Finny’s Brief 3/29/17– The internet and Tomi Lahren for sale

That’s a pretty clickbaity image.. I know.. but I want them clicks.. give me your views! Tomi help me get people to read my blog!

Yeah, yeah… I know. It’s been a while. The last time I wrote a blog post was the day after Trump’s Inauguration. Luckily, I haven’t really missed out on much in that time.

*Looks at the past hour on Twitter*

Oh.. that bad, huh?

Yeah, I know I missed a lot and I regret not talking about it as it happened. However, I sat down trying to figure out a “Finny” way of summarizing the past couple of months and really couldn’t think of a great way to bring it all together. So I won’t be talking about all of the past… I want to talk about what’s happening now. There may be a time where talking about past events comes into fruition.. but for now… let’s talk about Tomi Lahren and the internet.

Ideological hypocrisy

The Blaze is a conservative news site that is owned by Glenn Beck. Although calling them a news site with the stories they talk about and the way in which they talk about is open to interpretation. The Blaze hired someone you probably have seen on Facebook.. and perfectly fits into The Blaze persona… named Tomi Lahren.

lahren

Lahren is a conservative commentator for The Blaze whose popularity came from yelling talking points that many people ‘are afraid to talk about.’ You know, the liberal media’s out to get the conservatives, the women’s marches weren’t really about women… and the evils of being pro-choice (more on that in a bit.) She made herself famous for this and was seen on millions of Facebook feeds on a daily basis. Her youthfulness and good looks checked off the rest of the boxes for everything you needed to get your ‘maybe-racist uncle’, the friend who thinks every mainstream media outlet is fake news, the friend from high school whom you aren’t sure why you were friends with in the first place, and your dad to share one of her videos.

Anyway, Lahren is no longer working at The Blaze and there are a couple of stories as to why this happened. The one you probably heard of was when she went on “The View”

There are a few things Lahren said that were factually incorrect in this interview (Islam is not a predominate religion in India and Kellyanne Conway didn’t run Trump’s campaign) but where she got the headlines was when she started talking about women’s rights and personally being pro-choice (that point starts at the 6:10 mark in the video.)

Let me set the stage. On ‘The View,” Lahren stated she has built a career on honesty. However, let’s go back to the tape on the abortion issue.

She uses air quotes to describe pro-choice (in this case, Lena Dunham) and how being pro-choice is actually being for rare and safe abortion. Is this a legitimate argument. Yes. But the fact she uses air quotes discredits everything thing she saying in the first place. Also, she says people who are pro-choice are not too far off ideologically from being called baby-killers.

Yes, the last part of the speech, she kind of makes up ground but the damage had already been done… and now looking at what happened on “The View,” nothing about this speech makes any sense.

Hypocrisy. That was the main reasoning Glenn Beck gave as to why he originally suspended Lahren from The Blaze. Beck took to his radio show saying that he welcomes different viewpoints to his network but when someone is an ideological hypocrite, that’s where he draws the line. Lahren crossed that line.

Now, interestingly enough, I heard from people involved with The Blaze that Lahren was a  huge pain to work with. She made demands that were completely unreasonable and treated her staff like dirt. These mumblings started before Lahren showed up on The View… so maybe The View was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Lahren earlier this week was suspended permanently (fired) from The Blaze.

Tomi Lahren is someone who reached fame way before she was ready for the spotlight. She’s cute and speaks to the feelings of Americans who felt like they have been burned. It’s a good formula for the world today. It works.. it worked. She has well over 4 million Twitter followers and her videos saw 5 millions views a piece. She has a brand. Is that brand tarnished now? Only time will tell. Lahren will find a place to land on her feet. In a post-truth, Trump era, Lahren with thrive. As long as there is a ‘liberal bias out there to ruin Trump,’ Lahren will thrive. As long as she believes PC culture is turning everyone into snowflakes, Lahren will thrive. She’ll be okay.. and will go to highest bidder.

The most important story no one is talking about

Hey, Congress just voted to roll back your internet privacy. What does this all mean?

Last week, the Senate voted to gut the FCC’s broadband privacy regulations. What did these regulations do? They prohibited internet service providers (ISPs) from selling the information and browsing history of its customers without consent. Seems like a good regulation… right? Well.. it’s a Trump signature away from going away. This regulation was deemed overly restrictive and would stifle innovation.. so the GOP voted to strip it.

But this goes a little deeper.. and a little scarier.

These regulations would have forced ISPs to inform its customers when there was suspected data breach. ISPs will not have to risk customer satisfaction anymore… and just say everything is fine. Your data could be hacked and your ISP doesn’t have to say anything. I feel like that dog meme that it’s a burning room and says “this is fine.”

dog

Back to the data, there is a lot more about you on the internet than you may know. If you have a Facebook and like certain things and post certain things… the ISP knows it. The ISP can also know your political affiliation and sexual orientation… and your health information. All of that will be up for sale with these rolled back regulations. They sell the information to an advertising agency and can then more cater content to you. Yeah.. it’s all about the almighty dollar and ads.

There’s going to be a lot more about this coming out in the coming days and how it will affect net neutrality later down the line.. and the little guy who wants to try and make a buck on the internet.

