The following are the nominees for the 2014 Academy Awards (the ones I care about) announced by Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, on Thursday. For some strange reason, she was joined by "Hunger Games" actor Chris Hemsworth. Weird. I wonder who he had to screw to get that spot... Anyway, The Academy Awards will air live on ABC on March 2, starting at 7 p.m. ET. Share your picks in the comments.
CNN Coverage | Official Oscar Site
Last night, I was watching documentaries on Netflix with my boyfriend Corey. One of them was called "Park Avenue: Money, Power, and the American Dream," which features clips of Ayn Rand speaking about her vision of Laissez Faire Capitalism. This brought me into research mode, wanting to find out a little more about the Ayn Rand Institute. I have loved Ayn Rand and "Atlas Shrugged" for years, but I never knew that ARI was a political powerhouse. On my quest, I came across an article George Saunders had written for the New Yorker called "I Was Ayn Rand's Lover."
I had known about Ayn Rand's affair with Nathaniel Branden from reading her many biographies, in particular "The Passion of Ayn Rand." It creeped me out quite a bit back then, but now to see that she prowled on more than one innocent young man left me with a sour taste. If you know Ayn Rand and her philosophy of Objectivism, you wouldn't be too surprised that Nathaniel Branden was a target on her radar. To hear Saunders recount his having essentially been "raped" by her was a little off-putting to say the least, but his developing jealousy over Ayn having set her eyes on a young Paul Ryan disturbed me. It wasn't his feelings of jealousy that disturbed me, rather her voracious appetite for bedding young men in late puberty is what was particularly disturbing.
So, we now know of three men in their late teens who were successfully pursued by Ayn Rand. There are probably plenty more, but my interest stops there. Seeing Paul Ryan run wild with Ayn's version of Laissez Faire Capitalism as it pertains to our present day economy was like being punched in the gut by Ayn Rand herself. All of her theories sound good as just that -- a theory, but when put into practice as Paul Ryan has done as a congressman, they are truly frightening. I don't know what plagues me more: the affairs with young boys, or being disillusioned by Paul Ryan's crazy plans for American prosperity.
To understand what I'm talking about, you'll have to do a little research. Most of it can be done by watching the "Park Avenue" documentary, reading "Atlas Shrugged," "The Passion of Ayn Rand" (also a film), and then reading George Saunder's New Yorker piece (which is very well-written, I might add). It amounts to a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, I'll bet, because that's what I'm feeling right now. It can all be summed up in one word: UGH!
Watch the entire "Park Avenue" documentary:
Barbara Branden (Nathaniel Branden's wife) on The Passion of Ayn Rand:
I love the Poo~Pourri commercial! I did some research, found that Bethany Woodruff is the actress in the hilarious video, and discovered the blooper reel and interview below. She has made my day yet again. There's nothing like bathroom humor to brighten your day! Enjoy, and happy Monday!
< Queenie Liao, a mother, photographer, and artist, decided to make the most of her son Wengenn's naptime by creating these fantastic dreamscapes around him as he slept. They are beautiful, intricate, and imaginative. She then photographed them, and the collected images were formed into a book called Sleepy Baby. Visit the gallery on Bored Panda for a few more images, and like her gallery, "Wengenn in Wonderland," on Facebook.
Another creative parent, Anna Eftimie, drew chalk scenes and landscapes around her baby as he slept. She called the collected photographs "Blackboard Adventures." She also maintains a website called Cute Moments Photography.
While we're on the subject of kids, mother Lee Samantha plays with her kid's food, forming scenes out of rice, fish, meat, vegetables, and sauces. It's something you have to see to believe. Like the mothers mentioned above, her food art went viral and she has a blog where she posts her daily meal time creations. The memories that these moms are creating show how much they adore their children.
> I was engrossed by BuzzFeed's article "22 Things That Belong in Every Bookworm's Dream Home," and ended up spending over an hour just staring at the photos with envy. My very favorite photo is of the book reading nook to the right, which includes a chair and ottoman, ceiling fan, shelving and storage, a day bed with comforter and pillows, and a beautiful window to gaze through between chapters. I would never leave the house if I had a nook like this. Other items I enjoyed included a staircase made of books, some very clever shelving, a headboard made of open books, and clever seating designed specifically for reading books comfortably.
This past Tuesday, the New York Times featured a New York City photographer named Flo Fox, who has been photographing her urban surroundings for decades. What makes her particularly unique is that Flo is blind in one eye, and slowly but surely losing the sight in her other eye. She is confined to a wheelchair because her Multiple Sclerosis is progressing rapidly, but she doesn't let that stop her! Watch the video and be inspired.
< I was in awe of some of the photographs featured in TwistedSifter's article "18 Striking Images from Space Show Earth's Rich Tapestry." The image to the left shows several perfect circles which are Libya's Al Jawf Oasis. I find it incredible that these perfect dark circles are springs of water, naturally occurring in the middle of a vast desert. Other impressive photos show the Mississippi delta, algae and plankton flourishing in the earth's oceans that put on a beautiful show which is visible from space, and the agricultural structure of Kansas in shades of red which is particularly striking. I don't think I'll get a chance to view the earth this way first hand, so this is the next best thing.
