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Culturebox: The Cameron Diaz Factor

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The Cameron Diaz Factor
What's the best kind of movie to watch on TV?
By Jessica Grose
Posted Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011, at 7:31 AM ET

The Sweetest Thing. Click image to expand.On a recent evening, I was scrolling through the channels in the outer reaches of my cable package, looking for something to watch. It was at the end of a long day and I didn't want to see something new, or anything that was challenging or upsetting--I passed right by Noah Baumach's Greenberg and the Coen brothers' Blood Simple. What I wanted to do was shut my brain off and be comforted while my butt melted into the couch cushions. So I was delighted to find The Sweetest Thing, the bawdy buddy flick starring Cameron Diaz, Christina Applegate, and Selma Blair, playing on one of the 14 different kinds of HBO my husband and I have. During the spring of 2003, I watched The Sweetest Thing almost every day, because it was one of three or four movies my university's internal television station played on rotation. Even so, I can't help watching it every time it's on TV.

Mind you, I am not saying The Sweetest Thing is a good movie, not by any critical standards. It has a dismal rating of 32 on Metacritic. Reviewing the movie back in 2002, Roger Ebert wrote: "This is not a good movie." It's certainly not the kind of movie you want to own on DVD--I would never actually seek it out, and frankly I'd be embarrassed to have it on my shelf. I tend to purchase aspirationally, going for the Criterion-approved movies I want to want to see again (Jules et Jim, for example). The Sweetest Thing is also not the kind of movie that needs to be seen in a theater. There are no major special effects. The only thing that's visually interesting about TST is the part when Diaz and Applegate dance around in their underwear to "The Pina Colada Song."

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Jessica Grose is an associate editor at Slate and the managing editor of DoubleX. She is the co-author of Love, Mom: Poignant, Goofy, Brilliant Messages From Home. Follow her on Twitter here.

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How to Stop Hiding Behind Your Spiritual Gifts -- February 16, 2011

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011 Email Send to a Friend   Mobile Mobile   Free Newsletters Free Newsletters
Spiritual Life

'Just Do It': How to Stop Hiding Behind Your Spiritual Gifts
Joy Allmond
Spiritual gifts are very important and quite crucial to how we serve. But if we aren't careful, we can make excuses to be idle if the task doesn't exactly fit what we believe to be our spiritual gifts.
Read the full article here

Faith and The Church

Reminders Are More Effective Than Rebukes
Tullian Tchividjian
The real reason I hate "accountability groups" is because the primary focus is always on our sin, not on our Savior. Because of this, these groups breed self-righteousness, guilt, and the almost irresistible temptation to pretend–to be less than honest...
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Why Aren't Christians Smarter?
Andrew Tallman
We have the only true religion, we have a Book which is responsible for Western Civilization, and we serve the Supreme Champion. Shouldn't we be smarter?
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I'm a Complementarian, But... Women Can Be Deacons
Thabiti Anyabwile
The pattern of leadership in the church should be qualified men serving as elders. This is not at odds with women serving as deacons. But if the church does not have elders, and instead deacons perform the teaching and oversight that biblically belongs to elders, then women should not serve as deacons.
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Career & Finance

Prevent Virtue from Becoming Vice
Steve Diggs
The devil is a very easy master to please. He really doesn't care which sin we choose. He's cool with whichever side of the road we run off.
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Finding Freedom from the Love of Money
Steve Scalici, CFP(r)
Is it wrong to want money? Not necessarily. It's when we begin to love money that we cross the line. Financial expert Steve Scalici explores what love of money looks like, and why it will always fall short of love for God.
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If Your Life Isn't Working Out
Dan Miller
Success is never an accident. It typically starts as imagination, becomes a dream, stimulates a goal, grows into a plan of action.
Read the full article here

Today's Devotional

Hope in a Fallen World (from "Parenting by Design")
Never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done (Gen. 8:21).

Man is still inclined to do evil, and God continues to be both righteous and loving.
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Trips for Photography Enthusiasts

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February 2011
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The results are in from our latest Expedition Moments Photography Contest!
Check out the winning photograph (above) and the gallery of finalists. Then get into the field with a National Geographic photographer to hone your own skills. Join Jay Dickman in Santa Fe during a weeklong workshop, or hit the streets with Tyrone Turner for our upcoming weekend workshop in New Orleans. Take a look at our broad range of photography workshops and expeditions designed for photographers of all levels.
Congratulations to Philip Dien of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, grand prize winner of our latest Expedition Moments Photography Contest! Traveling on our Land of the Polar Bears expedition last summer, Philip snapped an incredible shot (pictured above) of a mother polar bear shaking dry after giving her cub a lift across the bay.
Browse our gallery to see our other two winning photographs and the fantastic shots from around the world that made it to our final round.
Our Photography Workshops are led by a top National Geographic photographer and cater to those who seek intensive instruction. Learn to take magazine-quality photos through field assignments, daily edit-and-critique sessions, and the insights of our experts.
Santa Fe Photography Workshop
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7 Days • March 13–19, 2011
With its stunning scenery, vibrant Southwest culture, and radiant light, Santa Fe provides an ideal setting for our weeklong photography workshops. Capture traditional adobe homes and the spectacular landscape near Ghost Ranch, and go on a photo shoot in a recreated Old West town. Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Jay Dickman provides instruction along the way, and leads daily edit-and-critique sessions. Learn more.
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From its French-influenced architecture to its swinging jazz rhythms, New Orleans’ lively blend of cultures makes it a fantastic photography destination. Hit the streets on photo shoots with Tyrone Turner, a native of New Orleans and an award-winning photojournalist. Learn more.

Tyrone has shot images of New Orleans and the Louisiana bayou for several National Geographic magazine articles, including “New Orleans: A Perilous Future” in the August 2007 issue. See a gallery of his images from that article from his hometown, and read his Field Notes about the assignment.
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