GET /freshly-pressed/

List Freshly Pressed Posts

Resource URL

Type URL and Format
GET https://public-api.wordpress.com/rest/v1/freshly-pressed/

Query Parameters

Parameter Type Description
http_envelope (bool)
false:
(default)
true:
Some environments (like in-browser Javascript or Flash) block or divert responses with a non-200 HTTP status code. Setting this parameter will force the HTTP status code to always be 200. The JSON response is wrapped in an "envelope" containing the "real" HTTP status code and headers.
pretty (bool)
false:
(default)
true:
Output pretty JSON
meta (string) Optional. Loads data from the endpoints found in the 'meta' part of the response. Comma separated list. Example: meta=site,likes
callback (string) An optional JSONP callback function.
number (int) The number of posts to return. Default: 10. Limit: 40. Default: 10.
after (iso 8601 datetime) Return posts picked on or after the specified datetime.
before (iso 8601 datetime) Return posts picked on or before the specified datetime.
content_width (int) When in context=display, images/embeds in post content will be set to the desired maximum width. Default: 480.
thumb_width (int) Desired width of thumbnail images, in pixels. Default: 252.
thumb_height (int) Desired height of thumbnail images, in pixels. Default: 160.

Response Parameters

Parameter Type Description
ID (int) The post ID.
site_ID (int) The site ID.
author (object) The author of the post.
date (iso 8601 datetime) The post's creation time.
modified (iso 8601 datetime) The post's most recent update time.
title (html) context dependent.
URL (url) The full permalink URL to the post.
short_URL (url) The wp.me short URL.
content (html) context dependent.
excerpt (html) context dependent.
slug (string) The name (slug) for the post, used in URLs.
guid (string) The GUID for the post.
status (string)
publish:
The post is published.
draft:
The post is saved as a draft.
pending:
The post is pending editorial approval.
future:
The post is scheduled for future publishing.
trash:
The post is in the trash.
password (string) The plaintext password protecting the post, or, more likely, the empty string if the post is not password protected.
parent (object|false) A reference to the post's parent, if it has one.
type (string) The post's post_type. Post types besides post and page need to be whitelisted using the rest_api_allowed_post_types filter.
comments_open (bool) Is the post open for comments?
pings_open (bool) Is the post open for pingbacks, trackbacks?
comment_count (int) The number of comments for this post.
like_count (int) The number of likes for this post.
i_like (bool) Does the current user like this post?
is_reblogged (bool) Did the current user reblog this post?
is_following (bool) Is the current user following this blog?
global_ID (string) A unique WordPress.com-wide representation of a post.
featured_image (url) The URL to the featured image for this post if it has one.
format (string)
standard:
Standard
aside:
Aside
chat:
Chat
gallery:
Gallery
link:
Link
image:
Image
quote:
Quote
status:
Status
video:
Video
audio:
Audio
geo (object|false)
publicize_URLs (array) Array of Twitter and Facebook URLs published by this post.
tags (object) Hash of tags (keyed by tag name) applied to the post.
categories (object) Hash of categories (keyed by category name) applied to the post.
attachments (object) Hash of post attachments (keyed by attachment ID).
metadata (array) Array of post metadata keys and values. All unprotected meta keys are available by default for read requests. Both unprotected and protected meta keys are available for authenticated requests with access. Protected meta keys can be made available with the rest_api_allowed_public_metadata filter.
meta (object) API result meta data
date_range (object) date range covered by current results.
number (int) The number of posts brought back by current query.
posts (array) An array of post objects, with added Freshly Pressed info, in the editorial property for each post.

Example

cURL

curl 'https://public-api.wordpress.com/rest/v1/freshly-pressed/?pretty=1'

PHP

<?php

$options  = array (
  'http' => 
  array (
    'ignore_errors' => true,
  ),
);

$context  = stream_context_create( $options );
$response = file_get_contents(
  'https://public-api.wordpress.com/rest/v1/freshly-pressed/?pretty=1',
  false,
  $context
);
$response = json_decode( $response );

