Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Adoption Not "Colorblind" Anymore

On CNN.com, there was an article that caught my eye- apperently it is now legally neccessary for white parents to undergo special training, more than a "normal" adoptive parent, when adopting a black child. Adam Pertman, the Donaldson Institute's executive director, said "The view that we can be colorblind is a wonderful, idealistic perspective, but we don't live there." In some ways that is true, but I don't believe that race should be subjugated into these affars. Doing so would emphasize that these parents might not be doing the "normal" thing by adopting a child of a different race, but what they are really doing is taking a child into their hearts, which is a very honorable thing. I believe this is the wrong way to go about this issue- who's to say they wont make a law that makes parents go through training to adopt a girl vs. a boy, or have to have training when adopting a child from a certain religion. I can understand that prospective parents would have to go through training if adopting a child with disablilties, but having training for race (and religion/ sex) seems to cross the line.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Around the World

I was just scrolling down Bolos and O'Connor's blog, and right around the bottom, was something long forgotten; the "where in the world" application. It shows, in clusters of red dots, where people are from that have viewed the blog. I tried to put it on my blog way back when, but it never really worked out for me (Mr. Bolos's technological prowess astounds me).

So, back to my story- I saw it and there were red dots covering almost all I could see of North America and Europe, most of Australia, and a good part of South America. It is amazing that a simple blog for a high school class in Winnetka, Illinois could have grabbed the attention of people all over the world. People have seen it all over America- including in Alaska and Hawaii, in Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Argentina, Chile, South Africa, Tanzania, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iran, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Philippians, Vietnam, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and almost every European country. Crazy, right?

It astounds me how these things can travel so quickly- the internet has been such an important tool in modern day life, and I can't imagine how people got around without it. It is astonishing to me, for example, in the Kentucky Cycle, the Rowens didn't know there was a new president until a stranger, JT, came and told them. I can't imagine living in a world like that after what I have experienced.

The End of the Dreaded "Junior Year"

The myth of the dreaded Junior Year at New Trier High School is a tale made to scare sophomore students silly; they will not have any free time because they will be drowning in work, their grades will be extremely important because it is the only thing colleges look at, and so on and so forth. Well, for the better part of this year, I have come to realize that all the hype was not true for all Juniors (maybe just the ones taking AP English and History).

Now finals are right around the corner, and people think "what a waste of time," but I don't really think so anymore. In AiS, from the beginning, we were taught to think deeper about the bigger issues that we will be facing, and I have come to realize this: cumbersome as they might be, it is truly a time in which we are able to really reflect on how much we have learned and how much extra information will be able to help us as we graduate to college and to "the real world."

My junior year experience has taught me how to deal with pressure, manage time better, and most importantly, understanding that a little time away from studies is not a terrible thing. And as we wrap up the last remnants and move forward toward senior year, I hope the messages and lessons I have learned will channel toward my success.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

How Much "Fluff" is Too Much?

In my paper, one of the big sections is on the story of Jonathan Pollard, a spy for Israel, and seeing as I knew nothing about it before I started the paper, I think I can assume that few people (at least in AiS, or AS?) will know much about it. I know we aren't supposed to have a lot of summary in the paper, but is it appropriate in this situation? At the moment I have about 6 sentences about the situation and I still have to write a little more, but is that too much? Also, how could I bring up this topic without a lot of summary????

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Possible Grabber Idea

I have an idea for a grabber for my Junior Theme, but I'm not sure how exciting it really is. The question that my paper is going to answer is, why does the U.S. support Israel? What I came up with so far is:

“שלום חבר” (Goodbye Friend) were the emotional words spoken by President Bill Clinton at the funeral of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Rabin, who was assassinated at a peace rally, was “[Clinton’s] partner and friend.” Israel and the United states have been allies since the beginning of the State of Israel in 1948, but why do we have this special alliance? The US is just as important in the survival of Israel, as Israel is to the U.S.'s Middle Eastern (policy?).

Please give me some feedback so I can make it better, or if you have any ideas of your own. Thanks!!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Junior Theme (what else?)

The question I landed on for JT is "Why does the US still support Israel?" I want to try and go back and find the source of the relationship, because during the Holocaust, the US barred most of its borders against the Jews trying to escape Europe, and President Roosevelt didn't help.

When I first started exploring ideas, I really wanted to do something relating to the Holocaust, but obviously, I had to relate the subject to US history, and more difficultly, to current issues in America.

