Hot Actors Over 40 Feat. Johnny Depp, Robert Downey Jr., Paul Rudd, Gerard Butler & More

This is a sequel to my Hot Actors over 50 article. This article is dedicated to the handsome actors who are between the ages 40 & 49. Most of them require no introduction.

The order is random. I might have forgotten some actors, so feel free to remind me your favorites. Guys are welcome to suggest Hot Actresses over 40.

Johnny Depp – 1963

Johnny Depp is one of those rare actors who is loved by both men and women, since he possesses great looks and even a greater talent. My favorite Johnny Depp movies are  The Tourist, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Public Enemies, Benny & Joon, Nick of Time, Chocolat, Pirates of the Caribbean The Curse of the Black Pearl, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Finding Neverland.

Timothy Olyphant – 1968

JUSTIFIED: Episode 6: When the Guns Come Out (Airs February 21, 10:00 pm e/p). Pictured: Timothy Olyphant. CR: Prashant Gupta / FX

Recommended Timothy Olyphant:

TV Series: Justified, Deadwood, Damages Season 2
Movies: A Perfect Getaway, Hitman, Live Free or Die Hard 4, Catch and Release, Bill, The Girl Next Door.

Tom Cruise – 1962

05/17/2010 – Tom Cruise – Jerry Bruckheimer Hand and Footprint Ceremony at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre – Grauman’s Chinese Theatre – Hollywood, CA, USA – Keywords: – 0 – – Photo Credit: Bob Charlotte / PR Photos – Contact (1-866-551-7827)

Recommended:  Mission Impossible 2, Far & Away, Minority Report, Top Gun, Knight and Day, Jerry Maguire, The Firm,  Lions for Lambs, The Last Samurai, Rain Man, Born on The Fourth of July, Taps

Gerard Butler – 1969

Recommended: Law Abiding Citizen, Gamer, Nim’s Island, Please!, Butterfly on a Wheel, Dear Frankie, The Ugly Truth

Clive Owen – 1964

Recommended: Shoot ‘Em Up, Beyond Borders, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, Duplicity, The Boys are Back, The International

Robert Downey Jr. – Born 1964 

Recommended: Air America, Iron Man 2, Sherlock Holmes

Jeffrey Dean Morgan – Born 1966

Recommended:

Watchmen – co-starring Patrick Wilson, Matthew Goode, Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup; P.S. I Love You – starring Gerard Butler, Hillary Swank
TV: Grey’s Anatomy Season 2

Paul Rudd – Born 1969

I know it is hard to believe, since Paul Rudd barely looks 30. But he was born in 1969.
Recommended Paul Rudd: I Could Never Be Your Woman – co-starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Clueless– starring Alicia Silverstone, Forgetting Sarah Marshall– starring Jason Segel, Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis and I Love You Man– co-starring Jason Segel.

The History of St. Patrick’s Day Parades

How did a Christian observance for the Patron Saint of Ireland turn into the St. Patrick’s Day parades we see every year? Read on to learn some of the history behind the festivities.

“May you live to be a hundred, with one extra year to repent!” goes a well-known Irish saying. And may you be able-bodied enough to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day every year of your life. One of the ways Americans enjoy it in cities across the nation is with annual parades. On March 17th it seems everyone has a wee bit o’the green in him, for they turn out in droves, line the streets early, bring their grills and their picnic baskets, and settle in for a day of pure enjoyment.

Lonely Irish immigrants in Boston in 1737 held the first recorded St. Patrick’s Day celebration in America. It is likely that they continued to celebrate together every year, just as they had in their home country, but the next one recorded in history was in 1762. Irish soldiers stationed there with the English military held a parade in the New York City streets, much to the delight of a growing Irish immigrant community. It was such a success that in 1766 New York declared it an annual event, and so it has been ever since.

