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Archive for the ‘Self-Improvement’ Category

Self-improvement guru sentenced to 120 years for turning some followers into sex slaves – WJW FOX 8 News Cleveland

Posted: October 28, 2020 at 6:52 pm


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In this Tuesday, May 7, 2019, file courtroom drawing, defendant Keith Raniere, center, leader of the secretive group NXIVM, is seated between his attorneys Paul DerOhannesian, left, and Marc Agnifilo during the first day of his sex trafficking trial. Raniere, a self-improvement guru whose organization NXIVM attracted millionaires and actresses among its adherents, faces sentencing Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, on convictions that he turned some female followers into sex slaves branded with his initials. (Elizabeth Williams via AP, File)

NEW YORK (AP) Disgraced self-improvement guru Keith Raniere, whose NXIVM followers included millionaires and Hollywood actors, was sentenced to 120 years on Tuesday for turning some adherents into sex slaves branded with his initials.

U.S. District Judge Nicholas Garaufis handed down the sentence in federal court in Brooklyn after a lengthy hearing featuring statements by victims of a sex-trafficking conspiracy that resulted in Ranieres conviction last year.

Prosecutors had sought life in prison while defense lawyers said he should face 15 years behind bars.

Raniere, 60, had shown no remorse, with his lawyers telling the judge before the sentencing that their client wasnt sorry for his conduct or his choices.

The sentencing culminated several years of revelations about Ranieres program, NXIVM, which charged thousands of dollars for invitation-only self improvement courses at its headquarters near Albany, New York, along with branches in Mexico and Canada. Adherents included millionaires and Hollywood actresses willing to endure humiliation and pledge obedience to the defendant as part of his teachings.

NXIVM has been the subject of two TV documentary series this year, HBOs The Vow, and the Starz series Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult.

Prosecutors said Raniere led what amounted to a criminal enterprise, inducing shame and guilt to influence and control co-conspirators who helped recruit and groom sexual partners for Raniere. He was convicted on charges including racketeering, alien smuggling, sex trafficking, extortion and obstruction of justice.

They said that among other crimes, Raniere began a sexual relationship in 2005 with a 15-year-old girl and confined another teenager to a room for nearly two years.

Raniere had come under harsh attack on Tuesday from former followers during sentencing in his sex-trafficking case.

India Oxenberg, the daughter of Dynasty actress Catherine Oxenberg, called him an entitled little princess and a sexual predator and lamented that she may have to spend the rest of my life with Keith Raneires initials seared into me.

The likelihood of leniency had seemed to dissipate with the recent sentencing of Clare Bronfman, 41, an heir to the Seagrams liquor fortune, for her role in what has been described by some ex-members as a cult. Bronfman was sentenced to nearly seven years in prison. Prosecutors had only sought five years.

Ex-followers told the judge that Bronfman for years had used her wealth to try to silence NXIVM defectors.

Renieres followers called him Vanguard. To honor him, the group formed a secret sorority comprised of female slaves who were branded with his initials and ordered to have sex with him, the prosecutors said. Women were also pressured into giving up embarrassing information about themselves that could be used against them if they left the group.

Along with Bronfman, Ranieres teachings won him the devotion of Hollywood actors including Allison Mack of TVs Smallville. Mack also has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.

In a sentencing submission, lawyers for Reniere said he continues to assert his complete innocence to these charges.

They wrote that his jury conviction at an unfair trial resulted from a media campaign involving witnesses who were motivated to testify falsely as part of a heavy-handed prosecution that threatened potential defense witnesses.

His lawyers said the life prison term prosecutors sought was excessive.

No one was shot, stabbed, punched, kicked, slapped or even yelled at, they said. Despite the sex offenses, there is no evidence that any woman ever told Keith Raniere that she did not want to kiss him, touch him, hold his hand or have sex with him.

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Self-improvement guru sentenced to 120 years for turning some followers into sex slaves - WJW FOX 8 News Cleveland

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October 28th, 2020 at 6:52 pm

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5 self-improvement books that will change your life – Prestige Online

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Books to help you centre yourself and realign your goals.

The feeling of getting lost in a book is incomparable not even a binge-worthy TV show comes close to the peace, quiet and grasping power of literature. Self-improvement is a genre of reads on rise, more so in the recent years end especially right now when the circumstances of 2020 have forced us to take a long, hard look at ourselves and how we want to life our lives to truly be happy. Its a journey, and a good next step forward is to escape (ironically inwards) with books that people have praised for helping them reshape their outlook on life. These are our favourites of the best self-improvement books today.

With a title immediately gripping, the New York Times Bestseller is a modern day self-help guide with all the cuss words, good jokes, and cold hard truths. Mark Manson, who also blogs, believes the key to life is living without trying to be happy or positive all the time. The author believes in embracing the mediocracy of human nature and the world itself while defining what matters, and who matters, to drive your everyday choices. As he not-so-subtly puts it, there are only so many things we can chose to truly care about and this books help you define yours and why some of those cares are the reason for any feelings of being stuck or unfulfilled.

Buy it here.

Pema Chdrn is a very well respected American Tibetan Buddhist, ordained nun, former acharya of Shambhala Buddhism and disciple of Chgyam Trungpa Rinpoche. In this book, Pema collects all the lessons and insight gained from softening through hard times in life, touching on the hardest experiences we all have like death and other losses. Her advice draws from Buddhist wisdomswhile including personal stories of her hardships, and how she uses the teachings to transform. The book is now released with a cover for its 20th-anniversary edition.

Buy it here.

Oprah Winfreys Super Soul Sunday is a spiritual-themed series you can thankfully also catch on YouTube. Each episode is as Oprah puts it an aha moment. This book is a collection of all the biggest aha moments of the three-time Emmy Award-winning show, organised into ten different topics or branches of spirituality. These insights come from guests includes Tony Robbins, Arianna Huffington, Eckhart Tolle, Thich Nhat Hahn, and Elizabeth Gilbert. There are also accompanying photographs and a personal essay by Oprah herself.

Buy it here.

To know where were going, we have to know where we came from and what a lot we can learn our own biological engineering. The no.1 international bestseller is the work of renowned historian,Yuval Noah Harari, who explores the way our history throughout existence has shaped how we function as a human race. All the data forces us to look ahead at the possibilities for evolution of human kind, and within ourselves.

Buy it here.

This is a book for women whove clung so tightly (without even realising) to the ideas of womanhood: what being a good mother, partner, sister, friend or colleague looks, and how we should feel in these roles. If youve ever thought to yourself, Wasnt it all supposed to be more beautiful than this?. are you in for a ride. Glennon Doyle was already a best-selling author of a book about her happily ever after with a husband and kids after overcoming her addiction to alcohol and bulimia. The more she learns what it is to be brave, the more she is inched towards her true self and her knowing, ultimately finding out what it means to be living courageously and authentically.

Buy it here.

(Main image credit: Min An on Pexels)

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5 self-improvement books that will change your life - Prestige Online

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October 28th, 2020 at 6:52 pm

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7 Reasons Vegans Are More Likely to Be Women Than Men – The Beet

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Whos leading the way when it comes to cutting back on meat consumption? Women, Democrats, and non-white peopleat least according to a Gallup poll released earlier this year. According to their survey, 23% of Americans are eating less meat, or report that they have reduced their meat consumption in the past year from when the poll was conducted. And when it comes to eating meatless,that was before the coronavirus had more people searching for meat alternatives than ever. Women are about twice as likely as men to say theyre eating less meat, clocking in at 31% to 15%, respectively. Overall, its been estimated that 80% of vegans in the U.S. are womenthats a whopping four out of five plant-based people you meet.

In light of the uptick of women making the plant-based plungewhich we can only assume is growing in the wake of the growing interest in a nutrient-dense, vegan lifestyle to support health in wake of the coronavirus pandemicwe asked experts to weigh in on the gender disparity, sharing both the good and the bad. Below, we dive into the main reasons more women than men might be #GoingVegan.

