Tag Archives: Money

Turn off, tune out: how the media creates the problems their pharmaceutical commercials claim they can cure, just ask your doctor


I had’t thought about it much until my phone broke. Bullshit black-screen of death… I had no phone, I had nothing… Or so I thought, well, most would think this. I might have been wrong. It was great. And getting my phone back a week or so ago makes me want that no-phone situation back again.

The reason for that is the news, the constant reaching in my pocket to find my screen. Inevitably, now, I will be on my phone, pull something up, google search something and see hatred disguised as necessary, as justice. I will scan a newspaper website and I will find something like hate-ads that ask me to find these people and hate them too, ironically for hating.

The concept of turn off, tune out–or whatever catchphrase it was is nothing new. (I am sure I want to get away like everyone else. They could actually fake me in videos now.) In fact, it’s probably very old. It doesn’t matter. But try it. Shut the phone off. Just the phone. Watch a movie and take a walk. Maybe shut the television off too.

We could scroll Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, Instagram for hours but we still find ourselves in the same place: sitting between up and down, looking for what’s next, constantly moving towards the end–if that is even possible. I don’t know. I think of how stupid it must feel to craft a post that would appease everyone that is in my friend group and those who are in my friend group who I don’t give a shit about… I wonder… Does this jive with my ideology? Or is it fake?

And the conclusion hit me today. I walked into a dark office in the afternoon and ran into someone who couldn’t believe the world news and how everything was internal struggle and meltdown, go figure. It was too much. The whole world was ending certainly.

Ah… but not here I thought. The world in this quiet dark office was very pleasant, nothing to bother anyone. Even the lights weren’t offensive and people weren’t playing music outside. It was fine. I told my friend I laughed at the nightly news; every new day was a new catastrophic drama-fest meltdown stoked by advertisements and distractionism. Something unreal.

And I calmed. Maybe I should add turn off the local news to the list. They are sponsored by something as well. There are hosts that will never get fired because of what they say they are, honest. There are stories that will never get covered because of what others say they are, different. And we can agree. Still, there is that button you can touch. Turn it off and take a much needed breath of air and just think for once.

Fake new about fake news found to be fake news about fake news because of fake news and fake news

FakeNewsTypewriter-840x460

the words “Fake news” printed on a fake typewriter graphic Adweek

In a shocking revelation yesterday an unnamed mainstream media source found that a story about fake news found to be fake news was fake news because of fake news and no one seemed to care.

Unbelievably the mainstream media source did nothing about the compromise of information, not going back on their sponsors promise, not pulling the fake news story.

The ads were in place, the story had to fill the page… one unidentified marketing sales manager at the publication explained, These papers are full of advertisements, they are paid for, they must be seen by a specific demographic…

This discovery of fake news is only one in a veritable rash of papers, the mainstream media seem to be just printing fake news for news when there is no real news simply to carry marketing spots, nothing objective to break for readers to think on.

Such an uncovering has shocked the news industry–and this problem goes back decades–as it limits trust and shows that stories are less important than underwriters and advertiser money. The readers suffer, and we can blame the decline on fake news…

We can only hope at point the news media goes back to what made them important, objective reporting, putting advertisements and sales in the background.  However, in a world where shock sells we can expect to see more and more fake news.

Minnesota Legislature: allow individuals to sell their private information rather than the internet service providers they employ

Why does the Minnesota legislative think that it is acceptable to allow large corporation service providers to use individual citizen’s private information without a say, all while turning a profit? Why, when they could allow me as an individual to make money off of the product that is my own unique private information? I think I could best provide my information to the highest bid.

The idea of giving internet service providers, who charge customers for service, the right to the customer’s private information, as a product, and the right to sell it to grain profits, makes no sense. Why is the individual cut out of the loop in terms of selling a product they create. Our information has value, it is a unique commodity sold to companies looking to attract your unique demographic without your say or your benefit. That information is out product.

Oddly enough, you can’t sell a unique product you create because the internet service provider already claims this exclusive right. I grow the tomatoes, I just can eat the tomatoes. Every thoughtful search, every poignant post, every site you visit is specifically you, and used by corporations to specifically target you in order to buy their products. Again, oddly enough, internet service providers know this and make gains off of this information, your information.

Further, as adjunct to my initial idea, I posit questions: why does the Minnesota legislature stand with corporations in ways that don’t allow private individuals to protect, create, gain, and attain a sense of ownership of their information in whatever capacity they choose. Why is there no safeguard for this information? And why do large corporations, with a hold on the market get the upperhand?

We all have a true value, data unique to us, and have a vested and integral interest in our personal private matters, partialities, and quirks, it is our personal commodity alone, and allowed to be sold unbeknownst to those it is linked to for financial motivations. We all have stake in this matter, and internet service providers understand the value monetarily.

