Saturday, July 20, 2019

Casey Neistat's next chapter

[VIDEO] If you've been following Neistat's vlogs on his YouTube channel he already stated that he was planning to end his long chapter in NYC and moving to the golden state. In this latest one he finally packs up and leaves starting off with one of his boosted boards crashing through his glass door.

It's cool to see Neistat sharing his story about how he arrived in NYC at 20 years old with no education or money and having promises for himself when he was young. He also was a single dad and wished to be a wonderful father for his son. That's admirable and now he's married with  another child and in some of his recent vlogs we see him with wife and child.

I'm excited to see his new chapter on the pacific coast. His past vids in NYC were a great setting for his once daily vlog, but what new vlogs will come from his new digs.

He makes me want to try living in NYC to see if I can make it, however, I get the idea that this ship has sailed. Although it's time for me to visit as I've never been, could I possibly make it as a tourist in the city that never sleeps?

Friday, July 19, 2019

Texarkana, AK live on Virtual Railfan

[VIDEO] Virtual Railfan now has a live video camera in Texarkana, Arkansas (there is also a Texarkana, Texas btw). Texarkana is a stop on Amtrak's Texas Eagle which is one of those city's I have passed through on my way to Dallas, Texas over the years. It's probably time I pass through again.

You can use Amtrak's train tracker to see when the next Texas Eagle will stop by. And here's how you get to the schedule for the full train.

Also just as an added bonus one of my favorite YouTube channels - YouTuuba - showed his years ago journey on the Texas Eagle which not only terminates in San Antonio, Texas it goes even further attached to the Sunset Limited and takes you to Los Angeles. He shows the full journey from Chicago to Los Angeles. [VIDEO]

Monday, July 15, 2019

Prager U: How to Become a Dangerous Person #MeToo #MeNeither

[VIDEO] If this doesn't scare you about the dangers of social media I don't know what will. A woman who does a podcast raising questions with regards to #MeToo, causes a firestorm. It's not enough that there are people who don't like Nancy Rommelmann's podcast and its premise. They also want to take down her husband's coffee business.

I like that social media provides everyone a platform which you could either choose to consume or not. The problem with social media is it provides everyone a platform and if you're perpetually uninformed and willing to attack that which you haven't educated yourself (something that I could be accused of occasionally) then you have a platform. Such individuals have a platform to remain ignorant and uninformed and then find others of the same mindset.

This is what you see Rommelman discuss in the above video from Prager U. The damage may well have been done, but who knows how much. If I could support her husband's business (Ristretto Roasters) - although I'm not an ardent coffee consumer by any means - then I would. We shouldn't support this ignorance and stand behind it. We should support free expression and of course due process which is how this all started in the first place.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Illinois history: the "wets" (anti-prohibition) meet in wet Capitol

Since Illinois recently allowed for the recreational use of marihuana, I see via CapFax that the Illinois House GOP had a quick post about Illinois' efforts to repeal prohibition around this time back in 1933.
Prohibition was enacted by a constitutional amendment in 1919 and went into effect in 1920. The attempt a prohibition was well intended but for many in later generations it's often associated with lawlessness. We hear a lot about not only the mob going into bootlegging, but also the manufacture of moonshine and also when alcoholic beverages were illegal in this nation for over a decade in the 20th century speakeasies where alcohol was served illegally.

In 1933, the 18th amendment that made prohibition the law of the land was repealed by the 21st Amendment. Which was the amendment that was debated by a constitutional convention in Springfield for this state to ratify the 21st Amendment.

Friday, July 05, 2019

Three years ago this month I visited the Grand Canyon #olloclip

[VIDEO] In 2016 I went on my west coast jaunt. The purpose was actually a family reunion however we wanted to make stops not only in Las Vegas, Nevada, but also the Grand Canyon. I haven't visited either location since my first visits as a child. And conversely I was too young to gamble and yet have very little interest to put my money on the line in such a fashion.

