USA Soldiers American Flag

Members of Congress Still Get Their $174,000 Salary During a Government Shutdown. Others Will Have to Work Without Pay. But Wait, There’s More.

As of September 29, 2:00 pm Central Time, the government shutdown is actually possible. Politicians, experts, strategists, and professors are among those who have been providing different examples of what the shutdown will look like. From unpaid TSA personnel to 19,000 unpaid border agents, this government shutdown isn’t as irrelevant as people may think. Below is a partial list of how we the people will be affected (with sources) by reporting the plans that might be implemented.

Cybersecurity and Physical Security Support to the Nation’s Critical Infrastructure: CISA would also be forced to suspend both physical and cybersecurity assessments for government and industry partners. Perhaps more cyberattacks are in the works now that this deadline is looming and the government shutdown has worldwide coverage.

Disruptions to Air Transportation from Multiple Sides: If you have flights to catch, get ready for some “significant delays” if the government shutdown happens. On average, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screens 2.5 million passengers every day. There is already a pilot and air traffic controller shortage so if the government shuts down there will be fewer people to work these positions. If they are given the opportunity to continue working they would be required to continue working, but without pay.

“CBP agents and officers working at over 300 ports of entry and protecting more than 6,000 miles of border under challenging circumstances would be required to continue performing their vital missions without pay.” This includes issues like securing borders, seizing fentanyl, combating child exploitation, and arresting human traffickers.

government shutdown
U.S. Border Patrol

About 1.3 Million Active-Duty Service Members Will Serve Without Pay: With the government shutdown, all military personnel will continue in a normal duty status regardless of their affiliation with excepted or non-excepted activities until such time as Congress makes appropriated funds available to compensate them for this period of service.

Hardship for Nearly 40,000 Active Military Personnel: The U.S. Coast Guard may not even be paid for their unpaid work unless a specific appropriation is passed. They are also unique in that they are not allowed to apply for unemployment benefits either. This is not the case for the other military branches. Additionally, unlike civilian employees, they are not able to file for interim support such as unemployment benefits to supplement their income until an appropriation is passed.

government shutdown
U.S. Coastguard

Small Business Administration (SBA) to stop processing new business loans for small businesses:

Each weekday the government is shut down, and small business loan applications will be halted, which may cause small business owners to turn to high-interest, price-gouging non-government loans.

Pro-Life? Not After Birth: The Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) nutrition program serves about 50% of babies born in this country and is at risk. Head Start, which supports education for 3- and 4-year-olds across the country, and women and children who count on WIC would soon start being turned away at grocery store counters, with a federal contingency fund drying up after just a few days and many states left with limited WIC funds to operate the program.

Senior citizens may have a hard time getting food too: Meals on Wheels, which brings food to elderly people many of whom can’t drive or go to the store on their own, could also get interrupted.

Newborn baby

What is the hold up? The Republicans are demanding that their specific budget cut proposal pass. Members of Congress indicate that this 8% budget cut proposed will result in:

  • 800 fewer Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents and officers
  • 50,000 pounds of cocaine, more than 300 pounds of fentanyl, more than 700 pounds of heroin, and more than 6,000 pounds of methamphetamine let into our country due to cuts to CBP
  • 110,000 children would lose access to Head Start slots
  • 65,000 children would lose access to childcare
  • 60,000 seniors would be robbed of nutrition services like Meals on Wheels
  • 2.1 million women, infants, and children would be waitlisted for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
  • Up to 40,000 fewer teachers, aides, or other key staff across the country, affecting 26 million students in schools that teach low-income students and 7.5 million students with disabilities
  • Nearly 70 fewer Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agents, who are often some of the first federal law enforcement on the scene of a mass shooting to help local law enforcement identify at-large shooters—and 13 furlough days for ATF’s entire workforce
  • 4,000 fewer rail safety inspection days next year alone, with nearly 11,000 fewer miles of track inspected annually—enough track to cross the United States more than 3 times
  • 145 fewer members of local law enforcement due to cuts at the Department of Justice
  • Nearly 300,000 households—including 20,000 veterans and 90,000 seniors—would lose housing choice vouchers, putting them at greater risk of homelessness
  • A roughly $500 reduction to the maximum Pell Grant for 6.6 million students
  • 4,000 fewer FBI personnel, including agents who investigate crimes
  • 250,000 American workers would be denied job training and employment services—resulting in 35,000 fewer workers gaining the opportunity of a Registered Apprenticeship
  • 50,000 workers would lose an average of $1,000 in back wages they are owed
  • People applying for disability benefits would have to wait months longer
© Vincent Giordano |

A government shutdown should not be a bargaining chip. The congress members still get paid a pretty nice $174,000 salary so they don’t necessarily feel the impact. Maybe it is time to include Congress in one of these categories where if the government shuts down they also have to work for free. Otherwise, there is no urgency to get things done on time, and these elected officials end up harming their constituents and their livelihoods.

Hopefully this article will be irrelevant soon! Congress – do your best.


Political Terms Defined: Fascist, Socialist, Communist, and Democracy

As political turmoil ensues, name-calling is getting increasingly…convoluted. The definitions of words like “fascist” or “socialist” are thrown around quite a bit, but in many cases, the true meaning of the term is misunderstood or misinterpreted.

These words are the go-to insults to hurl at the other side, regardless of whether they are being used correctly. So what do all these terms actually mean? Here are some examples of the recent rhetoric and topics of discussion that need some clarity.

Words, phrases, and theories that can help in any political conversation

Democracy – Not to be completely associated with “Democrats”. Whether you identify as a Democrat or Republican, the US form of government is commonly called a Democracy in which the leaders are chosen by the people.

Merriam-Webster defines democracy as a. a government by the people especiallyrule of the majority, or b. a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections.

Between the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution, citizens are given freedoms that cannot be infringed upon. Lately, one of the most referenced amendments is Freedom of Speech.

Freedom of speech

This amendment is often misinterpreted as being allowed to say anything to anyone without any trouble or legal implications. However, this is not entirely true.

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh states some of the limitations of the First Amendment:

The First Amendment only protects your speech from government censorship. It applies to federal, state, and local government actors. This is a broad category that includes not only lawmakers and elected officials, but also public schools and universities, courts, and police officers.  It does not include private citizens, businesses, and organizations.

Here are some examples of Permissible restrictions on expression”

Private companies can’t be forced to publish or broadcast opinions they don’t agree with.

Private businesses can fire someone for expressing political views

Telling a group of people to go commit violence, making threats, knowingly spreading lies, obscenity, defamation – will likely have consequences that could result in lawsuits of millions of dollars.

Here is a short summary of Democracy vs Fascism before diving into Socialism:

Fascism vs Democracy – What’s The Difference? – Political Comparison – The Infographics Show

Fascism vs Socialism (Fascists and Socialists)

Fascism – A single individual is in control of everything, including the conduct of the people, society, and industries in the country. Private ownership is restrictive, and there is no freedom of speech for anyone. Fascism aims to strengthen the nation in prosperity rather than the people of the nation.