There is an argument to be made about the expectation of privacy when browsing the internet that could lead to the reasoning, and the legality, of this measure. Nothing is free and the ISP own the bandwidth that you are using… so why wouldn’t they be able to use your browsing data the way they want. Somehow I think there is something in the EULA about that… but of course no one reads those. Next thing you know, we are all becoming human centiPads.

human centipad

So what can you do now?

Encryption is your best friend. Make it as hard as possible for ISPs to gather data on you.

Also, no… going incognito to watch your porn does not protect you… sorry.

There is a browser called Tor that you can download that encrypts your data. Yes, it takes web pages a little longer to load while using this browser, but privacy is probably worth it.

Also, look into setting a VPN (Virtual Private Network.) To avoid getting into a ton of technical talk, a VPN encrypts your browsing history and shields your activity from those who may be watching on ‘the other side.’ There are multiple ways to set up a VPN. Here’s a link that describes it way better than I ever could. If your internet privacy is important to you, I would definitely look into setting up a VPN.

Let me wrap this up with a clip that predicted this situation in 1999.

Anytime I can use a West Wing clip… I am a happier writer.

It’s always good news here on CFDD. Yes, it’s been a while… hopefully I can get back into a routine of writing every week again… there definitely isn’t any shortage of things to talk about, that’s for sure.

Until next time, follow me on Twitter @ryanfinfrock for my off-the-top-of-the-head thoughts on events and updates on when posts go live. Also, if you have any suggestions for topics, tweet them to me.

 

 

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Finny’s Inauguration Special: American Carnage

“Educate yourself and make your voice heard.” Those were words spoken to me by the former President of the Cincinnati Tea Party when I interviewed him back when I was in high school. That was a big moment for me. It was the moment when I started forming a passion for the political process, the moment I started becoming a more informed citizen and the moment where I realized how important peaceful protest is to our country.

Yes, the Tea Party was a big turning point in my life. Now, we are faced with a very similar situation in our country right now.

President Donald Trump

Hey! Guess what! Donald Trump is officially the 45th President of the United States. His speech left much to be desired. Personally, I felt the speech was written late night after a campaign stop in late October and Bannon and Miller were kind of drunk and just spewing campaign rhetoric and ‘patriotic verbiage’ left and right and formed all of that into an Inaugural Address.

But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge; and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential.
This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.
Yes, when you look at what is being said, it is admirable. Poverty is a huge issue in our country. Manufacturing jobs are struggling and crime in certain areas continues to be a problem. However, you see no attempt at saying “hey, I’m going to fix these problems.” You don’t see any glimmer of hope. All you see and take away from this is “American carnage.” Those words have never been spoken in an Inaugural Address… ever. Remember “Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”? Remember “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Trump’s speech was leaps and bounds behind those speeches yesterday.
That’s all I will focus on in regard to the actual speech. It sucked. I hope Trump succeeds as President because I don’t want to see him, and as a result our country, fail.

Battle of the Numbers

I am very happy I took time and wrote this on Saturday instead of Friday. Saturday arguably had a lot more to talk about. Let’s start off by talking about the blatant Day 1 lie by the Trump Administration.

A big talking point across various media outlets is how Trump’s Inauguration (right) compared to Obama’s first Inauguration (left.) It doesn’t take a rocket scientist… or a U.S. Press Secretary to tell you that Obama clearly had more people attend his Inauguration than Trump. That is a clear fact. No one can refute that.

Right?

Right?

You see where I’m going with this?

President Trump (admittedly, calling him President Trump will be hard to get used to) spoke in front of the CIA on Saturday and said the ‘dishonest media’ was spreading false reports about how his Inauguration was not well-attended. This was later enforced by a press conference called by Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Spicer tried to explain that there were many factors at play that prove Trump’s Inauguration was the MOST WATCHED INAUGURATION EVER. PERIOD. Yes, he did add the period at the end. No better way to end the argument than what Spicer did there.

This folks, is the first lie of the new Trump Administration. It’s Day 1. Where do we possibly go from here? Something that is so easily fact-checked is being questioned by the highest office in the land.

So if they are willing to lie about this… what else are they willing to lie about to the American people? In the grand scheme of things, this story is nothing. The attendance of the Inauguration means nothing. What matters is the President lying to America about this non-story. What is he now going to say about health care? What is he going to say about education? About terrorism? About his wall? The precedent has been set.

Numbers that could matter

The other big story to come out of Saturday was the Women’s March that took place in cities across the country. Objectively, these turnouts were incredible. Some cities had hundreds of thousands flood the streets to protest the new administration. They want the administration to hear their concerns about matters of women’s reproductive rights, immigration rights… basically against all of the thing Trump said during his campaign.

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Yes… it appears more people attended the rally in DC today than the Inauguration yesterday. I know you were probably dying to know the answer to that question.

These protests, by all the reports I’ve read, were peaceful. No arrests have been reported at the time of this writing. These were peaceful protests. This got me thinking earlier today when I was watching coverage of these protests:

When Obama was elected in 2008, many on the right were upset and took action. Those actions led to the Tea Party movement. The Tea Party movement swayed the balance of power in Congress. Hell, the Tea Party movement gave us Donald Trump. Despite what you may think of the movement, they accomplished something big. They took action and those actions had outcomes.

