Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance (Review)


FotorCreated I was discussing the movie “Birdman” with my cousin the other day, and we have come up with several different possible endings or interpretations of the movie in its entirety.

However, since we’re both happy people, “it runs in the family”, we tried to look at it from a positive angle.

From this point on, this post contains massive spoiler alert. If you still haven’t seen the movie, I suggest you stop reading until you have seen it. Then again, I suggest you read this, and give me your thoughts on our perspective.

The most important part is the reference made about superheroes in the movie, not only verbally but also visually; this appeared towards the end of the movie “on stage”.

When watching the movie Birdman, one has to draw a parallel between the Character of Riggan together with Birdman, and the real life Character Michael Keaton together with Batman.

Aside from that, you will notice Edward Norton who has played Hulk, Naomi Watts played alongside “King Kong” and Emma Stone played alongside “Spider-man”. All three have managed to succeed in real life.  When it comes to Michael Keaton or even “Riggan” the character in the movie, both of them have once been greater than life, and have almost sunk to the lowest low to an extent that they were almost forgotten. Birdman and Batman, both are birds and both have grossed millions in the theatres, but both Riggan and Michael were harshly critiqued for their superhero roles.

Since we have established that to a large extent, that both Michael Keaton and Riggan are to a great extent a reflection of one another, and since we do not have a clear idea of the ending of the movie, as to when the window of the hospital was left open.  Did he jump? Did he die? What was really meant by that?

So this is where the optimism comes into play, by looking at the success of Michael Keaton today not as a superhero but as an actor, especially after his role in Birdman, and by monitoring the look of Riggan’s daughter  “Sam” slowly staring up towards the sky, I could only deduce the ending of Birdman’s Riggan to be in parallel to that of the real life Michael Keaton. He is back on the map, he is slowly emerging  as an actor after he has proven himself to be a success outside of his suit.

–Raghid Khalil

I AM LEBANON


PassI have been contemplating on the news for the past few days, and all I could see or read was ‘terrorism’ and ‘trauma’.

It’s always been interesting how the word terrorism is used and I really can’t quite understand the proper way of using it. For instance, what happened a few days ago with “Charlie Hebdo”, to me, sounded more like murder or assassination especially when you call out people by name before committing the crime. But to add some suspense to it, it seems media outlets would rather use the word terrorism. It looks better on the news, and of course what would be better fit for being a terrorist than a so called human being who happened to be born into a family of a certain religion and has been labelled as Muslim on his documents and not necessarily by doctrine.

As for trauma, it just perplexes me even more when I hear that people were traumatized and that their lives will be changed forever and perhaps might never be able to go to a grocery store within the next decade.

Well in all honesty, if you stop dwelling on the word trauma, people might forget the incident entirely and might be able to move on with their lives. But of course it’s not good for media; they have to reiterate their horrible experience at every occasion in front of every news channel. I only think this is funny, and I am using my freedom of speech to express what I am about to say. I believe every Lebanese person born prior to the first week of 2015 has experienced either the civil war, or the war of two foreign countries on Lebanese soil, or an aggression from a neighboring country, or numerous invasions, or kidnappings or in the least some form of bombing here and there.

But of course, those do not qualify for terrorism and definitely not a traumatic experience to any of the Lebanese. It’s more like having the morning Turkish coffee.

I am sick and tired of these double standards. And it gets worse, when someone other than a Muslim commits a heinous act of mass murder at Universities and so on. Everyone seems to identify that the parents (immediate family) of that murderer have nothing to do with that person’s action and thereby try to defend them or console them. But if it was a Muslim, then all of a sudden it becomes similar to the original sin, and every Muslim has to deal with and condone it otherwise they appear to approve it.

I am against killings of any sort, I am against terrorism and anything that negatively impacts human lives, but my question is to the Lebanese who are close to 4 million in Lebanon but have managed to have 8 Million of them use all sorts of social media to express “ I AM CHARLIE” , has anyone within those past 40 years  or at least since the inception of social media other than the Lebanese themselves ever say “ I AM BEIRUT”, “I AM LEBANON”.

