Books of The Times: In ‘Baby, I Don’t Care,’ Droll and Fierce Poems Influenced by Film Noir

The endlessly quotable pieces in Chelsey Minnis’s latest collection play with notions taken from Hollywood’s golden era.
NYT > Books

BOOK SALE UPDATE!

Barren Optimism: How My Photography Is Influenced by Andrew Wyeth’s Paintings

2015-08-20-1440105093-2552010-Sunflowers023WadingThroughLR.jpg
“Barren Optimism” Photo Credit: Heather Hummel Photography

I captured this self-portrait, titled “Wading Through,” at King Family Vineyards in rural Crozet, Virginia. When I asked the owner, James King, about the field’s status, he indicated that it had peaked two weeks earlier, on July 12th. He could not have known that was also my 50th birthday.

The next day, I ventured out to the field anyway. I passed a polo match, carrying my camera, lenses, filters, and tripod, and headed to the way-back corner of the property. When I turned the corner past the long fences, I liked what I saw. The sunflowers were mostly died off with just enough still hanging in there. The metaphor was strong. It set a different tone than the typical field of flowers–one that began a photo shoot that was inspired by my love for Andrew Wyeth’s work.

The sunflower scene brought the words “barren optimism” to mind, Andrew Wyeth’s “Christina’s World” being my inspiration.

Having studied Wyeth’s work some years ago, I knew that he and I shared a lot of commonalities beyond our mutual respect for hillsides and nature. We share the same birthday, July 12th (his 1917, mine 1965); he is one of five children, I am one of six; he had a medically challenged childhood that kept him home schooled, I was home most of my 3rd grade year due to a congenital heart defect that lead to my first open heart surgery in 1974; and one of his many muses was his dog who looked just like my own dog, Stephan.

It was Wyeth’s work “Master Bedroom” that became my favorite even before Stephan came into my life.
2015-08-20-1440104979-2308265-StephanScarf.jpg
“Stephan” Photo Credit: Heather Hummel Photography

Wyeth spent his years between his home in Pennsylvania and his summer home in Maine. I grew up in New England, but have traveled across the United States several times. We are both inspired by nature, and I find that his work rather barren with a hint of optimism, hence my term barren optimism.

As can happen with a muse or inspiration, I hadn’t realized how much Wyeth’s work had influenced my photography until I captured the sunflower field self-portrait. Wyeth remains a favorite, and during my future photo shoots, I will certainly have him in the back of my mind as I analyze the scene before me, the light, and the opportunity for barren optimism.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.




Arts – The Huffington Post
ENTERTAINMENT NEWS-Visit Adults Playland today for the hottest adult entertainment online!

How Kids’ Sleep Can Be Influenced by Digital Media

In 2014, the National Sleep Foundation found that most 15- to 17-year-olds routinely get seven hours or fewer hours of sleep, which is a good two hours less sleep than they need for a healthy life. The foundation also found that sleep quality was better among children who turned their digital devices off before bedtime than those who took their devices to bed. It would thus seem that there is a connection between screen time and sleep. Is this connection somatic (purely physical), psychosomatic (caused by the mind) or just mass hysteria brought about by digital ubiquity?

At a very basic level, time on a gadget during bedtime is time not spent in sleep; 6- to 10-year-old children with three technology types in their bedroom achieved 45 minutes less sleep than those without. It is only logical to believe that older children, with their more active social life, would spend more time on gadgets than the surveyed pre-tweens. Delayed bedtime or truncated total sleep time caused by “time displacement” by technology and media items in an adolescent’s bedroom has been reported to result in sleep deprivation, sleep-onset latency (SOL), sleep difficulties, night-time awakenings, and parasomnias.

Time displacement is augmented by biochemical effects of screen time as well. Adolescence is already associated with circadian (sleep) phase alterations, which along with social demands (early school timings etc.), can cause sleep deprivation. It is well-known that light also affects the circadian rhythm. Light suppresses melatonin, the sleep-promoting hormone, and recent studies have found that backlight from gadgets (particularly tablets set to full brightness) can cause statistically significant melatonin suppression after just two hours of exposure. The dose, exposure duration, timing and wavelength of light play important roles in sleep patterns. Suppression of melatonin secretion and alterations of sleep rhythms are more sensitive to short-wavelength light (blue) than mid- (green) or long-wavelength (red) light especially at at the brightness at which gadgets typically work.

