This is a truly inspiring story of an incredibly valuable and promising public program that provides inmates the opportunity to earn a degree while incarcerated, but that’s not all it is. This is also a spirited defense of the Liberal Arts and I think it’s one that needs to be heard far and wide.
Donnell Hughes certainly had far more to overcome in earning his Liberal Arts degree than I did, but what he and I share is a profound appreciation for the important role that studying the Liberal Arts played in helping us to become well-rounded, engaged, and analytical thinkers. There are few things more valuable than pushing yourself out of your intellectual comfort zone and I for one am not at all surprised to hear that Donnell credits facing the challenges of studying the Liberal Arts with helping him to succeed both academically and personally.
Here’s hoping programs like this will continue to get the public funding they need and will serve as catalysts to reinvigorating America’s commitment to the Liberal Arts.
Today marks the 6th year in a row that I’ve had the good fortune to celebrate Thanksgiving in the UK. From a 20+ potluck feast to feed voracious grad students with a turkey affectionately dubbed Henrietta, to the best British family embracing the tradition even more eagerly than I ever could have anticipated, my Thanksgivings have been marked with all of the greatest aspects of the holiday.
I was thinking yesterday evening as I started to watch my favorite Friends Thanksgiving episode (the one where Rachel attempts a traditional English trifle) about what exactly it is that distinguishes a Thanksgiving celebration outside of the US from a traditional US-based one. Holidays of all types have become so intertwined with consumerism; The John Lewis Christmas advert, the Butterball hotline, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, to name but a few. So, to have the opportunity to celebrate the holiday and everything that it stands for (gratitude, kindness, family, great food) without any of the commercial noise, makes expat Thanksgivings truly special.
So, I’ll be thinking fondly of all of the football, parades, and turkey-themed pop culture going on back home (I love the parade as much as the next Yank, believe me) as I celebrate with the bunch of Brits who have kindly acquiesced to observe the cultural tradition I’m most proud of with me. But, I do hope that everyone is able to take a moment out from the over-stimulating holiday hype and remember that this is an occasion marked by the act of giving thanks for what you have and, so long as your celebration incorporates a bit of that spirit, I have no doubt that your Thanksgiving will be equally as special as mine.
It pretty much looks like 2014 is going to be an amazing year for movies. The TIFF line-up, which I only just delved into this past week, looks phenomenal. I’ve plucked out my top 5 most-anticipated features and included the appetite whetting trailers below.
This play is incredible and if the movie is even half as good, we’re in for a treat. Meryl looks to be 100% on form and my only concern is Ewan McGregor’s accent (he can’t do American, why in the name of all that is holy would you ask him to do Oklahoman?), but I’m willing to put that aside.
I’m definitely on the side of those morally opposed to the extreme weight loss lengths that Leto and McConaughey went to for this movie, but putting that judgy-judgement aside, this looks like it’s going to be a fantastic film. I’m not entirely convinced by the Jennifer Garner casting decision, but the boys’ Oscar-batey performances and the inspirational true-story outweigh that skepticism, so I’m on board.
I wasn’t actually a Sopranos fan, but this, the last project form the late James Gandolfini, looks genuine, funny and heart-warming, all things I tend to favor in my pop culture, over murder and mafias. Not to mention the fact that Julia Louis Dreyfus is an undeniable treat and I couldn’t be happier that she’s having a comedic career renaissance.
I was wary of this directorial debut from JGL initially, but this totally adorable trailer has sold me, not just on the movie, but on the idea that anything this hipster savant puts his signature on can’t help but be charming and delightful.
This one’s a bit of a cop-out because I really wanted to put Love Punch or The Right Kind of Wrong, but neither of them have trailers. I am still excited for this space-based, 3D star-splosion, it just wouldn’t necessarily have made the cut had the other two been legitimate contenders.
Bring on a winter/spring of over-salted popcorn, overpriced tickets, pick-and-mix sweets and far too many previews!
Inspired by the directive from a MoH to come up with a gift idea for a dear friend of mine that would ‘help her to be a good wife’ (barf), we created the above wearable homage. Because, nothing says fealty like Ron Swanson. Not to mention the fact that Nick Offerman’s totally on her list.
So, following the incredibly detailed and simple step-by-step guide on the Just Another Day in Paradise blog (using this striking image), we tackled this little feat of do-it-yourself craftmanship and ended up with two (count ‘em two) pretty freaking fantastic Ron Swanson fan shirts.
Needless to say, this little project made for one very happy hen:
From Jhud and Alicia’s patriotic refrains to Beyoncé’s undeniably awesome halftime show - complete with Destiny’s Child mini-reunion - the women of entertainment were out in force at this year’s superbowl.
In honor of Queen B’s triumphant spectacular and the lasting aura of female empowerment it left in its wake, I’ve been listening to this on repeat all day:
Then, there was my personal favorite female cameo of the Superbowl which, as an expat, I was begrudgingly only made aware of the day after, which is this little gem from funny lady Amy Poehler:
All in all, the hyper-masculine, homoerotic gladiator fest that is American Football was finally made its best self by these fabulous contributions from some of the world’s greatest women.