?>

Response Body

{
    "date_range": {
        "newest": "2014-04-18T20:02:02+00:00",
        "oldest": "2014-04-17T19:02:02+00:00"
    },
    "number": 10,
    "posts": [
        {
            "ID": 14120,
            "site_ID": 2158018,
            "author": {
                "ID": 2235655,
                "email": false,
                "name": "bellacaledonia",
                "nice_name": "bellacaledonia",
                "URL": "",
                "avatar_URL": "https:\/\/2.gravatar.com\/avatar\/230952e99dcd1997d5f1a69ecd7f94f8?s=96&d=identicon&r=G",
                "profile_URL": "http:\/\/en.gravatar.com\/bellacaledonia",
                "site_ID": 2158018
            },
            "date": "2014-04-03T19:47:05+00:00",
            "modified": "2014-04-03T19:48:59+00:00",
            "title": "I am a Nationalist",
            "URL": "http:\/\/bellacaledonia.org.uk\/2014\/04\/03\/i-am-a-nationalist\/",
            "short_URL": "http:\/\/wp.me\/p93oK-3FK",
            "content": "<p><a href=\"http:\/\/bellacaledonia.files.wordpress.com\/2013\/07\/yes-scotland-large-1.jpg\"><img class=\"aligncenter size-full wp-image-11075\" src=\"https:\/\/bellacaledonia.files.wordpress.com\/2013\/07\/yes-scotland-large-1.jpg?w=480\" alt=\"Pic Bill FlemingPic shows  Yes Scotland supporters in St Andrew Square, Edinburgh\"   \/><\/a><br \/>\nBy David Morgan<\/p>\n<p>There you go \u2013 I\u2019ve said it. I subscribe to a political philosophy that (in the context of the Scottish Independence debate at least) dare not speak its name. The very word itself has become a term of almost universal opprobrium. Whether it\u2019s Scot Nats, Cybernats or Brit Nats the very word \u2018nationalist\u2019 has become a meaningless playground insult intended to deny standing to whoever it is aimed at.<\/p>\n<p>The force of that opprobrium is such that most people who I know feel the need to preface any statement in support of independence with the comment \u2018I\u2019m not a nationalist, but\u2026\u2019. Now anyone who has had a basic introduction to the field of Neuro-Linguistic Programming can tell you that the moment you insert the word \u2018but\u2019 into a sentence it completely negates everything that precedes it. To say \u2018I\u2019m not a nationalist, but\u2026\u2019 is simply to say \u2018I\u2019m a nationalist\u2019.<\/p>\n<p>And it\u2019s not just on the pro-independence side that we can find such linguistic confusion. One of the favourite refrains that I\u2019m sure we all hear regularly is \u2018I\u2019m not a nationalist, I\u2019m an internationalist\u2019. It\u2019s an oxymoronic statement that ignores the simple fact that the very word \u2018international\u2019 means \u2018between nations\u2019. By its very definition it\u2019s impossible to be an internationalist without recognising that different nations exist and that, presumably, one respects the differences between those nations.<\/p>\n<p>So why the near universal rush for everyone to disassociate themselves from nationalism? The obvious and simple reason is because in the UK we have been indoctrinated into believing that nationalism is simply a synonym for fascism. Presumably this is why Johann Lamont feels perfectly comfortable making statements such as:<\/p>\n<p>\u2018Yes, conference, the next year is about defeating the politics of nationalism \u2013 a virus that has infected so many nations and done so much harm. An ideology that never achieved anything.\u2019<\/p>\n<p>I don\u2019t doubt the sincerity of Lamont\u2019s beliefs so let\u2019s start by identifying the areas where I agree.<\/p>\n<p>I agree that nationalism is an extremely dangerous idea. Put simply nationalism is the extremely dangerous idea that countries should be governed according to the democratically expressed wishes of their citizens and not in the interests of a miniscule power elite.<\/p>\n<p>If you want to know how dangerous an idea nationalism is then simply consider the fact that if I were writing this article 200 years ago then I, and anyone who helped published this piece, would have been subject to arrest, tried for sedition and almost certainly sentenced to transportation to Australia. That was the exact fate that befell many of those 19th century radicals who represented the closest thing that Britain has ever had to its own nationalist movement. They include the Scottish lawyer Thomas Muir and the other members of the Friends of the People, and movements such as the United Irishmen, United Scotsmen and United Englishmen.<\/p>\n<p>Now don\u2019t get me wrong \u2013 it took quite some time for me to come round to thinking of myself as a nationalist. Like most people I had come to unquestioningly accept the received wisdom that says that nationalism is a regressive force. The turning point for me came a few years ago when I was talking politics with my German partner. I made some flippant, offhand remark about German nationalism having paved the way for the rise of Hitler. She simply looked at me with a bit of a pitying expression on her face and replied \u2018You do know that in Germany the nationalists were the people who were fighting to establish the first ever German democracy don\u2019t you?\u2019<\/p>\n<p>That one statement sparked the realisation that I actually had almost no knowledge or understanding of what nationalism really is or how it had come to exist. And so I went away and started doing my homework.<\/p>\n<p>It turns out that we can answer that question pretty easily \u2013 the American Revolution is the genesis of nationalism as a political movement. Driven by the writings of radicals such as Tom Paine, the American Revolution was the first stand against the monarchical rule that had dominated Europe for millennia. The American revolutionaries looked back to an era before Europe was ruled by petty tyrants and modeled their system of democratic government on the Greek and Roman republics of classical antiquity.<\/p>\n<p>The American revolutionaries brought together numerous strands of political thought that had developed across Europe and that made their way across the Atlantic as radicals and authors headed west seeking an escape from oppression or censorship at home. The success of the revolution placed the United States in the vanguard of history, influencing the whole of world politics down to the present day. It became a catalyst that encouraged nationalist ideals to spread like wildfire (or like a virus you might say).<\/p>\n<p>The French Revolution followed hard on the heels of the American Revolution. From there the idea migrated back across the Atlantic again where it inspired the Black Jacobin movement in the Caribbean. General Toussaint Louverture led a slave uprising which successfully brought about the emancipation of slaves and which would eventually establish Haiti as the world\u2019s first ever black-led republic and only the second republic in the Western hemisphere (after the United States).<\/p>\n<p>From Haiti the baton passed to South America, where Sim\u00f3n Bol\u00edvar led the revolution that liberated large swathes of the continent from Spanish Imperial rule. Almost every country that now exists in the whole of the Americas owes its existence either to a nationalist revolution in the 19th century, or to a nationalist movement in the 20th century.<\/p>\n<p>Next up came the European Revolutions of 1848. In France the Emperor Louis Philippe was toppled and the Second Republic emerged. In what we now call Germany the nationalist movement attempted to unify the numerous small kingdoms that had been left scattered by the end of the Holy Roman Empire. A parliament was created in Frankfurt \u2013 the first institution to fly the red, black and gold flag of the German republic. It was also the last to do so until the creation of the Weimar Republic in 1919. In Hungary the people rose up against the Hapsburg Empire and attempted to win their independence from Austria. They were defeated after Russia started preparations to invade Hungary with 30,000 troops to crush the rebellion and ensure that Hapsburg rule was maintained.<\/p>\n<p>The revolutions of 1848 failed to bring about permanent democratic change, and so the Imperial powers of Europe continued lumbering along until eventually they began to collapse in the conflagration of World War One. The First World War was the beginning of the end for the old imperialist world order, and the Second World War put the final nail in that particular coffin.<\/p>\n<p>From 1945 onwards post-colonial liberation movements around the world set out on an irreversible journey towards winning their independence from the European powers. If you believe that nationalism is \u2018an ideology that never achieved anything\u2019 then I suggest that you try explaining that to people in India, or Kenya or anywhere else across South Asia, South East Asia or most of Africa. I suggest you try explaining it to the Kurds \u2013 a people who have been imprisoned, tortured and in some cases ethnically cleansed across four different countries during their struggle to win rights to their own self-determination. Explain it to those who have died on the streets of Egypt and Syria over the last few years as they attempt to overthrow the rule of dictators. If you doubt the achievements of nationalism then simply ask yourself what the \u2018N\u2019 in \u2018A.N.C.\u2019 stands for.<\/p>\n<p>Robin McAlpine of the Jimmy Reid Foundation puts all of this quite brilliantly:<\/p>\n<blockquote><p>\u2018One of the things which it\u2019s become normal to say is \u2018I\u2019m not a nationalist, but\u2026\u2019 and the question that I ask in return is \u2018So what are you? Do you support a Kingdom, an Empire, Theocracy, Fascism, Anarcho-syndicalism? Which mode of organising the whole of society is it that you favour?\u2019<\/p><\/blockquote>\n<p>&nbsp;<\/p>\n<p><span class='embed-youtube' style='text-align:center; display: block;'><\/iframe><\/span><\/p>\n<p>So how did we wind up in the position where nationalism seems to be one of the most reviled political stances in Scotland? In my experience a great many people who wish to disassociate themselves from the concept do so from a broadly Marxist viewpoint \u2013 hence the constant refrain that Scotland\u2019s independence will be an abandonment of working people in the rest of the UK. And yet Marx and Engels were perfectly willing to align themselves with nationalist (or as they viewed it \u2018Bourgeois\u2019) revolutions as a means of accelerating the journey towards workers revolution. Indeed the very last page of the Communist Manifesto proclaims their support for the German Revolution of 1848 for precisely that reason.<\/p>\n<p>Another of the favourite reference points for those who describe themselves as \u2018internationalists\u2019 is George Orwell\u2019s Notes on Nationalism. And yet the very first thing that Orwell says in that essay is that:<\/p>\n<blockquote><p>\u2018\u2026 there is a habit of mind which is now so widespread that it affects our thinking on nearly every subject, but which has not yet been given a name. As the nearest existing equivalent I have chosen the word \u2018nationalism\u2019, but it will be seen in a moment that I am not using it in quite the ordinary sense, if only because the emotion I am speaking about does not always attach itself to what is called a nation \u2014 that is, a single race or a geographical area. It can attach itself to a church or a class, or it may work in a merely negative sense, against something or other and without the need for any positive object of loyalty.\u2019<\/p><\/blockquote>\n<p>He makes it very clear that what he is trying to criticise is not nationalism in the sense in which existed as a historical movement in the 19th century, but rather any form of blind adherence to a supposed set of values whether they be religious or political. In 1945 Orwell didn\u2019t have a word that would suitably encapsulate the concept that he was trying to describe, but we do \u2013 ever since 1979 we have referred to such tendencies as \u2018fundamentalism\u2019. Yes \u2013 Orwell does make criticisms of Irish and Scottish nationalism in that essay. And in the very next sentence he goes on to make the very same criticisms of British nationalism, a concept that at that point in time had scarcely even been articulated.<\/p>\n<p>The thing that worries me at the moment is that a great many people who are campaigning for the preservation of the Union seem to have their concepts confused. Many in the Labour movement scarcely seem to recognise that the whole of socialism essentially grew as an extension of the nationalist struggles of the 18th and 19th centuries. Instead what we continually hear about is their \u2018patriotism\u2019, how proud they are to be Scottish.<\/p>\n<p>I\u2019m not proud to be Scottish. Why on earth should I consider myself to be better than anyone else on this planet just because I happen to have been born on one or the other side of an imaginary line across the landscape? Yes, there are a great many people who happen to share that accident of birth with me who have gone on to achieve great things. At the same time, however, there also are a great many people from my country who have been responsible for massive injustices around the globe.<\/p>\n<p>For me the source of the confusion stems from Orwell\u2019s classification of \u2018nationalism\u2019 as an aggressive, expansionist force whilst he views \u2018patriotism\u2019 as an essentially defensive, protective mechanism.<\/p>\n<p>I adhere to the view that patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel. It is nothing more than a blind, unquestioning faith that those in authority must be correct because they have draped themselves in a flag, or because they can lay claim to some god-given right to rule. Nationalism, on the other hand, questions authority and insists that society should be governed on a democratic basis.<\/p>\n<p>Yes \u2013 I am a nationalist. But I will never be a patriot.<\/p>\n",
            "excerpt": "<p>By David Morgan There you go \u2013 I\u2019ve said it. I subscribe to a political philosophy that (in the context of the Scottish Independence debate at least) dare not speak its name. The very word itself has become a term &hellip; <a href=\"http:\/\/bellacaledonia.org.uk\/2014\/04\/03\/i-am-a-nationalist\/\">Continue reading <span class=\"meta-nav\">&rarr;<\/span><\/a><\/p>\n",
            "slug": "i-am-a-nationalist",
            "guid": "http:\/\/bellacaledonia.org.uk\/?p=14120",
            "status": "publish",
            "password": "",
            "parent": false,
            "type": "post",
            "comments_open": true,
            "pings_open": true,
            "comment_count": 72,
            "like_count": 62,
            "i_like": 0,
            "is_reblogged": 0,
            "is_following": 0,
            "global_ID": "c3fcd0e46d853d83cb7184f43574603f",
            "featured_image": "http:\/\/bellacaledonia.files.wordpress.com\/2013\/07\/yes-scotland-large-1.jpg",
            "format": "standard",
            "geo": false,
            "publicize_URLs": [

            ],
            "tags": {
                "Scottish Independence": {
                    "ID": 513943,
                    "name": "Scottish Independence",
                    "slug": "scottish-independence",
                    "description": "",
                    "post_count": 55,
                    "meta": {
                        "links": {
                            "self": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/2158018\/tags\/slug:scottish-independence",
                            "help": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/2158018\/tags\/slug:scottish-independence\/help",
                            "site": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/2158018"
                        }
                    }
                }
            },
            "categories": {
                "Commentary": {
                    "ID": 271,
                    "name": "Commentary",
                    "slug": "commentary",
                    "description": "",
                    "post_count": 456,
                    "parent": 0,
                    "meta": {
                        "links": {
                            "self": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/2158018\/categories\/slug:commentary",
                            "help": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/2158018\/categories\/slug:commentary\/help",
                            "site": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/2158018"
                        }
                    }
                }
            },
            "attachments": {

            },
            "metadata": [
                {
                    "id": "44716",
                    "key": "_thumbnail_id",
                    "value": "11075"
                }
            ],
            "meta": {
                "links": {
                    "self": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/2158018\/posts\/14120",
                    "help": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/2158018\/posts\/14120\/help",
                    "site": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/2158018",
                    "replies": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/2158018\/posts\/14120\/replies\/",
                    "likes": "https:\/\/public-api.wordpress.com\/rest\/v1\/sites\/2158018\/posts\/14120\/likes\/"
                }
            },
            "featured_media": {