One story that always remained in my mind was that of the failure of the Wagner-Rogers Bill. It proposed that 20,000 Jewish children under the age of 14(?) would be permitted into the country, the bill died in Congress, and neither the US nor Cuba would take them, so they were sent back to Europe to their deaths. This story always strikes me particularly hard because I lost many members of my family that were under the age of 14 on both my grandfather and grandmother's sides, and I can only imagine if they could have been taken in by the US, then my family might be bigger than it is now (I have no 1st cousins on my dad's side). And I can only image the terror experienced by those children who thought they were free.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

An Interesting Speaker

I've been wanting to write about this topic for a long time now, but have either procrastinated, forgotten, or have been too busy to. I am a part of an Israel ambassador group, where we listen to influential speakers, plan different events to produce awareness, and travel to New York to rally with some important people in the government. In mid-January we had a very special guest come and speak to us. His name is Dr. Yossi Olmert and he is the younger brother to the current Prime Minister in Israel. He is a well known expert on the Modern Middle East, Islamic Militants, Terrorism, and the Palestinian and US-Israel relations. He holds several senior positions in the Israeli Government and has participated in the Madrid peace conference and was a member of the Israeli delegation for peace talks in Syria.

When I first heard that he was coming to talk to us, I was excited because I knew how knowledgeable he is, but I was also a bit down-hearted because I expected it to be a boring lecture about Israeli politics (which is an extremely complicated topic). When our group (about 20 people) sat down to talk, I knew at once I was wrong. He was, as I had known, extremely intelligent, but he was also funny, kind, interesting, and very conscience that his audience consisted of high school students. He was more interested in answering our questions than giving a summary of the current situation in Israel, and was fairly surprised at the quality of the questions being asked. Overall it was an amazing experience and it inspired me to be more connected to Israel and to do all I can to help Her, even if it's changing one person's views about Israel.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Oh No He Didn't

I'm sure by now everybody knows more than they'd ever want to know about the Eliot Spitzer scandel. Last week as I was reading about it, I noticed something very interesting about one of the pictures that most people would have glanced at, but not really seen.

In the picture, both Spitzer and his wife looked morose, yet Mrs. Spitzer chose to wear a scarf with an American flag on it. The message she is trying to portray is that even though there is a controversy surrounding her husband, they are still patriotic Americans. There is also a flag in the background, and I'm sure there are more of them that cannot be seen in the shot. I don't know if she expects to regain the respect of American citizens or members of the government, or if she just wants to try and rid herself of the stain her husband made in her life, but whatever her motive, she chose to wear it.

Friday, February 29, 2008

What's in a Name?

Recently the GOP and the media have had a field day. They have been parading the fact that one of the two leading Democratic candidates, Obama, has the middle name of Hussein. Now when I first heard of this controversy I laughed. I thought who cares? What difference does it make? Apparently the widespread media and many other influential members of society DID care. Then investigations were made and apparently Obama has some sort of ties with people that don't have Israel's best interest at heart. Well, first, if anybody tries hard enough, they can find ties between you and anyone they wish to (the six degrees of separation), and second look at our president today, look at what his father is tied to with his oil companies and who Dubya is tied to through that and by his own contacts. You are not given the choice of what your birth name is unless you wish to legally change it, but look at the percentages of America that actually choose that route. I think it is ridiculous to even fathom that Obama will have terrorist ties just based on the fact that his middle name is Hussein.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Seat Fillers

The Acadamy Awards were on tonight, and you know what that means: corny jokes from the host, long and boring acceptance speeches that nobody really cares about and fast forward through, and the camera shots of all the people enjoying themselves there. Well, there can't honestly be that many stars, filling up all those seats; that's where the seat fillers come in.

I'm not sure when that tradition started, but as long as I can remember, there have always been seat fillers at all the major award shows. It is obviously done to make themselves (Hollywood) look better; the whole town is egocentric and pompous. Everything needs to be BIG!! and they don't seem to know how to do it any other way, but why can't they just be happy with George Clooney, Jack Nickelson, and Jessica Alba?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Power of Old People

We have been talking a lot about women and children and their place in society, but we haven't really talked about the differences between the way our culture and other cultures value the elderly. In some societies, they are treated with the utmost respect; regarded as full of wisdom and endearing to their families. Though in some places, they are worthless and can't add anything else to the community. Now Modern America does consider all people created equal, but how much so?