> Everyone knows I adore animals; therefore, I love animated pet GIFs. BuzzFeed compiled the "30 Best Cat GIF Pictures in the History of Cat GIFs," and I was in pet heaven for about 30 minutes. These loveable little cats are caught in the most hilarious situations just being awesome. Some may not consider this art, and even though I am more of a dog person, I definitely do!
Upworthy, an inspirational blog, posted this really odd project coordinated by photographer Richard Rinaldi. He is working on a series of portraits where he poses two or more random people--strangers--together in loving poses. These folks are posed hugging and touching in ways that look like they are lovers, family, or very close friends, but these strangers have never met until now. Subjects say that when posed together, lovingly touching, they begin to feel a closeness that they would only experience with actual friends and loved ones. In a world where we are connected mainly through digital means, this project brings a sense of unity to a society used to minding their own business and keeping a safe distance.
Everyone loves their grandmother's cooking, and we all have a treasured memory of our grandmother in the kitchen preparing her signature dish. Gabriele Galimberti traveled the globe to photograph grandmothers from all cultures and walks of life with their signature dish. It brings back all the warm and fuzzy feelings of standing next to your grandmother in the kitchen, probably in her way, watching her expertly prepare a dish she had been making for decades. I'm warning you, though: don't look at this photo collection if you're hungry. Results may be disastrous!
As you may or may not know, I was quoted as saying that Allison Dufty was the voice of Siri, but I was mistaken, and was told so by Allison Dufty herself. Very nicely, I might add. She sounds remarkably like Susan Bennett (susanbennett.com), who just came forward as the voice of Siri. She says it took awhile to get used to hearing her own voice as Siri, but she eventually became friends with the phone voice with a programmed personality. All this according to the video from the October 8th CNN article about her. Here's a video of Susan Bennett, the real voice of Siri:
Award-Winning Journalist and Commentator Bill Moyers gets right to the heart of what the shutdown and debt ceiling threats are all about. He's right on, and it's very scary. Will the republicans really let us default? Is this the end of democracy? Should we all leave the country and emigrate to Canada? I'm seriously thinking about it, and thank God I'm a Democrat. Here's what Bill Moyers says in the "about" section of the video on YouTube, video to follow:
"This week's government shutdown has consequences for all of us, costing an estimated $300 million each day that the government is closed for business. Many Americans have voiced their frustrations with the fallout from the shutdown on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using the hash tag #DearCongress. Here, Bill Moyers shares his own frustrations, admonishing the Republican Party for holding the country hostage via an irrational "ransom list" of demands — while sabotaging democracy in the process. "When the President refused to buckle to this extortion, they threw their tantrum," Bill says. "Like the die-hards of the racist South a century and a half ago, who would destroy the union before giving up their slaves, so would these people burn down the place, sink the ship." He goes on to tell us where the "reckless ambition" of the Republicans could lead us."
A mom was walking by the bathroom and happened to hear her 3-year-old son scolding himself for eating too much, listing everything he ate while having a bit of difficulty pooping. It is so cute and funny that I had to post it! Here it is:
Pictured above, clockwise from top left:
I got a surprise e-mail from Allison Dufty this afternoon. If you remember my blog post from September 19th, I posted a video called "How Siri Found its Voice" which chronicles the journey from spoken word to synthesized speech used in technology. One of the voice artists highlighted was Allison Dufty, who sounds a lot like Siri (a LOT like Siri if you ask me), but really isn't. So it is still a mystery as to who the voice of Siri is. Maybe like "how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie pop?", there are answers to questions the world may never know.
So, to Allison Dufty, I do apologize. I wish you were Siri, but even if you're not, I saw your website and you do amazing work. Siri would be lucky to have your voice. See another retraction here where they call this whole mess a "Siri-ous Mistake." Indeed it is.
Before reading, please note that Allison Dufty is not the voice of Siri as stated in this article. That is an error of fact. Please refer to this blog post for more information.
Included here is the fascinating video I just saw about synthesized speech, text reading, and an introduction to Allison Dufty, the voice of Siri. Just in time for the release of the new IPhone 5c and 5s. The video is only 10 minutes long. Take a look.
This amazing new Chipotle Mexican Grill ad on YouTube depicts a scarecrow as a farmer who gets a glimpse into the world of corporate farming, genetically engineered foods, and inhumane treatment of farm animals for the purpose of maximizing profits in restaurant chains across the globe.
The short film is accompanied by a track of Fiona Apple singing "Pure Imagination", a cover of a song from the Willy Wonka movie soundtrack. Stunning. Visit their website for more information.
DIY cover instructions: click to enlarge
My friend Sarah had a few favorite songs I had recommended over the years, and wanted them to be together on one CD, so I made her a mix CD. Nothing says love like a mix CD.
I had seen the instructions (left) for creating a cover for a CD out of brown paper bags or craft paper, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to try it out. The results are posted in the above image. I think it turned out great!
