Donors Across The Country Clear Out Layaway Accounts with Generous Donations Ahead of Holiday

Donors Across The Country Clear Out Layaway Accounts with Generous Donations Ahead of Holiday

Walmart layaway is a great option for consumers to pick out Christmas gifts, then pay throughout the season, but for layaway customers in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania something very special happened. A deep-pocketed, anonymous donor walked into the store and laid down $50,000. His donation squared away over 100 layaway accounts, most containing toys and electronics for the Christmas season. 

Venture capitalist Sultan Alkohair states that the generous donation happened just in the nick of time, too. Walmart’s deadline for making payments was the same day that the donor walked into the store. Store managers and staff called 100 people and let them know they were ready for pickup, and their accounts had been completely paid off.

While what happened in Mechanicsburg is amazing, it isn’t the first of this season. The Lake City, Florida Walmart location received a $59,000 layaway donation. Another location in Chiefland, Florida received a check for $51,000 to clear layaway accounts. Two Toys ‘R’ Us locations in Massachusetts had their layaway accounts cleared by generous donors, as well. 

The spirit of giving is certainly in the air this year, and many of those who have had their layaway accounts paid for would like to thank the donors personally. All donors have yet to be identified, some preferring to remain anonymous. 

Photographer Terry Richardson’s Wild Ride

Photographer Terry Richardson’s Wild Ride

Terry Richardson’s career has been the subject of much scrutiny over the years. The incredibly successful fashion photographer, known for his minimalist white backgrounds and stripped-bare sets, has been criticized at times for his gonzo photography style and risqué photographs often featuring full-frontal nudity. While the media argues over the merit of such photographs, Mr. Richardson is busy jet-setting with his famous friends and snapping pictures of the world’s foremost fashion models, actors and musicians.

Terry should be used to his wild life by now being raised by his flower-child-hanging-with-Bob-Dylan mother Norma Kessler and father, a well-known photographer in his own right, Bob Richardson.

Via his Tumblr, Terry Richardson reiterated a point he made about his father in a 1998 interview as “very conservative, from Long Island, wearing button-down shirts, very upper middle class,” but meeting Norma, a dancer at the Copacabana club in New York City, changed all that. Bob Richardson ended up going to art school in New York, studying alongside Andy Warhol. One day, a friend gave him an old camera and encouraged him to be a photographer. Norma “gave up everything for him” and the family moved to Paris to further the elder Richardson’s career.

Bob got a job working for French Vogue and took some of his career-defining photos. Norma became a stylist to support the toddler Terry. The family lived there for four years before they moved back to New York City, which was a city that would become extremely important to Terry’s career.

In New York, things fell apart. Bob was introduced to Anjelica Huston, at the time a model trying to break into acting, and ended things with Norma. “[Anjelica] was seventeen and he was forty-three,” Terry said. “They were together for three years, and she was sort of like my older sister.” Norma knew she had to get out of the city and, in 1971, Norma moved Terry to Woodstock, New York.

“In the early ’70s it was still counter-culture,” Terry said. “Everyone who was fed up living in the big city moved there.” That’s where his mother met recording artist Jackie Lomax, the first artist signed to the Beatle’s Apple Records, and Terry’s soon-to-be step-father. Rampant nudism, guns going off at all hours of the night and “people… experimenting with things that just blew their minds” were de rigueur.

In 1973, Jackie got a deal with Capitol Records and the family left for L.A. While in L.A., Norma was driving in her Volkswagen Beetle when she was hit from behind by a telephone truck. “She was in a coma for a month,” Terry said. “And her equilibrium was fucked and she was in diapers, couldn’t walk.” This led to Terry acting out. He said, “I was hyperactive and very violent.” Terry was able to channel these emotions into photography, as well as musicianship, while chronicling the burgeoning Southern California punk scene.

