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48 SECONDS FROM IMMORTALITY: The story of the 1990 Concord Minutemen – Goshen News

DUNLAP On March 24, 1990, more than 41,000 people packed the Hoosier Dome to watch a high school basketball game.

Most were there to see Damon Bailey, a living folk hero in Indiana. The states all-time leading scorer, Bailey had been recruited by then-Indiana University head coach Bob Knight since eighth grade. A senior now at Bedford North Lawrence, Bailey had one last chance to add a state championship to his already legendary resume.

But there was another team on the court that night the Concord Minutemen. A team from near the Michigan border, the Minutemen entered the 1990 IHSAA State Championship Game with a 28-0 record, the No. 1 ranking in the state and four future Division-I college basketball players on the roster.

In many aspects, the Minutemen were the other team. They were the other team in the title game. They were also the other Concord team, as the 1988 team, led by future NBA all-star Shawn Kemp, went 28-0 en route to a championship game appearance. The 1990 Concord Minutemen believed, though, and it put them within 48 seconds of a state championship.

This is their story.

After finishing as the state runner-up in 1988, Concord had a disappointing 1989 season. They finished 18-4, but failed to get out of the sectional round. They played the entire 1989 season without Bill Mutch, though, a 6-4 forward/center who started on the 1988 team as a sophomore. Mutch was suspended for the 1989 season due to off-the-court reasons.

With Mutch coming back for his senior season, along with players like senior Jamar Johnson, senior Micah Sharp, junior Mike Swanson and junior Jeff Massey, the preseason expectations were simple: championship or bust.

I thought anything less than a state championship would be a failed year, Mutch said. The two goals I had that year were to go undefeated and win a state championship. Those were the goals that I wrote down and looked at every single night.

It was such a strong belief that the teams motto for the season was Believe. They wore wristbands with the word on it, broke every huddle by saying 1-2-3, believe! and head coach Jim Hahn even put a banner up with the word on it inside the locker room accompanied by a picture of the Hoosier Dome.

Greg and Austin are joined by legendary Concord boys basketball coach Jim Hahn (11:45-end) to discuss the 1990 Minutemen team that finished st

We just wanted to make it a mindset that this is really what we believe that we can do and where were going to get, Hahn said.

The Minutemen faced minimal resistance to start the season. In their first 11 games, only two of them were decided by less than 10 points. Concord had moved up to No. 4 in the Indiana Associated Press rankings following an 81-68 victory over Penn to improve to 11-0 on the season.

What awaited the Minutemen next, though, was a showdown with No. 1 Warsaw. Not only was the Northern Lakes Conference championship going to be decided in this game, but the No. 1 ranking in the state was potentially on the line as well.

Factor in the Tigers beat Concord by 26 the year prior, and the Minutemen were more than ready for the biggest game in the state that week.

Going into that week, nobody had to really pump us up, Sharp said. We were ready to go because we had all remembered what had happened the year before, and now they were coming into our house.

Concord alums, like 1989 graduate Dave Preheim, went out of their way to see the top-5 matchup.

I was going to college in Kansas, and I talked to one of my college professors into letting me out of a final, or moving one of my finals, so that I could come home because we were playing Warsaw, Preheim said.

The game wasnt much of a game. Concord fed off its home crowd and stomped Warsaw, 98-67. Johnson scored 35 points as the Minutemen left no doubt who the top team in the state was.

Nobody was going to beat us in McCuen Gym, period, Mutch said. That was just not going to happen even under our watch. And it didnt. It turned out to be The Jamar Johnson Show. The four of us starters kind of stepped back and watched it happen.

That was probably just a magical night for me," Johnson added. "Just because I knew that night, everybody in the state was looking at that game. If I wanted to make All-State, this was the moment for me to make my mark. ... And man, did the stars align for us that night.

Concord seniors Bill Mutch, left, and Jamar Johnson, right, celebrate winning the 1990 regional boys basketball championship.

Concord moved to No. 1 in the following weeks rankings and stayed there for the rest of the season. They entered the 1990 state basketball tournament with an average winning margin of 21.2 points.

The Minutemen then faced no resistance in the early rounds of the tournament. They beat Goshen, Penn and Elkhart Central to win the sectional; Bremen and East Noble to win the regional and Whitko in the semistate semifinal.

All that stood in the way between Concord and a state semifinals berth literally were Jon and Joe Ross of Northfield. Standing at 6-9 and 6-10, respectively, the Ross twins posed the biggest threat to Concord throughout the postseason run. The Minutemens tallest player? Mutch, at 6-4.

I was more worried about how we were going to defend them than was worried about our offense because, offensively, I thought if wed be able to score, wed be fine, Hahn said. I was just concerned about defense.

The game came down to the final seconds. With the score tied at 52, Concord had possession. Mutch wound up with the ball and passed it off to Massey, who put up a shot. As the shot was coming down, Jon Ross blocked it, causing a goaltending call. The basket counted, and the Minutemen went up 54-52 with two seconds left in the game.

The 1990 Concord boys basketball team takes a team picture after winning the semistate championship, advancing to the state semifinals.

Northfield still had one more chance to score, but Jon Ross missed a layup as time expired. Concord was the semistate champions and on to the state semifinals the next weekend at the Hoosier Dome.

I just remember beating the crap out of those guys, Swanson said. We committed so many fouls because we were so much smaller than those guys. It was a very difficult matchup because of their height. The goaltending at the end of the game was a dramatic way to win the game.

Our whole team, we just always played as a unit, Johnson added. I think the magical moment to show that we were destined to go to Indianapolis was that last play. I mean, how does a 6-10, 6-11 guy miss a layup at the buzzer? Were talking destiny now.

Back in the single-class system, the state semifinal and final games were played on the same day. In the 1990 northern semifinal game, Concord played the Anderson Indians. The southern draw saw Bedford North Lawrence against Southport.

Concord entered the weekend with the No. 1 ranking, but they were far from being the favorites.

I talked to several of the coaches from the southern schools that (Bedford North Lawrence) played and they all told me the same thing when we talked: Jim, you have a really good team youre not going to win a state championship, Hahn said. And Im like, What do you mean? And theyre going, Damon Bailey is going to win the state championship.

The atmosphere around Concord all week was electric.

I remember getting a lot of ticket requests, I can tell you that, Mutch said.

A lot of that stuff is kind of a blur, but I do remember when we were getting on the bus to go down to state, we had a charter bus and they had police in the front and the back trailing us down to state, Sharp added.

The team went down to Indianapolis on the Friday before the state games to do a shootaround. Hahn let the team walk around the Hoosier Dome for 15 minutes before the team practiced in the former home of the Indianapolis Colts.

The Hoosier Dome hit me when we walked in there for our shootaround for our practice on Friday, Johnson said. They let all teams in there for an hour and 15 minutes; thats when it hit me. Thats when I thought, This is crazy. This is crazy.

Concord senior Jamar Johnson, left, drives up court during the 1990 state semifinal game against Anderson.

Concord played the first semifinal game that Saturday. After going up by 20 points on Anderson, the Indians came back to tie the game late. Anderson ran out of energy, though, and Concord was able to hang on to a 70-66 victory.

Playing in the Hoosier Dome wasn't that hard, according to Swanson.

The Hoosier Dome, because of the way the floor was setup we could communicate with each other because the crowd was so far away from you, and it was such a large place, Swanson said. Thats kind of what struck me. It was amazing to look around, but while we were on the floor, it was like we were in the gym by ourselves talking to each other.

Bedford North Lawrence defeated Southport, 58-55, in the second semifinal game, setting up the matchup everyone wanted: The No. 1 team in the state vs. the No. 1 high school player in the country.

We wanted to beat him because we knew he was an Indiana legend, and thats kind of how our team was we wanted to beat the best and we wanted to beat Damon Bailey, Swanson said. It was definitely something we looked forward to because we had a lot of confidence in ourselves to win that game. We wanted to beat the best because we knew if we win the state championship and beat any other team, theyre not going to look at it (the same).

There was no doubt in the Concord locker room who was going to win the state championship that night.

We thought we were going to win state when we got on the bus, so when we got to the championship game, we still were thinking were going to win the game, Sharp said.

Swanson was tasked with guarding Bailey first, something the junior knew hed have to do.

Almost every game, whoever the best player was, whether it was a point guard or a big guy, I would take on their leading scorer as a defender, Swanson said. It was kind of my role, so I knew I was going to have to guard him.

Bailey and the Stars started the game strong. The states all-time leading scorer had 11 points, BNL shot 9-of-12 from the field and they took a 24-18 lead over Concord after the first quarter.

Hahn knew he wanted to rotate different defenders onto Bailey throughout the game. After the first quarter, a defensive change was made.

I believe Jamar came into the huddle between quarters and I asked, You want to guard him? And he said, Yeah, absolutely. Thats what you want, Hahn said. You want your best player to step up to that challenge.

The adjustment worked. Bailey was held scoreless in the second quarter and Concord outscored BNL, 19-8, in the frame. The Minutemen took their first lead of the game, 31-30, on a three-point play from Mutch with 4:35 to go in the half. They led 37-32 at halftime.

"Me and Damon probably played three or four times that summer in AAU against one another," Johnson said. "So, he knew me, I knew him. Damon was the type of player where he was smart; he was a smart basketball player. Maybe I did slow him down Id like to think that."

Bedford didnt go away easily, though. They fought back to tie the game at 46 going into the fourth. Bailey scored eight points in the period to send the Stars and Minutemen into a dramatic fourth quarter.

Just intently focused on the mission at hand, Mutch said. Weve got eight minutes to go win a state championship, period. At that point, it didnt matter if there were 40,000 people in the gym or 2,000 people in the gym. We knew what needed to be done.

I dont think anybody was in fear, not even (Massey), Sharp added. Its close now, but were just going to have to squeak it out like we did at semistate.

Concord came out strong to start the fourth. It built its biggest lead of the game, 58-52, with 2:38 to go in the contest. The Minutemen could taste a state championship.

We had a possession in there as we were running the offense, there was a thought in the back of my mind, Do we pull it out? Do we make them foul or take nothing but a layup? We were probably one possession away from doing that, and we didnt, Hahn said.

Bailey wouldnt go quietly into the night, though. He went on a 7-0 run of his own to give the Stars a 59-58 lead with 59 seconds remaining in the game. Concord called a timeout.

After the break, the Minutemen executed a perfect play for Johnson. The all-state senior buried a jumper on the baseline, giving Concord a 60-59 lead with 48 seconds left in the contest.

And then, it happened.

Following the Johnson field goal, Bailey took the inbounds pass and started running up court. The BNL senior headed straight towards the basket and ran right into Mutch. The referee called the foul on Mutch.

Everyone in green and white disagrees.

When I saw it, I originally thought, That is a charge! And so then, I looked up at the screen because they had the big screens and I wanted to see the replay, Sharp said. And they showed a Prudential Insurance advertisement, and I was like, Wheres the replay? Still to this day, I believed that it was a charge.

My mind hasnt changed since my original thought on that, Hahn added.

Bailey sank both free throws to put BNL ahead by one with 40 seconds left.

On the ensuing possession, the Minutemen missed a potential go-ahead bucket. While going up for the rebound, Bailey was fouled. He made two more free throws to give the Stars a 63-60 advantage with 24 seconds left.

