Galloping-freaking-gargoyles. HBO announced Thursday that it will be the only place to stream all eight Harry Potter movies starting Jan. 1, 2018. That’s all eight movies on HBO GO, HBO NOW, and HBO On Demand whenever the heck you need them.
HBO currently has the streaming rights for the Harry Potter universe film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and has recently streamed Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, but not at the same time. Notably, whichever Potter film was streaming on HBO would be absent from Freeform’s famous Harry Potter Weekends to keep things fair.
As the press release notes, this is the first time that all eight Harry Potter movies will be available for streaming in one place. They will also air back-to-back on New Year’s Day – commercial free, this is HBO after all – to ring in the new year. HBO will air one film per night for the following week, ending with Fantastic Beasts on Jan. 10.
“We are delighted to welcome the Harry Potter films to our catalogue of award-winning original programming and crowd-pleasing theatrical films,” said Bruce Grivetti, Executive Vice President, Business Affairs and President, Film Programming. “HBO has a long-standing reputation as the home of the best classic and recently released Hollywood movies, and having the Harry Potter franchise furthers our objective to bring quality entertainment to our subscribers across all of our platforms.”
HBO also happens to be owned by Time Warner, the same parent company that owns Warner Bros., which produced the Harry Potter films. Keep it in the fam.
The Balvenie Malt Master David C. Stewart MBE is blessed with more than a great nose and palate, he operates with what appears to be a sixth sense. The longest serving malt master in the industry, Stewart’s ability to plan 40 or even 50 years in advance is nothing short of extraordinary. From choice of oak to the careful selection of the special casks that will one day become decades-old bottles of The Balvenie, Stewart has mastered the art of playing the long game.
Stewart’s expertise may not be rooted in the business world, but it’s surprising how many commonalities his craft shares with entrepreneurship — chief among them patient forecasting, confidence to forge ahead while learning from mistakes, and keeping an eye on both long term planning and short term solutions.
An adept entrepreneur must understand the fundamentals of business — things like cash flow, value proposition, and marketing tactics — in order to build a foundation for a thriving company. But, more than one astute observer has made the comparison between a startup’s success and a chemistry equation. The Harvard Business Review published an entire series about the chemistry of business as it relates to team dynamics. Similarly, a Malt Master at a beloved whisky label must be skilled at crafting something smooth and beautiful from the combination of raw, elemental components of nature.
Then there’s the artistry side of the equation. Business acumen goes beyond what’s taught in business school. There’s something innate to entrepreneurship — qualities that most successful entrepreneurs share — such as good judgment, “big-picture” foresight, and a willingness to take calculated risks.
Again, these same principles apply to whisky making. The Balvenie’s unique range of whiskies are hand-crafted to perfection — and the journey from barley to bottle is an inextricable element of the final product. Bringing these parallels to light is The Balvenie DCS Compendium Chapter 3 — a unique collection of whiskies selected by Stewart. The title and theme for Chapter 3 is “Secrets of the Stock Model,” a reference to the dizzying projections Stewart needs to make to ensure The Balvenie can produce and sustain a full range of matured, “age-statement” whiskies, some as old as 55 years.
With the launch of The Balvenie DCS Compendium Chapter 3, Mashable had the chance to sit down with Stewart and The Balvenie’s Global Brand Ambassador Dr. Sam Simmons (“Dr. Whisky”) to gain some sage insights into the art of distillation. Here are five surprising parallels between this centuries-old craft and the process of starting and maintaining a new business in today’s fast-paced startup world:
Cherish early adopters and reward brand loyalists
Beta testers have the potential to become valuable brand advocates — for life. When a startup begins to gain steam, it can be tempting to neglect early adopters in favour of focusing exclusively on growth. But savvy businesspeople know the merit of rewarding loyalty. There are persuasive numbers behind the practice of customer retention strategy: In fact, it can be 20 times as expensive for a company to court new customers as it is to cater to existing ones.
One of the best ways to ensure customers stick around? Maintain a sincere commitment to quality.
The Balvenie understands the importance of its fervent loyalists. The Balvenie’s range of exquisite whiskies, starting with the DoubleWood 12, is engineered specifically to reward adventurous aficionados. These whisky and Scotch enthusiasts aim to continuously surprise their palates; they relish new and interesting tastes and finishes, but appreciate the foundational, hallmark flavor of The Balvenie in each bottle.
The Balvenie DCS Compendium Chapter 3 whiskies — which include the oldest whisky ever to be released by the distillery (a 55-year-old from 1961) — are crafted with dedication, patience, and the sincerest commitment to craftsmanship.
Get comfortable with failure and learn from loss
Startups fail more often than they succeed, and entrepreneurs who accept that reality will be better prepared for the long term. It’s been widely documented that some of today’s most successful startups began with countless rejections from VCs, or even complete about-face pivots away from an original business model. The Lean Startup methodology, widely cited and adopted by many successful entrepreneurs today, emphasises the importance of “failing fast.”
In the whisky world, failure isn’t as cut and dry as being snubbed by venture capitalists. Loss, for example, is a part of every cask at The Balvenie: The “Angel’s Share” is the term applied to the whisky that’s lost via evaporation over the course of the ageing process.
