What do you do when your child comes home with bad grades? Do you cuddle him (or her)? Or do you get angry and tell him he should do better? Or do you go further than that? Do you punish him by, say, not giving him pocket money or by grounding him for a few days?
One father decided to take it a bit further than that. When his son told him he failed his class, he gave his son a sledgehammer, threw his most prized possession (Xbox) in the garden and forced him to — completely and utterly — destroy it.
Like IJReview, I’m wondering what you think. Did this father go too far, or was it a great — although perhaps saddening — way to motivate his son to improve his grades?
As a teenager, I was very much into sports. I loved playing soccer and baseball, and later started doing kickboxing. Now, I was never skinny, but I was in good shape; I could go on endlessly, wouldn’t get tired, and felt energetic.
That was then. This is now. This is what I looked like, age 30, yesterday when I exercised (fitness) for the first time in at least 7 years. Disclaimer: viewer discretion is advised. The photo is extremely shocking, not in the least because I look yellow, without energy, and — oh yeah — as intelligent as a cow.
The picture isn’t exactly flattering, but that’s precisely why I publish it here: I want you to join me on this new adventure to get back in shape. If you haven’t exercised in years, start doing it now. We’ll share our progress with each other and exchange tips on how to get fit faster.
After not having exercised for years I started doing fitness. Today was day number one. This is me when trying to recover. OMG. This is much more difficult at this age. And of course with this weight and years of physical laziness. Back on track now, determined to make this a success. Today was day number one, a year from now I want to share my success health story with you all.
In life, our main goal is to become happy. Think about it: why do we work and try to make as much money as we can? Why do we try to spend time with our children and wife? Why do we buy certain clothes and not the other ones? Or in a more spiritual way: why do we go to church/synagogue/mosque/temple (strikethrough whatever doesn’t apply to you)? And why do some people use drugs, while others don’t even want to go near them?
I’ll tell you why: because we believe those things will make us happy. That’s all there is to it. My neighbor stays at home from work as often as he can because he believes spending time in front of the television will make him happy. The other neighbor doesn’t come home until midnight because he’s working overtime, hoping a higher income will result in more happiness for him (and his family).
Ironically, however, many of us fail in our attempt to reach this supposed perfect state of being, this profound happiness, and we’re actually unhappy or even downright depressed.
How is it possible that by striving for happiness, we create the opposite feeling?
In his latest video for Prager University, radio talk show host Dennis Prager explains why that is.
So, how would you like an equation to determine the exact amount of unhappiness in your life?
Well, I am here to tell you that I have developed an equation. It is U=I-R. U is unhappiness, I is image, and R is reality. The difference between the images you have had for your life and the reality of your life is the amount of unhappiness in your life, which gives you an idea of how powerful images are in hurting us.
As Prager says, we all have an image of what our life is supposed to be like. “I’m supposed to make this amount of money, I have a perfect marriage with an understanding wife and loving children,” and so on. While it’s perfectly natural and healthy to have goals, these kinds of nearly perfect images actually destroy our chances of experiencing true happiness because most of us just can’t live up to them. Well, perhaps that 0,01% of the population do, but the other 99,99% have to settle for something else. Prager says,
That’s the biggest part of what mid-life crisis is about. Images kill people. Think of anorexia. Some teenage girls and young women have an image of how they want to look, and in some cases, they will starve themselves to meet that image. This is true for whatever images we have in our life. People imagine family life a certain way, they imagine a spouse a certain way, they imagine their children a certain way, they imagine their job a certain way, they imagine a whole host of things, and then those images are very often shattered.
So what’s the solution for this age old problem? Simple: you either “develop a new image and enjoy that, or just celebrate the reality that you now have.”
The former approach will work in most cases, but the second solution is absolutely bulletproof. By focusing on ‘images,’ we often forget that we actually have a pretty darn good life. By looking at reality and analyzing it, we realize that we have a lot to be grateful for: a spouse who generally supports us (even though we sometimes mess up), children who may cause us stress every now and then, but who are — at the same time — a great blessing, friends that care for us, a roof above our head, a car to go to work with, a job; the list is endless.
Prager is right: we don’t need images. Reality itself is enough to make us happy.
The last several decades, the Left has done its best to change America’s religious landscape. According to a new Pew study, they’re succeeding better than many thought possible:
The number of Americans who don’t affiliate with a particular religion has grown to 56 million in recent years, making the faith group researchers call “nones” the second-largest in total numbers behind evangelicals, according to a Pew Research Center study released Tuesday.