Is this the start of something similar with these women marches that we say on Saturday? Time will tell but from what I was reading on Twitter, people want this type of thing to keep up and turn into their own movement and sway the balance of power in their favor. That will be the big thing to see over the coming months.

Of course, many will argue about the validity and real purpose of these marches… but that’s the way these things always go.

Let’s just hope it doesn’t turn into Occupy again. I don’t think I can deal with that crap again.

Common ground

It is important to have open dialogue in our country. It is important to hear from people who have different opinions than that of your own. The echo chamber that many keep themselves in does not do this country any good. Ad hominem attacks against the other side do not do anything. In order to have progress, we need to have compromise. We cannot have compromise without discussion. Stop posting the crappy (and often unfunny) anti-Trump memes on Facebook. Stop calling everyone who disagrees with Trump a ‘snowflake’ who needs to grow up and accept what happened. Talk to each other! Find common ground.

Educate yourself and make your voice heard. Those are the words that I have lived by since I’ve heard them over 5 years ago. Education comes when you challenge your own ideals and thoughts. Education comes from reading what qualified journalists are writing about in regard to the Presidency and surrounding events in Washington. I’m not perfect when it comes to this stuff and maybe I’m just thinking too ideally. I believe that this country has always been great because of the people. It’s time to learn from one another.

Trump is now our President. Now is not the time to say “he is not my President.” He is. Let’s hope he helps this country succeed.

Finny’s Brief 1/16/17– Let’s ‘Switch’ this up a little bit!

Let’s vibe to vibe a second…

Will Smith’s song “Switch” was the first rap song that I really enjoyed listening to and then I went down a rabbit hole of listening to nothing but rap music for the next few years… thanks to Will Smith and “Lost and Found.” I used to freestyle rap a lot and write “raps.” Yeah.. I was a lost cause.”Switch” is still a good song, it turns out… even though it is over 10 years old now. Yes… 10 years old.

HEYYYYY! Turn it over and switch!

But I’m not going to be talking about Will Smith or rap music tonight… so sorry about getting your hopes up about “white boy writing about rap music.” I’m going to be talking about a different kind of switch… of the Nintendo variety.

Nintendo switching their approach

nintendoswitch

Yes, I’m sure you’ve heard something about this console whether is be positive or negative. Let me give you my take on this console and what I think of video games as an art form. Yes… I believe video games are an art form and the second-best form of storytelling next to reading a book.

The Nintendo Switch is the latest console to come from Nintendo and comes after the very unsuccessful WiiU. You don’t know what WiiU is or never heard of it? Don’t worry… you aren’t alone in that category. Nintendo has an interesting hook with this new console and it is the reason why it has the “Switch” branding: it functions both and a home console you hook up to your TV and as a handheld that you can play on the go (much like an Gameboy or Nintendo 3DS.) People should be head over heels over this thing, right? A Nintendo console where you can play Mario and Zelda games on the good with much better graphics?? Sign me up! Well… not so fast.. people are not so head over heels on this console… at least not yet.

The Switch retails for $299.99. Not a bad price for a console if we get down to brass tax. The problem that many people have is that… well… there isn’t much to play on this console on Day 1. You have the new Zelda game, which looks pretty damn impressive, a gimmicky motion-control party game thing called 1,2, Switch! where one of the games has you milking a cow. I kid you not… one of the games actually has you milking a cow.

1-2-switch-4-800x445

Needless to say… that game doesn’t look all that great.. but that Zelda game! Holy crap! Look at this trailer!

Yes… you can play that game on WiiU.. but who has one of those or wants to play it on something like that? LEMME PLAY MY ZELDA ON THE GO!

Other than that… there’s no big releases on day 1 of the Switch.. which people are upset about… and it’s a good reason why. There are many other reasons why people are upset.. but I won’t bore you with all of those details. There are other games coming out throughout the year that are pretty damn promising. Splatoon 2 and Super Mario Odyssey will be big hits for the Switch.

Yes… Mario is in New Donk City. NEW DONK CITY! I feel like Jay-Z and Alicia Keys should rewrite Emprie State of Mind for New Donk City. Now you’re in NEW DOOOONNNKKK.

Anyway.. if you were thinking about getting a Switch on day 1, you are pretty much out of luck. Preorders are reportedly sold out everywhere which is not shocking with a company like Nintendo… remember the fiasco with the NES Classic?

People love playing Nintendo consoles because it reminds them of their childhoods. If adults have children, it’s a way to connect with their children and give them a glimpse at what their childhood was like while giving their child a great experience. That’s a main reason why people love buying Nintendo products.

Me? I love playing Nintendo games. Zelda has been on my radar for years, Splatoon 2 will be something I sink many hours into.. and having something where I can play those games on the go… sign me up!

So I preordered one and have it paid off.

gamestopswitch

I got a pretty good deal on it. Gamestop had a deal where I could get $75 extra dollars of trade-in credit when I traded in my WiiU… so I got $195 in credit for my WiiU… add the games I had with that and I bought a Switch for around $20. I’ll take that deal any day of the week.

