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We May Finally Know The Real Reason Van Gogh Cut His Ear Off 

Vincent Van Gogh, “Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear,” 1889, private collection

By now, most art history devotees know that on Christmas Eve in 1888, painter Vincent van Gogh allegedly took a razor to his left ear and chopped the appendage right off.Nearly none of them, however, know why.

A new theory from author Martin Bailey attempts to shed light on one of the darkest moments in the history of art. While researching for his book Studio of the South: Van Gogh in Provence, Bailey discovered that van Gogh’s act of self-mutilation occurredjust after learning that his brother Theo had gotten engaged. 

“Vincent feared that he would then ‘lose’ Theo, his closest companion,” Bailey explains in the book, per The New York Times. “He was equally worried that his brother might withdraw the financial support which had enabled him to devote his life to art. All this was threatened by the unexpected appearance of a fiancée.”

Bailey’s theory is largely based upon a letter, from Theo, delivered to Vincent just half a day before the ear incident occurred. The letter has since been lost, and there is no certain evidence of exactly what information the letter conveyed, but Bailey’s assembled enough information to reasonably infer that Theo’s letter announced his plans to wed.

It’s a matter of putting all the clues together,” he told CNN. “We don’t have that letter, but in another one Van Gogh sends in January, he mentions receiving money from his brother on the 23rd of December.”

So we know that Vincent received a letter from Theo on Dec. 23, 1888, the day in question. Couple that with the fact that Theo’s bride-to-be, Johanna Bonger, received a telegram of congratulations from her older brother Henry on the same day.

It’s reasonable to deduce, Bailey reasons, that Henry was alerted to the wedding plans on Dec. 23, and Vincent, also a brother of one of the betrothed, would be alerted at the same time.

Once it’s established that this mysterious letter contained news of wedding bells, it’s not all that surprising that van Gogh, who was already struggling with mental illness, would be disturbed by news of his closest companion’s engagement. Van Gogh depended on his brother, both emotionally and financially, as he had yet to sell a single painting.

“It was fear that pulled the trigger and led to the breakdown,” Bailey told CNN. “Fear of being abandoned in both an emotional and financial way.”

Since there is no hard proof confirming Bailey’s theory, it has its skeptics, including Nienke Bakker, a curator of van Gogh paintings at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

It might have contained the news of Theo’s engagement, but this cannot be proven,” Ms. Bakker wrote in an email to The New York Times. “It is equally possible that Theo only informed Vincent of his marriage plans when he visited his brother in hospital — thus after the ear incident.”

Pior to Bailey’s hypothesis, the leading theory surrounding van Gogh’s psychotic episode posited that the artist suffered a psychotic break following a passionate fight with his close friend and fellow painter Paul Gauguin.

It is also possible, of course, that both the wedding and the argument contributed to van Gogh’s mental unease ― hence, the ear chopping.

We may never know for certain what led van Gogh to harm himself that fateful night, but the theories that continue to emerge sketch an increasingly detailed picture of the legendary, tortured life of an iconic artist, making his visceral paintings all the more haunting.

Source: We May Finally Know The Real Reason Van Gogh Cut His Ear Off

6 Ways You May Be Cheating On Your Spouse Without Even Realizing It | Huffington Post

CSA IMAGES/PRINTSTOCK COLLECTION VIA GETTY IMAGES
“How could you!”

Sexual affairs may be the most widely known type of infidelity, but these days, betrayal take many forms.

“If effort is consistently being expended outside the marriage, that may be a sign of a non-traditional affair, like an emotional affair,” psychotherapist Abby Rodman told The Huffington Post. “The result of a non-traditional affair is the same: The spouse feels hurt, disillusioned and marginalized.”

Below, Rodman and other marriage experts share the most damaging types of betrayals that occur in modern marriages.

