Clever student designs killer LEGO résumé for internship
04.02.2014
05:34 am

Topics:
Amusing
Economy

Tags:
LEGO

LEGO résumé
 
Boy, times are tough. I can remember when it was solid advice to “keep your résumé to a single page,” “use a clear, readable font,” “use decent stock paper,” and “don’t lie TOO much.” Judging by the recent résumé crafted by Northwestern University junior Leah Bowman, who stated on imgur a desire to achieve “a fun way to stand out to agencies and get my resume out of the trash can,” I’m really fucking happy that I’m past the youthful age of sending out résumés—because there’s no way I’d be able to compete with what Bowman did.

Bowman not only used the LEGO packaging as an inspiration for the design of her résumé, she also crafted a little LEGO version of herself. If that doesn’t make her stand out, then I don’t know what would—who have a chance against competition like that?
 
LEGO résumé
 
The work I do is all texty in nature, so in all my résumés (both ones I’ve read and ones I’ve written) you can “prove” your worthiness in part by not kommitting any gLaring typos in the résumé—the résumé itself helps support the case you are trying to present as a prospective writer/editor. Notice that Bowman achieved something similar with her LEGO résumé: when she states, “From client presentations to a fresh pot of coffee, Leah tackles every project with excitement and purpose. Her attention to detail and follow-through are assets in any situation,” you KNOW for a fact that she’s not kidding about that.
 
LEGO résumé
 
LEGO résumé
 
Bowman’s résumé has done very well on reddit the last couple days. Naturally, the super shrewd part of all of this is that Bowman is now a minor Internet sensation, so it seems fairly likely that someone she hasn’t even applied to will seek her out!

Why give this kid a mere internship? I think she’s angling for a corner office.
 
via Chicagoist

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
These appallingly low musician royalty checks are both amusing and depressing


 
Being a musician and trying to get paid can be a terrible chore. You can fill a club with drinkers and they’ll still stiff you at the end of the night. Your work—and your draw—will constantly be requested free of charge, as though the magic word “exposure” paid for rehearsal studio rental and gas in the van. Even deep-pocketed concerns will hose you. A band I was in in the ‘90s had a song that managed to grow some stubby little legs thanks to a compilation appearance, and a few years after the fact, a popular cable channel wanted to use it in an animated TV show. Thrilled, I filled out a small mountain of paperwork in 2003, and I’ve still not seen a check. The same song got used by a major clothing company, but not a cent found its way to my pocket for that, either. I have a good idea which of my former bandmates gave away that song for a song, but I’ve left it alone—I was livid about it at the time, but it’s long enough in the past now that there’s no sense in getting worked up about it anymore. I still play in a group that constantly records new original material and tours as often as it can, but if I was in this for money, I’d have been done after that fiasco.

But don’t think for a moment that this sort of heinous chicanery befalls only the obscure strivers who for obvious reasons are more vulnerable to it. Important and influential artists that you’ve heard of and enjoyed get the screws put to them all the time. The way radio royalties work against smaller artists is especially vile, but as radio diminishes in importance and new models emerge, innovative new ways to rob artists emerge alongside them. Right now, Pandora, ASCAP and BMI are in court arguing about exactly how songwriters will get hosed in the future. There are so many things to read online on the subject of how musicians do or don’t get paid it’s practically becoming a genre complete with its own classics, but just as a picture speaks a thousand words, money in the bank speaks more loudly still, and a recent piece in Aux that might startle you offered some pictures of musicians’ money in the bank.

How little does the music industry pay artists? Shockingly little. Spotify, the dominant streaming music source in the U.S., is leaking money. They reportedly dole out 70 per cent of their revenue to royalties, and while that number seems high, consider this: each song stream pays an artist between one-sixth and one-eight of a cent. One source claimed that, on streaming music services, an artist requires nearly 50,000 plays to receive the revenue earned from one album sale. Ouch.

 

 
This check was cut to the influential and respected post-metal band Isis by a company called Music Reports. No specific accounting was offered.
 