And just as seasoned entrepreneurs know to expect the unexpected, and the same holds true for malt masters. Two identical casks might mature in completely different ways, which presents challenges. But hand in hand with this challenge is the promise of possibility for new, delightful flavour profiles: Bold single malts that take the drinker on an unexpected journey.
Embrace evolving consumer tastes — but stay true to core values
“Always be iterating” is a favoured mantra of Silicon Valley startups and established corporations alike. That said, there is no quicker way to disillusion a core customer base than by straying from established values.
Whisky making, too, is an evolving art that relies heavily upon tradition and history. “While I’m not sure if it is Scottish modesty or the truth, every whisky maker will tell you they are always learning,” says Simmons.
Remaining true to The Balvenie’s core values means staying resolute about producing the highest caliber product. “At The Balvenie, as with many distilleries, we are observing that demand is outstripping supply,” explains Simmons. “We laid down a limited numbers of casks 10, 15, and 30 years ago, and therefore have finite stocks to draw from today.” Despite this growth in Scotch drinkers, says Simmons, The Balvenie maintains a commitment to the quality whisky that the brand’s loyal customer base has come to expect and cherish.
Stewart — who this year celebrates his 55th year with William Grant & Sons, The Balvenie’s parent company — confirms that a blend of experimentation and loyalty to crafting an elevated product is at the heart of what makes The Balvenie’s whiskies so special. “We experiment a lot with different cask types to fill with mature Balvenie liquid and these have not always been successful,” he says. “If we are not happy with the final quality, we won’t bottle it.”
A human touch goes a long way
In a world inundated with technology, today’s consumers are particularly appreciative of a business that champions the human element. Of course, staying on top of the latest technology trends is also paramount — so it’s crucial to find the right formula of tech-infused tools and old-fashioned manpower. In business, this may mean relying on a real, live human to respond to customer service inquiries (instead of being tempted by the trendiest AI-infused chatbot).
At The Balvenie, it means that each and every step of the distillation process is touched by human hands.
“When you visit our distillery and see more people than computers, see Maltmen turning barley by hand, Stillmen manually selecting the ‘heart of the run’ as the spirit flows into the safe, Coopers dismantling and raising casks without glue or nails … you cannot help but feel inspired,” says Simmons.
Play the long game
In today’s startup-laden society, it’s likely you’ve personally experienced the shrapnel of a burgeoning business’s epic failure. Perhaps you backed a promising product on Kickstarter that fell far short of its marketing promises. Maybe you excitedly signed on to beta test an app, only to find the user experience full of glitches.
The core problem underpinning many startup misfires relates back to one thing: Timing. Perhaps the company moved out of beta mode before it was prepared to handle increased user demand, or launched its website before its servers could handle the influx of traffic.
On the flip side of the coin, when the pieces of a budding business fall into place in a way that seamlessly works, it’s a beautiful thing.
Those intimately acquainted with the whisky business know all too well the importance of perfect timing — and by extension, patience.
“Nothing happens quickly, whether it is filling an experimental new spirit, or trialing mature Balvenie experiments — this can take many months and years for the final outcome to become apparent,” says Stewart. “So I’ve learnt to be patient.”
“The patience a distiller exercises in waiting for the perfect balance of cask, spirit, and time almost always pays off,” Simmons goes on to say. “Whether that is three years or 30 years varies case by case. Certain flavour compounds can only fully develop in a spirit over lengthy periods in oak, through extractive and reactive interactions — as well as those complex ones that cannot be expedited through exposure to oxygen.”
Who would have thought that the ancient art of whisky distillation would hold such relevant and time honoured advice for entrepreneurs? Whether you’re distilling a fine cask of whisky or launching a new startup venture, it pays to remember that success comes from staying true to your roots while viewing the journey as an opportunity for experimentation, leading to an ever more refined product. And like a cask of complex whisky left to mature for decades, playing the long game in business promises to deliver an outcome well worth the wait.
(CNN)Eight people — six foreign tourists and two Americans — were killed Tuesday in the deadliest terror attack that New Yorkers have seen since 9/11.
A man drove a rented pickup truck down a crowded bike path near the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan, crushing and striking cyclists and pedestrians. In addition to those killed, about a dozen people were hurt.
Here’s what we know about those killed:
The 23-year-old software developer had recently started his first job out of school, one of his friends told CNN affiliate WABC.
“He was a really, really kind, not heartless, intelligent and curious person. We always had conversations about what he was studying at school,” Bahji Chancey told WABC.
Cleves recently graduated from Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York. The college said in a statement that Cleves also worked as an analyst and web developer.
“An incident of terrorism that takes the lives of innocent people anywhere in the world touches each of us in our fundamental humanity,” the statement said. “But the effect is more pronounced — and far more personal — when our community is directly linked to such a horrendous event.”
Cleves grew up biking around the city and would bike everywhere around town, Chancey said.
Drake, 32, was an avid reader and was always helping his parents.