Christians are still the majority, but their numbers have fallen from 78 percent to just under 71 percent. The main reason? Increasingly, more Americans consider themselves “non affiliated” with any particular religion.
The good news? This doesn’t automatically mean that Americans have become atheists. There is a large group of people who consider themselves to be “spiritual” and who believe there’s likely a God, but who just don’t have a bond with any particular religion.
Sadly, that’s all the good news I’ve got for today:
Last year, 31 percent of “nones” said they were atheist or agnostic, compared to 25 percent in 2007, and the percentage who said religion was important to them dropped.
In short, there are fewer religious people and those who don’t consider themselves “religious” in the traditional sense are moving towards atheism — fast.
Although the Left will undoubtedly welcome that development, I do not. A society that loses its bond with God loses its morality. And I don’t just mean that as in the Ten Commandments, but in everyday values, too: personal responsibility, the importance of working hard and taking care of your family, and the need for civilized, decent behavior in society. It’s a cliché, but true nonetheless: when religion falls — especially enlightened Christendom — civilization ends.
This increasing secularization has me worried tremendously. One of America’s major strengths is that it is founded on what’s often called Judeo-Christian values. When those values are no longer shared by large parts of the population, the nation’s unity and morality are at stake. It’s of vital importance that religious Americans understand that and try to counter this secularization. The pulpit should be used for that purpose, but conservative columnists, bloggers, and politicians should also have the courage to point out the importance of faith when they share their views on politics and society at large.
After having written about Prince of Egypt several readers told me I should also watch Joseph: King of Dreams. I did and, I have to say, you all were right.
Like Prince of Egypt, Joseph: King of Dreams is a must-watch because it touches on some very important things about our relationship with God:
1. It isn’t always obvious to us what God’s plan for our lives is, but we must have faith in Him nonetheless.
We will all face hardships, but that doesn’t mean that God has forsaken us. The opposite is true: God uses those terrible days to allow us to grow, become closer to Him and show us His glory. We are prepared for greatness by hardship.
2. God guides us, but it’s up to us to act.
Joseph used every opportunity he got to improve his lot in life. Even in prison, he told fellow inmates to tell the Pharaoh about his ability to explain dreams. We have to do the same. God can work miracles in our life, but only if we do our part. We are active participants in God’s plan to show the world His greatness.
3. Forgiveness is the most important act of love and is wholesome to ourselves.
Joseph grew spiritually in prison and when he became the Pharaoh’s main adviser, but he only truly became great when he forgave his brothers for their treachery. There can be no love – and no spiritual growth – without the ability to forgive. If anyone hurt you, the time to forgive them is now. If you don’t do it for them, do it for yourself.
Yesterday evening you suggested I watch The Prince of Egypt, in your opinion the best movie inspired by the book of Exodus. Although I didn’t have time then, I got to it this morning. It impressed me mightily.
The top 5 reasons why I loved it — and why everybody who reads this article should watch it if they haven’t already — are:
1. Moses never doubts God, only himself.
This is a vital lesson for believers of all kinds; you can doubt your own abilities, but never doubt the most high God, who created everything, and without whom nothing would be.
2. The Pharaoh (or Moses’ adopted brother) initially has a kind heart (at least towards those he holds dear), but is hardened by pride and a blind adherence to tradition.
It’s not a story about evil people, but about evil values. There’s a difference between the two — those who worship God should be aware of that and act accordingly, which also means they have to reason in favor of good values.
3. The story isn’t merely one of victory or redemption, it’s a tragedy at the same time.
Moses does what God orders him to do, but he’s not doing it in order to take revenge. He’s acting out of love — for his people, and even for his adopted brother, the crown prince who eventually becomes the new Pharaoh.
A 65-year-old German lady has told German newspaper Bild that she’s expecting quadruplets. This news story is the talk of the day in Europe. There are those who believe it’s a reason to celebrate, while others have a slightly different opinion. See, for instance, this tweet from a Dutch Twitter user:
Een vrouw van 65 zwanger van een vierling. Dit is echt walgelijk. Sterk staaltje egoisme. http://t.co/XpgCtMRQTf
— Kay (@kayotickitchen) April 12, 2015
“A women of 65 years old pregnant with quadruplets. This is loathsome. Incredibly egotistical.”