“This is the most widely known type of affair: Just as humans have emotional needs, we have physical needs, too. We are all social animals and our simple needs are primitive: we desire sex. Outside of the heightened physical pleasure sex provides, sex can release oxytocin, a bonding hormone. That’s why a lack of sex within a couple can cause one to stray in order for them to get those physical and emotional needs met.” ― Carin Goldstein, a marriage and family therapist in Sherman Oaks, California

“In this type of affair, one partner is starving for an adult emotional connection, and they’ve usually given up on getting it from their spouse. The partner may be depressed and not feel like themselves anymore. Then, someone they know, a co-worker for instance, pays attention to them. They laugh at jokes, comment on the married person’s devotion to their kids. The two become emotionally connected. The partner usually justifies the emotional affair because they see it as the lesser of two evils: They don’t have to leave their spouse or break up the family but in the meantime, they’re willing to supplement their marriage with another person.” ― Caroline Madden, a marriage therapist and the author of After A Good Man Cheats: How to Rebuild Trust & Intimacy with Your Wife 

“When we think of cheating, many of us think of opportunistic one-night stands, physical affairs and illicit secret trysts. But now with online and smartphone accessibility, there are new forms of cheating: you don’t even have to leave your home to have a cyber affair with a stranger or stream porn online. Most online cheaters I’ve spoken to believe ‘it’s no big deal’ and that they are not really cheating because they’re not getting physical with anyone in real life. They believe that their dalliances allow them to stay in their marriage or relationship because it diffuses their boredom. As I’ve seen, these ‘innocent liaisons’ can become a fatal blow to a relationship.” ― Sheri Meyers, a marriage and family therapist and the author of Chatting or Cheating: How to Detect Infidelity, Rebuild Love and Affair-Proof Your Relationship  

“If you’re consistently reliving the love you had with a partner from the past, you’re doing your marriage a disservice. Thinking about past loves with affection is perfectly normal. But if you’re pining for an old relationship or keeping that person on the back burner,you’re not giving your current partner a fair shake. Even if you truly believe that other person is the one who got away, it’s time to move on and be present for your partner. And remember, that relationship didn’t work out for a good reason…or 10.” ―  Abby Rodman, a psychotherapist and the author of Should You Marry Him?: A No-Nonsense, Therapist-Tested Guide to Not Screwing Up the Biggest Decision of Your Life

“Many a marriage is destroyed over this neglected category I call interest affairs. Just like alcohol or drug addiction, interest affairs do tremendous damage to relationships and families and are difficult to treat. The damage begins when a spouse turns into a zealot or fanatic over something. The possibilities are endless: politics and politicians, sports, hunting, religion, a friend, family member, child pageants, crafting, selling beauty products, exercise, food, nutrition ― it really can be any interest. What is true of all of them is that a husband or wife becomes so obsessed with their favorite new activity that it becomes their first priority over their spouse. The only difference with this type of affair is that these distractions are not romantic, sexual or secretive.”  ― Becky Whetstone, a marriage and family therapist in Little Rock, Arkansas

Financial infidelity is surprisingly frequent among couples. The issue that is most difficult to recover from is the lack of transparency. It often leads to broken trust. Financial infidelity may come in the form of withholding information about spending habits, accumulating credit card debt which a partner has no knowledge of, supporting others outside of the relationship financially or keeping any other form of spending or financial decision-making a secret. The secrecy of financial infidelity leaves the deepest scars. When there is intentional withholding of information regarding finances, the trust is almost always damaged.” ― Liz Higgins, a couples therapist in Dallas, Texas

Source: 6 Ways You May Be Cheating On Your Spouse Without Even Realizing It

Vogue Asks If ‘Cleavage Is Over,’ Forgetting Some Women Just Have Big Boobs 

ERIC PHAN-KIM VIA GETTY IMAGES

British Vogue posed a very important question to its readers Wednesday: “Is the cleavage over?”

The magazine polled readers on the subject on Twitter and in a blog post to promote an article in the December issue titled “Desperately Seeking Cleavage” by Kathleen Baird-Murray.

Is The Cleavage Over? As @KathleenBM explores the topic in , what’s your take on covering up? http://vogue.uk/qhmCIR 

The piece reportedly explores the theory that cleavage may be going out of style ― a topic that inspired the author after she noticed the lack of “pertinently pushed-up breastseverywhere from the runway to the red carpet.”

“Whatever happened to the cleavage?” the magazine quotes Baird-Murray as asking, pointing to the prominence of high necklines and pussy bows. “The tits will not be out for the lads. Or for anyone else, for that matter.”

But the question Vogue offers to its readers ― “Is the cleavage over?” ― seems to forget that cleavage refers to body parts and not a fashion trend that comes and goes. Not all women are able to make their cleavage magically disappear just because a magazine declares it out of style.