Raghid Khalil

The Vacuum Cleaner and I


When I was Single, I used to vacuum clean the house at most twice a month and prior to an occasion/ Event.
When I got Married, my spouse and I started vacuum cleaning the house more regularly, say at least once a week as well as prior to an occasion/ Event.
When we had our first child, vacuum cleaning became more of a precautionary act, so once every other day and there was no need to clean prior to an occasion or event, because the house was relatively kept spotless.
When our child became of the walking and running freely around the house age, we had to buy a newer vacuum cleaner with stronger suction power and longer extension cords that can reach almost anywhere and for some weird reason vacuum cleaning felt more like a prescription:
– 7 days a week.
– 3 times a day preceded by meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner).
– If you skip the lunch time don’t panic, just do it after the earliest snack.

Some common side effects:
– Fatigue, frustration, speaking louder, hearing issues but none are fatal.
– In some cases depression was reported, and loss of hope in ever having a clean room.

Raghid Khalil

Apple under the Microsoft Microscope


Apple: I am man’s first temptation.
Microsoft: more like the original sin.

Apple: I keep the doctors away (built in antivirus).
Microsoft: and the worms within (recent hacks).

Apple: I am man’s tastiest fruit.
Microsoft: and snow white’s deadliest fruit.

Apple: we’re in every household.
Microsoft: in other words, always a housewife, never a businessman.

Apple: just get off my back.
Microsoft: I thought you like being bent.

Raghid Khalil

Working Out During Pregnancy: Keeping Your Routine Safe and Effective Throughout Each Trimester


Here is another great and informative article from Healthline. Please read, share and enjoy 🙂


Working Out During Pregnancy: Keeping Your Routine Safe and Effective Throughout Each Trimester

by Kristeen Cherney

Pregnancy marks a time when you need to make tweaks to your lifestyle for the sake of your baby. This includes getting rid of alcohol and junk food, as well as smoking if you have not done so already. However, exercise is definitely not something you should neglect at this time of your life. It’s not safe to play contact sports or do balancing workouts, such as bike riding, but you should not stop exercising altogether. Aside from the benefits of working out, safe exercise alone does not cause miscarriage. The key is to learn the safest and most effective workouts during each stage of your pregnancy and to modify your routine accordingly.

First Trimester: Keep Up Your Current Routine

Ideally, you should have established a workout routine before pregnancy. If this is the case, then your doctor will likely give you the go-ahead to keep up normal activities throughout the first trimester. Runners can still run, and gym-goers can still lift weights and use most machines. The key difference during this transition has to do with the method you lift weights: ideally, you should not lift them above your head so you don’t strain your neck or abdomen. As long as your doctor gives the OK, you may still perform exercises laying down, including sit-ups. Many women take advantage of this small window of time during the first trimester to strengthen their abdominal muscles while they can. You certainly can—and you should—do weight-training for your abs for toning and strength.

If you failed to exercise before pregnancy, this doesn’t mean you need to wait 9+ months to start routine. Begin by walking as much as you can, working up to at least 30 minutes per day. Walking and swimming are both ideal if you’re battling morning sickness. Add some strength-training to the mix to help build muscles you’ll need during pregnancy, delivery, and beyond.

Second Trimester: Start Making Modifications

As you progress away from the days of morning sickness, you’re likely entering your second trimester. You can still exercise to stay in shape at this point, but this is also the time to start modifying your routine. Any workout that includes jumping or lying on your back is off-limits because such movements strain your abdomen and increase the risk for miscarriage. Raul Artal, OB-GYN, explains to Baby Center that between 6 and 10 percent of women rapidly lose blood pressure when lying down, which can harm a developing fetus. Walking and swimming are still preferred because they are safe while still providing resistance and cardiovascular benefits. However, you can also try prenatal yoga and workouts on the treadmill, elliptical machine, and stationary bike. To maintain and strengthen ab muscles, make sure you sit up straight with your chest forward.

Third Trimester: Walking is Your Best Bet

The third trimester may be the most unappealing stage to work out due to an aching back, swelling legs, and fatigue. You should not give up at this point: not only does exercise benefit both you and the baby throughout the latter stages of pregnancy, but exercising can also ward off excess weight gain during this home-stretch. In fact, most of the weight gained during pregnancy occurs in the last trimester because the baby is growing at a more rapid weight and you’re building more fluids in preparation for delivery.

