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Category Archives: Immortality
Posted: February 9, 2017 at 6:12 am
'Faulkner: Life and Works' explores legacy of first writer-in-residence at U.Va. by Dan Goff | Feb 09 2017 | 4 hours ago
As Junot Daz finishes his time as the Universitys writer-in-residence, the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library winds back the clock 60 years to highlight the first writer-in-residence at the University the prolific and enigmatic William Faulkner. Faulkner: Life and Works is an immersive exhibition detailing the authors history both on- and off-Grounds. The exhibit opened Feb. 6 and will remain open to the public until July 7.
One of the most prominent components of the exhibition is a display containing copies of a number of Faulkner's more-famous novels. First editions of each work paired with brief summaries of the fiction and, in some special cases, handwritten manuscripts of the novels first drafts fill a large case in the center of the small room.
Even for those unfamiliar with Faulkners work, there is something thrilling about seeing the first efforts of one of Americas best known-authors, painstakingly written out in dark blue print. An added layer of interest is that some of these manuscripts were written while Faulkner was the writer-in-residence at the University from 1957 until his sudden death in 1962.
Surprisingly, the only lacking element of Faulkner: Life and Works is a more in-depth exploration of the authors time at the University most of the exhibition focuses on his life before his residency. Faulkner only visited the University in the twilight of his life when nearly all of his major works had already been published. As a result, the exhibition feels more like a celebration of Faulkner as an author rather than an examination of Faulkner within the context of the University.
It is tempting to claim Faulkner as one of the Universitys own, but the schools role in his life was tangential at best. Much the same is true of Edgar Allan Poe despite the mini-museum on the Range and the (now-extinct) Eddys Tavern, Poe spent less than a year at the University and spent a good chunk of that time accruing massive gambling debts. The University has a residential community named after Faulkner, but the degree to which the man and the school really influenced each other is a question not answered by the exhibition.
The exhibition succeeds in providing an exhaustive, engaging inspection of the most recurring and important themes in Faulkners work. Perhaps the most relevant of these both when he was alive and to this day is race. Accordingly, the exhibition has an entire case dedicated to explaining Faulkners conflicted ideas about the issues of slavery, Jim Crow laws and segregation.
Race was inextricably tied to Faulkner from birth named after his great-grandfather, a Confederate soldier, Faulkner was raised on stories of the Civil War. In his novels, he adopted what was seen as a middle-of-the-road approach to the issue of slavery that alienated his fellow Southerners but underwhelmed the more progressive North.
According to the exhibition, he described slavery as the Souths founding sin, but he also criticized the North for failing to consider the perspective of the financially ruined Southern states. These dichotomies slavery and freedom, wealth and ruin, morality and depravity occupy some of Faulkners most famous stories and haunt his most unforgettable characters.
Despite its minor shortcomings, the exhibition does a wonderful job of shining light on Faulkners deep and remarkable wisdom. The best encouragement to attend is to provide a taste of that wisdom, which the exhibit features in the shape of a quote from Faulkners 1950 Nobel Prize speech.
I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail, Faulkner said in the speech. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about these things.
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Posted: at 6:12 am
Patriots fans cheered at City Hall Plaza.
With the Super Bowl glow as fresh as ever and the New England Patriots parade barreling toward Boston Common, John Adams lined up with his family along Tremont Street and declared with confidence that Sundays win was the best championship he has ever witnessed.
It wasnt just the thrilling comeback, the Boston resident said, but it was the back story, the Deflategate, and the now-indisputable conclusion that Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have safely achieved immortality.
This is legendary status, Adams said. This is completely different than anything New England has ever seen.
At the Super Bowl victory procession Tuesday, sports fans were taking stock of their incredible run of good fortune since the Patriots broke through with their first championship in 2002.
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The first ones always the best, said Karen Erickson, 50, of Webster, who along with her husband, Steven Erickson, 47, stood inside a sandwich shop on Boylston Street waiting for the parade to begin.
The Red Sox followed with three crowns, and the Celtics and Bruins have added one apiece.
Many of those still intoxicated by the Patriots comeback win and some by other means said they could never imagine being happier fans than in 2004, when the Red Sox overcame the Yankees and trounced the Cardinals to clinch their first World Series in 86 years.
Ill say that this Super Bowl will be number two, said Josh Duhamel, of Clinton, who wore a Celtics championship jacket for good measure. This is by far the favorite, outside of the 2004 Red Sox.
Steve Nawoichik, of Burlington, said nothing can change the importance of that 2004 Red Sox win, which to him represented a new epoch for a team that had suffered for generations.
This Patriots win was more about cementing a legacy than turning a page, he said: Theres nothing anyone can do to take away from it.
But this year was different, because his two children were experiencing such a celebration for the first time.
He and his wife, Meghan, brought 3-year-old Stephen and 1-year-old Charlotte to the parade, blowing right through nap time as the 11 a.m. parade took its sweet time making it to their viewing spot near the Park Street MBTA station.
You dont know how many of these you get to go to, Nawoichik said to his son. Hopefully, theres a couple more.
Lisa Callery, of Nashua, remembered how her family followed the 2013 Red Sox World Series run while mourning her husband, Michael, who died that year. She believes he was looking down, enjoying the games, and doing the same on Sunday. You throw a lot into these, she said.
