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Rapper Blueface Receives Backlash After ‘Degrading’ The Homeless On Skid Row – International Business Times

Posted: December 25, 2019 at 4:44 pm


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In what he apparently thought was the spirit of Christmas, the rapper known as Blueface took to Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles this week with bundles of cash in hand, with the intent of being charitable. What actually happened, people feel, was an act of humiliation and degradation.

Blueface, or Johnathan Michael Porter, posted a video of himself standing on top of a vehicle in downtown Los Angeles on Monday. In the footage, the 22-year-oldcan be seen unwrapping bundles of cash before throwing them into the air, scattering them all around. The residents are then recordedscrambling for whatever they can grab out of the air and off the ground.

"The season of giving," Blueface captioned the clip.

Twitter users did not take well to the footage, calling it embarrassing anddegrading in the tweet's comment section and slamming hismethodof giving back.

One user, Dr. Jon Paul, shared the video and expressed his disgust.This is gross on so many levels, he wrote.And many shared the sentiment, retweeting or replying to the video, expressing how they felt Blueface lacked self-awareness in making this gesture.

One user, Kim Alsup, offered up a different solution to help the poor and starving. She suggested the rapper dosomething like Jaden, referring to how actor Jaden Smith opened up his own vegan food truck called I Love You Restaurant,which was created to feed the homeless (via The Hollywood Reporter).

While Blueface has received some backlash for his actions, some have supported him, such as one user named Luis who pointed out that people criticizing the rapper may not have donated money themselves. You can read his NSFW tweet here.

Another user shared something similar.

Blueface had yet to respond tothe backlash on social media at press time.

People occupy sidewalk shelters near a Good Friday Easter event sponsored by the Los Angeles Mission to help the homeless and near-homeless of Skid Row in Los Angeles, April 18, 2014. A homeless man was fatally shot by police in the neighborhood on Sunday. Photo: Reuters

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December 25th, 2019 at 4:44 pm

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13 Essential Skills And Traits Of Successful Business Owners – Forbes

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It takes the lucky convergence of opportunity and ambition to create success. Successful business owners, regardless of industry, share a few critical traits that set them apart from the rest of society. Leveraging these skills allows them to turn their business ideas into profitable realities.

Even more so for entrepreneurs who are just starting out, success depends on a firm conviction in their own abilities and clear knowledge of what it takes to start and run your own business. To help those newly self-made people, 13 contributors to Forbes Coaches Council share some of the key traits and characteristics that they consider essential for a successful business owner to attain success.

Forbes Coaches Council members say you'll need these traits and skills if you want to succeed as a business owner.

1. Courage And A Village

Courage, passion, hard work and a community are what it takes to start and run your own business. Courage will get you to start and climb the steep learning curves you will encounter, and passion will attract others in your community to join the mission. Every entrepreneur I have ever worked with has devoted an enormity of hard work to get the business off the ground and find mentors who can help. - Russ Watts, The Watts Group

2. A Strong Vision

There are many traits that are needed to run a business successfully, including leadership, taking risks and having people skills. Being a visionary, however, supersedes them all. Running a business requires being on the cutting edge of where your industry is going, anticipating the needs of your customers and conveying a strong enough vision that a team would want to help you execute it. - Tamiko Cuellar, Pursue Your Purpose LLC

3. Persuasion And Hustle

To be successful in any business, you need to be able to convince others (clients and staff) that your idea is worthy of their support (time, talent and/or treasure). Can you convince enough people to buy your product and enough staff to align with you? It takes a tremendous amount of energy to launch, and the ultimate test will be your willingness to relentlessly hustle your assets. - Carl Gould, 7 Stage Advisors

4. Confidence And Tenacity

To take a business idea into action, it takes bold confidence and tenacity. If you believe you can do it, then you can. But more than anything, you need to be prepared for a marathon and be ready to build your endurance along the way with unwavering tenacity. Game on, champs! - Izabela Lundberg, Legacy Leaders Institute

5. Willingness To Sacrifice

Entrepreneurship by nature requires sacrifices both in your personal and business life: be it sacrificing personal time to learn a new skill to help the business or the willingness to terminate a friend that was not a fit for said business. Hence, if there is little to no willingness to be flexible enough to sacrifice, starting a business should not be an option. - Kamyar Shah, World Consulting Group