 
Lambgoat speculated that this check, also from Music Reports, may have been cut for one month’s worth of streaming royalties for the long running Washington D.C. death metal band Darkest Hour.
 

 
In the ‘80s, Camper Van Beethoven were a HUGE deal in the independent/college music scene. They split into Cracker and Monks of Doom in the ‘90s, with the former becoming very popular indeed. For over a million Pandora plays of one of their hugest hits, “Low,” Cracker got a little under $17.
 

 
OK, anyone wanting to could quibble as to the significance or popularity of Isis, Darkest Hour, or even Cracker, and by all means, that’s what the comments section is there for. But this is Janis Ian. Grammy winning, massively influential folk artist Janis Ian. “Society’s Child,” Between the Lines Janis Ian, hauling down some fat Darkest Hour cash, here.

More hiliarously depressing examples at aux.tv.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Discussion
Capitalism in an eggshell: The San Diego Chicken explains free market economics
02.04.2014
07:59 am

Topics:
Economy
Movies
Sports

Tags:
San Diego Chicken


 
If anyone embodies the rewards capitalism can bestow on eccentric or ridiculous behavior, it might just be Ted Giannoulas, famous to our nation’s sports fans as “The San Diego Chicken.” The Chicken started out as a mascot for the San Diego radio station with the curious call letters of KGB-FM—a student at San Diego State University, Giannoulas landed his first gig as the Chicken when he wore the outfit for a promotion to distribute Easter eggs to children at the San Diego Zoo.

By dint of being unusually enterprising and entertaining (he really is very good), the San Diego Chicken became something like a mascot for sports at large. He was never affiliated with the San Diego Padres or any other San Diego team as such—what relevance would a chicken have for a team named after monks?—but he did appear at 520 consecutive Padres games at one point. In the early 1980s, the Chicken was also a regular on the Johnny Bench-hosted children’s show The Baseball Bunch, which also featured manager Tommy Lasorda as a Merlin-esque character named “The Wizard.”

With all the devil-may-care verve of Ben Stein’s character in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off or any number of middle school film strips, narrator Rex Allen intones in “Chickenomics: A Fowl Approach To Economics” (groan) points out that the Chicken enjoyed “a unique career ... that can only happen in a market economy.” Allen explains that the Chicken shows us five key facets of a market economy: “Private ownership of resources, self interest motives, consumer sovereignty, markets, and competition.” Zzzzzz. Later on: “Now you know why, from millions of chickens, this one humorous bird can be successful in our economy—that is, until it lays an egg! Any chicken can do that!”

I’m telling you, not even the magical Chicken can make this stuff entertaining to high school kids.
 
San Diego Chicken
 
However, the movie’s closing credits are scored to an unforgettable “boc boc” rendition of Glenn Miller’s “In the Mood.” This preposterous and pun-laden educational movie demands to be seen.
 

 
via A/V Geeks

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
The Future of Life on Earth and Capitalism: Are they compatible?
12.23.2013
10:09 am

Topics:
Current Events
Economy
Environment

Tags:
overpopulation


 
Scientist and Canadian broadcaster David Suzuki’s environmental non-profit foundation works to “design a vision of Earth in which humans live within the planet’s productive capacity.” He’s got a very direct and simple way of explaining what that means, particularly in relation to exponential population growth in a 2010 video that’s only just started to be discovered and passed around.

If you understand the concept of how “compound interest” works, and have even slightly more than half a brain in your head, be prepared to have a deflating “Oh shit…” moment when he gets to the not so amusing punchline.

No matter what your political persuasion might be, there is nothing to gloat over here, I can assure you. Nothing at all!
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Wal-Mart’s Walton family are parasites and moral pariahs and should be treated that way


 
The Winchester House, a sprawling Queen Anne Style Victorian mansion in San Jose, CA with no apparent rhyme or reason is a bizarre architectural manifestation of the guilty conscience (if not acute schizophrenia) of Sarah Winchester, widow of gun magnate William Wirt Winchester and one of the richest women in American history.