Either way, I've decided to start using my YouTube channel more and this video of my trip the Grand Canyon is one documented video of my visit. Not the best cut I have, but it's certainly raw and shows the magnitude of this massive geological formation. I'm glad I was able to capture it in pictures and on video.

In commemoration of my trip to the west coast I posted webcam feeds on this blog under "Railcam" that shows the three stops along the way on Amtrak's Southwest Chief. The Chief was how I got back and forth between Los Angeles, California and Chicago (in the case of my visit to the Grand Canyon my folks got on the train in Flagstaff, AZ which is one of the webcam feeds you see). It was an amazing trip that I hope to find another excuse to make in the future. Perhaps even during a future "polar vortex" episode in the winter time!

BTW, time to experiment with photoshop and create something of a YouTube brand image to advertise my channel.

Also here is one photo I shot of the Grand Canyon using an olloclip fisheye lens

Friday, June 28, 2019

Neistat's guide to videoblogging

[VIDEO] I've only posted one other Casey Neistat video here on this blog in the and it wasn't that long ago - just last month in fact. That earlier video posted to YouTube on May 20, 2019 shows an expensive NYC apartment high above the city. It was cool to see a unit under construction in a skyscraper. If only someone had done something similar when the former John Hancock Building was first constructed.

Well Neistat I've learned is a very famous YouTuber and perhaps the above video would help those of you who want to be famous YouTubers. Neistat is a self-taught filmmaker and yes there's a video with regards to him stating that he's a high school dropout. I will always encourage young people to stay in school and do very well, however, to do some of the things you want to do in life school isn't always necessary.

For example, if you have a willingness to DIY - do it yourself - to learn on your own you don't have to go to film school. The tools you can use to create your own masterpiece is right in front of you. If you have a computer you can get some inexpensive film editing software. Of course as far as filming start with the camera on your smartphone - iPhone or Android. If you don't want to use your phone find an inexpensive camera that allows you to shoot video.

I've been interesting in doing my own videography for years and I'm still learning. While I only use the iMovie app on my phone which Neistant references in this video, I'm eager to learn other editing software that are on the market. If you want to have an understanding of something it's OK to make mistakes. It's always a learning process....

Semi-related - Videoblogging: A YouTuber's process...

Friday, June 14, 2019

Is Vince McMahon out of touch?

[VIDEO] I have always been a mark for the World Wrestling Federation - oh I mean WWE. I truly admire Vince McMahon who had led the former WWF to great heights since he purchased his dad's company in the early 1980s. He truly had an entrepreneurial approach to the business and brought it to the next level where wrestling is mainstream.

I saw a podcast McMahon did with one of his former top guys - one Stone Cold Steve Austin - and he tried to differentiate pro-wrestling from what he does. As he stated himself professional wrestling was what his dad Vincent J. McMahon had done back when it was the World Wide Wrestling Federation. Instead, Vince McMahon does sports entertainment and McMahon has over a 30 year record of success in that space even if he does have some periods of concern as we're seeing now.

I've been following wrestling news primarily through YouTube channels such as Wrestlelamia as you see above and WrestleTalk and they often talk about the declining ratings of WWE programming. Even now while I still tune in faithfully largely finding myself tuning out programming at home more focused on my PC or even the social network apps on my smartphone. There are some entertaining segments on the program and there are segments I could be very happy without.

BTW, since I never really talked about it the Saudi Arabian PPV SuperShow Down it seems for most fans was a disappointment. There were a few good matches from the show, however, I chose to skip the Goldberg v. Undertaker match which has many fans saying that it's time for both of those legends to hang it up. Even I bought into the hype of the Undertaker hanging it up. Yet I wouldn't mind seeing Goldberg one more time however many fans just are ready for both to enjoy their retirements and no more big money for just one more match. Also remember WWE does have an agreement with Saudi Arabia for other shows for a good period of time and the Saudi family who rules that kingdom has money to burn (and reportedly for one more match from the late Ultimate Warrior).