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Posted: February 7, 2017 at 8:14 am
Knowing a thing means you dont need to believe in it. Whatever can be known, or proven by logic or evidence, doesnt need to be taken on faith. Certain details of nutrition and the physiology of eating are known and knowable: the fact that humans require certain nutrients; the fact that our bodies convert food into energy and then into new flesh (and back to energy again when needed). But there are bigger questions that dont have definitive answers, like what is the best diet for all people? For me?
Nutrition is a young science that lies at the intersection of several complex disciplineschemistry, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology, psychologyand though we are far from having figured it all out, we still have to eat to survive. When there are no guarantees or easy answers, every act of eating is something like a leap of faith.
Eating is the first magic ritual, an act that transmits life energy from one object to another, according to cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker in his posthumously published book Escape from Evil. All animals must feed on other life to sustain themselves, whether in the form of breastmilk, plants, or the corpses of other animals. The act of incorporation, of taking a once-living thing into your own body, is necessary for all animals existence. It is also disturbing and unsavory to think about, since it draws a direct connection between eating and death.
Human self-awareness means that, from a relatively early age, we are also aware of death. In his Pulitzer prize-winning book, The Denial of Death, Becker hypothesized that the fear of deathand the need to suppress that fearis what drives much of human behavior. This idea went on, in social psychology, to the form the basis of Terror Management Theory.
Ancient humans must have decided, once their bellies were full, that there was more to life than mere survival and staring mortality in the face. They went on to build things in which they could find distraction, comfort, recreation, and meaning. They built cultures in which death became another rite of passage, not the end of everything. They made structures to live in, wrote songs to sing to each other, and added spices to their food, which they cooked in different styles. Humans are supported by a self-created system of meanings, symbols, rituals, and etiquette. Food and eating are part of this.
The act of ingestion is embroidered with so much cultural meaning that, for most people, its roots in spare, brutal survival are entirely hidden. Even for people in extreme poverty, for whom survival is a more immediate concern, the cultural meanings of food remain critical. Wealthy or poor, we eat to celebrate, we eat to mourn, we eat because its mealtime, we eat as a way to bond with others, we eat for entertainment and pleasure. It is not a coincidence that the survival function of food is buried beneath all of thiswho wants to think about staving off death each time they tuck into a bowl of cereal? Forgetting about death is the entire point of food culture.
When it comes to food, Becker said that humans quickly saw beyond mere physical nourishment, and that the desire for more lifenot just delaying death today, but clearing the bar of mortality entirelygrew into an obsession with transforming the self into a perfected object that might achieve a sort of immorality. Diet culture and its variations, such as clean eating, are cultural structures we have built to attempt to transcend our animality.
By creating and following diets, humans not only eat to stay alive, but they fit themselves into a cultural edifice that is larger, and more permanent, than their bodies. It is a sort of immortality ritual, and rituals must be performed socially. Clean eating rarely, if ever, occurs in secret. If you havent evangelized about it, joined a movement around it, or been praised publicly for it, have you truly cleansed?
As humans, we are possibly the most promiscuous omnivores ever to wander the earth. We dine on animals, insects, plants, marine life, and occasionally non-food: dirt, clay, chalk, even once, famously, bicycles and airplanes
We are not pandas, chastely satisfied with munching through a square mile of bamboo. We seek variety and novelty, and at the same time, we carry an innate fear of food. This is described by the famous omnivores paradox, which (Michael Pollan notwithstanding) is not mere confusion about choosing what to eat in a cluttered food marketplace. The omnivores paradox was originally defined by psychological researcher Paul Rozin as the anxiety that arises from our desire to try new foods (neophilia) paired with our inherited fear of unknown foods (neophobia) that could turn out to be toxic. All omnivores feel these twin pressures, but none more acutely than humans. If it werent for the small chance of death lurking behind every food choice and every dietary ideology, choosing what to eat from a crowded marketplace wouldnt be considered a dilemma. Instead, we would call it the omnivores fun time at the supermarket, and people wouldnt repost so many Facebook memes about the necessity of drinking a gallon of water daily, or the magical properties of apple cider vinegar and coconut oil. Everyone would be just a little bit calmer about food.
Humans do not have a single, definitive rulebook to direct our eating, despite the many attempts nutrition scientists, dietitians, chefs, and celebrities have made to write one. Each of us has to negotiate the desire for food and fear of the unknown when we are still too young to read, calculate calories, or understand abstract ideas about nutrition. Almost all children go through a phase of pickiness with eating. It seems to be an evolved survival mechanism that prevents usonce we are mobile enough to put things in our mouths, but not experienced enough to know the difference between safe and dangerous foodsfrom eating something toxic. We have all been children trying to shove the world in our mouths, even while we spit out our strained peas.
Our omnivorousness gives us an exhilarating and terrifying amount of freedom. As social creatures, we seek safety from that freedom in our culture, and in a certain amount of conformity. We prefer to follow leaders weve invested with authority to blaze a path to safety.
The heroes of contemporary diet culture are wellness gurus who claim to have cured themselves of fatness, disease, and meaninglessness through the unimpeachable purity of cold-pressed vegetable juice. Many traditional heroes earn their status by confronting and defeating death, like Hercules, who was granted immortality after a lifetime of capturing or killing a menagerie of dangerous beasts, including the three-headed dog of Hades himself. Wellness gurus are the glamorously clean eaters whose triumph over sad, dirty animality is evidenced by fresh, thoughtfully-lit photographs of green smoothies in wholesome Mason jars, and by their own bodies, beautifully rendered.