Art is dead

Since I’m on the topic of video games, I thought this would be the perfect time to rant about something that I am pretty passionate about: games as an art form. This is a more contentious debate than you may think. A simple Google search will render thousands of arguments for and against games as an art form and most of them are pretty fascinating reads.

Video games are something that I believe can be a very powerful art form… when done correctly. For example, my all-time favorite game is called “Bioshock.” It takes place in a dystopian underwater world called Rapture. Many of the themes are taken from Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged.” Through the game, you experience what lead to the downfall of this once great utopia and witness the degradation of the human condition and the corruption of power. It’s a game is only as powerful as it is because you are there through the eyes of the protagonist. You are partaking in the events that are affecting the future (or lack thereof) of Rapture. It’s something that you can only experience through a video game. Art always conveys some kind of story.. so video games have to fit into this category.

bioshocktc_bio1_andrewryan_statue_05

Of course, not all games are great at the art. In fact.. some are terrible and shouldn’t be considered games at all. I feel that way about a lot of paintings too…

The United States Supreme Court is also in my corner on this one. Back in 2011, the Supreme Court ruled on Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association and ruled that video games are protected speech and should be treated as other forms of media. California was trying to pass a law to prohibit the sale of mature video games to anyone under the age of 18. This, as history shows, faced many legal challenges which led to this decision by the Supreme Court. I could continue on this subject because the history around this case is fascinating.

Video games are pretty cool. I enjoy coming home from work and unwinding with an hour of a good game followed by a good book. Not only is a good art form.. but it can bring a group of friends together and relax and shoot each other in the face… and what is more relaxing than that? That’s right… not much.

I’m kind of all over the place on this topic… but I felt like it was a different thing to talk about other than the political crap I’ve been talking about recently. There will be much more to talk about in relation to that… Inauguration Day is on Friday. I REPEAT: Inauguration Day is on Friday.

I want to try and do more in-depth pieces (like digging into the Supreme Court case I mentioned) but time seems to never be on my side. So I’m going to see what happens. Ive been writing a lot more and I love it… but it takes up a ton of time when I already didn’t have a lot of free time to begin with. So I’ll be back Wednesday talking about who knows what… so until then, give me a follow on Twitter @RyanFinfrock. Let me know if you liked this change of pace and different topic. I know it was nice, for me, to talk about something different for a change.

TURN AROUND NOW! Switch!

 

 

Finny’s Brief 1/11/17— A failing pile of garbage blog post

Boy, when I decided to go to a Monday-Wednesday-Friday format for posts, I thought there would be days where it would be pretty damn hard to find news stories. So far… it couldn’t be easier to find stories to talk about. However, the main topic today is something that really made my blood boil… so let’s just dive into it.

‘A failing pile of garbage’

Buzzfeed took the world by storm last night when it decided to publish an over 30-page dossier of scurrilous allegations against Donald Trump. This story has grabbed my attention mainly because of the ethics surrounding the situation.

These allegations are unverified. So to many, this is grounds for not publishing any information regarding the dossier. Buzzfeed decided to publish it anyway. A funny thing happened after Buzzfeed published: other journalists came out and said they have had the same information but didn’t publish because they could not verify the information. So why did Buzzfeed think it did the right thing? Well, here is Ben Smith’s letter to staff after the story was published:

“Publishing this dossier reflects how we see the job of reporters in 2017.” Buzzfeed is trying to set the stage for journalism after its pretty crappy 2016. However, this precedent sets journalism up for failure. Publishing without verification is nothing short of irresponsible and is what led to the ‘fake news’ phenomena that we currently see. Buzzfeed is saying “hey, we’ll publish whatever, you decide if you believe it or not.” Buzzfeed’s readership consists of a lot of demographics… but I’m assuming the bulk of their readership are young, impressionable minds. What does this precedent do to them? Their education may not be where it needs to be to make that informed decision after they read an unverified document on Buzzfeed. There should be reasonable expectation that information published on a site like Buzzfeed be true. If this is the new lifestyle for Buzzfeed, it has become a terrible source for news (they had been getting on my better side, recently) and given other media outlets a bad name by association in a time where trust in media is already at an all-time low and journalists need to find ways to earn back the trust of the public.

Buzzfeed lost any credibility it had gained in the past few months from me (and many others from what I’ve seen.) It’s crazy to see someone make that kind of managerial decision that affected so much.

Anyway… let’s talk about the ramifications of this in today’s press conference with the President-elect!

A Tale of Two Speeches

obamafarewell

Before we get into the dumpster fire, let’s talk about President Obama’s farewell speech last night. I was never the biggest fan of President Obama. I disagreed with him on a number of issues but I respected him as a leader. It’s also undeniable that he is a fantastic public speaker. Both of these characteristics shined brightly last night. He spoke of unity and wishing the best of luck to the next administration. It was a hopeful speech.. although his audience may not have seen it that way.. they chanted “4 more years” because they really don’t want to have Donald Trump as their next President. He also spoke very highly of his wife, Michelle, which made some people I know tear up a little bit (I’m not one to cry over political speeches.. so it didn’t do much for me.) No matter what you may have thought of the last 8 years, there are certain aspects of Barack that you cannot deny are admirable and will be missed in the next few days.