So anyway some people see this year's SuperShow Down as symptomatic of what's wrong with WWE programming this year. Perhaps the decline occurred as soon as the McMahon family eliminated general managers from their two marquee brands. Who knows, but perhaps things are a bit stale and as WWE had some over the years its time to revamp the programming. I'd be excited for some reinvigorating entertainment from the largest pro-wrestling/sports entertainment company in the world!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

"Power play"

[VIDEO] I wish I could have a convo with a billionaire (let alone have one pay for my student loans 😛). Anyway I've fallen off on following Boyce Watkins primarily on ig in recent months, however, while I don't agree with everything he says I'm with him on economic empowerment and independence.

Often the emphasis is supporting Black businesses, but I also like the focus on personal finance. Also the topics are often apolitical as Watkins aims at both Republicans and Democrats (noted in the above vid). He also takes on some social issues as well and sometimes I definitely don't agree with all Watkins says on the topic.

So I like this video where he shoots video in Midtown Manhattan of the Bank of America tower. He talks to a billionaire who's a fan of his and states that BoA started off as a "power play" by the Italian community. Italian immigrants founded this bank to truly empower their community in a different time when they weren't assimilated into American society.

So this could relate to Blacks and perhaps BoA can't be easily identified as an "Italian-American bank", however, could a Black-owned bank grow to the heights of BoA? And also once you begin to accumulate "power" you have to expect people to fight you tooth and nail to keep you back.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Is Illinois' graduated income tax in trouble?

It's been quite a while since I've followed Illinois politics on this blog. I did want to talk about last years gubernatorial election where the ineffective Republican Governor Bruce Rauner was bounced out of office after one term by billionaire Democrat J.B. Pritzker. Pritzker wants to install a graduated or progressive income tax in this state.

Since Illinois created a state income tax during the 1970s it has remained flat though over the years there have been increases. Indeed until the governorship of Pat Quinn during his four year term in office the income tax had been increased though later once he lost his bid for re-election in 2014 in favor of Rauner it reverted back to its lower rates.

Still there have been over the years people advocating for such a income tax system. For Pritzker who is a wealthy man this is about insuring that the wealthy of Illinois pay their fair share. Of course you have opponents who will claim this will only serve to further increase the exodus out of this state.

So after the legislative session ended for the summer last month we got some movement on it. In order to change from a flat rate income tax to a graduated rate income tax not only did the Illinois General Assembly approve legislation for that end, the Illinois constitution has to be changed also. The flat income tax is in our state constitution.

A lot could happen between now and the Presidential election next year, however, right now it seems the public is down on the idea of a graduated income tax. This according to what you see over at CapFax earlier today. Could this be Pritzker's one defeat as our new Governor?

Well, I think Pritzker has been far more effective governor since George Ryan. So he has another three years to get things done, however, it's refreshing to see Democrats actually working together instead of at odds as had been the case during the Blago or Quinn years. Rauner wanted to pick a fight with the Democrats who control the state legislature especially, however, it's also important to wrest control of the General Assembly from the Democrats which is why I consider him very ineffective.

Monday, June 03, 2019

Greyhound for sale

[VIDEO] The Frugal Travel Guru talks about Greyhound Lines being put up for sale by their UK owners First Group recently. This YouTube channel over the years have mostly discussed how one can ride Greyhound buses which includes often buying tickets, safety, stations, etc. These days his focus is more on frugal travel not only on Amtrak but on the airlines as well. You should check out his excursion to the Phillipines...

Anyway it's in the news Greyhound Lines is on sale. Check out this article from the Communist errrr sorry there goes my bias let's just call them CNN - the most trusted name in news:
Greyhound has been put up for sale after its UK owner caved to activist investors who wanted the company to ditch the bus line.

FirstGroup, which owns the iconic inter-city bus operation, said Thursday that it wants to focus on its school transportation and commuter businesses.

The company said in a statement that Greyhound has "limited synergies" with its other businesses in North America and that "value for shareholders can best be delivered by seeking new owners."

"Our plans will create a more focused portfolio, with leading positions in our core North American contracting markets," added CEO Matthew Gregory.
The question is more changes in store or more of the same. Greyhound isn't going away as long as people need a low-cost alternative to travel.