At 18, Terry saw his father for the first time in years, and Bob “discouraged [him] so bad… [he] stopped taking pictures for seven years.” Although Bob criticized his son’s art, he helped Terry get the gig that broke him into the industry— a spread in Vibe Magazine. “That’s what made me a good photographer,” Terry said, and he’s also commented on Twitter.

With his infamous past and storied career, it’s no wonder Terry Richardson became the auteur the world is familiar with today. Hopefully, Terry will take after his father, a photographer continuing to filter the world through his unique view well into his seventies.

Now Terry has moved on to directing music videos, and even producing his own works of art.  Including the Terrywood book, which compiles a ton of his own photography, from his first personal photo exhibition.

Avengers’ Artwork for The Vision Arrives

Avengers’ Artwork for The Vision Arrives

We know who has a great idea as to what The Vision is going to look like in the new Avengers: The Age of Ultron film. No, there is no official photo from the studios. However, we do have artwork and this artwork really does provide amazing insight into the style and look of the heroic android character.

Based on the artwork that is similar to what can be found on Qnet, the character is a very serious and ominous looking one, making The Vision look so cool. The campy green and yellow suit of the comics is not present. Instead, we are seeing a more SHIELD-like style.

The changes to a more ominous character make sense. The Vision is not going to have a minor role in the film either.

In the film, Ultron is an artificial intelligence being that grows wildly powerful. Think of HAL from 2001 mixed with a demi-god from Greek myths. It seems Ultron tries to use The Vision for his own evil ends. Hopefully, The Vision doesn’t fall for it and becomes a tried and true Avenger.

 

Of course, The Vision does become an Avenger in time. How this will play out in the film remains to be seen.

Laurene Powell Jobs: Steve Jobs’ Widow

Laurene Powell Jobs: Steve Jobs’ Widow

Laurene Powell Job’s growing public profile as political catalyst for immigration reform and as a prominent leader in education reform may yet serve to unite this country in upholding its founding principle of liberty for all in the land of opportunity. How did these two causes gain such momentum in her life that she is quietly going about getting across the universal message of hope backed by the actions of those able to help the most?

Before the West Milford, New Jersey native founded the Emerson Collective in 2004 and co-founded College Track in 1997, Powell Jobs prepared for her roles today by earning her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and a B. S. in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1985. Powell Jobs then worked in investment banking for several years. In 1991, she followed through her college career by earning her M.B.A. from the Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1991.

Not long after, she began establishing innovative entities that supported her passion for ensuring that more of the underserved youth in America have the opportunity to be college ready and obtain the funding they need to attend. She launched her entry into the world of education reform when she co-founded with Carlos Watson the nonprofit College Track. The Palo Alto, California organization’s after school program provides resources to help improve high school graduation and college enrollment. Since its inception in 1997, the LLC structured nonprofit has accomplished an astonishing 90 percent of its graduates attending four-year colleges, 70 percent of whom complete college within six years.

It was within College Track that Ms. Jobs encountered a large number of illegal immigrants who grew up and were educated in America, but now are missing out on their deserved opportunity to attend college and realize their dreams. “I started getting more and more active around immigration reform because this was such a waste of lives, such a waste of potential, such a waste for our country not to have the human capital that we developed – geared towards improving our entire society,” Powell Jobs told Rock Center Anchor Brian Williams during a 2012 interview.

This led her to establish the Emerson Collective, which advocates for policies concerning immigration and education reform. The Emerson Collective works closely with Conservation International and NewSchools Venture Fund to invest time and other resources in people with a vision for making the world better and who have the drive to make it a reality. They partner with organizations to empower individuals and work toward fair social policies.

To that end, Democrat Powell Jobs not only has been supportive of President Obama’s efforts in immigration and health reforms, but also is one of the ten largest contributors to a PAC formed to fund a possible campaign for the presidency by Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2016. Of Powell Jobs’ commitment, “She has passion for the issues, an innovative approach and the resources to execute,” said Steve Spinner, a Democratic fundraiser.