There are no such heroes to be found in a peer-reviewed paper with a large, anonymous sample, and small effect sizes, written in impenetrable statistician-ese, and hedged with disclosures about limitations. But the image of a person you can relate to on a human level, smiling out at you from the screen, standing in a before-and-after, shoulder-to-shoulder with their former, lesser, processed-food-eating self, is something else altogether. Their creation myth and redemptionhow they were lost but now are foundis undeniably compelling.
There are twin motives underlying human behavior, according to Beckerthe urge for heroism and the desire for atonement. At a fundamental level, people may feel a twinge of guilty for having a body, taking up space, and having appetites that devour the living things around us. They may crave expiation of this guilt, and culture provides not only the means to achieve plentiful material comfort, but also ways to sacrifice part of that comfort to achieve redemption. It is not enough for wellness gurus to simply amass the riches of health, beauty, and statusthey must also deny themselves sugar, grains, and flesh. They must pay.
Only those with status and resources to spare can afford the most impressive gestures of renunciation. Look at all they have! The steel-and-granite kitchen! The Le Creuset collection! The Vitamix! The otherworldly glow! They could afford to eat cake, should the bread run out, but they quit sugar. Theyre only eating twigs and moss now. What more glamorous way to triumph over dirt and animality and death? And you can, too. That is, if you have the time and money to spend juicing all that moss and boiling the twigs until theyre soft enough to eat.
This is how the omnivores paradox breeds diet culture: Overwhelmed by choice, by the dim threat of mortality that lurks beneath any wrong choice, people crave rules from outside themselves, and successful heroes to guide them to safety. People willingly, happily, hand over their freedom in exchange for the bondage of a diet that forbids their most cherished foods, that forces them to rely on the unfamiliar, unpalatable, or inaccessible, all for the promise of relief from choice and the attendant responsibility. If you are free to choose, you can be blamed for anything that happens to you: weight gain, illness, agingin short, your share in the human condition, including the random whims of luck and your own inescapable mortality.
Humans are the only animals aware of our mortality, and we all want to be the person whose death comes as a surprise rather than a pathetic inevitability. We want to be the one of whom people say, But she did everything right. If we cannot escape death, maybe we can find a way to be declared innocent and undeserving of it.
But diet culture is constantly shifting. Todays token foods of health may seem tainted or pass tomorrow, and within diet culture, there are contradictory ideologies: what is safe and clean to one is filth and decadence to another. Legumes and grains are wholesome, life-giving staples to many vegan eaters, while they represent the corrupting influences of agriculture on the state of nature to those who prefer a meat-heavy, grain-free Paleo diet.
Nutrition science itself is a self-correcting series of refutations. There is no certain path to purity and blamelessness through food. The only common thread between competing dietary ideologies is the belief that by adhering to them, one can escape the human condition, and become a purer, less animal, kind of being.
This is why arguments about diet get so vicious, so quickly. You are not merely disputing facts, you are pitting your wild gamble to avoid death against someone elses. You are poking at their life raft. But if their diet proves to be the One True Diet, yours must not be. If they are right, you are wrong. This is why diet culture seems so religious. People adhere to a dietary faith in the hopes they will be saved. That if theyre good enough, pure enough in their eating, they can keep illness and mortality at bay. And the pursuit of life everlasting always requires a leap of faith.
To eat without restriction, on the other hand, is to risk being unclean, and to beat your own uncertain path. It is admitting your mortality, your limitations and messiness as a biological creature, while accepting the freedoms and pleasures of eating, and taking responsibility for choosing them.
Unclean, agnostic eating means taking your best stab in the dark, accepting that there is much we dont know. But we do know that there is no One True Diet. There may be as many right ways to eat as there are peoplenone of whom can live forever, all of whom must make of eating and their lives some personal, temporary meaning.
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Posted: February 6, 2017 at 3:19 pm
A team never knows ifthey are giving up on a player too soon. Whether because of injury, logjam at the position or just not enough performance, teams walk away from players without knowing what more they are capable of. For the Cowboys, three such players have survived and thrived without them, poised to try and win a Super Bowl on Sunday in Houston.
In 2008, Dallas continued itstradition of drafting complements to future Hall of Famer Jason Witten at the tight end position. This time it was Texas A&Ms Martellus Bennett. Bennett was an athletic marvel but never gave full effort into development. He would later admit a great deal of frustration with his role and figuring out he would never get the chance to be the lead dog with Witten in Dallas. He played out his rookie deal, went to New York and then Chicago and proved he was an upper tier talent at the position.
Talent was never his problem, and at each of the last two stops he proved to those teams his attitude rendered his talent notworth the trouble. Of course, at Reclamation University, Bill Belichick had a perfect plan for him. Bennett was brought in as Rob Gronkowskis complement to replace Aaron Hernandez, but in an offense that knows how to feature two tight ends. When Gronkowski was lost for the year, Bennett slid right into the No. 1 role seamlessly. Hes no Gronk, but he should be featured Sunday evening.
That same year Bennett was drafted, the Cowboyssigned a diminutive and shifty wideout from Texas Tech by the name of Danny Amendola.
That year, the Cowboys were featured on Hard Knocks and the football viewing public fell in love with the 5-foot-8, 183 pound receiver with just 4.68 speed. Amendola made it to final cuts but was released.