 

The official “Hamilton” Youtube page posted this video after Obama’s speech… which seemed fitting. I liked it because it was a new Hamilton performance that I hadn’t seen yet.

Now… let’s contrast that with President-elect Trump’s first press conference in 167 days…

trumppresser

It’s hard to talk about this without really diving into the politics of all of this and starting partisan arguments… but that press conference was one of the worst things I have ever watched when it comes to politics… which is saying something because I’ve watched more of the Cabinet confirmation hearings than I care to admit.

Anyway… where do I begin with this speech? Do I start with Sean Spicer coming on stage and calling out Buzzfeed (Trump called the outlet a ‘failing pile of garbage’) and CNN for being fake news? Do I start with Trump’s lack of good public speaking skills? (“We have much hacking going on” is a sentence he said.) Or do I start with his back-and-forth with a CNN reporter when the reporter wanted to respond to the allegations that Trump brought before CNN?

As you might have guessed, most of the questions focused around the Buzzfeed report and Russia. The reporters present really wanted to get to the bottom of Russia and get some real answers about it. However, this lead to multipart questions that sometimes had 4,5 parts to them. Note to reporters: STOP DOING THIS! This only gives Trump an out to forget one of your questions and just focus on one of them and then go off on a talking point tangent.

There are many other topics that Trump needs to be questioned on… but thanks to the recent news cycle… all anyone wanted to know about was Russia.. and Trump wanted to slam “fake news” outlets.

I also found it funny that Trump said he liked the outlets that didn’t publish anything about the dossier. “Hey! I like you when you don’t write anything negative about me!”

On a different beat, Trump called out the intelligence committee right off the top of his speech and brought into question if it were an inside job… which is very dangerous rhetoric… but again… so is this:

Finally, I wonder how Trump plans on doing so much in the first couple of weeks in office. He plans on repealing and replacing Obamacare and naming a nominee to the Supreme Court within the first couple of weeks. I really doubt his knowledge on how long things like these that take. Not only that, he refused to give specifics on what he’d replace Obamacare with or who he is looking at for a Supreme Court nominee.

Also, to clear things up, there is a clear distinction between what CNN did compared to Buzzfeed. CNN reported that Obama and Trump were briefed by the intelligence committee about the dossier. Buzzfeed published the dossier without verifying its legitimacy. You cannot say what CNN did is comparable to what Buzzfeed did. If anything… Buzzfeed took what CNN said as enough evidence to go ahead and publish the document.

I could go on and on about last night’s and today’s events.. but I’d probably get myself into trouble if I continued. So I’ll wrap it up here.

Tomorrow will be an interesting day.. and not because of politics. Nintendo will be holding a conference to talk about its new console, the Switch. I’ll be covering that conference for Brashgames.com. So be sure to check that out late tomorrow night. I’ll also post more personal reaction here (time permitting) on the whole event. It may turn into my whole Friday post if I don’t have the time after all of that work. It’ll all be fun nonetheless and a nice change of pace from the crap that happened the past two days.

Let me know what you liked, didn’t like or what you’d like to see. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @RyanFinfrock.

 

Finny’s Brief 1/9/17– Hollywood gonna Hollywood… is it such a big deal?

 

I hate award shows. The gathering of Hollywood’s elite to worship each other and give awards to each other for movies is nothing short of vomit-inducing. Not only that but the fact that the movies that win are automatically decided to be ‘the best of the best’ is ridiculous. I get flack from people I know all the time for ‘going against the grain’ when it comes to movies. I am the kind of guy who will point out some of the smallest flaws in a film and say that it ruined the film and made it terrible. Yes, some of this is hyperbole and just to get a reaction from people but there is also some truth to it. A lot of people I know look at what wins best picture and think that its a good movie no matter what with no varying opinion of their own. Where’s the variety? Yes, the movies that win are good in their own way. However, there have been numerous times where I (and I’m sure you) have watched a film and wondered: “How the hell did that win best picture?”

I’m looking at you, Birdman and No Country for Old Men…

That’s why award shows suck.

That’s not to say the movies or TV shows aren’t good… it’s just a matter of having your own opinion on it and not taking a few people’s opinions as gospel when it comes to the best of the best. Let’s all like what we like and accept it and not let the Hollywood elite tell us what’s good… how does that sound?

Rolling in the Streep

That leads me to my first story of the day: Meryl Streep.

Is there some kind of law in place that allows Meryl Streep to speak her mind at every award show? I understand, if it were a law, that she has earned the honor but I would like clarification on the matter. That’s just a side note to the story that you’ve inevitably heard about by now: her speech at the Golden Globes last night:

It’s no secret that Hollywood is notorious (not sure that’s the right word to use but I’ll use it for sake of argument) for using a stage such as this to push a message like this. People, as you may guess, were upset at her message. My response is: there are many other things right now to be worried about and what she said really wasn’t all that bad.