Women in society are cast to be more nurturing and protectors, which also carries on to their nurturing and protective nature towards animals and the environment, offers Bansari Acharya, MA, RD. It is easier for a woman to show compassion towards animals and provide reasons to her friends, family, or society on why she became vegan as most people will be more accepting towards a woman becoming vegan than a man due to the role society plays in how we differently men and women are perceived. Of course, this isnt to say men arent compassionate people, simply that in mainstream culture, a woman may feel more comfortable publicly avowing her stance on animal cruelty and protecting our planets natural resources.

Women are more likely to undergo change processes in their lives, and this may result in more women than men applying that ethos (or feeling pressured) to their diet. Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD, A Harvard trained clinical psychologist currently working at Lenox Hill Hospital, Northwell Health, in New York City, weighs in: Women are [more susceptible to embarking on journeys of change] and therefore inclined to change their diet because they are primed towards self-improvement processes in other domains of their lives.

Of course, this can be an empowering thing, as many women may be inspired to go vegan proactively as a decision to reduce their risk of diseases like diabetes or cancer.

Alas, those The Grill Sergeant and Licensed to Grill macho man shirt logos may simply be a source of eye-rolling at a barbecue gathering, but the underlying psychology of such shirts is telling: Many men feel like grilling is an important part of their identity. Jamie Hickey, NASM, FMS certified trainer, and ISSA nutritionist. and founder of TruismFitness.comhas seen this time and time again with mens egos.

Ive spent years talking to clients and have heard more than a handful of men tell me they have thought about going on a vegan diet but were worried about what their friends would say, says Hickey. Mentally men feel like they need to be tough and a carnivore diet instills the hunter mentality whereas a vegan diet has the stigma of being more of a womens diet.

Societys cultural notions of masculinity have linked meat and manliness together for centuries. Just notice how meat marketing often targets men, not women, comments Marie Elena Bitar, MPH, RD, Founder and Owner of Beyond Food Rules, harkening back to our discussion above about grilling and barbecue culture. On the flip side, Bitar adds that women are often at mercy of the stigma associated with overeating and feel pressured to maintain a trim physique. For some, in turn, this could inspire them to opt for low-calorie vegan meals.

Unfortunately, in these cases, going vegan gives women (or anyone for that matter) an opportunity to shield loved ones from an eating disorder.Its a lot easier to decline a decadent dessert by saying I cant eat that, Im vegan rather than I cant eat that, I have an eating disorder, comments Bitar.

Many women find themselves going vegan as they continue to see the link between plant-based diets and hormone balance. The woman's body is designed to store fat more easily than men so that it can both grow and nurture life, comments Best. Because of this fact, a diet inclusive of animal sources means higher rates of saturated fat and an increase in fat stores. A plant-based diet provides the dieter with nutrient rich-calories that are used more readily by the body as energy rather than excess being stored as fat.

Additionally, as Best elucidates, hormones serve a key role in fat stores. Eating estrogen from animal sources, even organic grass-fed sources causes something known as estrogen dominance. This equates to higher levels of estrogen in the body, excess stress on the liver, and inevitable weight gain and potential toxicity. Plant-based diets are connected with lowering estrogen in the body to a level that is safe and effective, says Best.

From joint pain to skin conditions, inflammation is no fun, and many women want to take the reins on their health and fight that with the powers of plant-based foods and are perhaps more attuned to this than their male counterparts. Another reason for women turning to a vegan diet is the anti-inflammatory nature of the diet itself. Foods on a vegan diet are both void of inflammatory foods and rich in anti-inflammatory foods making it an ideal eating pattern for anyone with chronic inflammation, offers Richards. As women age, the inflammation in their bodies can increase, but this inflammation can also exacerbate existing health conditions like pain, arthritis, energy, and weight gain.

As the wellness industry is more dominated by women than men, its no surprise that more women are inspired to make lifestyle changes than men. One area of particular focus? Sanity.

I follow a plant-based diet, myself, and my reasons are primarily for my mental health and clarity. Cutting out potential allergens and inflammatory foods has improved my personal cognition, says Best. There is certainly research that shows these benefits, but for me, I've observed the proof for myself.

Ready to see the proof in the pudding, ladies? To get started on your vegan journey, check out our 21-day plant-based challenge.

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7 Reasons Vegans Are More Likely to Be Women Than Men - The Beet

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October 28th, 2020 at 6:52 pm

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David Byrne on Voter Suppression, Self-Improvement, and Why the Talking Heads Still Wont Reunite – IndieWire

Posted: October 4, 2020 at 7:57 pm


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Anyone who has seen Stop Making Sense knows that David Byrne puts on a good show. If Jonathan Demmes rousing 1984 concert film embodies the galvanizing physicality of the Talking Heads frontman, American Utopia is a full-throated sequel. Nearly four decades later, Byrne has matured into a socially-conscious performance artist, but he still brings the house down with the same catchy tunes. Spike Lee directs the dazzling feature-film version of Byrnes hit Broadway show, which found raves in 2019 and had a 2020 revival on the books before the pandemic took charge. The world has changed dramatically since then, but American Utopia is more than prescient; its a call to action that somehow meets the divisive moment surrounding its release.

The HBO production opened TIFF and next plays at two drive-in dates for New York Film Festival (where Byrne is expected to attend) along with virtual screenings. Like the show, the movie (which was recorded at a single performance in New York) finds Byrne addressing the audience in between a vibrant blend of song-and-dance numbers with a robust team of performers behind him.

It also finds the singer-songwriter settling into an activist role that eluded him for much his career. In between songs and monologues that address everything from immigration to police violence, he advocates for voter registration and urges audience members to make sure they enroll in the lobby. Now, Byrne is taking things one step further, joining forces with Participant Media to launch a voter registration campaign around the release. Hes also working with his journalistic initiative, Reasons to Be Cheerful, on a new project called We Are Not Divided. How did Byrne go from apolitical rock star to infuse his work with advocacy?

A few days before the New York homecoming of American Utopia, Byrne spoke via Zoom with IndieWire about his political awakening, making art in the pandemic, and confronting his own flaws including a recently unearthed video of him in blackface for a promotional video tied to Stop Making Sense. Looking back on those days, he also provided a definitive answer on whether the Talking Heads will ever reunite.

In one of the more striking moments of the show, you visualize Americas low voter turnout in local elections by using the audience as a prop, shining a spotlight on 20 percent of the room. How did this idea come to you?

Greg Allen/Invision/AP

I was doing the show first as a concert tour. Id been doing the pitch for people to vote, and Headcount, a voter organization, would have a table in the lobby. We continued that on Broadway, but it was then that I realized I had an opportunity since were parked in one theater for me to play with this and talk to people more. When youre on tour, they dont want you talking too much. Theyre like, Play the music, were here to have a good time. This was a nice opportunity. It wasnt my idea. Somebody else I forget who suggested to me that the percentages of voter turnout that I mentioned could be visualized. We could actually see it when I say that 20 percent of the audience turns out for local elections, light that up, so you could picture what it looks like. [laughs]

I dont know if itll make everybody vote, but it sure made it much clearer than if you just say it. I emphasize turnout because in the United States the turnout is best for national elections, but its still only 55 percent, and you wonder what the other 45 percent are thinking about. Are they thinking, Ill just go along with whatever they decide?

You became an American citizen in 2012. How has your relationship to participatory democracy evolved since then?

I feel like, yes, the system we have is far from perfect. Theres a lot of chicanery and gerrymandering and voter suppression. At the same time, were never going to change anything unless we can vote in representatives who are willing to address those kind of issues. Thats the voice we have. We can demonstrate on the streets, but really, every citizen has a voice and the ability to vote. It took a long time to get that. People died to get that. Dont treat it lightly. A lot of countries dont have this. We really have to do this.

How would you like to see the system improve?

Im a big proponent of rank choice voting, which addresses the problem of people thinking their vote doesnt matter: This thing is going red or blue or whatever, so why should I even bother? It always goes that! With rank-choice voting, you put your first, second, third choice, whatever. If your first doesnt get in, the votes that you and others cast for that person go to your second choice. So now youve got more people supporting that person. Rather than losing all sense of voice at all, youve got somebody who might not be exactly what you want, but at least in that direction of what you want.