6. Willingness To Be A Great Leader

Embody leadership: the ability to cast a vision, but also create a plan to drive and execute; the relentless desire to grow yourself and those around you; the commitment to do the hard work rather than thinking this is a shortcut to freedom and independence; have the backbone, grit and confidence to keep running when you are tired; and the willingness to see people and share and celebrate wins with the team. - Christy Geiger MCC, CPCC, Synergy Strategies Coaching & Training

7. An Understanding Of Yourself

We all have certain areas where what I call our "heroic potential" thrives, and that area will not be everywhere. If you try to be the best at all things, you will lose in business because people are not designed to work alone! Prove to others where your best talents lie, and be decent at everything else until you can get help (hires, consultant, coach, etc.). You win on your strengths, not weaknesses. - Cody Dakota Wooten, The Leadership Guide

8. Cognitive Leadership

Vulnerability, self-awareness, curiosity, humility, great courage, discipline, adaptability and thoughtful communicationsthese are just a few skills and characteristics needed to be the boss and run a business. They come and go at different times and sometimes are in unison. A leader is never able to do it all and must come from a confident place of vision and values to realize success. - Lori Harris, Harris Whitesell Consulting

9. Resilience

Resilience, which is a combination of hardiness, resourcefulness and optimism, is a required trait to effectively start and run a business. Being able to bounce back when people reject your ideas, handle the stress of having your career and livelihood on the line and the slow progress that comes with building a business make resilience key to both starting and sustaining your success as an entrepreneur. - Loren Margolis, Training & Leadership Success LLC

10. Motivation And Accountability

Good idea or not, the only way to know if you have what it takes is to do what it takes. You gotta try. You will never know unless you do. That said, I recommend "having" motivation (vision, strategy, tactics, mindset) and accountability (integrity and task/self management). With the skills, characteristics (habits and standards) of "motivation and accountability," you expand self and inspire others. - Jeff Klubeck, Get A Klu, Inc.

11. Gut Intelligence

Oftentimes people will start a business because they have a passion or skill in a certain industry. This is a good start. However, to be a successful business owner or boss, one must have gut intelligence. Gut intelligence is the wisdom to know the truth and the guts to do something about it! When business leaders and owners have high gut intelligence, they notice cues early on and resolve them. - Susan K. Wehrley, BIZremedies

12. Aptitude, Attitude And Altitude

You need three key attributes that can be described as mindsets, skill sets and tool sets to start, build and thrive in your own business. Mindsets are very often the aptitude or inborn personality traits that make you an entrepreneur and great leader. Skill sets are the acquired skills and attitudes that will enhance your aptitude. Tool sets are essential to actualize your vision into reality. - Jacob M. Engel, Yeda LLC

13. A Strong Risk Profile

Lots of people have interesting or novel ideas for a business. Rarely does the idea fail. Instead, the people do. You know your idea is a good one, and you know you have talent and ambition. Great start! Now, do you hold the risk profile to run your own gig? Nothing fails faster than a level three risk profile (on a scale of 10) who is attempting to act like a seven. Take the risk consistent with your profile. - John Hittler, Evoking Genius

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13 Essential Skills And Traits Of Successful Business Owners - Forbes

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December 25th, 2019 at 4:44 pm

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Editorial: An era between Post Truth and No Truth – Riverhead News Review

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This editorial is not really about anything. Or maybe its a year-end gathering of a few different strands of thought, or a look back from the end of a decade, wondering how it all turned out this way, how in heavens name we got to the place where we are now.

By we I mean the people who get up in the morning and go to work and bring value to their lives and the lives of people around them. How you view the world around you, what you think about this or that issue, isnt as vital as what good you bring to the world.

Before the lights finally go out, what can you write down on a legal pad that you did for someone else? No one gives a hoot about how you got up in the morning and hugged yourself and told the people around you how great you are.

Stream of consciousness isnt always bad. So bear with us. Stick with it. If you get to the end and say, Hey, Editorial Writer, what was the point of this? we wont take issue with you. But spare us the bonfire on social media the refuge of the opinion-about-everything crowd, where lies and insults are routine and where you try and show how woke you are and how quick you are to cancel out anyone you disagree with. Maybe anonymously trash that pol you cant stand who somehow keeps getting reelected? Make you feel good? Big? Important?