Her argument is that the mother is a) too old to take care of one new baby let alone four, and b) that she’s basically nearing the end of her life, thereby making it very likely that her children will lose their mother at a very young age.
As far as I’m concerned, this is nothing to be ashamed of, let alone to find “loathsome.” People are healthier than ever before and become older because of it. If this German lady wants to have seventeen kids, why shouldn’t she? She could live on for another 30 or even 40 years. Should she, then, be deprived of family bliss just because some folks consider her to be “too old”? What nonsense.
I want five children myself; I can’t imagine anything more fulfilling than a big, happy family. Just watch this video and tell me this isn’t exactly what you want:
If I want that for myself, I’m not going to deprive another of having that feeling of happiness either — no matter what her age.
What do you think? Is the soon-to-be-mother of quadruplets extremely egotistical, or is this actually a beautiful, heartwarming story?
Last week, I wrote a short piece about Kelpies, an Australian dog breed that’s truly magnificent. Today I’d like to draw your attention to the breed I love above all others: labradors.
Just look at him. Isn’t this the sweetest dog ever?
If that doesn’t warm your heart, I’m afraid you just don’t have one.
I first fell in love with labradors when my parents brought home a pup when I was a teenager. His name was Duco, and he quickly became my best friend. Sadly, he died from cancer four years ago. The love Duco showed was truly overwhelming and I still miss him – every single day.
Here he is with my mother:
And here he is with me:
It’s amazing, but after all these years I still feel the loss of perhaps the best friend I’ve ever had – only The Wife excluded.
So tell me: do you think that labs are the sweetest dogs in the world, or is there an even cuter breed? If so, which one? It’s hard if not impossible to top the sweetness-factor in the image above, isn’t it?
I was strolling through my parents’ village yesterday, when I suddenly saw a very sweet, active, and beautiful dog that I didn’t recognize. My mother told me that it was an Australian Kelpie. We spoke to its owner, while playing with the dog, and learned that they’re very active (they’re used as sheep dogs in Australia, apparently), but also extraordinarily obedient, loyal and kind-hearted.
Now, I’m a labrador guy myself, but I truly fell in love with this wonderful dog. What do you guys think? Here’s some information about Kelpies, and here are two photos I made of this wonderful, extremely social dog.
As I wrote at PJ Lifestyle yesterday, I’m a newlywed whose wife is very interested in make-up art. Although, as a macho guy, you always hope these things don’t rub off on you, but sadly, they do. So I now catch myself actually keeping an eye on make-up artists active on Instagram, hoping I can forward this or that tip to my wife.
In any case, today I stumbled across this lipstick art by Pat McGrath, an internationally well-known make-up artist. However, before I let my wife know about it, I wanted to ask you ladies what you think: do you agree that this looks pretty awesome or is it too freakish for you, with those little Swarovski diamonds on the lady’s lips?
My wife enjoys make-up videos a lot. They help her become creative with her make-up, trying new things, and improving her overall look. Yes, yes, it’s probably a bit pathetic that I, as her husband, am actually focused on it because of her as well, but what can I say? Marriage changes you – and not always for the better.
In any case after seeing these photos on Instagram, I’ll tell her to use that social network for inspiration as well. Isn’t this awesome?
Be sure to follow Tal on Instagram. She’s truly the Picasso of modern make-up artists.
With all the bad news that’s filling up most websites all day long, it’s of vital importance for us to focus on good and beautiful things every now and then. And what’s more beautiful than the planet we live on?
Here are some photos to remind us that we are truly blessed. Life often is ugly, but our planet is absolutely wonderful.
Glacier National Park is a national park located in the U.S. state of Montana. Via Mohammed Magdy, photo Jordan Ek:
Another great photo, this one published by Wonderful Nature And Wild Life on Google+:
This turtle is also enjoying the view. I can’t blame him. Just look at that. You could put me there with my Macbook and I’ll happily await the end of my days there. Photo via Ervin Metellari on Google+ (the best social network for beautiful, high quality photos, yes even better than Instagram):
Purple, purple everywhere. It’s an LSD-like experience, but gorgeous nonetheless (via G+):
And then God created the most beautiful of his creations: nature. Again, via Google+.
I hope these wonderful photos improved your mood a bit. I know they sure did mine.
More photos of our amazing planet at Google+’s “Earth” Community.
