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:
This week's Sunday Art Blog has a theory: less is more. You'll find some really fun and creative things happening in the links below. I'd like to call your attention to the Aldie Counseling Center Art and Poetry Show, which is a page I just made with photos and links to poems that appeared in the art show on Wednesday, October 9, 2013. It is the first art show I was ever in that was geared toward the overcoming of addiction and mental illness. It was truly an honor to be a part of. Another amazing site is Sheen's Portfolio on Behance. You will thank me for linking to it after you've seen it. The skill is astonishing. It's pure perfection, and you will love it! Enjoy this week's Sunday Art Blog, everyone! See you next week!
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:
My latest upload to SoundCloud, "Who Can Say?" a poem by Nicholas Emeigh:
My full playlist on SoundCloud "The Poetry of Nicholas Emeigh":
From the collage image above, clockwise from top left:
I used to watch the Real Housewives of New Jersey every week until Melissa Gorga became one of the Housewives. Her relationship with her husband Joe Gorga is sickening. She's expected to be, and is fine with being a barefoot-in-the-kitchen baby-maker. She is also expected to submit to his demands for sex at any time he initiates it in fear of being verbally abused, which she thinks is normal. I feel so bad for her kids. This is one excerpt of many listed in this article on Jezebel illustrating the fact that Joe Gorga is a chauvinist pig:
"Men, I know you think your woman isn't the type who wants to be taken. But trust me, she is. Every girl wants to get her hair pulled once in a while. If your wife says "no," turn her around, and rip her clothes off. She wants to be dominated. Women don't realize how easy men are. Just give us what we want."
You absolutely have to read this article. You'll be floored. Just PLEASE don't support this behavior by purchasing the book. I'll throw up if this thing ends up on a best-seller list.
Pictured above, clockwise from top left:
Toni Morrison's Work "The Bluest Eye" is Called Pornographic by Ohio Board of Education President Debe Terhar
"Toni Morrison’s debut novel The Bluest Eye is a widely acknowledged masterpiece. Its literary reputation, however, has done little to placate wannabe censors who have tried to discredit and even ban the book from schools, citing depictions of incest and child molestation as “pornographic” and “totally inappropriate” for students.
Click here to send a petition letter to Debe Terhar and Mark Smith of The Ohio Board of Education, and the ACLU. This is the best and easiest way to let your voice be heard. Don't let great works of literature be banned from the classroom. These works are invaluable, and students are being robbed of the exposure to these works. Fight against it by sending your message to the people who matter.
UPDATE 09/27/13: Toni Morrison won! "The Bluest Eye" will stay on the curriculum! Read more here.
"Queen Bellaflora swept her wand o’er the waterfall’s foam, making it pop like the snot-bubbles on your baby sister’s face." ...And 32 More of the Most Terrible First Sentences in the History of American Literature
Do you know what the Bulwer-Lytton Prize is? Neither did I until I read the 33 worst first sentences in the history of literature. They are hilariously bad, and more often than not, they're annoyingly awkward. And it's the awkwardness that adds to the fun of it.
Inspired by novelist and playwright Edward George Bulwer-Lytton’s famous “it was a dark and stormy night” opener, the contest asks writers to submit an opening sentence for the “worst of all possible novels” in all genres. So this means that children's literature is included, which inspires some of the funniest of the opening lines, one being the title of this blog.
"The fairies of Minglewood, which is near Dingly Pool, were having a grand revel with flower-cakes, and butterfly dances, looking ever so pretty, while Queen Bellaflora swept her wand o’er the waterfall’s foam, making it pop like the snot-bubbles on your baby sister’s face."
See? Almost too awkward to have been printed...but it was. SMH. Here's the site: 33 of the Most Hilariously Terrible First Lines in Literature History. You've been warned.
This week, I've got a lot of photography for you, with some sculpture, writing, and architecture. I was really struck by the photographs of living situations in Hong Kong and China, and I'm still in awe of the long exposure photos of fireworks and ferris wheels. So cool. Enjoy!
Purchase or download the book.
> Read an excerpt and purchase or download the book from Amazon.
> Learn more about "The Immortal Life..." and author Rebecca Skloot.
> Read "The Sequel" article in the New York Times from March.
You know Henrietta Lacks. What do you mean you don't know her? Do you have polio? No? That's because of Henrietta Lacks. Do you have tuberculosis? No? Again, it's because of Henrietta Lacks. All of the advances made in genome mapping, cancer and AIDS research are all thanks to Henrietta.
Henrietta Lacks went to Johns Hopkins Hospital because something that felt like a "knot" in her womb was giving her trouble. She was wrongly given a clean bill of health several times before the doctors found a tumor right where she said it would be--where she felt the knot in her womb. Dr. George Gey (pronounded "GUY") took samples of the tumor, not only to form a diagnosis, but for his research as well. Henrietta was not informed of the research, nor did she give permission for such research to be done with anything that had come from her body. In the early part of the twentieth century, much less attention was paid to the rights of a patient and their rights regarding tissue taken from them. All Henrietta knew was that samples were being taken for diagnostic purposes. She had no idea what would come of the tumor sample.
Dr. George Gey discovered that Henrietta's cancer cells, labeled "HeLa" for obvious reasons, were virulent, both in regard to the way they grew in culture and how invasive they were in terms of patient prognosis. Henrietta was diagnosed with cervical cancer and immediately underwent radium treatment, a standard treatment for cancer, that turned her belly as black as coal. The radium didn't work. After a grueling battle, Henrietta Lacks passed away leaving behind too many children for her husband to reasonably care for on his own. Her story is tragic...but the cells...