As M once said to Bond, Arrogance and self-awareness seldom go hand in hand.

Not many things now playing out in our democracy make much sense anymore. Remember the three equal branches of government you learned about in high school? Do you remember that Congress has something called oversight authority? How quick some of us are to give up on something that has brought us this far because we just cant stomach the people on the other side of the aisle.

Objective truth getting it, knowing it, accepting it has flown out the window of America and is adrift on a cold wind. If hypocrisy were an Olympic event, American politicians would walk away with all the gold medals. What they despise in a member of the other party they embrace from someone in theirs. Make excuses, lie. Make more excuses, lie again. Repeat.

The search for the truth just tell us exactly what happened, who is responsible and what should come of it has become a circus act covered on a dozen television channels and streaming live everywhere. Watching, we see that some people are willing to burn down the very house they live in.

This month is the seventh anniversary of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 26 people were murdered, including 20 children. Yes, children. But there are people out there who say it never happened. That its a hoax. Fake news. Parents buried 6- and 7-year-olds and the truth is up for grabs? The rest of us will have to pry your cold, dead hands from your beloved AR-15s with the oversized magazines; you love them so much that youd lie about the murders of children.

In America, in 2019, we seem to be unable to know what truth is. Its become play dough. We are in a new age, something between Post Truth and No Truth. The Grassy Knoll used to be fairly small and contained; now it covers the entire country. Perhaps there have been other times in the history of this experiment in representative government where truth is the storyline you invent for your gullible followers to believe, but today the sides are lined up behind high walls, angry and bitter, with one ignorant side crying civil war.

John Kasich, former Republican governor of Ohio, went on CNN recently and, in so many words, decried a political process that is so divided that truth is irrelevant. His point was: We are now a country of different truths, where lies abound. The actual facts what happened are no longer front and center. They dont even seem to matter.

Consider this quote from John Adams: Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.

Behind all of this, of course, is the meanness that permeates so many layers of American life, with social media being the oxygen that fuels the fire. If we here at our three newspapers endorse a certain set of candidates, we hear from the critics, some of them so disgusted by our choices that they wonder whether it would be better if the papers went out of business.

You didnt get what you wanted, so burn down the house?

Whose side are we on? Well, the side of facts, for starters. We should all want the truth to be fully known and fully transparent; only then can we the people decide what steps to take. Oh, and opinions and facts are not the same things.

Here is a good thought from Frederick Douglass, a man who lived in a fact-filled world. Write it down on a sticky note and put it on your laptop, so youll see it before you open up your favorite social media account to get your news, post the latest photograph of your cats new toy or spew your opinions.

He said: My part has been to tell the story of the slave. The story of the master never wanted for narrators.

Had social media existed in his time, the gloriously woke would have puffed their chests out and, keystroke by keystroke, knocked him down to size. Its scary to imagine where wed be today if that had happened.

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December 25th, 2019 at 4:44 pm

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Martin Scorsese Had The Hottest Take of 2019 – Film School Rejects

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This article is part of our 2019 Rewind. Follow along as we explore the best and most interesting movies, shows, performances, and more from 2019.

The old saying goes, opinions are like assholes; everyones got one. And if youve watched Twitter and social media evolve over the last decade, youll notice that we have more opinions than ever before. But weve become preoccupied with viewing our strong opinions and the opinions of others through a divisive lens we call the Hot Take. And no other take was hotter in 2019 then the bomb that Martin Scorsese dropped on the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

In October, during an interview with Empire magazine on the press tour for his Netflix film The Irishman, Scorsese gave us this spicy soundbite about superhero movies:

I dont see them. I tried, you know? But thats not cinema, Honestly, the closest I can think of them as well made as they are, with actors doing the best they can under the circumstances, is theme parks. It isnt the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.

Yikes. The New York Times aptly summarizes hot takes as a hastily assembled but perhaps heartfelt piece of incendiary opinionated content. Incendiary may be an understatement in how Scorseses comments were perceived. Fans were rightly pissed, denouncing them as out of touch at best and stupid gatekeeping at worst.