How do you understand undecided voters? You travel the world and must have fans whose views are all over the place.

My understanding from things Ive read is that there are fewer undecideds than we think. It does happen but its really harder to change peoples minds than we give credit to them for. So I just put effort into this: Whatever you feel, get out there and vote. Lets at least get as close as we can to representing the collective feelings we have so we can get around voter suppression and everything else. People do change their points of view when they find some common ground.

When you were living here, but not a citizen, how did you relate to these aspects of our society?

I spoke out about specific issues, but for the most part, I was less active. Maybe its a function of getting older, but I just started to feel like, Oh, this wont matter to my career now, so I can say whatever I like. So I started speaking out a bit more not in a partisan way, I have my own personal feelings there, but insofar as equality, race relations, voting, immigration, all these specific issues that I have a personal connection to.

To what extent do you believe your art actually become a catalyst for change?

Ive been asking myself this question how much influence art can have and I dont know the answer yet. In some cases, it definitely has an effect. In most cases, I think what it does is let people know that there are other people like them out there, whether its a movie they all like or a song. People create little communities around cultural stuff and they find a way to come together over that. It lets them know theyre not alone, and that whatever crap theyre going through in their lives, there are other people going through things too. That gives them the feeling that its possible to surmount these things. Its less about specific issues and policies; its more

Some critics have written about Stop Making Sense as a truly political work. It was made in the middle of Ronald Regans America, a lot of the songs deal with feeling sort of out place in society, and so on. How much of that seems accurate to you?

I havent watched that film in a while.

You should! Its still great.

[laughs] Thank you. I was aware that in that film especially the way that Jonathan [Demme] filmed it, the way he gave time for all the band members, you had a sense of it being like a little community. You got to know each of the people as personalities. Then you saw them interact, playing together. That was a major statement. It was never stated but I think it had a big effect on the audience, the audience felt that, that each of these people were individuals. It wasnt just me and a backup band. And I think you get that from this one, too the sense that sometimes Im in the background. Everybody gets the spotlight at some point.

Greg Allen/Invision/AP

American Utopia climaxes with Road to Nowhere. The lyrics to that song are almost despondent at times, but you perform it in such a hopeful way especially in American Utopia, where youre literally dancing and partying with the audience as you sing.

Its always been a song that has that contradiction built into it. Listen to it literally, and it sounds like its talking about death. Were going down this road to nowhere. And yet it feels very joyous, and I always felt thats what makes the song work. Were all heading down the road to nowhere, but we can all enjoy the trip. Its really a wonderful thing.

American Utopia is such a physical show. Youre almost always in motion, dancing, pacing, engaging the audience throughout. How emotionally and mentally exhausting was it to do this night after night?

It was more mentally exhausting than it was physically. Some of the other performers, especially the ones that dance a lot, I get a little bit of their reflective glory. Theyre dancing their assess off around me and Im not moving half as much, but it feels like Im part of their energy. I get a little more credit than Im due, but it is totally nonstop. Youve got 10 seconds when you finish one song to move somewhere else and boom youre starting the next one. Catch your breath and off you go! Being on tour is one thing but doing a show like that where youre there every night and on Saturdays doing it twice is really something.

The show is so rooted in the concerns of 2020. It almost feels like a recap of recent history. When you stage it live again and I certainly hope you do how do you expect to modify it to reflect an ever-changing world?

Were hoping to do it live again. I think Id probably do a few adjustments to acknowledge all the stuff weve been through. Its kind of amazing. The concert part of the show was put together before the election. I was pooling the elements together, writing songs. The Broadway show and the filming was obviously before the pandemic. Yet when you watch it, it seems like its talking about whats happening now, which is kind of sad in that not much has changed, but it does keep the film current.

What compelled you to approach Spike Lee to direct the film?

Im a fan and wed crossed paths many times over the decades in New York. Wed been in contact a little bit, not a lot. I thought, hes going to get this show, and if hes free, it might be something hed like to do. He has done live shows before. Its in his wheelhouse. All of his films are dealing with contemporary issues in one way or another. Thats a big part of this show. Also, Jonathan Demme was a friend of Spikes and similar to that film, its kind of an ensemble piece. Youve got these characters who interact on this set, everything happens within that, were not going to go out and break into other places. He knows how to capture that stuff.

The part of the film where his voice is most visible is the performance of Janelle Mones Hell You Talmbout, when you and the rest of the cast name Black victims of police shootings. Spike has crafted this montage with the relatives of the victims and works in recent names, including George Floyd, who hadnt been shot when you did the show.

Yeah, he had some ideas on that. Mostly he just wanted to capture what we were doing, but on this one, he said, My office and I have been in contact with some of the families of these people the wives, the husbands, mothers. Wed like to incorporate them into the show. He did it seamlessly. He figured out in an afternoon how to get everyone onstage so it all fit in there. The song was already incredibly emotional but it just takes it to another level, seeing those family members there.

In light of all this, lets talk about how you responded to the promotional video from 1984 that resurfaced where you were wearing blackface. In the show, you almost seem to allude to this kind of issue from your past. Introducing Hell You Talmbout, you say, I need to be better. So what you were actually thinking about when you decided to include that line?

I wasnt thinking of this old promo video I did 30 years ago. I was just thinking back on my life, how much my attitude has changed, and I can only assume that if its changed that much over my life that I still got a ways to go, that Im not done. Im still learning, adjusting my thinking, and being aware of stuff I didnt know about.

I just had a talk earlier this afternoon with a theater company in Denver that Im working with in like two years from now. We started talking about this issue and lots of people had similar stories from their own lives. One woman was watching the movie Splash with her daughter and realized, This is not a good message for a little girl to see, and yet it was one of my favorite films as a child. Another guy said, I was in high school and I decided for something I was doing that it would be funny to dress up as Osama Bin Laden?

Oh, God.

Yes. We change. Thats the whole point. At the time, this guy said, everybody thought it was hilarious. Now, of course, we think about it the way you did. Oh, God. Ugh! You cringe! You cringe at some of the stuff we liked years ago! We can evolve. That was my point. With the statement, I decided, Im going to put this out there and Im not going to try and hide from this. Its a good thing to accept that we can evolve.

How are you dealing with the pandemic as an artist and finding ways to create new work?

Sipa USA via AP

Im mainly focusing my journalism project, Reasons to Be Cheerful, and that thing I mentioned thats two years off. Theres another project that might happen in December, I hope, that could actually get people together. It wont have a performance from me, but Im involved in it remotely in some ways. Im very lucky that way.

What about music?

Not a lot of music. I feel like Im trying to puzzle out how I respond to all of this not just the pandemic, the marches, the police stuff. Everything thats going on. Its almost like the curtain hasnt parted; its been ripped down. I dont want to just do an op-ed piece. That doesnt really work as a song.

You started Reasons to Be Cheerful after the 2016 election, when the concept provided a contrast to the national mood. How do you see its future, especially in an America where Trump actually wins in November?

Wow. I cant say whats going to happen in November, but my feeling since Ive been doing this now for a few years has been that I have to look for local initiatives, things in different cities and states around the world where theyre actually solving problems, offering solutions, and maybe those can be copied or scaled up. That gives me some kind of encouragement that when the national level fails us, on the local level, things are still happening.

Youre a famous New Yorker. During the first presidential debate, Trump called New York City a ghost town, and I was reminded of an editorial you wrote in The New York Times a few years back where you said the city was pricing out artists. How do you feel about the way it stands now?

Oddly enough, in some areas, the rents have come down because of the pandemic and so I have friends who are artists and musicians who are now looking at better apartments in the city. Its too early to tell but its almost like the artists are moving back in. That might be premature, but you never know. Im sticking around.

Its impossible not to think about this last question while watching American Utopia, but Im almost afraid to ask it. How sick are you of being asked whether the Talking Heads will get back together?