“He had everything going for him. Everything you can imagine,” Drake’s father, Jimmy, told CNN affiliate WCBS.
Drake lived in New Milford, New Jersey, but worked in New York as a project manager for Moody’s Analytics, an economics research firm.
When his parents couldn’t reach him hours after the attack, they drove to Bellevue Hospital in New York, where they were told he had died.
“At the moment, I just lost it,” Jimmy Drake said. “You see the child you loved for 33 years.”
Darren Drake would have celebrated his birthday in two weeks, his father said.
Drake was remembered as “a good man with a soft touch and huge heart” in a statement released by the New Milford Public School District, where he served on the local board of education from 2009 to 2013.
“He is respected for his unwavering commitment to the children of New Milford and their education,” Superintendent Michael Polizzi wrote of Drake. “In addition to his insights into the needs of students, he brought to the board significant business acumen, intelligence and humor. He was friendly, fully engaged and forward-thinking.”
Decadt, 31, was traveling with her two sisters and mother in New York at the time of the attack.
The Belgian mother of two died Tuesday night at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, according to a statement from her husband, Alexander Naessens.
Decadt’s mother and two sisters were not harmed, he said.
She had been cycling on the bike path when she was hit from behind by the truck, CNN Belgium affiliate VTM reported.
Decadt “was a fantastic wife and the most beautiful mom to our two sons of 3 months and 3 years old. This loss is unbearable and difficult to understand,” Naessens wrote.
Five friends from Argentina
The group had traveled thousands of miles for a once-in-a-lifetime trip to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their high school graduation.
Hernán Diego Mendoza, Diego Enrique Angelini, Alejandro Damián Pagnucco, Ariel Erlij and Hernán Ferruchi died in the attack, Argentina’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said.
The men were from Rosario, a town nearly 200 miles northwest of Buenos Aires.
Jose Nunez, a representative in Argentina’s national congress, was a friend of Erlij’s. He told CNN en Español that Erlij was a successful businessman who loved his family of four children.
“We are losing a great man, a great businessman and a great family man,” Nunez said.
On Twitter, Argentine President Mauricio Macri said he was “deeply moved by the tragic deaths … in NY. We put ourselves at the disposition of the families of the Argentinian victims.”
President Donald Trump tweeted late Wednesday that he had a conversation with Macri.
“Just spoke to President Macri of Argentina about the five proud and wonderful men killed in the West Side terror attack,” Trump said. “God be with them!”
An Argentine national who lives in the Boston area, Martin Marro, was injured during the attack. He is still hospitalized. He was told Thursday that his friends had been killed, Argentinian Consul General Mateo Estreme said at a news conference in New York.
CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correctly spell the name of Ann-Laure Decadt.
Im a lefty academic versed in feminist theory. Still, I rebelled against the idea that rich and powerful men regularly rape or attempt to rape women
This is a very difficult column for me to write because its about my mother.
A week or two after the then IMF director Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested for sexually assaulting a chambermaid in a posh New York hotel in 2011, there was another case when an Egyptian businessman was briefly arrested for a similar assault at another such New York hotel.
This first struck me as puzzling. It could hardly be a copycat crime; considering the drama surrounding the arrest and travails of DSK, it was inconceivable that anyone would see this and say: Oh good idea, Ill attack a chambermaid as well.
Then it dawned on me.
The only logical explanation was that businessmen, politicians, officials and financiers rape, or attempt to rape, hotel workers all the time. Its just that normally, those assaulted know theres nothing they can do about it.
In DSKs case, someone for whatever complex political reasons must have refused to make the usual phone call. There was a scandal. As a result, when the next assault took place, the survivor must have said to herself, Oh, so does this mean we actually are allowed to call the cops now if a customer tries to rape us? and acted accordingly. And sure enough this is precisely what turned out to have happened. (In the end, both women were silenced, and neither man convicted of any crime.)
What I really want to draw attention to here is my initial reaction of disbelief: Sure things are bad; but it cant be that bad. Even a lefty academic versed in feminist theory instinctively rebelled against the idea that rich and powerful men regularly rape or attempt to rape the women cleaning their rooms, that this happens all the time, that everyone in the hotel industry knows it happens (since they must know), and that those rich and powerful men in turn know they could get away with it because if any woman they attacked did protest too strenuously, everyone would move in lockstep to do whatever was required to make the problem go away.
Its of course this very disbelief that allows such things to happen. We are loth to accept people we might know might practice pure, naked aggression. This is how bullies get away with what they do. Ive written about this.
Bullying is not just a relation between bully and victim. Its really a three-way relation, between bully, victim and everyone who refuses to do anything about the aggression; all those people who say boys will be boys or pretend theres some equivalence between aggressor and aggressed. Who see a conflict and say it doesnt matter who started it even in cases where, in reality, nothing could possibly matter more.
It makes no difference if theres a real physical audience or if the audience just exists inside the victims head. You know what will happen if you fight back. You know what people will say about you. You internalize it. Before long, even if nothing is said, you cant help wonder if these things they would say are actually true.
Sexual predation is a particular variety of bullying but like all forms of bullying it operates above all in precisely this way by destroying the victims sense of self.
