The "Whacking Day" Simpsons episode explains an old Springfield tradition and holiday that involves snakes and whacking. For years whacking day has been a holiday where every Springfield citizen would get together and whack snakes to death just as their ancestors before them had done, but when Bart, Lisa and Barry White start to question the cruelty of this holiday everything about it seems unnecessary. This particular episode of The Simpsons seems to have drawn inspiration from the short story "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson, which is also a satirical expression of her opinions. The Lottery makes its readers think about whether a tradition is always something that is good, or whether or not they can sometimes be cruel and unnecessary. Although in the Lottery the tradition murders people and not animals, these two satirical pieces have many things in common. First of all, they both question violence and how it isn't always necessary, they make the readers think about how correct the use of violence (even for traditions) is really the better option. Another topic these satires bring up is ignorance, and how people sometimes don't realize what is going on right under their noses. For example in the Lottery people wouldn't end the tradition and for whacking day it took decades for the citizens of Springfield to realize their wrongdoings. In my mind, the Whacking Day is just a more humorous version of the Lottery, designed to make people laugh where as the Lottery is more of a Juvenalian type of satire. In both stories there are die-hard supporters of these traditions such as Homer in The Simpsons and Old Man Warren in The Lottery, and those completely against it like Bart and Lisa in The Simpsons and Tessie in The Lottery. But even though they are different in many ways, at the end of the day they both make the reader think about the bigger questions.
While reading plays or novels or fairy tales we can't help but feel immersed in their worlds, we can't help but empathize with some characters while we find ourselves loathing others. In my opinion, this is because the stories are written with that very purpose in mind: to link that which seems unreal to our world. Lets take the Crucible as an example... the first thing I noticed in the Crucible was that all of the characters came across as very real, being capable of showing emotions that we feel every day of our lives. Greed, envy, anger, jealousy, relief, angst and fear, just to name a few. So far the first three acts have been a blur of all these emotions that manage to make the time period not as distant and strange as a result. We are reminded that even our ancestors were human beings just like us who were capable of experiencing and feeling the same things we are capable of. Another way that it links to real life is in the imperfections of it all. Let's face it... The Crucible isn't all daisies and rainbows. First Abigail reveals her true colors as a psycotic, jealous fangirl who would do anything to get John Proctor for herself, then we find out that those two actually had an affair that Proctor's wife found out about and now she's paranoid and sulky and then there is the whole "witchcraft trials and executions" situation... It's just a mess. Like real life. Real life isn't exactly a perfect picture either, for it has conflicts and problems and struggles woven into the mesh of existence so thickly that it is impossible to have one without the other. And then there are the rats, those people in the story who, just like in modern day life, are willing to throw others under the bus to save their own necks or reputation. I mean, it was only a couple of decades ago when, during the Red Scare, people were accusing others of communism mostly for their own benefit. If you accused someone of being a communist then you couldn't very well be one yourself now could you? And that is how it has always been. More often then not, if given the chance, human beings will not hesitate to put others in harm's way if it means that they themselves will be spared. So you see, even though it may seem like a ridiculous plot to some it isn't completelt different from our lives today.
2014 was a whirlwind year. I had lots of fun, experienced many new things and grew a little older (as I do every year). 2014 was a year packed with defining moments: the start of High School and my sixteenth birthday being big ones. One of my favorite memories from 2014 would probably be when I traveled to New York City and the Jersey Shore with my family over the October break. The plane ride there was pretty sucky, what with it being an overnight flight and all, but once we finally got there I fell in love with the city. Even though we only had a couple of days to explore, I was determined to make he most of it. We did all the typical touristy stuff like going to the met, Central Park, Times Square, the Statue of Liberty, Chinatown, little Italy, etc. I even got to visit a college where they revised my art portfolio and, of course, stopped at Starbucks once or twice. Then, we left the big city and drove to the gorgeously chilly Jersey shore, where we attended Mr. Knous and Ms. Vroome's wedding, which is also something that I will never forget. Of course, even though that trip was definitely the highlight of my year, there are many other memories from 2014 which I will always hold close to my heart.