Concord had one more chance to tie the game. The Minutemen wound up getting four cracks at knocking down a 3 in the final 17 seconds of the game.

Johnson took the first one and missed, but Johnson grabbed the rebound and passed it to Massey. His 3 attempt then rattled out, but Sharp grabbed the rebound. Sharp ran beyond the three-point line to take a shot, but his attempt also missed. Massey grabbed one last rebound and fired another 3, but it was short. BNL junior Jason Lambrecht grabbed the rebound, the clock ran out and Bedford North Lawrence were the state champions.

"Believe" was the slogan for the 1990 Concord boys basketball team.

A cheerleader holds a "believe" sign up during a timeout at the 1990 state championship game.

The final buzzer sounds in the 1990 state championship game.

Concord coach Jim Hahn, right, consoles senior Jamar Johnson after the 1990 state championship game.

Concord cheerleaders show their emotions after the boys basketball team lost in the 1990 state championship game.

Members of the 1990 Concord boys basketball team walk off the court with the state runner-up trophy.

Concord seniors Bill Mutch, left, and Jamar Johnson, center, receive the 1990 state runner-up trophy from then-school Athletic Director Larry Jackowiak at a school rally the Monday after the state championship game. Seated clapping is coach Jim Hahn.

"Believe" was the slogan for the 1990 Concord boys basketball team.

A cheerleader holds a "believe" sign up during a timeout at the 1990 state championship game.

The final buzzer sounds in the 1990 state championship game.

Concord coach Jim Hahn, right, consoles senior Jamar Johnson after the 1990 state championship game.

Concord cheerleaders show their emotions after the boys basketball team lost in the 1990 state championship game.

Members of the 1990 Concord boys basketball team walk off the court with the state runner-up trophy.

Concord seniors Bill Mutch, left, and Jamar Johnson, center, receive the 1990 state runner-up trophy from then-school Athletic Director Larry Jackowiak at a school rally the Monday after the state championship game. Seated clapping is coach Jim Hahn.

I had nightmares after that, Sharp said. I had nightmares about that shot. I actually had a dream where that shot went in, and then I woke up and I realized it was a dream.

I was in disbelief and I had this overwhelming thought of, I just let all of my teammates down and I letdown coach Hahn, Mutch added. At that time, my heart broke for Jamar, and my heart broke for coach Hahn. That was it. Those were the two people that it bothered me the most that we couldnt finish the job.

It took Johnson and Sharp 25 years to watch the game back through its entirety. Mutch has watched it multiple times, but not in 15 years. Hahn said it took him 27 years to watch it back. Swanson refuses to watch the game.

I literally will never watch that game, Swanson said. It didnt end the way I wanted it to end. I know the result; theres no reason for me to breakdown that film and watch it again.

Mutch has the unique role of being at the center of the controversial block/charge call to end the game. While he still thinks it shouldve been a charge, hes accepted the events that transpired in that moment.

I dont mind that call being a block in that, over the past 30 years to reflect, I think Damon Bailey deserved that call, Mutch said. I am OK with it, given what he did for his entire career in Indiana high school basketball.

Concord finished the season 28-1 for the second time in three years. The 1990 team is one of five boys basketball teams from Elkhart County to ever reach the state championship game. Only one 2004 Jimtown won a state championship, under the new class system that had been implemented in 1998.

Individual stats from the season.

Team stats from the season.

Games 1-15 of the season.

Games 16-29 of season. Games 21-29 were postseason contests.

Individual stats from the season.

Team stats from the season.

Games 1-15 of the season.

Games 16-29 of season. Games 21-29 were postseason contests.

Thats why many players from the 1990 team believe theyre the best team to ever come from the county even better than the 88 Concord team led by Kemp.

I think our legacy has to be the best team in the history of Concord basketball. I really do, Johnson said. The 88 team was the most talented, but I think the 90 team goes down as the best team in the history of Concord basketball thus to this point. First time the schools been ranked No. 1. Statistically, we were probably the best team.

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48 SECONDS FROM IMMORTALITY: The story of the 1990 Concord Minutemen - Goshen News

Ginkgo: The Tree of Immortality | NCPR News – North Country Public Radio

Mar 21, 2020

The search for the Fountain of Youth dates back at least to the writings of Greek historian Herodotus in the 5thCentury BC. Notable figures from Alexander the Great to Juan Ponce de Len searched in vain for a fabled spring from which a drink could halt the ageing process. If such healing waters ever did exist, I suspect the ginkgo tree (Ginkgo biloba) may have slurped them dry more than 200 million years ago, because recent studies show that this living fossil can grow for thousands of years without any sign of faltering on a cellular level.

The term senescence is the decline in vigor that happens to all or nearly all living things as they close in on their kinds average lifespan. Of course, this varies by individual, and ones environment plays a part as well, but by and large, longevity is a factor of what species you are. There are marine barrel sponges which apparently live for 2,000 years, and some land tortoises make it past the two-century mark. On the other hand, from the time it emerges out of the water, a mayfly has but 24 hours to find a mate before its clock runs out.

Trees also run the age-gamut. Bur and white oaks, massive and picturesque trees native to our area, can live eight centuries or more in good health, while eastern white cedars found on the Niagara Escarpment were seedlings during Europes Dark Ages. In the West we have coastal redwoods older than 2,000 years, and giant sequoias which have seen more than three-thousand winters. Impressive as this is, these old-timers still face the slow decline of senescence.

The mountain ash - live fast, die young. Photo: Giallopolenta, public domain

However, a study published on January 13, 2020 in theProceedings of the National Academy of Sciencesindicates that the ginkgo tree, native to China, gets old but does not age in the way we normally think about that process. Dubbed a living fossil because as a species it has not changed in 270 million years, the ginkgo is best-known to North Americans as a street tree. It earned a place in the hearts of arborists and urban planners because it can tolerate harsh air pollution as well as heavy road-salt use and high soil pH, conditions fatal to many other tree species.

Gingko leaves. Photo: Marzena7, public domain

Unlike most trees, the ginkgo isdioecious, a fancy word for having male and female flowers on separate trees. This is important to keep in mind if you wish to plant one in your yard, because female ginkgoes bear a nut-like seed encased in fleshy pulp. After the seeds drop, this pulp decays. It stinks like rancid butter, and is almost as slippery. Most ginkgoes sold at nurseries are males, but ask just to be sure.

Conducted in Chinas Hubei and Jiangsu provinces, the ginkgo study examined 34 trees ranging from 3 to 667 years old. It looked at genes related to the making of chemicals that protect against disease, and found the same level of protection in trees of all ages. As molecular biologist Richard Dixon of the University of North Texas told CBC Radios Bob McDonald on aQuirks and Quarkssegment which aired on February 28, 2020, In relation to the immunity of the plant against stress or disease, it was hard to tell a 600-year-old tree from a 20-year-old tree. Id wager that line will show up in a marketing campaign somewhere.

Another author of the study, Jinxing Lin of Beijing Forestry University, allows that after thousands of years rooted in the same place, assuming it can avoid bulldozers, chainsaws and storms, a ginkgo tree might eventually die of old age. Thats about as close as a scientist can get to saying ginkgoes are immortal.

For humans and other animals, and every plant save perhaps the ginkgo, theres no way to dodge senescence, which shares a Latin root,senex, with senility. In that regard I envy trees. Their decline is a critical part of the forest life cycle, plus they dont have to remember where they left the car keys, or the car for that matter.

An ISA-Certified Arborist since 1996,Paul Hetzlerwanted to be a bear when he grew up but failed the audition. He now writes essays about nature. His bookShady Characters: Plant Vampires, Caterpillar Soup, Leprechaun Trees and Other Hilarities of the Natural World,is available on Amazon.

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Ginkgo: The Tree of Immortality | NCPR News - North Country Public Radio

The Nike Adidas Puma Olympic Battle Will Have to Wait – Barron’s

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...And Puma takes the gold in a time of 9.81 seconds, ahead of Nike in a thrilling race here in Rio.

Billions of people around the world watched Usain Bolt sprint to victory in the Olympic 100 meter final in Brazil on Aug. 14, 2016. Bolt, wearing the iconic Puma-made Jamaican running gear, outpaced Nike-wearing American sprinter Justin Gatlin on his way to athletic immortality.

That same summer, 600 million people watched as Cristiano Ronaldos Nike boots helped Portugal win soccers European Championship, beating a French team lit up by Paul Pogba and his Adidas footwear in the final.

Both the Tokyo Olympics and Euro 2020 have been postponed until the summer of 2021, and sports major brands are set to miss out on millions this year. The Olympics Games have become a battleground for the industry decorated swimmer Michael Phelps, who was sponsored by Under Armour, caused a splash four years ago by wearing Nike on the podium.

Puma, Adidas and Nike have long battled to kit out the worlds best sporting stars and teams at major sporting events, offering bumper sponsorship deals.

Those deals come good at the sporting calendars global events, and they dont come bigger than the Olympic Games. But with global sport on hold, the impact may not be that bad for the sector.

Read: Olympics postponement will make just a dent in Japans GDP. It could have been worse if the games had gone ahead

Earlier this month, Adidas Chief Executive Kasper Rrsted said 2020 would be an exciting year for the company, and said the brand would take center stage at the two major sport events of the year the UEFA Euro 2020 and Tokyo Olympics. It has even provided the match balls for Euro 2020.

The German sportswear giant said the financial impact of the postponements would be between 50 million and 70 million, describing the impact as fairly limited. Bryan Garnier analysts agreed the impact would be limited. Showing its competitive edge, Adidas said that while it would miss out on brand exposure it was the same for all brands.

Puma hasnt publicly quantified the impact but Chief Executive Bjrn Gulden said the Olympics typically spikes interest in sports and drives sales.

Nike Chief Executive John Donahoe was relatively upbeat about the Olympics postponement and said it would not hinder the companys innovation pipeline or product launches.

While global sport has been put on hold, Nikes third-quarter results on Tuesday hinted that the demand for sportswear may hold firm, despite the deepening coronavirus crisis. Adidas and Puma have signaled a significant financial hit at the beginning of 2020, as stores across Asia have been closed, but Nikes performance provided some positivity.

Nikes sales in Greater China fell 4% in the quarter, ending Feb. 29, having been up by double digits in the first two months of the quarter. At the peak, 75% of Nike stores in China were closed in February but now 80% are open. Digital sales climbed 30% in the country in the quarter. RBC analyst Piral Dadhania said the results suggest that sporting goods has perhaps been less affected than other sectors from the Covid-19 shutdown, with consumers focusing on health and well-being while at home. Nike, Adidas and Puma stocks all soared on Wednesday.

Looking ahead. Europe and the U.S. will be tough for Nike, as well as Adidas and Puma, in the coming weeks but the signs of an Asian recovery, and increased interest in sportswear for those stuck at home, bodes well. Crucially, major sporting events have been delayed but not canceled sport will return, and when it does its absence will have made the heart grow fonder.

As Donahoe said on Tuesday: We look forward to when organized sport will be back and running and when they are, well be there.

