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Sara Hall

Likes: Good (read: bad) puns, puppies, embarrassing pop music, burritos, idolizing Beyoncé and Tina Fey
Dislikes: Squirrels, typos, socks with sandals (and other unforgivable fashion mistakes)

Sara hasn’t always been a journalist — unless you count that time she put out a newspaper in the third grade about her dog. Still, she’s been making up for lost time ever since she began attending Eastern Illinois University and started writing for The Daily Eastern News. When people ask her why she wants to be a writer, she tells them it’s because she genuinely enjoys journalism and everything that goes with it (which is true, but let’s be real, she not-so-secretly wouldn’t mind just being Carrie Bradshaw for the rest of her life). In the fall, you’ll find her where she really belongs: as online editor, blogging and tweeting like it’s her job — because hey, it actually is (thank God).

Miley Cyrus engaged to Liam Hemsworth

Couple met on the set of movie The Last Song

Miley Cyrus is engaged to Hunger Games star Liam Hemsworth, according to reports from People Magazine.

While it may seem like just yesterday the teen starlet was playing young Hannah Montana on the Disney Channel, the 19-year-old is now engaged to Hemsworth, 22, after a three-year courtship.

Both the representatives for Miley Cyrus and Hemsworth have confirmed the magazine’s news.

“I’m so happy to be engaged and look forward to a life of happiness with Liam,” Miley Cyrus said.

Miley Cyrus and Hemsworth met in 2009 when shooting the movie The Last Song. They also briefly split in 2010 before reuniting.

Hemsworth proposed to Miley Cyrus on May 31 with a 3.5 carat diamond engagement ring by Neil Lane.

Bride-to-be Miley Cyrus couldn’t keep her enthusiasm to herself as she tweeted this morning, “Life is beautiful!”

“I’m so happy to be engaged and look forward to a life of happiness with Liam,” Miley Cyrus told People magazine.

However, the couple may have to put the actual wedding on hold because of their upcoming busy schedules.

Miley Cyrus is working on her fourth studio album while Hemsworth is busy filming movies like Empire State, Paranoia and the second installment of the Hunger Games series.

The couple previously denied reports they were engaged earlier in this spring.

No wedding date has been set yet. 

The Antlers: A guide to reverse heartbreak

Brooklyn-based band draws crowd at Do Division Street Fest, evokes emotion with song set

 

What’s it like to be holding back tears, feeling like heartbreak will never end, only to eventually fall back into the cushioned safety and comfort of hope and, dare it be suggested, love?

Just ask The Antlers.

This Brooklyn-based rock band is all about stirring up contradictory emotions with their songs, taking fans on an emotional rollercoaster ride they’ll voluntarily ride again and again. The Antlers are continuously breaking fans’ hearts with their songs, only to turn around and promise them that things will get better, just wait and see.

As they performed at the sixth annual Do Division Street Festival on June 3 in Wicker Park, this was the exact mindset the band was trying to get the crowd to accept.

After technical difficulties that delayed the show for 15 minutes, lead singer Peter Silberman greeted the tightly packed crowd by saying this was something the band hadn’t been accustomed to as of lately. With their recent shows being held in smaller towns, performing here in Chicago was almost surreal for them.

“It’s kind of a really strange dream,” he said.

Funny Silberman should say so, because that’s exactly the same sentiment he and the rest of the band instilled in the audience with their show. Who would have thought romanticizing melancholy could turn out so well?

The band opened with wistfully thoughtful “Rolled Together” from their second studio-released album “Burst Apart;” of the nine songs played, most of them came from this album.

With each new song, the audience became more mesmerized.

Silberman’s voice has the tendency to do that to people. Just a simple 10-second sample of his vocal range, from the soothing lows to the unexpected highs in any given song that are enough to make you ask “Can he really go that high?”,  and listeners are left speechless.

The band also gave attendees a taste of what’s to come.  Performing new song “Drift Dive” off their upcoming album “Undersea,” dropping July 24, The Antlers let audiences know they’re still going to be in their same sad-turned-happy style, but with continued growth, as always.

The emotion of each song thereafter dripped heavily in the air, sometimes becoming so heavy that choked up the crowd. Songs like “Atrophy” and “Putting the Dog to Sleep” made stereotypical the “hipster”concert façade instantly fade away. Audience members were too busy being absorbed into the show to even worry about concert behavior obligations.  (Picture a slightly intoxicated (off their PBRs, of course), slightly too-cool-for-you group being put in their place, just staring directly at the band, trying to soak it all in while they could.)

