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:
Shane and Tom had a love that I am envious of. Both come from small towns with closed minded townspeople, and both have a similar history of being closeted gay men before coming out and embracing their sexuality. When they found each other, they began a love story that ended in tragedy. Bridegroom - The Movie documents their adventures together, spreading love and a message of hope to all those who felt their sexuality was wrong. What happens in the end is truly unfair, but the way Shane handles the situation is inspiring. Everyone, not just gay people, should watch this movie.
From the Bridegroom movie website:
"BRIDEGROOM is a documentary directed by Linda Bloodworth-Thomason that tells the emotional journey of Shane and Tom, two young men in a loving and committed relationship — a relationship that was cut tragically short by a misstep off the side of a roof. The story of what happened after this accidental death– of how people without the legal protections of marriage can find themselves completely shut out and ostracized– is poignant, enraging and opens a window onto the issue of marriage equality like no speech or lecture ever will.
Don't Fear the Diagnosis
"1 week before the autism walk, my little buddy got an official PDD-NOS diagnosis. We all knew it was coming, and it's what we expected, but it has still been rough. I'm trying to look on the bright side of things because of all the possibilities and services and therapies that have opened up to him because he's on the spectrum. Derek is still Derek to me and I won't love him any less regardless of what's in his medical chart. He is still the sweet snuggly goofball that wears a cape 24/7 and loves to 'thpin' in the computer chair." —Liz Rouse, the blessed mommy of an Autistic child
✉ E-mail me with any questions, donations, or kind words. Everything will go directly to Liz and Derek.
Alonzo Clemons was born with many gifts, but society only saw his shortcomings. Mr. Clemons was institutionalized and deemed "bad" or "evil" by people who didn't even know him. This video shows a gifted artist who admits he has to work much harder than most to live a simple life.
This video shows us that we must not herd all challenged individuals into an institution, thinking it's what's best for them. Alonzo is proof that anyone can live the American Dream if they are willing to work for it, and not everyone who needs help is "bad," "damaged," or "evil."
> See the artistic talent of Alonzo Clemons on his website. <
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!
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:
Pictured above, clockwise from top left:
"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!
This young man was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He was determined to get his thoughts and feelings into songs his family and friends could remember him by. You have to watch this video, it's so inspiring. Just a warning, it gets pretty emotional. So if you're not in a place that's conducive to spontaneous sobs, save this video for later. If you're not comfortable with the subject matter, try to get past that for a positive message.
Come on. I know every business has the right to collect a fee for use of its intellectual property, but doesn't the New York Times make enough money on advertising to make the site free? Or at least a little more viewing than 10 articles a day. I get at least 4 e-mail updates from them each day, each e-mail outlining 10-15 news stories and articles, also full of advertisements. If I can't read all of the articles in a daily digest for free, what's the point in sending it to me? I think I see enough advertising to warrant a free membership. That could be an option. A free membership granting me, or anyone for that matter, access to all the articles linked to in the e-mail digests and the option to pay to see anything more beyond that. The membership isn't that expensive, though...Should I just pay for it and quit bitching? Argh.
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.
There's something romantic in the dust
that rests upon a shelf of books
it arouses literary lust;
and thread-like cobwebs in the nooks
that gleam in light like silver floss,
and catch the paper hungry moths―
those knowledge-loving petty crooks―
They light upon an author's bust;
an interview of sorts, it looks,
to get in with the upper crust.
> New York Times Multimedia Look at Syria
> New York Times: Experts Fear Strikes Overlook Risks
> Huffington Post Syrian News Feed
In 2011, locals took to the streets of the city of Deraa after 15 school-aged children were arrested and tortured for spray painting anti-government graffiti on a public wall. Non-violent protests in the beginning turned violent after the Syrian army opened fire on the protesters, killing four innocent people. The next day, the army opened fire again on the mourners at the four victim's funerals, killing another innocent citizen. As news of this spread throughout the country, unrest followed as people became outraged at their government's capacity for senseless violence.
The protesters who took to the streets in increasing numbers all throughout Syria simply wanted democracy and freedom of speech. They had had enough of the government's practice of ruling with an iron fist. Several reports of suspected intentional internet outages popped up all over the country after protests and during President Assad's public address. Control of this sort was made possible by the many people who still supported Assad and his party.