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The Nike Adidas Puma Olympic Battle Will Have to Wait - Barron's

With only 4k miles, this 1982 Mercedes-Benz 300SD will outlive us all – Autoblog

At a time when we are suddenly confronted with our own mortality, the notion of immortality holds tremendous sway. That's why this 1982 Mercedes-Benz 300SD, for sale right now on Bring a Trailer is even more compelling than usual. This Benz has covered just 4,000 miles and offers the promise, if not of immortality, then at least of a very, very long life ahead of it.

These diesel-powered W126-generation S-class Benz sedans are famous for their longevity, but most of them have already lived a full life in the 30-plus years since they were built. Not this example. With its ultra-low mileage and preserved condition, it's as if this Benz were only a few months old.

The '82 300SD is powered by a Mercedes's OM617 inline-six-cylinder turbodiesel, displacing 3.0 liters. Its 119 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque are dispensed to the rear wheels via a four-speed automatic transmission, and promise slow-but-steady progress. Outside, the car wears a period-perfect hue of Cypress Green. Inside, there's acres of Palomino leather. Adding to the big Benz sedan's comfort for the long haul are factory air conditioning (with a compressor that is said to have been replaced), power windows, power seats, and a power sunroof. Settle in and enjoy the ride.

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With only 4k miles, this 1982 Mercedes-Benz 300SD will outlive us all - Autoblog

Christ Provides the Antidote to Fear Amid Coronavirus – National Catholic Register

Bartolom Esteban Murillo, The Resurrection of the Lord, c. 1655 (Public Domain)

COMMENTARY: Turn to the Savior of the world who conquered death when fear or anxiety strikes.

The global coronavirus pandemic has made it clear how interconnected, vulnerable and fragile mankind is--and how undivided we are in our unity against death. As fear of this disease haunts Americans' minds and hearts to the point it's paralyzing our nation, I'm reminded how many times Christ told us, "Be not afraid," and I feel compelled to ask a serious question. If we as Catholics truly believe that when we receive Christ in the Eucharist were receiving the fountain of immortality, shouldnt we be more stouthearted in the face of this news than the secular culture around us is?

As we journey through Lent, joyfully anticipating the bright new day of Christs Easter Resurrection, this seems an appropriate time to take stock of our spiritual lives and remember what that word salvation really means. When the prophet Isaiah 12:2 says, I will trust and not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation, whats he talking about? What exactly has Christ saved us from?

Well, of course, the short answer is that hes saved us from death.

Hold on a minute. Didnt Christ come to save us from sin? Yes, but theres more to it than that, explains Wyoming Catholic College Byzantine chaplain Father David Anderson. St. Athanasius says the problem with us isnt ultimately sin. God could have forgiven all the sins of the world gratuitously without the Incarnation. But to get rid of death, which is the source of sin, God had to become incarnate and take upon himself not only sin but also death. He points to a quotation in the Book of Wisdom: God created man for life and immortality, but by the envy of the devil, death [not sin] entered into the world.

So our Lord Jesus Christ our Savior, the eternal Son of God, comes to die voluntarily in order that he might destroy the power of death, Father Anderson continues. Thats what we are preparing for now as we journey through Lent toward the greatest celebration of the year the destruction of death. The destruction of death includes the destruction of sin, but sin is the symptom and death is the disease.

In the Byzantine tradition, Father Anderson adds, hundreds of times in the course of the Paschal celebration, were going to sing, Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death. Sometimes that word trampling is translated as conquering. But the original word in Greek literally means he stomped and smashed it to bits.

Furthermore, Father Anderson reminds us, eternal life doesn't begin only at some point "after we die." Eternal life in Christ begins now.

In a reassuring March 13 letter on the coronavirus, Bishop Benedict Aleksiychuk of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of St. Nicholas in Chicago reminded the faithful that every test sent is by the will of God and that much information we receive through the mass media is incomplete or incorrect.

We are a people of faith, and that is why we see Gods Providence in this event which is teaching todays world to stop, listen and understand the language of God, the language of his mercy and love, Bishop Benedict wrote. Observing that this situation gives us a unique opportunity to love one another, he added, Let us protect ourselves, not only from this virus, which can destroy our body, but also from the virus that can kill our soul, through panic, anger, censure and confusion.

As the coronavirus reveals just how vulnerable we are as a race and a nation, fears of sickness and death have many Americans running scared. Thankfully, as people who know the meaning of salvation, weve been given the faith and hope to rise above fear and be for those around us a center of calm in the midst of the storm.

Sue Ellen Browder writes from Lander, Wyoming, home of Wyoming Catholic College.

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Christ Provides the Antidote to Fear Amid Coronavirus - National Catholic Register

Alex Salmond: from the brink of independence to a court room – FRANCE 24

Issued on: 23/03/2020 - 18:10Modified: 23/03/2020 - 18:07

London (AFP)

Alex Salmond came within a whisker of immortality among supporters of independence, when he took Scotland to the brink of a breakaway from Britain.

But six years on from the landmark referendum, he found himself battling to save his personal reputation after being charged with a string of sex offences, including attempted rape.

The feisty ex-politician was the face of Scottish nationalism for more than 20 years, taking it from a fringe issue into a mainstream phenomenon that almost broke up the United Kingdom.

He quit frontline politics in 2014, immediately after the campaign he spearheaded lost the independence referendum by 55 percent to 45 percent.

"Obviously I wouldn't have made the decision if there had been a 'Yes' vote," he said at the time.

Scottish independence though has become a permanent issue in British politics and his successor, Nicola Sturgeon, took up the cause with gusto, as Brexit breathed fresh life into his dream.

"For me as leader, my time is nearly over. But for Scotland, the campaign continues and the dream shall never die," he said at the time.

The rhetoric was typical of Salmond, who fired up crowds throughout his political career with his promise to "break the shackles" of the 313-year-old union with England.

He was set to go down in the history books as the politician who returned the energy to British politics -- and helped create a new type of United Kingdom, gaining paise from arch rivals.

The then UK prime minister David Cameron called him a politician "of huge talent and passion" who "has been an effective first minister and always fights his corner."

But the court case saw even his closest allies move to distance themselves from the jocular former first minister, including his protegee, Sturgeon.

- Made in Scotland -

Alexander Eliott Anderson Salmond was born on December 31, 1954 in Linlithgow, near Edinburgh, and graduated in economics and medieval history from the prestigious St Andrews University.

He worked as an economist with the Royal Bank of Scotland before entering the British parliament but found his calling when in 1990 he took over leadership of the Scottish National Party.

Four years before Tony Blair would do something similar to create "New Labour", Salmond steered the SNP towards the political centre and prepared to do battle.

David Torrance, author of "Salmond: Against the Odds", said both Salmond and Blair were more pragmatic than dogmatic. Their slogan could be: "Whatever works".

In the first elections for the devolved Scottish parliament in Edinburgh in 1999 -- created under Blair's leadership -- the SNP lost out to Labour and Salmond quit as leader.

He said his decision was "forever" but he was re-elected in 2004 saying: "I changed my mind."

He was rewarded with power, being elected first minister of a minority SNP government in 2007, and then in 2011 won an absolute majority -- and the promise of a referendum.

- Politician of a generation -

Salmond's charisma was hugely effective on the campaign trail but disguised what aides called an "explosive temper" and a talent for the scathing political put-down.

His supporters praise his unflagging determination and his political know-how, while his opponents brand him arrogant and misogynistic with a penchant for populism.

Many on both sides agree that he was one of the most talented politicians of his generation.

Sociable in public, Salmond has been discreet about his private life. His wife Moira is 17 years older and is only rarely seen by his side. The couple have no children.

His passions are horse racing, good wine and Indian curry, along with football and that Scottish invention -- golf.

Salmond also likes a singalong.

His favourite tune is "Scots Wha Hae" -- an ode by poet Robert Burns to an epic victory against the English at the Battle of Bannockburn 700 years ago.

2020 AFP

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Alex Salmond: from the brink of independence to a court room - FRANCE 24

How Altered Carbon: Resleeved Connects to Season 2 | Screen Rant – Screen Rant

Altered Carbon: Resleeved may be set hundreds of years before the events of Altered Carbon season 2, but thanks to the power of immortality the two are connected by a returning character. Tanaseda Hideki, the yakuza leader whom Takeshi Kovacs turned to for help in Altered Carbon season 2, also appears in Altered Carbon: Resleeved. Not only that, we get to see how the strong relationship between the two characters began.

Based on the books by Richard Morgan, Altered Carbon is set in a future where humans have discovered a way to digitize their minds and store them on disks called cortical stacks, which are inserted at the top of a spine. If a person's body is killed, their stack can be recovered and put into a new "sleeve," creating the potential for immortality. Altered Carbon: Resleeved is an anime feature spin-off of the live-action series, which follows Takeshi Kovacs in his early years as a mercenary for hire, who himself is on the run from the authorities.

Related:Every Returning Character In Altered Carbon: Resleeved

In Altered Carbon season 2, Takeshi reluctantly returns to his home planet, Harlan's World, and seeks out his most powerful contact there: Tanaseda Hideki. The head of the Tanaseda yakuza clan has a long history with Takeshi (seriously - they first met more than 280 years ago). When they meet again, Hideki explains to his great-grandson that Takeshi carried out a job for him after the fall of Stronghold, and that after Takeshi was caught and tortured by the Protectorate "in every way they knew how," he still never gave Hideki up. Significantly, Hideki once recited his family's death poem to Takeshi, making him perhaps the only person outside of the Tanaseda clan to know the poem.

In Altered Carbon: Resleeved, we get to see the first meeting between the two characters. Takeshi is carrying out a mission for Hideki, investigating his brother's death within the Mizumoto clan on Latimer, in exchange for Hideki using his influence on Harlan's World to wipe Takeshi's record there. Hideki suspects foul play within the Mizumoto clan that's somehow connected to their upcoming sacrificial ceremony, in which power is handed over to a new leader. By the end of Altered Carbon: Resleeved, Hideki discovers the terrible truth about what happened to his brother - thanks to Takeshi.

The end of Altered Carbon: Resleeved reveals Hideki's more conniving side, as he tells Takeshi that he hasn't even begun to make moves on wiping his records on Harlan's World. First, he wants Takeshi to carry out another mission for him. If viewer interest in Altered Carbon continues, Netflix may well produce more anime spin-offs as a follow-up to Resleeved, and perhaps even reveal the circumstances that led Hideki to recite his family's death poem for Takeshi.

More:When Altered Carbon: Resleeved Is Set In The Timeline

Star Wars Fans Will Forgive The Rise Of Skywalker Quicker Than The Prequels

Hannah has been with Screen Rant since the heady days of 2013, starting out as a humble news writer and eventually clawing her way up the ladder through a series of Machiavellian schemes and betrayals. She's now a features writer and editor, covering the hottest topics in the world of nerddom from her home base in Oxford, UK.Hannah enjoys weird horror movies, weirder sci-fi movies, and also the movie adaptation of Need for Speed - the greatest video game movie of all time. She has lived and studied in New York and Toronto, but ultimately returned home so that she could get a decent cup of tea. Her hobbies include drawing, video games, long walks in the countryside, and wasting far too much time on Twitter.Speaking of which, you can follow Hannah online at @HSW3K

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How Altered Carbon: Resleeved Connects to Season 2 | Screen Rant - Screen Rant

Neutralize COVID-19 hysteria with faith and kindness toward neighbors – Washington Times

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Ray Comfort, in his bookSpurgeon Gold: Pure and Refined, describes Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the 19th-century preacher who ministered in the streets of London during the cholera pandemic of 1854. Spurgeons words, says Mr. Comfort, were pure and refined. They were rhetorical and theological gold. Spurgeon, had the ability to take the hammer of eloquence and nail a particular truth, to pull back the veil of the eternal and give us a fleeting glance.