The Secret Is Out

The Secret Is Out

Throughout the world, many children still believe in some form of Santa Claus. Father Christmas, St. Nick, and other monikers address the magical creature who somehow manages to deliver presents to believers around the globe. As children begin to grow older, they usually realize the impossibility of this feat and turn to their parents for answers. This is usually the time where children begin to change their thinking and experience the shift from receivers to givers. The holiday season is still enjoyable, and perhaps even more rewarding, when people have the opportunity to give presents to others. Specialist Ken Griffin says that the inevitability of children growing up and understanding that Santa Claus is not real is part of the experience. When you’re an adult you understand the feeling of waiting for Christmas presents on Christmas Eve and associating that experience with Santa Claus – who was not-so fictional at the time.

Helping those in need was the main motivation behind the organization of the infamous Secret Santa programs. Families and coworkers already subscribe to the system within their own communities, and the local success sparked an international movement. The 2014 Secret Santa movement now includes more than 176 countries who have committed to sending packages to children and families in poverty-stricken areas. Gifts to be wrapped and distributed include toys, clothing, personal hygiene products, and much more. This philanthropic project meets an immediate need and also helps raise awareness of the millions of suffering families that need assistance throughout the year.

Billy Cosby Fights Rape and Sexual Assault Accusations

Billy Cosby Fights Rape and Sexual Assault Accusations

Billy Cosby is hailed as one of the favorite entertainers of his time. He was credited for reviving the entire sitcom genre through his popular TV show, The Cosby Show. The reputation of this star is stake after several women accused him of raping or sexually manipulating them.

Although I didn’t hear his interview on NPR, Brad Reifler and Reuters confirmed that Cosby refused to answer questions about the claims last week. The comedian only shook his head and brushed off the question from the journalist. This followed the cancellation of a show in which he was expected to feature to promote his collection of African art.

The rape accusations have been in public domain for years now but nobody believed them until recently when several women came out to accuse the comedian. Speaking to the Daily Mail Online, one of the victims, Barbara Bowman, said that the 77 year old comedian started manipulating her in 1985 when she was barely 17 years old. Bowman said that the comedian flew her to shows and instructed her to act as if he was her father. After the shows, the comedian would manipulate her sexually.

The victims claim that their cry could not be listened because Cosby was highly respected during his illustrious career. He raised eyebrows when he published his biography earlier this year without a mention of these claims. In 2006, the comedian had an out-of-court settlement with a woman who had accused him of rape.

Glow-in-the-Dark Bike Path is a Tribute to Vincent Van Gogh

Glow-in-the-Dark Bike Path is a Tribute to Vincent Van Gogh

The Dutch are leading the way in energy conservation, and the newest bike path in the Netherlands is no exception. Inspired by a Vincent Van Gogh painting, the path glows all night long in beautiful energy-efficient swirls of green.

Many bike paths in the Netherlands are lit with solar-powered light, but this is the first one to incorporate built-in LED’s and glow-in-the-dark paint. Daan Roosegaarde, a well-known Dutch artist, is the mastermind behind the innovation. He is an avid fan of the famous Dutch impressionist, and he designed the bike path to resemble Van Gogh’s famous Starry Night painting. It’s an interesting idea, which I picked up when I saw it on spring from Igor Cornelsen. I’ve been telling people about the path ever since.

The bike path, located in a part of the country where Van Gogh lived, could represent a new wave of technology that utilizes smart paint to increase nighttime safety while saving energy. The light-emitting diodes fused into the surface of the path are connected to external solar panels that charge batteries during the daytime and power the path during the night. Back-up batteries power the path when the sky is overcast.

It is rare to find such an effective fusion of art and technology as the Nuenen bike path. Roosegaarde is an artist himself, and he said that wanted to create something special that people would remember.