Ok, ok, ok… before you start getting on my case about it let’s put it into perspective. It’s Meryl Streep, she’s done this stuff before. Also, she really was only telling the press to do their job to hold Trump accountable during his administration and how we all come from different backgrounds. Finally, she gave a (at least it seemed like) heartfelt moment about Trump’s mocking of a disabled New York Times Reporter which is something a lot of people are passionate about. She wasn’t on the stage bashing on Trump and just laying into him every second.

Trump, on the other hand, made it personal later that night when he called Streep overrated:

keitholbermann_2017-jan-09

Oops… sorry, that was from a 2015 Hollywood Reporter article where he praised the actress.

There you go… that fits the new Trump narrative. The best way to win a debate is by name calling. I wish I were joking… but a man just one the Presidency by doing so.

To sum it up, let the Meryl Streep stuff go. She’ll do her thing and Hollywood will do their thing too. Just remember, if you voted for Trump, that you should never say that Streep (or anyone in Hollywood) shouldn’t talk about politics because she is a rich celebrity.

I still hate award shows…

Playing the Press

One of the more interesting things to happen this week is the beginning of Trump’s cabinet confirmations. There are a number of confirmations that many think may face stiff opposition. Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson will be the biggest obstacle for the Trump Administration as he faces Senate hearings. His apparent close ties with Russia worry many of those in Congress (for obvious reasons.) His will be the closest to watch in the coming days. However, Trump is doing something very smart to help take away from the almost inevitable controversy surrounding his cabinet hearings: holding a press conference.

This move is genius because it takes the press’s attention away from the hearing for a little bit (press conference is scheduled for 11am ET on Wednesday) and focus on that and not worry as much about the hearings. How much resources are needed to dedicate to the hearings and press conference? Well.. on the most recent podcast episode of Politico’s Nerdcast, they said they will be scattered all around and be loaded on Wednesday. For a large publication like Politico, that is saying a lot. Trump’s team knows this and used it to their advantage. It will be 167 days since his last press conference and he will have the record for longest streak for a President-elect. President Obama will have his final speech tomorrow… another reason why Trump his having his on Wednesday. Say what you want about Trump, the guy knows how to work around the press which, at least to me, is very dangerous.

An Apple Adventure… part 3.

Ok, I know I was going to have a review of my Apple Watch up this past weekend but that obviously didn’t happen. I rewrote that thing three times before I realized that I didn’t really like what I was writing about. So here is just a real quick rundown of how I like my Apple Watch:

It’s good.

Ok, here’s a little more information. As someone who is becoming an everyday runner, this watch has helped me keep track of my pace, keep track of my goals and given me a schedule to push me harder to become a better runner and as a result be in better shape. That is partly due to the Nike Run Club app’s integration into the Apple Watch (I got the Nike+ Edition.) The Nike Run Club app is perfect if you are trying to get running or want to become a better runner and highly recommend it (and you don’t need the watch to get running.)

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All you have to do is hit start on the watch and start running.. it’s that easy. It will keep track of your time, mile time, distance, and heart rate. The built-in GPS on the watch also helps track elevation and will show you your route when you finish your run. Pretty nifty stuff.

Also, the activity tracking on the watch (not Nike related) is something that I’ve started to obsess over… which is a pretty good thing.. at least for my health.

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When you set up your watch, you are asked to input your height and weight and your normal day of exercise. The watch will then give you goals to hit every day. To start, mine were 400 active calories, 30 minutes of exercise and stand one minute per hour for 12 hours. Once I started hitting those goals easily, it gave me a recommendation to increase my move goal to 640 calories. It pushes me just enough to get more active and it has already shown results.

I’ve never worn a watch before I got the Apple Watch. It’s not something I ever thought I’d ever wear. However, I think I’ll be a watch guy for the rest of my life.

As an added bonus… I’m no longer ‘that guy’ who is constantly pulling out his phone and checking stuff every 5 seconds. I get all my notifications on my phone and will pull out my phone when I see an important email or text notification pop up. It’s quite the convenience.

I’ve always been an Apple guy. I’ve had great experiences with them except that one time… oh and that other time. I have a Mac, iPad, iPhone and now Watch. I’m fully in the Apple ecosystem now… so feel free to ridicule me however you want.

That wraps up the Brief for the day. I’ll be back Wednesday probably covering the Trump presser and any other news that happens. Thursday night into early Friday morning I will be watching the Nintendo press conference as they unveil details on their new console, the Switch. I’ll have something written up on Brashgames.com after the event covering the event in detail and will probably post more personal feelings about all of it here some time later that night or Friday.

Thanks for taking the time to read today’s blog, let me know what you like or didn’t like. Also, let me know what you want to see talked about!

 

Finny’s (Not so) Brief 1/6/17–A book deal, a TV deal and a big deal.

These posts take a lot of time, much longer than I thought they would. I’ve quickly learned that if I start writing earlier in the day, it makes the writing better and I have more time to focus on each topic. I feel like it really shows in today’s topics. It goes some places. It is also my longest post since I started doing this.. so buckle up!

Take away a man’s voice and you make his words matter even more

Mark Twain made a living off of controversy. The more his novel were disputed, the more they sold. His books ended up being American classics. The controversy kept those books in the national eye, even to this day. The more the books are disputed and banned, the more people want to read them. Now, before I get into this first story I need to make perfectly clear that I am not equating Mark Twain and this person that I am about to talk about.