Take: the Scorsese take is #dumb and #stupid and pretentious gate-keeping. By definition, "cinema" means a movie or film. The MCU is made up of 23 (and counting) movies. Therefore, MCU movies are cinema because all moves are cinema. That's how logic works.

*runs*

Sagar Trika (@BlazersBySagar) October 4, 2019

Martin Scorsese's comments on Marvel films is like listening to an artist condemn something as "not real art". Sure. It's not cinema to provoke some higher conversation, but it is the creation of many people who put tons of effort to create films that clearly provoke emotion.

nik (@chimmychimmy08) October 4, 2019

He did have a contingency of defenders, though, namely Francis Ford Coppola who doubled down with this little nugget: Martin was kind when he said its not cinema. He didnt say its despicable, which I just say it is.

But it wasnt just the fans that took offense to his take; directors, actors, and writers all spoke out on Marvels behalf. James Gunn drew allusions to the disreputability in the 1970s of gangster films, a subgenre Scorsese built his career on. Kevin Smith pointed to the directors provocative 1988 film The Last Temptation of Christ as having a similar structure to the superhero narrative. Of course they are cinema! They are at the movies! exclaimed Taika Waititiin what was perhaps the most succinct response to the controversy.

So why did this statement get under so many peoples skin? After all, its just one mans opinion. Obviously, Scorseses clout and legacy have something to do with it. Hes considered one of the greatest filmmakers of all time with a respected opinion. So hearing him say something that is so at odds with our own experience watching a film is disappointing.

But I also think its more complicated than just frustration from someone elses opinion. We enjoy making and hearing bold claims because they say as much about ourselves as they do about the films we are discussing. So when we hear a hot take that we find offensive, it feels like an inherent part of who we are is being criticized. Anger Management Specialist Ed Schild says, Each of us has an unconscious need to be right. Therefore, too many of us cant handle daily challenges because we interpret them as personal attacks.

Scorseses appraisal of the MCU was internalized by its fans in such a way that it felt like his words were specifically directed at them. This is, in part, a result of viewing opposing opinions as takedowns; it makes us constantly feel like we have to defend what we appreciate. And, much like Twitter, that gets really exhausting, really fast.

So as we face down a tumultuous new year, how can we begin to recontextualize the way we discuss strong film opinions online?

It could start with breaking from our 280-character limit way of thinking. A lot of hot takes would have been extinguished if we initially took more time and consideration with what we were saying and how it might be perceived. Kind of like the consideration that Scorsese would eventually give in his clarifying op-ed. He said:

I was asked a question about Marvel movies. I answered it. I said that Ive tried to watch a few of them and that theyre not for me[]

Theyre not for me is the important part that Scorsese left out of his previous comments. It may have been implied, but its not what he actually said. If it had been, perhaps his original statement wouldnt have been met with such contention. While he goes on to say if anyone is intent on characterizing my words [as an insult], theres nothing I can do to stand in the way, for someone on the world stage, he could have shown more self-awareness in how a comment like that would sound to those who find these films emotionally significant.

Perhaps being considerate with our comments will undercut the very definition of a hot take, but honestly: is that really such a bad thing? Our own Kieran Fisher made a meaningful hot take last year with his article Godzilla (1998) Isnt As Bad As You Remember. Kaiju fans are vehement in their hatred for Roland Emmerichs Americanization of the Japanese icon, but Kieran didnt approach the subject with a Us versus Them mentality. Instead, he offered context and pointed commentary on why the film worked for him. This was all without resorting to contentious hyperbolic language to prove why his opinion is right and others are wrong. All he had to say to make his point was, For all its faults, theres a lot to love.

But even though that reappraisal of Godzilla was thoughtful, it still made a lot of people mad, online. So were not naive enough to think that the combativeness of hot takes will go away just because theyre carefully considered. But we can hope that the from-the-hip mentality of expressing our opinions will evolve over the next decade to allow for a more productive pop-cultural dialogue. Because is anyone actually looking forward to the brazen vitriol bound to come in the wake of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker? Are we really thrilled about the hot takes already surrounding Robert Pattinsons upcoming Batman film? What new headaches should we brace ourselves for if the Snyder Cut is actually released?