Not only is an individual citizen’s personal privacy, in relation to data and information and the ability to possess ownership of that data and information, important in ways that protect and individual from the maladies of corporate and marketing entities, but it is important in ways that could create income for those not making income on their unique product.

With information there is money to be made, but who by? Now is the time to empower the people and give them the capital they are owed for the commodity that they make, create, and provide, which is their–the product that is stolen and sold by massive corporations who hold a potential monopoly on the internet industry. Now is the time for the Minnesota legislature to stand up for individuals citizens over lobbyists and profits by capitalistic agencies.

Online Petitions (as Pennies in a Wishing Well)

“Everything that is beautiful and noble is a product of reason and calculation.” -Charles Baudelaire

St Paul, MN- In my opinion, petitioning everything we find disagreeable on the internet, that takes place in the United States of America, is like posting a new status on Facebook, or any other social media platform, it becomes useless.  To me, this action does very little, because those forums are monitored and controlled, like throwing a penny into a wishing well–it takes the intention out of the actor’s perception, it takes the accountability out of the petitioner’s (wisher’s) hands and puts the issue in a free fall of liquidity, placing the issue on something larger and misunderstood.  I guess I miss the reason, intention, and calculation of speaking to deaf ears.

Petitioning so visibly against matters on social media creates the same sort of sentiment that one sees when one throws a penny into a wishing well. The shiny object, the cent, goes away from our observation and into certain darkness.  The viewer of this spectacle finds that the actor in this setting has hope, has promise, has a wish with meaning. The penny falls and that is that. There is that nugget of hope left at the bottom of a wishing well. Accordingly, the petition is sent out, put forth, and left on the interwebs away from those with the ability to make change, and there it sits.  (I will attest that these petitions seem a spectacle for the mainstream media to make pennies off of as well, generating a story, while stoking a teasing interest.)

In relation to this metaphor, I aver we do something different for change, instead of a spectacle for others, we create a spectacle for ourselves.  Instead of casting a penny away, as an idea, or as a concern for a concept by writing or signing a petition, that may or may not get seen by eyes with authority and the ability to create change, one must, perhaps, write legislature, or run for office themselves; make the change they desire by becoming this change. Create the change you want by following your wishes or petitions to the top, to the office you aspire to. So often ideas become clouded by group-think and the initial principal becomes diluted, creating very little change.  With an individual seeing this principal through to fruition, those outside forces may be hampered.

The real matter at hand with petitions and pennies, perhaps, may be the level of accountability the person doing the signing, or throwing, or writing cares to do and be responsible for. We sign things all the time, this act is commonplace autonomous. I sign for coffee, I sign for sandwiches, I sign for others, I sign for packages, and I sign for beer. You do too!  How is this any different in a serious way, signing for something that is entirely important or unimportant to me? (Is changing the system important to you?  And how important?)  I find in order for change it must be a step above that kind of signing, a bit more convoluted, this giving up autonomy and comfort for belief.

Signing a petition on the internet for something you believe wholeheartedly may feel good.  You may feel you have done your part, but what part? Does this signing lack fervor though?  And how much will that well-meant signature do? To make change there must be the same amount of initiative or action or motivation as in the thought that caused it. Putting a status update on social media takes a few clicks, signing your signature is a swipe of the wrist–conditioning at this point–perhaps, neither of these actions are revolutionary (singularly alone). With them, there is only a wish and an idea thrown away, as the penny in the wishing well.  So how important is your status update or your signature for petitioning change in comparison to every other one placed in a universe of texts and signatures?

***

On the video at the top of this essay, and the “Faithless Elector” movement (I didn’t watch it, the thumbnail was nice.  So I used it.) Further, we knew about the electoral college and how it worked many years ago, perhaps it is as old as the American republic.  I will cite, as John C. Dvorak of the No Agenda Podcast pointed out, where some of the inspiration for my piece comes, and I paraphrase–I hope I do justice, change the system, change the law!  Again, I paraphrase, but the gist is there.  Change the way we do things, the system, and change the law.  Hear more from him at No Agenda Podcast.  And if you perceive me wrong, I guess I am witnessing the forest for the trees, I am missing their timber.  Change may take more effort than an online trend, spectacle, or people holding well-made signs.

Think and Save; How to Never Buy Textbooks Again.

Obviously this getting textbooks at the library thing isn’t some sort of secret raved-about genius way to save money on required course texts, but in some ways it is.

Let me express my sheer love for getting textbooks and other resources, digital and print, through the library systems briefly, so you can think about how you might do the same—and save money, save time, and save face.

When I started out as a CLA transfer student at the University of Minnesota, I had no idea how the library worked. I didn’t understand the importance of this resource—I had an idea, but it was vague, and that’s an understatement.

After being a student lead worker at St. Paul campus university libraries for 2 years, I have come to realize and utilize the advantages of the libraries (their branches), and the incentives that their lending service affords.

Perhaps you think: I can’t find a title, I won’t be able to get the required course materials, or I searched and that edition or exact title is not available.

