Category: Commonplace

FAGE Yogurt and Humans

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While eating a FAGE Total Split Cup yogurt earlier today I was intrigued by the unique concept of two distinct areas. One for the plain yogurt and another for the topping. However, when the fruit gets poured into the plain yogurt, it creates this magical taste. You see, the plain yogurt is so boring and the fruit by itself if way too sweet. But when they come together it’s just right.

FAGE Split Cup. Strawberry topping mixed with plain yogurt. (Photo derived from

The complex packaging made me think about what else in life is separate, but when brought together so much better. People! Think about it, if one was to stay in their house all day and not interact with others, they would be depressed and have no clue about the world around them. Ideas are spread through human interaction. When two very different groups of people come together, the final result is diverse, leading to a unique output of work. Nevertheless, there could be problems when something like this occurs. In other words, people may have a hard time collaborating. So, next time you pour in your favorite yogurt topping, think about the underlying message.

FAGE offers a variety of flavors in the split cup. (Photo derived from

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Employee Cameos in New Verizon Commercial

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In connection with my Commonplace 13, discussing the new Samsung Galaxy S8, I found a Verizon TV commercial just released a couple of days ago. The commercial got a lot of media attention because Verizon used their System Performance Engineer, Ammara Bhaimeah to act in the commercial. It begins in a room that looks like a development lab with people all around on computers, drawing sketches and making phones. A man asks Ammara a simple question: “So, you’re a Verizon engineer what’s one reason the Samsung Galaxy S8 is better on Verizon?” Even though the engineer was only asked to list one reason, she went on to list three. In one of the articles discussing the recent commercial, Mike Haberman, Vice President of Network for Verizon explained their reasoning for using an employee in a commercial. He stated that “we thought having an employee in here would be a great way to show behind the scenes what makes our network great.” In my opinion, having an employee adds credibility to the commercial. Ammara is knowledgeable and actually works in the field. While most other companies hire actors that read from a script, Verizon is showing the real deal. Hopefully this will start a trend and other businesses will feature actual employees in their commercials.

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Metrorail into Retail

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I recently read a news article that New York artist, Robert Mojo is salvaging an old Metrorail car and turning it into retail kiosks at the new Fivesquares Development. Mojo and his company are dividing the railcar into seven parts which will be placed throughout the new development. Strathmore Square, located at the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro aims to “create a connected, upscale community that provides a pleasant link between the neighborhood, the Metro station and the Music Center at Strathmore.”

Red marker is the location of the planned development on Google Maps

Repurposing the old Metrorail car is seemingly genius. Having the kiosks throughout the development will serve as a connection to it’s close proximity to the metro station. I think the most influential part of the article is when Ron Kaplan, principal at Fivesquares Development is quoted. He describes the new devlopment, it’s purpose, and how “this is trying to create–out of an old Metro station–a community.” These words provoke much thought in the reader and can be closely related to our complex local system project in my Writing 101 class. While most real estate developers change the dynamic or culture of an area, Fivesquares is different. They are bringing a small part of the old community into a new development.

Fivesquares co-founder Andrew Altman, principal Matthew Harris and Ron Kaplan (Photo retrieved from Fivesquares Development)

Take a look at the article here.

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An “Infinitely Amazing” ad?

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“It takes you anywhere you can imagine…which makes it infinitely amazing.”

Recently, Samsung released the commercial for their new Galaxy S8. It’s most noteworthy new feature is the seemingly never-ending glass screen. The 1-minute TV commercial is quite brilliant. It begins with with a black screen behind the phone making it look almost non-existent. A man begins to talk in a low tone with the premise that this new phone is “infinitely amazing.” The man describes the new features as they are shown vicariously through the phone’s screen. For example, the new smart home integration feature is shown on the phone while people are adjusting the lights and getting comfortable in their home in the background. The clear message is that there are no boundaries to the screen and how the phone can be integrated. The use of a subtle outline of the phone throughout the commercial highlights the new all-glass Galaxy S8. Samsung is revolutionizing the cell phone industry and hoping to compete with Apple. As it stands, Apple has 92% of the total smartphone industry profit. The last line which says, “It takes you anywhere you can imagine…which makes it infinitely amazing,” ties it all together by leaving the audience with a positive and thoughtful message. Of course the new Samsung Galaxy S8 can’t literally take you anywhere, but the sleek design and advanced features will definitely shake up the market.

Here is the commercial:

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An Iconic American Song at a Passover Dinner

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This past Monday, I celebrated Passover with my Dad’s side of family I haven’t seen in quite some time. 18 of us gathered around the Seder plate to celebrate our Jewish heritage and to commemorate the freeing of the Israelites in Egypt. Family flew in/drove from California, New York, Wisconsin, and Colorado. We all met at my second cousins house in Baltimore. This Passover was different from all others I’ve ever experienced. Typically, I spend the holiday with my immediate family in New York and we do a quick Seder followed by a few songs. However, this year, my second cousins ran a Seder in which each dinner guest shared an article or brought up a topic of discussion for the main parts of the Seder. While it was close to three-times as long as my usual Seder, the experience was totally worth it. My favorite part was when we sang Passover songs to the tune of old American classics. Specifically, “Take Me Out to the Seder” sung to the tune of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” I found the entire song to be comical but my favorite part is “Only root, root, root for Elijah/And he will soon reappear.” When I was younger I would always be the one in my family to open the door for Elijah. It is a Jewish custom to open the door and allow Elijah to join us at the Seder. Singing this song reminded me of my childhood and brought excitement to the Passover dinner as it is a play on an iconic American song.

