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Michael O'Neill

is a graduate of Murray State University and a Freelance Writer residing in Chicago. He is a lover of politics and history, hater of radio and misspelled words. He dreams of living in a cabin and writing famous novels. Cliché much?

Can you guess the highest selling acts since 2000?

Linkin Park and Nickelback lead the way. Really?

Nielsen Soundscan has compiled a list of the top 20 highest selling acts since the year 2000, and some on the list may surprise you. The numbers reflect only U.S. sales and physical albums sales. Check out the top 10 below:

1. Linkin Park (24,590,000 albums sold)

2. Nickelback (23, 057,000 albums sold)

3. Taylor Swift (22, 814,000 albums sold)

4. Rascall Flatts (22,790,000 albums sold)

5. Josh Groban (22, 313,000 albums sold)

6. Nelly (21,817,000 albums sold)

7. Norah Jones (19,013,000 albums sold)

8. Alicia Keys (18,371,000 albums sold)

9. Michael Buble (18,055,000 albums sold)

10. Coldplay (17,834,000 albums sold)

Who would have thought Linkin Park would be the reigning champions of the past 14 years? And bands like Nickelback and Rascall Flatts would both be in the top-5 highest selling acts despite criticism by the media and scorn from huge swaths of the music population?

These numbers don’t reflect digital sales; which means many newer artists are underrepresented. Rap and Hip-Hop artists are also underrepresented due to changes in technology and data compilation.

For a full list, head to https://music.yahoo.com/photos/top-new-acts-since-2000-1403561474-slideshow/

Like a Rolling Stone: Original Bob Dylan lyrics sell for $2 million

Sets record for rock lyrics

Bob Dylan’s working manuscript of his famous 1965 folk anthem “Like a Rolling Stone” sold for $2 million at a New York auction. The winner’s identity of this rare piece of history is still yet to be released.

The manuscript contains Bob Dylan’s first try at writing the quintessential folk-rock song of the 60’s, written on stationery from a Washington hotel. The pages are littered with strikeouts, underlines and unused verses such as “dry vermouth, you’ll tell the truth.”

The manuscript does contain the popular refrain in perfect form, “How does it feel/To be on your own/No direction home/Like a complete unknown/Like a rolling stone.” There’s even a marked passage where Dylan was attempting to fit in the rhyme “Al Capone” somewhere within the chorus, but decided against it, luckily.

The $2 million artifact is the largest haul-in by a music auction house. The previous record was held by the Beatles for their song “A Day in the Life,” which brought in $1.2 million.

Bob Dylan’s classic apocalyptic song “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” was also sold at the auction for $485,000.

The 5 People You Will Meet at Music Festivals

Anyone who has been to a music festival can recognize these characters

More and more music festivals pop up around the country every year. From Coachella to Bonnaroo to Lollapalooza, a music-lover has a lot to choose from. Among all of the choices, there is one thing that you can be certain of: at some point you will run into the same type of person at every festival. Here are five of the most common people you will come across.

The Veteran

This guy could be anywhere from 45 to 75 years old. He might have been at the original Woodstock in 1969. He knows virtually every band playing, even the new ones you’ve never heard of. He catches every festival he can and never tires.

The Traveling Gypsy Family

Who brings their kid to a music festival? The traveling gypsy family does. They may or may not be covered from head to toe in tie-dye. At least one member of the family has butt-length dreadlocks. Clothes are optional for this family and they brought their van with them. They are true festival-lovers to their core.

The Sketchy Guy

He showed up by himself and does nothing but wander. He pops in and out of conversations and jumps from group to group. He’s hard to keep track of but is seemingly always around. Is he a bad guy? A good guy? No one’s sure. He’s wearing what appears to be capris and an oversized shirt proclaiming his support for marijuana. He starts every conversation with “Hey, man.” He’s always trying to sell stuff (bracelets, drugs, free passes), whether it’s legal or not.

The Girl Who Tries Too Hard

This girl is probably not old enough to drink beer, but always has one in her hand. She has a bandana around her head, maybe a flower or two in her hair. She dances too much – even to songs that shouldn’t involve dancing. She says she’s only here for the small bands, not the headliners, then proceeds to name bands that aren’t even on the bill. Be on the lookout for the girl with self-painted designs on her arms and cheek taking selfies during every chorus.

The Bro

The Bro usually only travels in packs of eight or nine. He’s only here for the Dave Matthews vibe. He hasn’t put on a shirt since he walked in the gate. Sunglasses? Check. Colorful backwards hat? Check. Cargo shorts and calf muscles? Double Check. The Bro is here to show off his tan and pump his fist in the air. The Bro is usually paired with the Girl Who Tries Too Hard. He’s ready to shout during the show and annoy everyone around him. He’s filled with stories that are obviously false and is somehow never victim to sunburn or dehydration.