I had another, similar, horrified moment of realization in reading Dame Emma Thompsons remarks about Harvey Weinstein. Not because of her observation that his predations were, as she said, the tip of the iceberg this is surely true, but not entirely unknown; what startled me was one word. She described Weinsteins behavior as typical of a system of harassment and belittling and bullying and interference that women had faced from time immemorial.
The word that struck me was belittling.
This is where the story becomes personal.
Let me tell you about my mother. Mom was a prodigy. Arriving in America at age 10, speaking not a word of English, she skipped so many grades she was in college by 16. Then she dropped out of college to help the family (it was the Depression) by getting a factory job sewing brassieres.
The union had the crazy idea at that time to put on a musical comedy performed entirely by garment workers. The play (Pins and Needles) surprised everyone by becoming a smash hit on Broadway, with mom (then Ruth Rubinstein) as female lead.
She was hailed as a comic genius, which I can attest she definitely was, was featured in Life, met FDR and Gypsy Rose Lee, and for three years hobnobbed with celebrities and was gossiped about in gossip columns. Then she went back to working in the factory again.
The first thing you’ll see when you walk into Eaton Workshop, a hotel opening in late spring 2018 in Washington, is a custom-commissioned video art installation by AJ Schnack, shown on a series of vintage-style television screens. All day long, it’ll broadcast a montage of footage from the presidential elections of 2012 and 2016 that’s built around one pointed question: How did our country get where it is today?
It’s not a subtle statement, and it’s not meant to be.
In Trump’s Washington, Eaton is planting a clear flag as a haven for Democrats. It’s the world’s first politically motivated hotel, the flagship for a global brand that’s built around social activism and community engagement. And it comes with a pedigree: As the daughter of Ka Shui Lo, the creator and executive chairman of Hong Kong-based Langham Hospitality Group Ltd., founder Katherine Lo knows a thing or two about luxury hotels and world-class service.
The Big Idea
Lo firmly believes that hotels ought to be catalysts for good. In a world where we can be conscious consumers—of everything from clothing to food to baby products—she argues there’s a place for conscious hotels, too. This isn’t a revolutionary idea: Already, 1 Hotels has built a small collection of luxury properties entirely around the idea of sustainability, and Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts has made a significant, brand-wide commitment to bolster community programming for disadvantaged children in all of its destinations. It’s one of many five-star brands that have a conscious ethos but choose not to flaunt it.
Eaton Workshop is different. With a premise that’s built around liberal activism and civic engagement, the brand will weave a liberal philosophy into every aspect of the guest experience, some more obvious than others.
Among the subtler points is the significance of the company’s name: a nod to the high-end shopping mall of that name in Montreal that captured the fascination of Ka Shui Lo when he fled the Cultural Revolution in China. The mall, says Katherine, was a beacon of freedom to her father—and when she found an archival photo bearing its old motto, “Progress and better living,” the two Eatons became forever intertwined.
The Washington hotel—which has 209 rooms just north of the National Mall—will be the brand’s flagship, with a second location opening in Hong Kong in 2018 and new constructions set to rise in San Francisco and Seattle no sooner than 2019.
A Hotel With an Agenda
Among the Washington location’s programming signatures will be a sort of TED talk series driven by the liberal agenda, consisting of fireside chats and rooftop lectures that Lo hopes will be free, open to the public, and streamable as Eaton-branded podcasts. Then comes the art program, which—aside from the political statement piece at check-in—will include commissions from at least a half-dozen up-and-coming local artists and a street-facing exhibition window curated in partnership with local museums and institutions. A co-working space will prioritize memberships for progressive startups, activists, and artists, while a wellness program will offer “inner-health-focused treatments” such as Reiki and sound baths, rather than facials and massages. (Some of these features will roll out a few months after the hotel opens.)
Just as important, partners and staff will be brought on board, both for their skills in the food and beverage worlds and their activist track records. For instance, Lo saw the cocktail director of the famed Columbia Room, Derek Brown, as a perfect fit to be the hotel’s beverage director—not just because he’s won such awards as magazine’s Bartender of the Year but because he “cares deeply about social justice.” To wit, Brown actively champions policies that fight sexual harassment in the bartending industry and acts as chief spirit advisor for the National Archives.
Similarly, Lo says that the “amazing life story” of house chef Tim Ma “perfectly expresses our brand ethos.” The Chinese-American culinary up-and-comer was an engineer at the National Security Agency for years before discovering his true passion in food. At Eaton’s to-be-named restaurant, Ma is planning a menu with a heavy focus on vegetables from an on-site garden.
A guest who does nothing other than check in, sleep atop Eaton’s organic mattresses, and check out will still have a sense of the hotel’s mission, says Lo. “We plan to have new ideas in the minibar—an activist toolkit, for example, that includes sheets with information to help you call your congresspeople. And if we’d been open during this year’s Women’s March, I could have seen us putting poster boards and markers in the rooms!”
Political statements such as these will be tailored to each property. In Hong Kong, for instance, Lo says she’d like to replace Bibles in the nightstand drawers with copies of the United Nations Declaration for Human Rights.