Sure, you did one really impressive search (by your standards)… Well, try again. Remember: If you think you can, I know you will.

Maybe the library search engine you were perusing didn’t have it on the first try, or the first page; however, other catalogs may possess what you wish to attain.

Have your first try here: www.lib.umn.edu

A first try is good if you like not getting useful results, though a first try is a good start to something great…

So, try again.

Are you going to give up after one try and spend your hard-borrowed student loan money on things you don’t really care about/need, or are you going to search for 5 more minutes and find what you want for free?

It’s really all about your level of persistence, your level of creativity, and what you will do to attain what you desire: how bad do you want to be frugal and save? Use that thing inside your head, be like a thoughtful individual.

This year my level of wanting to save and be thrifty was high, so I found all of my books through inter-library loans, or other services provided by the library, and it took less than 10 minutes. This process took less time than it takes to send an email, or scroll through Instagram.

Last year my level was not so high. Last year I spent all sorts of what would have been beer or fun money on overpriced books which I did not read, and then at the end of the semester I sold them back at less than half price. I was lazy anyway. But, what a fucking racket. To my utter disdain I regret the decision to buy at the campus bookstore.

Mid-semester I did a quick search and found most of my textbooks here:
http://uborrow.relaisd2d.com/login.html

U Borrow is my favorite resource for any book, always. You can get new books, old books, rare books, from some great universities throughout the United States. The best part is they get delivered to whichever library you choose to pick them up at.

Everyone talks about half.com, or amazon.com, or other places where a student can buy books online and “save”. Sure… How about “save” by not purchasing top-dollar subpar products from places that drastically mark-up their selling price?

In most cases, a specific new edition book is no better than the old edition that you can obtain at a local used bookstore… Same author, same words, different year of printing and edited by different people, wow.

The new edition just has the backing of new people getting paid for rights—each year for a few extra words, for their titles and their names to adorn these improved editions. And this costs you more money, but you want to pay for it, right??? No.

Likewise, these publications and institutions are paying bucks for agency, authority, and placement, big names at pinnacle levels have their materials located in expensive bookstores.

The best, and easiest, marketing they do is by putting their product on your required texts next to your class schedule on the university website, the campus bookstore wouldn’t stock them otherwise—wouldn’t pull an immense profit off of their student body.

Each name of the editor, or publisher, or corporation (and their ideology, and what they sanction) within that book, you pay for. Your teacher, the bookstore, and the school, perhaps makes a commission on these required texts.

Think about it: Do they want you to get the newest edition of Shakespeare because it is of far superior quality, or because certain entities belong to an institution which pays for a mention, for cheap product at increased prices?

Obviate this silly scheme by getting all, or a majority of your materials through the library system. You already pay for it in student fees, and you may have the access you need at your fingertips.

When you buy from the bookstore you are paying for that bookstore’s existence: utilities, workers, facilities; moreover you pay for the interest of your professor and the university, in what they make from these institutions and agencies, from their publications, for their specific interests: profit.

Okay, breathe…

Now say you want to actually own the book, great. Great, you are an outlier on the verge of pariah! So what?

Get it at the library first—give it a try, and if you really enjoy what you’ve read—or you need it for personal use, then buy it.

I personally wouldn’t buy a car without test driving the vehicle first (or having someone else I trust test try it for me). So, why would you buy a textbook without assessing the quality first?

College is no longer affordable, any scholar with an inkling of responsibility will do anything to save money. One of those anythings is avoid the bookstore and utilize a service which is offered with no additional cost. Do it! Save yourself time and money in lines and in overpriced materials.

I’ll be honest, I’m partial to this concept because I work at a library. I love it. I am also partial because I enjoy saving money when necessary/possible. I’m smart.

I knew I needed a change when I bought the latest addition of Moby-Dick (Norton Edition, No. 9) at an incredible price ($23.00 +-), because the teacher expressed how we all needed it.

I thought on that for a moment: how much could they possibly alter or make critical improvements on this American classic? WTF?! Melville was rolling in his grave. I was completely baffled… Just think about that. I paid, and truly I paid.

I will leave you with this, the next time you think you need to get a book at the bookstore, count it out. Scratch that idea… Give it up and try something different, try a new search, give it one more minute on the browser—you can do anything. I believe in you.

Truly, get your books through a public or university library system, they are priceless and don’t carry a heavy price.

…actually, you “have” to…

If I told you you didn’t “have” to do anything,
would you believe me?

Submit your answers in the comment section below.

U of M Money Well Spent: “Complaints against Teague date back to 2012 University of Minnesota and Virginia Commonwealth paid $300,000 to settle earlier claims of gender discrimination. “

Norwood Teague

Norwood Teague

Complaints against Teague date back to 2012 University of Minnesota and Virginia Commonwealth paid $300,000 to settle earlier claims of gender discrimination.

And this is where all my hard-borrowed tuition goes…