[laughs] Well, Ive been asked enough that I have a stock answer!

Give me something better before you default to that.

What can I say? Its just not going to happen. It is kind of sad that we arent friendly because we were all very close at one point, but as we know, that sometimes happens, too. But artistically, in terms of what we do, its actually not that much of a surprise. People grow and change and become interested in other things. They want to do things in a different way. Thats just what happens.

David Byrnes American Utopia premieres on HBO on Saturday, October 17.

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David Byrne on Voter Suppression, Self-Improvement, and Why the Talking Heads Still Wont Reunite - IndieWire

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October 4th, 2020 at 7:57 pm

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FT Assistant Store Manager job with Tory Burch | 147475 – The Business of Fashion

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JOB SUMMARY

JOB SUMMARY

As the Tory Burch ASM, you are a critical leadership partner to the GM and/or AGM, and someone the store staff can rely on for guidance and growth. You will partner with the leadership team to create a highly productive environment in which customers have an extraordinary experience, employees are able to do their best and the business thrives. You are primarily accountable for developing and maintaining staff selling and service skills (as well as your own), in addition to the day-to-day operations of running a successful business with an authentic approach.

JOB DESCRIPTION

RESPONSIBILITIES

Drive the Business & Deliver Results

Leadership & People Management

Deliver the Customer Experience

EDUCATION & PRIOR EXPERIENCE NEEDED

REQUIREMENTS

CORE SKILLS

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

Tory Burch LLC is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer and provides equal opportunities to all employees and applicants without regard to an individual's age, race, creed, color, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy) or sexual orientation, gender expression, military status, marital status, genetic predisposition or carrier status, disability or membership in any other protected class under applicable law. Likewise, we will consider qualified applicants with criminal histories for employment in a manner consistent with the requirements of the Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative for Hiring, Ordinance No. 184652. Pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance, we will consider qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records for employment.

Disability Accommodation

Tory Burch is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to applicants and employees with disabilities. Please tell us if you require a reasonable accommodation to apply for a job or to perform your job. Examples of reasonable accommodation include making a change to the application process or work procedures, providing documents in an alternate format, using a sign language interpreter, or using specialized equipment. If you require assistance or an accommodation with the hiring process, please contact talent@toryburch.com .

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FT Assistant Store Manager job with Tory Burch | 147475 - The Business of Fashion

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October 4th, 2020 at 7:57 pm

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Hunting the big wave: Topsail’s Gianni Pike perseveres through challenges of autism – StarNewsOnline.com

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Jackson Fuller |Wilmington StarNews

SURF CITY -- Gianni Pike can't recall all of the details from his first time on a surfboard, but he does remember thinking he just wanted to be back on land.

Fast forward to today, 15 years later, and Surf City Beach is Pike's second home. He comes out almost every day, enjoying his time on the waves but also trying to become a better surfer for future competitions.

But there's so much more to Pike's love for surfing. The senior who also plays for the Topsail football team was diagnosed with autism at 2 years old, and his father believes surfing is a way for Gianni to fulfill his sensory craving.

Gianni keeps it a little more simple.

"I just like the beach and I love being in the ocean. They're places I can clear my head and only focus on surfing. Every day I get out here is a good day," Gianni said.

Gianni's father, John Pike, works for Surfer's Healing, a youth camp that travels the world and allows children to surf with adults. One of Gianni's first times on a board was with Surfer's Healing.

In recent years, Gianni has flipped roles. He's now a junior instructor for Surfer's Healing and is in charge of taking kids with autism out on his own board when the group makes its annual trip to Wilmington.

He does similar instruction with Wilmington's Indo Jax Surf School, which hosts camps for wounded warriors, the visually impaired and kids with autism. Gianni is also a member of the Indo Jax Surf Team, and he finished first in theEastern Surfing Association Southeastern North Carolina junior men's longboard division last year.

Indo Jax director Jack Viorel said he holds Gianni to all the same standards as his other instructors, making the end result even more rewarding.

"It's amazing because I know I've come a long way," Gianni said. "I used to be that kid at the front of the surfboard getting pushed out. Now I'm doing the pushing, but I can still see them and get a sense of what they're going through in life. I just want to help."

If Gianni could give any advice to those kids at the front of the boards today, it would be to keep pushing through uncomfortable moments, which is exactly what Gianni did when he decided to play football as an eighth-grader at Topsail Middle School.

Gianni admits that, as a student dealing with autism, there have been some challenges with football. His dad said teenagers can be difficult, and there were times of teasing early in his football career.

But today, Gianni can't imagine a life without football. He first signed up looking for a way to get his anger out, and now he has a band of brothers. His maturation over the past five years has been easy to notice.

"He's grown, not only as a player, but as a student of the game and as a human being," Topsail coach Wayne Inman said. "He's not just OK with playing football, he wants to be great."

"And when he first started out with us, he was kind of a loner. Now he has a group he belongs to and they are always there for each other. Surfing, you're out there by yourself on the wave and your success is mostly up to yourself. On the football field, he's depending on 10 other guys and they're depending on him. It's impossible not to develop a strong connection with your teammates."

Gianni's next step is still unclear. He has one more year at Topsail, though he primarily takes classes through Cape Fear Community College.

After that, Gianni's top choice for a school is UNCW, but he's also open to playing college football depending on his senior season. After starting at safety last year for the Pirates, Gianni will move back to his more familiar role at outside linebacker this spring.

There is another option. Gianni's mother, Tina Pike, is an Italian citizen. The family hopes Gianni can soon become a dual citizen, compete in the Italian surfing league and one day try to qualify for the Olympics under the Italian flag.

He's got a long way to go, but those around Gianni refuse to doubt his drive.

"It's a testament to a gritty family and a kid who enjoys the process of self-improvement," Viorel said. "His level of self esteem, to never quit, and keep on pushing through difficult circumstances, those are the things that keep me going and inspire everyone around him to do the work. He can genuinely accomplish anything he wants in life."

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Hunting the big wave: Topsail's Gianni Pike perseveres through challenges of autism - StarNewsOnline.com

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October 4th, 2020 at 7:57 pm

Posted in Self-Improvement

‘Assistance provided by govt to help improve people’s lives’ – The Borneo Post

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KUCHING: The assistance and programmes on self-improvement and income-generation provided by the government under the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) ruling coalition are specifically meant to help improve the peoples lives, says Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah.

He regards these initiatives as the enablers for the people to migrate to higher living standards, pointing out that many of the aid and the programmes have been geared towards helping the rural folk in Sarawak.

Uggah (right) presents the certificates to Benedict Blake, who represents the AgriCOP course participants. Witnessing the ceremony is Robert.

These (assistance and programmes) are essentially modern agriculture-based activities that include subsidies, materials and technical input. There are also the start-up capital and grants, as well as subsidies and aid meant to cushion the effect of falling commodity prices, he said in his speech for the launch of the Agriculture Departments Agriculture Community Outreach Programme (AgriCOP) at a longhouse in Samu, Paku in Spaoh yesterday.

On the Kenyalang Gold Card, Uggah said 1,191 out of 1,339 applicants from his state constituency of Bukit Saban had been approved.

He called upon more Sarawakian senior citizens to apply for the card programme, which would allow them to enjoy special privileges and discounts at participating businesses.

Uggah also listed childbirth incentives and post-natal assistance to mothers as among the state Welfare Departments assistance programmes slated for Sarawakians.

Then, we have the very well-received help from Unit For Other Religions (Unifor) to help finance the construction, repairs or renovation works on different houses of worship.

All these go to show that the GPS-led government is a most caring government for Sarawakians, and it is very committed in protecting Sarawaks rights and interests. Thus, it (GPS) deserves to be given the mandate to lead Sarawak again after the next state election, he said.

On AgriCOP, Uggah said it meant to promote modern farming programmes that the Agriculture Department had made available to the people.

In this respect, he called upon the rural folk to consult with the Agriculture officers regrading the programmes that they regarded as most appealing.

It is informed that there are a total of 122 people taking part in the AgriCOP.