            },
            "pseudo_ID": "c3fcd0e46d853d83cb7184f43574603f",
            "is_external": false,
            "site_name": "",
            "site_URL": "http:\/\/bellacaledonia.wordpress.com",
            "site_is_private": false,
            "editorial": {
                "blog_id": "2158018",
                "post_id": "14120",
                "image": "https:\/\/s2.wp.com\/imgpress?crop=0px%2C0px%2C252px%2C160px&url=https%3A%2F%2Fs2.wp.com%2Fimgpress%3Fw%3D252%26url%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fbellacaledonia.files.wordpress.com%252F2013%252F07%252Fyes-scotland-large-1.jpg&unsharpmask=80,0.5,3",
                "custom_headline": "",
                "custom_blog_title": "Bella Caledonia",
                "displayed_on": "2014-04-18T20:02:02+00:00",
                "picked_on": "1970-01-01T00:33:34+00:00",
                "highlight_topic": "wplongform",
                "highlight_topic_title": "WPlongform",
                "screen_offset": "0",
                "blog_name": "bellacaledonia",
                "site_id": "1"
            }
        },
        {
            "ID": 6801,
            "site_ID": 22014950,
            "author": {
                "ID": 22498705,
                "email": false,
                "name": "susielindau",
                "nice_name": "susielindau",
                "URL": "http:\/\/susielindau.com",
                "avatar_URL": "https:\/\/2.gravatar.com\/avatar\/e3ef513be830cc2205dead0109dd63ee?s=96&d=identicon&r=G",
                "profile_URL": "http:\/\/en.gravatar.com\/susielindau",
                "site_ID": 22014950
            },
            "date": "2014-04-15T06:00:43-06:00",
            "modified": "2014-04-18T19:49:05-06:00",
            "title": "An Open Letter to My Boobs",
            "URL": "http:\/\/susielindau.com\/2014\/04\/15\/an-open-letter-to-my-boobs\/",
            "short_URL": "http:\/\/wp.me\/p1un5Q-1LH",
            "content": "<p>Dear Bionic Boobs,<\/p>\n<p>I know you&#8217;ve been adjusting to your new digs since the reconstruction surgery seven months ago. I&#8217;ve protected you from wild elbows, supported you with a bra, and exercised you by smooshing you girls together. <a href=\"http:\/\/susielindau.com\/2013\/09\/19\/the-boob-report-buns-up\/\">(Doctor&#8217;s orders.)<\/a> You seem happy enough and pretty perky.<\/p>\n<p>I do have some concerns.<\/p>\n<p>One night, I looked down and you had wandered off to the sides of my chest. You left four inches between you two. I almost had a heart attack. I thought I&#8217;d torn something while vacuuming. \u00a0As you know, I&#8217;ve started wearing a sport&#8217;s bra to bed to corral you at night, so I don&#8217;t wake up and freak out. \u00a0I wish you girls would\u00a0stick together.<\/p>\n<p>Although you&#8217;re shaped like hamburger buns and aren&#8217;t huge by any means, you weigh more than my old boobs. In fact, you&#8217;re a little on the hefty side. The doctor suggested some exercises to build muscles in my back to keep from hunching over.<\/p>\n<p>I thought I&#8217;d never need to wear a bra again, but apparently some of your sisters have sagged. I&#8217;ve been instructed to wear one when I&#8217;m active. Bummer.\u00a0You&#8217;re a little wrinkly when you&#8217;re just hanging out, but I refuse to get a fat transfer. You&#8217;ll have to get used to that.<\/p>\n<p>You look totally fake and I&#8217;m sure some people will stare and roll their eyes this summer. They&#8217;ll think I had a boob job. I can always wear this t-shirt.<\/p>\n<p><a href=\"http:\/\/susielindau.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/04\/yes_theyre_fake_breast_cancer_womens_tank_top.jpg\"><img class=\"aligncenter size-full wp-image-6808\" src=\"https:\/\/susielindau.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/04\/yes_theyre_fake_breast_cancer_womens_tank_top.jpg?w=480\" alt=\"yes_theyre_fake_breast_cancer_womens_tank_top\"   \/><\/a><\/p>\n<p>&nbsp;<\/p>\n<p>I have noticed some very positive attributes since your arrival.<\/p>\n<p>During ski season, your sacks of silicone acted like hot water bottles and kept me warm. I don&#8217;t know how that will translate during the summer. I plan to open the freezer door in the grocery store to cool you down before hitting the hot asphalt parking lot. You may work like refrigeration units!<\/p>\n<p>My doctor informed me I wouldn&#8217;t play tennis like before my <a href=\"http:\/\/susielindau.com\/2013\/05\/18\/the-boob-report-roadblocks-and-u-turns\/\">double mastectomy<\/a>, but since I&#8217;ve been back, I&#8217;ve played better. It must be the new ballast your weight provides when using centrifugal force as I swing through the ball. You seem to put more velocity into every shot.<\/p>\n<p>When wearing a bra, you do rise to the occasion and give me pretty nice cleavage. I can&#8217;t complain about that!<\/p>\n<p>I&#8217;m sure we are still adapting to this new arrangement. You probably don&#8217;t like it when I roll onto my stomach. I felt a twinge of pain the last time. It gives me hope my nerves are waking up and you girls won&#8217;t continue to be numb.<\/p>\n<p>I may never get used to the constant feeling of plastic sacks under my pectoral muscles, but I&#8217;m glad I opted for reconstruction. Even though you&#8217;re not what I expected, you&#8217;re growing on me.<\/p>\n<p>Sincerely,<br \/>\nYour Host,<br \/>\nSusie Lindau<\/p>\n<p>&nbsp;<\/p>\n<p>Click <strong><a href=\"http:\/\/susielindau.com\/2013\/05\/18\/the-boob-report-roadblocks-and-u-turns\/\">HERE<\/a> <\/strong>for first Boob Report in the series.<\/p>\n<p><em>Thanks to Darla from <a href=\"http:\/\/shesamaineiac.com\/2013\/11\/08\/an-open-letter-to-an-open-letter\/\">She&#8217;s a Maineiac<\/a> for the Open Letter idea.\u00a0<\/em><\/p>\n<p><em>The t-shirt is from <a href=\"http:\/\/www.cafepress.com\/mf\/57554380\/yes-theyre-fake-breast-cancer_tank-top?productId=556969284\">Cafe Press<\/a><\/em><\/p>\n",
            "excerpt": "<p>Dear Bionic Boobs, I know you&#8217;ve been adjusting to your new digs since the reconstruction surgery seven months ago. I&#8217;ve protected you from wild elbows, supported you with a bra, and exercised you by smooshing you girls together. (Doctor&#8217;s orders.) &hellip; <a href=\"http:\/\/susielindau.com\/2014\/04\/15\/an-open-letter-to-my-boobs\/\">Continue reading <span class=\"meta-nav\">&rarr;<\/span><\/a><\/p>\n",
            "slug": "an-open-letter-to-my-boobs",
            "guid": "http:\/\/susielindau.com\/?p=6801",
            "status": "publish",
            "password": "",
            "parent": false,
            "type": "post",
            "comments_open": true,
            "pings_open": true,
            "comment_count": 191,
            "like_count": 234,
            "i_like": 0,
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In retrospect, though, I&#8217;ve realized that much of my television diet over the last year has consisted of shows that gain much of their narrative power from bloodshed or sex. <a title=\"How I learned to love The Vampire Diaries\" href=\"http:\/\/nevalalee.wordpress.com\/2013\/07\/16\/how-i-learned-to-love-the-vampire-diaries\/\"><em>The Vampire Diaries<\/em><\/a>, which probably has the highest body count of them all, likes\u00a0to treat\u00a0a broken\u00a0neck or a beheading as\u00a0a punchline, and even shows like <a title=\"Swimming with sharks on House of Cards\" href=\"http:\/\/nevalalee.wordpress.com\/2013\/02\/04\/swimming-with-sharks-onhouse-of-cards\/\"><em>House of Cards<\/em><\/a> and <em>Orange is the New Black<\/em>, where violence is doled out more sparingly, lean heavily on other kinds of graphic imagery. These are all good shows\u2014well, maybe not <em>House of Cards<\/em>\u2014and I&#8217;ve enjoyed watching them all. But it makes me all the more grateful for a show like <em>Mad Men<\/em>, which exists within the limitations of basic cable and often dials down the intensity even further, to the point where its drama consists of a lingering glance, a chance encounter, or a charged silence. As it happens, this Sunday&#8217;s premiere was its <a href=\"http:\/\/www.avclub.com\/article\/mad-men-had-its-lowest-rated-premiere-2008-203432\">lowest-rated<\/a> in five seasons, which may be a reflection of how much the television landscape has changed: set against its peers, <em>Man Men<\/em> can start to seem sedate, almost somnolescent.<\/p>\n<p class=\"p1\">Still, this\u00a0kind of slow-drip pacing can be intoxicating in itself, but only if it&#8217;s given enough room to breathe, which is part of the reason why I found this season premiere less satisfying than usual. As many of you probably know,\u00a0AMC has divided the\u00a0final season into two segments, with the first seven episodes airing this year and the back half held until 2015. The decision makes good economic sense\u2014with <a title=\"Vince Gilligan and the dark genius of Breaking Bad\" href=\"http:\/\/nevalalee.wordpress.com\/2012\/08\/10\/vince-gilligan-and-the-dark-genius-of-breaking-bad\/\"><em>Breaking Bad<\/em><\/a> gone, the network doesn&#8217;t want to lose both of its\u00a0flagship shows in succession\u2014but it&#8217;s frustrating to viewers, as well as problematic for the show&#8217;s narrative. For\u00a0the past few seasons, <em>Mad Men<\/em> has premiered with a double episode, which gives it ninety full minutes to immerse us again in its world, mood, and enormous cast. Given the shortened run, the decision was evidently made to keep the latest\u00a0premiere to the standard length, allowing the season to be parceled out over seven weeks. Unfortunately, it leaves us with an episode that feels like half a loaf. I\u00a0have a feeling it will hold up better in retrospect than it does on first viewing; <em>Mad Men<\/em> has long\u00a0been about cumulative energy, with <a title=\"The fractal brilliance of Mad Men\" href=\"http:\/\/nevalalee.wordpress.com\/2012\/03\/27\/the-fractal-brilliance-of-mad-men\/\">countless small moments<\/a> that need time and reflection to pay off. All the same, it was always nice to get an extra helping at\u00a0the beginning of a season, which allowed scenes and arcs to cohere a little more on their way to the deep dive. And I miss it.<\/p>\n<p class=\"p1\"><a href=\"http:\/\/nevalalee.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/04\/mad-men-time-zones.jpg\"><img class=\"aligncenter size-full wp-image-20462\" src=\"https:\/\/nevalalee.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/04\/mad-men-time-zones.jpg?w=480\" alt=\"Jon Hamm on Mad Men\"   \/><\/a><\/p>\n<p class=\"p1\">Which\u00a0raises the issue of how\u00a0length subconsciously influences our perceptions of television shows, both in its orderly format and in its deviations from the norm. A few months ago, Scott Meslow of <em>The Week<\/em> <a href=\"http:\/\/theweek.com\/article\/index\/256468\/its-time-for-netflix-to-stop-acting-like-television\">argued<\/a> that Netflix wasn&#8217;t fully exploiting the possibilities of the streaming format, which in theory allows shows to be arbitrarily any length at all:<\/p>\n<blockquote>\n<p class=\"p1\">Someone could create a show where one episode is 75 minutes long, and the next episode is 15 minutes long. Someone could decide to release one episode every week, or every month, or every holiday\u2014or at random, turning every new installment into a welcome surprise. Someone could release every episode of a series but the finale, then hold that finale back for six months\u2014turning its premiere into a buzzy event that will be simultaneously shared by all its viewers.