Socialism – Public welfare is the priority of Socialism, with the eradication of poverty as the driver of this form of government. The Powers are owned by the people and control is decentralized and distributed among the states. There is a strong focus on balancing the social classes.

Comparing Fascism and Socialism

WallStreetMojo summarises the differences between Fascism and Socialism in a few charts below.

Fascism Socialism

Fascism vs. Socialism – A Comparison Infographic

What about Communism?

Now that socialism and fascism have been compared, let’s throw communism into the mix for comparison as well.

Communism definition

Communism vs. Fascism – A Comparison Infographic

The more you know

There are surely plenty more forms of government across the world that were not covered here, but at least for now, Fascism, Communism, and Socialism appear to be the insults most often used in a verbal argument regarding the “left” and the “right”. At least now you can be sure you are using the right term to describe the type of political affiliation just in case you may actually be complementing them instead of trying to intentionally hurt them. So instead, be nice out there and all just get along.

Writers Guild Strike Hollywood 2023

Without the Writers, There Would Be No Hollywood

Creating entertainment in Hollywood was much simpler before streaming. The writers wrote, the actors acted, the show would air, and everyone would get paid for their part in the project along with residuals if the show was picked up for syndication or re-runs. This was the structure that everyone involved in creating the show could rely on to earn income after the series had come to an end.

Now that the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) has joined forces with SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists), it is not just the writers and actors feeling the pain. The shutdown has a ripple effect that reaches all the workers behind the scenes as well. Lighting, sound engineers, set design, catering, makeup artists, and a ton of other occupations that are crucial to the process may also be out of a job.

NBC TV Show Friends
ID 176589996 © Info849943 |

At the heart of the strike are two major demands – fair pay and regulations for AI technology that will soon come for all industries everywhere. While there are not many examples of just how far AI could impact Hollywood, the possibilities are endless. AI could end up being the “writers” for movies and shows. Using this technology wouldn’t create anything new, it would take bits and pieces of what exists out there on the internet and make a script.

It is possible that AI could also take the likeness of actors and actresses to where they may be seen in the movie but not actually be acting in the movie. There may not be a need to hire extras if AI can create them. If there were no sets, no actors, no writers, or no crew, everything would be generated, not created.

SAG AFTRA Hollywood Movie and Writers Strike 2023
SAG AFTRA Hollywood Movie and Writers Strike 2023

Meanwhile, the top Hollywood executives made hundreds of millions of dollars over the past 5 years.

The top Hollywood exec made $498 million in the last 5 years

Making movies and shows in Hollywood sounds like a very prestigious and lucrative career if you associate the industry with the top 1% of actors making millions of dollars per movie or per episode. But the writers are the heart of Hollywood. The stories are made into scripts by the writers. To get a project off the ground, the script must make the rounds to the production studios, and the actors must connect with the script and the story to want to bring it to life. The directors need to believe that the story can be brought to life. The audience needs to have that emotional investment in the storyline, characters, and progression from beginning to end.

Hollywood move TV set
ID 111716913 © Ppengcreative |

Do the right thing

The giant Hollywood studios do have a plan – wait until the writers run out of money. “The endgame is to allow things to drag on until union members start losing their apartments and losing their houses,” a studio executive told Deadline. Another with inside information about the tactic called it “a cruel but necessary evil.” – Distractify

Without the writers, no story would be told, no characters would be created, and popular culture would barely exist as it is today. Actors wouldn’t have any projects they would want to be a part of. The studios continue to make a lot of money, but without the writers, they wouldn’t have anything to make money from.  

Hollywood Movies and TV Writers on strike
Writers Guild on Strike 2023

For more information about the Writers Guild of America, where to picket, and how to help, click the image below or this link here.

Writers Guild Reports - The State of the Industry Hollywood
Writers Guild Reports – The State of the Industry

Read The State of the Industry WGA Report.

DC Comics Batman The Flash

Spoiler Alert: Comparing “The Flash” to “Spider-Man: No Way Home”

It’s summertime, which means it’s time for the movie studios to release their most expensive and hyped movies of the year. “The Flash” was one of those highly anticipated comic book movies from the DC universe. Ezra Miller was cast as The Flash all the way back in 2014, the movie was greenlit in October 2015, and the original release date was March 23, 2018. After a steady stream of setbacks due to script changes, creative differences, COVID, and some PR disasters to clean up from Ezra’s streak of off-screen incidents, the final movie release date was pushed all the way to June 2023. Typically promotion for a giant movie like “The Flash” would be a massive part of the process to get people hyped to see it, but they had to move forward with a toned-down press tour that kept Ezra away from the public eye as much as possible. This likely impacted the success of the opening weekend even though the promotion budget for the film was speculated to be about $65 million.

I am starting to venture into the DC universe now that James Gunn will be in the driver’s seat starting in 2025, which is a blessing for the mess of movies and bad casting up that DC has gone through. Although he didn’t have much to do with “The Flash”, this movie was seen as the reset to a better future for DC. I had the benefit of not knowing anything about “The Flash” or the actor who played him (more on that later), and the only thing I knew was that there were going to be a few Batman cameos.  The observations here will probably be obvious to those of you who are familiar with The Flash, so feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

I couldn’t help but compare this movie to Marvel franchises, so this article will be comparing “The Flash” from the DC Cinematic Universe with “Spiderman: No Way Home” from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The Young Superhero Complex

The movie did a good job introducing The Flash (also known as Barry Allen) and the dynamics of his existence within the first 5-10 minutes of the film. Not bad considering the movie run time is 2 hours and 24 minutes. The movie opens in a familiar superhero fashion, with an action-packed rescue scene that usually would be too big of a task for rookie superheroes. The movie starts in Gotham City, where Batman still reigns supreme and The Flash is the kid who has something to prove.

“The Flash” vs. “Spiderman: No Way Home” storylines

If you zoom all the way out, “The Flash” has some notable similarities to “Spiderman: No Way Home”. Both live in a world where superheroes are part of life, and they have fans that either love or hate them. The Flash and Spider-Man (also known as Peter Parker) were warned of the dangers of the multiverse if they pursue their respective missions but they decided to do it anyway.

The Flash travels to the past

The Flash (Barry) is still a little clumsy with his powers, so Batman is still the one to count on to save the day in this Gotham City. Still traumatized by the death of his mother and the wrongful incarceration of his father, Barry wanted to turn back time to save them both. The wiser Batman warned against the mission, but Barry did it anyway.

The Flash DC Movie Batman
Warner Bros. Pictures and DC Comics.