The protestant, largely middle-class immigrants formed several ‘Irish Aid’ societies in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s, like the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, to assist each other and new immigrants that were pouring in. They were hard-working, upright people who helped their own and anybody else who needed it. And their celebrations – St. Patrick’s Day being the main one – were boisterous, happy, fun, and open to anybody who wanted to join in. As a result, they were well received by all. Local groups turned out with bagpipes and drums, the churches opened up with bazaars and games, and residents vied with each other to produce the best ethnic dishes and desserts.

In 1845 the Great Potato Famine in Ireland drove scores starving immigrants to American shores, and public opinion changed somewhat. These immigrants – almost a million of them – tended to be poor, uneducated, and Catholic. They had difficulty finding even menial work and were often met with contempt by Americans. Protestant middle class Irish scorned them as well. For years many of them had a rough go in their new country. But the Irish are durable, and find ways to weather storms. Eventually they began to recognize their power as a voting block, and to organize what was called the ‘green machine’. Their power was in their sheer numbers, and political candidates began to woo them determinedly for the swing vote they represented. By this time many cities were hosting parades on March 17, the largest being in New York City. Irishmen must have danced with glee in 1948 when then-President Harry Truman attended the New York City parade, giving his seal of approval to the practice and creating public acceptance across the nation.

St. Patrick’s Day was not an officially recognized holiday until 1976, but most large cities were already hosting their own brand of parades in honor of the day. However, it was increasingly recognized as a secular holiday, not a Christian one, with the emphasis on pure fun. While there is nothing wrong with that, the outlandish customs that Americans seem to love have become offensive to some devout Irish, who would never dream of wearing a “kiss me, I’m Irish” button. Also drinking to excess is now a given for many folks on this holiday, something the true Irish did not tolerate.

In Ireland, businesses were closed on St. Patrick’s Day, including the pubs. The day began by attending church services to honor their patron saint. Men wore a sprig of shamrocks on the hats or jackets, women wore green ribbons in their hair, and children wore green, white and orange badges – the colors of the flag. The rest of the day was devoted to family, friends, and festivities. Games, crafts, and contests were held, and copious quantities of dark Irish beer and traditional Irish dishes were consumed, but drinkers stayed close to home and knew their limits.

It wasn’t until the 1970’s that the Irish parliament repealed the law keeping pubs closed. In 1995 a national campaign began to attract tourism to the war-torn country, and to showcase the beautiful Emerald Isle. A national St. Patrick’s celebration now takes place in Dublin every year, lasting several days. In addition to a huge parade, there are fireworks, concerts, theater productions, and treasure hunts. Close to a million attend every year.

St. Patrick’s Day parades are springing up in other countries as well. Canada, Russia, Singapore, and Japan boast of parades, among others. It just goes to show that, indeed, there may be a little leprechaun in all of us. This is certainly true in America, where the Census Bureau estimates over 34 million Americans can trace some Irish blood in their ancestry.

With this year’s celebration just around the corner, many establishments are already gearing up for the coming festivities. In university towns this often includes neighbors boarding up their windows against a night of frivolity and heavy drinking. But less troublesome celebrations will be everywhere, so be sure to freshen up your green jacket and buff up your dancing shoes! And as the evening wears on and you are ready to end your day, be sure and bless your hosts with a traditional Irish blessing: “May your neighbors respect you, troubles neglect you, the angels protect you, and Heaven accept you.”

Bonfires and other Bizarre Midsummer Rituals

There are many bizarre rituals and superstitions associated with Midsummer. Midsummer or summer solstice is celebrated in many cultures as the longest day of the year.

Why do people in different cultures have rituals like bonfires at midsummer?

In fact, have you thought why people in different cultures celebrate natural phenomena? Some would say that these rituals are reminders of an ignorant “pagan” past. But are they; in fact, our attempts at finding answers to questions about our origin and destiny, and discover our role in the big picture of creation?

Midsummer or summer solstice is celebrated in many cultures as the longest day of the year. From Finland to Spain, especially in the Northern Hemisphere, midsummer is often associated with huge public bonfires. In many European countries, people gather when bonfires are lit at night. The fires are usually fed with old and unwanted wooden furniture, junk, and broken boats. The younger and more agile people jump over the fire while making wishes. 21st June is celebrated as midsummer in most countries since the Gregorian calendar reform, though 24th June is technically the longest day of the year. But, neo-pagans celebrate summer solstice on June 24th in places like Stonehenge in England and Newgrange in Ireland.