After the death of her baby daughter, and later her husband, Sarah Winchester came to believe that her family were haunted by the ghosts of people who had died by Winchester rifles, and that only by continuously building the spirits a home could she appease the ghosts (Through a medium her husband was alleged to have told her that the house must never be finished.)

I could not help but to think of Sarah Winchester when I read an item this morning on Business Insider that tells of how a Cleveland, Ohio-based Wal-Mart store is holding a food drive — for the very people who work there…

A sign in the store reads: “Please donate food items so associates in need can enjoy Thanksgiving dinner.”

Breathtaking isn’t it? This is America’s largest employer. THIS is how low things have gotten.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer quoted Norma Mills, a Wal-Mart customer complaining “That Wal-Mart would have the audacity to ask low-wage workers to donate food to other low-wage workers — to me, it is a moral outrage.”

Kory Lundberg, a Walmart spokesman, said the food drive is proof that employees care about each other.

“It is for associates who have had some hardships come up,” he said. “Maybe their spouse lost a job.

“This is part of the company’s culture to rally around associates and take care of them when they face extreme hardships,” he said.

Extreme hardships like working at fucking Wal-Mart!?!?

Wouldn’t it be awesome if when someone told a lie, they’d just spontaneously combust? I would love that…

But what does any of this have to do with Sarah Winchester’s guilty conscience, you ask? At least she had one. Sarah Winchester acutely felt the wages of death that made her so rich and it ruined her life.

As everyone should know by now, but it still bears repeating, the Walton family is the richest family in the world and they collectively own over 50% of Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer and second largest corporation. The family is worth a combined total of $150 billion as of August 2013 and the six most prominent members of the family have approximately the same net worth as the bottom 30% of American families combined.

They didn’t do a goddamn thing to earn this money. Nothing. They inherited every cent of their billions.

Every item that is purchased at a Wal-Mart has a tax built in for the Walton family. The supply chain that reaches to factories in Chinese and Indian slums? There is a tariff at each stop along the way that goes, ultimately, into the Waltons’ bank accounts. Think about it for two seconds, that is what’s happening.

If it was a sea of faceless shareholders, well, that’s harder to personify, but this is ONE family.

Wal-Mart is America’s #1 private employer.

And they don’t pay a living wage.

The Waltons live like pharaohs and their workforce can’t afford the necessities of life. In a very real sense they and Wal-Mart are beginning to personify everything that’s wrong with capitalism. A single family owning the equivalent of the collective wealth of the poorest third of the country? Could even Karl Marx have predicted THAT? It’s preposterous and yet… it’s the way things are.

If the Waltons wanted to change the fundamental fabric of American life for the better, they could raise their associates up to $20 an hour and set a powerful example for other companies to treat the people who DO ALL THE WORK with actual human dignity. If they did that—and studies have shown it wouldn’t hurt their bottom line much at all, and even if it did, I think they can take the hit—well, it’s a whole new America. It really would be.

But to hold back on improving the lives of so many people, that is one of the single most obscene things I can contemplate.

Up to the Waltons, of course, for now at least, but when the revolution comes—and it will eventually—it’s their heads that are going to be on the ends of sharp sticks…
 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
How to say ‘NO’: Whitey’s perfect reply to a TV company who wanted to use his music for free
11.06.2013
11:12 am

Topics:
Economy
Media
Music
Television

Tags:
Whitey


 
Amidst the ongoing discussions about the value of music, British alt/rock/tronica artist Whitey has had enough of being asked to donate his music for free to large companies who, by rights, can and should be paying him. After receiving one such email from a company called Betty TV, Whitey, aka NJ White, wrote this caustic response:

I am sick to death of your hollow schtick, of the inevitable line “unfortunately there’s no budget for music”, as if some fixed Law Of The Universe handed you down a sad but immutable financial verdict preventing you from budgeting to pay for music. Your company set out the budget. so you have chosen to allocate no money for music. I get begging letters like this every week - from a booming, allfuent global media industry.

Why is this? Let’s look at who we both are.