Spider-Man brings the past to the present day

Spider-Man’s mentor-type figure in “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is fellow Avenger, Dr. Strange. His best friends were not accepted into college due to their affiliation with Spider-Man, so Peter felt that the only way to fix the situation was to go to Dr. Strange for a memory-erasing spell. The spell did not go as planned, and instead of traveling back in time, Spider-Man opened a portal to the multiverse, where the timelines ran parallel.

The OG Michael Keaton Batman had his OG gear, and it was awesome

The Michael Keaton Batman brought back the classic yellow and black insignia on his armor and dusted off the old Batmobile to fight alongside The Flash on his mission. The classic theme song from the early “Batman” movies was weaved into the scenes at particular moments that felt organic and nostalgic.

Batman The Flash
Warner Bros. Pictures and DC Comics

The cameos

Some of the former Batmen from earlier films make cameos in “The Flash” that longtime DC fans were excited for. While Batman’s part in “The Flash” movie was emphasized in the trailers and promo for the movie, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” took a different approach to bring back former Spider-Men. Although speculation and leaks were hinting that cameos might be in order, it was the where, when, and how the Spider-Men teamed up that took audiences by surprise.

spider man no way home maguire garfield holland Spoiler Alert: Comparing "The Flash" to "Spider-Man: No Way Home"
Marvel Comics and Sony Pictures

Final thoughts

For one of the first DC movies that I’ve taken an active interest in with higher expectations, “The Flash” did meet those expectations for me and I think Ezra Miller did a great job. I waited a week to start digging into Ezra Miller’s past because unfortunately, it did negatively affect my perspective on the actor. I’m not sure if I could watch another movie of his without thinking about the chaotic life of alleged assault, burglary, and odd behavior. I wish him well and hope he learns from his mistakes and works on his mental health so he can come back to the iconic character in the DC franchise.

I give “The Flash” an overall rating of B. With all the other twists and turns throughout the movie, it was fun to watch even with limited knowledge of the DC universe.

Here are the full trailers for “The Flash” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home”, and let me know if you agree with the comparisons!

Check out my review of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3

hamilton 7984f03f The Standout Lyrics from Hamilton that Impressed Fans and Critics Alike

The Standout Lyrics from Hamilton that Impressed Fans and Critics Alike

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s impact on Broadway pushed the bounds of when art meets hip-hop and storytelling. Hamilton – An American Musical opened in 2015 and quickly became a worldwide phenomenon. Well-known public figures across politics, music, Hollywood, and pro-sports have praised the award-winning show for its ingenuity. Hamilton attracted a huge fan following while also appealing to a younger demographic for Broadway overall.

If you listen closely, you can hear the references to lyrics that were written by Mobb Deep, Grandmaster Flash, Jay Z, Notorious B.I.G., DMX, and a number of other well-known hip-hop artists. 

Hamilton took seven years to bring to the final stages. In addition to the overwhelming popularity of the show, Hamilton has already earned 11 Tony Awards, the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, 7 Oliver Awards, and the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album. The musical’s film adaptation was originally scheduled for movie theater release, but due to COVID, it was released on Disney +, the only streaming platform where Hamilton can be seen for now.

reel grab hamilton 06 e3435647 The Standout Lyrics from Hamilton that Impressed Fans and Critics Alike
Lin-Manuel Miranda is Alexander Hamilton and Phillipa Soo is Eliza Hamilton in HAMILTON, the filmed version of the original Broadway production.

Here are some of the most memorable lyrics from the songs on the original Hamilton Broadway Cast Album.

Alexander Hamilton
[Aaron Burr]

Plannin’ for the future see him now as he stands on
The bow of a ship headed for the new land
In New York you can be a new man”

hamilton 034 1d8d4780 The Standout Lyrics from Hamilton that Impressed Fans and Critics Alike
Daveed Diggs is the Marquis de Lafayette, Okieriete Onaodowan is Hercules Mulligan, Lin-Manuel Miranda is Alexander Hamilton, Leslie Odom, Jr. is Aaron Burr and Anthony Ramos is John Laurens in HAMILTON, the filmed version of the original Broadway production.

My Shot
[Alexander Hamilton]

“I gotta holler just to be heard
With every word, I drop knowledge
I’m a diamond in the rough, a shiny piece of coal
Tryin’ to reach my goal. My power of speech: unimpeachable
Only nineteen but my mind is older
These New York City streets get colder, I shoulder…..

My Shot – “Im young, scrappy and hungry and I’m not throwing away my shot!


“………..I’m past patiently waitin’
I’m passionately smashin’ every expectation
Every action’s an act of creation
I’m laughin’ in the face of casualties and sorrow
For the first time, I’m thinkin’ past tomorrow”


“………..Don’t be shocked when your history book mentions me
I will lay down my life if it sets us free
Eventually, you’ll see my ascendancy”

hamilton 019 w1 28048dcc The Standout Lyrics from Hamilton that Impressed Fans and Critics Alike
Phillipa Soo is Eliza Hamilton, Renée Elise Goldsberry is Angelica Schuyler and Jasmine Cephas Jones is Peggy Schuyler in HAMILTON, the filmed version of the original Broadway production.

Schulyer Sisters
[Aaron Burr]

“Excuse me, miss, I know it’s not funny
But your perfume smells like your daddy’s got money”

[Angelica Schulyer]

“You want a revolution? I want a revelation!
So, listen to my declaration:
‘We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal
And when I meet Thomas Jefferson
I’m a’ compel him to include women in the sequel, work!”

Yorktown – “Immigrants, we get the job done”

Guns and Ships

“I’m takin this horse by the reins makin’
Redcoats redder with bloodstains
And I’m never gonna stop until I make ‘em
Drop and burn ‘em up and scatter their remains, I’m
Watch me engagin’ em! Escapin’ em!
Enragin’ em! I’m—Lafayette”

Cabinet Battle #1
[Thomas Jefferson]

“‘Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.’
We fought for these ideals; we shouldn’t settle for less
These are wise words, enterprising men quote ‘em
Don’t act surprised, you guys, cuz I wrote ‘em”

hamilton 43837a37 The Standout Lyrics from Hamilton that Impressed Fans and Critics Alike
Lin-Manuel Miranda is Alexander Hamilton and Daveed Diggs is the Marquis de Lafayette in HAMILTON, the filmed version of the original Broadway production.

[Alexander Hamilton]

“I practiced the law, I practically perfected it
I’ve seen injustice in the world and I’ve corrected it
Now for a strong central democracy
If not, then I’ll be Socrates
Throwing verbal rocks at these mediocrities.”

Nonstop: “Life doesn’t discriminate between the sinners and the saints”

Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)
[Alexander Hamilton]

“I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory.
This is where it gets me,
On my feet, the enemy ahead of me.
If this is the end of me,
At least I have a friend with me.
Weapon in my head,
In command of my men with me.”

