Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Is it Really "About the Nail?" How to Fix and Validate Simultaneously


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You've likely seen the hilarious YouTube video about the wife with a nail in her forehead, telling her husband about the pressure and pain she constantly feels. He suggests that she get the nail removed and grows frustrated when she insists that "it's not about the nail," wanting him to validate her feelings instead of trying to fix her problem. It's a relatable struggle in a wonderfully ridiculous context.

Many couples get hung up on this dynamic (which is why the video is so popular), but what most fail to see is that validating and fixing are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they can be the same thing as long as the real issue is properly identified.  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Review: INTO THE WOODS at the Utah Shakespeare Festival


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As an examination of the dangerous pursuit of "happily-ever-after" and the sometimes-tragic consequences of getting what one wants, Stephen Sondheim's two-act musical Into the Woods (playing through August 30 at the Utah Shakespeare Festival) is a mixed bag of hit-or-miss comedy and drama. The first act is delightful, with a baker and his wife questing to undo a witch's curse of barrenness and, in the process, crossing paths with Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, and Jack (of the beanstalk fame). As each seeks their happy ending their tales are turned on their respective heads in clever and witty ways.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The REAL Reason God Loves You (and How it Can Help You to Love Yourself)


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Billions of people worldwide believe in God in some form or another. If you're not one of those people, then this article may not be for you (but you're more than welcome to join in!) One of the most universal doctrines is that God loves everyone. Sometimes people settle into the idea that "God loves everyone simply because He's God." To me, this is a lazy, impractical theology. If God just arbitrarily loves everyone, vaguely and collectively, then there's nothing special about any of us. We'd have every right to engage in self-pity or self-loathing regardless of divine affection.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Parent Movie Review- SAINTS AND SOLDIERS: THE VOID


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GRADE: B-

Like the tanks that figure so prominently in its plot, Saints and Soldiers: The Void lumbers along in need of a tuneup but nevertheless packs a wallop when it counts. The third film in writer-director Ryan Little's ongoing WWII series (each one a standalone story) features a black soldier battling both Nazi enemies and American prejudice at the close of the war.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

WHAT TO DO WHEN A FRIEND LOSES A LOVED ONE

Image: Ma Gali
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In 2005 one of my college buddies lost his mother to terminal illness. My heart broke for him: I was
close with my mom and struggled to comprehend what it would be like if she died. Although I wanted to be there for him, I found myself frozen into inaction, intimidated by the enormity of his loss. I felt inadequate in the face of it. Nothing I could say or do would take away the pain he was feeling. I didn't know what he was going through by experience and therefore felt that I had no place to give advice or comfort. So, to my shame, I did nothing, leaving the consoling to his closer friends and family while I sympathized from a distance.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

THE 'SEXY' CONSCIENCE: DEBUNKING THE MYTH OF THE 'BAD BOY' AND THE 'GIRL GONE WILD'

Image credit: Paramount Pictures
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Now, before you Grease fans get up in arms, let me say that I, too, am a fan. The musical is undeniably fun. I use this photo simply because the finale is such a well-known example of what has become a pervasive cultural belief: nice guys and good girls are boring, while bad boys and "girls gone wild" are sexy and exciting. Allow me to challenge this fun and frothy fiction with the potency of reality: there is nothing sexier than someone with a strong conscience.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Parent Movie Review: DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES


GRADE: A

Cinema reaches a new level of photo-realistic CGI in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, led by motion-capture maestro Andy Serkis (who also brought Gollum and King Kong to life). However, what elevates this film (as with its predecessor) is that these groundbreaking effects are used in the service of a well-written, well-acted story with rich characters and thought-provoking themes. As stunning and emotionally-engaging as the apes are, the human element is equally strong, save for the film's one weak link, a one-dimensional bigot whose actions trigger the central conflict. The action delivers the grand-scale requirements of a summer blockbuster and the production design, cinematography, and musical score earn high marks, but it's the film's brains and heart that'll stay with you after the credits roll.