Meanwhile, Betong MP Datuk Robert Lawson Chuat pointed out that AgriCOP had become very popular among the rural folk as the programme provided them with all the information that they would need to run modern farming.

Later at the event, Uggah announced the approval of 17 fertigation farming plots for the community of the 38-door longhouse.

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'Assistance provided by govt to help improve people's lives' - The Borneo Post

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‘The 100’ series finale review: Who wants to live forever? – Hypable

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The 100 has concluded with its 100th episode, titled The Last War. Here is our review.

The 100s epic saga of humanity, told on over the course of seven seasons, spanning centuries and galaxies, ended with a proposal for how our species can ultimately break the cycle of violence and reach a new evolutionary stage.

The solution? Having an ancient alien race judge the actions of a random few people and invite 200+ nameless soldiers and a handful of children with to leave behind their mortal shells and join a hive-mind cosmic conscience.

Well we sure werent ready for that.

Before we dive into the discussion of The 100s series finale, I want to reiterate one last time that, to me, this was all about the journey. The ending was never going to change that.

My own journey with The 100 sure has been an interesting one. I started watching it by mistake, because I had gotten it mixed up with The Tomorrow People, which I had actually been assigned (and never did end up watching). I fell in love with it almost instantly and started covering it for Hypable, because I wanted to help others find it and fall in love with it too. I believe I succeeded in that. (Im sorry?)

I was a 20-something Danish girl just out of Journalism school, and I had no idea that picking up The 100 on a whim would take me as far as it did. I interviewed almost the entire cast. I visited the writers room. I started going to (and came to understand the point of) fan conventions. I even moderated panels at a handful of them.

I know I wasnt the only young female entertainment journalist trying to break into the industry by covering this show, only to encounter gatekeeper after gatekeeper who blatantly tried to shut the doors in my face. So it is important to thank all the people who didnt do this; who opened a door for me along the way, or vouched for me, or drew attention to my work. Most especially Jason and Joy Rothenberg, Kim Shumway, B.A. Johnson, Aaron Ginsburg, Richard Harmon, Jo Garfein, Tiffany Vogt, Sachin Sahel and Sabrina Hutchinson.

A story is a story, but the real human kindness you have shown me, and your willingness to let me into a space I was often made to feel I didnt belong to, gave me an invaluable sense of confidence that I have been able to use to advance my career, within and beyond entertainment journalism. That matters. And I only hope I was able to pay it forward, in whatever limited capacity I could.

Hypable also benefited immensely from the coverage and exclusives I was able to produce, largely because of these peoples kindness. And although my affiliation with the site effectively ends with this article, I hope you will all continue to visit Hypable for its insightful and passionate fandom coverage. Our slogan for fans, by fans, has guided every word I ever wrote about this show, be it praising or critical. I was always a fan first and I hope, wherever my career takes me, that I never stop being a fan first.

And I hope my coverage of the show has seemed fair and honest, regardless of how I have approached any given storyline. As a fan, that is all I ever had to offer.

With that, I submit to you my final review of The CWs The 100, a series I have followed through its many ups and downs, and which I am proud to see through, to whatever end.

Continuing from last week, Murphy, Raven and Jackson arrive on Sanctum with a flatlining Emori.

Although Raven initially refuses to leave Emoris side, she ends up accepting that she can do more good elsewhere (and in doing so, she ends up fulfilling her promise: she does save them all, Emori included).

Raven runs off to save the world, starting with some (unfortunately off-screen) rallying of the various scattered troops: Ravens former/current? arch-enemy Nikki and her Eligius friends, along with Wonkru, are apparently easily convinced to help, and they even agree to make a pit stop to pick up the wayward people on Earth before moving on to Bardo.

(Wasnt there something about a time difference? Who can say.)

As a nice little surprise, Miller chooses to go back to Sanctum to be with Jackson rather than go to war, which is great for me personally, and also a neat prelude to the speech Octavia makes towards the end of the episode.

As well get into later, The 100 has always been ambiguous about whether it considers love to be the solution to war or the cause of it, but in this case, it is definitely the former. Mackson is the key to breaking the cycle, didnt I always say so?

But then they experience a tiny little inconvenience in the form of Emori violently and horrifically dying.

Not to worry, however! Memori never dies! Unable and unwilling to live without her, Murphy puts her mind drive in his head, combining their life forces and marrying their bodies and souls together for however long Murphys heart continues to beat.

Not to undercut the beauty of this modern Shakespearean tragedy, but the only thing I could think when watching this scene was how this is just the ultimate expression of how over-the-top extra Murphy has always been about Emori.

Of course he would pull a Romeo and Juliet. Of course he wouldnt let a little obstacle like one of them dying stop them from being together forever. Of course. (Edward Cullen and Bella Swan look like a summer fling in comparison to these two.)

Im also surprised by how much I genuinely did love ending this for them (and honestly would have preferred it as their actual ending), because the last time I came across this type of storyline, I really didnt.

In the series finale of Dollhouse (spoiler alert), the main character Echo loses the man she loves. But because his mind had been copied onto a disk i.e. a mind drive she could insert it into her own head, and they could be together inside her mind.

I thought that was such a creepy, sad ending for them. But in this context, and for these characters, it works really well. Probably exactly because of how intense and extra this particular relationship has always been.

And the scene with Murphy and Emori in Murphys mindspace is just stunning. Far and away the best scene of the episode.

The acting by Richard Harmon and Luisa dOliveira is out of this world. These two have the kind of on-screen chemistry that comes across once in a lifetime, and it seems like an understatement to call them The 100s best couple.

The soft lighting and tranquil scenery are perfectly contrasted by the visceral horror Emori initially experiences when she realizes that Murphy is essentially killing herself for her, before she ultimately accepts his choice, and the pair share a very sweet dance before transcending.

While Murphys character this season has been washed out and hero-fied to an extent I think betrays the core of the character, I really like that his ending was ultimately one of sacrifice and reward: Murphy had to be ready to lay down his life for love, and only then could he and his love be saved by it. (Dumbledore would be proud.)

Its a worthy death, or would have been, and once again a nice little statement to make about the restorative and healing powers of love. Look at where Murphy started, and how motivated his violence was by hate and revenge. Look how love changed him.

And look how love changed Emori. It inspired a compassion and empathy and a willingness to self-sacrifice that, once upon a time, the story wanted us to associate with Clarke.

The 100 is in so many ways a study in how our experiences with having and losing love can shape our worldview and how we treat other people, and in a surprising (and welcome) twist, Emori and Clarke really ended up being the opposites that met in the middle and rose/fell to the others starting point over the course of the series.

(Maybe because Emori got to go to the ring, and Clarke didnt? Maybe that was where it split? Ugh, my heart.)

Luisa dOliveira may never have been officially made part of the main cast, but I think we all consider her a main anyway. Emori definitely ended up being one of the most important characters, emotionally and thematically. And its what they both deserve.

Bill Cadogan enters the test arena, where he finally gets to reunite with his beloved daughter Callie except it isnt Callie. It is a representative of the superior alien race standing by, ready to dole out judgement. For brevitys sake (yeah right), let us call this alien and the collective consciousness it represents the Entity.

The space Cadogan visualizes is conveniently similar to the mindspace created by the mind-drives. It represents an important location in the test-takers life, which in Cadogans case is a bridge where he and Callie went fishing. (JR+JR? Cute.)

Before Cadogan can complete the test, however, Clarke shoots him in the head. Good riddance. (Although its a bit of a copout that all of the actual villains are killed off before transcendence happens, so we dont get to see whether the Entity really was going to Helga Hufflepuff humanity and take the lot, but whatever.)

At first, it seems like Clarke is actually going to try to take the test in his stead, but Clarke must have dropped her once so character-defining cunning and intelligence during one of her wormhole jumps, so she can only focus on her immediate, self-centered anger and frustration.

But she is what humanity has made her, isnt she? This is a Clarke Griffin who has been broken by the world, standing before the dieu du jour in sharp and depressing contrast to the brazen, fierce, compassionate Clarke Griffin who went into the City of Light to shut down ALIE in season 3.