Here are three pictures. Two of the table set for the Seder and one picture of the song lyrics.  

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Down in Paris to a Group Project

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I’ve recently heard the new song “Paris” by Chainsmokers. The song is about a couple that travels to Paris and fantasizes having the greatest time and living a long life together. My favorite part of the song is when it says “If we go down then we go down together/We’ll get away with everything/Let’s show them we are better.” I like this part of the song the best because it illustrates the tight bond the couple in the song have for one another and is relatable to other situations. This brings up the power of working with a partner or even in a group. Inevitably you can do more with a greater amount of people however there are some consequences. When Chainsmokers sing “If we go down then we go down together” it’s seemingly brilliant. This makes me think about group projects or any group effort actually. If one group member doesn’t pull his or her weight then the entire project can fall apart. On the other hand, when everyone does fulfill their part, the group will flourish and be successful. In my opinion the success I’m describing is referred to when Chainsmokers sing “We’ll get away with everything” because success typically drives people to work harder.

Here is the link to the song:


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Relationships vs. Pop Culture

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Over spring break I traveled to Los Angeles. Long plane rides call for some new music on Spotify. For the first time I heard the song “Love on the Brain” by Rihanna and was taken aback by the deep lyrics in the first stanza. Specifically when Rihanna says “You love when I fall apart/So you can put me together and throw me against the wall.” These lyrics stand out to me because they are somewhat of a paradox. It clearly makes sense that the song is about a relationship of some sort. It’s quite interesting to think about how some people would like when their significant others go through a hard time or “fall apart.” I think this would most commonly happen when one significant other wants to make themselves look like a hero and step in. Really, this outlines the complexity of relationships in the 21st century. Could this be regarded to the influence of pop culture such as the portrayal of human interaction in reality tv shows and movies? Personally, I think so. Humans seem to fantasize the perfect life for themselves almost outlined by something they’ve seen in a fictional movie or in celebrity culture. Going back to the lyrics, the last part, “throw me against the wall” adds violence and somewhat fear amongst the audience. It definitely caught my attention. Why would someone throw their significant other against a wall? Sounds terrible. Rihanna, is alluding the fact that someone can build another person up only to tear them down the next second. Fascinating how this one line in the song has such depth in relation to our society.

Watch the music video below:

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Obama Back Already?

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I recently read an article about Obama possibly making a return to politics in the coming months. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said that he discussed different ways to help the new National Democratic Redistricting Committee and what exactly a role or place in this committee Obama could have. Could this be the worst nightmare of the Trump administration? Could Obama get back into the political arena and hold Trump accountable for his executive orders causing a divide in our country? The most important sentence in the article is simply the mission they hope to achieve: “the group hopes it would put Democrats at a better advantage in state legislatures and the House of Representatives.” The Committee is rather smart to bring on the most powerful man in the democratic party, but is it too soon? Obama has just come off of a few week vacation, but could this be what Obama was discussing when he said “we will be back to work shortly.” After all, however, Obama did promise to protect the people but most importantly the Democratic party. 

Here is the link to the article:


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Dreams Do Come True…With a Honda?

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A few weeks ago while I was watching the superbowl there was one commercial that stuck out to me. I recently searched for it and looked at the commercial a little more in depth. Honda is known for having commercials highlighting their cars and their high safety ratings, advanced technology and stylish designs. This commercial was actually the complete opposite. The commercial is a collection of influential celebrities in their childhood yearbook pictures saying quotes that somehow relate to cars. In my opinion, the most powerful line is when renowned actress Amy Adams says, “…at times you may fall flat on your face but technically that’s still moving forward.” This line is simply genius. Amy Adam’s inspiring quote is extremely similar to Honda’s overall company mission: “moving forward.” This speaks to the highly technical use of celebrities in advertisements and keen word choice. The minute Amy Adams said her quote I was able to make the connection to Honda. Some of the other celebrities such as Magic Johnson, Steve Carell, Jimmy Kimmel, Viola Davis, all give passionate statements inspiring those watching to chase their dreams. I think Honda’s commercial is exceptionally clever with the use of celebrities to inspire the audience that dreams are possible with the underlying message that with a Honda, it’s that much easier to accomplish anything. Technically speaking…is this true? I don’t know, however the ad is quite convincing.
Watch the commercial below:

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Restaurants Close in Reaction to Recent Executive Order

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I recently read an article about DC restaurants closing this Thursday, February 16th to show support against the recent executive orders regarding immigrants. The most important sentence in the article is simply the description of the day which says “dining establishments are closing up shop Thursday as a boycott calling for immigrants not to go to work for “A Day without Immigrants” in a country that until now has had a long history of welcoming newcomers.” The restaurant industry is flooded with immigrants that work hard to provide for their families. Restaurants that are taking part in this strike are making a big statement because they are losing out on potential business and could hurt the brand if someone disagrees with their choice to close. Additionally, I think shutting down the restaurant would simply say more about the owner/manager or the person making the decision rather than the workers themselves. Also, I don’t think it would be a good idea if workers aren’t being compensated for the day off, however, if all workers were paid as if it were a normal day then it would be a great idea. The recent executive order is scary for many people as immigrants are the backbone of the United States. So, would you shut down your business?

Here’s the link to the article:

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