He signed with the Cowboys practice squad but took an opportunity to go to camp with the Philadelphia Eagles the next season. Amendola was placed on their practice squad originally as well.
St. Louisneeded wideout help midseason and Amendola got his chance. He played 14 games and caught 43 passes. A few years later, New England was scooping him up as a understudy to Wes Welker. Amendola has become a major contributor for the Patriots, sliding in and out of the starting lineup but always making his presence known with Tom Brady.
Atlanta isnt without former Cowboys as well. Last year, the Dallas secondary was inept at best. They didnt record an interception on the season until late in the season. A practice squad call up by the name of Deji Olatoye did the honors. Still, it wasnt enough to keep him in Dallas, and he spent most of 2016 on the Falcons practice squad.
Hes not a key part of their defense, but he played in five games down the stretch and has gotten action in each of their playoff games.
It happens to every team in the NFL. They think someone can no longer help their team and once in a different role for a different coach, the player finds a niche. Its not a sign of a bad front office, stuff like that just happens. Still, it means plenty of current Cowboys players are going to be sitting at home watching former teammates get their opportunity at immortality.
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Posted: at 3:19 pm
Brain implants arent anything new. In fact, several types of brain implants (also known as neuroprosthetics) are already being used. Many patients with Parkinsons disease for instance, make use of a brain implant that transmits electrical pulses to help with motor control and reduce tremors.
On a separate yet related topic, last year, the FDA approved Second Sights retinal implant which can help patients blinded by advanced retinitis pigmentosa to regain their ability to perceive shapes and motion. And then there are cochlear implants which are commonly used by deaf people or those who have trouble hearing.
Theres a common denominator about all these implants, of course. All of them are being used to help treat or manage specific medical conditions. Which, and in reference to the neuroprosthetics, makes these kinds of brain implants easily acceptable.
But thats just scratching the surface. Eventually, we will not stop being satisfied with simply using implants to restore lost or damaged functions. Why wait for something to get broken when you can just enhance it so it wont have to get broken in the first place, right? Or maybe, why not just enhance what can be enhanced so everything will simply become that much easier.
In the future, brain implants will most probably, at the very least, help us learn more quickly. Remember the movie The Matrix? Neo Keanu Reeves character simply downloaded practice from a computer and he instantly turned into a kung fu expert. Thats the kind of speed learning were talking about. Instead of taking years to become skilled at something, with the right brain implant, which can be in the form of a tiny chip a thousand times more powerful cognitively than your biological brain, it will only take a few minutes.
And then, after enhancing ones learning capabilities, next to enhance will be ones memory and concentration, and maybe even ones mood. By doing this, a person learns faster, remembers everything better, focuses better, and feels better too. And thats not so bad, right? Or is it?
Its still your brain. Its just an enhanced version. But with a computer chip in it, it will now become possible to upload your brain to the cloud. And when you die, you will continue to live on as your uploaded brain can simply be re-uploaded to someone else either some other person, or maybe a robot.
Its an extreme scenario. But with everything thats happening with our technology, progress in neuroscience and artificial intelligence, its not science fiction stuff anymore but a very real possibility. Furthermore, the process of capturing the intelligence of our brains in a machine is not a matter of if but a matter of when. So the question is, should we go to those lengths?
Even without bringing religion into the picture, theres something a bit off about tampering with the natural way the world works. Maybe thats because that is really the only alternative we know. But regardless, intervening to fix something is quite different from intervening to give someone an unfair advantage over everyone else. And isnt this exactly what nonbiological intelligence enhancement is going to result in? Unless of course everybody gets to undergo brain enhancement, then there will be a sense of fairness somehow.
But then, if everyone had super mental abilities, wheres the challenge in that? Perhaps a seriously super-advanced technological and scientific world, but can you really imagine living in a planet where everyone is a genius and everything everyone ever talks about is some kind of super-scientific or profound topic that normal people (if there will be any left that is) will not be able to understand or relate to?
And what about immortality? Who gets to decide whose brains should be uploaded and continue to live on?
We live in a troubled and complicated world. But at least, its the real world. If brain augmentation ultimately leads to everyone becoming immortal, what kind of world will we be living in? Better yet, will it still be considered living in the true sense of the word?
Were not saying progress in technology, physics, neuroscience and overall human intelligence in general fields which are unavoidably set to open up possibilities that we can scarcely imagine will negatively affect our existence. All were saying is that we just have to be a bit careful where these advancements take us as a society. But then again, and despite the risks of sounding contradictory, whos to say its not worth trying. After all, and in the words of Arthur Conan Doyle: Some believe what separates men from animals is our ability to reason. Others say its language or romantic love, or opposable thumbs. Living here in this lost world, Ive come to believe it is more than our biology. What truly makes us human is our unending search, our abiding desire for immortality.
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Posted: at 3:19 pm
We saw him laugh this Super Bowl week and we saw him cry. The closer Tom Brady has drawn to superhuman achievement, the more human he became to us.
The closer he has drawn to football immortality, the more he appeared to embrace his mortality.
On the cusp of becoming the first quarterback in history to win five Super Bowl titles, never has he been more compelling.
Brady never has been the braggart, never been the bumptious boor. Yet in his humility and good nature, neither has he opened the vault to his emotions. If you cut the Patriots quarterback, he did not bleed. If you pressed him, he smiled and deferred.