You’ve probably heard of Milo Yiannopoulos.

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Milo is currently employed by Breitbart.com and made his fame by being a notorious internet troll. In fact, he is one of only a couple people who have been banned from Twitter due to his actions after the Leslie Jones incident. Although Milo’s direct connection to the attacks against Jones can be disputed due to the sheer number of tweet that Jones received in a short amount of time, it is hard to argue that Milo used Twitter to personally attack others or to put it simply, cyberbully. Many claim that he instigated his Twitter followers to attack Jones, which may have prompted the ban.

Many have dubbed Milo the poster-boy of the alt-right movement. He has taken firm stances against immigration, feminism, political correctness and pretty much anything that challenges tradition western thought. Needless to say, there are many out there who don’t really like this guy.

Well… Milo got himself a book deal.

Simon and Schuster signed Milo to a $250,000 book deal that, as you would guess, riled a few feathers. Many, including Leslie Jones, took to Twitter and other mediums to rip Simon and Schuster for signing the controversial figure to a book deal. Simon and Schuster defended their deal in a statement:

“At Simon & Schuster we have always published books by a wide range of authors with greatly varying, and frequently controversial opinions, and appealing to many different audiences of readers. While we are cognizant that many may disagree vehemently with the books we publish we note that the opinions expressed therein belong to our authors, and do not reflect either a corporate viewpoint or the views of our employees.”

Leslie Jones responded with this tweet:

Here’s the thing about all of this: it just brings more attention to the book and inevitably will sell more books because of it. It’s the Mark Twain effect (again, not equating the two.) You may disagree with the author (and possibly for good reason) but it fails to do anything about the problem. In fact, you make his words matter that much more, especially for a troll such as Milo. The more negative attention he gets, especially from Hollywood and media outlets, the more notoriety he gets from his following. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t put some of those negative quote in his book in some way. That’s the way the guy works… and it’s a pretty good business model if we are being honest. If you are Simon and Schuster, how do you not cash in on that?

Also, do not pretend like ‘the left’ are the only people who are boycotting stuff like this. Remember the very vocal group of people on social media who wanted to boycott Rogue One because of it’s ‘anti-Trump, pro-feminist’ agenda? The problem goes both ways.

Drawing some lines…

Writing about this made me think of another topic, a topic that needs to be addressed in 2017 if Twitter wants to survive long-term. Twitter needs to establish a good set of rules to combat cyberbullying, death threats and terrorism. I personally see, on a daily basis, numerous tweets that call for the death of certain people. Terrorists have also used the medium to help spread their hate. Cyberbullying… well… I don’t think I need to tell you how widespread that is.

Twitter is a very powerful tool. I use Twitter every day to help stay on top of breaking news, see what the PEOTUS is tweeting next and what various talking heads are arguing about. It’s great for stuff like that. However, I know that people use Twitter differently. Unfortunately, it is not all good. Jack Dorsey and his team at Twitter need to address the concerns of those who face abuse on a daily basis. Draw some lines as to what you can and cannot say on Twitter. Remember, Twitter is its own company, it can ban users for whatever reason it wants… freedom of speech rules do not really apply. It can remain an open forum but it can restrict whatever it wants to restrict.

Twitter can continue to grow and become an even more powerful tool but the lack of security tools are really holding it back. I really want a reason to delete my Facebook account but I am not quite there yet.

Ok, that ends that little rant.

Kelly on a new journey and Fox News at a crossroads

2017 is a year of new beginnings for a lot of people. It is for me and maybe you, the person reading this. It is also a new beginning for many faces that had quite the 2016. This doesn’t ring true any truer for anyone more than Megyn Kelly.

Megyn Kelly quickly jumped (more) into the mainstream after the first Republican Primary debate where she asked this question:

After this Trump went on the offensive saying that Kelly had “blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her… wherever.” An allusion most said was to her menstrual cycle.

Then came the accusations against Roger Ailes, the former head honcho at Fox News. Ailes was accused by multiple women at Fox News, including Kelly, of sexual harassment.

Then it seemed like Kelly was being attacked by the male commentators at Fox News including Sean Hannity and Bill O’ Reilly. All of this led to one obvious conclusion: Megyn Kelly was probably not going to stay at Fox News much longer.

Well, she isn’t.

Megyn Kelly will now be moving to NBC News where she will host a Sunday night News magazine (much like 60 Minutes), a daytime news show and a key role in breaking news events. This is a big investment in a field that seems to be downsizing and going more web based. NBC is putting a lot on the line for this deal.

The most interesting part of this deal, at least for me, is the Sunday night news magazine. If this leads into Sunday Night Football, Kelly has a huge opportunity here. Sunday Night Football (which is only on 5 months of the year) is a ratings superstar during football season. NBC would be wise to cash in on that with its new news program leading into it.

Kelly has turned a lot of negatives and head-butting in 2016 in a new opportunity in 2017. It will be interesting to see how she handles all of this when she takes over at NBC this summer when her Fox News contract is up. Here is her signing off her last “Kelly File” on Tuesday Night:

She handled the situation with a lot of class and I have a newfound respect for her as a journalist. Consider me a fan of Megyn Kelly.