We dont know what will become of hot takes over the next decade. All we can do is remain optimistic as we head into The New 20s that our strongly held opinions can bring us closer together, rather than wedge us further apart. This new year, maybe we should take a note from Jeff Bridges The Dude and keep in mind that hot takes, at the end of the day, are just, like, your opinions man.

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December 25th, 2019 at 4:44 pm

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Five tech soft skills to invest in for 2020 – Information Age

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As a tech leader, youll likely be familiar with some of the stereotypes associated with people working in technology highly introverted, comfortable working in isolation, and that interpersonal skills could use a polish

Which soft skills could prove to be important in tech within the next year?

But the technology industry is at a turning point, and increasingly, the ability to make human connections and manage people successfully is as important as the ability to develop and innovate. Technology and Telecoms is forecast to be the industry most heavily investing in human skills through to 2027. With a 21.2% share of the total investment in the global soft skills market, smart technology leaders will recognise that the decade ahead demands people with highly developed human skills.

These soft skills will be essential when collaborating with the commercial side of business to grow, stay ahead of the competition and deal effectively with clients and customers. Forward-thinking organisations will invest in technical people who are clear-eyed about their strengths and weaknesses, who have developed ability to build strong relationships at speed, and resilience in the face of fast-paced change.

Whether you lead a tech company, or have responsibility for technology teams, you can invest in your people by focusing training in the following key areas:

Self-awareness Self-aware people are self-assured people. They make better decisions quicker. They understand their workstyle to become more productive. Making an in-depth assessment of both self and others is also a great first step to connecting and ultimately reducing unhealthy conflict, particularly when it comes to clashing introvert and extrovert styles.

Communication Successful technology professionals will need the ability to communicate expertly with people at all levels in the organisation, from end users to company directors and clients to be able to listen, understand and explain ideas at an appropriate level. Their communications will be designed for those around them, helping key messages land better. They will know how to influence peers and leaders, to develop higher-value customer relationships.

Problem-solving In this climate of constant change, enhancements may be needed to existing procedures to deliver an improved product and meet the demands of ever-changing markets. Technology teams will need to be creative and able to invent ingenious ways of tackling projects on the spur of the moment. How many people can honestly claim theyd rather spend hours inputting data, than use that time for working on creative solutions to old problems, or spending real time with customers to get to the heart of issues?

Shashi Kiran, chief product officer at Aryaka, explains how digital transformation remains impossible without solving the WAN problem. Read here

Teamwork The idea of community as life is coded into our DNA. Its part of our innate human nature to have mutual plans and goals, which in turn create a sense of the collective. Worryingly, by next year, it is possible that up to 75% of workers will be remote in some organisations. Loneliness doesnt just make life dull. It has a significant detrimental effect on people, communities, mental health and even the economy. Understanding the diversity of strengths, skills, preferences, work styles, challenges and areas of expertise will be what makes teams and organisation stronger together and able to meet the demands of constant market volatility.

Agility in the face of change What firms require from technical people will change dramatically over time. New competitors will break into markets; keen, lean, and maximising innovative technologies that havent yet harnessed; the threat of mergers and restructures can feel like a permanently looming risk to the familiar world of work that teams enjoy.

Enterprises with hybrid combinations of traditional and multi-cloud IT want the advantages of cloud agility but they are fearful of vendor lock-in. Read here

Sure, its normal for directional change decisions to come from the top. However this can only work if colleagues have the levels of agility and resilience the organisation needs in the face of change. Thats because change doesnt happen to organisations change happens to the people who make up the organisation.

Forget the tech stereotypes they are last decade. The time to invest in human skills for your tech colleagues is not somewhere in your next five or ten-year business cycle: its today. If your organisation has ambitious growth plans, the only way to achieve them will be to commit to the development of the people whose work will make it all possible.

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December 25th, 2019 at 4:44 pm

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Progressives, Fear the Return of the American Savage – Ricochet.com

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Western Chauv:I find the lack of self-awareness on the Left grimly fascinating. They dont recognize themselves in Hunger Games (Capitol City and undue urban influence over rural areas? Bueller? Anyone?