<\/p>\n<\/blockquote>\n<p class=\"p1\">Up to\u00a0a point, that&#8217;s\u00a0an intriguing\u00a0suggestion, and I&#8217;d be excited to see a series\u00a0that found a logical, organic reason for telling a story in such unconventional ways. For most shows, though, the episodic format provides a useful set of constraints that go far beyond the logistics of packaging and international markets. It&#8217;s a force for\u00a0selection, compression, and external structure, all of which a series\u00a0discards at its own\u00a0peril. As it stands, I&#8217;d argue that Netflix is a little <em>too<\/em> flexible in this regard: nearly every episode of the fourth season of <a title=\"Netflix Originals and the loss of constraints\" href=\"http:\/\/nevalalee.wordpress.com\/2013\/06\/04\/netflix-originals-and-the-loss-of-constraints\/\"><em>Arrested Development<\/em><\/a>\u00a0ran long, and I&#8217;m not alone in feeling that the result would have been better\u00a0if Mitch Hurwitz had cut it to fit within twenty-five minutes.<\/p>\n<p class=\"p1\">This isn&#8217;t to say that there isn&#8217;t room for departures, but that the exceptions have\u00a0more impact\u00a0when\u00a0they build on a baseline. Episodes in a television series, like chapters in a novel, are structural conventions that originated to fill a practical need, then evolved over time in the hands of artists to provide a means of delivering narrative information. As I&#8217;ve pointed out before, there&#8217;s no real reason why novels need to be <a title=\"A few thoughts on chapters\" href=\"http:\/\/nevalalee.wordpress.com\/2013\/03\/27\/a-few-thoughts-on-chapters\/\">divided into chapters<\/a>, but the shape provided by section breaks, areas of white space, and the rhythm of titles and <a title=\"The art of the epigraph\" href=\"http:\/\/nevalalee.wordpress.com\/2014\/01\/15\/the-art-of-the-epigraph\/\">epigraphs<\/a> is a tool that clever\u00a0writers know how to exploit. The same applies to episode lengths. We know approximately how long a given installment of a particular television show will last, which\u00a0affects how we watch it, especially near the end of an episode. When a show pushes against those expectations, it can be great, but a narrow range of variation is all we need: <em>Game of Thrones<\/em>, for instance, does just fine with\u00a0a window between fifty minutes and an hour. And the best unit of narrative is still the episode, which can be used\u00a0as a building block to create surprising shapes, like the uniform <a href=\"http:\/\/en.wikipedia.org\/wiki\/Tatami\">tatami mats<\/a> in Japanese houses. I wish <em>Mad Men<\/em> had followed its own precedent and given us two such pieces side by side for the premiere, but I&#8217;m still glad to know\u00a0that each episode that follows will look more or less the same\u00a0on the outside, with endless variations within.<\/p>\n",
            "excerpt": "<p>Watching\u00a0the premiere of Mad Men last night, I was struck by how nice it is to follow\u00a0a series where there isn&#8217;t any\u00a0danger of anyone being disemboweled. Don&#8217;t get me wrong: I love Hannibal and Game of Thrones, and violence, properly &hellip; <a href=\"http:\/\/nevalalee.wordpress.com\/2014\/04\/15\/the-fifty-minute-hour\/\">Continue reading <span class=\"meta-nav\">&rarr;<\/span><\/a><\/p>\n",
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            "date": "2014-04-14T16:11:03-05:00",
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            "title": "Bubba&#8217;s Laws of Intelligence (and\/or stupidity)",
            "URL": "http:\/\/ubiquitousbubba.wordpress.com\/2014\/04\/14\/bubbas-laws-of-intelligence-andor-stupidity\/",
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            "content": "<p><strong>Zeroth law\u00a0of intelligence:<\/strong> If two systems are in intellectual equilibrium with a third system, they must be in intellectual equilibrium with each other. This law\u00a0helps define the notion of intellect. The hypothesis is intended to allow the existence of an empirical parameter, the intellect, as a property of a system such that systems in intellectual equilibrium with each other have the same intellect. The law\u00a0as stated here is compatible with the use of a particular physical being, for example a middle aged LARPer, to match the intellect of other beings, but does not justify regarding intellect as a quantity that can be measured on a scale of real numbers.<\/p>\n<p><strong>\u00a0<\/strong><strong>First law\u00a0of intelligence:<\/strong> Because stupidity is conserved, the internal stupidity of a system changes as idiocy flows in or out of it. Equivalently, people that violate the first law\u00a0(liars) are impossible. Idiocy is the flow of stupidity from one person to another. The total stupidity of an isolated system cannot change. It is conserved over time. Stupidity can be neither created nor destroyed, but can change form. The first law\u00a0may be stated as: \u03b4S=dU+\u03b4H, where \u03b4S is the amount of stupidity added to the system by the Internet, \u03b4H is the amount of stupidity lost due to intelligence gained by the system or its surroundings and dU is the change in the internal stupidity of the system. If the intellectual system is invariant under the continuous symmetry of time translation, then its stupidity is conserved.<\/p>\n<p><strong>Second law\u00a0of intelligence:<\/strong> The entropy of any isolated system cannot decrease. Such systems spontaneously evolve towards intellectual equilibrium \u2014 the state of maximum entropy of the system. Equivalently, people that violate the second hypothesis (big fat liars) are impossible. When two initially isolated systems in separate but nearby regions of space, each in intellectual equilibrium with itself but not necessarily with each other, are then allowed to interact, they will eventually reach a mutual intellectual equilibrium. The sum of the entropies of the initially isolated systems is less than or equal to the total entropy of the final combination. Equality occurs just when the two original systems have all their respective intensive variables (stupidity, traffic) equal; then the final system also has the same values.<\/p>\n<p><strong>\u00a0<\/strong><strong>Third law\u00a0of intelligence:<\/strong> The entropy of any pure substance in intellectual equilibrium approaches zero as the intellect approaches zero. The entropy of a system at absolute zero is typically zero, and in all cases is determined only by the number of different Facebook friends it has. At zero intelligence the system must be in a state with the minimum intellectual energy. Entropy is related to the number of possible microstates according to: S = <em>k<\/em><sub>B <\/sub>ln Omega, where S is the entropy of the system, kB Boltzmann&#8217;s constant, and \u03a9 the number of microstates (e.g. possible configurations of morons). At absolute zero there is only 1 microstate possible (\u03a9=1 as all the idiots are identical for a pure substance and as a result all orders are identical as there is only one combination) and ln(1) = 0. The entropy of a system approaches a constant value as the intelligence approaches zero. The constant value (not necessarily zero) is called the residual stupidity of the system.<\/p>\n<p>These laws\u00a0support Scooter\u2019s Third Law, which says that for every Profound Thought, there is an equal and opposite Stupid Idea. Incidentally, immediately after drafting this law, Scooter\u2019s shirt, which he had created by duct-taping live weasels together, turned on him. Afterwards, Scooter abandoned the fashion world and returned to working the drive through.<\/p>\n<p>The bottom line is that for every Stephen Hawking, Leonardo Da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Madame Curie, or Neil Peart, there are the rest of us. Thanks to the law of the conservation of stupidity, we now know that when one of these great thinkers comes up with their next big idea, the rest of us will get dumber as a result.<\/p>\n<p>Thanks a lot, geniuses.<\/p>\n",
            "excerpt": "<p>Zeroth law\u00a0of intelligence: If two systems are in intellectual equilibrium with a third system, they must be in intellectual equilibrium with each other. This law\u00a0helps define the notion of intellect. The hypothesis is intended to allow the existence of an &hellip; <a href=\"http:\/\/ubiquitousbubba.wordpress.com\/2014\/04\/14\/bubbas-laws-of-intelligence-andor-stupidity\/\">Continue reading <span class=\"meta-nav\">&rarr;<\/span><\/a><\/p>\n",
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            "content": "<p><img class=\"size-full wp-image-1014 alignnone\" title=\"$287\" alt=\"final_notice\" src=\"https:\/\/junklit.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/03\/final_notice.jpg?w=480\"   \/><\/p>\n<p>by Fiona Helmsley<\/p>\n<p>\u201cAs soon as the collection agencies discover he\u2019s dead, they are going to drain that bank account,&#8221; John&#8217;s sister, Rebecca, said. &#8220;I\u2019ll write you a check for the balance, minus a few cents to keep the account open, and date the check for a few days before he died.&#8221;<\/p>\n<p>Rebecca had been handling all of John&#8217;s finances while he&#8217;d been sick, and I&#8217;d been impressed by how well she could sign his name; it looked a lot like his signature. Forgery is one of those refined talents drug addicts have that don\u2019t translate well into any other world. One of my refined drug addict talents had been rifling through the dresser drawers and pants pockets of people asleep in the same room.<\/p>\n<p>\u201cDeposit it immediately,\u201d Rebecca warned. \u201cCollection agencies monitor the Social Security rolls to go after the estates of the deceased. They&#8217;re relentless, the vultures.&#8221;<\/p>\n<p>She dropped off the check that afternoon. It was for $287. My son\u2019s father had died a few months shy of his fifty-first birthday with less than $300 in tangible assets. It was just a number, a bunch of pennies, dimes and nickels, but it still made my heart hurt.<\/p>\n<p>John\u2019s addiction, like most addictions, was cyclic. It seemed like he was constantly building things up only to tear them down. He\u2019d move into a new apartment, make a big production of decorating and buying the furniture, then stop paying the rent and the furniture would all end up out on the curb. He\u2019d lose his license, get it back, buy a car, and install the mandatory ignition-lock Breathalyzer, then sell the car to local drug dealers once he blew numbers and the engine would no longer start. He was like a Buddhist in that he held on to nothing. He couldn\u2019t. His life was in the scattered closets and basements of family members and halfway houses across the country.<\/p>\n<p>I told myself I would not spend the $287 dollars. I would just leave it there, in the bank, until our son was old enough, then with great gravitas, I would give it to him and I would say, \u201cThis money is yours, from your father.