When to Talk to Your Doctor

For the sake of you and your baby, it’s important to maintain a safe and consistent exercise routine throughout pregnancy. Still, there are times when it’s definitely acceptable to stop working out. You should not keep exercising if you:

  • feel faint
  • become breathless
  • experience vaginal discharge
  • feel feverish
  • experience any pain
  • start feeling contractions

You should see a doctor ASAP if you experience any of these symptoms. Also, talk to him or her if you’re new to exercise or are unsure about how to modify your current routine. If you have a high-risk pregnancy, you’ll likely need to take extra precautions during exercise as outlined by your physician.

Resources

Kristeen CherneyAuthor Bio: Kristeen Cherney is a freelance health and lifestyle writer who also has a certificate in nutrition. Her work has been published on numerous health-related websites since 2009. Previously, she worked as a communications and marketing professional and officially changed careers after the birth of her son. Kristeen holds a BA in Communication from Florida Gulf Coast University, and is currently pursuing an MA in English with a concentration in rhetoric and cultural studies. When she’s not writing or studying, she enjoys walking, kick-boxing, yoga, and traveling.

Guest Blog: Craving Nutrition: Eating for Change During Pregnancy


I have been contacted by a sweet lady from Healthline. Healthline is a very informative and user friendly website where you can learn more about medical information and trusted health advice. Here is a very informative and fun article to read written by Leslie Vandever related to the topic of Pregnancy, specifically Cravinggssss 🙂 Enjoy


Craving Nutrition: Eating for Change During Pregnancy

By Leslie Vandever

If you’re pregnant and crave certain foods—the famous pickles and ice cream, for instance, or salty corn chips dipped in cottage cheese, or frequent chocolate fixes, or even tasty helpings of steak fat—don’t feel alone. Food cravings during pregnancy are well-known and go with that rapidly rounding belly like cookies go with milk.

Scientists can’t tell us why, exactly. But at least some cravings may originate in the body’s need for specific nutrients. Pica—a craving to eat things that aren’t food, like clay, or coal—seems to come from a need for more iron in the diet. Women who crave ice cream or cottage cheese may just need more calcium. Chocolate is high in magnesium, so a woman whose body is lacking enough of that mineral may make a beeline for the candy machine. Or maybe her blood sugar level is low, so sweets sound good to her.

Or maybe she just loves chocolate.

Because a pregnant woman’s hormone levels fluctuate hugely, there may be an emotional side to cravings, as well. That urgent need for peaches and corn flakes may really be a subconscious need for emotional support, like a warm hug or a listening, empathetic ear.

The thing to remember is that there’s nothing wrong with craving specific foods during pregnancy. It’s an entirely normal phenomenon. Cravings have been noted—and commented upon with everything from humor to earnest seriousness—for hundreds of years. They occur in all cultures all over the world (though the foods that are the subjects of the cravings may differ).

The best way to deal with cravings is to eat a healthy, balanced, varied, and nutritious diet. By paying close attention to what and how you eat, you’ll be able to supply your body with everything it needs to keep both you and your growing infant healthy and strong. You may not have cravings as often.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, “Pregnancy is the one time in your life when your eating habits directly affect another person.”

By eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads, cereals, and pastas, low-fat dairy foods, beans, nuts, and legumes, and lean proteins like chicken and, in limited quantities, fish, you’ll give your new baby her best possible start in life. At the same time, you’ll be healthier than ever, gaining only as much weight as necessary.

Your body goes through ginormous change during pregnancy. You gain weight so your body can nurture and grow your baby; your breasts swell and fill with life-giving milk; your uterus stretches to accommodate an infant that will, by the time she’s born, weigh between six and 10 pounds (on average). Your blood volume will also have increased by as much as 60 percent.

For all this necessary and positive change to take place—and to keep you and the baby healthy in the process—you must get the right nutrients in the right quantities. During the second and third trimesters you need to eat an extra 300 healthy calories a day. In addition, some doctors and midwives prescribe or suggest extra vitamins and iron supplements, or recommend that you eat certain foods, like spinach, liver, and citrus fruits.

Keep your food cravings in context and under control. Feeding an occasional yen for butter brickle ice cream won’t hurt you or your baby, but eating a bowl of it every day will cause problems. If nothing else, you’ll gain more weight than you really should, which can be hard to lose after the baby is born.