A Place for Thought Leaders (but Not All of Them)
Lo understands that Eaton Workshop isn’t for everyone. “Self-selection is definitely one of our strategies,” she says about branding and marketing materials that directly appeal to the “woke” crowd. “We wanted to emphasize that it’s a place for people who are thinking outside the box and want to effect a change in the world,” she says.
Though she repeatedly talks about fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion, Lo also tells Bloomberg that “the goal isn’t to bring together left and right.” Instead, she wants to create “a diversity of fields and backgrounds as well as gender and ethnicity.” In other words, her hotel should represent the antithesis of the Trump hotel that’s just a few blocks away, offering an intellectual playground to those who may feel marginalized by the current administration’s agenda.
This is partisan politics playing out on the city’s hotel scene; whether that will hurt or help Lo’s bottom line remains to be seen. But if the Trump Hotel is any indication, Lo may be poised for big success. According to the , the president’s hotel brought in $1.97 million in profits during the first four months of the year, despite business projections that had forecast a loss of $2.1 million.
“It’s Like a Non-Profit but Better”
Though her goal is to create a successful, scalable business, Eaton Workshop is not built to pad Lo’s pockets. On the contrary, she sees the entire enterprise as a means to a philanthropic end, and hopes to use the hotel profits to fund community arts initiatives in the brand’s respective destinations.
Each location will have a radio station, cinema, and music venue so local talent can produce or showcase work in a state-of-the-art space at low—or no—cost. In Washington, the building’s history as a printing venue has inspired Lo to create a writer’s residency, where investigative reporters can be hosted on site for several months while pursuing important stories.
Artists will be invited to create short films, podcasts, or other types of content under the emblem of Eaton’s in-house multimedia studio; the results will be available for guests to stream on personal devices, and each piece will feature a clear activist message and a call to action.
“We’re hoping that our hotel revenues will propel our creative projects,” says Lo, who likens the hotel to “a non-profit, but better.” Still, room rates won’t be extravagant; prices in Washington are likely to hover in the upper $200s. Thankfully, for members of both political parties—who are, no doubt, tired of dropping Benjamins for vodka drinks at the Trump International—the price of a martini should be less radical.
When industrial designer Doug Dietz went to the hospital to see the inaugural scan of a brand-new MRI machine he designed, what should’ve been an exciting event quickly turned somber.
The patient coming in for a scan was a young girl. And she was petrified.
The huge, hulking machine had the girl in tears — and that was before the loud whirring noise started up (the average MRI machine is about as loud as a rock concert, and not nearly as fun).
“As [the family] got even closer to me, I notice the father leans down and just goes ‘remember we talked about this, you can be brave,” he recalled to GE Health, explaining that the parents looked horrified too — feeling helpless to find a way to make their daughter feel comfortable in the giant machine.
Dietz went back to the drawing board.
He was determined to use his design know-how to make the hospital environment for kids feel more like an adventure instead of a nightmare.
After interviewing kids, parents, and doctors about what might make the experience of getting a medical scan a little less scary, Dietz and his team from GE Health got to work, along with partners from the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.
It wasn’t just the machines that got a makeover.
The whole exam room needed some love. From the sterile, beige decor, to the frank instruction placards (Dietz calls them “crime scene stickers”). Even the patter (or conversation/instructions) from doctors and nurses needed some livening up.
The team developed themes that could bring each exam room to life.
MRI rooms, for example, became space voyages. CT scans became pirate adventures.
The redesigned MRI machine and rooms turned the kids into active participants in their own fantastic adventure stories, with themed books given ahead of time to prepare them for the journey.
Inside the scanning machines, the children get special goggles that allow them to watch a DVD during their scans — which can take anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes.
When the first newly designed rooms were put into action at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, they worked like a charm. Not only did they calm the kids down and keep their minds occupied, Dietz recalled hearing one child ask her parents if she could have “another scan tomorrow.”
“That was probably the biggest reward I could ever have,” he told the Journal Sentinel.
Dietz’s designs are so popular and successful that many other hospitals have joined in on the fun.
The project, called the Adventure Series, isn’t just something that makes kids smile. It allows the hospital to help more people.
According to an article in the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, the fear of machines and tests is so bad that Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh had to sedate over 80% of kids who needed an MRI or CT scan, prior to the updates.
Sedating and calming anxious patients takes extra time, elongating the length of each scan. If the kids don’t need sedation, but don’t hold still during the duration of the test, the whole thing has to be redone. These issues take up precious time that ultimately resulted in the hospital serving fewer patients.
After implementing the Adventure Series, the hospital only had to sedate a quarter or less of its patients, making their work far more efficient.
Making the experience less frightening for kids is a big win here — for the patients and hospitals too. There’s nothing that can completely erase the anxiety that comes with needing serious medical testing or care, but just knowing there are people who care enough to try is likely a big comfort to these families.
When Carrie Hollenbeck needed to sell her 1996 Honda Accord, with over 140,000 lifetime miles on it, having a filmmaker boyfriend paid off. Big time.