Now you all know how wrong this is, no matter how funny it is. This man, in his haste and impatience, rudely honked at this elderly woman as she was trying to cross the street. He could have asked her to move a little faster (he was in a convertable after all) or could have even helped her across the street, but no, he chose to dehuminize her. Am I the only one that is astounded by this?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Girls Just Want To Have Fun

I was looking around the New York Time's website and it had an article entitled "Girls will be girls." The article was about the double standards presented to women in society and focused in on Hilary Clinton. I am less interested in talking about Hilary (it is a pretty covered topic) but my curiosity was drawn to the title of the article. When a journalist chooses a title for their piece, it holds a great amount of symbolism mixed with a certain edge so as to entice people to click on in. It is interesting that this journalist chose something like girls will be girls, which is an obvious transformation from boys will be boys.

The phrase "Boys will be boys" connotes not only that boys are curious beings, but that it is not their fault- it is written in their DNA that they will get up to some mischief, so they are not to be blamed. On the other hand, "Girls just want to have fun." That connotes a certain negativity to it- it seems as if girls will do anything to have a good time, and whatever it may be is the wrong thing to do. It also says that the girls may not be having the fun, but they yearn for it, which is also the wrong thing to think. The phrase relates to the Lowell factory girls in the sense that they are "locked up", away from their families, and under harsh conditions, and all they want to do is have a little fun, which would be wrong by the standards of the factory supervisors.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Most Terrifying Video You'll Ever See

These outcomes truely are terrifying- but I'm prepared to agree with him on those matters- it would make much more sense to prepare ourselves for global warming and go with column A.

What's your opinion?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Women and Children

When the term "Women and Children" is used, most people in the country, along with the class, relate the term to "The Titanic"- it is a classic representation of the use of the phrase. When I think of the connotation of "Women and Children" it seems a bit negative; it makes me think of weakness and helplessness, that can only be helped by the strong man who always saves the day.
In class while discussing the matter, I could not help but remember a movie that I had seen a couple years ago. "North Country" starring Charlize Theron is about a group of female coalminers who are both verbally and sexually abused by the men at work. They get no support from their superiors and can't quit because they need the money to feed their families- the main character is a single mother of two, she has to provide for her kids, and they have no idea of the horrors that she faces every day.

It is sickening how some of these women are treated right under the public's nose. And how are we to know if this continues to happen in remote parts of the country- even though we know this behavior is continued in other parts of the world. It is dehuminizing and must stop alltogether!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Addictive Songs- Citizen Soldier

Ok- I don't know if anybody else has had this problem this week, but every so often "citizen soldier" pops into my head and just sticks for an hour or two. I, for one, have no intention of joining the National Guard, but that song just gets stuck in my head and the chain reaction begins, I think of the song, I think of the music video, I think of the National Guard and the messages that were represented in the video. I am curious if this was what the advertisers were after. Most people's first reaction to a music video like this is, wow, look how intense the National Guard is- it's like an action movie, and that's the bait that pulls people in. But if you look at it from the other side, 3 Doors Down did a good job at making that song. I'm not sure if one song stuck in anybody's head would get so annoying that they would give in and join just to sooth their mind, but I am curious as to how influential the music is in the mind of a teenager that is actually debating whether or not to join the National Guard.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The New Hampshire Results

After discussing Hillary Clinton's "crying" episode in class today, I made up my mind that all this attention was negative and could only hurt her campaign- I guess that's why I'm not going to grow up to be a campaign manager. The results of the New Hampshire caucus came in tonight and to my surprise, Hillary was the top dog with 39%, but Obama was a close runner up with 37%. Another statistic that astonished me were the numbers of votes that the candidates received- you can talk about percentages all day, but saying that McCain received 37% is not equivalent to saying he is tied for Obama. Hillary received 100,951 votes, Obama received 93,954, but McCain only got 79,501. I don't know if this is because New Hampshire is a very democratic state, but it just surprises me because I didn't realize how much support the Democrats are getting.

One question I had was how important are the different caucuses in relationship to one another? I was reading some comments about the Iowa caucus and one person said something like, "Iowa is like preseason football, nobody cares about it." Is that true? I am very unaware about this side of politics since I never really had that much interest in it in the past, but since I am going to be able to vote this election, I have been trying to pay more attention.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

How Sad Life Really Is

A few days ago, a tragic event occurred. At about 5:45 am at the Salt Lake City Airport, I was listening to a news report and the top story was a suicide bomb in Pakistan. When I heard it, the first thing that came to my mind was "not again." It is so sad that I have only lived on this planet for almost 17 1/2 years, but there have been so many bombings, so many acts of terrorism, that there are way to many to count. As the reporters continued the report, they said that the bombing took place at a political rally for a woman named Benazir Bhutto, who I had never heard of before, and that there were 14 casualties.