That’s not to say there weren’t a few people getting really into it; in fact, by the final song, the whole audience’s mood had turned from pensive to positive.

Closing with “Wake” from their first album, “Hospice,” The Antlers turned everything completely around with just one eight-minute track. 

For a song about alienating those you love and with references to suicide, it still ended on a happy note that left the crowd more than ready to embrace a new optimistic side.

“Don’t ever let anyone tell you deserve that,” Silberman crooned to the crowd in reference to overcoming personal guilt that comes from rocky relationships and inevitable hardships in love.

With the band’s quick turn of a phrase, the audience was revitalized to bright levels of optimism.

That’s the thing about The Antlers. They may break listeners down and shatter their emotional well beings with just a few simple lyrics sung in their signature sad, dreamy way, but they only do it to build help them back up. The Antlers just want their listeners to love again.

And they always do.

Vatican denounces nun for controversial book

Prominent American nun condemned after producing writings advocating masturbation, gay sex, divorce

 

The Vatican has denounced nun Margaret Farley in response to her book Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics, which supports the practices of female masturbation, gay sex and remarriage after divorce.

Sister Farley, who taught Christian Ethics at Yale Divinity School, is now being condemned by the Catholic Church for her differing views on what the Church views to be controversial and unacceptable.

The Vatican released a statement which says in her book, Farley ignores key points of the Sacred Scripture, which claims that masturbation is “gravely disordered conduct” and gay sex is an act of “grave depravity.”

Farley herself is also particularly unpleased, saying in a statement on Yale’s website, “I can only clarify that the book was not intended to be an expression of current official Catholic teaching, nor was it aimed specifically against this teaching. It is of a different genre altogether.”

Sister Farley said in her statement that her viewpoints are “contemporary interpretations” that move away from “taboo morality.”

As the Vatican denounces nun Farley, controversy has unfolded on both sides of the spectrum.

Many US Catholics, as well as other prominent members of the Catholic Church, have come to her defense.

Catholics have held vigils outside of churches and created a petition which already has more than 50,000 signatures in response to the Vatican denouncing nun Farley.

President of Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, to which Farley belongs, Pat McDermott said she has “profound regret” over the Vatican’s decision to denounce Sister Farley.

Sister Farley was a past president of the organization.

Still, the Catholic Church remains unmoved and continues to strongly deny support for Farley’s book and viewpoints.

Pope Benedict continues to hold his firm belief that the Church can only continue to thrive if it sticks to its core beliefs.

Hot 97 Summer Jam: The show went on, but not without controversy

Lil Wayne pulls Nicki Minaj from lineup, others voluntarily drop out

Hot 97 Summer Jam still happened – but it was missing a few of its originally scheduled stars as per the orders of hip-hop giant Lil Wayne.

Nicki Minaj, who got her start under the direction of Lil Wayne, was pulled from the Hot 97 Summer Jam lineup after a diss from a Hot 97 commentator left Lil Wayne less than pleased.

Lil Wayne, commonly known in the rap and hip-hop communities as “Weezy,” would not allow Minaj to perform after Hot 97 personality Peter Rosenberg told the massive audience attending Hot 97 Summer Jam that her single Starships is “bullsh**” earlier in the evening.

Lil Wayne did not take well to this, responding to Rosenberg’s remarks on his Twitter by saying, “Young Money ain’t doing summer jam.”

Other artists, such as DJ Khaled, Ace Hood and Busta Rhymes, on Lil Wayne’s record label, YMCMB, originally scheduled to perform, voluntarily dropped out after learning of Lil Wayne’s demand for Minaj.

After Rosenberg’s diss and Minaj’s consequent last-minute drop-out, the radio station had the challenge of continuing the show without its headliner.

Even without the big-name power of Minaj, the Hot 97 Summer Jam still managed to pull in an estimated 60,000 people at the Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

Other big-name artists performed at Hot 97 Summer Jam, including French Montana, Ma$e, Waka Flocka, Wale and Big Sean.

Hot 97 Summer Jam did have one other major surprise as unanticipated performer Nas with special guest Lauryn Hill made an appearance to perform a short set that was concluded with If I Ruled the World.

