culture

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  • kardashian10f-17-web

    Mon. August 18

    Is Ayn Rand To Blame for “Selfish” Kim Kardashian?

    Erin Vargo

    About a week ago, Kim Kardashian announced the release date for her provocative coffee table book, Selfish—352 pages of self-centered photos.

    About 50 years ago, Ayn Rand announced the release of her provocative collection of essays, The Virtue of Selfishness—176 pages of arguments for self-centered behavior.

    There’s no question Rand intended to incite a debate with her paradoxical title. Selfless service was a hallmark of the times, as promoted by President John F. Kennedy, who was famously quoted: “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”

    Perhaps in response to this prevailing sentiment, Rand developed her beliefs on selfishness—a crucial component of her overarching philosophy of Objectivism. It was, and remains today (through the Ayn Rand Institute) a thorn in the side of liberal and conservative thinkers alike. Liberals would argue that individuals and businesses should stop being…

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  • avril-lavigne

    Fri. August 15

    Avril Lavigne’s Diamond Ring: Does Size Matter?

    Ashley E. McGuire

    I’ve written here previously in defense of the traditional diamond engagement ring, and I am not deviating from those arguments.

    I am, however, still sitting with both eyebrows semi-permanently raised after seeing the pictures of Avril Lavigne’s 17-carat one-year anniversary ring from husband Chad Kroeger. I guess her 14-carat engagement ring just didn’t cut it.

    Were they that excited to have made it one year? I suppose that, considering her first marriage didn’t even last half a decade, one year is a long time.

    But still, what does a girl who wears sweats and punk clothes and loads of liquid liner need a ring nearly twice the size of Grace Kelly’s for? It’s actually the same style of ring—emerald cut—flanked by two baguettes. It’s become a hallmark, classic style ring (it’s the model for my own), which is all the more odd considering Avril eschews all…

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  • What-If-Daniel-Radcliffe-Images

    Fri. August 15

    Can Men and Women Be “Just Friends”?

    Gracy Olmstead

    Can guys and girls be “just friends?” It’s a perennial question in our society: a question much debated in rom-coms, novels, and various everyday conversations. The answers given are assorted and often dubious: usually, the films and literature of our day seem to say “no,” while real-life experience is a bit more varied and complicated (as reality usually is).

    Michael Dowse’s film What If, starring Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan, focuses on this question. It’s a rom-com in the spirit of 500 Days of Summer, with a very artistic and bohemian ethos. The humor is excellent: mostly sarcastic, but varied, and there are short, enjoyable spurts of slapstick comedy to leaven the biting banter.

    The movie focuses on Wallace (Radcliffe), a med-school dropout, who has a bad history of broken hearts and unhappy romance. He’s a bit of a nerd and rather ill-graced when it comes to social…

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  • 1407429072_charlie-and-the-chocolate-factory-new-cover-zoom

    Fri. August 15

    The New “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” Cover Is a Creepy Mistake

    Melanie Wilcox

    Penguin Books released a new cover of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of Roald Dahl’s classic.  The cover features a young girl wrapped in a pale pink feather boa and wearing a magenta dress.  A silk, pink bow sits atop her long, wavy blonde hair, and her pink manicured hands rest in her lap.  Her facial features and disposition—blue eyes staring blankly ahead, flawless porcelain skin bearing heavy makeup—resemble a doll.  The mother, also adorned in various shades of pink, sits next to her child, albeit cropped out.  The focus is on the child.

    Perplexed fans guessed the girl was supposed to be one of the two female characters who tour the factory, Veruca or Violet, which Penguin said is not the case. Stumped critics, fans, and authors have been left wondering: Why would Penguin place a Toddlers and Tiaras mother-daughter look-alike…

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  • the-giver-movie-ftr

    Thu. August 14

    ‘The Giver’: An Allegory of Obama’s America

    Melissa Langsam Braunstein

    Incredibly, the most persuasive campaign commercial Republicans have this fall is a full-length Hollywood movie. The Giver, a film adaptation of Lois Lowry’s 1993 dystopian children’s novel, plays as a devastating critique of the Obama Era. IMDb describes this as a sci-fi movie, but it’s rather eerily real and immediate.

    As the credits rolled, I couldn’t help but wonder whether Lowry is conservative. According to her interview with the Wall Street Journal, she’s a dedicated Democrat. Of course, the world also looked noticeably different when she penned this story in the early ‘90s. Few people—if anyone—would have predicted an American president successfully replicating a sizable portion of Europeans’ social safety net, or feeling so ambivalent about American exceptionalism.

    The movie is set in The Community, a perfectly manicured locale, at some unspecified future date. The weather is always glorious, because The Elders, in their…

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    Culture, Movies

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