Wait For It
[Aaron Burr]

“Life doesn’t discriminate
Between the sinners and the saints
It takes and it takes and it takes
And we keep living anyway
We rise and we fall and we break
And we make our mistakes
And if there’s a reason I’m still alive
When so many have died
Then I’m willin’ to—wait for it”

The Story of Tonight
[Alexander Hamilton]

“I may not live to see our glory
But I will gladly join the fight
And when our children tell our stories
They’ll tell the story of tonight”

0625 06 bd426d9d The Standout Lyrics from Hamilton that Impressed Fans and Critics Alike
Christopher Jackson is George Washington and Lin-Manuel Miranda is Alexander Hamilton in HAMILTON, the filmed version of the original Broadway production.

Room Where it Happens
[Alexander Hamilton]

“When you got skin in the game, you stay in the game
But you don’t get a win unless you play in the game
Oh, you get love for it. You get hate for it
You get nothing if you…wait for it”

hamilton keyart v4 lg bf5980df The Standout Lyrics from Hamilton that Impressed Fans and Critics Alike

For the Love of Hip-Hop

Hamilton-An American Musical will be referenced as one of the most inspiring and innovative musicals of all time, thanks to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s creative mind and passion for hip-hop. You can stream Hamilton now only on Disney +, or catch it live in NYC on Broadway. In addition to the original soundtrack, the Hamilton Mixtape has an impressive list of artists covering the originals in this version, which you can check out here.

If you have different favorite lyrics, let me know in the comments!

HAMILTON – An American Musical

11 Tony Awards, including Best Musical

Pulitzer Prize for Drama

7 Olivier Awards, including Best Musical

Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album

Book, music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda

Based on Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton

Choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler

Musical supervision and orchestrations by Alex Lacamoire

Direction by Thomas Kail

Produced by Jeffrey Seller, Sander Jacobs, Jill Furman and The Public Theater

On Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre (226 West 46th Street) and on tour in the US, in London’s West End, and in Australia and Germany.

Hamilton is the story of America’s Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies, who became George Washington’s right-hand man during the Revolutionary War and was the new nation’s first Treasury Secretary. Hamilton‘s score blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B, and Broadway – the story of America then, as told by America now.

Hamilton features scenic design by David Korins, costume design by Paul Tazewell, lighting design by Howell Binkley, sound design by Nevin Steinberg, hair and wig design by Charles G. LaPointe, and casting by Telsey + Company, Bethany Knox, CSA.

Hamilton is produced by Jeffrey Seller, Sander Jacobs, Jill Furman and The Public Theater.

Abandoned city post-apocalypse

My Post-Apocalyptic Zombie Survival Strategies

Just having a little fun on this one. Of course deemed purely fictional, my escape from the real world is to watch TV and movies about different versions of a post-apocalyptic world that is worse than what is outside my front door.

The true fans of the comic book series and lower-budget movies are likely going to be annoyed that I’m even writing about zombies because I get most of my knowledge from movies, TV shows, and the book “The Zombie Survival Guide” by Max Brooks. Even the CDC has a satirical article about what to do should the zombie apocalypse takes place, which just adds to my love for the culture.

I will cover three of my favorite movies and shows – Walking Dead, World War Z, and I Am Legend – because I am still in awe of The Last of Us. In the meantime, I’ve been putting together a Zombie Apocalypse Survivor Plan. I’m assembling an Avengers-style supergroup to cover the different situations that I assume would be encountered. I have assigned roles to certain friends and they laugh it off, but perhaps I will have the final laugh when any of the fictional scenarios happen.

The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead Cast. Zombies and Monsters.
Gene Page/AMC

The Walking Dead called the zombies “Walkers“, which is fitting for the pace of their movements and how their transformation takes anywhere from three minutes to eight hours after death (in the TV version). These zombies can wander in every part of accessible land and are not affected by sunlight, so they can be encountered anywhere either alone or in groups.  They are able to see and hear, but they aren’t as strong, and people armed with a simple sharp tool would be able to defend themselves unless outnumbered.

After 12 years of the show (2010 to 2022) learning how to deal with the “Walkers” wouldn’t be the biggest threat to the survivors. Every living person would be raiding abandoned homes for food, weapons, ammo, or a safe haven with water and a good amount of furniture to block the doors and windows. Eventually, one crew will run into another and there is no telling if they are good guys or bad guys. If they are lucky to escape the bad guys, they often have to start all over – finding weapons, food, and anything else they had taken from them. If the good guys find another group of good guys, they may find a nice place to post up until something comes along to add some drama to the mix. This article details the number of zombies that were taken out by the main characters.

The plan to survive: Construct a group that has people with a particular set of skills: gardening, hunting, negotiating, scavenging, weapon training, cooking, doctor, and experts in all kinds of items that can be used for self-defense besides guns.

I Am Legend

I am Legend zombie movies
Copyright by Warner Bros.

I Am Legend is not a zombie movie but I put it in the same category for the purpose of this comparison. Watching the movie twice was all I could handle because I sobbed when Will Smith’s canine partner in crime was bitten and Will had to put him down in the middle of the transformation from dog to vampire. Seeing the post-apocalyptic world where vampires are the enemy is what makes the movie so fascinating. Will Smith’s character was immune to the virus allowing him to work on a cure, but this virus is much more dangerous because it is airborne and people can be infected simply by being in the vicinity of someone who is infected.

Based on the 1954 Richard Matheson’s novel I Am Legend, this 2007 version is the third time that this movie was attempted. This was also the first time that CGI was used for the adaptation likely a huge part of the movie’s success, bringing in nearly $600 million to the box office. That and Will Smith is one of the few strong actors that can carry the entire movie without a large supporting cast.

The movie starts with the typical chaos, dividing families and bombing cities and bridges. Years later and assumed to be the last man on earth, loneliness and unwavering determination to find a cure was Will Smith’s purpose for living. During the day, he lived a pretty normal life, golfing, hunting, cooking, and working out in his house. When the sun went down, the vampires known as the “Darkseekers” were so dangerous that both Will Smith and his dog curled up in a bathtub to hide until daylight. The “Darkseekers” were the most humanlike and intelligent of the other monsters mentioned here, able to do things like set traps and fight like humans – even appearing to have emotions. The most unique part of this movie is that it has two different endings that would have taken the movie in two very different directions.

The plan to survive: Do what you need to do during the day and then hunker down for a completely silent night. May the odds ever be in your favor. You’re on your own.

World War Z

16ZOMBIE3 superJumbo My Post-Apocalyptic Zombie Survival Strategies
Copyright by Paramount Pictures

In a matter of minutes, the recently retired scientist/investigator with the United Nations WMD Brad Pitt and his family are all together in the car playing a road trip game when chaos ensues. Brad used his government connections to get to a Navy vessel as a safe haven. He soon finds out that he either participates in the mission to find a cure or he and his family will have to be evicted.