As the protesting grew to huge numbers, it is suspected that Assad and his cronies took 3 days or so to put together nerve agents for a chemical attack on the protesters in the city of Damascus. When they (supposedly) launched the attack on August 21, 2013, 1,429 men, women, and children were killed. Syrian citizens began fleeing the country to neighboring Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq. The United Nations reported that upwards of two million citizens had become refugees, and nearly one million of them were children. Millions more have been displaced by the fighting within Syria, and have no means of securing help.
Regular citizens have formed a rogue army, and are too busy fighting to help their fellow citizens who are without food, water, and shelter. The United Nations can not come to an agreement on how to help the citizen army fight the government army. If they send weapons, the weapons shipment may be intercepted by the government. If they launch an air attack, they risk killing more innocent people. Another issue here is that Putin, the Russian president, has close ties to President Assad's government having supplied them with artillery, so Russia does not support the UN going through with air strikes.
Initially, France and the UK were in support of the US air strikes, but the UK has since pulled out of that agreement. It is feared that the disagreement between countries will precipitate a third world war. It is also feared that if the US launches said air strikes, that they will bring us one step closer to sending troops on foot into the Syrian civil war. Neither the Syrian government nor the Syrian citizens have been able to overtake the other, so there seems to be no end in sight, but it's very unlikely that the Syrian government will ever have full control again.
As of this afternoon, August 31, 2013, President Obama is letting Congress vote on whether or not we should launch air strikes against Syria. He said, "a lot of people think something should be done, but nobody wants to do it." He has the ability to make the final decision, but said it was important for the people to decide. I was of the belief that we should mind our own business, but as a member of the UN, the United States does have the responsibility to help the Syrian people in their fight for a democracy. It doesn't appear they can do it on their own. While I do think we should help, I don't think our help needs to involve air strikes. I'm in the camp with other people who believe this can ultimately be solved non-violently. At least I hope it can. I do not, I repeat DO NOT want to see world war three in my lifetime. Isaiah 17:1, a bible verse, has been trending because people believe that the fighting in Damascus brings the second coming of Christ and the end of days. A grim outlook if you ask me.
I didn't want to blog about Syria, but I wanted people to know what's going on. A lot of my peers had no idea why the fighting began in the first place, so I felt the responsibility to outline it for you simply. I hope this helps in some way, and I'd like to hear everyone's opinion on whether we should help or not, and whether we should launch an attack or do this without weapons. Let me hear your opinion one way or another.
Click for Desktop Wallpaper Size
New York Times/NPR articles that I wrote about:
> Read the "Facebook Inquiry" article
> Read the "Android Security" article
> Read the "How to Disappear" article
> Read the "White Supremacist" article
> Read the "Gay Marriage Tax" article
Well, the news is all about Syria, as it should be, and Britain not wanting to be a part of it. That's fine, and I care that it's going on, but I like to leave war politics to politicians. The first thing I want to talk about has nothing to do with Syria, but is definitely a war of sorts. It's the digital information war. The war that government is fighting against our privacy.
I'm one of those people who has nothing to hide from the government, but I support freedom of speech and a right to one's privacy. That being said, I was disgusted to see that Facebook released a report the other day, according to this New York Times article, outlining the government's requests for information on specific Facebook accounts linked to specific people. It doesn't list names, obviously, but I couldn't help wondering if I was one of the 37,954 people the requests pertained to. I'm clearly no threat, but what if something I said on Facebook used one or more of the keywords that the National Security Agency is looking for? I sure hope not.
Facebook said it didn't honor all of the requests, but didn't specify the criteria it used to approve and deny requests. How do you say no to the government? I guess when you're as big as Facebook, and everyone in the world has an account, you can do pretty much whatever you want. I don't think the agency is poking around in innocent people's information, I think they're looking for very specific people who have committed crimes, or conspired to commit crimes that were terrorist related. Still, what should be off limits, and what is fair game? After Facebook released their report, Microsoft and Google came forward and issued similar reports. I don't want the government accessing private information without my consent. I hope these three companies inform the people whose information is being requested. Otherwise, it would be like Big Brother watching us and tracking our every click. Maybe they're already doing it. Who knows? Meanwhile, the government issued a statement warning against security threats on Android phones. Gee, thanks. NPR just published a humorous article called "How to Disappear if Someone is Spying on You" which is appropriate to mention here.
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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.