I am a professional musician, who lives form his music. It me half a lifetime to learn the skills, years to claw my way up the structure, to the point where a stranger like you will write to me. This music is my hard earned property. I;ve licensed music to some of the biggest shows, brands, games and TV production companies on Earth; form Breaking Bad to the Sopranos, from Coca Cola to Visa, HBO to Rockstar Games.

Ask yourself - would you approach a Creative or a Director with a resume like that - and in one flippant sentence ask them to work for nothing? Of course not. Because your industry has a precedent of paying these people, of valuing their work.

Or would you walk into someone’s home, eat from their bowl, and walk out smiling, saying “So sorry, I’ve no budget for food”? Of course you would not. Because, culturally, we classify that as theft.

Yet the culturally ingrained disdain for the musician that riddles your profession, leads you to fleece the music angle whenever possible. You will without question pay everyone connected to a shoot - from the caterer to the grip to the extra- even the cleaner who mopped your set and scrubbed the toilets after the shoot will get paid. The musician? Give him nothing.

Now lets look at you. A quick glance at your website reveals a variety of well known, internationally syndicated reality programmes, You are a successful, financially solvent and globally recognised company with a string of hit shows. Working on multiple series in close co-operation with Channel 4, from a West London office, with a string of awards under your belt. You have real money, to pretend otherwise is an insult.

Yet you send me this shabby request - give me your property for free… Just give us what you own, we want it.

The answer is a resounding, and permanent NO.

I will now post this on my sites, forward this to several key online music sources and blogs, encourage people to re-blog this. I want to see a public discussion begin about this kind of industry abuse of musicians… this was one email too far for me. Enough. I’m sick of you.

FUCK and indeed YES.

You can see the original screen grab of this email on Whitey’s Facebook page. As Whitey is at pains to point out, he has no problem donating his music for free to companies who literally cannot afford to pay him. He told me this via email earlier today:

I don’t want payment for everything. I don’t even care that much about money, I give away my music all the time. You and I live in a society where filesharing is the norm. I’m fine with that.

But i don’t give my music away to large, affluent companies who wish to use it to make themselves more money. Who can afford to pay, but who smell the filesharing buffet and want to grab themselves a free plate. That is a different scenario.

So what do you think? I completely agree, but I’m sure there’s DM readers who don’t. Are artists and musicians simply behind the times to ask that their music be paid for by large companies? What do you think Whitey’s music IS worth?
 

Posted by Niall O'Conghaile | Discussion
Slavoj Žižek: Ayn Rand’s ‘John Galts’ are the idiots who crashed the economy & they’ll do it again


 
I had to laugh at the way Slavoj Žižek so masterfully ended his Guardian op ed piece, “Who is responsible for the US shutdown? The same idiots responsible for the 2008 meltdown.”

Žižek’s subtitle is “In opposing Obamacare, the radical-populist right exposes its own twisted ideology” and in the essay, he poses a provocative question that I’ve been wondering about a lot myself recently: “Barack Obama is accused of dividing the American people instead of bringing them together. But what if this, precisely, is what is good about Obama?”

I’d like to read Žižek—or Jonathan Chait, Brian Beutler, Alex Pareene, Michael Tomasky, Charles Hugh Smith, Frank Rich or the great Charles P. Pierce—taking on this topic in further detail once the dust has cleared.

The conclusion Žižek draws at the close, though, is simply sublime:

One of the weird consequences of the 2008 financial meltdown and the measures taken to counteract it (enormous sums of money to help banks) was the revival of the work of Ayn Rand, the closest one can get to an ideologist of the “greed is good” radical capitalism. The sales of her opus Atlas Shrugged exploded. According to some reports, there are already signs that the scenario described in Atlas Shrugged – the creative capitalists themselves going on strike – is coming to pass in the form of a populist right. However, this misreads the situation: what is effectively taking place today is almost the exact opposite. Most of the bailout money is going precisely to the Randian “titans”, the bankers who failed in their “creative” schemes and thereby brought about the financial meltdown. It is not the “creative geniuses” who are now helping ordinary people, it is the ordinary people who are helping the failed “creative geniuses.”

