I believe Christmas Eve is the most mystical night of the year. Even for those who do not believe in God, or have no religion, Christmas Eve is often filled with joy and wonder and mystery. The simple pleasures of gift giving, family time, time off from work, or whatever it may be, the constant hum of holiday music, tends to lighten all our spirits.
This is the darkest time of the year, the days are short and the nights are long, and just two days after the Winter Solstice, we have gained perhaps a minute of total light. Yet there is always something powerful and even beautiful during these dark days, as the chill of winter seems to deepen and the brightness and sunshine and warmth of spring and summer seem so very far away. What does Christmas represent?It represents many things, but mainly hope and joy and love and peace, an awareness that even in the darkest part of the year there is a hope awaiting us in the future, even though it seems so far away. I suppose this is one of the fundamental messages of Christianity itself.
The Madonna and Child above, one of my favorite paintings from one of my favorite artists, the great Raphael, seems to capture the strange and brooding melancholy that this darkest time of the year can create, and yet the very image itself is one of hope, the hope of future joy and peace and the powerful bonds that unite us as families, and the quiet and mysterious power of God in our lives.
Christmas is indeed a strange and wonderful time of the year.
Unfortunately Peter O’Toole, born in Ireland in 1932, died a few days ago. Although nominated for eight academy awards, he never won one, except for an honorary award in 2003. Still, O’Toole will be remembered as one of the great actors of our time, an icon in his own right. He belongs to a quickly vanishing generation of actors who made great films without all the absurd trappings, bells and whistles of the modern, CGI generated cinema. In short, his movies are usually good, because the plot lines and characters are good.
His greatest achievement, the one for which he will always be most closely associated with, is Lawrence of Arabia. Even as kid, I loved this movie. I have seen it countless time, and each time I see it I am still amazed at how spectacular a movie it is. Again, when I think of all the CGI nonsense that is being produced today, big budget extravagances, and so called epic movies, none of them today can compare to this grand canvass of cinemagraphic beauty. Directed by David Lean (Bridge on the River Kwai, Dr. Zhivago), Lawrence of Arabia is truly one of the great epic movies of all time, and O’Toole’s role as T.E. Lawrence will never be matched by anyone. Although made in 1962, fifty years later I think it is safe to say there will never be another movie about Lawrence. What is so great about this movie is that it is a true epic about a historical figure, and made without any of the special effects we take for granted today. The deserts is real; the camels are real; the vast vista’s and colors are real (I think in particular of the first scene of the desert, with its ominous orange sky, seemingly raging with burning heat, and yet so alluring for the Western man unaccustomed to such things, such as Lawrence). All these things together with the great actors portraying fascinating characters in a compelling, true story of historical significance renders this film unique in the annals of great cinema. It is the perfect expression of the type of romanticism that drove the British Empire in the early twentieth century. O’Toole captured that role perfectly. He even looks like T.E. Lawrence (although O’Toole is quite a bit taller than Lawrence was).
Another great role of O’Toole was as King Henry II in Becket. Again, it seems that only O’Toole could have captured the role as the flighty, scheming, impetuous, immature and yet dangerous king of England, driven to near madness by his lack of control over his old friend, the archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket, played equally well by Richard Burton.
O’Toole will be missed. Actors of his caliber, with his type of background, having learned his craft in a world free from the infatuation of slick special effects, are few and far between today. Or rather the film industry relies to heavily upon the wizardry of CGI to the detriment of good plots and good acting, which stifles good, basic theater. It is one of the reasons (plus the outrageous prices) I rarely go to the movies any more.
As I watch a lot of the old Christmas classics of the silver screen, such as The Bishop’s Wife, or A Holiday Affair, both made in the 1940’s, I am always reminded of how effective the art form black and white film or photography is. This is true also for erotic images. Often the best nudes are done in the older photographic medium of black and white. In this age of ubiquitous internet porn, where an image of anything can be found anywhere, and the market for any fetish whatever is always flourishing, the restrained classicism of the black and white nude is always refreshing. It is the beauty of such an image that I find pleasurable. There is too much trash out there: cheap and overly graphic depictions of eroticism, of sex and the human body. I care nothing for them. Finding an actually well done photograph of a nude woman, one which expresses her beauty without degrading her humanity, is a bit harder than one may think.
Erotic beauty does not need to be gross or even obscene, although there are many who might believe even a photo such as this, that of a naked woman, is obscene. No, this photo is beautiful, and a beautiful expression of female beauty, eroticism and the mystery of human sexuality. Such photos should be celebrated for their artistic merits than condemned as pornographic smut.