And, you could try replacing that sugary, fattening ice cream with yogurt topped with fruit and granola, or something else along those lines that’s much more nutritious. Swap carrots for potato chips, or dried apricots for toaster pastries. You get the idea.

You can also curb cravings by getting plenty of sleep and exercise, and by drinking 8 measuring cups of water each day. Distract yourself with a phone conversation, a good TV show, or a good book instead of indulging the craving. Talk with your doctor. Be wise. Cravings are just that: cravings. You don’t have to satisfy them.

 

NewWren

 

Leslie Vandever is a professional journalist and freelance writer with more than 25 years of experience. She craved cottage cheese and corn chips when she was pregnant with her daughter 32 years ago, so she knows that of which she writes. Vandever lives in the foothills of Northern California.

 

 
References:

 

Quinoa and Vegetable Medley


Quinoa and Vegetable Medley

I am eating clean and healthy. This recipe is my quick go to dish when I am in a hurry. It is soooo delicious and filling. I always add hot sauce to it so I can get a yummy kick out of it 🙂 …Try it and let me know what you think… Enjoy!

Protein Rich Juice Recipes


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Above are a few recipes full of nutrition. High in protein and many other vitamins and minerals, these juice recipes are bound to quench your thirst and give you an energy boost to complete your workout.

Enjoy.

Rasha Nasser Khalil

Also see my other juice recipe posts:

Protein Rich Vegetables

– Pre and Post Workout Juice Recipes

– Juice Recipes for Weight Loss 

– Juice Recipes to Lower High Blood Pressure

– Juice Recipes for Ailments

– Detox Juice Recipes

– Jay Kordich – Juice Recipes

– Green Juice Recipes

– Having a Baby… Juice Juice Juice 

– Juice Recipes for Pregnancy

 

Protein Rich Vegetables


Protein does not only come from meat and dairy. Vegetables also do have protein. Here is a list of a few protein rich vegetables that you can incorporate in your diet. Fotor0306104146

Rasha Nasser Khalil

Also see my other juice recipe posts:

– Pre and Post Workout Juice Recipes

– Juice Recipes for Weight Loss 

– Juice Recipes to Lower High Blood Pressure

– Juice Recipes for Ailments

– Detox Juice Recipes

– Jay Kordich – Juice Recipes

– Green Juice Recipes

– Having a Baby… Juice Juice Juice 

– Juice Recipes for Pregnancy

Pre and Post Workout Juice Recipes


Exercising is essential for a healthy body and sound mind.

Providing your body with essential nutrient before and after a specific workout is vital for optimal performance and recovery.

Before exercising you can fill your body and cells with nutrients required that would add strength and energy to your workout routine.

Pre-Workout Juice Recipes

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Beets are high in natural nitrates that allow our muscles to use oxygen more efficiently which increases endurance. Carrots add in some much-needed antioxidant power (via the beta carotene and other phyto-nutrients) helping to protect us from exercise induced free radicals, and the optional addition of cayenne pepper enhances metabolism, allowing you to burn more fat. In addition, the natural sugars from both the carrots and beets provide a nice energy boost. (source: Myfitstation)  This recipe will make about four 2oz shots or enough for two workouts. Take two 2 oz shots an hour before your workout. Store the other half for 24 hours max.

**(warning about beets: If you are not used to drinking beets you will experience loose stool after drinking it due to its detoxifying and cleansing nature.This is just normal. Just wanted you, the reader, to take that into consideration.  You might also have reddish urine, which is also just normal.)

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Spinach, Asparagus, Parsley and Kale are high in protein. Juice them all together for an ultimate high protein power juice.

Post-Workout Juice Recipes

Hydration is essential after any workout.

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The water content and nutrient in this juice recipe will flood your cells with needed enzymes and help you recover.

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Try these juice recipes and let me know if you like them.

Rasha Nasser Khalil 

Also see my other juice recipe posts:

– Juice Recipes for Weight Loss 

– Juice Recipes to Lower High Blood Pressure

– Juice Recipes for Ailments

– Detox Juice Recipes

– Jay Kordich – Juice Recipes

– Green Juice Recipes

– Having a Baby… Juice Juice Juice 

Juice Recipes for Pregnancy

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