So it turns out that watching historical fiction films when you don't know anything about the actual history and you have the TV on mute can be very confusing. I was going to write a review of last night's movie, 300, but then I realized that not only was the volume mainly off but that I had only caught certain scenes in the background, so in lieu of my usual reviews, here's a synopsis instead. Warning: this may or may not contain spoilers, depending on how accurate my interpretation of things is (which, in all likelihood, is not very).
If the Battle of Thermopylae is anything like what 300 director Zach Snyder tells me it was, it involved some really buff men slathered in body oil wearing Speedos and red capes fighting millions of assumedly equally buff but more covered men led by an extremely hairless dude wearing way too many necklaces.
The first scene I caught involved some kid (turns out this is a young Leonidas, who will spend the next few years of his life developing copious muscle mass) fighting a wolf, who looked pretty mean but I couldn't actually determine what the wolf had ever done [to Leonidas] to warrant such a fight. I'm not sure how this battle turned out, but I'd venture a guess that the wolf lost, or else the kid wouldn't have gone on to become Gerard Butler and save the President or anything.
The next time I switched back to the movie, some Persians - men, not cats - arrive in Sparta and say something (the TV was still on mute at this point) that pisses off the Spartans so these guys get thrown into a seemingly bottomless well, which is conveniently located in the middle of their town square.
I'm not sure from where this well appeared, perhaps was it the result of a meteorite crash eons ago and the Spartans just built their village around it. Or perhaps they dug it themselves, which I suppose is a more plausible explanation, and would also explain why all these men are so damn ripped, since they just dug the world's deepest hole.
A bunch of plot development must have unfolded, but I missed all of it, and next thing I knew, everyone is fighting. The Spartans get attacked [by the Persians] and about a billion arrows rain down on them but somehow they still get up, even though it shows the arrows pinning their capes to the ground. I guess they never watched The Incredibles, or else they would have foregone the capes, although I suppose their necks and backs must get chilly since they're wearing nothing but underwear the entire time, even when it's snowing (I'm pretty sure there was a scene with snow at some point). Maybe coats of body oil are more insulating than one would think.
Next, the leader of the Persian army, King Xerxes, who clearly did not take Coco Chanel's “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory” advice to heart, shows up on a ridiculous man-carried stage, and looks really pissed. Granted, I'd be upset too, if I went to get my ear pierced and instead they pierced my right cheek. Leonidas isn't having any of it.
A triceratops soon shows up, but it's actually just a rhinoceros who's been accessorized by Xerxes, but sadly, he doesn't make it very far. Then a bunch of elephants stomp on over, but they too meet an unfortunate end, which was quite possibly the hardest part of the film to watch.
Now we have Ephialtes, who missed the Let's Go to The Gym / Dig a Really Big Hole memo, and he's quite bitter because a physical birth deformity - and, presumably, his lack of a 12-pack - has prevented him from being chosen as a Spartan soldier, so he instead goes to hang out with ole jewelry king and his ladies, some of whom were apparently shipped over from the nearby Lesbos.
During a battle, one Spartan with lots of hair is really upset when his son is brutally murdered right in front of him, which is understandably traumatic and all, but he probably shouldn't have been all that surprised. The good news for the Spartans, however, is that now this father is even more motivated to fight and basically single-handedly kills the remaining Persians in that scene.
The Queen of Sparta gives a speech and some angry dude yells at her and falsely accuses her of sleeping around, but then he's killed and we learn that he's betrayed the Spartans when a bunch of coins fall out of his robe (I guess they do have clothes in Sparta after all) that have an emblem of Xerxes' head on them. This itself is surprising, since it's a wonder that any metal exists in all of Persia that Xerxes isn't wearing.
Finally, we see that the moral of this story is "No Matter Many Crunches and Planks You Do, Don't Be Mean to Others Cause It'll Bite You in the Ass" when the scorned Ephialtes leads the Persian army to the Spartans via a secret overpass path. To make a long story short, Xerxes loses his cheek piercings and all the Spartans are killed.