The question sparked some backlash, forcing readers to reckon with the anatomy of their own bosoms and why it’s being discussed as a trend.

Vogue has apparently said breasts are no longer fashionable. That is not how bodies work fam

@BritishVogue@KathleenBM really? Every body shape will always be in fashion. Stop giving us girls a complex on our image.

@BritishVogue@KathleenBM do better than this vogue. focus on the clothes not body fascism. Tits are not an accessory

So Vogue are basically saying that body shapes like mine are out of fashion. What about people who can’t help having cleavage?

While many critics blasted Vogue for critiquing women’s bodies, the article’s author took to Twitter to defend her piece. Baird-Murray argued that the article, which hadn’t yet been published, focused on fashion designers’ choices and not breast size.

“Just to be clear: [British Vogue] cleavage story is not about breast size, large or small, being ‘in’ or ‘out,’” Baird-Murray explained, urging critics to read the whole story.

Just to be clear: @BritishVogue cleavage story is not about breast size, large or small, being “in” or “out”.

(@britishvogue) It’s saying that fashion designers are creating more natural, comfortable clothes….

Baird-Murray didn’t immediately respond to  inquiry.

The article may well focus on fashion designers, but asking readers to vote on whether a body part is “over” forces people to look at large breasts and label them as hot or not.

The poll is especially problematic in an industry known to exclude plus-size women from its runways, advertisements and clothing collections.

“There are 100 million plus-size women in America, and, for the past three years, they have increased their spending on clothes faster than their straight-size counterparts,” Tim Gunn wrote for The Washington Post in September. “But many designers ― dripping with disdain, lacking imagination or simply too cowardly to take a risk ― still refuse to make clothes for them.”

But it seems that British Vogue’s followers saw right through the magazine’s cleavage poll. As of Wednesday evening, the “Cleavage is over” option only had 10 percent of votes, while “If you have it, flaunt it,” was winning with 68 percent of 27,385 votes.

TWITTERBRITISH VOGUE

So if anyone in the fashion industry is still wondering if the cleavage is over, you have your answer: Nope. But it shouldn’t matter anyway.

Source: Vogue Asks If ‘Cleavage Is Over,’ Forgetting Some Women Just Have Big Boobs 

Exclamation Marks Are Feminist As F**k 

ANTONIEMO VIA GETTY IMAGES

At the start of my career, I didn’t dare use exclamation marks in emails. I worked at a business magazine and wanted to convince my colleagues I could pull off a blazer (I couldn’t) and knew about the economy (I didn’t).

Emails from my boss and senior editors were brusque  – “sure,” “fine,” “needs work”– and stoked my constant fear that they hated me or thought I was stupid. I quickly correlated being smart with being unemotive. The last thing I needed was to punctuate like a woman who drinks pumpkin spice lattes.

It came as a surprise when a female boss at my next job used exclamation marks like a grammatical salt shaker: “Running late!”; “Happy to see you!”; “Can you fix this typo? Thanks!” But instead of questioning her intellect, I felt relief. The earnest punctuation took the edge off every message. I never wasted hours wondering if she was disappointed in me or just in a rush. She never seemed unapproachable like my previous managers had.

I started using exclamation marks myself and I’m not alone.

Though the dash-and-dots are stereotypically associated with teenage girls texting one another about their crushes ― “omg Bobby’s hair today!!” ―  it has now become completely normal for professional women (and of course some men) to use them in work emails. Critics say the enthusiastic punctuation undermines the authority of a message; real leaders should end statements with sombre periods not high fives. But exclamation marks have made workplaces better for women. Professionals who use the punctuation mark challenge the sexist notion that “female” qualities such as emotional sensitivity and compassion are antithetical to good leadership.

Multiple studies have shown that women use exclamation marks more than men. We are generally an emotive gender and also express ourselves on the Internet using “xo,” emoticons, ALL CAPS and repeating letters (Hiiiii) more than dudes. But professional women don’t use enthusiastic punctuation because talk of meetings and deadlines make them school-girl level giddy. They use exclamation marks to convey friendliness when they divvy out tasks or deliver criticism.

You could argue that choice only further fuels the stereotype that women should be nice, but what’s wrong with sparing your colleague the anxiety of thinking you’re frustrated with them if you’re not? Workplaces could use more employees who care about each other’s well-being in addition to their own success.