As it always is in life, every high point has an equally low one... And this past year had some pretty sucky moments. First of all, even though I was happy about starting high school, there was one terrible thing that came along with it: CHEMISTRY! It might sound strange but this class was an inspected challenge. The roust part about 2014, however, would probably be missing my friends Juanita Gomez and Juanita Zapata. Since they went on an exchange for half of the year, I couldn't talk to them as often, which obviously was devastating considering the fact that they are some of my best friends in the whole wide world. I was definitely happy for them for taking going on such a huge adventure, but I must admit that their presence was missed greatly.
2014, a year full of highs and lows and ups and downs, as you could see in the paragraphs above. I definitely learned a lot, personally and otherwise. And I definitely changed a lot too. I remember that one day when I was exploring the World Wide Web and I came across a quote that has been stuck in my head ever since. The quote was:"I am unique, just like everyone else", and I remember sitting there realizing how true it was. No matter how my different experiences shaped me into someone different from everyone else, that is the case for everyone. It was then that I decided that I would discover what unique part of myself I liked the most, be it a talent, passion or quirk, and I would do my best to make sure that always stayed as something I could describe as me. So that is also my goal for 2015... To embrace my uniqueness and treat it like the genes that make me, well, me.
My full name is J. Alfred Prufrock and I am a single man, looking for someone to love me as much as I am capable of loving you. I may not be much to look at, but on the bright side, soon you won't have to spend money on shampoo (Prufrock 40-41), or sweep my hair out of the carpets. Or you could use my head as a mirror, if you want to check your makeup before entering a large and crowded room. I am not fat at all and I am a little self-conscious about that too, so I would appreciate it if you didn't judge me too much or criticize me on my looks (Prufrock 40, 41, 44). I have many fancy friends (Prufrock 13-14), and I am quite concerned with what people like them think of me and, even though it may seem extremely superficial, that is the truth (Prufrock 41, 44). And I am a chronic procrastinator, which I know is a terrible habit, but I will deal with it later (Prufrock 26, 28, 45-48), so if you don't like someone who won't do things right away I would give up right now and stop reading right now.
I am a very modest person, and don't need much to live (Prufrock 43), I enjoy leisurely strolls in the exciting yet sketchy parts of town, by "one-night cheap hotels / and sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells" (Prufrock 6-7). Through the yellow fog that we have brought upon this world and down "streets that follow like a tedious argument" (Prufrock 8). To some, it might seem like a strange habit, but I find it quite relaxing, a hobby that takes up a lot of time but is cheap at the same time. Don't get me wrong, I have money. But I prefer not to spend it in reckless ways (Prufrock 42-43). If you also enjoy coffee you are in luck, because I can make the perfect cup. After all, "I have measured out my life with coffee spoons" (Prufrock 51). I also enjoy tea and cakes as well, and am no stranger to marmalade (Prufrock 89).
I want someone who enjoys sunsets, novels (Prufrock 102-104) and those leisurely strolls I was talking about earlier. I want someone who accepts me for who I am, and to grow old with me too. Just be prepared for me to let myself go a little bit when that time comes. Be prepared for me to roll up the bottom of my flannel trousers or part my hair (if I still have any) from behind (Prufrock 122-125). It might also be fun to live by the beach, to walk on the sandy shores and fall asleep to the sound of crashing waves and the song of mermaids (Prufrock 125-130). I will have to ask you though to please be kind and gentle with me, for I have been shattered by love before (Prufrock 60-69), and that heartbreak left a scar on my self-esteem.
The Blues is a very famous music genre that has been around for ages. And when I say ages, I mean ages. Since the 19th century it has rung through the plantations of the South, and it didn't take long for it to expand around the world. The Blues has spawned some of the best musicians ever to walk on this Earth and it has been used as the building blocks for many other genres, including Jazz and the ever-popular Rock and Roll. If you have every heard the names B. B King, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and Edda James, you have this genre to thank for. Although the Blues isn't full of many joyful tunes, it caught on like wildfire and can now be heard all around the world. Around the time of John F. Kennedy's, for example, the whole country was in a "funk", playing The Blues and Motown anywhere and everywhere. Needless to say, The Blues is definitely one of the most influential music genres to ever exist (at least in my mind).