Mr. Comfort continues. Gold holds its market value. Heavens everlasting streets are paved with it Gold is not meant to sit on the shelf of a rich man. If it does, then it becomes worthless. Its real value will be seen in its being spent on the cause of the Kingdom.In other words, the gold of truth earns its value only through the spoken word and the active life of men of virtue and valor. The gold of integrity must be spent. It cannot be hoarded. It only earns its value if it is invested.

As COVID-19 hysteria sweeps across our nation, the tens of millions of us who still claim to be followers of Christ might do well to consider, not only these words from Ray Comfort, but also the words and actions of Charles Spurgeon of some 150 years past.

They are so good.

They are so faithful.

They are so pertinent and so prophetic.

They are gold.

One can almost hear Spurgeon bellowing from the podiums of New York City and Washington, D.C., as he did from his pulpit in Essex England Christians take heart! Be not afraid! Your Savior and your God, is with you! Be steadfast and immovable! Be strong and courageous! Be not afraid! Always abound in the work of the Lord!

If you listen carefully, this man, known as the Prince of Preachers, a man with a golden tongue and a refined soul, is shouting Never let a crisis go to waste. Run toward the storm, not away from it. Embrace this calamity. Have courage! This is your time. This is your destiny. This is your opportunity. Shine with the light of salvation and the love of your Redeemer. Be the Church, for Jesus, himself, has told you the gates of hell will not prevail against you! Put your trust in God, not in yourselves, and not in government. Believe in His sovereignty. Walk in His grace. March with confidence in your King!

But enough of the dross of my speculation. Hear the exact words of Spurgeon:

At first, I gave myself up with youthful ardor to the visitation of the sick, and was sent for from all corners of the district by persons of all ranks and religions; but, soon, I became weary in body and sick at heart. My friends seemed falling one by one, and I felt or fancied that I was sickening like those around me. A little more work and weeping would have laid me low among the rest; I felt that my burden was heavier than I could bear, and I was ready to sink under it.

I was returning mournfully home from a funeral, when, as God would have it, my curiosity led me to read a paper which was wafered up in a shoemakers window on the Great Dover Road. It did not look like a trade announcement, nor was it, for it bore, in good bold handwriting, these words: Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the Most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.

The effect upon my heart was immediate. Faith appropriated the passage as her own. I felt secure, refreshed, girt with immortality. I went on with my visitation of the dying, in a calm and peaceful spirit; I felt no fear of evil, and I suffered no harm.

The Providence which moved the tradesman to place those verses in his window, I gratefully acknowledge; and in the remembrance of its marvelous power, I adore the Lord my God.

Let me repeat Faith appropriated. I felt secure, refreshed, girt with immortality. I went on in a calm and peaceful spirit; I felt no fear of evil, and I suffered no harm!

This is gold. Pure gold. Refined gold.

Whether it be a bad market or a bad disease, lovers of Christ should be the first to show the world that our security is not in hand sanitizers but in our Savior.

Dont let this crisis go to waste! shouts Spurgeon.

Show the world what love, joy and peace, truly look like.

Show your neighbor, your city and your nation that even though we walk through dark valleys, fear has lost its victory and death has lost its sting.

Everett Piper, former president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, is a columnist for The Washington Times and author of Not A Day Care: The Devastating Consequences of Abandoning Truth (Regnery 2017).

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Neutralize COVID-19 hysteria with faith and kindness toward neighbors - Washington Times

Today’s Gospel in Art – The Annunciation of the Lord – Independent Catholic News

The Annunciation with St Emidius, by Carlo Crivelli - 1486 National Gallery, London

Gospel of 25th March 2020 - Luke 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. He went in and said to her, 'Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you.' She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, 'Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God's favour. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.'

Mary said to the angel, 'But how can this come about, since I am a virgin?' 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you' the angel answered 'and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. Know this too: your kinswoman Elizabeth has, in her old age, herself conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God.' 'I am the handmaid of the Lord,' said Mary 'let what you have said be done to me.' And the angel left her.

Reflection on the Painting

In the summer of 1995 I moved to London, where I have lived ever since. One of the very first paintings I saw was this magnificent canvas by Carlo Crivelli, at the National Gallery. The burst of colours (and this photograph doesn't entirely do justice to the picture), the detail and symbolism of the composition moved me. Still when I see this painting now, it reminds me of the start of that new chapter in life. Like an old friend reminding you of good times, art has the power to remind us of past times.

We see the ray of light from the Holy Spirit descending upon Mary. The closed passage into the depth at the left and the flask holding pure water in Mary's bedroom refer to Our Lady's virginity. The two other figures in the foreground are the angel Gabriel and Saint Emidius, carrying a model of Ascoli Piceno, a town in Marche, Italy, of which he is the patron saint. It is not unusual to see a local saint effectively intervening and being depicted as part of a biblical event. The apple in the foreground represents the forbidden fruit from the Garden of Eden, and therefore serves as a symbol of sin. The cucumber, balanced on the edge of the painting towards the viewer, symbolises the reversal of sin: resurrection and redemption. The peacock is associated with immortality, because it was believed that its flesh never decayed.

A man on a bridge is reading a message handed to him by another man, delivered by the carrier pigeon in the cage beside them, a clever analogy of the message of the Annunciation itself. Around them the town goes on, oblivious to the events depicted. Only a small, innocent, pure child peering round the corner seems to be interested in what is happening. A whole world goes on its way, apparently oblivious to the new Christian chapter in history which has begun in this very scene. Only Mary is complete in her way of being ready, humble and available to respond to the Lord

Today's story - https://christianart.today/reading.php?id=369

Christian Art Today - https://christianart.today/

Tags: Christian Art Today, Patrick van der Vorst, Carlo Crivelli

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Today's Gospel in Art - The Annunciation of the Lord - Independent Catholic News

The Vampire Diaries: The 10 Most Hated Storylines | ScreenRant – Screen Rant

Watching The Vampire Diarieswas often like a mad rush because so much happened in each episode. The momentum kept the fans watching for eight seasons, even after the central character, Elena was gone or "asleep." We were pulled in by the main characters' arcs and friendships. Additionally, the storylines were dramatic and interesting, pulling us in, making us want more.

RELATED: The Vampire Diaries Universe Top 10 Love Triangles

However, not every storyline was stellar; some became dull, or problematic, or even too dramatic. Which are the most hated storylines?

Damon finds out that his and Stefan's mother has been banished and imprisoned in a Gemini-coven prison world. He wants to bring her back, but she won't come without the heretics, witches-turned-vampire. When the group works to bring her friends back as well, Mother Salvatore appears to prefer the heretics to her sons, further rubbing the salt into both Stefan and Damon's wounds.

The heretics could have been interesting characters, but other than Valerie, the rest weren't given much screen time or allowed for much character development. We had Mary Louise and Nora, two heretic lovers who were never able to express their love in the world that they came from. So much more could have been done with their storyline. Additionally, all the heretics seemed to be devoted to Mother Salvatore, as if she were their mother. This loyalty was never really fully explored.

The Silas storyline was extremely dramatic. We learned where the doppelgangers started from--Silas and Amara. We also learned that Qetsiyah had cursed them, especially Amara who had to suffer supernatural beings walking through her in order to get to the other side.

Due to this role, Amara was desperate for a cure to her immortality. All of this could have been very interesting, and part of it was. However, the majority of this storyline became too melodramatic and diverted from the more interesting drama of our core group.

Stefan knew Valerie before either was a vampire. She was his first girlfriend prior to his all encompassing love for Katherine. We find out that Valerie still has a torch for Stefan, and that she had been pregnant with Stefan's child, losing it in a miscarriage. Knowing this complicated Stefan's feelings.

RELATED: The Vampire Diaries 10 Most Shameless Things Stefan Ever Did

Meanwhile, he had been assuring a jealous Caroline that she had nothing to fear about his past with Valerie. In the end, Stefan leaves Caroline (partly to save her), but he abandons her in that he doesn't even stay in touch. During this time, he is attached to Valerie. She is her girlfriend. He may have stayed with her due to their history, but it was clear that these two didn't have much of a future.

Once Stefan left and Caroline had the twins, she couldn't leave the twins. As much as she assured herself and others that she wasn't technically their mother, she felt attached to them. They had been magically transferred to her womb when their biological mother (Jo) was murdered, and Caroline carried them, giving birth to them. She couldn't help but love them, wanting to be in their lives. When she tried to convince herself that she loved Alaric, their father, it didn't ring true. It was more of a marriage of convenience and mutual respect, than that of love.

However, Alaric did seem to feel true romance for Caroline. This felt a little strange, especially since he had been a teacherat her school when Caroline was a high school student, and her best friend, Elena, was his first wive's daughter. This relationship had the yuck factor all over it.

This is another storyline that could have been more interesting. After all Jeremy inherited his powers as a vampire hunter, and his sister's friends are vampires--Elena became one, too. We do have moments when Damon is teaching him how to use his powers, which are light and fun. However, over all the brotherhood of the hunters proves dull.

RELATED: 10 Shows with Vampires If You Miss The Vampire Diaries

They were supposed to be presented as terrifying, even to the original vampires. It was hard to see Jeremy as anything other than Elena's sometimes annoying little brother. We would have loved to see Jeremy struggle more with his power and what it meant to him.

Rayna was a more interesting hunter than Jeremy. Built from the powers of multiple shamans, Rayna had an immortal focus on killing those she marked. Once she had marked you, you had very little luck of surviving. True, they tried to make Rayna more interesting by focusing on her history and her inability to change her hunting ways. Rayna even gave her powers to Bonnie, leaving Bonnie to sacrifice once again and with a thirst to kill her friends.

The problem with the Rayna storyline is that it got drawn out for so long and prevented our favorite characters from sharing the same space.

Of all the quick and nonsensical deaths, Tyler's is one of the worst. He ties with Vicki's. However, at this time, we finally got to know Tyler, see him grow, and see his connection to his friends. Elena had sent him off, telling him to get the future he deserved. Damon, wanting everyone to give up on him since he is under the influence of the Siren, kills Tyler.

Damon thinks that this is the one act that can't be forgiven by his brother and friends. Of course, his act doesn't work, and they all are Team Damon. Still, this quick killing of Tyler seemed a poor send-off to a beloved character--purposeless.

Alaric was transformed by Esther, the original witch and Klaus's mother, into an enhanced vampire. He is no ordinary vampire though, Esther gave him the power of an original vampire and enhanced that power even more. Alaric resurrected as a shadow of himself, now hating any vampires and any friends of vampires.

RELATED: The Vampire Diaries 10 Hidden Details about Mystic Falls You Didn't Notice

On one hand, it was interesting to see good-guy Alaric turn evil. However, he wasn't an evil part of himself, but rather a completely different character.