As I yawned, I felt some empathy toward the families of those people that had lost their loved ones, but quickly turned my attention back to the television. The TV anchors produced mixed reports about the state of Bhutto, one saying that she was fine and rushed away from the scene, and another that said she had minor injuries that were being attended to, and a third saying she was critically injured. I didn't know anything about Bhutto and the strives toward democracy she was trying to produce, I assumed she was another dictator or something like that.

Unfortunately, she was one of the few good guys in the area, but as I was sitting in that hard, cramped terminal waiting area, I couldn't help but think that she was fine- that some jackass journalist in Pakistan was trying to cause a lot of hype and seize the sympathy of those foolish enough to believe him. Now knowing the real truth, I feel terrible for thinking such thoughts, but can anyone blame me for mistursting the media? They have printed so many lies and God knows what else (especially in the Middle East), but I for one am sick of it.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Daniel Radcliff's Career Choices

I was perusing YouTube in my free time when I came across a video of a Daniel Radcliffe interview about his Equus performance. For anyone that is unaware of this, Equus is a play in which Daniel plays a disturbed young man who does some not so appropriate things (like molest a horse), and toward the end, there is actually full-frontal nudity; quite a step back from the little Harry Potter everybody grew up loving. There was a big controversy when the performance first started, but eventually people got over themselves and were supportive of him. It actually may have been one of the best things he could have done; many young stars often are characterized as playing one role, then they can never be casted again because they only have one image. Daniel has proven that he can break away from his solo role and do more with his career, which is impressive for any actor (especially child actor).

Sunday, December 2, 2007

The Art of Procrastination

Television, the Internet, iTunes, video games...In this new technological age, there have been so many incredible advances that are all astonishing in their own ways. Imagine yourself living in ancient times, life was much more simple then- you didn't have to worry about things today, life was just one big utopia (so to speak). Now, growing up in the 21st century, the minds of young teenagers are completely packed with their itinerary, how much homework they have, what tests to take in order to get into the best college they can. Life can sometimes seem unmanageable.

Even now, while trying to scrounge for something interesting to write about, I find my mind wandering, and that's when procrastination takes place. If an idea doesn't instantly form in my mind, I get frustrated then, my mind wanders. The thing that frustrates me most, though, is the fact that there is such a high standard thrust upon us students at such a young age. We are expected to do so many things in such little time that it causes stress which can ultimatly take a toll on our health. So when I procrastinate, I do feel guilty, but have to wonder if all these new advances are actually beneficial, or if "Ignorance is Bliss."

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Bias Websites

For projects, papers, vocab tests, fun, entertainment, interest, curiosity or just plain boredom, the majority of people turn to the internet. Hell, I'm on the internet right now for this assignment (obviously). While the internet is an amazing technological resource, it is scary what is out there waiting to be seen. I'm not talking about innapropriate pictures or chatrooms, but extremely biased and/or innacurate information.

For the Perilous Paper assignment, I went online to find information about the American's internment camps to incorporate in my paper. Like I initially thought, the camps sounded terrible- because they were. There were quotes by politicians and other important figures in the United States saying terrible, terrible things, but then the website turned for the worse. Understandibly, the writers of the web page began relating some of the content to the Nazi's death camps in Europe, but what sickened me was how they portrayed the information. They made the camps sound tolerable, as if it was a small inconvienience for them to be there- they mentioned a few deaths, and some diseases, but almost nothing about the terrors that happened there. Even asking around, it makes me sick to my stomach that my classmates dont know who Dr. Mengele is. It is sick and twisted. And by now, most teachers assume everybody knows about the holocaust- but they dont!

The website talkes about the aspect of the holocaust. They said, "Actually, the Germans had far greater cause to intern the Jews of Europe than the Americans did to incarcerate the West Coast Japanese. The Japanese were sent to camps solely on suspicion of what they might do. Not a single Japanese had committed an act of espionage or sabotage. But many thousands of Jews throughout Europe had committed countless acts of murder, destruction, sabotage, arson and theft before the Germans began their general evacuation." http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v02/v02p-45_Weber.html That isn't even close to why they were taken. It is terrible that websites aren't portraying accurate information that is relevent. Maybe there were some murders against the Germans when the evacuation of the Jews began, but only after they were treated like animals- harrassed, and herded into ghettos where many died of starvation and disease, and so much more indignance.

