Archive for the ‘You Tube’ Category

If you’re in the U.S. and don’t have a passport, you should get one and here’s why   Leave a comment

Image result for U.S. Passport

 

…Fair warning: This does have to do with politics.

A recent straw poll done revealed less than half of Americans have a Passport. I myself am one of those who don’t have an active Passport but I plan to change that as soon as I can. For the first time, the United Nations issued a travel advisory earlier this year for people to avoid certain parts of the U.S. due to politics mostly.

I won’t mince words: The political climate in Boston is volatile. It is simply because to many, “things aren’t that bad” or ” things don’t have to be” as far as they care. By “doesn’t have to be” they mean “Just shut up, stop whining, keep your head down and follow the rules. You have no idea how lucky you are to live in The greatest country in the world”.

I say this because ever since last year’s election, the biggots and racists who hid in the shadows have come out in force. They’re not just saying “Go back to Africa/Mexico!” to Blacks and Hispanics. They’re now saying “If you don’t like it here, go somewhere else!” to other Whites. Madness, I know.

Which brings me to this video I recorded yesterday:

…It really is something else.

The funny thing about the whole “Go back to Africa!” thing: They keep saying it to blacks WHO WERE BORN IN THE U.S. LOL. So, yeah. Of course, the comment is racially intended. There are many Black Americans who don’t even know most of Africa isn’t as “backwater” as they might think it is and definitely not with all the American money being poured into it over the last 30 years alone.

Anywho my point is it might not be such a bad idea to at least open yourself to the idea of living abroad. You can live outside the U.S. and retain your citizenship. There are lots of countries in which you can have a fairly smooth transition. Obviously some planning would still be necessary. This is something I have been thinking about since 2009 personally believe it or not.

If I were to pick a country to live in either short-term or long-term–or even permanently–here’s my Top 5:

 

  1. The Philippines: A former U.S. Territory, English is one of the official languages. The country has alot of untapped potential for anyone willing to invest in it. This is my top choice simply because I would be able to make a new life for myself here and not think about what I leave behind in the U.S.
  2. Liberia: I have recently started talking to someone currently living in Liberia. Based on what I am hearing, there is ALOT of promise and of reasons to invest in this country’s future. It could become a much-needed powerhouse in the region in a few years.
  3. Canada: Goes without saying I technically don’t need a passport to go here. Toronto is 500 miles from Boston. There is already a mass migration of Americans crossing into Canada, after all. The political climate is certainly more stable than the U.S.
  4. Japan: Ah, the Anime Capital of the World. Probably not live permanently but I definitely would love to spend some time here. If not mainland Japan then one of islands far to the south.
  5. American Samoa: It has the same status as Puerto Rico but is in the Pacific Ocean. There wouldn’t be a language barrier either.

…Those are it. All of them are democratic countries or territories as well.

The way I see it, there are too many Americans who are ignorant of what is going on outside the U.S. They simply go by what they see on the evening news and assume that’s it. My point is there’s no harm in traveling. I certainly plan to once I am able to afford it. LOL.

On a more serious note, if you wait until things are dangerous for  you to try to travel then you waited too long.

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Eminem FLAYS Donald Trump in 5-minute Freestyle   Leave a comment

Here is the video so many are talking about:

And here are my thoughts on it:

…You can be sure this is FAR from over. LOL.

The video was done last week but its release was delayed so it could be edited for airing during the BET Awards the other day.

…Know what I just realized? Aside from the typical internet trolls and usual Yes-Men, no one is bashing Eminem for this. I mean NO ONE. That should tell you something.

Here’s the truth about Internet “Privacy”: There is no such thing   Leave a comment

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Many of you have probably heard this saying somewhere before. The fact of the matter is it’s 100% true. It’s that simple. Once something is put on the internet, it’s no longer private. Even stuff put on Google Drive, Box.net One Drive and other online storage websites. The internet’s only 20 years old but one thing it’s certainly done well is made the world a much smaller place. I don’t just mean in regards to georgraphy and communications but I also mean in regards to Social Media.