Bonnie becomes an extremely strong witch in her ability to adapt and grow. However, her friends both count on her and take advantage of her. She is made to sacrifice a lot for her friends: her family, her love, her powers, and even her life. She constantly lives or dies for others. Finally, in the last couple seasons, she seemed to be living her life, having her own narrative.

Still, this character deserved better than to be the one who constantly sacrificed for others. Her role shouldn't just be the friend. After all, she is the recipient of a long legacy of witch powers, a Bennett witch. More should have been done with that.

Finally, many fans had what they wanted--Damon and Elena as a couple. For seasons, Elena fought against her feelings for Damon. And for seasons, Damon had been trying to convince Elena to be with him instead of his brother, Stefan. It caused friction and tension between the two brothers, and it created an epic love triangle. After Elena becomes a vampire, she realizes that she loves Damon, choosing him over Stefan. Fans should all cheer, right?

Wrong. Since Damon made Elena a vampire, she became sired to him. Whatever Damon told her, she followed. This cheapens their relationship, and partially makes it seem that it's not an equal one, that Damon has power over Elena. She changes for him. Not a good sign to the beginnings of a relationship. Luckily, their relationship was able to change and develop. However, this wasn't a good way to start. Thus, their passionate session made fans cringe rather than feel happy for them.

NEXT: The Vampire Diaries The 7 Doppelgangers, Ranked

Next10 Best Val Kilmer Movies Ever, Ranked (According To IMDb)

Heather Frankland is a writer, teacher, and public health advocate. She has had creative work published in literary journals and online websites. She enjoys analyzing her favorite shows and movies and is happy to exercise that talent at Screen Rant, previously exercised in long conversations over beer with friends.

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Doctor Who: The Top 10 Tenth Doctor Episodes, Ranked According to IMDb – Screen Rant

For three seasons of Doctor Who, David Tennant's Tenth Doctor won Whovian hearts with his distinctive wit and depth as the most tortured Time Lord in the universe. This combination of humor and narrative complexity has made Ten one of the most beloved Doctors to date, and indeed, some of the most memorableWho storylines were conceived in this era.

RELATED:Doctor Who: 10 Most Shameless Things The Tenth Doctor Ever Did

Showrunner Russell T. Davies, along with writers like Davies's future successor Steven Moffat, helped create a world of intricate (sometimesquiteintricate) and mindblowing plots. Here are the top ten Tenth Doctor episodes, ranked according toIMDb:

The Doctor is not always a fan of his own longevity, but it's no surprise when mortal beings jump at the chance for immortality. In this first installment of a two-part story arc, the Doctor and his companion Martha (Freema Agyeman) insert themselves into an early-twentieth-century community to evade the Family of Blood, which wants to obtain the Doctor's Time Lord life span.

RELATED: Doctor Who: 5 Reasons Martha Was A Better Companion Than Clara (& Vice Versa)

To prevent this, the Doctor becomes human and assumes the identity of a teacher named John Smith. Martha is perhaps the real hero in this story, as the Doctor essentially orders her to "invent a life story for me, find me a setting, and integrate me." Stuck with a Time Lord who doesn't know who he is and has no power? Pretty tough luck for a companion.

This one-off episode from season four follows the Tenth Doctor as he attempts to discover the source of terror on a shuttle traversing the planet Midnight. Written by Russell T. Davies, the episode is an instance of the oft-used format inDoctor Who: isolation in an enclosed space, with a group of strangers that the Doctor must persuade into following his lead. In this case, the strangers run into some slight trouble with, well, getting possessed.

As the crew members lose their calm, the Doctor doesn't always maintain his, either. "If we're going to get out of this, then you need me," Tennant's angry Ten exclaims at one point. Considering how irrational they all become, who can blame the Doctor for getting a little unhinged?Fun fact: guest-star Colin Morgan began playing the title character in BBC One'sMerlinsame year "Midnight" debuted.

In this penultimate episode of season four, the Tenth Doctor andDonna (Catherine Tate) are joined by a litany of pastcompanions in their quest to save the planet and over a dozen others that have gone missing.

RELATED:The Sarah Jane Adventures: 10 Worst Episodes Of The Doctor Who Spin Off

"The Stolen Earth" is actually a crossover episode between Whoand its two majestic spin-offs,TorchwoodandThe Sarah Jane Adventures. As such, it boastsa tremendous cast that sees Rose (Billie Piper), Captain Jack (John Barrowman), Sarah Jane (Elisabeth Sladen), and Martha (Freema Agyeman) assisting the Doctor once more. In this episode and its second part, "Journey's End," the Doctor battles the Daleks, who are perhaps his most iconic enemy in the Whoniverse.

In defense of the Family of Blood, who wouldn't want to live as long as a Time Lord? Unsurprisingly, the Doctor reigns victorious over the Family in this follow-up to "Human Nature," but not without some striking emotional revelations. "Family of Blood" features a heartbreaking speech from Martha when she says of the Doctor, "He's just everything to me, and he doesn't even look at me, but I don't care, because I love him to bits."

Considering all that Martha does to help the Doctor (especially when he doesn't even remember who he is), the moment is particularly devastating.

How often do you get to see the Doctor regenerate into the same incarnation? That's (sort of) what transpires at the start of this season four finale, which constitutes a sufficiently emotional follow-up to "The Stolen Earth." The injured Doctor partially regenerates to get back in tiptop shape, and explains in a hallmark moment of wit, "Used the regeneration energy to heal myself, but as soon as I was done, I didn't need to change. I didn't want to. Why would I? Look at me."

RELATED:Doctor Who: 10 Times The Doctor Broke His Own Rules

This clever event is followed by the successful defeat of the Daleks, but also the tragic end of Donna's time as the Doctor's right-hand woman. In one of the most disturbing companion departures, her memory of the Doctor and all their escapades must be removed. Although season four was Tennant's last as the Doctor, he did not regenerate into Eleven in this episode; instead, a few standalone episodes were released over a year after season four, culminating in the "The End of Time."

Past, present, and future collide in this wacky episode that invokes both space traveland corsets. After discovering a 51st-century spaceship in which he can see an 18th-century French girl through a fireplace, the Doctor must figure out what's so special about her -- and, of course, how to save the day.

The episode is a brilliant combination of the historical period pieces and futuristic space plots thatWhoexecutes so well.

In the perpetually-traumatic finale to season two, the Doctor and Rose Tyler are separated indefinitely by the aftermath of a battle involving the Daleks and Cybermen. When one Cyberman says, "Together, we could upgrade the universe," you know it's going to be a tough battle!

RELATED: Doctor Who: 10 Reasons Why Rose Tyler Was The Best Companion

Although Earth is saved, Rose and the Doctor end up stuck in two different universes. Much more than a wall separates them, but both gravitate toward the physical area in which Rose was pulled into the parallel universe. Tennant delivers an incredible performance, touching the wall with an eerily vacant look in his eye, butBillie Piper's delivery is even more affecting as she sobs uncontrollably in her new world. While Rose and the Doctor's reactions may differ, their trauma is most certainly equal.

The enigma of River Song (Alex Kingston) and the Doctor begins ... and then ends, in a sense ... during the first installment of this two-part story arc, where viewers see the two meet. This is their first encounter from the Doctor's point of view, that is. As Whovians know, "first" is highly relative when dealing with the chaotic nature of relationships onWho, especially the inherently nonchronological saga of the Doctor and River Song.

The episode kicks off when Donna and the Doctor arrive at an unusually empty library, where they encounter the homicidal and shadowy Vashta Nerada. Alex Kingston's debut as River Song is a powerful one, as her sensitive reaction to the Doctor quickly convinces viewers that their relationship is terribly complex -- even if we have not seen any of it.

The follow-up to "Silence in the Library" includes one of the most momentous moments inWhocanon: River Song's death. It's a rare moment that becomes even more traumatizing when you progress through the show, because at this point, viewers had only seen River Song in one other episode. River's subsequent character development, including her relationship with not only Ten but Eleven, and Twelve, is one of the most complex and rivetingWho storylines.

RELATED:Doctor Who: 10 Most Devastating Deaths Of The Modern Series, Ranked

For one, River is later revealed to be the daughter of Amy and Rory Pond, two of Eleventh Doctor's principal companions.OnlyDoctor Whocan kill off a character before you even know her,thendevelop her and make you swoon. Kind of similar to the Doctor's experience, huh?

The persisting critical and audience acclaim for this haunting episode is no surprise, given that it introduced one of the most sinister villains inWhohistory: the Weeping Angels. Written by Steven Moffat and guest-starring Carey Mulligan, the story follows Mulligan's Sally Sparrow as she grapples with the "timey-wimey" effects of the Angels. The Weeping Angels have appeared in severalWhoepisodes since, including a season seven episode that concluded Amy and Rory's time as companions to Eleven.

NEXT: Doctor Who: 5 Best And 5 Worst Eleventh Doctor Episodes

Next10 Things That Happened in Season 1 of Game Of Thrones That You Completely Forgot About

Kat is an English major at The George Washington University in Washington, DC. As a lifelong television and film enthusiast, she's a fan of innovative visuals and morally ambiguous characters (preferably, both at the same time!).

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Doctor Who: The Top 10 Tenth Doctor Episodes, Ranked According to IMDb - Screen Rant

Boost your spirits with fun rom-coms – Boston Herald

Love will help us get through this period of self-quarantine and social distancing. So will laughter. Thats why romantic comedies are a good choice for pausing pandemic anxiety for a few hours. Here are five that fit the times in their own special ways.

The Holiday (2006)

Youre in safe hands for a cinematic getaway when director Nancy Meyers is in charge. She makes movies that are funny, sophisticated images of a dream life. Her films also provide ideas for dream date, dream best friends and dream kitchens.

Meyers achieved cable-rerun immortality with The Holiday, a rom-com too good to limit to December. The house-swap escapade sends a high-powered Hollywood exec (Cameron Diaz) off to vacation in a cozy English cottage, while its usual resident, a British columnist (Kate Winslet), borrows the execs luxurious Los Angeles trophy home.

Whats the best part of a film thats as comfortable as fuzzy socks and flannel pajamas? Is it Jude Laws take on a humble, awkward widower? Jack Blacks sexy side? Winslets friendship with an elderly screenwriter played by the great Eli Wallach? Yes, all that, plus Diazs endless supply of off-white winter knitwear. Keep watching over and until you feel much better about life.

The Big Sick (2017)

Its a counterintuitive pick, maybe, but star and co-screenwriter Kumail Nanjianis tender comedy about a man who breaks up with his true love, then sticks by her through a medically induced coma makes a hopeful statement about surviving a medical crisis.

Nanjiani is wonderful in a plot based on his real-life courtship of his wife, co-screenwriter Emily V. Gordon. Whether dealing with his strict Pakistani parents (Anupam Kher and Zenobia Shroff), who are pushing an arranged marriage, or facing the skepticism of his girlfriends mom and dad (Holly Hunter and Ray Romano), he depicts the learning curve that anyone goes through when love is tested by uncontrollable outside forces.

Same goes for Zoe Kazan, who is superb as a woman who realizes that perfection in a relationship is unattainable, but extreme loyalty might be even better. If you think its impossible to laugh in a time of viral peril, the funny human moments here will correct that impression.