Now that winter is bearing its ugly head down upon us, it is time once again to watch the Weather Channel for all the latest forecasts. And with the Weather Channel comes one of my favorite bevies of beauties: The Weather Channel Babes. So here is a tribute to a bit of beauty that helps to make the dull, grey winter a little more pleasant.
Jen Carfagno: A favorite beauty of the Weather Channel, her wholesome, down to earth, girl-next-door cuteness is delightful:
Nicholle Mitchell: This ice queen beauty could have easily been a star in one of Hitchcock’s movies. She should have made a career as a femme fatale in film noir. Too bad Robert Mitchum is not still around to team up with her:
Maria LaRosa: Her latin beauty is stunning, as is the red dress she has on. She oozes sexuality.
Alex Wilson: another icy, blonde beauty of winter.
Kelly Cass: another wholesome, girl-next-door beauty, yet tempting with the boots. I can imagine bending her over with those boots on, hiking that black skirt up, and having my way with her on the set of the Weather Channel.
Unknown: Not sure who she is, but she is hot.
I think all of these girls actually studied meteorology in school, which means that they are probably actually somewhat nerdy and geeky, and there few things I love more than a nerdy, geeky and hot girl. I find beauty and brains to be completely irresistible in a girl…
Ah yes, I can imagine all the different ways the babes of the Weather Channel could help you pass a cold winter night, especially if the power goes out and you are all alone, with the just the two (or three) of you to help keep each other warm…
Once again, let me sing the praises of all natural beauty. Today I decided to post two photos of two different beauties. These photos were taken from the golden age of men’s magazines, when Playboy and Penthouse were pretty much the only source for horny young men seeking to see well done nudes. Today, with the ubiquitous nature of the online world, finding nudes is not hard. Back in the day, buying a magazine at the local convenience store was a little risque. After all, you did not want your mother suddenly surprising you as you stood at the counter with a copy of Penthouse in your hands.
The woman above is curvaceous. I particularly enjoy the subtle light that enhances her natural curves. Her breasts are all natural too; back in the seventies breast implants were not that common, if at all. Today, in porn they are all too common. I like to keep things natural.
The woman below is also wonderfully natural, especially with regards her GNP. There are few things more enticing on a girl than nice tan lines with a nice bush to go along. Again, today we see far too few of this. Along with fake breasts, I really dislike the completely shaven look. I like my women to look like, well, women. And it is always a wonderful surprise when you first undress a girl and see what kind of luxurious bush she may have… that is, at least back in the day it was wonderful.
There is too much artificiality in today’s world. We need to bring back the GNP!!!
(GNP: for those unfamiliar, means: Glorious Natural Pelt).
Recently I read a story about six tons of illegal ivory that was crushed in Denver in order to send a message about the terrible decimation of the African elephant population:http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/11/15/ivory-crushed-denver/3563633/ Last year 32,000 elephants were killed as a result of poaching. At that rate, in ten years the African elephant will become extinct. There are around 300,000 elephants in Africa, so you can do the math. The Asian elephant numbers around 50,000.
The extinction of the African elephant is a real possibility. This was something I thought impossible until I read this article, but the dramatic increase in poaching over the last several years has already decimated the population. It is a true tragedy. And the great demand for ivory is found primarily in two areas of the world: China and south east Asia; and here in the U.S.
Elephants are magnificent creatures: highly intelligent, with complex social groups, endowed with the ability to communicate through some kind of language, their survival depends on the continuity of their own societies. Elephants, like us, transmit knowledge from one generation to the next, and like us they do so in a social way. The baby elephant learns much from its mother, and when she is killed, or the elder elephants in the herd are killed, then vital knowledge is lost for survival. Elephants are said to be perhaps the only other creature, or one of the few creatures in the world, who, like us, have a sense of their own mortality. Whenever elephants come across the bones of other elephants, they always examine and inspect the bones with great curiosity, as if they know something about death, and that they have come across a dead member of their own kind. They recognize the bones as being that of an elephant. This requires great intelligence and sensitivity, and most other animals lack this capacity.
Man has tremendous power in this world. We can both create, preserve and destroy. Let us stop destroying nature and our environment, and the great creatures who dwell therein, such as the elephant. Once gone, they will be lost forever. Simply keeping a few alive here and there in zoos can never replace what is lost in nature. I don’t think God created all these things so we could simply destroy them