Give it a try the next time you make someone a mix CD or burn a movie or files or whatever. It's a nice personal touch.
Check out my DIY board on Pinterest.
PleatedJeans.com brings us a hilarious compilation of misheard song lyrics. My favorite being, "I want to shit on a clown...with you-ou-ou-ou-ou!" from a Sia song. You'll recognize it instantly. There are several other misheard lyrics videos on their YouTube channel, along with some other funny stuff. Check it out.
I was out to dinner with my boyfriend Corey, and we were talking about Syria and the blog I had just written. We said what a shame it was that people were more focused on what Miley Cyrus is doing after her VMA performance than they are on what's going on in Syria. It's a damn shame, but I have to say, I am focused on both.Did you see the VMAs? Well, it was really boring. Everything was soft pop, soft rock, soft R&B, and then there was that weird Lady Gaga performance. She stared at the camera, eyes wide as they could open, for an uncomfortably long time while she sang. She changed into 4 different, stupid outfits, and jumped around half naked while she sang a bomb of a song. This is supposed to be innovative? Come on.
I was finally validated when this article came out in the New York Times. Someone who has the same view of things is Jon Caramani, who,in his article wrote, "Still, you think, “Blurred Lines” is a must, a necessary acknowledgment of the sound of the summer. But what to do about Mr. Thicke, an unfettered cornball and, at 36, old enough to possibly be the father of some of the other nominees. He needs to be subverted, minimized, annihilated.
Luckily enough, you have a nuclear weapon at your disposal: Miley Cyrus, the perfect antidote for the Thicke contagion. Bring him out after Ms. Cyrus, her spindly limbs and her motorized tongue having already made an indelible mark on the stage, and then allow Ms. Cyrus to sing part of his song while applying various of her body parts to various ones of Mr. Thicke’s. Mr. Thicke, no matter how ludicrous a suit he may choose to wear, will be helpless to overcome her. The show can move on."
Brilliant. She saved the VMAs, but Miley, put that fucking tongue away!
> Product listing on BestBuy.com: http://ow.ly/o0oYS
> Dynex Product Website and Retail Page
If you're looking for something simple, portable, and affordable, this is your speaker. I was honestly surprised by the sound quality for $10. It's cool that they come in different colors, and this one is particularly awesome because orange is my favorite color. The set up couldn't be simpler: insert the batteries (which are included - bonus!), close the battery cover, plug into a 35mm (headphone size) jack, and turn it on. It has a nice design to it, one that you wouldn't be embarrassed about having on the table at Starbucks. It's cool looking, it's portable, and it enhances sound on any phone, laptop, or music device. I'm using it right now on my laptop to watch Netflix, and it sounds great. To be honest, I was so surprised at the quality for the money, I registered for an account just to write this review. Highly recommended.
> Product listing on Walmart.com: http://ow.ly/nXd9Y
> Note: There are many variations of the Bomb Speaker
I was so excited about this little speaker. If it delivered what it promised, it would be a great deal. I picked this up near the checkout at Walmart from a spot with a price sticker that read $4.27. When the cashier scanned it, the display read $6.97. It would still be a good deal if it performed as promised, but as soon as I plugged it in and started playing a documentary on Netflix, the speaker blew out and gave off this "tinny" sound with tons of feedback. The sound quality is awful. The documentary was all speaking and no music. I tried it with music in Spotify, Google Play, and iTunes, all of which had the same "tinny" sound (the sound speakers make when blown out) and feedback. Even if the "tinny" (I use the word tinny for lack of a better word to describe the sound of metal hitting the plastic case surrounding it) sound wasn't present, it sounds like a cheap AM radio at best. I'm returning this product immediately and using the money to buy something else. I'd rather spend more money on a better product. I hope this helps someone else thinking of buying this piece of junk.
Some people don't listen to the radio in the car. Some only listen to talk radio. The first thing I do after starting the car, before I put my seat belt on, is to find a music station on the radio. Sometimes I can't find one that doesn't disgust me, and not because they're talking or airing too many commercials.
It's because the radio stations, at least in my area, play the same songs over and over again. Sometimes the same popular song is on as many as 4 different stations at once. This is so aggravating to me. Just give someone else a chance! There are plenty of great new releases that never get to see the light of day because Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars are dominating the airwaves. I admit that these men are talented, but does that warrant preferential treatment?
Most radio stations seem to be a part of Clear Channel, and being part of a corporate conglomerate, they're forced to play everything on the Billboard Top 40. Talk about a catch 22: how can lesser known artists get on the charts if they're not on the radio for people to hear and subsequently purchase their music?
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My name is Nicholas Emeigh, but everyone calls me Nick, and I prefer it. I'm usually called Nicholas when I'm in trouble. I'm from the Philadelphia area, work in business, and fancy myself as a freelance graphic designer, writer, and artist. I have a passion for art in all its forms including music, but I restrict my singing to the shower and the car for the good of society. If you'd like to know more, just send me an e-mail. I really appreciate you stopping by.