John Galt, the central character in Atlas Shrugged, is not named until near the end of the novel. Before his identity is revealed, the question is repeatedly asked, “Who is John Galt?” Now we know precisely who he is: John Galt is the idiot responsible for the 2008 financial meltdown, and for the ongoing federal government shutdown in the US.

Standing ovation!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
BRUTAL Time magazine cover eloquently states the obvious about the Republican shutdown


 
If at first you don’t succeed—or the first 42 times, whatever—burn the entire country down, eh GOP?

Posted by Richard Metzger | Discussion
CAPITALISM EXPOSED (on CNBC of all places): ‘There’s only a little bit of poison in the food’
09.30.2013
12:08 pm

Topics:
Economy
Television

Tags:
CNBC
Alex Pareene


 
If you’re impatient with the hypocrisy of politicians and media figures and you’re not reading Salon’s Alex Pareene, well, you really should be. Having specialized of late in a distinctive,no-holds-barred, high-octane brand of takedown of those who most need taking down, he may be the only writer at Salon worth reading. (The topic’s lost interest, of course, but you can get a big taste of his sensibility in his Rude Guide to Mitt, released during the 2012 campaign.)

So it was quite a thrill to learn that Pareene paid the studios of CNBC a visit last Friday. I avoid CNBC due their insufferably warped and platitudinous self-regard, all of which would be quite well and good if they weren’t such blatant shills for the New Gilded Age and everything connected with it. One of the most objectionable things about the Wall St. mentality, quite apart from the occasional bouts of economy-destroying greed and dishonesty, is the smug assurance that they and they alone understand how the world works and that every other yardstick available can easily be shown to be wanting by reference to the massive piles of cash in the vicinity.

Pareene is precisely the person from whom the likes of CNBC most needs to hear—not that they are actually capable of hearing him. His visit was a masterpiece of unintentional black comedy—I would compare it to Sasha Baron Cohen, but Pareene scarcely had to say anything to elicit oodles of ill-considered, self-justificatory blather. Just a few intimations to the effect that Jamie Dimon, having admitting that the company of which he is CEO, JPMorgan Chase, will probably have to pay untold billions of dollars in fines, has likely demonstrated himself to be unfit to run such an important firm, and the other panelists, Dimon apologists all, could hardly restrain themselves from blustering that clearly Pareene didn’t understand anything and look at all the money JPMorgan Chase is generating and don’t stockholders all like that sort of thing?

There’s no better or more economical way of witnessing “the divide between the finance media bubble and the normals,” as Kevin Roose tweeted, than by watching the video below. The interview started with the following exchange and just got better and better once they let some Fortune employee named Duff McDonald open his yap.

Maria Bartiromo: Alex, to you first. Legal problems aside, JP Morgan remains one of the best, if not the best performing major bank in the world today. You believe the leader of that bank should step down?

Alex Pareene: I think that any time you’re looking at the greatest fine in the history of Wall Street regulation, it’s really worth asking should this guy stay in his job. In any other industry — I can’t think of another industry. If you managed a restaurant, and it got the biggest health department fine in the history of restaurants, no one would say “Yeah, but the restaurant’s making a lot of money. There’s only a little bit of poison in the food.”

The best thing about the clip is that Pareene has the good sense not to be bothered by the inanity of his co-panelists—he just smiles and brushes it off.

Two more quick observations and then I’ll leave you to enjoy this masterpiece of satire-in-action. First, after McDonald hears the above exchange, he instantly sneers that Pareene “obviously got attention with this article,” as if Pareene is some opportunistic stringer looking to make his name—uh, Duff, who the fuck do you think you’re talking about? Alex Pareene writes brilliantly scathing (and very difficult to controvert) articles about all sorts of people in the media and political worlds—that’s just what he does, and he’s damn good at it.