Max and Carrie. Photo used with permission
Max Lanman had the idea to produce an actual commercial to advertise his girlfriend’s jalopy. But this wouldn’t be some low-budget production for a 4 a.m. run on the local access cable channel. Oh no. Not at all.
“I thought it would be hilarious to make a high-end car commercial for a really junky car,” Lanman told ABC News. “And she had just the car.”
The ad begins like any high-gloss, self-important, sleek car commercial, with a deep-voiced narrator uttering some vaguely inspiring patter: “You, you’re different. You do things your way. That’s what makes you one of a kind.”
Cut to — instead of a luxury vehicle with a slick dash, leather interior, and impeccably dressed anonymous driver — Carrie’s old Honda, complete with coffee spills, random objects rolling around in the back, and one of those cassette things you use to play your iPod in a car without Bluetooth.
“You don’t do it for appearance. You do it because it works,” the narrator adds triumphantly.
Check out the finished product, which has gone viral with over 4 million views:
Lanman may have intended the piece to be more silly than satire, but the faux ad inadvertently makes an important point about the car buying experience in America.
As commonplace as the ads he’s lampooning are, the majority of Americans cannot afford a new car. Things are only getting worse — the average price of a new vehicle has skyrocketed 35% since the 1970s, while the median household income is only up about 3% for the same time period.
Cars have always been a status symbol, but somewhere along the line — between the time of horse-drawn carriages and the modern era of Matthew McConaughey selling Lincolns by falling backward into an infinity pool while wearing a tuxedo — cars have become an extreme symbol of status.
Car commercials would have you believe that cars are not something you buy because of how well they can get you from Point A to Point B, but because of how they made you feel and how they make you look to other people. For every person buying a $60,000 car that fits their “lifestyle,” (or to sit in their garage, barely touched) there are dozens more people buying a used junker on Craiglist or eBay because it’s all they can afford. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Though it wasn’t intended to be, Max and Carrie’s viral ad is almost a digital middle finger to those who want the rich to get richer and income disparity to get worse. It reminds us to be proud of our ability to successfully live our own lives, even if it’s not always pristine or glamorous. This ad … is practical and real and … well, it’s all of us.
“Luxury is a state of mind,” the narrator bellows at the end. Finally, a car slogan everyday Americans can get behind.
Taylor Swift‘s Reputation has already garnered quite the, well, reputation!!
As you may’ve heard, Miz Swift’s sixth studio album went flying off the shelves as she sold 700,000 copies in its first day in the U.S. And it appears as though those numbers are Swiftly (sorry, we had to) growing as the Gorgeous singer has now sold over 925,000 units.
Nielsen Music tracked the sales from TayTay’s first day up until Sunday’s close of business. If Reputation continues to sell at this rate, TS6 could sell over 1 million units in the week ending on November 16. In fact, Swift may earn her largest sales week yet!
If everything goes according to plan, Taylor’s Reputation could even surpass the debut number 1989 nabbed — which was 1.29 million copies during week one.
A small town police department in Louisiana had to jail
In addition to that, Mangham cops searched the bus and found both marijuana and prescription pills — and Feldman ended up being cited with possession of marijuana, speeding, and driving with a suspended license.
Feldman quickly paid a fine and was released to go about his business.
He tweeted about the ordeal (below):
HI #EVERYBODY & HAPPY 22ND! 4 THE RECORD, I WAS NOT ARRESTED OR PUT IN JAIL. I RECEIVED A MISDEMEANOR IN LOUISIANA, DUE 2 A MEMBER OF MY — Corey Feldman (@Corey_Feldman) October 22, 2017
CREW HAVING MEDICAL MARIJUANA, WITH A LEGAL CA PRESCRIPTION, I HAD NOTHING ON ME, BUT WAS CHARGED BECAUSE ITS MY BUS. ALSO 5 OTHERS WERE — Corey Feldman (@Corey_Feldman) October 22, 2017
CHARGED DUE 2 HAVING LEGAL MEDICINES WITHOUT THEIR PARTICULAR BOTTLES. NO ILLEGAL OR STREET DRUGS WERE FOUND ON THE BUS AT ALL! WHICH IS Y — Corey Feldman (@Corey_Feldman) October 22, 2017
NOBODY SPENT THE NIGHT IN JAIL. HOWEVER WE WERE PROMISED THAT THESE CHARGES COULD ALL B DROPPED WITH PROOF OF PROPER SCRIPTS! IT WAS A BIT — Corey Feldman (@Corey_Feldman) October 22, 2017
OF A GOOD OL SHAKEDOWN! AFTER WE PAID THEM IN CASH, THEY ASKED 4 PICS & AUTOGRAPHS, & THEN CALLED THE LOCAL PAPER 2 DO INTERVIEWS! — Corey Feldman (@Corey_Feldman) October 22, 2017
I DO FIND THE TIMING OF ALL THIS IRONIC! BUT HAVE NO FEAR, WE R HEADED 2 HOUSTON, & WE WILL PERFORM THE BENEFIT CONCERT 2NITE 2 HELP RAISE $ — Corey Feldman (@Corey_Feldman) October 22, 2017
We’ve discussed before how our everyday habits can be indicators of psychological issues or portents of future catastrophes. But some of those behaviors might be hiding something even worse … for those who have to put up with you. You see, science says that a bunch of seemingly innocuous things we do on a regular basis secretly mark us as grade-A assholes. Hey, we didn’t make this shit up. There are actual studies out there that illustrate how …
People Who Eat Organic Food Tend To Be Selfish And Judgmental
There’s a stereotype for the type of person who spends the entirety of their weekly grocery allotment on highfalutin pesticide/hormone/neutrino-freer-than-thou foodstuffs, and it’s not exactly flattering. Even before Whole Foods employees started making Amazon logos out of meat, making a big deal out of eating organic foods has seemed to correlate closely with inflated levels of unchecked knobbery. Could it be that the rest of us are simply jealous of those with the mental fortitude to shun delicious junk? Nope! Here’s some hard science to back you up the next time you feel like calling them out on their insufferable jerkitude.
