The culture of war banishes the capacity for pity. It glorifies self-sacrifice and death. It sees pain, ritual humiliation and violence as part of an initiation into manhood. Brutal hazing, as Kyle noted in his book, was an integral part of becoming a Navy SEAL. New SEALs would be held down and choked by senior members of the platoon until they passed out. The culture of war idealizes only the warrior. It belittles those who do not exhibit the warrior’s “manly” virtues. It places a premium on obedience and loyalty. It punishes those who engage in independent thought and demands total conformity. It elevates cruelty and killing to a virtue. This culture, once it infects wider society, destroys all that makes the heights of human civilization and democracy possible. The capacity for empathy, the cultivation of wisdom and understanding, the tolerance and respect for difference and even love are ruthlessly crushed. The innate barbarity that war and violence breed is justified by a saccharine sentimentality about the nation, the flag and a perverted Christianity that blesses its armed crusaders. This sentimentality, as Baldwin wrote, masks a terrifying numbness. It fosters an unchecked narcissism. Facts and historical truths, when they do not fit into the mythic vision of the nation and the tribe, are discarded. Dissent becomes treason. All opponents are godless and subhuman. “American Sniper” caters to a deep sickness rippling through our society. It holds up the dangerous belief that we can recover our equilibrium and our lost glory by embracing an American fascism.

It’s been but a week since Los Angeles singer songwriter Phoebe Ryan teased us with a fabulous mash up cover of R. Kelly and Miguel, Ignition/Do You. Today, she reveals her debut song, a massive pop behemoth named Mine. Phoebe’s been writing for huge labels and names for awhile now, but she’s about to put her own name front and center with this infectious, powerful electropop ballad, one with all the special potency and charisma of a major hit. Crisp, crystalline, and saccharine sweet, Mine is a gorgeous, breathy treat, mesmerizing and enchanting in a Tove Lo meets Lights fashion. 

Contagious hand clapping and radiant liveliness burst through on Oh My Love, an infectious and explosive single from indie pop band The Score. The band recently relocated to Los Angeles from New York, and they’re all set to warm hearts and draw smiles with an upbeat anthem fit for all the Valentine Day playlists on the horizon. Oh My Love will even be included on Starbucks’ national playlist in March. It’s a vibrant treat perfect for those who love bands like American Authors and Young Rising Sons. Oh My Love even boasts the stomping flare of Imagine Dragons. For a more mellow folk ballad from the sure to be buzzing band, stream saccharine In The Dark below, which was on The Score’s second EP late last year.

Before running and after running.

Height: 5’2.5”

In 2011, I graduated from university. University was an experience I loved and hated in equal parts: my first two years were absolutely amazing, my third year was awful, and my final year was a mixture of amazing and heartbreaking. Most of my weight was gained in my third year of university: I started it chubby, bordering on overweight, and left it approximate to the size in the top left photo. I spent 2010 and 2011 in denial of my total lack of fitness and total lack of care as to my body, despite how much I detested myself. I wouldn’t go clothes shopping if it meant trying on clothing, I wouldn’t weigh myself; I wasn’t that overweight, surely?

Then, in July 2011, I graduated. In July 2011, I saw photos of myself from my graduation. I hated every single one of them, and there was no way that I could deny what I’d allowed myself to become: walking up flights of stairs would leave me out of breath, I hated hills, I hated going outside in general because I was certain people were judging me and making assumptions as to what kind of person I was because of my size. I know now that it doesn’t matter whether they were or weren’t, but my self-image and self-esteem were at an all time low and my own self-perception was awful.

August 2011: I joined the gym.

December 2011: I was still going to the gym. I’d lost weight. I was feeling good about myself.

June 2012: I had to run to catch a bus. I wasn’t out of breath when I got on and named my destination. I thought to myself “hey, that running thing wasn’t so awful…”

I tried running on a treadmill. It was awful. I downloaded a C25K app. It wasn’t awful.

I ran outside — deliberately — for the first time in, oh, five years.

I enjoyed it. It became a hobby. After numerous ups and downs (I obtained an injury in October 2012 as a result of the wrong running shoes, and I gained weight in early 2013 as a result of quitting running for a while due to general poor mental health, even though I knew running helped me with that), I went from an estimated 200ish (probably plus, to be honest) pounds to, as of my last weigh-in at the gym, in the PM, after a full day’s work and eating, 119lbs.

I’m fit. I’m healthy. I fucking love running, and I’m going to be running the 2014 Purbeck Marathon (one hopes). I’ve created this blog to track my training ups and downs, and to serve as a reminder to myself throughout the downs that I can fucking do it.

taken from Amanda Grayson’s personal photo archives

in tos i-chaya was already quite old when spock was a boy but really i just wanted to see baby spock with baby i-chaya that’s all