So if you are looking for accurate, informative information- make sure you look at multiple sources!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Something Wicked This Way Comes

After reading the New York Times article about witchcraft in Africa, many thoughts configure in my head. I have heard stories about bad people doing bad things, but it is truly crazy how evil and corrupt some people are. There are scared and ignorant people in the world that truly believe that witchcraft is killing their family members when the death is a medical mystery; and there are people so mean that they will take advantage of anyone to make money- such as "The Healer" Joao Ginga who makes loads of money 'treating' more than a thousand cases of child witchcraft per year. When questioned, Ginga didn't even remember one of his patients, Alfonso Garcia, when interviewed. He was accused of killing his mother and was kicked out of the house to live on the streets. There are many, many other cases, most inflicting violence upon the children accused of witchcraft. (It is considered common in some villages)

It is terrible that these children are being prosecuted and that the police are doing nothing about it, but it is another to take advantage of them. There have been some recent programs set up to help the children, but the violence against these should not be able to continue.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sweet Home Chicago

I have lived a half an hour from Chicago my entire life and have loved every minute of it. It is the most beautiful, clean, and enjoyable big city in the world (in my opinion). As a child, my favorite part of vacations is the flight back home and looking over the city at night- the dazzling lights brighten my spirit and I have always whole-heartedly enjoyed that.

Visiting the city on Wednesday was an extremely enjoyable experience for me. I rarely go to the city anymore (except for Bears games) because I have no time for it. I loved walking around the city independantly and being trusted to wander around in such an inviting city. Never before had I noticed all the Native American artwork all around the city, even though it was staring me in the face. They were the kinds of things that my eyes would normally gloss right over as I gaze at the skyline or Millenium Park. It is strange to imagine that these pieces have been sitting there for my entire life and I had never noticed it once- and I'm sure the majority of people that live in Chicago have not noticed it either.

Just imagine, if these pieces of art are 'hidden' from the community, what else is hidden as well? There is so much in this world that is overlooked, but it is so strange to think that there are millions of things that our eyes glance past without a second thought.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Spirit of Holloween

In every American childhood, Halloween was a happy time where you could dress like a princess or a pirate or a witch and frolic about the streets collecting candy from complete strangers and it was completely acceptable.

As time continued, Halloween became a time where teenagers could roam the streets and "have fun" and nobody would really be surprised if their house was TPed or their car was egged.

Unfortunately, as time goes on, Halloween has matured into a holiday where it is acceptable to dress like a complete slut and it will be normal, it is even a standard. It is taking a great toll on American culture, enhancing the downward spiral of the world's opinion of us, which frightens me.

I'm not saying Halloween isn't fun, because it is, but the problem is that in this age, it wont be long until it reaches the point when little kids begin dressing like Brittney Spears (Well, young Brittney...) Not only will that taint the children of this country, but who knows what kind of effect it will have on our country when they grow up and take control?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Desperate Civil Liberties

Tonight on Desperate Housewives, an important issue concerning civil liberties cropped up again on Wisteria Lane. Two new neighbors moved in and put up a horrendous, loud fountain in front of their house and the neighbors all had a problem with it. After a town meeting, the citizens of Wisteria Lane decided to limit their civil liberties and make the neighbors dismantle the fountain and get rid of it (they refused). As a part of this new regime, the counsel insisted that anything that disrupted the flow of the neighborhood had to be destroyed. In this manner, anyone that had a problem with their neighbors' property could report it, such as an old tree that blocked sunlight from a garden and a treehouse that had vivid colors, and it would need to be removed. Luckly, the 'dictator' finally changed her mind after the realization that she had no friends (and some of the neighbors dug up some blackmail on her).

Is it legal for them to be able to dictate what is and isn't allowed?
Wouldn't that be a violation of freedom of speech?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Game of Life (Well, Not Quite...)

One of my favorite games of all times is Monopoly. It might be because I always win when I play against my father (who's business is in real estate), but I also like how, to win, you start with nothing and can eventually make an empire where you can benefit greatly. When you play and get monopolies along a whole side of the board, you pretty much control the game (like Pepsi and McDonalds), while the other players hope to avoid your space and land on chance or community chest or even free parking (small Mom & Pop stores).