Having said that:

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I always find it hypocritical and IRONIC so many people profess their desire to keep the government out of their private lives yet have no problem violating their own right to privacy on social media. That is the irony of using Social Media: You forfeit your right to privacy the moment you start using Social Media. This is because by design, social media is a platform for you to share yourself to the world.

While it is true Facebook has made efforts in recent years to give users more control over who can see or look up what about them, those efforts mean NOTHING if the account holder A. Doesn’t know about them and B. Doesn’t make use of them. I’ll use a recent privacy breach that happened to me with my Facebook account.This past Sunday, a family member saw something on my Facebook profile they didn’t like and gave my grief over it almost immediately. It was info regarding my employment situation I thought had been set to private. While I didn’t really care for the reaction to what was shared, I DID care about the context the info was in and who could see it.

I immediately went into my FB Privacy Settings and set all my past, present and future posts to only be viewable by my Friends list contacts. I also set my employment history and other stuff to private. I even took things a step further and set it to make it much harder for anyone not on my friends list to look up my FB Page via Facebook OR a Search Engine. I had actually removed my last name from all of my social media accounts two years ago, replacing them with my pen name Aurabolt. I started doing the same with all but one of my email accounts as well. The one email account that has my actual last name in the letterhead is for my non-social media purposes.

Let me hit you with some statistics:

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…So, yeah.

Once you’ve created a digital footprint and more specifically a social media presence, it’s there forever. There actually ARE tech companies that specialize in helping you shrink and privitize your online presnece but more often than not, their services are sought out AFTER either an account is hacked or an identity is stolen. The easiest way to prevent either of these outcomes is to simply not use social media and severely limit your internet presence as much as possible.

Those of you reading this with social media accounts should take the time to look into the sites’ privacy options if they have any. You should also limit who can see what you post be it someone on your friends list or someone who isn’t but has a social media account. At the very least, NONE of the following should be readily visible to ANYONE who views your account on social media or any other website for that matter:

 

  • Full Name: Use a nickname based on your name if you want like I do.
  • Date of Birth: Set it to private
  • Employment Status and History: No one’s business, set it to private.
  • Education Status and History: Same as above
  • Home or Work Address: Goes without saying.
  • Home or Cellphone Number: Not unless you want scammers calling you.
  • Your email address: Privately give it to whoever you want but it should NOT be visible.
  • Clear Profile Pic: Not unless you want someone to make a fake ID with your face.

–I’ll pause there and say this is all anyone needs to steal your identity or set up fraudulent accounts in your name. Yes, even finding our your social security number won’t be very hard with all this info. If you allow ANYONE on your friends list to see any of this info, MAKE SURE they’re all people you trust 100%. There are groups the younger generation are in whose only purpose is building friends lists. The major problem with these groups is  they’re sandboxes for identity thieves, scammers and con artists. More on this in a bit.

All that said, you can also just set up a Social Media account with NONE of your personal information. More and more folks have been doing this with Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Kik in particular as an extra layer of protection: They have their actual FB account with people they personally known or trust and then they have a second account just for messing around. It’s become more and more important for folks to aggressively control how much of themselves is shared on social networks.

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…That last one is a book and a very good read. Check it out sometime.

The world’s increased dependency on the internet is cause for concern for reasons other than the obvious loss of privacy. I’ll get to those other reasons in spearate posts. Anyway, the Internet Privacy Rights Movement (IPRM for short) says it champions an “unregulated internet” where all who use it “should be free of government surveilance”. Their arguement is since the internet is used by the whole world, no one country should have the power to regulate the people, companies and otherwise that use it 24/7/365.

…This is the most dangerous ideology of the Digital Age yet.

This campaign is also a front for its TRUE objective: providing a cover for those who SHOULD be watched by the government to make themselves invisible online AND giving cyber criminals the tools they need to stay ahead of law enforcement. The IPRM has already made it clear: They are against government surveilence of ANY kind under ANY circumstances. Their arguement is “the government has no business looking at my browsing history”.

