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Legally Married With Children: A Conversation

Legally Married With Children

See no evil. Hear no evil. Speak no evil.

While there is absolutely no moral equivalency being drawn between good and evil—right and wrong—this exposé on same-sex marriage and modern families is completely about turning a blind eye. How I looked the other way—simply because everyone else did. We are afraid to ask the simplest of questions just because of the way it makes us feel. Ignorant. Confused. Fearful of the future. A whole host of complex questions that require considerable thought, vulnerability, and stirs deep emotions.

Meet Ginger; a longtime family friend and who would be the closest thing I have to a sister. My dad and her dad have been friends since the mid 1970s. They met while at work; my dad being a construction manager and her dad, David, owning a painting company. The two played competitive softball with each other for many years. As the stories go, it was a tight-knit group of friends and the ballgames were much more than obsession—it was their life. My mom had a significant role in Ginger’s young life, acting as an close-to-the-family babysitter for her and her brother for several years. Ginger’s mom and dad were always very much involved in her life, but appreciated the extra help while working full-time jobs and managing softball teams. Eventually I was born and my mom looked after all three of us. Though I was only a toddler, Ginger was my favorite and I followed her around like a duckling.

Read more: Legally Married With Children: A Conversation

Descartes' Wax: More Important Than God

Descartes' Wax Argument

First, let’s consider a question: if a thinking mind didn’t contemplate a piece of wax, would the wax even exist?

According to Rene Descartes, existence is predicated upon thinking. In order to know if something truly exists, it must think. So can wax not exist because it doesn’t think? Or does the wax not know that exists because it doesn’t think? Or do we, thinking things, give the wax existence simply by virtue of us thinking about it? But then what thought about us?

Before we can attempt to answer any of these questions, we must first define existence. “Let us consider those things which are commonly believed to be the most distinctly grasped by all: namely bodies we touch and see” (45). We can touch, taste, smell, and see the wax—we use our empirical senses to define its existence. “But notice that, as I am speaking, I am bringing it close to the fire” (45). The wax heats up, it changes shape, it loses its scent, it turns to liquid. “Does the wax still remain? I must confess that it does; no one denies it; no one thinks otherwise” (45). But if so, what happened to all of the empirical data that was originally collected to verify its existence? Those same attributes—its shape, the way it feels, smells, sounds—all are no longer accurate, but yet the wax still remains.

Read more: Descartes' Wax: More Important Than God

How Will Feminism Remember Kellyanne Conway?

Kellyanne Conway and Feminism

No. For reals. I’m genuinely asking.

While Conway isn’t single handedly responsible for Donald Trump being elected, she was certainly instrumental. A strong case can be made that if it weren’t for her, Hillary Clinton would have become President. In my opinion, this has to create tremendous pause within the movement.

Is Kellyanne the troll of women’s rights? The pawn that men used to tear down another woman? Or, is Kellyanne the posterwoman of the movement’s success?

Conway forged a successful career in a highly male dominated field. She was hired as Trump’s campaign manager based on her merits, and she blindly went after Hillary as a competitor regardless of gender ideology. She was hired to do a job, and she did it well. Professionally, Kellyanne represents everything Feminism stands for—except that she used it against them.

Conway benefited from the progress Feminism afforded her, and then potentially sabotaged its future. If it weren’t for Feminist—strong women paving the road before her—she never would have been able to rise to the career and political stature that she’s earned.

Read more: How Will Feminism Remember Kellyanne Conway?

Millennial Extremism - Is Democracy In Jeopardy?

Millennial Extremism

I was taken aback after the 2016 Presidential Election, but not in the way you’d think.

I understand the higher over-arching symbolism that each candidate represented. Breaking the glass ceiling, women vindicated—or simply keeping someone out of office who openly derogated women, religion, and minorities. I understand what our President means to the world, what the position means to children and how the position sets the tone of what we agree upon as a society is acceptable behavior. The Presidency is much more than policy.

As stunning as it was to witness our country elect Donald Trump, I was more shocked and dumbfounded by Millennials. Their response. How they reacted and handled themselves. The level in which their feelings, lives, and outlook of the world was so entwined with the person in office.