In anticipation of tomorrow, here's a look back through some of my more memorable Halloween costumes over the years. In other words, here's a throwback to simpler days when the entirely ridiculous (Sexy Lobster Costume, I'm looking at you) and the all together horrifyingly inappropriate (Sexy Ebola Containment Suit, WTF) weren't even an issue.
Throughout my professional life, I’ve tried to maintain a basic level of privacy. I come from humble roots, and I don’t seek to draw attention to myself. Apple is already one of the most closely watched companies in the world, and I like keeping the focus on our products and the incredible things our customers achieve with them.
At the same time, I believe deeply in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, who said: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’ ” I often challenge myself with that question, and I’ve come to realize that my desire for personal privacy has been holding me back from doing something more important. That’s what has led me to today.
For years, I’ve been open with many people about my sexual orientation. Plenty of colleagues at Apple know I’m gay, and it doesn’t seem to make a difference in the way they treat me. Of course, I’ve had the good fortune to work at a company that loves creativity and innovation and knows it can only flourish when you embrace people’s differences. Not everyone is so lucky.
While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven’t publicly acknowledged it either, until now. So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.
Being gay has given me a deeper understanding of what it means to be in the minority and provided a window into the challenges that people in other minority groups deal with every day. It’s made me more empathetic, which has led to a richer life. It’s been tough and uncomfortable at times, but it has given me the confidence to be myself, to follow my own path, and to rise above adversity and bigotry. It’s also given me the skin of a rhinoceros, which comes in handy when you’re the CEO of Apple.
The world has changed so much since I was a kid. America is moving toward marriage equality, and the public figures who have bravely come out have helped change perceptions and made our culture more tolerant. Still, there are laws on the books in a majority of states that allow employers to fire people based solely on their sexual orientation. There are many places where landlords can evict tenants for being gay, or where we can be barred from visiting sick partners and sharing in their legacies. Countless people, particularly kids, face fear and abuse every day because of their sexual orientation.
I don’t consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I’ve benefited from the sacrifice of others. So if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy.
I’ll admit that this wasn’t an easy choice. Privacy remains important to me, and I’d like to hold on to a small amount of it. I’ve made Apple my life’s work, and I will continue to spend virtually all of my waking time focused on being the best CEO I can be. That’s what our employees deserve—and our customers, developers, shareholders, and supplier partners deserve it, too. Part of social progress is understanding that a person is not defined only by one’s sexuality, race, or gender. I’m an engineer, an uncle, a nature lover, a fitness nut, a son of the South, a sports fanatic, and many other things. I hope that people will respect my desire to focus on the things I’m best suited for and the work that brings me joy.
The company I am so fortunate to lead has long advocated for human rights and equality for all. We’ve taken a strong stand in support of a workplace equality bill before Congress, just as we stood for marriage equality in our home state of California. And we spoke up in Arizona when that state’s legislature passed a discriminatory bill targeting the gay community. We’ll continue to fight for our values, and I believe that any CEO of this incredible company, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation, would do the same. And I will personally continue to advocate for equality for all people until my toes point up.
When I arrive in my office each morning, I’m greeted by framed photos of Dr. King and Robert F. Kennedy. I don’t pretend that writing this puts me in their league. All it does is allow me to look at those pictures and know that I’m doing my part, however small, to help others. We pave the sunlit path toward justice together, brick by brick. This is my brick.
Tim Cook, Apple CEO
I recently found myself caught up in National Geographic's "Future of Food" series, and I recommend you taking some time to do the same. A few articles of particular interest include "The Evolution of Diet" / "Carnivore's Dilemma" / "The Next Green Revolution" / "One-Third of Food Is Lost or Wasted: What Can Be Done" / "Can Farms Reduce Antibiotic Use? Dutch Farms Did" / "What The World Eats" / "Here's Why We Haven't Quite Figured Out How to Feed Billions More People".
I've been on a DIY smoothie kick as of late. This simple green smoothie recipe is entirely foolproof and delicious, just throw 1 cup of fresh spinach and 1 cup of water into a blender until well mixed, then add half a cup each of mango and pineapple and 1 banana (fruit can be fresh or frozen). Grab a straw and enjoy!