Youve Got Mail (1998)

Oh, the simple days of AOL email accounts. This classic Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan reboot of 1940s Shop Around the Corner directed and co-written by the great Nora Ephron is set in the dinosaur age of technology, yet its just the thing for coping with 2020.

What better way to conduct a flirtation right now than through online chatting and never actually meeting? And what more charming conflict than a feud between an indie bookstore owner (Ryan) and the scion of a mega-bookstore chain (Hanks)? It almost (but not quite) makes you forget your library is closed and your local bookstore is taking a big financial hit.

And given how much we all need a cathartic cry, the moment where Hanks wipes away Ryans tears Dont cry, shopgirl is one of the most exquisite weeping inducers of the last 30 years.

Jumping the Broom (2011)

Paula Patton and Laz Alonso star as the gorgeous young couple whose lavish wedding on Marthas Vineyard seems destined to be disrupted. But its still a reminder that family gatherings with dozens of testy relatives may not be the worst thing to endure.

As Patton and Alonso see their plans begin to unravel, a strong supporting cast finds comedy gold in the tensions of clashing relatives and in-laws. With Angela Bassett and Brian Stokes Mitchell as Pattons snooty parents, Loretta DeVine as Alonsos clingy mother, and Meagan Good and Gary Dourdain as the maid of honor and reception chef who send sparks flying, youll be saying I do to this comedy of misunderstandings, unearthed secrets and, eventually, blessed reconciliation.

The American President (1995)

The biggest problem faced by President Andrew Shepherd, at least for much of this politically themed rom-com, is convincing a florist he is not prank-calling when he tries to order flowers for the lobbyist who has stolen his heart.

Sure, there is some agonizing over an environmental bill and a mini-scandal involving the lobbyists youthful involvement in the protest movement. But rest assured, the ride in this star vehicle driven by Michael Douglas and Annette Bening is a smooth fantasy version of high-profile love affairs, not to mention government in action.

And if the ballroom scene in Beauty and the Beast animated or live action is your ultimate in swoon-level dances, check out Douglas and Benings twirl at a White House state dinner. As they used to say in 1995 (or maybe it was 1935?), yowza!

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Boost your spirits with fun rom-coms - Boston Herald

Questioning the Shutdown | RR Reno – First Things

The extraordinary shutdown, if continued, will have harmful consequences that go far beyond the economy. A short period of decisive action to buy time to prepare may be prudent. But ongoing measures of mass mobilization are likely to do severe damage to our society.

The Wall Street Journal editorial Rethinking the Coronavirus Shutdown warns of the economic consequences of a prolonged lockdown. We could be heading toward a drastic decline in GDP. This will dislocate the lives of tens of millions and exact human costs, not just economic ones. Already, federal officials are gearing up to spend one trillion dollars. Central banks have committed nearly two trillion dollars to stabilize markets. These extraordinary measures indicate how perilous the situation has become.

As Warren Buffet says, when the tide goes out, you discover who has been swimming naked. He meant to capture an economic truth. When credit tightens in a down market, the indebted and improvident are exposed. But the quip holds true more broadly. The shutdown puts stress on our economic system, to be sure, but it can damage our political and social systems as well. In the end, the latter are more important.

Earlier in the week I wrote about Christian churches, especially the Catholic Church. Cancelling services and closing churches underlines the irrelevance of institutional Christianity in our technocratic age. We are bombarded by the gospel of perpetual youth won through diet and exercise (supplemented by the ersatz immortality of social media fame). If churches are darkened in the face of sickness and death, only TV talking heads, media pundits, and public health officials will speak to our anxieties and fears. This reinforces the secular proposition: Life in this world is the only thing that matters.

The docility of religious leaders to the cessation of public worship is stunning. It suggests that they more than half believe that secular proposition.

Other institutions are at risk. State-encouraged self-isolation and restrictions on public gatherings have paused institutional life. There are no Boy Scout meetings, no Little League practices, no Rotary Club or Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Most book clubs are suspending their evening discussions, even though these small gatherings are permitted. Closed restaurants dissolve informal coffee klatches. Some institutions, organizations, and fellowships will rebound when the draconian limits on social life are lifted. But some will not. And the longer those limits last, the more will wither and fade away.

Earlier generations understood that institutions anchor our lives. Thats why German children went to school throughout World War II, even when their cities were being reduced to rubble. Thats why Boy Scouts conducted activities during the Spanish flu pandemic and churches were open. Weve lost this wisdom. In this time of crisis, when our need for these anchors is all the greater, our leaders have deliberately atomized millions of people.

Society is a living organism, not a machine that can be stopped and started at our convenience. A person who is hospitalized and must lie in bed loses function rapidly, which is why nurses push patients to get up and walk as soon as possible after sicknesses and operations. The same holds true for societies. If the shutdown continues for too long, we will lose social function.

Undoubtedly shelter in place will slow the spread of disease, but at what cost to the body politic? Beware public health officials who advise burning the village in order to get rid of the pestilence.

And beware those who pronounce that we should save lives at any cost. Thats a dangerous falsehood, one that leads to barbarism and slavery. There are many things more important than physical survivallove, honor, beauty, and faith. Anyone who believes that our earthly existence is worth preserving at any cost will accept slavery. As St. Paul teaches, he is already a slave, spiritually speaking.

The defining moments of the coming weeks and months will not be those of sickness and death, as much as those sad realities will anguish us. Modern history shows that epidemics, earthquakes, tsunamis, and other natural disasters can take life, often on a vast scale (tens of millions died from the Spanish flu in 1918-19). Yet society goes on pretty much as before.

I worry that this will not be the case in 2020. Imbued with the illusion that, if we but muster our collective will, we can master nature and tame deathan illusion Pope Francis warned against in Laudato Siwe risk going mad. We are being seduced into adopting methods of total war to fight COVID-19. I fear that, if we continue down this path, our wartime mentality of mass mobilization will have untold consequences, many that we will deeply regret. Wars, not epidemics, turn the wheel of history.

R. R. Reno is editor ofFirst Things.

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Letter: Coronavirus scare is well beyond faith – Grand Forks Herald

Coronavirus: God, where are you?

War, famine, pestilence. Here we go again. The biggest lie that human imagination ever created: A benevolent God? Really? We profess faith in this benevolent entity while simultaneously quaking in our boots, afraid to even go to church or synagogues or mosques. Hello! Life is not a rehearsal for an afterlife. It is the here and now.

Miracles and catastrophes the former far outnumbered by the latter. Why? Serendipity. Fortunate circumstances. A fire, a car crash, one survives, another doesnt. Circumstance, not divine intervention. Or is it that only God has the right to be capricious? Its absurd.

An infamous dictator said that a big lie is easier to believe than small ones. It is a matter of faith, not subjected to critical thinking but rather appealing to simplistic wishful thinking.

A hero is not one whose conduct is based on illusionary immortality (martyrdom). A hero is one whose conduct is not influenced by illusion, instead willingly accepts oblivion.

In other words, religious faith may comfort you, but if that is the basis for your conduct, you are ignorant, a fool, an idiot or all of the above.

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Letter: Coronavirus scare is well beyond faith - Grand Forks Herald

Rick And Morty: 5 Of The Funniest Jokes (& 5 That Took It Too Far) – CBR

Rick and Morty is a fabulous animated series that has received high accolades (and for good reason). The series is extremely controversial and has crossed several boundaries, but what fantastic TV show or movie hasn't caused an uproar of debate? The TV series' success is well-deserved due to its phenomenal storytelling mixed with in-depth, detailed character arcs.

RELATED:Rick & Morty: 10 Best Sci-Fi Alien Races, Ranked

This brilliant comedy tells very dry, sarcastic jokes that only a niche personality laugh at. That being said, the series' success calls attention to the fact that most of the jokes are understood and received in a positive manner. But what happens when the jokes are misread and taken too far? Here is a list of five well-received jokes, and five jokes that audiences may have taken the wrong way.

Season 3 Episode 4 is a classic comprised of a hilarious recreation of the cult classic movieSaw. Rick drinks a little too much the night before and takes out his hatred for the Vindicators through reworking the entire mission to put them all in danger.

RELATED: 10 Unsettling Fan Art Images Of Realistic Rick And Morty Characters

Although putting other people in danger is not funny, the audience sees the humor in Rick's actions because of the snooty and elitist personalities of the Vindicators. As a result, the dark comedy is an overall positive in relaying how well Morty knows Rick and the audience is onboard with all the laughs.

When Rick and Jerry visit the immortality planet, two kids are introduced "playing" with each other by playing a game of tag with weapons. They would run around and shoot one another and would come back alive. All fun and games! However, this quickly takes a turn for the worst when the immortality sphere is turned off.

In a quick cutaway, the two kids are shown playing their game of tag, but when the brother shoots the sister, she ends up dying from it. This joke was taken to a way darker place then where it started and it left audience's feeling upset rather than joyful.

We all know the way Rick messes with Morty by taking him on adventures that are much more dangerous than they expected. Well, at the beginning of season 3 episode 6, Morty complains that he wants to live a normal childhood, but ultimately gets roped into another mission. This mission is anything but quick and easy.

The sudden twist to the two complaining they almost died is hilarious and satirical. It truly shows how Morty will never live a "normal kid's" life.

This is no laughing matter. The content of this scene is brutal to watch and leaves the audience feeling empty. Harsh representations of depression like this one in the show are the opposite of funny and the writing is questioned to go too far.

For these reasons,Rick and Morty holds a very niche audience because of content like this one that just simply are not funny.

Pickle Rick was one of Television's greatest creations making for an overall comedy masterpiece. When Rick turns himself into a pickle, the audience is taken through the struggles he has of staying alive without arms or legs.

RELATED: Rick And Morty: 10 Sci-Fi Inventions So Powerful They Could Destroy The World

This was a huge positive for the show and took it even farther than on-screen. Pickle Rick merchandise went viral and ended up being a huge hit in the marketplace. This is a true example of some fantastic comedy material making a huge difference on audience's lives.

This sequence is ultimately traumatizing and awkward. Nobody ever wants to be put into the position of needing to bury themselves and the show turns its comical shoulder away and brings out the shoulder of truth. It serves as a moral philosophy that death is a part of everybody's lives which gives a psychological shoulder bump to its audience's.

The imaginative scenario leaves the audience with mixed emotions because of how traumatizing it is for the beloved main character.

Interdimensional cable in Rick and Morty is filled with creative short scenes that have hilarious punchlines. These scenes are anything but filler for the show's storyline because they provide comical entertainment to fans showcasing the writer's true creative abilities to create jokes.

What makes the bit even funnier is that most of the interdimensional cable is improv by comedians and actors. The thinking-on-the-spot jokes fuels the content of the show.

Fans love the character of Morty, and the show takes a jab at both the character and audience when it goes as far as saying that each Morty needs a Rick. As society becomes more and more independent and progressive, this theme hits home a little too hard for some audiences.

Questions arise such as "Why does Morty need Rick?" and "Shouldn't Morty be able to think for himself?" When these questions are being asked, it is clear that comedy is left out of the picture. Whether the show is trying to be comical or not, the story arcs become controversial after episodes like these.

