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." 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, 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:

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" (

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