So where does Fox News go from here? Well, it named Tucker Carlson, who took over for Greta van Susteren when she left last year (and is now at MSNBC of all places.) Does Fox News officially become the megaphone for Donald Trump in 2017? It was leaning that way during the general election season. Sean Hannity had Trump on on almost a nightly basis (for what he called ‘exclusive’ interviews) and Trump also got preferential treatment on the network. Fox News is truly at a crossroads as a network. What kind of network does it want to be? I’m not saying become more “fair and balanced” because well… you know that won’t happen. I’m talking about challenging the soon-to-be-President and not getting on their knees over everything he does or doesn’t do. It’ll be one of the big media stories to watch in 2017.

Quick tidbit: Donald Trump will hold his first press conference in almost 170 days next Wednesday. Hillary Clinton, depending on what source you read, went roughly 244 days without a presser.

That ends today’s brief (a name of which I am still looking for.) I had a lot more that I wanted to talk about… including my review of the Apple Watch but this post went on longer than I thought it would.. which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I’ll have that review up some time this weekend as a little bonus post. Until then, enjoy the weekend, folks! Keep in touch with me on Twitter @ryanfinfrock. Tell me what you like and don’t like about these posts. What do you want to see? let me know!

Also, I have a new game review up on Brashgames.com. I reviewed Nitroplus Blasterz: Heroines Infinite Duel which is just as anime as the title suggests. Give it a read! I’m not a fan of anime… mainly because I think it’s bizarre. So I was the perfect guy to review this game!

Finny’s *Ok, it hasn’t been daily* brief 1/2/17– Can we really hit the reset button?

Welcome to 2017! The year where everyone will start fresh after the dumpster fire that was known as 2016. Nothing that happened in the past will affect you in 2017… because that’s how this works. 2017 is the year we all hit the reset button and pretend like nothing bad happened or will ever happen again.

Except Donald Trump (depending on your viewpoint), celebrity deaths, the ever-declining trust in the media, fake news, social media BS… and whatever else you may have hated in 2016.

Could we really just hit a reset button when the clock struck midnight on January 1st? I get that people use it as a way to clean their slate of all the crap that may have happened over the year and, in a way, start fresh but bad things are still going to happen. In fact, hitting reset is probably the last thing we should do after a year like 2016. As we should every year, we should learn and grow from what happened in the past year and use it to make us better people. That’s how real change happens in this country. You cannot pretend as if Trump never won the election; you need to take the opportunity to listen to the other side of the issues and find common ground. Our country is as divided as ever, it is important to hold 2016 sacred. Also, celebrities are still going to die it is just a fact of life.

Trust in media is at an all-time low and 2017 will be a very important year for journalists. In a time where fact-checking seems to have taken a back seat, how will journalism rise to the task? I’m not going to pretend like I have the answers. I don’t. However, in the ‘post-truth’ world we live in, how do we get the truth out in an effective way? That’s one thing I will definitely keep an eye on in 2017. 2016 was definitely a real crappy year for facts… I think everyone can agree on that. I will be keep a close eye on it here on CFDD.

Also, hopefully that absolute crap that I see on Facebook on a daily basis will cease to exist in 2017… a guy can dream.. right?

Yes, it will forever be known as a crappy year. Let’s turn the crap into something that doesn’t stink as much.

That’s my little diatribe on the year ahead: staying positive. We all need to stay positive. I know I do.

2016 was a very weird year for me. Stress was at an all-time high, health was at an all-time low at times and it seemed like nothing rolled my way and I think it had a great impact on those around me as well. Toward the end of the year, I started changing my mentality about a lot of things and it has had a profound impact on how I live my life. Writing has also helped me out drastically. 2017 is the year I build on those gains and become a better individual.

Cheap Five Dollar Dress will continue with posts throughout each week. Yeah, I know it started as a “hey, I’m going to do a new post every day” kind of thing. I really thought that I had the time and mental toughness to get that done. Turns out it takes more time to churns these out than I thought. Between research, reading and writing, each post ends up taking a good 2-3 hours to get published. That’s a lot of time for someone with a schedule like mine. So the plan is to have 3 posts per week (hopefully on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule.)

I love writing in the style that I do here on my blog because… well… I can write the way I want. Remember the days of MLA and formatting and paragraph structure? That stuff was BS when you learned it in school because you hardly (if ever) use it in real life. Yes, there are guidelines when you write for certain things to make sure you stuff doesn’t suck… but when was the last time you used MLA for anything?? I hope to continue writing on here for a very long time. I don’t really care about how many people come and read every day. This is really just something for me to have fun with and do what I want to do.

Looking ahead to this week, I’ll start my normal thing on Wednesday and on Friday I may write about my experience with my new Apple Watch. We’ll see how that turns out. If I don’t like how that is looking, I’ll definitely have something else lined up.

Here’s to a 2017 that we will not soon forget. I hope you set off to attain your personal goals for the year. I know I will. Make 2017 YOUR year where you make it happen.