9,800 U.S. troops to stay in Afghanistan

Troops to stay one year later than expected

In a scheduled speech later today, President Obama is expected to announce a new timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops out of Afghanistan. Close advisors to the president have indicated that 9,800 troops will stay behind in Afghanistan while the administration watches over the Afghan presidential election.

The previous timetable for withdrawal was December 2014. The remaining 9,800 troops will now stay in Afghanistan till 2015, with half staying till 2016 to work with the Kabul police. The remaining troops are expected to continue the U.S. counter-terrorism policies and to train the Aghan military. While the main force of the Al Qaeda network has been demolished, there are still bands of Al Qaeda fighting throughout Afghanistan and much of the Middle East and Africa. A special operations unit will be assigned to specifically target these last remaining fighters.

There are currently 32,800 troops in Afghanistan while there are 382,000 Afghani police/military. After the withdrawal the U.S. will continue to spend $4 billion a year between 2015 and 2017 to help bolster the Afghani security forces. During a surprise trip to Afghanistan last week, Obama stated, “We want to preserve the gains that you have helped to win. And we’re going to make sure that Afghanistan can never again, ever, be used to launch an attack against our country.”

The war in Afghanistan has now lasted nearly 13 years. Much of the caution for exiting the war has been in regards to the Afghan election. The current president, Hamad Karzai, has refused to sign a bilateral security agreement which would set the terms for troop size and withdrawal. Karzai’s term ends this year. Two new candidates have both stated that they will work with the U.S. and sign the security agreement. A runoff election is being held on June 14. The U.S. will wait out Karzai and start anew with a new Afghan president. The majority of U.S. troops will begin leaving Afghanistan after this election and throughout the end of 2014. 

LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s blunt racism

Sterling hurls racist remarks at African Americans and Mexicans

The owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, Donald Sterling, has been caught on tape in a racist tirade against African Americans and Mexicans. The conversation was had between Sterling and his girlfriend V. Stiviano. Sterling’s girlfriend is also half black and half Mexican.

The issue came to prominence when Sterling remarked on his girlfriend’s incessant desire to post pictures of black people on Instagram. Sterling told her, “It bothers me that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people.”

Even NBA legend Magic Johnson got tangled up in the argument. Sterling said, “I think the fact that you admire Magic – I’ve known him well, and he should be admired, and I’m just saying that it’s too bad that you can’t admire him privately. And during your entire f***ing life, your whole life, admire him – bring him here, feed him, f*** him, I don’t care. You can do anything. But don’t put him on an Instagram for the world to see so they have to call me. And don’t bring him to my games. Ok?”

Apparently this isn’t Donald Sterling’s first run-in with outlandish racial comments. After purchasing a housing complex Sterling remarked about the odor of the building to one of his associates. Sterling said, “That’s because of all the blacks in the building, they smell, and they’re not clean.” He went on to push his associates into evicting black and Mexican tenants. Sterling has also had several lawsuits brought against him concerning discrimination and racism.

The NBA is investigating the Donald Sterling tape after such heavy backlash by players, coaches and fans alike. They are also looking into how the audio was recorded and by whom.

Donald Sterling’s actions have been rebuked by the entire US community at large and are sure to bring some kind of sanction from the league.

Columbus Day renamed Indigenous People’s Day by Minneapolis

Minneapolis refuses to recognize Columbus Day

In a move that has some stewing in their own patriotism, the city council of Minneapolis unanimously voted to change Columbus Day to Indigenous People’s Day. Unanimously.

Similar efforts have been made in the past by other legislatures due to the lack of evidence surrounding Columbus’ actual discovery of America. Columbus Day is also viewed as recognition of European supremacy over native people in the US. Seeing as Columbus stumbled upon the US, it’s hard to argue the case for a national holiday when others were here long before the voyager. Other landings on the coast of America were made hundreds of years prior to 1492 as well.

By changing the name of the holiday to Indigenous People’s Day, Minneapolis is choosing to recognize native peoples over Columbus. In their thinking, granting Columbus a holiday is offensive and divisive to many cultures.

Though Columbus Day is a national holiday, Hawaii, Alaska, South Dakota and Oregon all choose not to recognize the day.

What’s especially surprising is that the city council vote was unanimous. Everyone felt the exact same way on this issue. It is nearly impossible to find unanimity on such an issue.

Will this change be the way of the future? Will other cities and states pick up on the trend as well? Should the federal government rename Columbus Day, Indigenous People’s Day? What’s your take?

High-schooler Maren Sanchez stabbed to death for refusing prom date

16-year-old strangled and stabbed multiple times

In a truly bizarre and horrifying story, a 16-year-old girl was stabbed to death for refusing to go to prom with another student. Maren Sanchez was a junior at Jonathan Law High School in Connecticut and was an honor student, swim team manager and was involved in numerous community programs.

Sources say Sanchez was asked to prom by an unidentified male student, also 16, but when she declined the student became furious. The attack happened at 7am Friday morning in a school stairwell.