While it might be fun to completely dominate the world-wide market, there is a hefty price to pay for the economy that surrounds them. If most of the revenue of this country only goes to Disney, Coke, Pepsi, McDonald's, Kellogg, etc, then soon (if not already) they will be able to completely sensor our lives. Disney can tell ABC what news they will be able to broadcast, Coke and Pepsi will be able to set the only flavors of soda that the consumer can drink, and even Kellogg and other food companies will be able to choose the only options of ingredients you can eat. And if some small company decided to 'rebel' and challenge these big companies, then the companies will either buy them out or silence them in some other way.

So, it may be fun to make money off of hotels on Boardwalk Avenue or Marvin Gardens, but on a larger scale, there could be dire consequences.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Torture is Not Only a War Offense

In class we were talking about whitewashing and the consequences of doing so. There are horrifying stories of torture during all wars in history, including the war in Iraq. But before thinking about all the atrocities that are faced away from America, it is necessary to understand what is happening here, in our backyards.

Today on Cnn.com, there was an article entitled "Prosecutor: Captive boy endured torture", being so relevent to our discussions, I decided to investigate. The article was all about this man who was to serve about 30 life sentances in prison for the kidnap, sexual assault, and torture of two boys. The first, Shawn, was kidnapped in 2002, when he was 11, and the other, Ben, was kidnapped on January 8. Four days later, the boys were rescued, but horrors will infect them forever. Childrens' minds can be manipulated very easily. These boys had access to the internet and to phones, but something the kidnapper did or said "persuaded" them to remain in the dark.
Shawn Hornbeck:
Above- 11 Years Old
Below- 16 Years Old
This should be a priority on America's list- not only protecting our children, but teaching them that reaching out to the police or their families in these types of crisis is a must in survival.

If you want to check out the article, the website is: http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/law/10/09/boysfound.devlin.ap/index.html

Also, are these boys candidates for the memory loss drug? All this being done at such a young age, would it be better for their future if they forgot (or if the emotion was taken out) of these memories?

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Prison Break

One of my current favorite television shows is Prison Break. I've been watching it since the first episode of the first season and have never missed one (with the help of tivo). The first time I watched it, I noticed that there was an abundance of diversity among the characters. The 4 main characters of the first season were two white men, one African American man and one hispanic man. I didn't really think about it at the time because there was already a presence of Africans Americans and hispanics in television. I thought the reason for the adversity was because they couldn't pull off a prison that had only white men, but realized that that wasn't the only reason. As the show progressed, they began going into the backgrounds of all the characters and it seemed as if they really wanted to involve a variety of cultures in their show.

Another of my favorite shows (although it has gotten worse over time) is 24. It is attention grabbing, action packed, and full of suprises. One aspect that never changes, however, is that there is a bit of a lack in adversity. I'll admit there was a little, for example they had David Palmer as the first black president, but for the most part, there were white members of CTU with white field members, and there were terrorists who just happen to all be Middle Eastern (with a few exceptions). You would think, with a rising hispanic population, that there would be a lot of hispanic actors working on the show, but there have been few to none (at least that I can remember).

I am a bit confused why Prison Break has a lot of diversity, while 24 has very little, and has an abundance of steriotypes, even though they are on the same network, Fox. Doesn't really make sense, does it?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Mystery of Memories

After a very "informative" class today, there are a couple of points that I would like to add/ ask about that I didn't get the opportunity to ask in class.

We had one discussion about the idea that every time you remember a memory it becomes less truthful and more "selfish." Then it was suggested that if someone had amnesia that the memory would be stronger and more accurate. But no matter how accurate that memory may be, with current technology, it would be impossible to retrieve it, and it would as if the memory had died. Until scientists can find the proteins that make the memories and find a way to translate them into a form that can be understood by humans, the memories are utterly useless. (As long as it is not a terrible memory that will have harsh, lasting effects on me) I would rather have a memory that becomes more refined and more about me than no memory at all.

Also, I understand it is a topic of great importance and controversy, but I really think there should be an option for holocaust survivors to be able to releave their minds and forget the terrors in their past. This is coming from first hand experience- my father's parents were both survivors of the holocaust and have both had an unbelievably hard life. The stories they told were horrific and, to this day, I still think it was some bad dream or something- I can't imagine humans doing anything that bad to each other. My grandfather passed away when I was 4, but I watched my grandmother live a fairly long life with severe depression.