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I’ll put it this way: I support the online group collectively known as Anonymous, what they do and what they stand for. I have no problem admitting they are the one good thing that came out of the Snowden Leaks. They do what the governments of the world are unable and unwilling to do: True Digital Social Justice. Wall St., ISIS and many governments fear them. It goes without saying their reputation preceeds them. They consider themselves everyone and no one. They are chaos incarnate. They cannot be contained. They cannot be stopped.

For every Anonymous member unmasked, arrested or killed, 10 more move in to replace them somewhere in the world. I’ve talked about Anonymous in previous blog posts before but I think this is the first time I’ve outright saud I support what they stand for. They are aligned to no one and no thing, a force that cannot be bought or controlled. They simply do what they please.

That said, I I draw a hard distinction between Anonymous and the IPRM: Anonymous are digital ghosts because of what they do. the IPRM simply doesn’t want “anyone” to know what they’re doing. I actually don’t have a problem if it was just that. What I do have a problem with is their calls for a a completely unregulated and unmonitored internet. Since I’m going to talk about Free Speech and the internet in a separate post, I’ll leave it at that.

Back to my original train of thought:

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If you want to use the internet, like it or not YOU willingly and easily give up the right to privacy and free speech. I’ll speak more to the second point in a separate blog but here’s something to think about. Who DO all of the above websites and thousands of other commonly used websites and apps want at least your full name and email address? “It’s just to confirm it’s really a person making the account and not a macro.”, right? That’s what your answer will be if you know that much about creating accounts on websites.

The truth is, THAT is the price you pay for the free use of their “free” services. You pay with your right to privacy. See, all these websites have done something I will concede the IPRM have long been aware of: User Information is the currency of advertisers. Over the last year You Tube, Facebook and Twitter users will have noticed ads and trending articles matching topics they’ve recently browsed online appearing much more frequently. If you were browsing GameFAQS or Gamestop, you’ll see news on upcoming video games. If you were ordering pizza from the Dominos Pizza website, you’ll see comfort food Page suggessions. If were looking at my Anime Blog, you will see channel suggestions for anime fans. I assure you, that is no exaggeration.

There has also been a renewed effort by advertiserd to demonize people who use ad-blocking tools. How and why? Simple: Under the guise of giving you “control” of what ads you see. “Please disable your ad blocking ad-ons to support our website”. The funny thing websites don’t want you to know about that is they only get a fraction of the profits from Ads. I used to run a website for 5 straight years. I’d know.

…In closing, the same rules online apply in the real world. Truse NO ONE with your personal information. The more they insist “Your personal information will not be shared”, the more likely it actually is. Remember: That’s money to them.

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The latest Viral Dance Craze has divided the Internet   Leave a comment

I’m of course referring to The Nae Nae:

This one totally went over my head when I first heard about it in February. In fact, I had to ask my Facebook contacts about it the other day. Buzzfeed compiled everything you might wanna know here.

Then NECN featured this local principal doing the Nae Nae on the first day of school:

That said, I just emailed the principal of the Holmes School (where I will be working this school year) and asked her if she would be interested in doing it on Tuesday. If she agrees, I will post the video. Even if she declines, I plan to do it myself.

Getting back to the main topic, the song has divided the internet. On one side, you have those who love the song for the dance. On the other side, you have those who hate the song’s repetativeness, simplicity and lack of any substance despite being categorized as “Hip Hop”. That said, it definitely ISN’T music and was never meant to be “enjoyed” alone: All the song does is tell you what to do and nothing more. I rarely say this publicly but those who hate the song are haters or jealous haters who are just mad they never thought of comingup with the cash grab first. LOL.

Speaking of interactive songs, there was another song that came out about 15 years back that is still considered today one of, if not the greatest dance song ever thought of:

Yep, DJ Casper’s Cha Cha Slide. This song’s selling point, like Watch Me Whip/Nae Nae is literally nothing but telling you what to do yet it hasn’t received any of the hate the newer song has. Makes no sense if you ask me.