I, personally, really enjoy listening to The Blues. I find it a very relaxing and melancholy genre, with great music and instruments and awe-inspiring lyrics, which are somewhere between complaining and poetry... maybe there is such a thing as both. I really enjoy how the songs always tell you a story, as long as you are willing to listen closely enough. If not, the vocalists and musicians manage to get their message across very clearly, radiating the feelings that comes packed into their songs using nothing but their instruments and voices. Not only that, but I find it to be a very timeless genre, with songs that I will happily listen to over 50 years after their release. Having made all of my previous statements, I hope you will agree with me that The Blues is a genre that is to be respected and enjoyed, as sorrowful as it may be.
After the talented Shakespeare decided to create an epic love story that would stick around for hundreds of years you would think you could at least try to respect his masterpiece just a little bit. Yes, I'm talking about the hugely famous play known as "Romeo and Juliet". Sadly, this interpretation doesn't. In the least. In my opinion , Baz Luhrmann's "Romeo and Juliet"it seems more like a parody than a tribute to the most famous love story ever, with scenes where people cross dress, others make out with family members and others take "romantic" midnight swims. I hated the fact that the movie was set in modern day... It wasn't creative, just uncomfortable.
Now, let's talk about the actual play. Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet" is a timeless love story, but it is also a very intelligent play. It uses puns, simile, metaphor, imagery and hyperbole, all written in incredibly picky Iambic Pentameter form. The play, as I mentioned before, does not honor this in the least. Sure, they both have some of the same script and the same storyline (with a few changes), but the modern version makes it all seem like a joke and doesn't take the whole love story thing seriously.
Of course, even the worst moments in life have silver linings, and for me it was the endingof this story. Sadly, I can't really say much more about it without giving it away. But, without giving spoilers I can say that this ending created more suspense and even more drama. Taking everything into consideration, I would not recommend it to anyone I know (unless it's someone I hate and want to punish), if you want to watch a movie based on "Romeo and Juliet" then you should watch a version that actually seems like something Shakespeare would be proud of.
Homechat... Yes, as the name suggests this app allows you to chat with your home. Kind of like in cartoons your appliances can now "talk" back to you using one of our worlds most popular forms of communication. TEXTING! Released at CES 2014 by LG, this new and exciting technology reduces the stress of your life (Only if you purchase only LG appliances, of course).
This new program can do lots of fantastic things that the normal person doesn't usually feel like doing. For exam`le, you can text your vacuum cleaner and tell it to vacuum for a while (another new invention!) or you can aske your washer and dryer to start or stop. Also, if you want to know what is in your fridge just text it! It will let you know how much milk you have, how many eggs, butter, apples, etc. Your best friend just got even better.
I, personally think this is a great app that can also be very practical... mostly if your hungry and don't want to have to get up to figure out what is in the fridge. Long live laziness! I believe that for people who dont spend very much time at home or who have very bust schedules LG Homechat can be extremely useful. I would even love it and I don't really NEED it (but I guess that's the whole point, isn't it?).
Change can be good or bad. It can be scary. It can be exciting. It can be unexpected. Life might suddenly decide to turn in a different and unexpected direction and you just have to deal with it. Nobody can change change. It might be as little as changing the brand of milk you buy or as big as losing a friend or moving to a different country, but in the end change is unavoidable. The thing we can change is the way we deal with it. For example, throwing a hissy fit just because the supermarket is out of Kit Kats and has Milkyways instead is a socially unacceptable way of dealing with change (for more information on society and it's opinions please refer to blog number 1).
Not only do objects and physical places change but people and their personalities change. People grow together or people grow apart. People mature or don't AT ALL... I mean, 0. People grow for better or for worse. People develop different personalities over time. And all of that can affect the way you see yourself and others. For example, throughout my life I have had many different friends until now when it seems I have finally found the best besties ever in a couple of ridiculously nuts people (you know who you are). And that's okay. That's life.