I know that only bad things can result from the truth being hidden. In this case, I understand the importance of those memories and if they are erased what can happen. But, if the survivors record their stories through a video (as my grandfather did) or in a book, then they should have the right to choose to cleanse their mind and live freely for the rest of their life. It is important for this documentation, even if they choose not to forget, because the generation that experienced the holocaust is slowly passing on, and these stories are important, not only to the jewish people, but for society.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

September 11, 2001

September 11, 2001 was a day which drew this country together, while at the same time, it tore us apart. The shock and misery of it made a strong bond between Americans, however terrible. Americans argue, Americans shout, Americans scream, cut others off in traffic, and cheat, yet when 9/11 is brought up, all Americans feel grief together. There was and still is so much I don't know about the attacks upon this country. The discussions in class were a bit helpful, but I still want to know more.

While looking around the internet, trying to find an interesting topic that I could make a post about, I came across a photograph captioned "The Falling Man." Curious, I clicked on the link that, while answering my question, horrified me. The site talks about the hundreds of people that jumped or fell from the buildings, hoping for a helicopter rescue. Unfortunately, these rescues never came. A man named Richard Drew photographed a man falling in a series of about a dozen photographs. His motive was, "I didn't capture this person's death. I captured part of his life. This is what he decided to do, and I think I preserved that" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Falling_Man).

After trying to conceptualize how this man must have felt while he was falling, I kept reading and was even more sickened. Imagine losing somebody in these attacks, knowing they are gone forever, then being asked to try to identify that loved one. I couldn't do it without it bringing tears to my eyes. The man's identity was never officially confirmed, but it is believed to be Jonathan Briley, a worker at a restaurant in the south tower. Imagine trying to decipher if that was your brother or son or father in the air falling upside down, thousands of feet, to his death. When I think of the deaths caused by 9/11, it always seemed as if it was quick and painless...

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Appearances and Consequences

Something funny I realized in the past is that certain television shows, such as The Simpsons and South Park, have episodes that connect with almost every circumstance in real life. You name it, every topic is covered. Until today, however, I hadn't realized the same pertained to music too. Well, of course I knew there were numbers of genres with unlimited artists, but it never really clicked how on-top-of-it some people really are. For instance, one of my favorite new artists, Ben Folds, really does cover a wide variety of topics that ascertain to "real life."

You can see lower in my profile, that I used one of his pieces entitled "Still Fighting It" to represent my point in the Secret Messages post, but when I looked at the topic for my next post and saw appearances, i laughed to myself. One of my favorite Ben Folds songs, "There's Always Someone Cooler Than You," is all about appearances and how people change themselves to be liked by others. The chorus goes, "Make me feel tiny if it makes you feel tall, but there's always someone cooler than you." He goes on to explain how life is short and you shouldn't spend it worrying about what other people think about you.

It is amazing to see how self conscience teenagers are and how much they change themselves. In the last generations, you didn't see 13 year olds piling make up onto themselves or wearing low cut shirts and short shorts. In the work world, but especially in the high school world, appearances mean everything to most people, and it is sad. The people that don't worry about how others judge them are generally much happier people.

(If you would like to hear the song- It is on my "Ipod" thingy)

Secret Messages

Something I enjoy greatly now, and as a child, is listening to music. As I have grown, I have gone through different phases of genres i enjoyed: The "oldies", hip hop, rock, alternative. But nothing I have ever listened to that I have liked, or I am sure that anyone else has, is listening to artists list exactly what they feel. I would assume that it would be a pretty boring song.

The part of the song that enchants me most is the figurative language. It brings me out of a world with rules and responsibility and into a beautiful place of imagination, where there are no limits or worries, just fantasy. Having unusual descriptors, such as similes or metaphors, can use surreal images to explain an artist's memory or feelings. In this way, there are many different secret messages an artist may wish to allow the listener to fathom on their own. Even without the similes, songs provide secret messages. When two people think of a song, they can both get different vibes from it, each can provide themselves with a different connotation (one may think it's a sad song, and one may think it is a contemplative one), allowing each to conclude with a different message the artist was trying to convey.

Artists also tend to leave out information for the listener to infer on their own, giving even more power to the imagination.

Ben Folds-Still Fighting It

I thought this was a good example of a song where there are a lot of messages that the listener can pick up through the artist's figurative language