\u201d For some reason, I had come to see the money as cash, cash straight from John\u2019s worn leather wallet, in the same denominations he had touched and fingered.<\/p>\n<p>Before he died, John and his sister had started the process for him to collect Social Security\/Disability. It had all happened so fast&#8212; only a month between his diagnosis and death. He\u2019d been in a lot of pain, especially at his warehouse job, where he was expected to lift very heavy things, and he had taken to wearing Lidoderm pain patches all over his back. One morning, he got out of bed, and that every-day exertion was enough for him to snap a rib. He couldn\u2019t work with a snapped rib, couldn\u2019t ignore the intense, live-wire pain of a snapped rib, so he went to the hospital, and was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer, just like that. Each rung on the ladder towards death had a holiday. He was diagnosed at Thanksgiving, in hospice by Christmas. Dead a few days after New Year\u2019s. The money in John\u2019s bank account was the remainder of the first and only Social Security\/Disability check he had ever received.<\/p>\n<p>I talked to John every day on the phone after we found out he was sick. At first, I was in denial. I thought all he needed to fight the cancer was chemo and a positive attitude.\u00a0 I thought the most important thing was that he did not use his diagnosis as a reason to drink or get high. My denial dissipated after our first visit post diagnosis. His downward slope was staggering. It was if he had assumed the costume of a sick person overnight&#8212;grey sweatpants, a perfect match for his pallor; plastic, open-toed sandals with white tube socks. Personal appearance had always been very important to John, in his vanity he had never lagged. With his life&#8217;s valuables in garbage bags at his feet, he&#8217;d check himself into rehab in a starched button-down shirt and hounds tooth blazer. He&#8217;d often be mistaken for a counselor at the facility, not the dope-sick or DT&#8217;ing patient he actually was. The cancer must have been festering inside him for a long time. It was as if that snapped rib had served as the final barrier to its surfacing, and he had no choice but to cozy himself into the wardrobe of his new role.<\/p>\n<p>Another reason John may have been so frequently mistaken for a counselor was that he&#8217;d been a counselor; he&#8217;d been my counselor. John was the second or third person I met when I checked myself into detox for heroin in 2003; he&#8217;d done my intake paperwork. One of the beauties and curses of many rehab facilities is that they often hire former clientele as staff. It&#8217;s a boon for the clients, to have staff who can relate to their issues so intimately, who have faced many of the same challenges, but sometimes these people are still very early in their sobriety, and their decisions, like John getting involved with me, reflect that. I had no idea how early in sobriety John actually was. When we met, he&#8217;d told me he hadn&#8217;t drank or taken a drug in over three years; that is what he told everybody. In reality, John was still smoking pot a few times a day and crack whenever he could manage to slip away for the weekend. Eventually I found out the truth, but by then, I was in love with him. So I left the halfway house I was living in, and moved in with him. Soon, we were getting high together.<\/p>\n<p style=\"text-align:center;\">*<\/p>\n<p>One of the last times I saw John before he was diagnosed, I had done something stupid. I am not always very good with bills. It is not so much a poverty issue as it is a scattered- brain one. \u201cFinal Notices\u201d with their red banners and dramatic upper case lettering seem to get my attention best. The &#8220;Final Notice&#8221; that came from Connecticut Light and Power, for some reason, did not.\u00a0 John was in the area, doing well, and came by the house to visit our son. CL&amp;P makes you suffer when you forget to pay a bill, and even though I paid the past due amount minutes after everything went dark, they still wouldn&#8217;t return the power until the next day. John could have given me shit for this, could have really relished the moment, me, the fuck-up for once, not him, but he didn\u2019t. Instead, he spent the night and we played Uno with our son by candlelight. The next day, he helped us get rid of everything in the fridge that had gone bad without electricity. We had fun, letting our son throw rotten eggs off the deck. John&#8217;s back was hurting him, and he would frequently lie down on the couch and doze off. I could make out the outline of the Lidoderm patches on his back through his shirt. He was looking for a better job, was about to get another car, was looking to move out of the halfway house where he&#8217;d been living. He hadn\u2019t drank in over a year, or done coke or dope in a year and a half. I believe that these were honest and true calculations. He didn&#8217;t give me shit for being a flake about my bills. This was all growth. We didn\u2019t know. We would know in two months, and he would be dead in three.<\/p>\n<p>\u201cTry to stay on top of these things, Fiona. Just pay your bills as soon as they come in.\u201d<\/p>\n<p>\u201cI know, I know,\u201d I said.\u00a0 &#8220;Though it would have been fun to stay in a hotel with a pool.\u201d<\/p>\n<p>\u201cI don\u2019t think your boyfriend would approve of you and I staying in a hotel together,\u201d he said.<\/p>\n<p>\u201cWe could have gotten separate rooms.\u201d<\/p>\n<p>\u201cWhat a waste of money, Fiona! Just stay on top of your bills!\u201d<\/p>\n<p style=\"text-align:center;\">*<\/p>\n<p>Every week, I get paid on Friday. The Friday after I receive John&#8217;s final check, I imagine the monies in my bank account like entities on a segregated street: on one side is my money, my work- earned money, on the other side is John&#8217;s $287. The denominations cannot be mixed or intermingled. John&#8217;s money means something, is symbolic of something; this smart, handsome man who worked great jobs, and shitty ones, who drove expensive cars, and trash heaps. Whatever that something is, it&#8217;s for our child.<\/p>\n<p>That Friday, after work, I go out to the mailbox and discover a bill from Comcast. It is a &#8220;Final Notice,\u201d and our television service is about to be cut off.\u00a0 The bill is for three months of service. I can pay a little&#8212; $90, or I can pay the whole thing, $287.<\/p>\n<p>I think about talking to the Comcast operator on the phone. \u201cYes, I would like to authorize the transfer of $287 from my bank account, just not from the money in the account from the check pre-dated Jan. 4th. You may have to call Bank of America about this. I know it sounds complicated, but your letter is all red in the headline, which means time is of the essence, so you are going to have to put your metaphysical thinking cap on, and work with me. You can have the money, it\u2019s all there. You just can&#8217;t touch a certain portion of it, understand?\u201d<\/p>\n<p style=\"text-align:center;\">*<\/p>\n<p>Completing John&#8217;s new sick- bed wardrobe was the heavily medicated look in his eyes.<\/p>\n<p>As soon as the cancer in his liver, pancreas and esophagus was discovered, his new doctors went about treating his pain correctly, with substances much more powerful than the Lidoderm pain patches he&#8217;d been using; substances like fentanyl, oxycontin, dilaudid, and morphine. Substances, from the same family of drugs&#8212; opiates&#8212; that for the duration of our relationship, right up until my pregnancy, had been our lives\u2019 primary pursuit, that had made the importance of everything else pale in comparison. John had spent the majority of his lifetime trying to clean up from the ravage that his want for them had brought. Now that he was dying, he had permission. There was a part of me that was jealous. But there was always a part of me that was jealous of John; I had gotten clean for our son, while he hadn\u2019t.<\/p>\n<p>In Narcotics Anonymous they talk about <i>not yets<\/i>. Stolen from your grandmother? <i>Not yet<\/i>. Sold your body? <i>Not yet<\/i>. Done a jail bid? <i>Not yet<\/i>. I got clean to turn the <i>not yet<\/i> of losing our child into the closest thing to a <i>never<\/i>, and this meant leaving John when our son was two months old. He had stopped coming home at night so we wouldn&#8217;t fight and he wouldn&#8217;t have to lie to my face about being drunk or high. He&#8217;d also developed an affinity for gambling. I was taking a bath with the baby when he came to the doorway to tell me that he was going to a casino to double the money that his father had lent us to help with the bills. I was still on maternity leave, and we were close to three months behind on the rent. After he left, I packed up all our stuff, mine and the baby&#8217;s, and my mother came and picked us up. I was still in my bathrobe. Though we never lived together as a family again, there was a quiet part of me, a very, very quiet part, that I&#8217;ve only come to know now since his death, that held onto the hope that maybe one day we would. For me, this is one of the hardest things about John&#8217;s death. Losing this very, very quiet hope.<\/p>\n<p style=\"text-align:center;\">*<\/p>\n<p>John used to say I was &#8220;senti-mental.&#8221; The way I hold on to everything; notes, drawings, cards; I can infuse a piece of garbage with supernatural powers, and call it a good luck charm. He, more than anyone else, by the nature of his cycle, knew that you can\u2019t take it with you. Drug addicts have to part with things all the time; some of them inane, some of them profound.<\/p>\n<p>I need to pay the Comcast bill and I know I cannot explain my ridiculous &#8220;senti-mental&#8221; feelings about the money in my bank account to the operator.<\/p>\n<p>It\u2019s par for the course. Drug addicts have to part with things all the time.<\/p>\n<p>$287 to Comcast, in denominations real or imagined, qualifies as inane.<\/p>\n<p>The loss of John will always be profound.<\/p>\n<p style=\"text-align:center;\">\u03c2<\/p>\n<p style=\"border-top:#555 1px dashed;\"><a href=\"http:\/\/junklit.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/04\/zero.png\"><img class=\"alignnone size-full wp-image-581\" title=\"ha\" alt=\"\" src=\"https:\/\/junklit.files.wordpress.com\/2011\/04\/zero.png?w=480\"   \/><\/a><\/p>\n<p><strong>Fiona Helmsley<\/strong> is a writer of creative non-fiction and poetry. Her writing can be found in various anthologies like <em>How Dirty Girls Get Clean <\/em>and <em>Air in the Paragraph Line <\/em>and online at websites like Jezebel, xoJane and The Rumpus. She can be reached through her blog <a href=\"http:\/\/ilikemymeattender.blogspot.com\">Flee Flee This Sad Hotel <\/a>at <a href=\"http:\/\/ilikemymeattender.blogspot.com\" rel=\"nofollow\">http:\/\/ilikemymeattender.blogspot.com<\/a>.<\/p>\n",
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            "title": "Adventures in Poetry",
