I'm not a huge fan of Glenn Beck, but I really appreciated this discussion about the Common Core. The Common Core will dictate what every student in the United States should know at the end of each grade from Kindergarten through 12th grade. In this YouTube segment, it is implied that Bill Gates (Microsoft), Yahoo, and Google are dumping millions of dollars into funding for the Common Core Initiative so that students will be educated in the ways of working for Microsoft, Yahoo, Google and the like.
Students, under the direction of teachers who have been taught everything they need to know to prepare students for work in technology related fields, will be funneled into huge corporations as employees that push power to the higher ranks. This will ensure that competition in the form of new upstarts will cease, and these already powerful corporations will become more powerful, and are guaranteed that power for years to come.
This scares the hell out of me. Topics like this have been written about by authors for centuries, and the books they produce have been labeled as dystopian fiction. This isn't fictional, this is real. Welcome to the United Corporations of America.
Further reading: Common Core Initiative Page, Wikipedia Common Core Page
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!
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:
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.
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.
PooPourri is a brilliantly marketed room spray designed to help with a very common problem. People usually poop at least once a day if they're healthy, so PouPourri is really a commodity item. Everyone is embarrassed by the bathroom smells they emit and naturally want to cover them up. PooPourri has filled that need using natural essential oils to create a layer over the waterline in your toilet bowl, trapping nasty odors in the water so they can be flushed without leaving a lingering brown smell. PouPourri is a product anyone could make, but it's the marketing that makes this product brilliant. Blunt bathroom humor delivered by a proper British lass in a dress. Hilarious. Elvis Duran featured it on his Q102 Philadelphia Morning Show, and the video itself has received in excess of 3 million views in just over a month. It was posted on September 10th, and as of today it has 3,693,298 views, and over 4 million units have been sold since its inception. Impressive.
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.
Logogate: the new Gap
The Watergate of the corporate identity and branding sector, "Logogate." is a real controversy as of late. Yahoo! just unveiled a new logo which the public deemed boring, the new Gap logo spawned a huge controversy, and sales of Tropicana products fell 20% after they revealed a new logo and new packaging. Even the University of California's new logo incurred huge backlash. That being said, it seems brand loyalty is closely tied to the branding and identity of the corporations who sell the products we buy. A new logo means a new image for the brands we choose to buy, therefore changing who we are as consumers. Judging by the backlash, or acceptance as is the case for Chiquita and Hot Topic, we as consumers do judge books by their covers and products by their packaging. So much so that both Gap and Tropicana went back to their old look based on the resulting consumer feedback and sales decline. Food for thought: do you buy into Logogate? You can decide by clicking on each text link above to see the logos, the stories behind them, how consumers received them, and ultimately what happened to them.
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.
It was hard for me to believe that marketers and websites and companies have been compiling a single report of all the information they've collected about me over the years, but there is. AboutTheData.com allows you to create a free account to view and edit all the information that's ever been collected about you. Insanity. I couldn't believe my eyes.
I have to say, though, that most of the information they have about me is incorrect. They think I have 2 mortgages and drive a Dodge Ram. Regardless of its validity, it's pretty cool to be able to see it all, and even edit it so that ads you see on the internet are better suited to your needs and wants.
I just left it alone because I don't really pay attention to internet ads, and could care less if they're tailored to my personality or not. If that's something you care about, go ahead and edit it; but if not, it's cool just seeing the report.
Another new website, Topsy, compiles every Twitter post ever published. It allows you to search for any keyword producing results that date back to the dawn of Twitter. Pretty interesting. There are paid accounts that are most likely for advertisers and product developers, but the free account lets you search for something like your lover's activity before you started dating, even if it's been deleted. The internet gets smarter and smarter every day.
Update - 09/05/13: This report came out today in the New York Times 'Bits' Newsletter about the About The Data site I mentioned yesterday in the above blog. Here's what they have to say:
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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.