Oil prices plunge after nearly record highs

Economists say price fluctuation all part of supply-and-demand cycle

Oil prices are dramatically dropping, and many economists are crediting it to an always-present cycle of supply and demand in the oil industry.

Oil prices fell to as low as $81.21 on Monday, the lowest since October 26, 2011, according to an article by the Los Angeles Times.

Americans may be relieved by this news as gas and oil prices were rising to scarily-familiar levels, ala 2007 and 2008.

During that 2007-2008 time period when oil prices rose to a shocking $147 a barrel, many Americans made drastic life changes to cushion the sticker shock, like trading in larger cars for more fuel-efficient cars , as well as carpooling.

 As oil prices slowly crept to upwards of $100 a barrel, some were afraid no relief was in sight and that they would perhaps have to make even more dramatic sacrifices to keep up with the seemingly ever-rising cost of oil.

However, as prices begin to drop, economists are saying this current rise-and-fall of oil prices is due to simple supply-and-demand.

According to data gathered by the Energy Intelligence Group, oil prices have dropped since march because the world has been producing more oil than it is consuming.

The U.S. is now sitting on a larger oil supply than it had since 1990, but it also has the lowest demand in the past 15 years.

The low oil prices aren’t necessary a good thing; in some economists’ eyes, they can just as easily rise back to their higher levels.

Still, lower oil prices may just be the fuel many Americans need to actually consume more by taking summer road trips and vacations. This will most likely further the volatile cycle of supply and demand.

The current national average for gasoline prices is $3.585, down 5.6 cents from this time last week and 28 cents from a month ago, according to AAA Gauge Fuel Report.

Kathryn Joosten dies of lung cancer at 72

Two-time cancer survivor did not let cancer affect her day-to-day life

Kathryn  Joosten, best known as the actress playing the cantankerous neighbor on Desperate Houswives, died on Sat., June 2 of lung cancer at the age of 72.

Joosten had beat two previous battles with cancer before her death. She had two different forms of lung cancer, one in 2001 and the other in 2009, that she successfully overcame.

In a piece for The Times in 2011, Kathryn Joosten said she knew she would have to deal with cancer for the remainder of her life, but she did not let it impact the way she lived her day-to-day life.

“So far, I am a cancer survivor, but cancer will be with me for the rest of my life, be it as a nodule, tumor or cell someplace, or in my fears and anxieties. Therefore I’ve decided that I am ‘living with cancer,’ ” she said in the piece about cancer.

Kathryn Joosten was also well known for her role as Mrs. Landingham on The West Wing

She also held a reoccurring role on Dharma and Greg and had guest spots on shows such as Ally McBeal and Scrubs.

Joosten won two Emmys for her time on Desperate Housewives as the watchdog neighbor of Wisteria Lane.

Kathryn Joosten was well-known for not getting her big break until later in her life.

Kathryn Joosten also had many outside of the entertainment industry. She is most notable for her involvement in animal rights, most particularly when she appeared with other celebrities at a 2008 news conference in Los Angeles asking the city to abandon a $40-million elephant enclosure project at the Los Angeles Zoo.

Kathryn Joosten’s family announced in a statement that a private service will be held at her home with a memorial service to follow soon after.

 

Bill Maher buys stake of New York Mets

Maher will recieve subsidy from tax payers as stake holder

Bill Maher, a comedian better known for his jokes than his sports prowess, may not be the first person in mind when one thinks of owning part of a tea , but the funnyman recently purchased a minority stake in the New York Mets.

When he was at Citi Field on Sunday, Bill Maher made the announcement that he bought a share of the Mets – and did so months ago.

Bill Maher grew up near New Jersey and has said that he has been a New York Mets fan for his entire life.

Maher would not disclose how big his stake in the team is.

As stake holder, Bill Maher will receive a subsidy from tax payers who helped pay for Citi Stadium.

The stadium cost $831 million, and tax payers are responsible for paying $614 million.
According to a sale document given to potential investors, a limited partner can get his investment back in six years with 3 percent compound interest.

He did not disclose if he bought an entire $20 million share or if he purchased it as part of a group.

Bill Maher was quoted as saying he is glad to because of the lack of political controversy encompassing it.

“That’s what’s great about baseball,” Maher said. “I finally found something I can be a-political about.”

Bill Maher said he has no plans to become a hands-on owner.