This is a Clarke Griffin who has lost everything, and whose losses have made her bitter and vengeful and self-righteous and (in this moment) unconcerned with the consequences of her actions.

This is a Clarke Griffin who fails the test.

While the Entity took the form of Callie to appear to Cadogan (and lingers in that shape just long enough for Eliza Taylor to transfer her protagonist mojo onto our new leading lady Iola Evans), it transforms for Clarke into her vision of a love, a teacher, and a great regret: Lexa.

My instant emotional reaction to seeing Lexa again was pure joy. Alycia Debnam-Carey slips so flawlessly back into the role that I thought it was old footage at first. I understand why people online, especially those who maybe dont care as much about the story as some of us still do, have trouble differentiating this imposter from the real Lexa, because she really acts and talks just like Lexa would have.

Much like Clarke runs to hug her, even knowing that it is not actually Lexa, but still taking comfort in the idea of her, I know Im not alone in taking a lot of comfort from the sheer symbolic value of her. Im glad Alycia Debnam-Carey agreed to come back for it, and Im glad it brought some people joy.

And, while I know a lot of the shows remaining fans dont see eye to eye with me on this, I genuinely also think Lexas finale appearance redeems what would otherwise have been an incessant and unnecessary refusal to just let Lexas memory rest.

Since her death, Lexa has been so infuriatingly almost-present (in the Flame, in Madis head, in the computer, in drawings, in conversations). Seeing her again somewhat makes up for them refusing to let Clarke and the audience move on, knowing that they always planned to revisit the character in a substantial way.

But. (You knew it was coming.)

They didnt actually revisit the character in a substantial way.

Seeing Lexa again may be all well and good, but because of the shows self-imposed rule about dead people not being able to transcend, Lexa is no less dead just because an alien judge wears her face. Her appearance here is very literally just for show, both in-story and outside of it.

And the million-dollar question for me, once the initial excitement wore off, was: why couldnt it just have been the actual Lexa? Since they already had Alycia Debnam-Carey for the finale, why not have Lexa show up on that beach? Why not have that be Clarkes reward? Hadnt she earned that? Hadnt they both? Hadnt we?

I would be more inclined to accept the explanation that they couldnt bring Lexa back because The 100 doesnt do resurrections if it wasnt for the facts that a) they didnt actually let Lexa truly die before the Flame was destroyed three episodes ago, b) Emori was literally resurrected in this episode through a mind drive and, oh yeah, c) the show ended with everyone turning into golden Groots and becoming one with the universe. Yall, literally nothing is off the table when you begin turning people into Groots.

It is hard to ignore the element of performativity here, of The 100 flaunting the powerful iconography of Lexa and reconnecting that iconography with the shows brand, even while putting the final nail in her coffin by smashing the Flame and excluding her from transcendence.

So while it is nice that people on Twitter are excited about Lexa returning and interacting with Clarke, it would be even nicer if those of us who actually watched the episode got to share in that excitement. The gifs sure are pretty though.

The Entity proceeds to judge Clarke, who judges it right back. Lo and behold, the Entity doesnt like to be judged (the uncomfortable implication here being that the species it absorbs are intended to serve it, not be its equals), so it fails Clarke, on behalf of the human race, and she is ejected from the arena.

Before this happened, I actually thought for a hot second that Clarke would manage to outsmart the all-knowing-alien-deity-thingy. She made some valid arguments, after all: How dare it assume the right to judge her? How dare it commit genocide upon genocide and then condemn her for doing the same?

Turns out the Entity really doesnt care about being a big stupid hypocrite (hey, just like Cadogan!), which means that Clarke essentially just gets to vocalize some glaring issues with the premise of transcendence that are never actually addressed or resolved, which is just well, its super weird, isnt it?

Clarkes arguments, along with Ravens later plea for the Entity to back off and give humanity more time (after which transcendence just happens immediately), are so dissonant from the rest of the finale that I almost wonder if there were two different endings for the show in play one in which they won transcendence and one in which judgement was deferred and humanity was left to improve on its own merit and they just ended up meshing them together.

Believe it or not, but Clarke failing the test is one of the things I like best about the finale. The past few episodes have, intentionally or not, worked very hard to prove that Clarke certainly is not (currently) worthy of representing all of humanity and winning transcendence in any form, and this cosmic rejection is, somewhat, a consequence for her horrific actions.

Yes, love made her do it, but love is an ambivalent concept. In Octavias case, love was what made her forgive. Once, love was what made Clarke self-sacrifice. Love is as destructive as it is redemptive depending on how it affects each individual person, and to The 100s credit, it has always (if sometimes clumsily) tried to explore the nuance of this all-consuming and self-contradictory force.

So while it would have felt truer to Clarkes overall arc and character to have her use her cunning and cleverness to actually beat the test, rather than get angry and emotional, and while it would have been more full-circley to have Clarke try to sacrifice herself for ~all mankind~ one last time, having the Entity just spit her back out feels right, under the circumstances.

It also feels right that Clarke should then pass the baton to Raven, who would have been a much more interesting choice to actually have taken the test, if the test had amounted to more than a conversation. This episode does right by Raven, certainly, giving her the space and importance she always deserved.

Raven Reyes, self-made champion of humanity, enters the now-red orb, and finds herself in her version of the test-mindspace: the Ark, on which she meets the Entity, now wearing the face of Abby Griffin.

Basically, instead of the source of all evil taking the shapes of all the former Big Bads in Buffy, the almighty here takes the shapes of some of the series greatest teachers. (It would have been cool if they had taken that idea even further, having more characters take and fail the test throughout the episode or even just having Clarke and Raven see more faces of people that had influenced them, but alas. No Sinclair for me.)

Even though this isnt in fact Abby, as with Alycia Debnam-Carey, it is simply wonderful to see Paige Turco again. It feels more like closure for the actors than anything else, but that in itself is a somewhat worthwhile use of your finale.

That the Entity puts on Abbys face for Raven, but not for Clarke, is a choice I would have liked to linger on a little bit more, but then I could say that about a lot of things this season. The choice is justified by saying that Raven always considered Abbys opinion of her the most important, which is certainly true. And relevant, seeing as the Entitys opinions seem to literally be the alpha and omega of the future of the universe.

Raven argues that humanity has in fact learned to do better, but the Entity takes her to Bardo, showing her the Bardoan and Sanctumnian armies poised to attack. It counters that, despite the fact that we keep trying to improve, something will always happen to ensure that we fail.

This time, the devil on humanitys shoulder is Sheidheda. A random wild card to prove the Entitys point, for sure, but maybe intentionally so: there will always be Sheidhedas, in one form or another, to throw us off the path of progress. The Entity isnt wrong about that.

What the Entity fails to account for, however, is that for every Sheidheda, there is an Octavia, stealing fire from the gods and giving the human race the power to evolve themselves.

(And this is where we take a beat to acknowledge the Bellamy-shaped hole in the story.)

While Raven argues humanitys case to the Entity, Octavia proves her words true by coming between the two armies and tl;dring her entire character arc: I let fear [of the other] drive me for too long Ive been to war, and I know that the only way to win is not to fight.

She also gives new meaning to one of the series most iconic statements, in one of the episodes only moments of properly paying homage to itself: Our fight is over.

That the armies are partially motivated to stand down because they know their god is watching unfortunately undercuts a lot of this scenes power in terms of proving anything about humanitys capacity for self-improvement, but Octavia, certainly, proves the individual humans ability to learn from experience and find a way to peace.

Octavia has always been the one character The 100 never lost sight of, and never dumbed down or de-complicated for the sake of pushing a certain plot. The greyer she got, the more real she felt, and her ultimately rising from the ashes to save the human race because of her entire history rather than in spite of it felt as epic as it was intended to.

She really is the embodiment of humanity, the way I believe humanity should be embodied: we are capable of so much destruction, but we are also capable of self-reflection and self-improvement, and ultimately the hope is that we will be able to overcome our instinct for violence and conflict by looking into the eyes of our enemies and acknowledging the humanity in them.