The stigma around exclamation marks exists primarily because emotional sensitivity isn’t a quality we associate with good leadership. Research shows we think “masculine” characteristics, like being assertive, dominant or competitive, equal authority. Strengths we associate with women – such as compassion, communication and collaboration – are often seen as weakness in the workplace. Don Draper-types are still the gold standard, despite evidence that shows employees are better motivated by bosses who care about their emotional well-being than those who rely on intimidation. Especially in a time when people work longer hours than ever with less worker protection, we need leaders who don’t see empathy as a fault.

Luckily, the outdated stereotype of what makes an effective boss is changing, in part thanks to leaders who aren’t afraid of an expressive communication style. According to an Atlantic article, Diane Sawyer, Arianna Huffington and Nora Ephron often sign professional emails with “xo.” No one can accuse these women of lacking authority. It’s now the exception when I correspond with female editors who don’t use exclamation marks.

If I’m contacting an industry heavyweight or renowned expert for the first time, I might stick with periods just to feel them out. What if they find me overly earnest? But nine times out of 10 they respond, “Hey Angelina!” – the digital equivalent of tentatively reaching out for a handshake and getting wrapped in a warm hug.

Friendly emails are a sign of progress, not weakness, in our working lives. The many women who already use exclamation marks in business emails know you can both act like a feeling human on Gmail and have professional success. The sooner more men and women embrace an emotive writing style, the sooner we can dispel the myth that good leaders must be steely, distant and motivate employees through fear.

*This column previously appeared in the Ottawa Citizen

Source: Exclamation Marks Are Feminist As F**k

The 5 Things We Did In Our 20s That We Regret In Midlife 

SEANSHOT VIA GETTY IMAGES

As old blue eyes sang in “My Way,” “Regrets, I’ve had a few…” Actually, we’re not so sure that we’ve had all that many. When the Huff/Post50 team began jawing about things we did in our 20s that we regret now, it became more of a laughfest of “OMG! Do you believe we did that??”

The truth of it is, we here at Huff/Post50 kind of live by the credo that regrets are a waste of time. You did it, you survived it, now move on. But here are a few things that yeah, we suppose we might have, could have, should have maybe skipped in our salad years.

1. Listened to music so loud that we damaged our hearing.

Back in the day, nobody walked around with headphones or plugs in their ears. No, we just turned up the volume until the windows rattled and the neighbor below banged on her ceiling with a broom handle.

Approximately one in three people in the United States between 65 and 74 has hearing loss, and nearly half of those older than 75 have difficulty hearing, according to the National Institute on Deafness. Generally speaking, hearing loss is age-related. But yes, factors that can influence its severity and progression include exposure to loud noises on a regular basis.

Hearing problems among baby boomers are higher than were ever reported for previous generations, according to Healthy Aging for Women.

2. Never wore a seat belt.

Before anyone wags a finger in our face, we plead innocent by reason of ignorance. That’s right. Nobody was telling us we had to; cars weren’t even federally mandated to have seat belts until 1968 and it took states even longer to require that everyone use them. In New Hampshire ― the “live free or die” state ― adults over age 18 still don’t have to wear them.

Yes, we now know that seat belts save lives. Wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of fatal injury to front seat passengers by 45 percent, and the risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50 percent, says the Centers for Disease Control. Maybe the New Hampshire motto should be “live free and die?”

3. Drove drunk.

Driving drunk used to be funny, with the occasional prom night death crash punctuating the idea that maybe it wasn’t. By and large, getting wasted was considered cool. Driving home while under the influence was something you boasted about. And waking up in the morning and finding your car parked on the lawn or on top of the now-busted fire hydrant was the stuff legends were made of.

Until it wasn’t.

Driving drunk wasn’t just for frat boys. We carried the behavior into our young adult years. Then in 1980, along came Mothers Against Drunk Driving ― aka MADD ― and everyone knew what happens when mommas get mad. So we listened. Since MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving was launched in 2006, there has been an almost 27 percent decrease in drunk driving fatalities.

Driving under the influence is one of the things we regret. We feel lucky we lived to tell about it. And now it is with embarrassment, not boastfulness, that we talk about it to our kids.