Know someone who’s smoking while pregnant? They need to see this video made by Dr. Nadja Reissland, of Durham University. In it she shows that unborn babies of mothers who smoke may have delayed development of their central nervous systems.
Many people believe that abortion should be illegal — at least after a certain period — because it means killing an innocent life. Well, how about physically abusing one? Shouldn’t that be illegal, too? After all, you aren’t allowed to beat your born child until she has brain damage either. How’s this any different?
Professional HDR (High Definition Resolution) photographer Trey Ratcliff just posted this amazing photo, accompanied by the following text, on Google Plus:
This is the first in a series of photos I’ll post from the hut of the famous polar explorer Ernest Shackleton. I can’t believe we actually got to go inside and explore it… we flew in a chopper out to this remote location… how people lived in here, in the middle of Antarctica for so long is truly a wonder!
Here’s another photo, this time of the Howard Glacier:
And that’s not all. Check out this amazing photo of a mighty ice mountain and another glacier:
These are the trails made by penguins when they slide on their bellies and use their flippers to turn right or left. How awesome is that?
And lastly, Mount Erebus, the southernmost active volcano on Antarctica, which only has two active volcanos. Erebus is always covered in snow:
You’ve got to follow Trey on Google+. He’s a famous photographer many – myself included – consider one of the best HDR photographers in the world.
No Dave, Italian coffee definitely isn’t the best coffee in the world. That cappuccino you show looks like the same one you can get anywhere in Europe. There’s nothing even remotely special about it.
Want to see what real coffee is supposed to look like? Well, just take a look at this wonderful Turkish coffee I drank earlier today. Now that’s the kind of boost you need in the morning.
Editor’s Note: Tweet or Instagram pics of your morning beverages to @DaveSwindle on Twitter or @DaveSwindlePJM on Instagram to be featured as we continue the search for the ultimate caffeinated wake-up.
The Presbyterian Church has once again confirmed its progressive reputation:
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) approved redefining marriage in the church constitution Tuesday to include a “commitment between two people,” becoming the largest Protestant group to formally recognize gay marriage as Christian and allow same-sex weddings in every congregation.
Is this a sign that Presbyterians are forward-looking and profoundly modern, or are they selling out? Opinion polls show that 55 percent of Americans now support same-sex marriage. No church can survive when it ignores the wishes and ideas of the culture at large. Gay marriage is going to be legalized nationwide eventually, as the culture is moving in that direction. Might as well get on board now rather than wait and be accused of being out of touch.
On the other hand, many devoted Christians rightfully argue that the Bible clearly states that a marriage is an arrangement between a man and a woman. They’ll claim they’ve got Genesis to back them up if they believe in a literal interpretation of Christianity’s holy book:
Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
What do you think? Are the Presbyterians right and should other churches follow suit, or are they selling out their religion in a desperate attempt to stay relevant in today’s society?
image illustration via shutterstock / Ivan Cholakov
You’ll Never Guess What Elton John Did Immediately After Boycotting Dolce & Gabbana for Blasting Gay Parents
Say anything negative about gay parents and same-sex marriage and you’re done for! Begone! Your business will collapse!
Italian fashion designer Stefano Gabbana and Elton John are in a war of words on social media, calling for boycotts of each other’s work. The argument stems from comments about in-vitro fertilization in Panorama magazine, in which Gabbana and longtime collaborator Domenico Dolce spoke about “synthetic” children born from “rented” wombs.
Boycotting Dolce & Gabbana, eh? Elton doesn’t just talk the talk, he also walks the walk! You’re a fanatic, or you aren’t, right? I wonder how long he’ll be able to keep this up, knowing how much he loves the Italian designers.
The iconic musician was seen carrying what appeared to be a D&G shopping bag while walking into a Los Angeles recording studio Monday morning.
Well, that sure didn’t last long. Guess beautiful clothes trump principles every time, right?
Oh my. Although we have to wait for “Comedy Central Roast of Justin Bieber” to be aired later this month, some of the jokes made at his expense have already been published. And that’s great news… if you’re like me, that is: a real Bieber-despiser. Here’s a short selection:
“Tonight we are gonna do what parents and the legal system should have done a long time – give the boy an ass-whuppin’ he deserves.” He added: “Orlando Bloom took a swing at you; you have a perfume called Girlfriend; you threw eggs at a house — not gangsta.”
“Justin as a father of six you have to straighten up, son. Last year, you were ranked the fifth-most-hated person of all time. Kim Jong Un didn’t rank that low. And he uses your music to torture people.”