These zombies are the worst. Fast, strong, travel towards the sound, and have the ability to turn a healthy human into a zombie within 12 seconds. Really tall walls didn’t do much if just one of these zombies hear something. That one sound would cause all the zombies in the area to charge towards the sound and get to the source however possible. In this movie, the zombies just climb on top of each other until they reach the wall and continue the chaos.

wwzwall My Post-Apocalyptic Zombie Survival Strategies
Copyright by Paramount Pictures

 World War Z shows the really compact city life under siege in a matter of minutes with no concept of how to handle it. The movie (for the most part) happens in real-time, with everyone in charge weighing different options as they arise and acting on them nearly immediately. They didn’t have time to grab a bunch of armor, they acted on what needed to happen and figured out everything else along the way.

The plan to survive: Stay silent in a high-rise apartment and hope things get better, or be a smart scientist and expert in your field so you get special treatment and security from the government in exchange for safety for your family. The zombies are worse, but the odds of survival do seem better because of the speed at which they figure everything out.

It’s World War Z for me

World War Z My Post-Apocalyptic Zombie Survival Strategies
Copyright by Paramount Pictures

Out of The Walking Dead, I Am Legend, and World War Z, I like the odds in World War Z. Possibly because it seems like the most realistic in how there are scientists and military aren’t completely clueless, therefore neutralized immediately. I’d like to think the military and government would have some kind of plan or would have figured out that zombie bites equal more zombies. The best of the military, the United Nations, and scientists could come together for the priority to find and bring together to have the brightest minds together to figure out a cure as fast as possible. Brad Pitt fits the role of World War Z, and he seems more resourceful and fearless by the way he makes observations in the middle of chaos and rallies everyone to put their trust in him.

Amongst my friends across the country, I’ve jokingly asked for their commitment to join the Zombie Squad that I am constructing that would lead to the best odds of survival if left with nothing but bare hands to start over and navigate to the safest possible place to set up camp. I have no skills besides being able to negotiate, so I should learn how to plant a garden or raise chickens or something. Otherwise, I’ll be the one hiding in the cabinets hoping everything will work itself out.

Spoiler Alert: Marvel Cinematic Universe: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Review

Spoiler Alert: Marvel Cinematic Universe: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 Review

The Guardians came together for one last time on a mission, leading up to major decisions that would change their respective worlds, and no one amongst these ride-or-die best friends told each other yet.

This Time It Is Personal

It has been confirmed everywhere that this would be the final Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. For Volume 3, their mission was not to defend and save a world that needed help. If there were ever questions about how Rocket became the walking, talking, fighting, and intelligent member of the Guardians, Volume 3 is where the answers can be found.

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Marvel Studios – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3

The movie opens with a bit of a somber look into a regular day of the crew (minus Gamora). Star-Lord is still dealing with Gamora’s death by getting blackout drunk and having to be carried to his bed to sleep it off. No one was expecting any kind of attack, but a villain from Vol. 2, the gold, flying mama’s boy Adam Warlock came in seeking revenge by orders of his mother, Ayesha. Adam Warlock was created to be the perfect Sovereign, one of the strongest in the Marvel Universe. His destruction of the Guardians of the Galaxy’s town was one thing, but the team was immediately activated by passion, urgency, and fear when the attack on Rocket was so severe that he only had 48 hours to live. As he fought for his life, the rest set out to retrieve the code that will disarm the kill switch that was built into his body when he was a young raccoon used as one of hundreds of animals tested by High Evolutionary to make a perfect being for society.

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Marvel Studios – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3
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Marvel Studios – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3

Adorable Animals and Innocent Children Were Still The Test Subjects After Rocket Escaped

This was Rocket’s movie. If you love animals, bring tissues. I cried at least four times when Rocket would have flashbacks while sedated waiting for his friends to come back with the cure. The flashbacks had everything from the scientists operating on him, throwing him in jail, and making friends with three other animals that experienced the same thing – torture for the purpose of experimentation to find the right formula for a perfect being. They were told that they were going to be released. The four failed experiments formed a strong friendship until Rocket finds out the truth about their fate and tries to do something to save his other animal test subject friends. He was unsuccessful, and his friends were killed at the hands of the High Evolutionary.

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Marvel Studios – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3

All Hands on Deck

The Guardians of the Galaxy were on their most passionate mission yet and determined to do anything and everything to do it. I was a little confused about the return of Gamora, but I was too focused on trying to follow their paths around the galaxy to different planets and what each planet had that was needed to keep Rocket alive. Obstacles were plenty, but the determination to save a best friend is a different kind of mission that the Guardians of the Galaxy could not lose.

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Marvel Studios – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3

And then the first ever F-bomb in the MCU was dropped, and Chris Pratt was the chosen one to do it. I think it was said in the safest scene for the F-bomb to be dropped. It wasn’t during an action scene, it wasn’t directed at any particular person. I think it is safe to say that the word was placed in the dialog where tensions and frustrations are high, making it very mild and pretty harmless to young fans.

Marvel, MCU, Guardians of the Galaxy
Marvel Studios – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3
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Marvel Studios – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.3

The actual bad guy High Evolutionary was becoming more obsessed by the day, with finding Rocket to use for more experimentation by taking his brain to continue researching. The Guardians barely made it, but it was touch and go at the very moment they were trying to save him. I was sobbing at this point. Luckily it was the 3D version so no one could really me crying with the dark 3D glasses.

Love and Purpose

I was satisfied with how everything was wrapped up. The Guardians of the Galaxy disbanded on their own accord, the soundtrack was amazing and the little jokes were still sprinkled in.  Maybe a little too many considering that they were on an extremely tight timeline for a really important purpose. But when you add innocent animals, caged children, and each of the Guardians discovering each other’s true purpose, it was a sad, meaningful, heartwarming, tale fitting for the last volume of one of the best franchises in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

I’ll leave the rest of the storyline out so that this whole article isn’t a spoiler. But seriously, bring tissues. Check out the trailer here!

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Marvel, MCU, Guardians of the Galaxy
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 3.
minimum wage It has been 10 years and the federal minimum wage is still $7.25 per hour. Meanwhile, members of Congress make $174,000 per year.

It has been 10 years and the federal minimum wage is still $7.25 per hour. Meanwhile, members of Congress make $174,000 per year.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s historical data, the federal minimum wage in 2012 was $7.25 per hour. In 2022, the federal minimum wage has not changed. $7.25 per hour isn’t enough to buy a meal at many fast-food restaurants. $7.25 per hour. That’s $58 for an 8-hour day, $290 per week, or $1,300 monthly. At minimum wage, an individual earns about $15,000 a year before taxes. Members of Congress and the Senate make $174,000 per year.

Minimum wage map It has been 10 years and the federal minimum wage is still $7.25 per hour. Meanwhile, members of Congress make $174,000 per year.
U.S. Department of Labor – State Minimum Wage Laws

Childcare and annual earnings leave no money to survive and provide

As a quick comparison, according to the U.S. Department of Labor National Database of Childcare Prices, the first year of childcare for infants in 2022 ranges from an estimated $8,310 for small counties to $17,171 for large counties. If there is a worst-case scenario, a full-time job at $7.25 per hour is not enough income for childcare for an entire year. This does not include rent, electricity, food, phone, and everything else needed to live.