A study published in the journal Social Psychological And Personality Science posited that folks who eat organic foods on the regular have an increased likelihood of being judgy toward others (while also displaying a lack of altruism).
As an assistant professor at Loyola University and the study’s lead author explains: “People may feel like they’ve done their good deed. That they have permission, or license, to act unethically later on. It’s like when you go to the gym and run a few miles and you feel good about yourself, so you eat a candy bar.” If we’re reading that right, all you need is a bottle of “veganic kombucha” to feel like you can get away with stabbing someone.
In other words, some people equate the buying of specialty health foods with “moral credits,” which they can spend at their leisure on small acts of dickery. It’s basically the hipster version of buying indulgences, only with more gastrointestinal regularity. You can follow the links to see how they conducted their research, which involved things like showing people food labels and then asking them to rate situations “ranging from cousins having sex to a lawyer trolling the ER for litigious patients.” Whatever their methods, we have a hard time arguing with Doug Barry of Jezebel’s assessment of their findings, since it’s something we’ve always considered one of life’s great truisms: “eating cookies makes you a better person.” (As long as they’re not oatmeal.)
Those Who Frequent Tanning Beds Are Likely To Be Addicted (To Things Other Than Tanning Beds)
Now that the general populace is more aware of how wonderful and beneficial prolonged exposure to UV rays is (if you’re a developing malignant melanoma), tanning salons aren’t quite as popular as they once were. And yet there are somehow still plenty of people who regularly strip down, put on those weird tiny glasses, and go under the lamps. Why do they still engage in an activity that’s so objectively self-destructive? Well, a lot of the time, according to research, it’s because they’re sad drunks and/or junkies.
It’s unclear what motivated the eggheads at Yale to study the self-destructive tendencies of orange people (it’s not like that has any relevance to, say, world peace or anything), but this they did, only to reach the conclusion that those who display a “tanning dependence” are also prone to other forms of addiction. Like a sixfold tendency toward alcoholism, and a five times greater chance of having an accompanying “exercise addiction.”
.shock/iStock For real-life examples, see literally any episode of Jersey Shore.
Plus, it stands to reason that people who pay money to climb into a contraption which provides fake sunlight are also three times as likely to suffer from seasonal affective disorder (which, with the initials S.A.D., enjoys the most convenient acronym in psychiatric history).
Yes, pointing out that people with addictive tendencies tend to be addicted to more than one thing may not be the most revolutionary discovery made so far this century. The hope, however, is that the findings will help spur the development of inventions that might help those who are compelled to overdo their UV exposure to the point where they look like a vintage purse golem before they’re devoured by skin cancers. What kind of inventions? Only time will tell. Hopefully not a machine where you stuff in coins, pull on a lever, and hope various fruits line up the right way. Or anything to do with starting nuclear conflicts.
Use Reusable Grocery Bags? You Probably Buy Junk Food
“Paper or plastic?” isn’t always a necessary question at the supermarket anymore, as it’s become common for some shoppers to bring reusable fabric bags on every visit. It’s a small effort, but somewhere there are probably some unchopped redwoods and/or unstrangulated seabirds that are quietly applauding your environmental consciousness. Surely, with such a surplus of noble virtue, there’s no harm in grabbing a few bags of chips off the impulse rack. And some chocolate bars. And maybe some sticks of enigma meat which purport to be “teriyaki.”
Yes, as with organic food mongers, some look at each use of those obnoxiously colored personal bags as incrementally putting their self-perceived goodness reserves in the black — to the point where they feel perfectly justified in filling up the very same bags with caramel-dipped pork rinds and deep-fried chocolate chip meatballs. In a study conducted by Harvard and Duke business school professors, participants were placed in hypothetical scenarios involving the use of personal reusable versus store-issued bags. And what do you know, those with the reusable bags showed a clear predilection toward buying the junkiest of junk food.
The researchers responsible for pissing off the righteous crusaders of the produce aisle issued a release of their findings in which they stated, “Shoppers often feel virtuous, because they are acting in an environmentally responsible way. That feeling easily persuades them that, because they are being good to the environment, they should treat themselves to cookies or potato chips or some other product with lots of fat, salt, or sugar.” Which leads one to think that maybe you could be even more environmentally conscious by bypassing the flimsy bags and shop using those plastic trick-or-treating pumpkins.