And there is also just a real beauty and poignancy to the fact that it ends up being Raven and Octavia the two secondary female leads, polar opposites involved in such separate storylines that theyve barely spoken two words to each other throughout the entire series who unwittingly join forces to do what Clarke had become too emotion-driven and tribal to do.

After Octavias demonstration and Ravens closing argument that humanity might not yet be worthy of transcendence but will keep working to improve itself if the Entity leaves them alone everyone begins glowing gold.

Ravens proposition, which incidentally would also have been my preferred endgame, seems to be ignored by the Entity, who doesnt seem inclined to wait around for the remainder of the human race to prove their ability to change their behavioral patterns. (Or maybe it just realized that if they didnt scoop what was left of humanity up now, the species would in fact eradicate itself before they got the chance.)

So everyone gets raptured, melding their minds to the mass of the Entity and leaving behind only imprints of light.

Everyone except Clarke, who encouraged Madi to let go of her body (that she wanted to cling onto, how about that, good thing nobody shot her without her consent, hm?), and Picasso, because in The 100, dogs do not in fact go to heaven.

Guys, not to be like whatever, but the Entity kind of sucks.

Clarke spends most of this episode the way she unfortunately ended up spending most of the series: alone, surrounded by all her ghosts. And her ultimate punishment for having the audacity to live and love at all is to be cast out of Eden, doomed to walk the world alone like Elronds vision of Arwen from Lord of the Rings.

But there is a silver lining: the friends she made along the way. Just as she has resigned herself to a life of solitude, the Lexabot shows up to monologue some more about how weird it is that humans can love, and how weird it is that all of Clarkes friends decided to abandon an eternal existence of bliss and togetherness to live a finite life with someone most of them barely knew.

And honestly, Im with the Lexabot on this one. That is pretty weird.

Because the writers decided that transcendence was only an option for people who were alive at the time it happened (youre telling me that Roan didnt get to transcend? Monty? Harper? Jane Fonda? Barack Obama? Anya?? Sounds fake but okay), none of the people Clarke might, in a version of the story that was more true to itself, actually be happy to spend her life with actually get to come back to her.

No Bellamy. No Lexa. No Abby. No Jake, Wells, Monty, Anya, or Barack Obama. Not even her best and truest friend Riley. Instead, the characters who return for Clarke are basically just everyone left who has a name, and aside from Raven and maybe Octavia, I cant help but imagine that Clarke would consider them consolation prizes at best.

The striking absence is Madi, who chose not to return because she allegedly didnt want Clarke to worry about her ending up alone.

On one hand, Madi peacing out into the cosmos rather than choosing to live out her mortal life with Clarke and her new BFF Luca is a satisfying choice that honors Madis autonomy (I wouldnt want to give up immortality for the woman who was ready to murder me for being immobilized either).

On the other, it is a super unsatisfying note to end on for Clarke, who literally spent the past three episodes proving herself willing to abandon and kill everyone and anyone who isnt Madi. It is hard to believe that Clarke should so easily find peace without her, after a season hell-bent on convincing us that she was nothing without her.

(For not to mention the fact that Clarke was so distrustful of and spiteful towards the Entity, so why would she believe that Madi is safe inside of it? Why are we taking anything the Entity says at face value? Oh whatever, the show is over.)

As for everyone else again, except Raven and Octavia, whom season 7 at least put (the bare minimum amount of) effort into re-forging Clarkes connections with it is very difficult to see anyone making the choice to forgo an eternity of bliss and togetherness for the sake of spending one finite lifetime with someone most of them were never actually close to.

In this very episode, Murphy/Emori and Miller/Jackson all seemed pretty set on just wanting to be together, wherever that was, which surely meant that transcendenceland was their best option. Indra would go where Gaia was, but Gaia surely didnt love Clarke enough to make such a leap (she barely knew her). Maybe Indra followed Octavia, and then Gaia followed Indra? Either way, why would Gaia leave Madi? And dont even get me started on Niylah.

(Unless transcendence was just super boring, which is a totally believable explanation tbh. Literally nobody would want to be a Golden Groot for all eternity. I would bail too.)

I think the closest well get to an actual explanation is a chain reaction of de-transcendence: Raven chose to stay with Clarke; Echo and Emori followed Raven; Murphy followed Emori. Octavia chose to stay with Clarke; Levitt and Hope followed Octavia; Jordan followed Hope.

But you know what would have made perfect sense? If Bellamy had chosen to stay with Clarke, and Octavia, SpaceKru, and Miller had all followed him. That would have been completely in character for everyone. (Except Niylah. There is no explanation for her.)

Because Clarke was repeatedly removed and isolated from the group, while Bellamys stories were always community-driven, Bellamy came to serve as the de-facto link between Clarke and the others. (That old quote about Bellamy inspiring the masses and Clarke inspiring Bellamy remained true for all of the six seasons where they were still written in-character.)

So even if we were to write off Bellamys own significance entirely (haha, but why, that would be ridiculous), cutting out the character that has been established as the main emotional anchor for Clarke, and then pretending like he was irrelevant to her relationships with everyone else, undermines the integrity of every single person on that beach.

And what is so ironic about all of this is that if any of the original main characters had been as unmoored and unimportant as theyre pretending Bellamy was, to the point where they could realistically be lifted out of the narrative without it creating a catastrophic ripple effect, that would be a failure of the story too.

Pretending like the relationships you wrote were so flimsy and arbitrary that you can have one lead character shoot another and then not reckon with that action in any meaningful way only serves to undermine your own abilities as a storyteller.

Knowing that the original plan was for Bellamy to be included in the final shot makes it even worse, because if the writers knew it made sense, then they should have made it happen. Use a standin. Splice him in. Have Clarke see someone come out of the woods and let the audience guess who it might be.

There were so many constructive ways to minimize the damage to the story caused by Bellamys absence rather than exacerbate it. Instead, the ending scene was much weaker than it could (should) have been, a lot of the emotional growth Clarke and Bellamy did separately and as a unit was rendered meaningless, Octavia and Echo didnt get the closure their arcs needed, and the shows legacy will suffer for it. And thats really all there is to it.

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'The 100' series finale review: Who wants to live forever? - Hypable

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October 4th, 2020 at 7:57 pm

Posted in Self-Improvement

Cort McMurray: Bake that bread. Write that novel. Self-improvement is hard, but its liberating. – Houston Chronicle

Posted: September 30, 2020 at 1:50 am


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In the early days of the current ordeal, before our patience and our hope was ground to a dull nub, everyone had a plan for self-improvement during the pandemic. We downloaded language training apps, determined to master conversational Russian (you know, just in case). Bread flour and bakers yeast flew off the grocery shelves as folks who didnt know a boule from a boulder decided to reinvent themselves as artisanal bakers. We dusted off exercise equipment and long forgotten guitars and those notebooks from college, vowing to write the Great American Novel or become the next Bob Dylan or develop abs that make Chris Hemsworth say, Crikey!

Weeks turn into years, how quick they pass. The weeks have actually turned into months, but you dont mess with a Hal David lyric, and honestly, this summer has felt like a decade. The weather got warmer and COVID-19 didnt disappear, like a miracle, and most of our self-improvement efforts dissolved into endless hours of Netflix and a diet centered on Cheez Whiz and Oreos, all the noble reinventions withering like neglected houseplants.

Self-improvement is hard. Those Great British Baking Show types make artisanal bread look easy as, well, pie. You watch slack-jawed as some wispy little British dandy produces a loaf of pumpernickel in the shape of a meticulously detailed scale model replica of St. Pauls Cathedral and sniffs, Sir Christopher Wren has always been a personal hero, and you think, Oi! I can do that! except your bake ends up denser than tungsten, horribly misshapen and so inedible that even the dog wont touch it.