Median cost of childcare It has been 10 years and the federal minimum wage is still $7.25 per hour. Meanwhile, members of Congress make $174,000 per year.

National federal minimum wages

Minimum wages are set at the federal level and state levels, but not all states have their own laws about minimum wage. Arguably, employers on average probably pay higher than minimum wage, but sometimes just barely. Having two or three jobs is necessary to survive. 

Minimum wage charg 1 It has been 10 years and the federal minimum wage is still $7.25 per hour. Meanwhile, members of Congress make $174,000 per year.
U.S. Department of Labor – 2012 vs 2022

Why tipping your server makes a difference

For those in the service industry, tips are the main source of income. In Texas, if you are tipped at least $30 (thirty) per month, your employer is only required to pay $2.13 per hour. Texas Law Help’s website states that “If you earn less than $5.12 per hour in tips in a work week, your employer must make up the difference so that you receive $7.25 per hour in that work week.” Hopefully, most businesses are paying more than $7.25 per hour, but the costs of everything else – rent, food, tuition, childcare – has definitely increased over ten years.

The Economist’s Big Mac Index

One of the most interesting ways to analyze currency exchange rates across the world is using the cost of a Mcdonald’s Big Mac in different countries, known to economists as the Big Mac Index. How much did a Big Mac cost 10 years ago? In the US, a Big Mac in 2012 cost $4.26, and $5.15 in 2022 – an increase of about 21% which equates to less than $1, but an increase nonetheless. 

The publication The Economist explains: “The Big Mac index was invented by The Economist in 1986 as a lighthearted guide to whether currencies are at their “correct” level. It is based on the theory of purchasing-power parity (PPP). The Big Mac index has become a global standard, included in several economic textbooks and the subject of dozens of academic studies.” 

In conclusion

The point is, Big Macs are about $1 more expensive now than they were 10 years ago, but the federal minimum wage of $7.25 has not changed. Childcare costs as much as a full-time job and we need to change that. It is time for both federal and state to raise this so people can actually afford to live.


McDonald’s provided the costs of the Big Mac over time, and The Economist created the index using data from McDonald’s across the world and with different currencies. The methodology can be found here. The data generated by The Economist are available under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Putting all of the data together, the chart takes a look at each state’s minimum wage in 2012 vs. 2022. The hourly wage data was taken directly from the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Divisions. The two horizontal lines show the cost of the Big Mac in 2012 and 2022, over the ten years.  In 2023, there are 18 states (AK, AZ, CA, CO, DC, FL, ME, MN, MO, MT, NV, NJ, NV, NY, OH, OR, SD, and WA) that currently have scheduled annual adjustments for their minimum wages based on varying formulas. Most of these increases occur around January 1st. Individuals should consult the relevant state labor offices for information on the particular formula used to adjust the state minimum wage.

Don’t forget to check out for more content and listen to the Big Time Fresh Podcast!

Cyber Crime Death Threats, Harassment, and Stalking Online Can Result in Both Federal and State Prosecution. Here Are the Laws in Your State.

Death Threats, Harassment, and Stalking Online Can Result in Both Federal and State Prosecution. Here Are the Laws in Your State.

It’s reported on the news all the time. Or maybe you have experienced it yourself. Either way, the internet has normalized harassment, death threats, doxxing and other traumatic actions committed by people who find it acceptable to do these things as long as they have a computer screen to hide behind.  But did you know that depending on the severity, there are laws in place that can result in both state and/or federal felony charges?

Across the country, state lawmakers are actively working to further define what constitutes as a chargeable offense and at what level of severity the charges would result in. Even the lawmakers who are on the receiving end of the threats are starting to share screenshots of their messages which has resulted in the attackers getting fired for this type of behavior.

What is “doxxing”?

“Doxxing (also spelled doxing) is the act of revealing someone’s personal information online. Doxxing is a form of online harassment that means publicly exposing someone’s real name, address, job, or other identifying data. Doxxing happens without a victim’s consent, with the aim of humiliating or bullying a victim.”

What actions are eligible for federal prosecution?

Online Harassment field manual Death Threats, Harassment, and Stalking Online Can Result in Both Federal and State Prosecution. Here Are the Laws in Your State.

Online Harassment Resources and Laws by State

Below I have compiled a list states and the laws and resources to provide a high level review of what it means for the victim being harassed online and the potential penalties for the perpetrator. Some links will go to non-government resources and some will take you straight to the state’s statutes, but all are meant to be a quick reference if you are experiencing anything mentioned in this article. You may have a strong case to press charges, so if you think there is a chance something bad could happen, it wouldn’t hurt to see what the police can do early on. You should consult a lawyer for guidance on what can be done, and since I am not a lawyer nor am I giving legal advice it is up to you on how you want to approach.

Click on any of the boxes to see the information for your state.

Stay Safe Out There

If you legitimately feel that your life may be at risk, don’t second guess yourself. Take screenshots, pictures, recordings, messages and anything else that can be added into the police report. The police have a non-emergency phone number or you can go to the police station on your own.  You never know how many others have come forward with the exact same experience, and talking to the police may assist in finding the repeat offenders.

Please Note:

PEN America is deeply grateful to Covington & Burling LLP and C.A. Goldberg, PLLC Victims’ Rights Law Firm for providing pro bono feedback and insights on legal considerations for people facing online abuse. We are also grateful to TrustLaw, Thomson Reuters Foundation for facilitating this pro bono legal support. 


Big Time Rush 2021 Big Time Rush's Return to Music after Ten Years Was a Risk that is Paying Off - Big Time

Big Time Rush’s Return to Music after Ten Years Was a Risk that is Paying Off – Big Time

After nearly a decade, the Nickelodeon nostalgia has returned for Gen Z in a major way. Now in their early 30s, the four members of Big Time Rush – Kendall, James, Carlos and Logan – made their official return in 2021, with new music and a few concerts to test the appetite of the fans.  The stakes were really high to come back as a boy band in a post-One Direction and post-COVID new normal, but their Gen Z fans welcomed them back with open arms – and Big Time Rush may be picking up two generations of new ones.

Big-Time-Rush-Fan Photo
Big-Time Rush Forever Tour 2022 – photo by Andrew Rauner

Where it all started

Big Time Rush was one of the biggest TV shows on Nickelodeon from 2009-2013, right in the middle of the “Make it to Hollywood” kid shows. Kendall, James, Logan and Carlos – four best friends on a journey to fame – centered around the actors doing the hard work to get there. Now after almost 10 years, the return of Big Time Rush has been majorly successful, selling out Madison Square Garden, touring all over the world and most notably – being independent of the corporate giants that previously held the rights to the Big Time Rush music catalog. 