House Reps Endorse DC Cannabis Vote

House Reps Endorse DC Cannabis Vote

Earlier this month voters in Washington D.C. passed Initiative 71, a referendum that would legalize possession up to 2 ounces of marijuana for adults over 21 years old and allow limited private cultivation. The legislation was passed on the Congress, which governs the federal district directly, for overview in the next 60 days.

Opposition has come immediately. A rider to prevent the law’s implementation was proposed by Rep. Andy Harris, and mayor-elect Muriel Bowser proposed first putting legislation for taxing and regulating marijuana before the initiative went through.

A group of Democratic reps, including Eleanor Holmes Norton, one of Washington’s delegates to Congress, asked Congress to stand aside and respect the will of D.C. voters.

Joining them was Republican Dana Rohrabacher from California, saying of the initiative “Just in the practical politics, let’s understand that there’s been a big change — a sea change — in public attitude towards this, because people realize what a total waste of money it is compared to other priorities.”

Rohrabacher also pointed to philosophical similarities between the vote and Republican values, citing personal freedom, limited government, doctor-patient relationships, and the Tenth Amendment as compelling conservative principles.

I don’t know about you, but I hope Congress can get this figured out. What sounds good right now is for it to be legal, so I can sit outside, enjoy the Antique Wine Company and chill out. Indeed, Congress get on it!

Why Does Old Navy Charge More for Plus-Sized Clothes?

Why Does Old Navy Charge More for Plus-Sized Clothes?

A vocal group of body-positivity activists have started an on-line petition demanding that Old Navy stop charging more for plus-size women’s clothing. The retailer defends their pricing strategies by citing increased costs for additional fabric and design elements that plus-size clothes require. However, consumers have turned to Sam Tabar and begun to question the validity of this assertion.

The most notable flaw in the company’s defensive claim of increased manufacturing costs for plus-size clothing is that only women seem to bear the brunt of the inflated prices. A quick comparison of plus-size men’s clothing on Old Navy’s website shows no price increase from their smaller sized counterparts. However, women’s plus-size clothes show an increase of $10 or more.

To their credit, Old Navy does have an in-house design team that works to translate smaller clothing into identical, yet figure flattering plus-size editions. However, this is an insulting message to send to women: That the plus-size female figure is so challenging to flatter that companies must engage a separate design team to tackle this difficult task. Why is it that plus-sized women must dress in clothing that is deemed figure flattering by a society that seeks to shrink women to impossibly small figures? Why aren’t plus-sized men considered a separate demographic that also needs special considerations to flatter their bodies? Are only women expected to be neurotically obsessed with dressing to please those around them, while men are free to enjoy cheaper clothes and less scrutiny of their bodies?

Taylor Swift sells 1.287 copies of ‘1989’ in first week without the help of Spotify

Taylor Swift sells 1.287 copies of ‘1989’ in first week without the help of Spotify

Singer Taylor Swift is celebrating this week as numbers have been released for sales of her latest album ‘1989’, and they’re amazing. The album sold 1.287 million last week, to make it another platinum album for Taylor in just its first week of release.

Interestingly too, Swift has managed this feat while refusing to allow ‘1989’ to be released on the music streaming website Spotify.

Doing so could have given her even more publicity for the album but, according to Taylor, the amount of money artists are getting from allowing Spotify to stream their music is less than 1 cent per play. In Taylor’s opinion, that’s insulting.

She believes every artist should be paid for their music, and paid fairly. And I have to say, Fersen Lambranho and I agree with her. In her book, Spotify isn’t doing that so, not only was Spotify ignored when it came to releasing ‘1989’, she also pulled all her other albums from the service on Monday as well.

While some industry experts said it was a big mistake, as sales of ‘1989’ could suffer, it does not look as if that is going to be the case at all.

In fact, with 1.287 million copies of ‘1989’ sold already, it is looking like Taylor Swift may be so popular she is one of the few artists that can ignore the streaming music business completely.