I’m an ‘old man’ Millennial. I’m about as old as you can be and still be considered a Millennial. Frankly, I feel completely out of touch with kids entering college. The generation gap between me and 20 year olds is just as significant as someone who is in their 40s, or 70s.

Read more: Millennial Extremism - Is Democracy In Jeopardy?

2016 Election - The Separation of Culture and State

Separation of Culture and State

The 2016 Presidential Election has been challenging. An understatement, obviously.

Not only has it challenged our democratic system and the strength of our union, but it has also touched our citizens personally. Deeply. It’s widely complex. Not just debatable on the way we interpret facts and policy, but also how we are choosing to represent our civilization.

Our government, intentional or not, has become more than a government. It’s the organization we look to as a society that sets the tone of how our culture is supposed to be lived. The things we value. The ideology we pass down. The fundamentals we set and lead by as an example to the rest of the world.

Our government was never intended to be a social and civil barometer of civilization. When we were being founded, we barely squeaked out a war over the world’s largest empire. We were not a super power. We were not the world’s leader. We were not the idealistic posterchild of democracy, freedom, or opportunity. However, the small government our founding fathers created—filled with restrictions of power and checks and balances—allowed us to become the greatest society in the history of man.

Read more: 2016 Election - The Separation of Culture and State

Veruca Salt - A Warm Blanket Out Of The Dryer

Veruca Salt - Ghost Notes

Maybe you can never go home again. But if you could, Ghost Notes would be the soundtrack.

For some reason I’ve avoided writing about Ghost Notes since it came out last summer. I’m not sure why—I really like this album. I also love Veruca Salt. They make the short list of my all-time favorite bands. The only thing I can think of is that I was trying to keep this album for myself. It’s like reliving a memory—something you’d only share with someone who understands what you’ve been through. Or maybe it’s because Nina and Louise harmonizing again feels like a freshly washed blanket out of a warm dryer and I just want to curl up and daydream while I listen. It’s been my sanctuary, invitation only.

Ghost Notes is vibrant, powerful, and packed with refined adult angst; it’s also extremely familiar. That’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s my favorite quality of the album. It’s everything I miss about Veruca Salt and how I’ve romanticized the idea of what it would be like to recapture teenage love. Reality will never be as good as the fantasy, but in Veruca Salt’s case they’ve managed to rediscovered the magic they had from their first two albums, and in doing so brought me right back into my high school bedroom. Maybe you can never go home again, but if you could this would be the soundtrack. Older, more mature, and all of the childish insecurities buried deep beneath an exterior of defiance and collared shirts.

Not that Veruca Salt was ever the youthful exuberance of pop rock, the band leaning more on cerebral advances and driving guitars, but this album is a living will of their progression as musicians and songwriters. They’ve become masters of their craft, something only time and experience can develop—a kick to the nuts of the double-edged tragedy that is rock n’ roll’s youthful expiration date. Eddie Vedder keeps doing it, Beck—even though Jack White and Billy Joe Armstrong will never see another Teen Choice Award—nostalgia aside—the craftsmanship of their music has dramatically improved with their age.

Read more: Veruca Salt - A Warm Blanket Out Of The Dryer

Music

Songwriting & Lyrics: 93% - 1 votes
Composition & Arrangement: 87% - 1 votes
Recording & Production: 84% - 1 votes
Artwork & Presentation: 71% - 1 votes
Je Ne Sais Quoi: 97% - 1 votes

86% - Angelic Daydream With Claws

This album was never supposed to happen, or at least that’s how things looked after the band imploded in the late 90’s. While we haven’t been left without music, Nina and Louise continuing to write and record without each other, the dynamic and magic was never the same. Ghost Notes buries the hatchet and reunites all original members, filling a vast void in female driven rock. If you like powerful guitars, sweeping builds, and meaningful lyrics with angelic harmonies—and I do—this album will give you goose bumps.