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” trailer puts fans fears to rest

Trailer seems to accurately follow book’s storyline

The Perks of Being a Wallflower trailer was released on June 3, and anxious and worried fans of the novel from, which it is based, can rest easy knowing the director is doing the book justice.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower trailer highlights key scenes in the novel, subduing die-hard fans worry that the movie would not accurately portray the book’s storyline.
The we are infinite scene and the group’s performance in The Rocky Horror Picture Show were both seen in The Perks of Being a Wallflower trailer.

Harry Potter star Emma Watson is the film’s most recognizable face in what was seen as a surprising role for the actress. Logan Lerman and Ezra Miller also star in the movie.

Based on the novel by Stephen Chobosky, the film centers around main character Charlie and his struggle to lead a normal high school life. Through the help of his friends Sam and Patrick, he is able to better adjust to being a teenager.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower trailer represents all three of these characters.

Although the novel was primarily intended for young adults, it has become widely popular since its 1999 release and is now beloved by audiences of all ages.

The movie is scheduled to be released in theaters on Sept. 14 of this year.

Zombie apocalypse eats at the brains of Internet users

Florida man under the influence of bath salts strikes interest, causes Internet reaction

“Zombie apocalypse” seems to be the phrase on everyone’s lips these days, and the fuel behind this zombie-talk fire only continues to grow on the Internet.

Facebook feeds, Twitter tickers and blogs everywhere can’t seem to stop discussing the possibility of a zombie apocalypse after a Florida man, under the influence of the street drug “bath salts,” ruthlessly gnawed at a man’s face until almost nothing was left. He continued to eat the man’s face even in the presence of police.

The recent emergence of the story involving a Maryland man accused of eating the heart and brains of another man also added to the zombie discussion.

This less-than-human behavior has some people feeling that zombies are not just stories for books, movies and television shows- but an actual reality.

As the so-called zombie apocalypse permeates into pop culture more each day, Internet users become more convinced they need to take measures to prevent a zombie attack.

People have even become so transfixed by the idea of a zombie apocalypse that some believe it could be an actual possibility and have been taking the Center for Disease Control’s February-issued guidelines and recommendations for a “zombie apocalypse” too literally.

Twitter users had especially been taken by the CDC’s guidelines, posting about them in their tweets to inform others on how to take preventative measures against “zombies.”
This caused the CDC to issue a statement that their guide to a zombie apocalypse was, in fact, done in jest and was actually intended to raise attention to natural disaster preparation.

Twitter users have also been incorporating cultural references to movies and shows like Shaun of the Dead, 28 Days Later and The Walking Dead into their tweets as they suggest zombies could really be among us.

As the seeming capstone of pop culture, memes have even been created in response to the zombie craze.

Phrases like, “I’m not saying it’s the start of the zombie apocalypse, but when a dude bites off another dude’s face and doesn’t react to being shot, perhaps we should consider it” and play on the Carly Rae Jepsen Call Me Maybe lyrics, “I just met you, and this is crazy, but here’s my bath salts, your face is tasty” have been attached to zombie apocalypse-related memes.

Miss USA 2012 competition swayed by question and answer portion

Runner-up Audrey Bolte’s answer to a question may have cost her the competition

Miss USA 2012 winner Olivia Culpo may have her competitor Audrey Bolte to thank as the reason behind her ultimate win of the coveted crown.

Websites are buzzing about the possible cause of runner-up Bolte, of Ohio, coming in second place instead of taking the Miss USA title that Culpo, of Rhode Island, won.

Many are saying Bolte’s surprising answer to a question from a Miss USA judge regarding how women are portrayed in the media caused her downfall.

Bolte answered the question unexpectedly, citing “Pretty Women,” a movie revolving around Julia Roberts’ career as a prostitute, as an inspiration to young women.

“We had a wonderful, beautiful woman, Julia Roberts, and she was having a rough time. But you know what? She came out on top and she didn’t let anyone stay in her path,” Bolte said.

Bolte’s untraditional answer caught the judges off guard and possibly gave Culpo the edge to win the Miss USA crown.

Culpo was also asked a difficult and controversial question during the Miss USA pageant, but she managed to answer in a more satisfactory way that pleased the judges.

Culpo was asked if transgender competitors should be allowed to participate in the Miss USA pageants, and she said she approved of their participation, despite any possible criticism from outsiders.

Culpo will now advance from the Miss USA pageant to representing the United States at the Miss Universe pageant.