When Rick and Morty leave Summer to go on an adventure, Rick says "Ship, keep Summer safe." Upon this command, the ship keeps her safe at all costs which poses to be a major legal issue. As the situation escalates, the audience laughs at the intentionally dark comedy that derives from the sequence.

Th ship becomes a great comical function to the story and the viewing experience profits from the laughs. It also develops a personality as the show goes on and cracks a few jokes against Summer in the process. Overall, this is a major win for the show.

Birdperson was a beloved character withinRick and Morty and the sudden shift in storyline was not wanted by fans. At Birdperson's wedding, he is betrayed by his wife whose sole intention was to stop Rick.

The show presents several scenarios where Rick is the center of attention in every situation, and this may have taken it too far. Upon Birdperson's death, the audience is stripped of its laughs and rather has a negative impact on the show's characters.

NEXT: 10 Things Rick And Morty Comics Added To Canon

NextWhich My Hero Academia Character Are You Based On Your Zodiac Sign?

Nicolas is a passionate writer and film maker based out of Los Angeles. He graduated with a BFA in Film Production and a Business Minor from the University of Colorado Boulder. He studied International Business in Barcelona and traveled throughout South-East Asia after he graduated. He's always looking for the next adventure!

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Rick And Morty: 5 Of The Funniest Jokes (& 5 That Took It Too Far) - CBR

Westworld series refresher, what you need to know before season 3 – Show Snob

Westworld is undoubtedly one of the most complex shows of our time.With the show being on hiatus for almost two years, people are likely to need a refresher as to where we last left off. So, here we are, trying to do our best to recap the sophomore season of Westworld.

While the show is getting a soft reboot in the new season and will be branching out to the real world (or is it just another simulation?), we spent almost all of our time last season in the park. We saw an uprising of hosts which resulted in a brutal slaughter of both the hosts and humans. Some of the hosts made it to the Valley Beyond, aka The Sublime, a digital sanctuary for hosts where they can lead a peaceful life, free from human predators.

And while the season 2 finale saw Thandie Newtons Maeve who is probably the only host who can pose a threat to Dolores getting decommissioned in the end (we cant wait to see where the queen will find herself next), it was not before she made sure that her beloved daughter made it to the Valley.

Doloress dearly beloved, Teddy (James Marsden) and Akecheta (Zahn McClarnon) also made it to the valley in the finale.

The end of Season 2 also saw Evan Rachel Woods Dolores escaping the park, as she entered the human world (or maybe just another simulation?) to endhuman dominance once and for all.

To escape, she disguised herself as a synthetic double of Tessa Thompsons Charlotte Hale, who was in charge of the park following Anthony Hopkins Fords death.

The real Charlotte Hale was already killed by Dolores herself a while ago. We also see Luke Hemsworths Ashley Stubbs, who was the head of the park security, helping her in her escape. The creators later revealed that Stubbs is a host created by Ford himself.

Dolores also managed to take five digitized balls with her, which contains the essence and psyches of some other hosts and could be used in different host bodies.

Dolores is using the android version of Hale as her insider within Delos, as she continues her role as an executive of the company. Although we still dont know who is inside her and we cannot wait to find out.

Jeffrey Wrights Bernard has always been conflicted between hosts and humans; after all, for so long, he thought that he was a human. During the season finale, we found out that Charlores killed Bernard, but later, he was brought back into the real world by Dolores. She explains that his presence is vital to her plan even though they will have to be enemies (seriously though??? What is up with that? We cant wait to find out.)

Ed Harriss The Man in Black, aka William, accidentally killed his daughter, who he thought was just another host and was a part of the mind game that Ford designed for him.

He also faced off against Dolores in the finale, which resulted in him injuring his hand severely and seriously hurting himself. As of now, he is the primary owner of the theme parks and is obsessed with the immortality project and the secrets that the company holds.

But intriguingly enough, in the post-credits scene, we saw him in a psychological prison just like the one where the younger William (Jimmi Simpson) used to interview Delos, being interviewed by a version of his daughter.

Meanwhile, we also found out that Delos real objective was to monitor the guests and collect their psyche data that is part of their larger and vital project, immortality itself.

Westworld Season 3 airs Sundays on HBO, Aaron Paul is the latest addition to the already star-studded cast of this superhit series.

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Westworld series refresher, what you need to know before season 3 - Show Snob

AAAI enters the scene in order to prevent idea thefts – afaqs

In the wake of the issue that has hit the advertising industry, the AAAI has come up with an idea to protect an agency's creative ideas.

Alan Moore, in his novel 'V for Vendetta', wrote, Behind this mask, there is more than just flesh. Beneath this mask, there is an idea... and ideas are bulletproof.

Truer words have never been spoken. Ideas are, indeed, immortal and endure the best and harshest of times in human existence. But, their immortality doesnt mean that they are immune from theft.

Yes, idea theft. It is one of the worst acts that can take place. One persons original thought is used by someone else, who ends up getting the credit for it, too. Unfortunately, the advertising industry has been a victim of this crime many times.

For instance, when Ariel released its latest ad from its long-running Share the Load campaign in March 2020, Mayank Arora, an assistant manager - social media (new Supply) at Swiggy, spoke out on social media, claiming idea theft. He said the ad was based on his insight that he had presented to an agency as a test.

In response, BBDO India, the makers of the ad, stated that they didnt have any dealings with Arora. Josy Paul, chief creative officer at BBDO India, said, "We did not meet him or give him an assignment or test. He did not present or mail anything to us. We did not work with any 'digital agency' in the conceptualisation and creation of the idea and script. The idea was originated, developed, scripted and created in-house by talent that work full time at BBDO India on the Ariel brand. Every year, we unravel a new truth about inequality at home, that no one has spoken about before. Thats what we did this year, too."

This is just one example. Unfortunately, idea theft is rampant in the industry, especially during the time of pitching, when several agencies present their creative ideas to clients.

According to a report in ETBrandEquity on March 19, 2020, the Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI), keeping this issue in mind, is in the process of developing a digital locker.

Hosted on AAAI's website, agencies can upload the creatives (or ideas) that theyve created for pitches. Once confirmed, a certificate will be issued to the agencies as proof of work.

This idea was presented to agencies because, despite not choosing to work with a particular client on a project, they (the agencies) end up seeing the clients use their ideas.

In 2019, Ogilvy India (part of WPP) took smartphone maker Vivo and creative agency Dentsu Impact to court over allegations of plagiarism. According to Ogilvy India, Vivos new ad, made by Dentsu Impact (part of DAN), was similar to the amusement park storyboard idea shared by Ogilvy Indias Brand David during a pitch.

Also in 2019, production house Matheno Films said it would initiate legal proceedings against Citi, claiming the latter's Diwali ad 'Spread More Cheer This Diwali' resembled their 2017 film 'Cup of Tea'.

The digital locker idea may help clamp down on idea thefts, which hurts a lot of agencies on the creative as well as the financial side.

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AAAI enters the scene in order to prevent idea thefts - afaqs

We’re as lonely as a cloud but the Romance isn’t dead – The Guardian

I read with interest your editorial (The Guardian view on poetry for dark times: add Wordsworth to the stockpile, 16 March) the day after my wife and I had taken a walk on Hampstead Heath to have a break from our self-imposed isolation. On the slope in front of Kenwood House we came upon Wordsworths host of golden daffodils and a magnolia tree in full bloom. This was the spot where, 40 years ago, our daughters played as children. Recalling that this year is the 250th anniversary of Wordsworths birth, on returning home I penned this mock-Romantic poem, titled Far from the Madding Crowd, Lonely as a Cloud, for our daughters and granddaughters:

As we wandered far from the madding crowdWith Hardy thoughts and Worthy wordsAll at once appeared a golden cloudof daffodils upon the sward.The greenwood tree upon the slopewhere once two little children playedIn magnolia blossom now arrayedmay still recall their childhood games And perhaps, also their names.

Not until I read the editorial was I reminded of the romantic poets fascination with the mysterious intensity of childhood.Mike FaulknerLondon

Surely the most apposite lines of Wordsworths poetry for our era of climate crisis is the stanza from his Intimations of Immortality:

The Rainbow comes and goes, /And lovely is the Rose, / The Moon doth with delight, / Look round her when the heavens are bare, / Waters on a starry night, / Are beautiful and fair, / The sunshine is a glorious birth; / But yet I know, whereer I go, / That there hath past away a glory from the earth.

I often find myself muttering those lines these days as I contemplate the loss of variety in our natural world. Wordsworth didnt know the half of it.Isabella StoneSheffield

Like Suzanne Moore (How do we face coronavirus? Common decency is our only hope, 17 March), I too am rereading Camuss La Peste, which I studied for A-level. Ms Moore quotes the main character, Dr Rieux, as saying its not a question of heroism but a matter of common decency. Interestingly, the original French is honntet and, when asked what he means by that, Rieux replies: in my case it means doing my job. Like Camus noble character in his book, thats exactly what our NHS is doing for us against all odds.Anne AbbottBath

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We're as lonely as a cloud but the Romance isn't dead - The Guardian

The 10 Most Useful Sims 4 Cheats, Ranked | TheGamer – TheGamer

The Sims 4 is a life simulation game where the player creates a character and controls their life, going through various personalities and seeing how the game plays out. Most of the challenges in the game are caused by the player, like trying to make a Sims family last for 10 generations.

Since its launch in 2014, the game has received a multitude of expansions that have lengthened its lifespan. They have included everything from career-related expansions to introducing cats and dogs.

RELATED:Sims 4 Cats & Dogs: 15 Best Mods For The Game

With the sheer amount of content and things to donot to mention challengesThe Sims 4 is not a stranger to cheating. But the game doesnt frown on this. In fact, it allows players to cheat their way to wealth, popularity, immortality, love, and more. After a regular playthrough, these cheats help to give the game a measure of replayabilityother than the expansion packs, of course. So, weve taken a look at the 10 most useful cheats in the game.

Like in real life, money in The Sims 4 is something players need to manage. At the start of the game, in particular, most of the available money is needed for basic things like paying the bills and buying groceries. And in some cases, the Sims might hardly have enough money left over to buy luxuries.

RELATED:The Sims 4: 10 Tiny Living Hacks For The Ultimate Micro-Home

For players who want their Sims to live large from the get-go, there are plenty of accommodating cheat codes. They include kaching to get 1,000 simoleons, motherlode to get 50,000 simoleons, and household.autopay_bills [true/false] to turn household bills off or on.

The Sims 4 has designated areas for players to build objects. However, there are still a number of areas that are inaccessible to the player. They might be locked lots or somewhere else. For players who want to build structures anywhere they see, these locked areas might be an inconvenience. So, the game accommodates them by allowing them to enter a cheat code or two and they can gain access to these areas.

The cheats include modebb.moveobjects which lets players put objects wherever they want; bb.enablefreebuild which lets players build anywhere they see; and bb.showhiddenobjects, which lets players buy hidden objects.

Not every Sim is sociable and finds it easy to make friends. In fact, some Sims find it as hard to socialize as some of us might have in real life. This might be intentional from the player, but if its not, theres an easy way to overcome this social awkwardness.

RELATED:Sims 4: All The Worlds, Ranked

The player can simply enter the relationship.introduce_sim_to_all_others cheat code. This will instantly introduce their Sim to all of their neighbors, breaking the ice between them. Another friendship cheat is relationships.create_friends_for_sim. This one spawns a new character who is already friends with the players Sim.