Sanchez already had a boyfriend at the time, so simply rejected the boy’s prom proposal. Witnesses at the scene say the boy strangled Sanchez, pushed her down a flight of stairs and then began repeatedly stabbing her.

Teachers tried to intervene and provide life-saving procedures but it was too late. Witnesses say teachers, students and police alike were all emotionally disturbed by the brutal attack.

The boy was caught and is now in custody. Sanchez was pronounced dead the hospital. The Jonathan Law prom was supposed to be held later that evening, but is now postponed until a later date.

Such a horrendous act shocked the entire community. Stabbed to death for rejecting a prom date? 

Need a job? Give your resume to Michelle Obama

10-year-old girl hands her father’s resume to Michelle Obama

In a touching and poignant move yesterday, a 10-year-old girl handed her father’s resume to First Lady Michelle Obama during a White House ceremony.

The White House held its annual “Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day” when the young girl, Charlotte Bell, took to the stage to help her down and out father.

Michelle Obama opened up the floor for questions from the audience when the Associated Press called on Charlotte. Rather than ask a question she made her way up to Michelle Obama and handed her a paper, taking everyone aback.

Little Charlotte told the First Lady, “My dad’s been out of a job for three years and I wanted to give you his resume.”

The First Lady couldn’t help but respond astonishingly, giving the girl a hug and talking to Charlotte for a few moments. Michelle Obama could only say, “Oh my goodness.”

It is unclear how far the unemployed father’s resume will make it in the application process or if his daughter’s move was helpful at all, but it is rather indicative of the millions of people who are still struggling to find decent work in today’s economy.

While the unemployment rate has continued to drop for the past four years, holding steady around 6.7% for months now, much of the job gains have been seasonal and/or in specialized areas such as technology or healthcare. Coupled with stagnated wages and an intransigent Congress, room for improvement is needed, but stifled.

Michelle Obama refused to specifically say what the two talked about, but ended by holding up the resume and simply saying, “I got it.”

These celebs don’t wear deodorant

Cameron Diaz, Bradley Cooper and Matthew McConaughey among the guilty

Cameron Diaz announced recently that she doesn’t wear deodorant. At all. Not even a little. Not deodorant or antiperspirant. And hasn’t for over 20 years. If that’s not strange enough, don’t worry. She’s not the only celebrity to shun her armpits.

Diaz stated that she doesn’t believe in wearing deodorant because it is harmful to the body. While addressing E! News, Diaz said “You’re stinky, because you use antiperspirant. It keeps all the stink in.” Scientists everywhere facepalm.

Diaz even went on to supply the world with her own armpit wisdom, saying, “Let it go and just trim your armpit hair so it doesn’t hold onto the scent.” Some actors have even refused to work with her because of her body odor. No wonder.

And while Diaz may seem like a weird outlier, she’s not the only one. Both Bradley Cooper and Matthew McConaughey have both admitted to never wearing deodorant.

Bradley Cooper doesn’t wear deodorant or cologne, but at least ups his game in the shower department, taking at least three showers a day. Kudos to Brad.

No one had a better year in Hollywood in 2014 than Matthew McConaughey. The actor produced instant classics and swept the award shows with “Mud”, “Dallas Buyers Club”, and “True Detective”. But it wasn’t for his hygiene prowess.

McConaughey stated that his film co-star, Kate Hudson, would bring rock salts to the set everyday while they were filming “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days”. She would then beg McConaughey to put on this natural deodorant. Take a hint, Matt.

Other celebs including Julia Roberts and Sting have also declined to wear antiperspirant for similar reasons. Maybe the rest of America is missing something.

These 4th-graders are selling marijuana in Colorado

10-year-old entrepreneurs run the playground

Think you’re too young to start your own business? Think again. A group of 10-year-olds have been caught dealing marijuana to their classmates at Greeley’s Monfort Elementary School in Colorado.

The state of Colorado has been on the forefront of marijuana legalization efforts over the past decade. Within the past year, Colorado has decriminalized the use of marijuana and has had numerous shops spring up around the state, specializing in the sale of marijuana.

Apparently, three boys and one girl were stealing a small portion of their grandparent’s pot and selling it at school to make money. The marijuana was legally bought and distributed to the grandparents, but they were not knowledgeable of their grandchildren’s theft.

The 4th-graders were sent home, but were not suspended or expelled. This is a first for the Colorado school system as many educators struggle with how to punish this newfound problem.

Jennifer Sheldon, principal of Monfort Elementary School, wrote a public letter regarding the potential problems arising from the new laws regarding the sale of marijuana. In a statement released today Sheldon said, “We urge all parents, grandparents and anyone who cares for children to treat marijuana as you would prescription drugs, alcohol or even firearms. This drug is potentially lethal to children, and should always be kept under lock and key, away from young people.”

Only one child was caught ingesting the marijuana, and later medical tests revealed no harm done to the child.

Kids earning extra money from lemonade stands and carwashes may be a thing of the past when marijuana is accessible to millions of children, with some actually able to reap the benefits of its sale.