Everyone thinks Russian is impossible because of the unfamiliar Cyrillic alphabet. It takes about a half-hour to learn the Cyrillic alphabet. Its the rest the labyrinthine grammar, the endless homonyms, the maddening battle to differentiate between hard and soft sounds that leaves you shrieking like the subject of an Edvard Munch painting and frantically ordering your computer phone to delete Duolingo. And rock-hard abs? Please. Were a nation of La-Z-Boy recliners and oozing orders of animal-style fries. There arent enough sit-ups in the universe to make a six pack out of us.

Its disheartening.

In our house, self-improvement took the form of the humble ukulele. Invented by the Portuguese and perfected by the Hawaiians, the uke has become my nemesis, my obsession, my tiny four-stringed white whale.

This was not my choice. I live in a musical household. My wife and daughter are both elementary school music teachers, and our eldest son is a former all-state tenor. They are the masterminds behind Team Ukulele.

My own musical experience is limited and fraught with failure. I played the cello in elementary school, an instrument chosen by my mother with my enthusiastic approval, because I thought she said oboe, and Sara Larsen played oboe, which meant I finally had something in common with Sara Larsen. Instead of sharing lingering cafeteria school luncheons of hot dogs and tater tots as Sara and I discussed the merits of soft versus medium soft reeds, I spent two years hauling around a hunk of maple roughly the size of New Hampshire and suffering the indignity of being the first and worst left-handed cellist in Meadow Drive Elementary School history. I hated that cello, and it hated me, and Im pretty sure Mr. Grande, our long-suffering music teacher, hated both of us.

Tuesday was cello private lesson day. I was the schools only cellist, so it was just Mr. Grande and me in the music room, my corduroyed knees gripping that awful hunk of maple, Mr. Grande pulling an ashtray and a pack of Winstons from a desk drawer, lighting up and exhaling after a deep drag, sighing, What do you have for me this week, Mr. McMurray? Id screech through Exercise in A or Le Petit Lievre while Mr. Grande stared into space and pondered his life choices. When I finally quit cello after 18 miserable months, I had not progressed past book one.

Ukulele will be different, my wife promised. Anybody can learn to play the ukulele. Even you.

We started with Christmas music. The plan is to establish a small but crowd-pleasing repertoire and wow our friends and loved ones by performing this December as a socially distanced ukulele caroling squad.

Sunday afternoons are practice time. Those first few practices were as tense as Jay-Z sharing an elevator with Solange. There was lots of anger. There was lots of yelling. All of it came from me.

While the rest of the family plinked merrily along, my stubby peasant fingers rebelled. I was Marty McFly at the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance, dizzy and sweating, my rebellious right hand playing havoc on the fingerboard, my family slowly disappearing before my eyes.

Marty got better. I didnt.

After weeks of effort, those stubby peasant digits finally began to obey. Callouses formed on my fingertips. I slid from C to F to G with the fluidity and grace of the marginally competent.

Thats when I learned about strumming.

There are a variety of ukulele strum patterns, the most common being the down, down up, up down up Island Strum. Rhythm and tempo are key to successful playing. Too fast or too slow, and it doesnt matter whether your fingers are creating the right chords the song will be unintelligible. Chords are the Cyrillic alphabet, rhythm and tempo the labyrinthine grammar. Expecting this cello class dropout to master rhythm and tempo is like hiring a rhesus macaque to pilot a Boeing 737. Things will happen. None of them will be good.

I wanted to quit. Youre getting better. Keep it up! my family encouraged. I kept playing. Forty-eight years ago, a stringed hunk of maple defeated me. I would not lose again. In the middle of a really bad day at work, I impulsively bought a nice wooden uke to replace the cheap plastic job Id been using. It features a stars and stripes motif. I feel like a Hawaiian Buck Owens.

Five months in, and the only song I can play with even a small degree of proficiency is Jos Felicianos Feliz Navidad. Its a good feeling, strumming away, wanting to wish you a merry Christmas, from the bottom of my heart. Ive tried adding other tunes, everything from The Cures Friday Im In Love to the Grateful Deads Ripple. I Am A Child Of God, a beloved church song, is also on my practice list.

They all sound like Feliz Navidad.

The 19th-century author Elizabeth Charles writes, The woods would be very silent if no birds sang there but those that sing best. I like being one of the birds who dont sing so well. Its liberating. And who doesnt need a little liberation these days?

Bake your terrible bread. Write your awful novel. Sing your wretched song. Do your crunches, even if youve got a plate of Double Stuf Oreos balanced on your chest the entire time. If the closest you come to conversational Russian is waving your arms and yelling, Moose and Squirrel! Moose and Squirrel! and expressing your affection for Fearless Leader, youre probably ready to be an undersecretary of state.

There are mediocre paintings to be painted, and recipes to be botched, and all sorts of instruments to be misplayed. Put down the remote, seal up the chip bag and get going.

Lets fill the woods with our songs. Even if they all sound like Feliz Navidad.

McMurray is a Houston businessman and a frequent contributor to Gray Matters.

Original post:
Cort McMurray: Bake that bread. Write that novel. Self-improvement is hard, but its liberating. - Houston Chronicle

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September 30th, 2020 at 1:50 am

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Pisces: Avoid getting into needless debates with others – The Bethel Citizen

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CELEBRITIES BORN ON THIS DAY: Lacey Chabert, 38; Marion Cotillard, 45; Jenna Elfman, 49; Fran Drescher, 63.

Happy Birthday: Look for lucrative ways to spend your time. Do something creative or serviceable from the comfort of your home to cover day-to-day expenses. Focus on saving for something you want to purchase or pursue. Walk away from no-win situations instead of letting them consume you mentally, physically and emotionally. Call the shots instead of letting someone else control your destiny. Your numbers are 7, 12, 24, 29, 37, 43, 47.

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Pay attention, but dont get involved in other peoples battles. Channel your energy into self-improvement, learning and a healthy lifestyle that will help you stay safe. Save your energy for personal gains, not fruitless battles. 3 stars

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Your changeable attitude will be confusing to those trying to understand what you want. Be careful when dealing with children or your lover; if you show uncertainty, it will cause friction and a loss of control. Be precise and dependable. 4 stars

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Dont be fooled by what others do or say. You are best to research and gather information from a direct source, not hearsay. Someone you have worked with will use emotional means to dismantle your reputation. Dont share personal information. 2 stars

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Take a moment to calm down. Anger will not help you solve a problem you encounter with someone opposing your lifestyle or habits. Use intelligence to outmaneuver anyone trying to change you or the way you live. 2 stars

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Put your energy into something that will help you earn more money. Hard work will keep you out of trouble and lead to financial gain. A confrontation with someone you live with will leave you in a vulnerable position. 3 stars

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Change begins with you. Consider the past, present and what you want to strive to achieve in the future. A healthy attitude, reliable information and the ability to bring about change will encourage better relationships and prosperity. 3 stars

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Listen attentively, and you will find a way to deal with unreasonable people. Be charming, and youll be able to motivate someone to see things your way. An energetic approach to love and being a team player will pay off. 3 stars

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Get more involved with social media, and youll connect with someone who stimulates your mind and opens your creative imagination. Expand your knowledge and skills, and youll develop a positive way to improve your life. 5 stars

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Problems will surface if you let an outsider interfere in your personal life. The less time you have to get into a debate, the easier it will be to avoid setbacks. Physical activity is favored. Romance is in the stars. 2 stars

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Uncertainty will stand between you and getting what you want. A change will be uplifting and encourage you to do things differently. Speak up and discuss your intentions with someone you can count on for practical advice. 4 stars

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Pay attention to your personal needs and relationships with others. What you do will be more meaningful than what you say. Dont feel you have to take part in someone elses plan when you have your own to fulfill. 3 stars

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): What you do to help others will lead to mixed emotions. Taking physical action and making things happen will far exceed getting into a debate with someone and accomplishing nothing. Stay focused and passionate, and forge ahead with enthusiasm. 3 stars

Birthday Baby: You are strong-willed, impulsive and opportunistic. You are imaginative and persuasive.

Visit Eugenialast.com, or join Eugenia on Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn.

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Pisces: Avoid getting into needless debates with others - The Bethel Citizen

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