Longer screen time is also linked to eating disorders and higher calorie intake. Longer media hours have been found to be associated with consumption of more soft drinks and junk food. There is also strong evidence for a direct connection between screen-based sedentary behavior and weight, particularly when screen time exceeds two hours. How is this related to sleep? A 20-year review of obesity-associated diseases among children aged 6 to 17 conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concluded that obesity in children is a reason for increased incidence of sleep apnea that leads to sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation in turn leads to more obesity in a vicious cycle that can effectively be traced back to extensive media use.

The psychological and physiological unrest caused by media and social interaction may also interfere with the ability to fall and stay asleep. Technostress and ICT or information and communication technology stress, the state of mental and physiological arousal observed in persons who are heavily dependent on computers, gadgets and e-games, are now pervasive maladies. Studies have shown that the stress due to excessive technology use is related to sleep disturbances. Researchers at the University of Gothenburg studied the habits of more than 4,100 Swedish men and women, aged between 20 and 24, and found that those who constantly use a computer or their mobile phone can develop stress, sleeping disorders and depression. Sleeping disorders and depression are connected by a common chemical — melatonin and we already know that blue light of the screen can disrupt melatonin in the body, leading not only to sleep deprivation, but also depression. Like obesity and sleep deficit, depression and sleep problems form a vicious cycle, one feeding the other in a downward spiral.

No correlation study can be complete without awareness of possible pitfalls of association. For example, the observed connection between sleep deprivation and technology use may not point to a causal impact of screen time on sleep outcomes. There is a high possibility that the reverse is true because youth who need less sleep or have sleeping disorders may spend more time with technology, either as a coping mechanism or just to pass time. Another possible source of error in such correlation studies is that they are largely based on self-reported or parental reported data of screen exposure and the outcome variables. Such reports could be highly opinionated and are often not validated against an objective standard. Teenagers, for example, can overestimate or underestimate their total sleep time/problems vis-a-vis screen time due to ignorance, peer pressure and even denial. Measurement errors and inconsistencies could also lead to faulty associations.

Like breathing, eating and drinking, sleeping is a life-sustaining activity, and anything that adversely affects it must be dealt with before damage becomes irreversible. However, it is regressive to believe that technology itself must be ousted because of sleep problems, much like advocating that breathing is dangerous because of air pollution. Logical moderation is the key to living. There is clearly a dose-response relationship between screen time and sleep and a threshold for screen-based recreation. For example, the risk of sleep problems was found to increase two-fold in adolescent girls engaging in screen-based activities for four or more hours per day. So, is four hours the magic number? Can the limit be generalized for an entire population? Obviously not. The threshold must eventually be set by every individual based on their own nature and needs.

Co-authored by Lakshmi, a Mobicip blogger who is just as passionately opinionated about the juxtaposition of technology, parenting, and education. Mobicip is a provider of powerful parental controls for the Apple iPad and other mobile internet connected devices.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

How Wu-Tang Clan Influenced ‘Mockingjay’s’ Mahershala Ali

“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” is the year’s most political blockbuster — the film is literally about the propaganda campaigns waged by two governments during wartime — so of course it should have a connection to “House of Cards.” Mahershala Ali, best known as Remy Danton on the hit Netflix series, plays Commander Boggs in the two-part “Hunger Games” finale, District 13 warrior and de facto bodyguard for Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence). HuffPost Entertainment spoke to the 40-year-old Ali about his career thus far, what he learned from the incredible “Mockingjay” cast and the music that inspired Boggs and Remy.

mahershala ali

There’s a scene early on in the film where you, Jennifer Lawrence, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson and Jeffrey Wright just sit around a table and discuss Katniss’ performance in a propaganda video. Not the typical sequence you might see in a YA movie.
Usually I want to have a lot to say and be a little more present, but I really enjoyed being able to sit back and watch these wonderful people work in that scene. I think I’ve been fortunate enough now to be working professionally for 15 years. It has been a good journey. But I know my approach is so different. I approach things from my feeling first. I have to get a feel for the character. I’ll do that through music, I’ll do it through what is naturally popping up for me when I read the script. My ideas or whatever the occupation of the character might be. Maybe they do all of that too, but it was amazing to see people pick apart all these little details that otherwise I might just brush over. It was just the depth at which they approached the work that was inspiring to me. For me, it was a bit of an education. It’s something I feel like I will carry with me moving forward.