At present, Watch Me Whip/Nae Nae has clocked in nearly 196 Million hites on You Tube. If you think that’s alot, keep in mind the You Tube King Gangnam Style by Psy has 2,406,842,219 hits (and still counting!), a feat highly unlikely to be topped anytime soon. The question to ask is “Is this You Tube video something I will want to watch every day several times a day?” When you keep that in mind, the answer is obvious =D

I finally figured out why Frozen feels nostalgic when I watch it   Leave a comment

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…And the funny thing is I realized it when I bought the soundtrack from a non-Disney classc, An American Tail. For those born after 1995, you probably have no memory of what I like to call the final days of children’s movie blockbusters. In plain English: Hugely popular movies geared towards younger audiences that became smash hits by fans of all ages.

I consider myself lucky to have grown up when movies like Aladdin, Home Alone, Hook and The Lion King premiered. For TOO LONG, there hasn’t really been a kid-centric movie since the late 90s that would easily have folks talking about it 20 years later. Then Frozen came on to the scene two years ago.

Let’s take a look at the hit song, Let It Go:

Not ashamed to say I bought two copies of Frozen’s soundtrack and have listened to this song over 400 times. Now, you millenials are new to the runaway hit phenomenon that is this song. It also asks the question of which is more popular: The song or the movie?

Disney did this almost every year during the 1990s starting with 1991’s The Little Mermaid. Here’s the hit song from that movie that I know parents are not ashamed to sing acapella in the family car/minivan, Under The Sea:

Samuel E. Wright voiced Sebastian, Triton’s majordomo and royal composer. Wright himself is an experienced musician. After the movie’s release, he recorded some  kids’ sing-alongs. Here’s one of them:

 

…He’s got range to say the least! According to an interview with him, Disney approached him to offer him the role. He’s still in the business though obviously, the royalties from his work with Disney ALONE will ensure he’s set for life!

Moving on to Aladdin next. I’ll skip over Beauty & The Beast though the track Gaston (who, by the way is the movie’s bad guy BECAUSE he’s awesome in every way) has been enjoying renewed popularity due to cosplayers. That movie’s hit song Beauty & The Beast, like Aladdin’s hit song A Whole New World has two versions: The movie version and a single post-production version. Here’s the movie version:

We’ll look at three more songs before we stop. I’ll pause for a moment to remind folks the legendary Robin Williams had been tapped for this movie, contributing my personal favorite Prince Ali as well as the smash hit Never Had a Friend Like Me to the film. Disney established its dominance with this film. It was a powerhouse as a movie maker.

Then 1995’s The Lion King changed the game: Three years after its release, Disney was forced to change the movie’s rating from G to PG. The reason: Mufasa’s death scene and the aftermath involving Simba and Scar. That was pretty dark for Disney as they’d never done anything like that up until this movie. The other reason they changed the rating were the high-profile school shootings in America at the time (Columbine happened in 1997). The movie has a number of memorable songs but it’s the opening number that draws you in:

The Lion King was the highest-selling film in studio history until Frozen was released. It nuked all expectations when it was released. The Broadway Adaptation, which launched in 2005 for the movie’s 10-year anneversary has toured all over the world. Here’s the opening number:

Before I forget, the moment where Rafiki raises Simba atop Pride Rock is an homage to Alex Haley’s Roots. Here is the famous scene:

Oh and yes a woman is cast as Rafiki in the Broadway version. No biggie. Johnathan Taylor Thomas voiced young Simba while the legendary James Earl Jones (aka Darth Vader) voiced Mufasa. Moving on, we’re looking at another big budget film that had its teaser included in the original VHS release of The Lion King: Pocahontas.

Like The Lion King before it, Disney did its homework to be as accurate and respectful as possible to the descendants of the Native American tribe featured in the movie. I mean in terms of how they were depicted in the film and its sequel. In the movie’s teasier, Disney did something it hasn’t done since and gave audiences the movie’s lead song almost a year ahead of the movie’s theatrical release, Colors of the Wind:

…By the way, I didn’t miss an interesting message portrayed in the movie: The arrival of the Englishmen and Jamestown’s settlement heralded the beginning of the end of Native American life as they knew it. I don’t think this underlying message was intentionally put in but that message was pretty obvious. It’s more overtly done in James Cameron’s Avatar. The call to protect the unspoiled parts of our world is raised as well. America looked very different from how it does now 100 years ago.