Looking back, it’s seems like the TV show and music tour combo was acting as a proof of concept for how social media strengthens brands and their fans. *In 2009-2013, Facebook existed and Instagram was just picking up steam. Snapchat was finding its sweet spot in social media and TikTok did not exist. The only way fans of the pre-teen age were able to safely access the off-screen lives of their favorite famous people was through the easily guarded, parent-approved cable TV channel, Nickelodeon. Big Time Rush expanded to live concerts, playing the songs featured in the episodes of the TV show, giving fans the opportunity to see Kendall, James, Logan and Carlos go from the screen to the stage in real life.

The decision to end the show was not due to low ratings or cancelation of the series. Their popularity was still amazing for the show and in the music world. The guys of Big Time Rush were about 22 years old when the show ended, and it was the perfect time to take a break before the world of social media took over (chart 1).  The TV show strengthened their credibility as musicians and now the music is accessible at anytime with the rise of streaming music services.

GTR Search Terms social media Big Time Rush's Return to Music after Ten Years Was a Risk that is Paying Off - Big Time
*Chart 1/Credit: Big Time Rush

After Big Time Rush went off the air, the guys went on to pursue their own passions, but they never quit the band.

 “I really believe everything happens for a reason.  First off we really needed to go and explore our own individual artistry whether it’s music or acting like we went off and did a bunch of our own projects which fulfilled us and made us more confident.” – James Maslow

Kendall Schmidt returned to Heffron Drive.

After the Big Time Rush show ended, Kendall jumped back into Heffron Drive (a band he started back in 2008 with his best friend Dustin Belt) without skipping a beat. He started venturing back into acting, and in 2016 did a four-episode run on the Nickelodeon show “School of Rock” (among other acting gigs).

Kendall Schmidt Big Time Rush Heffron Drive
Photo by Gabriel Olsen

Logan Henderson released music as a solo artist.

Logan took a few years off from the public after Big Time Rush ended. He focused more on music and experimented with a different sound that was described as “dark grunge pop”, and successfully released a number of singles. His first single “Sleepwalker” marked his debut as a solo artist with more music and albums that followed.

Logan Henderson on Spotify Big Time Rush
Logan Henderson on Spotify

Carlos stayed busy with a little bit of everything.

Carlos stayed pretty active since the end of the show. He released his first solo Spanish music single, Electricoin early 2014 and took on some acting roles while simultaneously taking more of the family route. He and his wife Alexa are parents to three beautiful children who are a sweet part of their life journey that can be seen on their vlog, La Vida PenaVega”. Other popular roles that Carlos took on was on Fox’s “Grease Live!” where he played Kenickie, as well as as a voice roles on Nickelodeon’s Loud HouseandCasagrandes” as “Bobby Santiago”.

James went the acting route then started to add music back in the mix

James went on to more acting-focused projects along with a few reality shows like Dancing with the Stars and Celebrity Big Brother. He had some success in the streaming/TV world withSequestered” and movies including Getaway staring alongside Ethan Hawke and Selena Gomez. After a few acting gigs, James focused on his music and released his first album as a solo artist, “How I like It”.

What the data says

Using Google Trends, data shows growth of social media platform search terms reached its peak of interest when the Big Time Rush show was off the air (chart 2). These past ten years have been the social media post-high school ages for Gen Z leaving little access to any updates or content from Big Time Rush. Today, access to behind the scenes content, streaming the show on Netflix and the music on Spotify are right there for Gen Z to remember those good ol’ days.

GTR Search Terms band Big Time Rush's Return to Music after Ten Years Was a Risk that is Paying Off - Big Time
*Chart 2/Credit: Big Time Fresh

TikTok and the Pandemic may have beneficial for Big Time Rush

Another factor that may be contributing to the success of their return was the introduction of TikTok, right in the middle of the pandemic. The stress of the world and the lockdowns of the cities forced a lot of people to find entertainment at home. The return of Big Time Rush was scheduled to be in 2020 but was pushed off to 2021 so the announcement was also postponed.  But with the virality of social media today, the short video was instead released in 2021 and the rumors of when they would be back started circulating the internet.

Independence – at a cost

“We had a dream of hey how can we own the brand do it our way,” – James Maslow, Interview with Zach Sang Show

Once the band made the decision to pursue the comeback, one of the first major hurdles would be actually buying the rights to the Big Time Rush music from Nickelodeon, Sony and a couple other invested entities behind the Big Time Rush brand. They were successful in getting those rights back, and now the full creative control was left to the band.

“There was a Big Time Rush Instagram… @bigtimerush …which was ran by these two lovely fans who really did a great job for a long time of posting pictures of us and kind of keeping us going,” Kendall explained. “Nickelodeon or Sony didn’t have the Instagram, the Spotify had been hacked by some kid named Luigi…he was marketing his own music on the Big Time Rush [Spotify]”. – Kendall Schmidt, Interview with Zach Sang Show

The Rushers love the band members no matter what, because their humble, fun and genuine personalities didn’t really change

With the Nickelodeon funded concerts, I remember trampolines, matching outfits and opening the show with the song Windows Down“.  This tour in 2022 had trampolines and opened with “Windows Down”, followed by over an hour of the greatest hits with four new songs. Their newest music videos were essentially free to make, using the videos from existing footage and combined into a compilation of concert moments. Essentally, Big Time Rush is saving tons of money with no negative impact on their brand from the fans. As far as their outfits go… sometimes they dressed like they came straight from the gym, sometimes they were coordinated, and sometimes they all took their shirts off because it was so damn hot outside this summer. 

Point is, no one cared.  The fans weren’t there for the flash.  If anything their low key wardrobe choices worked in their favor, boosting their credibility as the “guys we know and love” and not the super choreographed, matching leather jackets and red accented pants from back in the day with that Nickelodeon money that clearly made them sweat like crazy.  They make their own rules – the beauty of being independent artists – and have extended their tour Worldwide.

I’m going to Call it Like I See It; Big Time Rush made some risky strategic decisions making their way back to the public, heavily dependent upon the fans. Even though there were no new episodes of Big Time Rush after 2013, each of the actor’s popularity spiked when appearing on mainstream TV indexing nearly as high as when Big Time Rush was on the air indicating that their fans were uniquely loyal to the actors, not just the show. Big Time Rush has been a big part of Gen Z’s popular culture where watching Nickelodeon was still “cool” and social media was being introduced with age limits. Since the actors decided to end the show in 2013 rather than it being canceled, the nostalgia factor plays a big part in their successful return in 2022. And while the show was airing exclusively on Nickelodeon, the lyrics to the songs had to be free of any explicit connotations. Because of this, they have the potential to capture fans in the adjacent younger Gen Alpha and their Millennial parents in 2022 (chart 3).