He usually has spoken in the moment and as if he needed to hurry off to a meeting with Bill Belichick. Reflection rarely was in the cards. We have known more about the unique diet that fills his stomach than the deeper feelings that fill his heart.
And then a 7-year-old boy named Joseph Duarte, who had won a contest to be a Super Bowl reporter, asked Tom Brady a question Monday night at Minute Maid Park.
Who's your hero?
The rules for this Super Bowl week changed right there.
"That's a great question," Brady said. "I think my dad is my hero because he's someone I looked up to every day and, ah my dad."
Brady, to the astonishment of hundreds of reporters, started to choke up.
The thought of his son accepting the Lombardi Trophy from commissioner Roger Goodell at NGR Stadium did not thrill Tom Brady Sr. Still upset with all the ramifications of Deflategate, he told a San Francisco television station recently that anyone "that has Roger Goodell's ethics doesn't belong on any stage that Tom Brady is on."
"He went on a witch hunt and went in way over his head and had to lie his way out in numerous ways," Brady Sr. said.
He said it is a different story when charges of cheating and deceit are leveled against your son or daughter. He said he'd rather take the arrows to his heart than have his kids absorb them. And while many of us have different views of what happened with those deflated footballs, every parent can identify with Mr. Brady's paternal instincts. The sentiment seemed to touch his son's heart, even if he didn't want to publicly subscribe to his father's harsh, harsh words.
"I'd say my dad represents his feelings," he said. "He's a dad, and I'm a dad, and, ah "
Brady began to tear up again. Later he talked about how his father had always supported him, came home at night after work to hit him grounders and fly balls. How he loved to go to 49ers games with dad and mom and throw the football in the parking lot outside Candlestick Park.
This was a Brady we had rarely seen and, it turns out, we only knew half of the story. Reports surfaced Tuesday that Brady's mom, Galynn, has been ill for 18 months. His dad has been to only one game this season, his mom none. They are expected to be at NRG Stadium Sunday.
"It's just been a tough year," Brady said. "Every family goes through different things and my family's always been a great support system for my entire life.
"I'm hoping my mom can make the game."
Sending out an Instagram photo Saturday night of his dad and him kissing Galynn at NRG Stadium, Brady made it clear his mom would be at the game.
We see the handsome face and the pinpoint passes and the remarkable poise in the pocket. We see the mansion and his supermodel wife. And we project a perfect life on him. It isn't fair, of course, for no life is perfect.
As we listen to Brady speak for at least three hours over four days, listen to him talk about his mom and dad, talk about how Gisele is the one who does everything for the kids, from 6 a.m to 6 p.m., every day for six months, reminisce about buddies from the past, talk movingly about how Robert Kraft is a second father to him We see him laugh. We see him cry. We see Tom Brady.
Yes, he has been to the Super Bowl seven times. Yes, he and Bill Belichick have formed the ultimate coach-player combination. Everyone from Troy Aikman to Jim Harbaugh is calling Brady the greatest quarterback in the history of football. And he is. Yet this week, the guy who has seemed like none of us has seemed like all of us. We came to watch for something as singular as revenge over Deflategate and instead we got a much fuller picture of a man.
From getting a chance to play at 23, through four Super Bowl titles, through seven Super Bowl appearances, through marriage and children, Brady called it a growing level of perspective. One that slapped him in the face after he missed the entire 2008 season with an injury, returned in 2009 and thought to himself, "Damn, I love this game."
"This is not a sacrifice, because I love to do it," Brady said. "There are a lot of other things that I don't get a chance to do, that when I am done playing I will get a chance to do.
"When you get to this point, walking off the practice field today, there are two quarterbacks in the world that are practicing today preparing for this game. Myself and Matt [Ryan] should feel very privileged to be able to do that. There are a lot of guys that don't have the chance and I think you do feel very humbled when you're walking off the field to say, 'Wow, we had an opportunity to go out and practice and prepare for a game that's so meaningful to all of us that we'll remember for the rest of our lives.' I feel blessed."
Even in the way he spoke of Belichick, he was more expansive. Brady talked about how Belichick has committed his life to coaching and how he has committed his life to playing. He talked about how there's no rah-rah b.s. with Belichick and how it works out between them because he's bad at taking compliments and Belichick is good at not giving many out. He said he loves the way Belichick continually challenges his team, how he likes to say, "I hope my expectation for you guys isn't more than your expectation for yourself.'"
"We're just lucky to have a confluence of situations where we wind up with the greatest coach in the history of the game and the greatest quarterback in the history of the game, keeping them together and keeping a great team around them," owner Robert Kraft said. "At least for however long the Good Lord lets me breathe, I hope they're playing and coaching."
Does vengeance play a role in this Super Bowl? It has to at some level. When you are forced to sit out a quarter of the season because of improperly inflated footballs, there has to be some lingering resentment toward the NFL. You read what Brady's father said. And while Brady said, "I'm focused on the game," Kraft said, "I think it will also be a great statement to people who are pursuing their dreams that sometimes you get treated unfairly or things don't go your way. You just hang in there."
Humans are complex. Humans harbor resentment, at least for a time. And if anything this week, Tom Brady has shown us how human he is. In the fascinating days leading up to Super Bowl LI, a game when Brady can make history, the most fascinating development was not that one side can scream about payback over footballs. It was that all sides can identify with what Tom Brady is going through with his family.