I mentioned in another post I had just rewatched much of the Star Wars Franchise. What was interesting to me was the Rebels in the movie series described themselves as the Resistance, which is the same phrase the Left in present day has also taken to describe themselves against Trump. The irony of course is that the Resistance in those movies are fighting for freedom and against Authoritarian Control and our Anti-Trump Resistance is fighting to snuff out all freedom and impose a draconian Elite driven Authoritarian government. It is more like we have created Empress Palpatine Hilary and Supreme Leader Snoke Obama, with their legion of stormtroopers led by General Comey and Mueller.

Todays Left cannot also describe themselves as the Rebels for they control almost all of government bureaucracy in the much of the country.

Also what is funny to me is how all these present day Leftists grew up cheering fighting for freedom and now fight for tyranny. The lack of self awareness of the glaring conflict between what they are preaching in concept and what they are practicing and supporting in real life is staggering.

To amplify that point, I have a conservative friend who paints what some might consider apocalyptical paintings and was in a show with a bunch of other artists recently in West Hollywood. In that show of course there were number of artists who had Anti-Trump messages in their paintings including this one street artist known for his OBEY posters that were ubiquitous for a while around LA. In their painting and other explanatory info was much railing against government control, fascism and how The Man is suppressing thought side by side angry comments about Trump and positive comments for Impeachment.

Again the disconnect was staggering. Both me and my friend commented h0w disconnected their message was from reality. But was also evident was how these artists had self regulated themselves against crossing the boundary that is the Progressive Narrative. No one crossed that line and one could see how their Art had diminished over time because their kind of art particularly demands one to address what is True and what is not to be relevant , but no one dared to confront the Truth of the present day and how Progressives are squeezing the life out of our freedoms. Not one dared to assert anything in their very political ranting and ravings that could be construed to be against the present day Progressive Resistance Message. All fell in line like brainwashed automatons ready, willing and able to crush the freedoms they once sought to protect.

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Progressives, Fear the Return of the American Savage - Ricochet.com

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December 25th, 2019 at 4:44 pm

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Uncut Gems movie review: diamond in the blech (#LFF2019) – Flick Filosopher

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Uncut Gems is one of those his own worst enemy capers. You know, the kind of movie where you sit there for two hours watching some doofus constantly trip over his own laces usually figuratively, sometimes literally on the way to a personal epiphany about how all his bad choices and lack of useful self-awareness have led him to whatever unpleasant place they lead him to.

These movies can be cringeworthy in the protagonists pathos, either amusingly so or enragingly so. They can engender sympathy or contempt or ideally a combination of the two that nevertheless keeps you on his side. Its a tricky mix to get the balance to a place where the audience is walking that fine line with the protagonist, the cockiness leavened by poignancy. You should feel like this guy is probably right to hate himself, but you still want him to win. Gems directors and cowriters (with Ronald Bronstein) Benny and Josh Safdie pulled this high-wire act off beautifully with their 2017 film Good Time, in which Robert Pattinsons small-time crook engages in an endless doubling-down on appalling decisions, but does so out of a desperate love for a brother who is unable to care for himself. His brain may be malfunctioning, but his heart is in the right place.

The Safdies followup, alas, trades that rough tenderness for unfettered arrogance in the shape of Adam Sandlers (Pixels, Men, Women & Children) Howard Ratner, a New York City dealer in high-end bling. Uncut Gems may come laden with the Safdies grim arthouse cachet they previously made a film about heroin and suicide but this is in every way An Adam Sandler Movie. From the title, which suggests the positing of its asshole protagonist as some kind of heroic diamond in the rough, to the presence of an adoring much-younger girlfriend (newcomer Julia Fox) slavishly devoted to Howie for no apparent reason. Howie also has an estranged, age-appropriate wife (Idina Menzel: Frozen II, Enchanted), who screeches at him a lot. She, naturally, is almost as big a villain here as

Well, no spoilers. We are dragged along here as Howie alternately runs around Manhattans Diamond District and locks himself in his high-security showroom as he attempts to pull off his biggest score yet: turning the large hunk of raw black opal he has imported from Africa into a larger hunk of cash. His plan involves an auction at a fictional luxury house la Christies or Sothebys, but before he can get there, he has other, smaller deals to make in an ever escalating series of bad moves: the first involves pawning an item of incredible sentimental and financial value that is not his to pawn. And when his deals go wrong, as they inevitably do, he has to up the ante on himself, hoping for a bigger payoff on the next one in order to keep the juggling act in motion.