Veruca Salt - A Warm Blanket Out Of The Dryer

Veruca Salt - A Warm Blanket Out Of The Dryer

Maybe you can never go home again. But if you could, Ghost Notes would be the soundtrack. For some reason I’ve avoided writing about Ghost Notes since it came out last summer. I’m not sure why—I really like this album. I also love Veruca Salt. They make the short list of my all-time favorite bands. The only thing I can think of is that I was trying to keep this album for myself. It’s like reliving a memory—something you’d only share with someone who understands what you’ve been through. Or maybe it’s because Nina and Louise harmonizing again feels like a freshly washed blanket out of a warm dryer and I just want to curl up and daydream while I listen. It’s been my sanctuary, invitation only. Ghost Notes is vibrant, powerful, and packed with refined adult angst; it’s also extremely familiar. That’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s my favorite quality of the album. It’s everything I miss about Veruca Salt and how I’ve romanticized the idea of what it would be like to recapture teenage love. Reality will never be as good as the fantasy, but in Veruca Salt’s case they’ve managed to rediscovered the magic they had from their first two albums, and in doing so brought me right back into my high school bedroom. Maybe you can never go home again, but if you could this would be the soundtrack. Older, more mature, and all of the childish insecurities buried deep beneath an exterior of defiance and collared shirts. Not that Veruca Salt was ever the youthful exuberance of pop rock, the band leaning more on cerebral advances and driving guitars, but this album is a living will of their progression as musicians and songwriters. They’ve become masters of their craft, something only time and experience can develop—a kick to the nuts of the double-edged tragedy that is rock n’ roll’s youthful expiration date. Eddie Vedder keeps doing it, Beck—even though Jack White and Billy Joe Armstrong will never see another Teen Choice Award—nostalgia aside—the craftsmanship of their music has dramatically improved with their age.
Maybe you can never go home again. But if you could, Ghost Notes would be the soundtrack. For some reason I’ve avoided writing about Ghost Notes since it came out last summer. I’m not sure why—I really like this album. I also love Veruca Salt. They make the short list of my all-time favorite bands. The only thing I can think of is that I was trying to keep this album for myself. It’s like reliving a memory—something you’d only share with someone who understands what you’ve been through. Or maybe it’s because Nina and Louise harmonizing again feels like a freshly washed blanket out of a warm dryer and I just want to curl up and daydream while I listen. It’s been my sanctuary, invitation only. Ghost Notes is vibrant, powerful, and packed with refined adult angst; it’s also extremely familiar. That’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s my favorite quality of the album. It’s everything I miss about Veruca Salt and how I’ve romanticized the idea of what it would be like to recapture teenage love. Reality will never be as good as the fantasy, but in Veruca Salt’s case they’ve managed to rediscovered the magic they had from their first two albums, and in doing so brought me right back into my high school bedroom. Maybe you can never go home again, but if you could this would be the soundtrack. Older, more mature, and all of the childish insecurities buried deep beneath an exterior of defiance and collared shirts. Not that Veruca Salt was ever the youthful exuberance of pop rock, the band leaning more on cerebral advances and driving guitars, but this album is a living will of their progression as musicians and songwriters. They’ve become masters of their craft, something only time and experience can develop—a kick to the nuts of the double-edged tragedy that is rock n’ roll’s youthful expiration date. Eddie Vedder keeps doing it, Beck—even though Jack White and Billy Joe Armstrong will never see another Teen Choice Award—nostalgia aside—the craftsmanship of their music has dramatically improved with their age.
86 out of 100 with 5 ratings

Taylor Swift's 1989 - Why I'm A Fangirl

Taylor Swift - 1989 Album Cover

Guilty Pleasure? Embarrassed??? Hardly.

As much as I love music, and devoted a significant amount of my life to it, I can still be pretty closed minded. I like what I like and over the last few years I’ve lived deeply in that bubble. Why listen to the radio when I’ve got 20k+ songs in iTunes? I also no longer care about being cool—I’m over having to be the first to hear a new rock band or searching for the meaning of life within lyrics. I think there’s two reasons for this:

One, I’m getting older. Not all music, or even the music I used to like, resonates with me like it used to. There’s nostalgia attached, but I certainly can’t get excited about the new pop punk band singing about getting kicked out of high school—nor should I. I never thought I’d see the day when I didn’t have much of an interest in Warped Tour or picking up an issue of AP—but those days are over, and I’m okay with that.

Secondly, my time at Sony forced me to listen to a lot of music I’d otherwise have no interest in. Leaving that world was like a spiritual backlash to anything Top 40—I could refocus on the music that moved me, rather than it’s commercial viability. New music doesn’t mean good music, and now being a private citizen, I only have to worry about good music.

With that said, Taylor Swift’s 1989 is good music.