"I know where my family kind of sits at games," Brady said. "I scout that out when I have all my tickets and when I go out pregame and kind of look around I kind of know where they're going to be and I try to make some eye contact and let them know I'm looking at them.
"Yeah, this will be as special as it's ever been."
Predictions: Patriots 35, Falcons 31. Brady MVP. Goodell will try to make it seem like Deflategate never happened. Lady Gaga will make some kind of halftime political statement.
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Posted: at 3:19 pm
Aug 6, 2016; Canton, OH, USA; General exterior view of the Pro Football Hall of Fame before the 2016 NFL Hall of Fame enshrinement at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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Sometimes, you dont know what you have until its gone. At other times, youre completely aware of what youre missing. Former Philadelphia Eagles safety Brian Dawkins spent more time in The City of Brotherly Love than any other athlete ever spent as a member of one of the citys sports franchises.From 1996-2008, he played his heart out and wore it on his sleeve, endearing him to fans and teammates. Hed spend the remainder of his playing days with the Denver Broncos, but he returned to his roots to sign a one-day contract, allowing him to retire as a member of the Eagles.
February 4th has a chance of being a very special day for him and for Eagles fans.
The NFL will announce its next Hall of Fame class one day before the Super Bowl, and anyone thats ever watched him play will be patiently waiting to see him take the stage. Hell be waiting to see if his name called, much like the rest of us, and he takes with him a resume that would make any NFL great jealous.
The numbers speak for themselves. Dawkins, for his career, totaled 1,131 takles, 26 sacks (from the safety position) and 37 interceptions. Add 28 forced fumbles and being able to find the end zone three times, and you have one of the most versatile players to ever play on defense.
Hes a nine-time Pro Bowler. Hes a four-time First-team All Pro, but what he truly meant to the Eagles cant be measured in statistics. No one playing for the Eagles will ever wear the number 20 again. As we mentioned before, some people seem to mean more when theyre gone, but when Dawkins left, he left a void the Eagles struggled to fill for well over ten years.
Only time will tell if they ever find a way to add another piece as valuable, as respected or as talented as this one.
Now, if that doesnt get you going, you dont have a pulse.We at Inside The Iggles salute Brian Dawkins and wish him luck. Regardless of what happens tomorrow, hes a member of our Hall of Fame forever.
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‘Rick And Morty’ Theory: Rick Gifted Morty With Immortality, But Chose To Die Himself – moviepilot.com
Posted: at 3:19 pm
Rick and Morty is the fan theory equivalent of an all-you-can-eat buffet. With a universe and concept that is both expansive, self-aware, and abundant with possibilities, if you think hard enough, you'll find an explanation for almost anything that happens on the show.
A recent Reddit theory by ShadowmasterK is a prime example of this. On the face of it, the theory seems to be searching for meaning in a trait that is commonplace in all cartoons. But when you look below the surface, it begins to make sense in a way that poetically reflects the great oppositional perspective on our existence absolute purpose versus complete coincidence.
Maybe there is a god, maybe we are divine beings who share universal consciousness, maybe we're all celestial manifestations of another dimension, with this universe acting as a portal to eternal bliss. Or maybe our existence is sheer fluke, the result of billions of years of mutation that accumulated with semi-intelligent, insignificant flesh and bone hurtling through the dark abyss of space on a molten rock travelling at 1,000 miles per hour.
Wait, back to the Rick and Morty theory. ShadowmasterK believes that, in the pilot episode, when Rick injects Morty with the serum that repairs his broken legs, he also injects him with an anti-ageing serum, making Morty practically immortal. The universe canon for this lies with a dimension Rick refers to as a place where "their technology was so advanced that they had halted the ageing process and everyone there was young."
The coincidence argument, hell, the logical response to this is that characters don't age in animation anyway. But this is #RickAndMorty, a heavily meta show with a fondness for poking fun at the troupes of fiction and popular culture. This subtle reference, way back in the beginning, could well have been deliberately included by Dan Harmon and Justin Roiland.
But there's something even more interesting to take from this scene. Whether or not Rick injected Morty with the serum, Rick could stop his ageing process, but he chooses not to. The inevitability of death is something he does pay attention to, after all he did transfer his brain into a younger clone of himself in "Big Trouble In Little Sanchez," creating the high-school sensation, Tiny Rick.
"He's a little afraid he'll lose sight of who he is"
So why doesn't Rick just use the serum? The answer may be found in a Reddit AMA with co-creator Harmon, who, when asked an innocuous question on what drink is contained in Rick's flask, gave a delightful "absolute purpose" response:
"I tend to assume vodka and I know it seems unlikely that Rick wouldn't use sci-fi tech to somehow augment whatever he drinks but I think in rick's mind part of the 'addiction' to the flask of good old fashioned booze is that it anchors his identity, and I think he knows that if he augmented the booze or the flask, then why not just whip up a very rudimentary nanobiotic alcohol dispenser in his body or inject himself with a plasma component that just amounts to always having a certain blood alcohol level, and I think the reason he doesn't do that is because he's a little afraid he'll lose sight of who he is."
According to Harmon, the most intelligent man in all of existence can see the importance of maintaining his identity it's the reason he keeps the flask instead of using any number of inventions to make things easier. The same can apply to anti-ageing. Rick may feel that if he used the serum and become immortal, he may lose sight of who he truly is.