Uncut Gems is a movie about addiction: Howie is a compulsive gambler sometimes it seems he will risk obscene amounts of money just for the fun of it. And the Safdies mine undeniable cinematic tension out of Howies predicament: sometimes its physical tension, because people who have lots of cash around to play with are generally unhappy to be the one getting played, and would like to hurt the player. But often its psychological tension of exactly the sort youd imagine: every time Howie digs himself deeper into his hole, you want to scream at the screen for him to just stop it already. Or for someone else to stop him.

This kind of tension should be fun, and it would be, if Howie were worth caring about. But Sandlers smirking is not endearing or even vaguely interesting except, perhaps, to those who are already fans of Sandlers typical antics. To me, they are a turd not polishable by the Safdies indie cred, and as Uncut Gems lumbers to its finale at two hours and 15 minutes, it takes too long to get there I knew that there were only two ways Howies exploits could end: either well, in which case he would get to celebrate his triumph, or badly, in which case the movie would get to lament him as a tragic figure. Either would end up infuriating me. And I was correct in this.

Uncut Gems was the Surprise Film at the 63rd BFI London Film Festival

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Uncut Gems movie review: diamond in the blech (#LFF2019) - Flick Filosopher

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December 25th, 2019 at 4:44 pm

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The Old Man and the Greek: N.B.A. Tale Needs Only a Great Ending – The New York Times

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Wes Matthews, the 33-year-old forward and guard, was charged with guarding James this night. He succeeded, as much as anyone could, in bewitching the leagues reigning grand old man. One minute he bumped with James, the next he backed off and switched. Its a tremendous honor, he said of guarding James.

Did you and James, I asked, chatter during the game? Matthews nodded his head. Most definitely, LeBron and me have a history, he said. Hes 17 years in the league and Ive got 11 years. Its a lot of banter, man.

These teams have a not-dissimilar architecture. Each has a couple of stars the Lakers Davis and James, the Bucks Antetokounmpo and the sweet-shooting Khris Middleton. They have surrounded these cores with a mix of young players and wise old heads, including the Bucks 38-year-old Kyle Korver, who presumably honed his still deadly long-range shot with Jack Marin and Archie Clark. (Note to not-so-old readers: Plug those names into basketball-reference.com.)

The Lakers lean heavily on their two stars. Davis, 26, has taken on the heaviest scoring burden at 27.4 points per game. James had not faded, averaging a hair short of 26. But most remarkable this year is his embrace of the art of the pass. Like a latter-day Magic Johnson, he is averaging a career-high 10.6 assists, and he can find cracks and crevices in even the tightest defenses.

Davis will be a free agent at seasons end, and if he has a whit of self-awareness he should sign up again with the Lakers. James is a near-perfect running partner for him, as game after game he delivers the ball precisely when and where Davis needs it.

(Remember, by the way, the small ball triumphalists? Those who watched the Golden State Warriors and told us the poor big man had become a dinosaur? Well, big is back. The Lakers starting lineup goes 7 feet, 6-10 and 6-8 across the front line, with the 6-11 Dwight Howard available off the bench. The Bucks are loaded with powerfully built big men, too, not the least the Lopez brothers, Brook and Robin.)

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The Old Man and the Greek: N.B.A. Tale Needs Only a Great Ending - The New York Times

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December 25th, 2019 at 4:44 pm

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KHS announces November, December Student Leaders of the Month – Kirksville Daily Express and Daily News

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Tuesday Dec24,2019at12:18AM

The Kirksville High School has partnered with Truman State University ROTC and the Missouri National Guard to recognize a KHS Student Leader of the Month.

Nominations for this award were sought from the faculty and staff of the high school for a student exemplifying the following characteristics:

An individual of excellent character whose values hinge on loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage. This individual should inspire others, exemplifying a higher standard that encourage others to strive to be their best. This individual possesses resiliency in the face of adversity and a self-awareness that promotes improvement through diligence and a strong work ethic. This individual does not necessarily have to be the best student, best scholar or best athlete, but is someone who has demonstrated great improvement and consistent values.

The recipient of this award for November is Grace Byrn. Grace is a senior and the daughter of Roy and Amy Love and Jeff and Dawn Byrn.