Similar to friendship, romance options in The Sims 4 are not straightforward, and not every player is successful in finding a spouse for their Sim. To help out their sim, they can just use a few cheat codes. One of the best cheats is LTR_Romance_Main. This allows their Sim to have a relationship with another one. Another cheat that players can try is modifyrelationship 'entire Sim name 1' 'entire Sim name 2' 100 ltr_romance_main. This one targets two specific Sims, and it turns the romance level between them to 100% positive.

A players Sim might be in love, in a relationship, or even married. However, they could be taking some time to make a baby. Fortunately, in the world of the Sims, this is hardly a problem. The player can simply enter a series of cheat codes that make a simor even a Ghostpregnant, and in various stages of pregnancy. For instance, sims.add_buff buff_pregnancy_trimester1 makes a Sim or a Ghost pregnant and in their first trimester. However, if a player wants to see a baby right now, sims.add_buff buff_pregnancy_inlabor makes a Ghost or Sim pregnant at term.

There are numerous ways in which a players Sim might die, and some of them are sudden and unexpected. If the player is invested in a certain Sim but they pass away, this doesnt have to remain the case. They can revive their Sim with a simple cheat code. Death.toggle [true/false] is a cheat code that prevents ones Sim from dying throughout their playthrough.

RELATED:Sims 4: 10 Best Packs For Legacy & Family Players, Ranked

But the player can also have some fun with their Sim. For instance, one can turn their Sim into a ghost for a brief period4 in-game hours. The cheat code for this is sims.add_buff Ghostly.

Death is a constant occurrence in The Sims 4, but with the above revival cheats, it doesnt necessarily have to happen. On the flip side, however, the player might wish for the demise of their Sim. And they might be looking for a creative way to die. The game caters even to these players.

The game has a series of cheats that creatively kill ones Sim, like sims.add_buff buff_death_electrocution_warning, which causes a Sim to die while repairing an electrical item. Another creative cheat is sims.add_buff buff_mortified, which causes a Sim to die from embarrassment in a mere five hours.

Sims typically have needs and wants. However, they cannot achieve all their motives at the same time. In fact, some Sims might never fully get all their motives. A simple workaround to this is the cheat code sims.fill_all_commodities. This fills all of their motives. Other cheats worth considering are fillmotive motive_hunger, fillmotive motive_fun, fillmotive motive_energy and fillmotive motive_hygiene, all of which fill specific motives like hunger, fun, energy and hygiene respectively.

RELATED:Sims 4: Secret Cheat Codes for Playstation 4 (& How To Use Them)

To complete the aspirational goal of a Sim, one can also use aspirations.complete_current_milestone. And, for more control over the level of satisfaction their Sim has, the player can decide on the satisfaction points to give them through sims.give_satisfaction_points X.

Not every cheat code is meant to give the Sim an unfair advantage. In fact, some cheat codes are quite helpful if the Sim is stuck somewhere. One such cheat code is resetsim [SimFirstName] [SimLastName]. Another one is Reset Stuck Sim. When a Sim is stuck, both of these cheat codes send them to a location they are able to move freely.

RELATED:Sims 4: 15 Completely Functional Tiny Homes (That Use No Custom Content)

Other cheats include Dirty Object, which makes an object clean; Object, which resets an object; Ground, which teleports the players Sim to a certain location; and Mailbox, which resets the mailbox.

Not every item is visible to the player, and especially not early on in the game. Some players dont mind this because they want a sense of accomplishment as they slowly unlock things in the game. But if its a replay, others might not be so patient. Thats where the Debug Cheats come in.

When TestingCheats is enabled, these are codes that show nearly every object available in the game, whether or not they are functional. For instance, the player might unlock non-functional objects like background houses and undrivable cars. They can also unlock functional objects like public toilets.

NEXT:The Sims 4: 15 Must-Have Mods For Better Gameplay

Next10 Awesome Shadow Of Mordor Mods That Make The Game Even Better

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The 10 Most Useful Sims 4 Cheats, Ranked | TheGamer - TheGamer

How Altered Carbon, The Good Place, and Black Mirror explore eternal pleasure – Polygon

[Ed. note: This article contains major spoilers for The Good Place season 4, Altered Carbon season 1, and the Black Mirror episode San Junipero.]

Fiction is filled with depictions of hell. From Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Event Horizon, writers and directors have imagined the horrors of endless torture, and graphically demonstrated the way that experience could break victims body and mind.

Visions of heaven are far rarer. Thats understandable, since fiction is typically built on conflict, and theres a lot less of that in places traditionally defined by peace and goodness. The Buffy spinoff Angel and Amazon Prime Videos adaptation of Good Omens imagine heaven as boring compared to life on Earth, but other works take a much darker view of eternal bliss. The Matrix posited that human minds would reject any paradise that didnt have some form of suffering. And several recent TV shows have delved deeper into the idea, exploring the philosophical and cosmic ramifications of immortality, and how living forever would affect our sense of pleasure.

Pleasure in eternal life was one of the dominant themes of season 1 of Netflixs Altered Carbon, a cyberpunk show set in a future where the ultra-rich use a mix of cloning and alien technology to avoid death. The conceit is primarily used to explore the illusion of upward mobility, as power and wealth stay permanently consolidated in a few peoples hands, while everyone else is condemned to age and die as humanity always has. Yet the writers also posit that even having everything cant save people from their own natures.

After living for hundreds of years, the Meths (named for the long-lived biblical figure Methuselah) have become jaded with typical pleasures. As with Frank Cotton in Hellraiser, their boredom leads them to dark places. Season 1 depicts a party hosted by Laurens Bancroft, one of the oldest and most influential Meths. Its a display of decadence and cruelty, including guests eating a white tiger, and cheering as a married couple fights until one of their bodies is destroyed. During a party game where each guest shows off something unique they brought to the event, one attendee reveals that she put the mind of a death-row inmate in the body of her pet snake, just to see what would happen. She laughs as she explains it broke his mind.

The Meths push the boundaries of morality even further when it comes to finding sexual pleasure. Laurens daughter apparently gets a thrill from having sex in the body of one of her mothers clones. Miriam Bancroft offers a man shes trying to seduce the chance to have sex with several of her clones at once. Laurens himself enjoys sexual sadism, beating and sometimes killing prostitutes, then making it up to them by replacing their bodies with enhanced versions. Its another way the writers get across the shows main theme of the terrible power imbalances caused by wealth. The women consider this a fair transaction, even though being killed is deeply traumatic..

Psychologists have observed a phenomenon called the hedonic treadmill, where something new and exciting might make someone happier for a short period of time, but eventually, theyll revert back to their baseline. The Meths experience the same phenomenon, seeking more dramatic and illicit thrills as they age. Season 1s biggest twist reveals that a high-end brothel is giving the Meths a chance to permanently kill people, and that Laurens was drugged and persuaded to partake of this forbidden pleasure. Confronted by what hes done, he realizes hes lived too long, and that any future pleasure he would achieve would come at too high a cost for others. The only solution was to kill himself.

Altered Carbons writers posit that physical pleasure cant be reasonably sustained over eternity. But what if the pleasure response was removed from the body? Season 2 briefly reveals that some people have renounced physical form to upload their minds into a virtual paradise. This concept is only explored as a subplot of a single episode, so its unclear whether it really is a better solution within the shows world. But another show has explored the concept in more detail: Charlie Brookers Black Mirror, in the episode San Junipero.

In the episode, terminally ill, totally disabled, and physically dead people have uploaded their minds into a virtual realm. San Junipero is a party town where people can live in young, beautiful bodies, have casual sex, drink, dance, play games, and go to the beach. As the episodes ending song makes clear, its meant to be heaven created on Earth.

And yet, as is always the case in episodes of Black Mirror, the technology has darker aspects. Doctors ration how long living patients can spend in the simulation, saying they would go crazy if they spent too much time there. While Altered Carbon just gets into sadism, San Junipero explores the search for pleasure in sadomasochism through the Quagmire, a club that features bondage and people suffocating or assaulting each other.

The episode centers on two women, Yorkie and Kelly, who meet and fall in love in San Junipero and debate whether they should stay together there after they die. Neither believe in a real afterlife, but Yorkie thinks the simulations pleasures are real and worth enjoying. Kelly disagrees, and she has some evidence on her side. She points out that smoking there doesnt taste like anything, and people who have been in San Junipero for a particularly long time tend to pursue more extreme sensations. She tells Yorkie, You want to spend eternity somewhere nothing matters? You want to wind up like all those lost fucks at the Quagmire trying anything just to feel something? Go ahead.

One of the ways Yorkie persuades Kelly to change her mind is by pointing out that she can disconnect whenever she gets bored of their heavenly life together. That solution is also at the core of the representation of a functioning heaven in The Good Place. That show launched by focusing on Eleanor Shellstrop, a selfish woman who winds up in the titular heavenly realm by mistake, then tries to become a better person to avoid being kicked out. But by the end of season 1, viewers learn that she and the other main characters are actually in the Bad Place, being subjected to a new form of psychological torture.

The hedonic treadmill works both ways: people will also become miserable when something bad happens to them, but will eventually adapt to most downturns, and return to their previous state of happiness. The demons in The Good Place have an arsenal of bizarre and terrible tortures, like butthole-spiders and penis-flattening, but those tools have become less effective over time, leaving even the torturers feeling bored and unsatisfied with their jobs. In an inversion of the idea that heaven is dull compared to Earth, they decide that their methods cant compare to the hell that is other people, so they devise a way to let humans eternally torture each other.

Michael Schur gave his series a decidedly humanist and uplifting tone, so his characters actually wind up banding together and becoming better people. Eventually, they earn their spots in the actual Good Place, which turns out to have just as many problems at the Bad Place. After spending centuries or millennia being given everything they could want, the humans there have become pleasure zombies who have lost all the intelligence, curiosity, and desires they had in life. They barely react to the new arrivals. The architects of the Good Place try to fix things by offering up even more impossible pleasures, but their charges dont even know what to ask for.

Thats a more wholesome version of the problem depicted in Altered Carbon and San Junipero, and the solution also remains the same. The Good Place denizens are offered the chance to leave whenever theyre ready. They have eternity to enjoy time with their loved ones, learn new skills, or just read trashy novels. When all those joys lose their luster, they can simply move on to something else a peaceful state fundamentally detached from human consciousness. In the tear-jerking series finale, the shows main characters find all the pleasure they could want, and then seek the ultimate fulfillment by taking one last step into the unknown.

Theres a traditional Jewish folk tale about a king who asks for a ring that will make him happy when he is sad, and sad when he is happy. His trusted advisor realizes that no magic can accomplish this, but he solves the problem by bringing the king an ordinary ring inscribed with the message, This too shall pass. It is a reminder that all pain and pleasure is finite, as is human life itself. That truth can be comforting and terrifying, and its what makes imagining the possibility of eternity so appealing and challenging. The shows currently pondering immortal, eternal joys all conclude that the human mind cant really handle endless pain or endless pleasure, so we should just try to make the most of the time we actually have.

Originally posted here:

How Altered Carbon, The Good Place, and Black Mirror explore eternal pleasure - Polygon


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