There is another difficulty, too. By being immortal (or at least not dying of natural causes) certain situations could become even more dangerous for Rick. If he did live forever, he'd be extra screwed, facing an eternity behind bars following his arrest at the end of Rick and Morty Season 2.
Or, you know, all of this is a meaningless coincidence.
Is Morty immortal? Or is this over-thinking?
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Posted: January 4, 2017 at 6:03 pm
Amrit (Sanskrit, IAST: amta) or Amata (Pali) is a word that literally means "immortality" and is often referred to in texts as nectar. Amta is etymologically related to the Greek ambrosia and carries the same meaning. The word's earliest occurrence is in the Rigveda, where it is one of several synonyms for soma, the drink which confers immortality upon the gods.
Amrit has varying significance in different Indian religions.
Amrit is also a common first name for Hindus; the feminine form is Amrit.
Amrit is repeatedly referred to as the drink of the devas which grants them immortality.
Amrit features in the samudra manthan legend, which describes how the devas, because of a curse from the sage Durvasa, begin to lose their immortality. Assisted by their mortal enemies, the asuras, they churn the ocean and release (among other auspicious object and beings) amrit, the nectar of immortality.
Amrit is sometimes said to miraculously form on, or flow from, statues of Hindu gods. The substance is consumed by worshippers and is alleged to be sweet-tasting and not at all similar to honey or sugar water.
Amrit was the last of the fourteen treasure jewels that emerged from the churning of the ocean and contained in a pot borne by Dhanvantari, the physician of the Gods.
Amrit (Punjabi: ) is the name of the holy water used in the baptism ceremony or Amrit Sanchar in Sikhism. This ceremony is observed to initiate the Sikhs into the Khalsa and requires drinking amrit. This is created by mixing a number of soluble ingredients, including sugar, and is then rolled with a khanda with the accompaniment of scriptural recitation of five sacred verses.
Metaphorically, God's name is also referred to as a nectar:
Amrit sabad amrit har bai. The Shabda is Amrit; the Lord's bani is Amrit. Satgur seviai ridai sami. Serving the True Guru, it permeates the heart. Nnak amrit nm sad sukhdta pi amrit sabh bhukh lh jvaia. O Nanak, the Ambrosial Naam is forever the Giver of peace; drinking in this Amrit, all hunger is satisfied.
According to Thanissaro Bhikkhu, "the deathless" refers to the deathless dimension of the mind which is dwelled in permanently after nibbana.
In the Amata Sutta, the Buddha advises monks to stay with the four Satipatthana: "Monks, remain with your minds well-established in these four establishings of mindfulness. Don't let the deathless be lost to you."
In the questions for Nagasena, King Milinda asks for evidence that the Buddha once lived, wherein Nagasena describes evidence of the Dhamma in a simile:
"Revered Nagasena, what is the nectar shop of the Buddha, the Blessed One?"
"Nectar, sire, has been pointed out by the Blessed One. With this nectar the Blessed One sprinkles the world with the devas; when the devas and the humans have been sprinkled with this nectar, they are set free from birth, aging, disease, death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, grief and despair. What is this nectar? It is mindfulness occupied with the body. And this too, sire, was said by the Blessed One: 'Monks, they partake of nectar (the deathless) who partake of mindfulness that is occupied with the body.' This, sire, is called the Blessed One's nectar shop."
Amrit (Wylie: bdud rtsi, THL: dtsi) also plays a significant role in Vajrayana Buddhism as a sacramental drink which is consumed at the beginning of all important rituals such as the abhisheka, ganachakra, and homa. In the Tibetan tradition, dtsi is made during drubchens - lengthy ceremonies involving many high lamas. It usually takes the form of small, dark-brown grains that are taken with water, or dissolved in very weak solutions of alcohol and is said to improve physical and spiritual well-being.
The foundational text of traditional Tibetan medicine, the Four Tantras, is also known by the name The Heart of Amrita (Wylie: snying po bsdus pa).
The Immaculate Crystal Garland (Wylie: dri med zhal phreng) describes the origin of amrita in a version of the samudra manthan legend retold in Buddhist terms. In this Vajrayana version, the monster Rahu steals the amrita and is blasted by Vajrapani's thunderbolt. As Rahu has already drunk the amrita he cannot die, but his blood, dripping onto the surface of this earth, causes all kinds of medicinal plants to grow. At the behest of all the Buddhas, Vajrapani reassembles Rahu who eventually becomes a protector of Buddhism according to the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism.
Chinese Buddhism describes Amrita (Chinese: ; pinyin: gnl) as blessed water, food, or other consumable objects often produced through merits of chanting mantras.
Posted: December 7, 2016 at 8:03 am
The Crown of Immortality is a literary and religious metaphor traditionally represented in art first as a laurel wreath and later as a symbolic circle of stars (often a crown, tiara, halo or aureola). The Crown appears in a number of Baroque iconographic and allegoric works of art to indicate the wearer's immortality.
In ancient Egypt, the crown of justification was a wreath placed on the deceased to represent victory over death in the afterlife, in emulation of the resurrecting god Osiris. It was made of various materials including laurel, palm, feathers, papyrus, roses, or precious metals, with numerous examples represented on the Fayum mummy portraits of the Roman Imperial period.