I was getting out of the music industry as Swift was skyrocketing. At that point she was considered a country artist with crossover appeal and I was a rock and pop specialist—I had no reason to listen to her and didn’t because I loath country. When I left the industry, she became my “now that I quit the hamburger stand, I never want to eat another hamburger again” artist. I always respected her from afar because she wrote her own music and seemed to have a grasp on her career, but I also wanted to vomit at the thought of teen-girl-country-pop. Each one of those words compounding my gag reflex.

Read more: Taylor Swift's 1989 - Why I'm A Fangirl

Music

Songwriting & Lyrics: 100% - 1 votes
Composition & Arrangement: 97% - 1 votes
Recording & Production: 91% - 1 votes
Artwork & Presentation: 100% - 1 votes
Je Ne Sais Quoi: 95% - 1 votes

96% - Album Of The Year

There's not much I can say about 1989 that hasn't already been said. It won Album Of The Year for what I believe are all the right reasons- because it was. Swift being the actual songwriter of her songs is the thing that separates her from the rest of the field, she captures the subtleties within her music like no one else can. Technically it's a great album, commercially it has huge legs, but more important it brought some essence of life into a genre that's become nothing but flashing lights and drum beats.

Taylor Swift's 1989 - Why I'm A Fangirl

Taylor Swift's 1989 - Why I'm A Fangirl

Guilty Pleasure? Embarrassed??? Hardly. As much as I love music, and devoted a significant amount of my life to it, I can still be pretty closed minded. I like what I like and over the last few years I’ve lived deeply in that bubble. Why listen to the radio when I’ve got 20k+ songs in iTunes? I also no longer care about being cool—I’m over having to be the first to hear a new rock band or searching for the meaning of life within lyrics. I think there’s two reasons for this: One, I’m getting older. Not all music, or even the music I used to like, resonates with me like it used to. There’s nostalgia attached, but I certainly can’t get excited about the new pop punk band singing about getting kicked out of high school—nor should I. I never thought I’d see the day when I didn’t have much of an interest in Warped Tour or picking up an issue of AP—but those days are over, and I’m okay with that. Secondly, my time at Sony forced me to listen to a lot of music I’d otherwise have no interest in. Leaving that world was like a spiritual backlash to anything Top 40—I could refocus on the music that moved me, rather than it’s commercial viability. New music doesn’t mean good music, and now being a private citizen, I only have to worry about good music. With that said, Taylor Swift’s 1989 is good music. I was getting out of the music industry as Swift was skyrocketing. At that point she was considered a country artist with crossover appeal and I was a rock and pop specialist—I had no reason to listen to her and didn’t because I loath country. When I left the industry, she became my “now that I quit the hamburger stand, I never want to eat another hamburger again” artist. I always respected her from afar because she wrote her own music and seemed to have a grasp on her career, but I also wanted to vomit at the thought of teen-girl-country-pop. Each one of those words compounding my gag reflex.
Guilty Pleasure? Embarrassed??? Hardly. As much as I love music, and devoted a significant amount of my life to it, I can still be pretty closed minded. I like what I like and over the last few years I’ve lived deeply in that bubble. Why listen to the radio when I’ve got 20k+ songs in iTunes? I also no longer care about being cool—I’m over having to be the first to hear a new rock band or searching for the meaning of life within lyrics. I think there’s two reasons for this: One, I’m getting older. Not all music, or even the music I used to like, resonates with me like it used to. There’s nostalgia attached, but I certainly can’t get excited about the new pop punk band singing about getting kicked out of high school—nor should I. I never thought I’d see the day when I didn’t have much of an interest in Warped Tour or picking up an issue of AP—but those days are over, and I’m okay with that. Secondly, my time at Sony forced me to listen to a lot of music I’d otherwise have no interest in. Leaving that world was like a spiritual backlash to anything Top 40—I could refocus on the music that moved me, rather than it’s commercial viability. New music doesn’t mean good music, and now being a private citizen, I only have to worry about good music. With that said, Taylor Swift’s 1989 is good music. I was getting out of the music industry as Swift was skyrocketing. At that point she was considered a country artist with crossover appeal and I was a rock and pop specialist—I had no reason to listen to her and didn’t because I loath country. When I left the industry, she became my “now that I quit the hamburger stand, I never want to eat another hamburger again” artist. I always respected her from afar because she wrote her own music and seemed to have a grasp on her career, but I also wanted to vomit at the thought of teen-girl-country-pop. Each one of those words compounding my gag reflex.
97 out of 100 with 5 ratings

Experimenter - Watch To Become A Better Person

Stanley Milgram The Experimenter

People are sheep, and Stanley Milgram scientifically proved it. How could the Holocaust happen? How can there still be institutional racism?