But please don't have a negative idea of change. Change can be good. I, for one, like change and think that every now and then it can be healthy to keep you on your toes (as long as you don't lose your "muchness"). I actually find routine can be kind of boring sometimes, which is why it's good to explore, try new things and be open to change... CHANGE CAN BE YOUR FRIEND! Don't be afraid of it but embrace it! Of course, always remember that change is neither good nor bad. What is good or bad is what we make of that change.
For this week's blog I chose what to some might seem like an extremely random and quite stupid topic but I'm gonna write about it anyways. I chose this ridiculous topic for a couple of reasons: a)I had no other inspiration b) please refer to "a" and c) I really like stuff that falls from the sky. (If at this point you are already bored I encourage you to skip to the second paragraph or simply just stop reading as it will get very weird, very soon.) So, in honor stuff that falls from the sky I have decided to dedicate an entire blog to what I think are the highly under appreciated types of weather. (Yes, that's right... weather!)
Most people love the sun. They love the warmth and the light and the "joy" that it all brings. But, as you probably can tell, I am a strange one. I don't exactly LOVE the sun but I don't exactly HATE it either, there are just many other types of weather I prefer. Precipitation, for example. It is a wonderfully long word that brings wonderful stuff that falls from the sky. Rain! Snow! Meteorites! Hail (but the small kind)! Even lightning kind of falls from the sky and is so majestically beautiful that the Greeks created a god to represent it.
I love the inside coziness that comes with all those types of precipitation. I love snuggling under blankets and watching movies or reading when it's raining outside. I love listening to hail knock against my window while I occasionally stick my hand out to eat some (ignoring the fact that for some reason parents discourage their kids from doing so). And even though I haven't experienced it very many times I love watching the snow fall outside the warmth of my home with a cup of hot chocolate in my hand while I patiently wait for it to pile up so I can go jump in it and/or built a snowman. Yes, I am still quite in touch with my inner child and I'm proud of it. So, yeah, I love pretty much everything that falls from the sky, I don't care how weird it may seem to some people.
Love at first sight is, in my opinion, a fantasy. Like unicorns and leprechauns and talking animals and that flying baby that shoots pointy love arrows at people. I think love at first sight is a ridiculous idea because if you love someone you love their personality, their quirks, their smile, their laugh or even their way of speaking... And most of those things you can't just tell from a single look. You might, as many naive people do, fall in love with the idea of said person. Deciding based on the shade of his eyes that he is a gentleman that reads and is intelligent and funny but, in the end, you are only tricking yourself into falling in love with an imaginary and completely fictional human being (full disclosure, I have in fact fallen for truly fictional characters in books and movies, etc. and I do not recommend it).
True love isn't something that pops up out of the middle of nowhere like a weed, it is like the sapling of a tree that takes a long time and hard work to grow but when it does it will last forever. Sure there are some trees that grow faster than others but none just randomly appear overnight. Love at first sight is just an illusion, something that the world gives us to hope for... That someday someone will fall in love with you just by looking at you and the pair of love-stricken lovebirds will instantly become soul mates and live happily ever after in a big, fancy castle. Unfortunately, the universe also gave us real life, and I'm sorry to say that love at first sight never happens in the real world, only in fairy tales. So don’t wait for your prince on a white horse to magically appear and fall in love with you because you probably have a better chance of winning the lottery 7 times in a row.
And speaking of probability, I honestly can't think of a single time anyone has ever told me, "It was love at first sight!" and truly mean it. Usually comments are purely physical like, "He had beautiful eyes and great abs and a perfect smile!" but never comments like, "He is my soul mate and we will love each other forever!" Which, by the way, brings us back to my comment in the first paragraph (If you don't remember it please reread it. It is truly worth your time to further your understanding of this brilliant comment). I'm just doing the math here, of how many times I've heard a love at first sight story (0 in total), and I have to say... numbers don't lie. So, if you do have a love at first sight story for me, please share! And if you have won the lottery 7 times in a row don't be shy either.