Will Ferrell (you’re the best!), also weighed in:
“He sings to 9-year-olds, and his hair is like a gay figure skater.”
Even Grand Old Lady Martha Stewart had a go at boychild:
“The only place people will be following you in jail is into the shower.”
Ouch. That’s harsh. Which is, it goes without saying, great! The show airs March 30th. I’m thinking it’ll be the first time I’m actually going to watch a show featuring Bieber. Heck, I can’t wait!
They found Watson all alone, hungry and handicapped; he had lost one of his legs. So they took him to Hope For Paws’ headquarters, treated him with care and… well, you’ve got to watch the video to find out how the story ends. Let me just say this: you’d better get out your handkerchiefs.
If you love “Bohemian Rhapsody” as much as I do – it’s one of my all-time favorites – be sure to watch this version of the epic Queen song. Trust me, you’ll start your day with a bang.
Step number one: secretly put products in other customers’ pockets and bags.
Step two: put on the largest coat you own, grab everything in sight, and hide it below your coat.
Step three: go to the cash register and wait for the alarms to go berserk. Calmly walk out.
Congrats, you’re now a master thief.
So I went to 50 Shades of Grey yesterday. The Missus and I had noticed that it had caused quite a stir, and we wondered what all the fuss was about.
Well, that was a mistake of epic proportions. Why, you ask? How about this:
1. It’s advertised as a movie about hot and steamy sex, while the sex ends up being anything but…
The director apparently tried to soften the movie a bit so it wouldn’t, you know, be banned by the authorities. Great idea. The only problem? All the supposedly hot and steamy sex scenes start and end with foreplay.
2. Clichés, clichés, clichés
Supposedly hot, mean rich man seduces innocent, naive poor girl. Angelic sweet girl has a promiscuous (and hot) roommate. Really? That’s the best storyline you could come up with?
3. Female lead character Anastasia is a virgin but acts like a sex addict
She says that she kept all men at bay during her life, but has no problem losing her virginity to some guy she just met. What’s more, the scene in which she becomes a woman, so to speak, is completely ridiculous: there is no discomfort, no pain, no nothing. She pushes up her legs and let’s him have a go at it. Bye, bye, sweet innocence.
4. The lines come straight out of a bad German porn movie
You know, the ones from the ’80s? “Oh ja, das ist geil” is the equivalent of “I don’t make love, I f***.” Who actually says that? Another example: “Some people say I don’t have a heart.” “Why do they say that?” “They know me.” Ugh. Please, give me a gun so I can shoot myself.
5. The movie ends in horrible physical abuse
Just when you think it may become somewhat romantic, Christian suddenly abuses Anastasia in a scene that left my wife traumatized. Hey, Mr. Director, we’re paying for a good movie, not for PTSD!
6. Male lead character Christian isn’t a womanizer, but a psychopath
If you’re a woman who’s attracted to Christian, please go visit a shrink. The guy is a rapist in disguise, a violent psychopath to the core. If that turns you on, you’ve got serious psychological issues.
In short, whatever else you do, don’t take your wife to watch this movie. Unless, of course, you and the Missus enjoy a serious psychological trauma every now and then. In that case, you’re good to go.
Related at PJ Lifestyle:
Banning college football is un-American.
Being European, I can’t help but wonder over recent debates in the United States about the NFL and college football. Increasingly more analysts believe that these sports should be banned, or at least ‘reformed’. The latter of course meaning that they’ll lose what makes them unique and appealing to sports fans everywhere.
Now, make no mistake about it: I’m just as convinced as the average Joe that football is a very dangerous sport indeed. But why did this fact take analysts by surprise? Why do they make such a big issue out of concussions and other football-related problems? Is it a matter of them wanting to wash their hands in all innocence?
I still remember the first time I watched the NFL: I was shocked – shocked. These weren’t athletes, they were gladiators. Anyone not blind could see that they were out to hurt each other and that the crowd loved them for it.
Once I got into the NFL, I started watching college football too. It was just as great, if not better, simply because it’s less commercial. These youngsters were trying to prove themselves; they wanted to be the best they could possibly be, while hoping for a professional career in the NFL. They were willing to run through brick walls to reach their goals.
Of course, they too were taken off the field regularly. One had a concussion, another a broken leg. Some of the injured players were probably scarred for life. That much was clear.