GTR Search Terms Chart Big Time Rush's Return to Music after Ten Years Was a Risk that is Paying Off - Big Time

*Chart 3/Credit: Big Time Fresh

As of today Big Time Rush is one of the only boy bands to return with huge success in an open market without the other boy bands and returned before it was too late.  The TV show was the boot camp that prepared them for this and brought the boys together as a tight knit family who experienced everything together.  They continue to embrace learning along the way with the confidence and brotherly support with their self-assembled team – all hungry to do this on their own.

For longevity and multi-generational success, my opinion is that Big Time Rush should lean on the style of their current catalog of music for the young fans (Gen Alpha), and incorporate lyrics with a little more edge and a sound that captures current day trends in any new songs for the Gen Z fans. Fans in Gen Z are adults now, so there are no parents to block explicit lyrics, but if Big Time Rush was to change their music to be too explicit, the young Gen Alpha might have to listen to something else until they are older. The brand new younger fans streaming Big Time Rush on Netflix for the first time are living that very same feeling that Gen-Z is so fond of.

Big Time Rush has a trifecta for revenue potential with the adjacent generations. Gen Z’s beloved TV boy band lyrics are kid tested (Gen Alpha), mother approved (Millennials) and – even if you didn’t watch the show – forever etched in Gen Z pop culture history.

But fear not, Rushers. Big Time Rush is Not Giving You Up. Not now, not ever.

Big Time Rush Lily Big Time Rush's Return to Music after Ten Years Was a Risk that is Paying Off - Big Time

Check out the awesome interview with Big Time Rush on the Zach Sang Show here.

PS: Apologies for the annoying puns but since my daughter and I are huge fans we were trying to find ways to have the name of Big Time Rush songs inserted into the article. Can you find them all?

For the purpose of this article, here are the sources and methodology for the analysis:

Gen Z age = 10 years old in 2010.

Millennials age = 24 years old in 2010.

Gen Alpha (born 2013 or later) are mostly children with Millennial parents

“Social Media” is an average of the combined indices of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.  Not ideal for comparison, but visually should be relevant enough.

The numbers represent how often the search term was used weighted on 0-100 for months of January 2010 – November 2022. For example, between January 2010 and November 2022, the month with the most google searches for “Big Time Rush” was November 2011 

generations Big Time Rush's Return to Music after Ten Years Was a Risk that is Paying Off - Big Time
Credit: Joshua Lu

list of 27 Is 27 the Curse of the Music World? Legacies and Lessons Left Behind From The Ones We Lost Too Soon

Is 27 the Curse of the Music World? Legacies and Lessons Left Behind From The Ones We Lost Too Soon

For the music industry, passing away at the age of 27 is more than just a number. The artist becomes a member of the 27 Club.

Maybe its because the age of 27 is more likely to be at the height of their career, or at the point where the pressure of being in the spotlight has become unbearable. But addiction, overdose, suicide and violence have been the cause of death for some of the most famous and influential musicians of all time. For Jimi Hendrix, Amy Winehouse, and Kurt Cobain, the coincidence of their age of death being 27 further strengthens the urban legend as they join a notable list of other musicians who died at the same age.

It goes without saying that musicians live in in a world where the rules are more like loose suggestions when it comes to their lifestyle. Whether its for fun, creative inspiration, anxiety relief or anything else, the accessibility to any substance legal and illegal is always a temptation. For actors, their public image tends to be easier to keep in check where there is a team who is in charge of keeping scandals at bay and being at the forefront of everything from who they date, what jobs they take and clearly defining the implications of their actions miles before they happen.

With the world telling them who they are and how they should act, it is probably hard for musicians to see how they may be hurting themselves, especially if they are surrounded by people encouraging it. This is especially true for those in their 20s. In may cases, the lyrics written about the 27 Club were a ominous foreshadowing. Maybe not the actual age, but the notion that the songwriters wrote about how they might die – and that it happens exactly the way they said they would.

Mac Miller Brand Name video Is 27 the Curse of the Music World? Legacies and Lessons Left Behind From The Ones We Lost Too Soon

Mac Miller (1992-2018) – Age 26

Mac Miller’s career started picking up speed when he was in high school with his track “The Spins” was released in 2010. Listening to his entire catalog was like reading a diary of his life, for the good and bad. A loveable high school kid dreaming of the rock star life of cars, money and girls with so much universally recognized talent is some pretty extreme pressure to live up to. In 2015, he released “Brand Name”, a track referencing both the 27 Club and what he would eventually die from. Mac Miller died at the age of 26 from an accidental overdose when he was sold fentanyl “mixed” into oxycodone pills.

“To everyone who sell me drugs: Don’t mix it with that b******t, I’m hopin’ not to join the 27 Club.”

-Mac Miller

lil peep xxxtentacion juice wrld rapper art pdart Is 27 the Curse of the Music World? Legacies and Lessons Left Behind From The Ones We Lost Too Soon

Juice WRLD (1998-2019) – Age 21

In an interview in 2018 with the New York Times, Juice WRLD talked about how was working on his admitted struggles with pills. “I have a lot going for me, I recognize it’s a lot of big things, a lot of big looks. I want to be there, and you don’t have to overdose to not be there.” After the death of rapper XXXTENTACION at the young age of 20, Juice WRLD wrote and released “Legends” within two days and dedicated the song to him and rapper Lil Peep, who passed away the year before at age 21. Six days after his 21st birthday, Juice WRLD died from a suspected overdose of Codeine and Oxycodone. The lyrics to his song “Legends” ended up being a foreshadowing of his own death.

“This time, it was so unexpected Last time, it was the drugs he was lacing All legends fall in the making Sorry truth, dying young, demon youth

What’s the 27 Club? We ain’t making it past 21.”

Statistically speaking, 27 is just a number

Death of musicians Is 27 the Curse of the Music World? Legacies and Lessons Left Behind From The Ones We Lost Too Soon

Death by genre Is 27 the Curse of the Music World? Legacies and Lessons Left Behind From The Ones We Lost Too Soon

The superstitions that are widely known as an omen in the music world shows that the 27 Club is just that – a superstition.

27 Club and Other Musicians Who Died Before Their Time (The List)

Still, without looking at the age and instead the artist’s impact on a worldwide scale based on talent and influence, the legend of the 27 Club will live on. What is quite significant is the average age of death for musicians in general versus the total population. The list below is only a fraction of musicians who died before the end of their careers.

Dedicated to Taylor Hawkins

This article and the most recent Big Time Fresh podcast episode is dedicated to Taylor Hawkins, one of the most talented musicians, drummers and human beings that ever lived. The Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert is taking place on two different dates in two different countries put on by the family along with the band Foo Fighters with an amazing lineup that will be streamed on Paramount +.



Livestreams & Concert Specials to Reach Global Audiences Across CBS, MTV Entertainment,

Paramount+ and Pluto TV



If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, suicide or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or visit

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