What kind of music did you pick for Boggs?
With the time thing being complicated [“Mockingjay” is set in the future], I wanted to find something that captured the feeling of what was going on. There’s this Method Man album called “Tical.” It’s his first album. I would just listen to that every day, because the album feels like if it were a film it would be black and white. It feels like there’s a war percolating throughout the album itself. It’s dark and it has a nice forward pace to it. There’s another, too, by Wu-Tang Clan called “Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).” I listened to that too. I was thinking about the fact that they exist in the future and what would maybe speak to a character who maybe has an appreciation of something in the past.

What music inspires you for Remy?
So with Remy I listen to a lot of Jay Z. Specifically because I placed Remy being from New York and having come up through a certain trajectory. I always felt that Jay Z, if he had a different upbringing, could be on Wall Street or in politics. If you really listen to Jay Z talk, he’s kind of the smartest guy in the room. I saw this documentary he did years ago called “Fade to Black.” I was always a Jay Z fan — I liked Jay Z — but after I saw that documentary, I loved Jay Z. I realized how intelligent he was. For Remy, I have two different playlists. One has stuff that kind of moves, because he has to be confident but bordered on arrogant. Then I have the ladies’ man Remy mix. For the scenes with Jackie Sharp. That puts me in that zone. I have a lot of Jay Z on there. I have a lot of Nas on there. I have a lot of ’90s and early ’00s hip-hop. Then there’s also some very mature stuff sprinkled in there, like D’Angelo.

I like Remy …
I really like Remy! But often I meet people who are like, “He’s a bad guy!” No, they’re all crazy! Within that world, he’s not a bad guy!

How do you balance being confident with being arrogant?
I have a lot of help from [creator] Beau Willimon. He does such a great job of setting the stage and giving you a framework to work within. I think you just kind of feel what is too much. I work off of feeling. I can’t get too heady as an actor. I don’t enjoy it. I almost quit grad school: I was going to NYU Tish and I almost dropped out because I tried to work how other people were working. I was like, “That’s what you’re supposed to do. You’re supposed to read every book under the sun about being a cobbler if you’re going to be a cobbler.” I didn’t enjoy it. So going back to feel, we all have our little tuning forks. You have to trust and find that zone where it snaps and it just speaks to you. Sometimes you make mistakes, and sometimes there’s stuff I see where I can’t watch myself because I don’t love the work. But I just try to listen. If I calm down and allow myself to get out of the way of the work, then it tends to tell me what that character needs.

So, what made you stick with acting during grad school?
I was seriously going to go. It was a three-year program. Toward the end of my second year, I thought I would go home and work on these boats as a deck hand in San Francisco. I was going to save up money and go to Italy for a few weeks. I don’t know why, I had Italy in mind. I wanted to go on a pilgrimage somewhere and then decide if I was going to come back. This beautiful gentleman, this really wonderful brother named Kenneth Washington who ran a program called A Guthrie Experience in Minneapolis. It was like a super grad program where they plucked students from Yale and Juilliard and other schools. I didn’t audition for it because I didn’t think I would get in. I was like a little burnt out. He came to me and was like, “Mahershala, why aren’t you auditioning for this?” He said he would give me a spot if I came. So I went to the Guthrie that summer, and it made all the difference in the world. I came back for my third year with the confidence that I needed to have a good last year of school. Ever since, I’ve been working. That was the difference: Ken Washington.

Did you ever make it to Italy?
I haven’t made it to Italy. I’m waiting for a job to take me to Italy.
Arts – The Huffington Post
ENTERTAINMENT NEWS-Visit Adults Playland today for the hottest adult entertainment online!