Over the centuries Christianity assimilated most “pagan” festivals into the Christian calendar of festivals. The rowdy Roman harvest festival at winter solstice became Christmas. According to the Catholic Encyclopaedia, 1911 edition, “Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church…the first evidence of the feast is from Egypt, around AD 200 when it was celebrated on 20th May.” Midsummer also got assimilated into the Christian calendar. In England midsummer became “St. John’s Eve.” In many countries, it is “St John’s Day” or the Feast of John the Baptist. In Russia it is Ivan Kupala Day, in Poland it is Noc Kupały or Noc Świętojańska and so on.

The ancient Germanic, Slav and Celtic tribes in Europe celebrated Midsummer with communal bonfires. At midsummer night, the sun does not sink even at midnight in the northernmost areas of the Northern Hemisphere beyond the Arctic Circle. These areas had fire festivals, love magic, and divination at midsummer. Agile people jumped through the flames believing that the crops would grow as high as they could jump. Maidens tried to know about their future husband, and spirits and demons were banished through the magical powers of the bonfire.

Many Midsummer Night’s superstitions and customs are similar to those observed on Christmas Eve. A girl will supposedly marry the man who she will see in her dream walking along the straw placed across the bowl of water under her bed. In another version, the man will dry his face on the towel placed beside her bed. In one tradition, the future husband will come from the direction in which the girl notices the first bonfire on Midsummer Night. Dew collected during Midsummer is believed to have special healing powers. Young girls wash their faces with the dew to make themselves beautiful, older women to make themselves younger.

One of the magical elements in midsummer is a belief in the intersection of the visible and invisible worlds during that night. The modern Wiccans, like the ancient Celts, believe that at Litha or the Feast of the Faeries at twilight in midsummer, the gates between the visible and invisible worlds open and faeries enter our world to bring joy, love, prosperity and wisdom to people who welcome them.

Fire has been among humans since lower Palaeolithic times (2,5 million – 100,000 years ago). Our ancestors from pre-Homo Sapiens times seem to have given fire a ritual significance. At excavations in Gesher Benot Ya’aqov, Israel, there are traces of controlled fire about 800 000 years old. The link between fire and midsummer is also pretty old. There is evidence of Midsummer festivals in Newgrange in Ireland from around 3000 BC. There is further evidence of midsummer celebrations among the Essenes, a Jewish sect from 1st century A.D., the ancient Hopi and the Nachez people in the Americas as well as among the Chinese. For the Chinese the summer solstice ceremony is the birthday of the feminine force yin, when they celebrate the earth. At winter solstice, the Chinese celebrate the heavens, masculinity and the birth of the yang forces. Different peoples of North Africa, in Morocco and Algeria, especially the Berbers also celebrate midsummer even today.

In the Scandinavian country of Finland, midsummer is the main festival of the year. People start their summer holidays and go to their countryside cottages. People gather around the kokko or bonfires usually on the shore of a lake. It is a popular day for weddings and churches have to be booked months or years in advance. In earlier days, unmarried young girls went naked to the meadows the night before midsummer to collect seven different wild flowers, which they placed under their pillows. They hoped to dream of the man who would become their husband. Nowadays these rituals are not practised, but there are communal dances as also; unfortunately, excessive drinking, and drowning, and accidents.

Many of the early communal rituals have lost their significance in modern urban settings. Alienation or loneliness and depression have become extremely common afflictions for people in the affluent countries of the world. Counselling and medication are both fighting a desperate battle to help. Is this a sign that overtly rationalizing and standardizing human life impoverishes it and we fall ill? Nowadays many religions also have lost touch with the lives of millions of people. The ancient myths and symbols don’t speak to modern man. Should we blame modern man for this lack of communication or should religions update their myths and symbols?