The recipient of this award for December is Keegan Bird. Keegan is a senior and the son of Michael and Evonne Bird.

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KHS announces November, December Student Leaders of the Month - Kirksville Daily Express and Daily News

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December 25th, 2019 at 4:44 pm

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In 1977, Fiat Put The Car In Cartoons – Jalopnik

Posted: December 23, 2019 at 10:45 am


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Screenshot: Centro Storico Fiat (Youtube)

Fiat went through the wringer in the 1970s. The original 500 was canned and the the brand introduced a new wave of front-wheel drive hatches. Eventuallyr the Ritmo was launched, but not before a major injection of cash from a man in North Africa named Muammar Qaddafi. The first Fiat plant was opened in the major overseas market of Brazil. The company had to change because it was up against a lot back then. And while most of the marques more creative decisions of the era at least appeared to attempt to drive sales (Fiat X1/9, I see you), this film stands apart.

Because when Fiat of 1977, in the midst of all those growing pains, decided to put out a short animated film, it didnt make up your average short advertising film. No, this was nothing like BMWs The Hire. Its hardly an ad at all, to be honest. Why? Because the film itself is honest. It holds back almost nothing about the challenges car culture posed to humanity and vice versa back in 1977. I guess thats what an angsty Fiat, torn up by a market in upheaval, might put out. Its oddly raw, even pessimistic about the product its promoting, but thats exactly what I like about it.

The nearly forty-minute film intersperses animated shorts of varying styles with live-action sketches depicting a motorist confronted by the very real human ills created and exacerbated by the automobile. From depicting choking congestion and the dangers of road rage to a somewhat racist attempt to tackle automotive machismo, the animated segments slowly convince the protagonist that his love affair with cars is much more costly than he first realized.

All ll the while the animators challenge the viewer with ever more imaginative depictions of cars, the people who drive them, and the roads they occupy. I wish I could speak a little more to whats going on with the style of animation (Ill pretend to go to film school someday) but just take a moment to see a few of the shorts. Each one clearly took an immense effort to animate and the results are just beautiful.

Fiat must have been aware that you might come away from this film a little worried that the automaker had totally lost its drive, that the tragedy of the motorcar had taken in its toll on the big brand from Turin, and thats why theres a disclaimer at the beginning:

The car is an integral part of the everyday life of the modern world. It provides material for paintings, songs, novels, posters, sculptures, comic strips, and films.

In CARTOONS youll be seeing the car as observed by animated cartoonists in moods that vary from from the absurd to the cynical. Some of these cartoons are critical of the car and drivers but we see no reason to conceal such attitudes for after all it is not the car that is good or bad, but the way we use it.

Lets use it intelligently, then and enjoy CARTOONS.

That seems to be a rather enlightened perspective for a piece of film put out by an automaker, but its important to remember just what Fiat was contending with during the late 70s. 1977, when this film came out, was right in the middle of the Years of Lead, when the Red Brigades had their sights on symbols of Italys troubled process of industrialization, Fiat chief among them. Add to that the backlash from the Right against that 1976 loan from Libya and all it entailed and Fiat was in a tough spot.

Absent a clear explanation form the company itself, it seems reasonable to assume that putting out a project like this might have been seen as an aesthetic olive branch, an attempt to convey a degree of self-awareness on the part of Fiat that might have been seen as lacking by a company still helmed by the glamorous Agnelli clan.

Luckily, Fiat remains self-reflective and Centro Storico Fiat, Fiats archive, has brought the film (along with many other visual artifacts from the firms past) to Youtube.

This version is in Italian, but the quality is a lot nicer.

It should be noted that in addition to cartoons, the Agnelli family was still making sure that the company was still succeeding in the auto market, at least enough to pay for trips to the French Riviera.

While Fiat seemed to be aware that the effects of the proliferation of the automobile were in full effect, it still had some hope for the car as a force for fun and excitement. It was still making the 124 Spider in 1977 and the recently-introduced Bertone-penned, mid-engined X1/9 was also on offer. You know, in case you werent totally sold on the cars are merely a neutral medium for the automation of human existence thesis Fiat was clearly onto with these cartoons, for whatever its worth.

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In 1977, Fiat Put The Car In Cartoons - Jalopnik

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December 23rd, 2019 at 10:45 am

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