Movie to Look Forward to: Humbling

Philip Roth is a great author, and Humbling is a great novel, a masterpiece. When I heard that it’s going to be adapted into a film and Al Pacino is playing the lead, I was very excited, as Pacino really is the perfect choice, I even imagined the protagonist as Pacino when I read the novel. How awesome is that? When you read a novel, imagine an actor as the perfect person who should play the role, and the exact person is cast?

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10 Books Which Stayed with You

OK, in Persian we have something called “I ate shit”, and people say that in many situations, but also when they boast something and then realize how difficult it is. I wanted to participate in a Facebook game in which we name ten books which stayed with us and we love. Now my dear friends were kind enough to tag me in this game, now I feel that I indeed have had a healthy meal of shit, as it has proven very difficult to narrow it down to ten.

I wrote this is blogpost, But I think it’s a good list of recommended books so I share them with my dear blog readers too.

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Why As An Iranian I’m Skeptical of Jon Stewart’s “Rosewater”

The trailer of Jon Stewart’s Rosewater was released. I ought to be very  excited. No event was more defining of my life than the 2009’s Green Movement. Jon Stewart is a witty comedian with honorable sensibilities, whose coverage of 2009 events, sending Jason Jones to Iran to cover the election and then how he handled the protests, made him famous and popular in Iran. I have watched all Daily Show episodes since that time, and no other American has been as influential in my understanding of contemporary United States. Plus, the Green Movement deserves to have books and movies. So what’s wrong? Why I’m not excited? Why do I feel the movie is going to be a failure in my eyes?

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Link Round-Up 8/17/2014

Story of the week: Robin Williams passed away. David Wong of Cracked has a moving article on the link between comedy and depression. Salon has an interesting compilation of his best moments and Vulture has more moments. Jerry Coyne has the best overview of the reactions of the atheist community to his death. Ashley Miller discusses the role of depression in the light of his death. This is some teachers inspired by his role in Dead Poets Society, a sentiment I expressed in my own obituary as well.

JT Ebehard and Dan Fincke have both touching tributes.

Lauren Bacall was another great actor we lost. Here is a review of her great career. Richard Brody explains how being a strong woman shaped her career. This NPR article includes some of her interview highlights. But my favorite article after her death was Amy Davidson’s. And you can see her life narrated in pictures.

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For You the Flag Is Flung: Robin Williams (1951 – 2014)

When one has touched as many hearts and has brought joy to as many lives as Robin Williams did, whom we lost yesterday, your life, although a unified whole, will mean something specific to each different person who mourns your passing. In that sense every great man or a woman is like a poem, as it will be read across the world and throughout the history, and each reader will remember a different line, and it becomes a different poem for every reader. In the end, mourning a man as great as Robin Williams will reveal as much about the mourner as the one we’ve lost, and it is there that their true greatness lies.

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To many, Robin Williams was a comedic genius who graced the stage with his courageous wit. To them, he was rebellious and uncompromising, and a tortured soul. To many he was the kind and gentle actor who played light comedic roles in movies like Good Morning Vietnam, HookMrs. Doubtfire, and Jumanji. To many he was the great and skilled serious actor of movies like AwakeningsInsomnia, Good Will Hunting, and One Hour Photo. To many he was the genie of Aladdin. And all of them are right – the man was complex, a true artistic genius, with fascinating range, who could easily portray the darkest and the brightest, as they all possibly defined his lived experience as well. He contained multitudes.

To me, he always, and always will be, John Keating of Dead Poets Society.

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Link Round Up 7/26/2014

The Story of the Week: Our friends over at Skptic Ink publish a joint book. Read about it here. Skeptic Ink writers visit Skeptic Canary Show to discuss their new book. I personally don’t have access to the book, but you might want to check it out.

Other Story of the Week: Make sure to continue reading the Ex-Hijabi Photo Journal. This is Mahmoud’s story about sneaking in food, for example.

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Link Round-Up 7/12/2014

Headline Story of the week: Mubarak Bala is a Nigerian openly atheist who has run into problem for leaving Islam. Read the report here and here.

Story of the Week: Eduard Shevardnadze (1928-2014), the former Georgian president and the foreign minister of USSR during Gorbachev passed away last week. Read New Yorker obituary written by a Georgian, BBC obituary, and New York Times obituary, all give great views of this man’s life. History may judge his impact positive or negative, but it will never judge it small.

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Link Round-Up 6/18/2014

Story of the Week: Alex Gabriel is writing his memoir in a serialized form, Dickens-style. It is very moving and very well-written, I definitely recommend it. I have shared every chapter on Twitter, but here I link to the Foreword which includes the table of contents. Nine chapters published so far.

The Other Story of the Week: Dan Fincke is setting some nuanced, and flexible, and comprehensive guidelines on how to criticize religion. There are four installments so far, hopefully there’s more coming. I link to the fourth part which links to the previous parts.

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Singer Recommendation: Giorgia

I don’t know how many of you already know her – she’s not famous at all in Iran because a very small percentage of people listen to Italian music. Of course, she’s globally famous, and if you’re interested in Pavarotti and Friends series (I love them) you have already seen her. Anyway, she’s a singer I really adore, because I think she does magic by her voice. I usually don’t like listening to music without understanding lyrics, but Italian music in general is so beautiful that I make an exception. Among Italian singers Giorgia is my favorite.

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