And why it's going to happen again.

Experimenter is available for streaming on Netflix and is a biographical drama of the controversial social psychologist, Stanley Milgram. Staring Peter Sarsgaard as Milgram and Winona Ryder as his wife, along with notable actors making small appearances throughout, the Experimenter flew under the radar and was quietly released in October of 2015.

In the 1950s and 60s, minds were still fresh with what the Nazi’s had done in World War II. Former Nazi leadership that fled after the war were still being hunted down across the globe and being tried for warcrimes. The public was still learning of the atrocities as reports, photographs, and footage were still being released of concentration camps. The war wasn’t a distant memory and a young Jewish psychologist, Milgram—like most of the world—was curious as to how humanity could ever allow this to happen. How could an entire nation support mass killings? What would ever turn normal, decent humans—a baker, a mechanic, a school teacher—into a Nazi extermination force? Why would a rational, casual citizen standby and allow this cruelty to occur? Or worse, willingly participate in it?

In 1961, as an assistant professor at Yale, Milgram began his social experiments on obedience. Two at a time, he invited people from the street—all walks of life—to be in his experiment. At random, he dubbed one “The Learner” and the other as “The Teacher.” The Learner was sent to a different room and asked to memorize an impossible string of words. If The Learner made a mistake while answering The Teacher’s questions about the words, The Teacher would then administer an electric shook on The Learner. The voltage of the shock increasing with each incorrect answer.

The Teacher was told that the electric shocks caused The Learner no long term affects, however from the other room The Teacher could clearly hear that he was causing The Learner a great deal of pain. As the voltage increased, The Learner begged for mercy and pleaded through the walls for The Teacher to stop shocking him. The Teacher was told to continue the experiment and under no circumstance was he to stop. If a wrong answer was given, or The Learner was to stop answering, The Teacher was required to give a shock. Eventually, after reaching 450 volts, The Learner went quiet—seemingly dead from the electric shocks—yet The Teacher continued to zap from the lack of an answer.

Read more: Experimenter - Watch To Become A Better Person

Movies & TV

Storytelling & Writing: 76% - 1 votes
Cinematography & Effects: 73% - 1 votes
Acting & Casting: 83% - 1 votes
Soundtrack & Audio: 21% - 1 votes
Je Ne Sais Quoi: 95% - 1 votes

70% - Everyone Should Watch

With the movie based on Stanley Milgram genius- the only importance the film had was to convey his research. Hollywood took a stab at making his life "more watchable" than a psychological research documentary. In doing so, it struggled with becoming a period piece or art film. However, it's not as bad as it could have been and the acting saves it. This movie isn't about the quality of writing or directing- even losing interest when concerned with Stanley himself. It is about capturing the powerful experiment that took place and his disturbing findings about human nature.