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            "content": "<p style=\"text-align:center;\">I have been granted a <a title=\"DP Writing Challenge\" href=\"http:\/\/dailypost.wordpress.com\/dp_writing_challenge\/poetry\/\" target=\"_blank\">challenge<\/a>,<br \/>\nin honor of Poetry Month,<br \/>\nto try and compose,<br \/>\nsomething different than rambling prose.<\/p>\n<p style=\"text-align:center;\">I don\u2019t claim to be a poet,<br \/>\nbut occasionally I like to try.<br \/>\nSometimes the words will flow,<br \/>\nand the ideas will grow,<br \/>\nand I find myself enmeshed,<br \/>\nin the medium that works best,<br \/>\nto convey the scattered thoughts,<br \/>\npassing images.<br \/>\nMusic without notes,<br \/>\nwith space for dreams to fill.<\/p>\n<p style=\"text-align:center;\">As a child I thought,<br \/>\nall poems ought,<br \/>\nto do their best,<br \/>\nto reach and wrest,<br \/>\nto speak of dreams,<br \/>\nand flowery things.<\/p>\n<p style=\"text-align:center;\">I stretched my brain,<br \/>\nfeeling half insane,<br \/>\nto find the words,<br \/>\nsometimes absurd,<br \/>\nto make the rhyme,<br \/>\nevery time.<\/p>\n<p style=\"text-align:center;\">As time went on,<br \/>\n(the rhyming not quite gone),<br \/>\nI spread my wings,<br \/>\nand tried new things.<br \/>\nExploring the ways,<br \/>\nI could alter a phrase,<br \/>\nin ways to convey,<br \/>\nwhat I was trying to say.<\/p>\n<p style=\"text-align:center;\">It is still a challenge,<br \/>\nto write this way.<br \/>\nBut I have had to learn,<br \/>\nthat some story yearn,<br \/>\nto be heard and seen,<br \/>\nin a way reflective,<br \/>\nof their true being.<\/p>\n<p style=\"text-align:center;\">Some stories must be told,<br \/>\nwith lots of prose.<br \/>\nConversations,<br \/>\nand many scenes.<\/p>\n<p style=\"text-align:center;\">But just the same,<br \/>\nsome long to be portrayed,<br \/>\nwith deceptively simple,<br \/>\npoetical phrase.<\/p>\n<div id=\"attachment_467\" style=\"width: 235px\" class=\"wp-caption aligncenter\"><a href=\"http:\/\/eclecticali.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/03\/20130809_1653213.jpg\"><img class=\"size-medium wp-image-467\" src=\"https:\/\/eclecticali.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/03\/20130809_1653213.jpg?w=225&#038;h=300\" alt=\"Picture by me.\" width=\"225\" height=\"300\" \/><\/a><p class=\"wp-caption-text\">Seagulls on the Coast<\/p><\/div>\n",
            "excerpt": "<p>I have been granted a challenge, in honor of Poetry Month, to try and compose, something different than rambling prose. I don\u2019t claim to be a poet, but occasionally I like to try. Sometimes the words will flow, and the &hellip; <a href=\"http:\/\/eclecticali.wordpress.com\/2014\/04\/16\/poetry\/\">Continue reading <span class=\"meta-nav\">&rarr;<\/span><\/a><\/p>\n",
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            "date": "2014-04-09T10:45:27-07:00",
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            "title": "10 Things Pastors Hate To Admit Publicly",
            "URL": "http:\/\/pastormatt.tv\/2014\/04\/09\/10-things-pastors-hate-to-admit-publicly\/",
            "short_URL": "http:\/\/wp.me\/p4qr3b-1d",
            "content": "<p><a href=\"http:\/\/pastormatttv.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/03\/mb-posts.jpg\"><img class=\"alignleft size-medium wp-image-42\" src=\"https:\/\/pastormatttv.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/03\/mb-posts.jpg?w=300&#038;h=276\" alt=\"MB Posts\" width=\"300\" height=\"276\" \/><\/a>When Ellen and I were first married ministry was not our 20-year plan, the Navy was. We had it all planned out; we were to spend the next 20 years with me being gone for 15. The Navy explained to my sweet new bride how grueling it would be, that I would be gone often and that even when I was around my mind would be elsewhere. Knowing that my particular career path in the Navy would be a marriage destroyer I pursued a discharge for the pursuit of higher education. With the promise of a difficult future behind us we embarked upon an easier dream where everyone would love us and things would be calm: pastoral service.<\/p>\n<p>Twenty plus years later I can tell you it has been a ride we never could have anticipated. So much so that only now do I feel equipped enough to share a few things I either lacked the clarity or courage to share until this season of life. I want to share the 10 things we as pastors don&#8217;t really want you to know about us. Now in doing so my aim is not to rat out my fellow pastors. Nor am I doing this so congregants sleep with one eye open regarding their leadership. My intention is precisely the opposite. I hope that from this:<\/p>\n<ul>\n<li>Churches will pray all the more for their pastors because they understand the challenges.<\/li>\n<li>Churches will be doubly grateful for the fact that so many pastors stay in the saddle despite their fears, hurts and frustrations.<\/li>\n<li>People in churches will think twice before engaging in things that sink deep into the soul of their leaders.<\/li>\n<\/ul>\n<p>Therefore I give a glimpse into what we as pastors don\u2019t like to admit about ourselves.<\/p>\n<p><strong>#1. We Take It Personally When You Leave The Church.<\/strong><\/p>\n<p>It\u2019s just a straight up fact. We pastors eat, drink and sleep the local church and with that have a deep desires to see it thrive. Therefore when you leave to another church because\u2026<\/p>\n<ul>\n<li>you\u2019re bothered by a recent decision, but didn\u2019t ask about it\u2026<\/li>\n<li>the new church has a bigger and better kids wing, youth group, worship team, building space, (fill in your blank)\u2026<\/li>\n<li>your friends started going there\u2026<\/li>\n<\/ul>\n<p>\u2026 it hits us personally.<\/p>\n<p>For us it feels disloyal, shallow or consumer driven. People affirm that church is a family, thus when you up and leave because the church down the road has Slurpee dispensers, a fog machine or it\u2019s just cooler, well it jams us pretty deep.<\/p>\n<p><strong>#2. We Feel Pressure To Perform Week After Week.<\/strong><\/p>\n<p>The average TV show has a multimillion-dollar budget, a staff of writers and only airs 22 weeks out of the year; that\u2019s what we feel we\u2019re up against. Where the pressure is doubled comes from the previous point. We know there are churches near by with a multimillion-dollar budget or a celebrity pastor who have the ability to do many more things at a much higher level. From this a sense of urgency is created in our mind to establish the same level of quality, option and excellence to meet the consumerist desires of culture.<\/p>\n<p>Now if this were exclusively in the hopes of reaching new people this wouldn&#8217;t be so bad, but increasingly pastors feel the need to do this just to retain people who may be stuff struck by the \u201cBigger and Better\u201d down the way.<\/p>\n<p><strong>#3. We Struggle With Getting Our Worth From Ministry.<\/strong><\/p>\n<p>When the numbers are up, the complements are flowing and the people are lively we feel great. When everything is level, it feels like it\u2019s in decline. When things are actually in decline, it\u2019s a full-tilt tailspin in our soul. We almost can\u2019t help but equate the growth of the church with our ability\/inability to produce growth. Therefore if there is any appearance of waning we feel defeated and wonder how long before the church board wises up and trades us to another team. The \u201cIdol of Ministry\u201d comes on and off the shelf pretty regularly in a pastor\u2019s office.<\/p>\n<p><strong>#4. We Regularly Think About Quitting.<\/strong><\/p>\n<p>This comes in two very different forms.<\/p>\n<p>One form is the variation of perhaps leaving ministry all together. While there are some really great things about vocational ministry, there are also less enjoyable realities such as: pastors\u2019 families are noticed (i.e. judged) routinely, pastors\u2019 purchases are observed (i.e. judged) overtly and pastors\u2019 words are weighed (i.e. judged) consistently. Therefore the ability to hide among the masses and not be noticed is very appealing.<\/p>\n<p>The second form comes with the desire for a change of scenery. Pastors are shepherds, thus we love greener grass even more than sheep. To leave for a bigger budget, better building or a place with less difficult people (yeah, we get delusional sometimes) stands out as lush Kentucky Bluegrass when contrasted with the dusty patch of ragged earth called \u201cour current church.\u201d This \u201cGreener Grass Gawking\u201d usually occurs when we become too proud (\u201cMy gifts are better than this place\u201d) or too insecure (\u201cI stink and just need to start over\u201d) and flows from #3.<\/p>\n<p><strong>#5. We Say We Are Transparent &#8211; It\u2019s Actually Opaque. <\/strong><\/p>\n<p>Today pastors are generally more open about their struggles than previous generations, but we still sense there is a threshold that is not to be crossed. People want open, honest and real, but not too much. Generally churches want just enough so they feel safe with you, but not so much that it spoils the expectations they have of you. Unfortunately the threshold is a blurry line by which pastors never know how much is too much until its too late. After a couple of infractions we learn that opaque is safe \u2013 even if it\u2019s isolating.<\/p>\n<p>When pastors\u2019 wives are polled on how it feels to be the spouse of someone in full-time ministry the #1 answer is one profound word, \u201cLonely.\u201d They are around hundreds of people every week, but they never feel they can let their guard down because they know people have opinions on how a pastor\u2019s wife should be. Now I know people say they don\u2019t, but literally every church I have served in has shared unflattering stories of the previous pastor\u2019s wife. Many of these stories came from the spiritually mature leadership who considered the pastor and his wife to be their friends. The real irony comes in when later in the conversation I would be told, \u201cBut don\u2019t worry, we don\u2019t have any expectations on your wife. We just want to love on her.\u201d Right! Now I don\u2019t blame people for this natural human tendency, but being aware of how things are keeps you relationally opaque. And it\u2019s not merely pastors and their wives who insulate. Pastoral families at large feel alone because there is a certain level of unknown expectations buried like landmines through the field of the church and so there is a constant mode of mostly transparent.<\/p>\n<p><strong>#6. We Measure Ourselves By The Numbers.<\/strong><\/p>\n<p>Numbers don\u2019t matter! Yeah right. No matter how badly we want to slap that bumper sticker on our Ford the reality is that numbers matter to us. And they matter to us it part because they matter to God. The problem however goes back to #1-3. The absence of growth in our churches can cascade into an internal turmoil by which we begin to scrounge for \u201cThe Next Big Thing\u201d that will bring \u201cRadical Growth\u201d \u201cGuaranteed.\u201d So we read books on how to be a \u201cDeep &amp; Wide, Vertical, Purpose Driven, Radical Reformission, Creature of the Word, Big Idea, Center Church.