"Now It's Happening"
I just finished watching "Ayn Rand & The Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged", and am truly frightened, and truly angry. Have you read "Atlas Shrugged"? If not, you should. Every thinking man or woman should read the book. After you have, watch this documentary. There's not much to review here, it's just a handful of Ayn Rand proponents essentially outlining her philosophy, and the how the predictions of "Atlas Shrugged" have come true in the present day economy and society as a whole. If you know what's going on in the world, you'll know that it's alarmingly similar to the plot of "Atlas Shrugged", and that's the crux of the film.
Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism states: "My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute." How could you disagree with that? Everywhere I hear that capitalism is failing, or capitalism has failed, but it's not the fault of capitalism that we're hovering on the edge of economic disaster. It's the fault of every politician who makes a new policy to augment or repair the damage done by the policy set in place before it. It's like a snowball rolling down a mountain, collecting size and speed as it rolls. Government better quit while it's ahead, because the next policy it creates may do us all in.
You can call me paranoid, but it's so odd that everything Ayn Rand wrote about in Atlas Shrugged is coming true today with astonishing similarity and speed. The first book of Ayn Rand's that I read was "Anthem" in my freshman year of high school. I'll never forget the impact that book had on me. The importance of the individual, the power of the word ego, and the proud use of the tiny word "I". Individualism is the code by which I've lived since then, and I have Ayn Rand to thank for it. Our government needs to take the same cue I did 16 years ago and loosen the hold it has on the productive individual. I pray they do, because I don't want to be around to see the mess politicians will make of America if they don't heed the warning in "Atlas Shrugged". A strike like that will be the end of a nation that was once the greatest in the world.
TED Talks: Ideas worth spreading
> View my TED profile
> View Jill's TED profile and video
While everyone else was watching the MTV Video Music Awards, I was watching TED Talks online. (Incidentally, the New York Times shares my view on the award show.) I've always found TED Talks to be fascinating, but as my life took a hectic turn, I watched these talks less and less until I eventually stopped altogether. My boyfriend Corey has gotten me back into watching them by recommending a fascinating one: "Jill Bolte Taylor: My Stroke of Insight" about one woman's struggle to survive a stroke. The description on the website is more accurate: "Jill Bolte Taylor got a research opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: She had a massive stroke, and watched as her brain functions -- motion, speech, self-awareness -- shut down one by one. An astonishing story." Truly astonishing.
I have a personal tie to this story, a tragic tie. My mother passed away from a brain aneurysm. I don't say she lived with, or suffered with, because she didn't know she had it and died suddenly when a blood vessel ruptured in the frontal cortex of her brain. I was the one who found her, and I've been working with a wonderful therapist since 2012 to try and cope with the trauma.
I wish I could've been inside my mother's brain when the aneurysm occurred, much like Jill was observing the deterioration of her mental faculties and motor function. Sometimes, I wish it would've been me having an aneurysm, not my mom. I wonder if she knew it was coming, or that something was going to happen. I wonder if she felt pain, or sadness, or fear. I hope not. I hope she experienced it like Jill did. A beautiful adventure. I'd be a lot less sleep deprived if I had a definite answer.
To switch back to a positive note, I'm now obsessively downloading and watching all of these amazing TED Talks. Some on mental illness, sleep, bacteria. My boyfriend Corey tells me that they're also available on Netflix, which is awesome. (I'm a late bloomer just discovering Netflix for the first time.) I'm always craving brain food, and I've been pleasantly surprised at how much of it I've gotten from my boyfriend Corey. I'm really happy and lucky to have him. Thanks, Corey.
I set out looking for my favorite photo of Margaret Atwood, the one to the left, and I figured the easiest thing to do would be to go to MargaretAtwood.com. Not true, because although there is a picture, it's not my favorite; and, oddly enough, typing MargaretAtwood.com takes you to her landing page on amazon.com. Tricky. Turns out she resides at MargaretAtwood.ca instead. After all, she is Canadian.
I love Margaret Atwood for many reasons, but 4 primary reasons assert themselves: 1. Her wit, 2. "Oryx and Crake", 3. "The Year of the Flood", and 4. "MaddAddam". The last three reasons are her dystopian "MaddAddam" trilogy. The third book, titled "MaddAddam", is being released in September. I was lucky enough to get my hands on an advance digital copy, and I'm ashamed to say I haven't read it. I'll let you know when I do.
I'm a fan of Margaret Atwood on Facebook, and the inspiration for this blog post came from an article she had linked to on her Facebook wall. The article is great, but the video on the site is even better. Please watch it. She's just so well spoken and quick witted. For being 73, she's surprisingly tech savvy and cool. At least read the free excerpts on amazon.com.
I transcribed my favorite part of the video: "Dystopias just mean very unpleasant societies. So, you can have a dystopia that's a fantasy world on another planet. You can have a dystopia that is a real possibility for us. You can have a dystopia that's far, far away in a another universe and at a different time like Star Wars. So, everything that happens in dystopias is everything that we don't like. People used to put it underground and call it hell. Just as they used to put everything we like, they used to put it up in the sky and call it heaven. Within every dystopia, there's always a little bit of utopia; and in every utopia, there's always a little dystopia. It's also true that one person's utopia is another person's dystopia."
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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.