Experimenter - Watch To Become A Better Person

Experimenter - Watch To Become A Better Person

People are sheep, and Stanley Milgram scientifically proved it. How could the Holocaust happen? How can there still be institutional racism? And why it's going to happen again. Experimenter is available for streaming on Netflix and is a biographical drama of the controversial social psychologist, Stanley Milgram. Staring Peter Sarsgaard as Milgram and Winona Ryder as his wife, along with notable actors making small appearances throughout, the Experimenter flew under the radar and was quietly released in October of 2015. In the 1950s and 60s, minds were still fresh with what the Nazi’s had done in World War II. Former Nazi leadership that fled after the war were still being hunted down across the globe and being tried for warcrimes. The public was still learning of the atrocities as reports, photographs, and footage were still being released of concentration camps. The war wasn’t a distant memory and a young Jewish psychologist, Milgram—like most of the world—was curious as to how humanity could ever allow this to happen. How could an entire nation support mass killings? What would ever turn normal, decent humans—a baker, a mechanic, a school teacher—into a Nazi extermination force? Why would a rational, casual citizen standby and allow this cruelty to occur? Or worse, willingly participate in it? In 1961, as an assistant professor at Yale, Milgram began his social experiments on obedience. Two at a time, he invited people from the street—all walks of life—to be in his experiment. At random, he dubbed one “The Learner” and the other as “The Teacher.” The Learner was sent to a different room and asked to memorize an impossible string of words. If The Learner made a mistake while answering The Teacher’s questions about the words, The Teacher would then administer an electric shook on The Learner. The voltage of the shock increasing with each incorrect answer. The Teacher was told that the electric shocks caused The Learner no long term affects, however from the other room The Teacher could clearly hear that he was causing The Learner a great deal of pain. As the voltage increased, The Learner begged for mercy and pleaded through the walls for The Teacher to stop shocking him. The Teacher was told to continue the experiment and under no circumstance was he to stop. If a wrong answer was given, or The Learner was to stop answering, The Teacher was required to give a shock. Eventually, after reaching 450 volts, The Learner went quiet—seemingly dead from the electric shocks—yet The Teacher continued to zap from the lack of an answer.
People are sheep, and Stanley Milgram scientifically proved it. How could the Holocaust happen? How can there still be institutional racism? And why it's going to happen again. Experimenter is available for streaming on Netflix and is a biographical drama of the controversial social psychologist, Stanley Milgram. Staring Peter Sarsgaard as Milgram and Winona Ryder as his wife, along with notable actors making small appearances throughout, the Experimenter flew under the radar and was quietly released in October of 2015. In the 1950s and 60s, minds were still fresh with what the Nazi’s had done in World War II. Former Nazi leadership that fled after the war were still being hunted down across the globe and being tried for warcrimes. The public was still learning of the atrocities as reports, photographs, and footage were still being released of concentration camps. The war wasn’t a distant memory and a young Jewish psychologist, Milgram—like most of the world—was curious as to how humanity could ever allow this to happen. How could an entire nation support mass killings? What would ever turn normal, decent humans—a baker, a mechanic, a school teacher—into a Nazi extermination force? Why would a rational, casual citizen standby and allow this cruelty to occur? Or worse, willingly participate in it? In 1961, as an assistant professor at Yale, Milgram began his social experiments on obedience. Two at a time, he invited people from the street—all walks of life—to be in his experiment. At random, he dubbed one “The Learner” and the other as “The Teacher.” The Learner was sent to a different room and asked to memorize an impossible string of words. If The Learner made a mistake while answering The Teacher’s questions about the words, The Teacher would then administer an electric shook on The Learner. The voltage of the shock increasing with each incorrect answer. The Teacher was told that the electric shocks caused The Learner no long term affects, however from the other room The Teacher could clearly hear that he was causing The Learner a great deal of pain. As the voltage increased, The Learner begged for mercy and pleaded through the walls for The Teacher to stop shocking him. The Teacher was told to continue the experiment and under no circumstance was he to stop. If a wrong answer was given, or The Learner was to stop answering, The Teacher was required to give a shock. Eventually, after reaching 450 volts, The Learner went quiet—seemingly dead from the electric shocks—yet The Teacher continued to zap from the lack of an answer.
70 out of 100 with 5 ratings

Internet Morality: Why?

Why do we need it?

So what is Internet Morality? What gives me the right to be the purveyor?

Well, in a not so democratic system, I appointed myself. Why? Well, someone had to. Beyond that, the entirety of my professional life has been spent online in one capacity or another. Sadly, as most millennials, so has much of my person life- though I’ll get into that later.

I started on the internet with free hours from AOL and a 14.4 kbps modem. I collected those damn junk mail CD’s and had a dozen user names in my teens. I eventually convinced my parents that an internet connection and blazing 28.8k dial-up speeds were vital for my success as a high school student. I graduated with honors, so maybe I was right? Or maybe the school system I attended was that bad.

When I joined the professional world in the early 2000s, I knew that the internet was the future. However, management was at least 10 or 15 years older than me, if not 40 years older than me, and didn’t embrace the fad. They hadn’t grown up with it. They didn’t use for anything of value. Some maybe saw the potential, but they didn’t understand how or why it worked.

Read more: Internet Morality: Why?