Your Facebook “Likes” Can Be Used To Predict Your Intelligence (Or Lack Thereof)
“Liking” things on Facebook can be something of an arbitrary affair, depending on momentary whims and how you feel about expending incredibly minuscule amounts of energy at the time. Sometimes you don’t give your “likes” much thought, and sometimes you just need all your friends to know you’re a fan of that specific Family Guy background character. But can your “like” patterns reveal whether or not you’re a complete moron? One study suggests that it’s entirely possible.
Univ. Of Cambridge Believe it or not, liking the band Poison and Madea movies doesn’t reflect well on you.
After analyzing the likes of 58,466 volunteers, the data crunchers at University of Cambridge Psychometrics Center and Microsoft Research Cambridge claim that Facebook poking can reveal your gender, politics, sexual orientation, where and what you worship, and, as mentioned, your intelligence. Enjoy LOTR and curly fries? You’re a genius. A fan of the star of one of the most popular motorcycle companies in the world? Ahoy there, dipshit. The stats seem a bit arbitrary, and the researchers didn’t provide much information beyond how they think if you listen to Lady Antebellum, you should probably be wearing a helmet (good thing you’re probably a Harley enthusiast).
The goal of all this, in case you haven’t figured it out already, is to better figure out how to sell you shit. Thanks to your idle clicking, retailers will be privy to such useful nuggets of information as “users who liked the ‘Hello Kitty’ brand tended to be high on Openness and low on ‘Conscientiousness,’ ‘Agreeableness,’ and ‘Emotional Stability.'” Awesome. The researchers do seem to be aware of the privacy concerns people might have about their activities, but they’re hoping that “the trust and goodwill among parties interacting in the digital environment can be maintained by providing users with transparency and control over their information, leading to an individually controlled balance between the promises and perils of the Digital Age.”
We realize that’s a lot of big words for those of you who enjoy such things as National Lampoon’s European Vacation and “propagating the human species.” Maybe ask one of your friends who likes watching The Godfather during thunderstorms to sound them out for you.
Getting Religious Is A Red Flag When Applying For A Loan
Applying for a loan can involve a lot of praying, but actually mentioning God on the application is a bad idea, according to economists. Not because you run the risk of offending Plutus, the Roman god of filthy lucre, but because doing so apparently means you’re more than twice as likely to default.
Smartbrief.com While terms like “hospital” may indicate regrets about getting the money through a loan shark.
When three economists from Columbia and the University of Delaware set out to find predictors of how reliable loan applicants will be in terms of paying up, they compiled voluminous data from a peer-to-peer lending site called Prosper. Using the brief write-ups that customers completed to explain why they needed a loan, the economists compiled a list of words that were used frequently by the 13 percent who would ultimately renege. They then called their study “When Words Sweat: Written Words Can Predict Loan Default.” (Really, Columbia Title Guy?)
Anyways, the economists found out some obvious things, like how the words “promotion” and “graduating” can be associated with financial stability, while “divorce,” “child support,” and “bankruptcy” meant the borrower was more likely to hightail it to Mexico. A more surprising finding was that when someone mentions external sources, like family members and their relationship to a higher power, it can be indicative of a “deceptive language style,” since liars tend to avoid talking about themselves. Which also explains why they tend to use the royal “we” when referring to themselves — something we find … um … goddammit.
If You Like Bitter Foods, There’s An Increased Chance You’re A Psychopath
People who drink their coffee black, shunning the creamy goodness of “half and half” or so much as a single grain of sugar, are seen as no-nonsense, can-do tough guys/gals. Or sometimes as tortured artsyfarts who need to stay up long into the night creating their caffeinated masterpieces without the bourgeois decadence of a whipped-cream-topped nonsense concoction from Starbucks.
It’s not just coffee — liking any food that tastes bitter could be a sign you’re a raving psychopath, according to a study from Austria’s Innsbruck University. On a similar note, those who prefer nasty beer, tonic water, and otherwise non-sweet liquid fare have a greater chance of showing signs of “Machiavellianism, sadism and narcissism, meaning they were more prone to being duplicitous, vain, selfish and deriving pleasure from other’s pain.”
So why does drinking a can of Pabst while licking a grapefruit you found in an alley point to antisocial behaviors? The researchers don’t have a solid answer for that yet, or even whether it’s biological, psychological, or some combination thereof. Also, bear in mind that the study could include the sort of personality types who pretend to like the taste of Guinness in an attempt to look cool, while simultaneously wincing like they’ve been punched in the gut. In other words, liars. Unfortunately, the researchers didn’t mention any plans to investigate further, so until this is all sorted out, we can’t recommend trying to intimidate your way out of accidentally knocking over a row or motorcycles in front of a biker bar by gobbling Lemonheads.
E. Reid Ross is the author of Nature Is The Worst: 500 Reasons You’ll Never Want To Go Outside Again, which is in stores now and available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
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