Second: there’s something rather touching about Maria Bartiromo’s snorts of contempt directed at The New York Times about halfway through: The poor woman actually thinks that she works for a news organization!
 

 
via Felix Salmon

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
More evidence that the rich are vile: AIG CEO thinks anger over exec bonuses is as bad as lynching
09.24.2013
11:00 am

Topics:
Economy
Politics

Tags:
AIG
Robert Benmosche

Robert Benmosche
 
Oh, boy. In another sign that we live in a country of “Two Americas” in which there’s just no way in hell we’re ever going to get on the same page, the CEO of AIG, a man named Robert Benmosche, stated that the widespread irritation over bonuses.
 

was intended to stir public anger, to get everybody out there with their pitchforks and their hangman nooses, and all that—sort of like what we did in the Deep South [decades ago]. And I think it was just as bad and just as wrong.

 
Hilariously, the Wall Street Journal‘s headline for the article that contained this nugget of wisdom is “At AIG, Benmosche Steers a Steady Course.” Ooooookay. Did you guys read the article?

It’s almost useless to get into any details of how shockingly wrong and entitled this is. But let’s start with this: Benmosche is a very powerful person! He’s the boss at one of the largest financial concerns in the United States. It is to be taken for granted that he counts among his friends and acquaintances many powerful people in the worlds of commerce and politics. If Benmosche wants something to happen in order to aid his company, there’s a very good chance that it will happen, because he can exert his will over the social polis far more than other people can.

The true crime here is the unfair playing field that benefits men like Benmosche so lavishly—in a democracy, it is the right of the people to complain about precisely such things. There have been no reports of CEOs being lynched, beaten, denied their civil rights. None of those things ever happened. It wouldn’t take a conspiracy nut to point out that almost all of the people who committed the vast financial crimes of the 2004-2008 period were never dealt with by the courts for the systematic fraud they perpetrated.

How much time studying the civil rights movement would it take before a person realized how wrongheaded this analogy is? Ten minutes? Two minutes? There’s no part of the civil rights story that would strike any reasonable person as being somehow fertile ground for metaphors about how mistreated Wall St. CEOs are. The whole point of the civil rights story is that African Americans in many southern states were systematically oppressed by what amounts to a police state. It wasn’t simply that the Klan was active; it was that the Klan was operating with the approval of the local constabulary.

If you don’t know this, then you are disqualified from making observations about the meaning of the civil rights era. If you do know this and you do venture to compare the lot of highly compesated Wall St. titans to the systematic deprivations African Americans experienced on a daily basis in the South before about 1970—and to some extent still to this day, and not just in the South—well, then you’re a horrible human being, pure and simple.

Ezra Klein’s report in the Washington Post blog Wonkblog does the service of reminding us of a few further outrages uttered by powerful Wall St. figures since the crash of 2008.

For example, widely loathed Gristedes owner and recent NYC mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis said last year, “New York is for everybody; it’s for the poor, it’s for the middle-class, it’s for the wealthy. We can’t punish any one group and chase them away. We–I mean, Hitler punished the Jews. We can’t have punishing the ‘2% group’ right now.”

Or this, from The Daily Beast:
 

“It’s a war,” [Blackstone Group CEO] Schwarzman said of the struggle with the administration over increasing taxes on private-equity firms. “It’s like when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.”

 
Klein had some illuminating insights about how such language makes it into the public sphere:

I was in an off-the-record meeting with top Wall Street folks where similar comparisons to Nazi Germany were tossed around. It really was a meme on Wall Street that the singling out of the wealthy for criticism — and, more to the point, taxation — had a direct historical precedent in Nazi Germany, where the Jews were first demonized, then taxed, and then, well, you know. The sense was that the rich in general, and Wall Street in particular, weren’t just being criticized, but that they were being turned into a dangerously despised minority.

That’s the context of Benmosche’s comment. I would bet he’s made the same point a number of times in private rooms to appreciative nods. When you say and hear that kind of thing often enough, however, you forget how insane and offensive it is — and then you say it to the Wall Street Journal.

The sad thing is, I could almost understand it if such utterances were cold and calculating attempts to sway public opinion (which would be very ill advised, if such they are). No, what’s even more disheartening is that they really seem to believe the bullshit they say.

Posted by Martin Schneider | Discussion
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