In ancient Greece, a wreath of laurel or olive was awarded to victorious athletes and later poets. Among the Romans, generals celebrating a formal triumph wore a laurel wreath, an honor that during the Empire was restricted to the Imperial family. The placing of the wreath was often called a "crowning", and its relation to immortality was problematic; it was supposed to secure the wearer immortality in the form of enduring fame, but the triumphator was also reminded of his place within the mortal world: in the traditional tableaux, an accompanying slave whispered continually in the general's ear Memento mori, "Remember you are mortal". Funerary wreaths of gold leaf were associated particularly with initiates into the mystery religions.
From the Early Christian era the phrase "crown of immortality" was widely used by the Church Fathers in writing about martyrs; the immortality was now both of reputation on earth, and of eternal life in heaven. The usual visual attribute of a martyr in art, was a palm frond, not a wreath. The phrase may have originated in scriptural references, or from incidents such as this reported by Eusebius (Bk V of History) describing the persecution in Lyon in 177, in which he refers to literal crowns, and also brings in an athletic metaphor of the "victor's crown" at the end:
"From that time on, their martyrdoms embraced death in all its forms. From flowers of every shape and color they wove a crown to offer to the Father; and so it was fitting that the valiant champions should endure an ever-changing conflict, and having triumphed gloriously should win the mighty crown of immortality. Maturus, Sanctus, Blandina, and Attalus were taken into the amphitheater to face the wild beasts, and to furnish open proof of the inhumanity of the heathen, the day of fighting wild beasts being purposely arranged for our people. There, before the eyes of all, Maturus and Sanctus were again taken through the whole series of punishments, as if they had suffered nothing at all before, or rather as if they had already defeated their opponent in bout after bout and were now battling for the victor's crown."
The first use seems to be that attributed to the martyr Ignatius of Antioch in 107.
An Advent wreath is a ring of candles, usually made with evergreen cuttings and used for household devotion by some Christians during the season of Advent. The wreath is meant to represent God's eternity. On Saint Lucy's Day, December 13, it is common to wear crowns of candles in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Italy, Bosnia, Iceland, and Croatia.
Before the reform of the Gregorian calendar in the 16th century, St. Lucy's Day fell on the winter solstice. The representation of Saint Lucy seems to derive from the Roman goddess Lucina, who is connected to the solstice.
Martyrs often are idealized as combatants, with the spectacle of the arena transposed to the martyr's struggle with Satan. Ignatius of Antioch, condemned to fight beasts in the year 107, "asked his friends not to try to save him and so rob him of the crown of immortality." In 155, Polycarp, Christian bishop of Smyrna, was stabbed after a failed attempt to burn him at the stake. He is said to have been " crowned with the wreath of immortality ... having through patience overcome the unjust governor, and thus acquired the crown of immortality."Eusebius uses similar imagery to speak of Blandina, martyred in the arena at Lyon in 177:
The crown of stars, representing immortality, may derive from the story of Ariadne, especially as told by Ovid, in which the unhappy Ariadne is turned into a constellation of stars, the Corona Borealis (Crown of the North), modelled on a jewelled crown she wore, and thus becoming immortal. In Titian's Bacchus and Ariadne (152023, National Gallery, London), the constellation is shown above Ariadne's head as a circle of eight stars (though Ovid specifies nine), very similar to what would become the standard depiction of the motif. Although the crown was probably depicted in classical art, and is described in several literary sources, no classical visual depictions have survived. The Titian therefore appears to be the earliest such representation to survive, and it was also at this period that illustrations in prints of the Apocalypse by artists such as Drer and Jean Duvet were receiving very wide circulation.
In Ariadne, Venus and Bacchus, by Tintoretto (1576, Doge's Palace, Venice), a flying Venus crowns Ariadne with a circle of stars, and many similar compositions exist, such as the ceiling of the Egyptian Hall at Boughton House of 1695.
The first use of the crown of stars as an allegorical Crown of Immortality may be the ceiling fresco, Allegory of Divine Providence and Barberini Power (163339), in the Palazzo Barberini in Rome by Pietro da Cortona. Here a figure identified as Immortality is flying, with her crown of stars held out in front of her, near the centre of the large ceiling. According to the earliest descriptions she is about to crown the Barberini emblems, representing Pope Urban VIII, who was also a poet. Immortality seems to have been a preoccupation of Urban; his funeral monument by Bernini in St Peter's Basilica in Rome has Death as a life-size skeleton writing his name on a scroll.
Two further examples of the Crown of Immortality can be found in Sweden, firstly in the great hall ceiling fresco of the Swedish House of Knights by David Klcker Ehrenstrahl (between 16701675) which pictures among many allegoric figures Eterna (eternity) who holds in her hands the Crown of Immortality. The second is in Drottningholm Palace, the home of the Swedish Royal Family, in a ceiling fresco named The Great Deeds of The Swedish Kings, painted in 1695 by David Klcker Ehrenstrahl. This has the same motif as the fresco in the House of Knights mentioned above. The Drottningholm fresco, was shown in the 1000th stamp by Czesaw Sania, the Polish postage stamp and banknote engraver.
The crown was also painted by the French Neoclassical painter Louis-Jean-Franois Lagrene, 17251805, in his Allegory on the Death of the Dauphin, where the crown was held by a young son who had pre-deceased the father (alternative titles specifically mention the crown of Immortality).