4. Hitchhiked through Europe for a year with only a backpack.

No, not a whit of regret about this one. But we are including it as one of the things that regrettably, nobody today should probably do. Chalk this one up to the world changing. The idea of our college kids hitchhiking anywhere in the world today would send us grabbing for a Xanax.

When we traveled in the 1970s, we went off on quests to find ourselves. Hitchhiking and staying in youth hostels were the portals for meeting the most interesting people. And it felt safe, even for young women traveling alone.

This was all before terrorists and bombs and crazy lunatics.  We were life travelers, not the tourists who take photos in front of the Eiffel Tower and check France off their bucket list.

File this one under “Do what I say, not what I did.”

5. The backpack part.

One of our greatest anchors are our possessions. We have too much stuff. Living out of just a backpack for a year was a valuable life lesson on differentiating between our true needs and our wants. What we regret is that the lesson didn’t stick. We spent the ensuing decades buying newer and newer cars and bigger and bigger houses and more pairs of black pants than anyone could ever wear in a lifetime.

And as a result of not remembering that lesson of how less can be more, we morphed into a generation of spenders, not savers. And at the moment, we are people who worry about being able to afford to retire.

And that, absolutely, is regrettable.

Source: The 5 Things We Did In Our 20s That We Regret In Midlife 

Real back to future? Man’s 1993 Yearbook Photo Predicts Chicago Cubs Win 2016 World Series 

Chicago Cubs fans are looking at a 1993 yearbook photo taken in Mission Viejo, California as a sign of good fortune.

The Cubs last won a World Series in 1908, but in 1993, Michael Lee outrageously predicted a World Series win for the Cubs in his yearbook picture.

He cheekily added, “You heard it here first.”

WGN TV
Michael Lee’s 1993 yearbook photo predicts a 2016 World Series win for the Chicago Cubs

The photo has since gone viral after Twitter user Thomas J. Dale posted a photo of the yearbook prediction that he said his mother found.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

*mom walks into my room* -look at my yearbook from ’93 #…
This dude called the cubs winning the series in 2016 for his senior quote.

Admittedly, faking a yearbook pic is well in the realm of a capable photoshop hoaxer.

However, one Reddit user named number1makeitso claims to have found four other copies of the same yearbook, and that Lee’s prediction is in those yearbooks as well. The user posted them on Imgur as evidence:

And Lee’s former classmate Marcos Meza never forgot the prediction, according to WGN TV.

“When [Lee and I] connected on Facebook in 2009 I sent him the photo and told him we were nearing 2016. He posted the photo of his prediction on August 8th,” Meza told the station. “After my Dodgers lost it was time for me to make this go viral and BeLEEve in the Cubs for 2016.”

The station has been in contact with Lee, who, fittingly, lives in the Chicago area and is waiting to see if his prediction comes true.

Source: Man’s 1993 Yearbook Photo Predicts Chicago Cubs Win 2016 World Series 

A Supermoon Like This One Won’t Come Again Until 2034 

PJSELLS VIA GETTY IMAGES

On Nov. 14, skywatchers will be treated to a supermoon so big and bright that it’s being billed as a “super-dupermoon” or an “extra-supermoon.”

Supermoons aren’t especially uncommon, but this will be the nearest that a full moon has come to Earth since January 26, 1948. The full moon won’t get this close again until November 25, 2034.

The term supermoon refers to a full moon that occurs when our planet’s natural satellite is at its closest point to Earth in its elliptical orbit. Astronomers call that point perigee, and so “perigee moon” is another term for supermoon. (The point at which the moon is most distant from Earth in its orbit is known as apogee.)

A supermoon can appear up to 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than an apogee full moon, according to NASA. The effect is most pronounced when the moon is viewed near the horizon.

This supermoon is one of three to occur during the last three months of 2016. There was a supermoon on Oct. 16, and there will be another on Dec. 14. But this one coming up will be the most special of the lot ― so try not to miss it.

What’s the best way to see the supermoon?

“Just find a dark area clear of trees,” Dr. Noah Petro, a scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, told The Huffington Post in an email. “Anytime after dark is good and once the moon is up. There is no prime time when people have to do it, but the moon has to have risen for people to see it! : )”

Nuff said.

Source: A Supermoon Like This One Won’t Come Again Until 2034