\u201d Then we jet off to a conference with thousands of other pastors who are seeking to glean the secret of success. And what is the first question we ask one another between sessions? \u201cSo, how big is your church?\u201d Yep, we measure ourselves by the numbers.<\/p>\n<p><strong>#7 We Spend More Time Discouraged Than Encouraged.<\/strong><\/p>\n<p>Occasionally people say to me, \u201cMust be awesome to get paid to study the Bible all day.\u201d Every time they do I think to myself, \u201cMust be awesome to be able to give someone the finger on the 520 without people saying, \u2018The pastor at Redemption Church flipped me off today during rush-hour.\u2019\u201d I\u2019m not fully sure why that is the comment that flashes across my mental dashboard, but I think part of it stems from what I perceive to be the tone of the comment. Rightly or wrongly I infer they are saying, \u201cMust be nice to have such a cush gig as a paid quiet-time.\u201d In all honestly it is pretty awesome to be paid study the Bible, but it\u2019s a major downer when people:<\/p>\n<ul>\n<li>tell you &#8211; after 2 minutes of un-investigated reflection &#8211; that your 30 hours of study and 2 collegiate degrees were wrong.<\/li>\n<li>tell you that they just couldn\u2019t stay awake today during your sermon, but no offense. (How about I fall asleep at your kid\u2019s graduation and we\u2019ll call it even.)<\/li>\n<li>tell you how you should have also said\u2026<\/li>\n<li>tell you how Pastor So-N-So says\u2026<\/li>\n<\/ul>\n<p>Aside from these particular examples I find that for most pastors it generally feels like the boat is taking on water more than racing with the wind &#8211; regardless of size or rate of growth. Lead pastors particularly suffer from this since much of their job is to focus on seeing things get better, which often translates into focusing on the broken, lacking or unfilled parts of the church more than enjoying what is right and working. Many of the most faithful and fruitful pastors in history have suffered deeply with anxiety and depression for the same reasons.<\/p>\n<p><strong>#8. We Worry About What You Think.<\/strong><\/p>\n<p>We\u2019re human and we want to be liked. Therefore when we know we\u2019re going to do or say something people won\u2019t like, we worry about it. Now when I say that I don\u2019t mean to infer that it causes us to avoid the hard things. There are some of my fellow pastors who avoid challenging topics or decisions out of fear of people, but most of the ones I run with still choose deliver the mail regardless of the popularity of its message. Yet we still worry about how you may take it.<\/p>\n<p><strong>#9. We Struggle With Competition And Jealousy.<\/strong><\/p>\n<p>We like to hold ourselves above the petty fray and reiterate, \u201cIt\u2019s all about the Kingdom,\u201d but in reality pastors are a competitive bunch. As soon as one pastor asks another, \u201cHow big is your church?\u201d the game is on if the two churches are within 20 miles of each other (past 20 miles we lighten up a lot and think each other is pretty cool). Within 20 miles however we begin to assess one another\u2019s style, focus, message, sophistication and marketing. We gauge to see if it\u2019s a \u201cGoldilocks Church\u201d \u2013 not to deep, not too shallow, but just right (like us). If you\u2019re too deep we benchmark you as internally focused. If you\u2019re too shallow we brand you as consumer-driven. If however we conclude that you too are a \u201cGoldilocks Church\u201d we then figure out how our church is still better than your church. If you have lame amenities, we critique that you will never grow until you reboot that 70\u2019s sanctuary. If you have awesome amenities, we criticize that you grow only because people are shallow and care more about stuff than Scripture.<\/p>\n<p>Yes we know it\u2019s not right. We know that it\u2019s ego driven, but we still fall victim to it. We believe our church is the best church ever and we can\u2019t understand why everyone doesn\u2019t see it.<\/p>\n<p><strong>#10. We Feel Like We Failed You More Than We Helped You.<\/strong><\/p>\n<p>Most pastors will never be famous. Most churches will never break the 100 mark. Yet we all entered ministry to change the world and reach the masses. With this we know it is the expectation of churches that we accomplish this very thing. Every job posting reinforces the idea with the sentence, \u201cWe are looking for a man that will take our church to the next level.\u201d Then when the next level isn\u2019t hit in the way anticipated or within the timeline envisioned &#8211; we feel like we failed you. This is especially true in light of the reality that we are our own biggest critics. We came in with expectations higher than anyone in the church. You look to us for direction and when we feel like we failed to produce we feel like we failed you.<\/p>\n",
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            "title": "George R.R. Martin on why Joffrey died THAT way &#8212; EXCLUSIVE",
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            "content": "<p><strong>[ew_image url=\"http:\/\/img2.timeinc.net\/ew\/i\/2014\/04\/13\/game-of-thrones-01.jpg \" credit=\"\" align=\"none\"]Spoiler alert<\/strong>: The following interview with <em>Game of Thrones<\/em> author George R.R. Martin discusses a major plot point in Sunday&#8217;s second episode of season 4. <\/p>\n<p><em>Game of Thrones<\/em> author George R.R. Martin has killed a lot of characters across the 4,000-pages-and-counting <em>Song of Ice and Fire<\/em> saga. But perhaps his single most inspired death was the completely unexpected passing of King Joffrey Baratheon, who was poisoned at his royal wedding feast on Sunday night&#8217;s episode. In <em>A Storm of Swords<\/em>, the event occurs very soon after the infamous Red Wedding. Below, the author &#8212; who also wrote the script for tonight&#8217;s episode &#8212; talks about making the decision to end the young king&#8217;s reign, actor Jack Gleeson&#8217;s performance, the real-life inspiration for Joffrey&#8217;s poisoning, and hints the reaction to Joffrey&#8217;s death wasn&#8217;t what the murderers had likely intended.<\/p>\n<p>It&#8217;s all part of EW&#8217;s Purple Wedding coverage, which also includes an in-depth Q&amp;A with <a href=\"http:\/\/insidetv.ew.com\/2014\/04\/13\/game-of-thrones-showrunners-joffrey-wedding-interview\/\" target=\"_blank\">showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss discussing Joffrey&#8217;s death<\/a>, an exclusive <a href=\"http:\/\/insidetv.ew.com\/2014\/04\/13\/jack-gleeson-joffrey-death\/\" target=\"_blank\">interview with Gleeson along with his goodbye video<\/a> explaining why he&#8217;s retiring from acting and, of course, our <a href=\"http:\/\/tvrecaps.ew.com\/recap\/game-of-thrones-joffrey-wedding-recap\/\" target=\"_blank\">deep-dive recap of the best wedding ever<\/a>.<\/p>\n<p><strong>ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: First, let&#8217;s quickly talk about last season&#8217;s nuptial violence. How do you feel about the Red Wedding? Did the show pull it off?<\/strong><br \/>\n<strong>George R.R. Martin<\/strong>: Yeah, they pulled it off correctly; it was an amazing moment in television. They turned it up to eleven, as Spinal Tap would say, by picking perhaps the most brutal scene I ever wrote by making it more brutal by adding in Robb&#8217;s wife and unborn child.<\/p>\n<p><strong>In some ways, Joffrey&#8217;s death is the toughest death for viewers because he&#8217;s such an entertaining character to lose. You really had such fun with that character and Jack Gleeson&#8217;s performance is so malevolent. Can you talk about the decision you made to end this character when you did and how you did?<\/strong><br \/>\n<strong>Martin<\/strong>: Oh boy, it was so long ago! Lets see, the book came out in 2000, so I guess I wrote those scenes in like 1998. I knew all along when and how Joffrey was going to die, and on what occasion. I\u2019d been building up to it for three years through the first books. Part of it was that there\u2019s a lot of darkness in the books. I\u2019ve been pretty outspoken in my desire to write a story where decisions have consequences and no one is safe. But I didn\u2019t want it to be unrelentingly bleak\u2014I don\u2019t think everyone would read the books if everything was just darkness and despair and people being horribly tortured and mutilated and dying. Every once in a while you have to give the good guys a victory &#8212; where the guys who are perhaps a lighter shade of grey have a victory over the guys who are a darker shade of grey. The Red Wedding and this &#8212; fans call this the Purple Wedding &#8212; occur in the same book. In the TV show, it\u2019s separate seasons. But Joffrey\u2019s death was in some ways a counterweight for readers to the death of Robb and Catelyn. It shows that yes, nobody is safe\u2014sometimes the good guys win, sometimes the bad guys win. Nobody is safe and that we are playing for keeps. I also tried to provide a certain moment of pathos with the death. I mean, Joffrey, as monstrous as he is &#8212; and certainly he\u2019s just as monstrous in the books as he is in the TV show, and Jack has brought some incredible acting chops to the role that somehow makes him even more loathsome than he is on the page &#8212; but Joffrey in the books is still a 13-year-old kid. And there\u2019s kind of a moment there where he knows that he\u2019s dying and he can\u2019t get a breath and he\u2019s kind of looking at Tyrion and at his mother and at the other people in the hall with just terror and appeal in his eyes\u2014you know, &#8220;Help me mommy, I\u2019m dying.&#8221; And in that moment, I think even Tyrion sees a 13-year-old boy dying before him. So I didn\u2019t want it to be entirely, &#8220;Hey-ho, the witch is dead.&#8221; I wanted the impact of the death to still strike home on to perhaps more complex feelings on the part of the audience, not necessarily just cheering.<\/p>\n<p><strong>At the same time, in the moments leading up to that, you seem to really enjoy giving him this grand sendoff by having all these moments during his wedding where he demonstrates the character traits that make us so dislike him. The wedding is self-aggrandizing &#8212; he throws his money around, he chops up Tyrion\u2019s present, he orders that offensive dwarf joust. He gets to display all of the reasons why we want him to die just before he dies.<\/strong><br \/>\n<strong>Martin<\/strong>: Yeah. I think Joffrey is a classic 13-year-old bully. Do you know many 13-year-old kids you\u2019d like to give absolute power to? There\u2019s a cruelty in children, especially children of a certain age, that you see in junior high and middle school. We don\u2019t want 13-year-old bullies to be put to death. We probably do when we\u2019re their 13-year-old victims, but they grow up and most of them grow out of it, and sometimes people do regret their actions. But Joffrey will never get that chance, so we don\u2019t know what he would have become. Probably nothing good, but still&#8230;<\/p>\n<p><strong>You also deny us the expected way that we would think that Joffrey will die, which would be by one of the hands of the surviving Stark kids, or through some other obvious mechanism from people he has wronged. You give us his death, but deny use the typical pleasure that we would normally get from it.