Anyway, I say it’s about time the Disney and knew and loved as a kid made a comeback. The generation before mine has fond memories of The Sound of Music. The current generation now has Frozen. It was a movie that came in at just the right time. The musical numbers carried the movies. Thanks to Frozen, it looks like Disney is going back to its roots ^_^

 

Saved by the Bell cast reunite on The Tonight Show!   Leave a comment

First, a group photo:

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…And how they look now:

…Yes, those are the original actors 20 years later =O

In case you’re wondering, Tiffani Thiessen (Kelly) actually is pregnant. They simply wrote her pregnancy into the sketch. Noticably absent from the sketch–as well as recent reunions–are Dustin Diamond (Screech) and Lark Voorhies (Lisa).

Lark moved on since her time on Saved by the Bell (1989-1993) according to her IMDB page. She’s still in business but does alot of off-screen work now. It’s likely her position as head of her own production company kept her from being able to make it with the rest of her former colleagues. I don’t see it as a snub personally. That said, disregard the crap being spewed about her on the You Tube video’s comments. While she is the only member of the cast who is barely recognizable (Warning: The IMDB picture of her is actually her now. Disregard the one floating around claiming to be of her. She has said it isn’t her and sued the magazine that claimed it was her.), I seriously doubt that’s why she didn’t appear in the sketch as she did appear in reunion specials with the others (excluding Dustin Diamond, see below). After all Jimmy Fallon technically wasn’t on the show yet he appeared anyway!

Dustin’s absence is ironic for a number of reasons. First, he’s sitting in jail facing attempted murder charges. Second, he cut all ties with the cast right after the series ended. Third–prior to his recent arrest–he’s been broke for some time. He actually wrote a controversial autobiography about his experience on Saved by the Bell against the advice of basically everyone. In reference to Dustin, his former co-stars opened up in interviews and reunion specials and said he was very distant with all of them outside filming. He was “Screech on screen and off”. According to his book, Dustin admitted he didn’t make friends with his co-stars because of the age  difference (he was 12 in 1989 and the others were 15) at first but also allegedly because he “was left out”, whatever that means. In short he threw his co-stars under the bus in his book, going so far as to say everyone except him was in a relationship with someone else at one time or another (what a surprise). Of course, his co-stars vehemently deny his claims. Actually, no proof backing up his claims has ever been found so it’s basically his biased word against 5 (or more) other people. What little credability Dustin had before the book was swept away after its release.

…Now he’s in a place where he can do no harm to anyone including himself. It really is a shame how his life turned out given for almost a decade, as Screech he brought joy to a whole generation of kids and teenagers. It’s sad to hear him say the experience ruined his life in one breath and trash talk his co-stars in the next.

 On a more upbeat note, the sketch renewed hope by longtime fans there might be a new series in the works with members of the original cast or a reboot with a new cast. Girl Meets World (sequel to the 90s sitcom Boy Meets World) showed it’s definitely possible to revive an old series 10+ years after it ended. A new Full House was confirmed last year so…yeah. Anything’s possible!

Speaking of Michael Jackson…   Leave a comment

What you are about to see is Michael Jackson personified in 17-year old Brett W. Nichols. The video speaks for itself:

The kid did his homework. By the way, he won the Talent Show no surprise.

Here’s footage of MJ doing Billie Jean in Bucharest in 1992 for comparison:

Reportedly the kid’s been studying Michael Jackson’s dance moves for 10 years. He is also a self-styled perfectionist when it comes to the choreography just like the man who inspired him to do this. In an interview he did after the video went viral, he said there were still things he needed to work on. Even sweeter: He’ll be back next year =O

When I first got wind of the video this morning, the video had 1.5 Million hits. 12 hours later, the video has over 5.4 million hits on You Tube!

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