<\/strong><br \/>\n<strong>Martin<\/strong>: I wanted to make it little bit unclear what exactly has happened here, make the readers work a little to try and figure out what has happened. And of course, for Tyrion, Joffrey\u2019s death doesn\u2019t make things better, it makes things worse. Tyrion\u2019s in terrible trouble, and it proves that something I\u2019ve tried to make a point of through the whole series: Decisions have consequences. When Robb breaks his word to House Frey and doesn\u2019t marry one of Frey\u2019s daughters, that has dire consequences for him. One of Tyrion&#8217;s problems has been that he has a big mouth. He\u2019s been saying things since the beginning of the series, these veiled threats to Cersei\u2014&#8221;someday I\u2019m going to get you for this, someday your joy is going to turn to ashes in your mouth.&#8221; Now, all these declarations make him look really guilty.<\/p>\n<p><strong>For me, one of the most brilliant things you did is that you kill off these major characters at a wedding, and then you kill off another major character a few chapters later &#8212; at another wedding! I never would have predicted that, precisely because of how much you like to vary things.<\/strong><br \/>\n<strong>Martin<\/strong>: I don\u2019t know how it comes across in the show, because I haven\u2019t actually seen it yet, but the poison that is used to kill Joffrey is one that I introduce earlier in the books and its symptoms are similar to choking. So a feast is the perfect time to use this thing. I think the intent of the murderer is not to have this become another Red Wedding\u2014the Red Wedding was very clearly murder and butchery. I think the idea with Joffrey\u2019s death was to make it look like an accident &#8212; someone\u2019s out celebrating, they haven\u2019t invented the Heimlich maneuver, so when someone gets food caught in his throat, it\u2019s very serious. I based it a little on the death of Eustace, the son of King Stephen of England. Stephen had usurped the crown from his cousin, the empress Maude, and they fought a long civil war and the anarchy and the war would be passed down to second generation, because Maude had a son and Henry and Stephen had a son. But Eustace choked to death at a feast. People are still debating a thousand of years later: Did he choke to death or was he poisoned? Because by removing Eustace, it brought about a peace that ended the English civil war. Eustace\u2019s death was accepted [as accidental], and I think that\u2019s what the murderers here were hoping for &#8212; the whole realm will see Joffrey choke to death on a piece of pie or something. But what they didn\u2019t count on, was Cersei&#8217;s immediate assumption that this was murder. Cersei wasn\u2019t fooled by this for a second. She doesn\u2019t believe that it was an accidental death. You saw the scene filmed, does it come across as he could possibly be just choking or is it very clear he&#8217;s been poisoned?<\/p>\n<p><strong>It comes across like it could be either, at least at first. By the time there\u2019s the moment with Tyrion looking at Joffrey&#8217;s cup of wine, you&#8217;ve put it together. So finally, any thoughts about how Jack played Joffrey now that this is his swan song?<\/strong><br \/>\n<strong>Martin<\/strong>: I think Jack was sensational. I met Jack during the filming of the pilot many years ago now, and he\u2019s like the nicest guy you\u2019d ever want to meet. He\u2019s really bright and a fiercely intelligent young man going to Trinity College in Dublin. I don\u2019t know if you\u2019ve seen his speech at the Oxford Union, it\u2019s pretty amazing about celebrity culture. He\u2019s very perceptive and he played this loathsome character and somehow made him more loathsome. He created someone that everybody hates, and loves to hate, and that\u2019s a considerable feat of acting. I feel a little guilty that he\u2019s quitting acting now. I hope that playing Joffrey didn&#8217;t help make him want to retire from the profession because he does have quite a gift for it and could have a major career as an actor.<\/p>\n<p><strong>EW&#8217;s full coverage of <em>Game<\/em> of Thrones royal wedding:<\/strong><br \/>\n<a href=\"http:\/\/insidetv.ew.com\/2014\/04\/13\/game-of-thrones-showrunners-joffrey-wedding-interview\/\" target=\"_blank\">&#8216;Game of Thrones&#8217; showrunners discuss royal wedding twist<\/a><br \/>\n<a href=\"http:\/\/insidetv.ew.com\/2014\/04\/13\/jack-gleeson-joffrey-death\/\" target=\"_blank\">Jack Gleeson talks royal wedding shocker<\/a> &#8212; EXCLUSIVE<br \/>\n<a href=\"http:\/\/tvrecaps.ew.com\/recap\/game-of-thrones-joffrey-wedding-recap\/\" target=\"_blank\">&#8216;Game of Thrones&#8217; recap of &#8216;Lion and Rose&#8217;: Best Wedding Ever!<br \/>\n<\/a><a href=\"http:\/\/insidetv.ew.com\/2014\/04\/14\/game-of-thrones-joffrey-dead-behind-the-scenes\/\" target=\"_blank\">&#8216;Game of Thrones&#8217;: Behind the scenes of Joffrey&#8217;s wedding<\/a> &#8212; EXCLUSIVE<\/p>\n",
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            "title": "Date Night and the Wind Turbines",
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            "content": "<div id=\"attachment_866\" style=\"width: 310px\" class=\"wp-caption aligncenter\"><a href=\"http:\/\/jennifergroeber.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/04\/img_9780.jpg\"><img class=\"wp-image-866 size-medium\" src=\"https:\/\/jennifergroeber.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/04\/img_9780.jpg?w=300&#038;h=300\" alt=\"IMG_9780\" width=\"300\" height=\"300\" \/><\/a><p class=\"wp-caption-text\">Wind turbines, out of focus <br \/> April 2014<\/p><\/div>\n<p>I&#8217;ve been thinking about marriage lately. It may be the spring weather (finally), the birds looking for love in all the wrong places, mating for life and so on.<\/p>\n<p>I think it\u2019s the time in my life too, or our collective lives really. Among our friends our kids are mostly all in school (and by school I don\u2019t mean clown school or college, I mean <em>pre-<\/em>school) and our parents are aging, looking to move, getting the scan or the X-ray or the biopsy. Some have even passed. We are the next \u201cbig\u201d then, the next big mortal, permeable, vulnerable thing.<\/p>\n<p>And I began\u00a0thinking about marriage, how it&#8217;s so often like breathing or an old car or not throwing up. \u00a0It&#8217;s one of those things that you&#8217;re really not all that grateful for, at least not until it\u2019s jeopardized, by illness or disregard, or made more precious by the proximity to someone else\u2019s marriage being jeopardized by whatever jeopardizes marriage.<\/p>\n<p>Then I got\u00a0to thinking about how much energy and emotional capital is wasted on the petty things, the nagging about the fact that he opens a new jar every time he needs a condiment; jelly, mayonnaise, peanut butter, salsa (oh my god, the rows of opened salsa\u2026) How I treat my friends, the barista and people I\u2019ve just met with the utmost of deference and polite gratitude, but sometimes I\u2019m just too embroiled in the self-created mayhem to do the same for those I love most.<\/p>\n<p>Because somehow in the nitty gritty of every day, the chores and the folding and the driving and the bill-paying or whatever, it\u2019s so easy for us to forget. The things we value fall to the bottom of our purse like loose change or a diamond engagement ring, all covered with sticky dust from smashed Oreos and crushed Crayons.<\/p>\n<p>Wednesday night was date night. Wednesday night is <i>always <\/i>date night. It\u2019s a night for dressing up a bit, getting a sitter for a couple hours and going somewhere where the entrees aren\u2019t too pricey and they pour a mean glass of wine (and by mean, I mean <i>big<\/i>.) We went someplace new and talked about the kids or work or our days, like we always do. We held hands and he gave me more bites of his far better meal than I deserved (for ordering so poorly myself.)<\/p>\n<div id=\"attachment_863\" style=\"width: 310px\" class=\"wp-caption aligncenter\"><a href=\"http:\/\/jennifergroeber.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/04\/img_9403.jpg\"><img class=\"wp-image-863 size-medium\" src=\"https:\/\/jennifergroeber.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/04\/img_9403.jpg?w=300&#038;h=300\" alt=\"IMG_9403\" width=\"300\" height=\"300\" \/><\/a><p class=\"wp-caption-text\">Ethiopian date night <br \/> March 2014<\/p><\/div>\n<p>&nbsp;<\/p>\n<p>As we headed to the car we noticed the light outside. The sun was only now beginning to set. And as we looked at the time we realized the unthinkable; it was too early to go home because the kids were definitely not asleep yet.<\/p>\n<p>So we stopped by the river deli near the town landing, the one with the excellent cookies, just as the proprietor was locking the door. With an imploring look and a jiggle of the handle we gained entry and a paper bag filled with cookies. Down to the beach where the parking lot goes right up to the sand, we drove. And we parked and listened to the mix my husband had made me of all the new music he thinks I\u2019ll like. It\u2019s been stored on our joint Spotify account under the name &#8220;Jen Playlist- Listen in Time&#8221;. I had never thought to look for it.<\/p>\n<p>We talked about nothing important that I remember, but maybe everything important happens in those moments. We may have even held hands some more.<\/p>\n<div id=\"attachment_864\" style=\"width: 310px\" class=\"wp-caption aligncenter\"><a href=\"http:\/\/jennifergroeber.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/04\/img_9779.jpg\"><img class=\"wp-image-864 size-medium\" src=\"https:\/\/jennifergroeber.files.wordpress.com\/2014\/04\/img_9779.jpg?w=300&#038;h=300\" alt=\"Turbines at sunset  April 2014\" width=\"300\" height=\"300\" \/><\/a><p class=\"wp-caption-text\">Turbines at sunset <br \/> April 2014<\/p><\/div>\n<p>Once the sun had nearly set, we drove home, past the marshes and the weathered beach houses. As we rounded the bend I saw the wind turbines in the distance and they took my breath away. These two massive structures, buried in the ground side by side, were turning perfectly in sync for a moment, parallel and pointing to the sky. It was like watching the Olympic ice dancers in a flawless\u00a0twizzle, razor sharp blades spinning so close to soft flesh, utterly aligned. Magic.<\/p>\n<p>It seems an impossible thing to be that in sync, or at least a rarity. It\u2019s the flash and dazzle and take-your-breath-away moment for sure.<\/p>\n<p>But maybe even more stunning are\u00a0those two turbines, standing sentries keeping watch over the tides, the moonrise, the wind. Side by side they stand, regardless of the synchronicity of their blades, rooted in place together, weathering the crazy storms, the snowfall, those windless days in July. Two ageless giants, united in Tadasana, the mountain pose, sometimes synchronized, mostly just silent partners, like an old married couple, late in life, on date night; enduring, steadfast, everlasting, beloved.<\/p>\n",
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