Monday, March 31, 2014

Why The Lion King is the Best Disney Movie by Sydney Quanz

First...... I think it should be noted that this is post #100!! Happy 100th Post Anniversary, Quirk!

When I was two years old, I was in love with The Lion King. Intensely obsessed, I watched it nearly every day. It was my favorite. My mom tells a story about how our VCR tape of the disney classic broke, and she searched everywhere to find it. eventually she discovered that Disney had put the beloved classic into the vault and it was no where to be found. Eventually, a friend of my Dad's found one for us, and the issue was solved. I lived to watch The Lion King another day.

Unfortunately, not much has changed. I scrambled to see the 3D release a couple years ago and yes, I cried at the beginning - and at the end. When I feel sad, I listen to the "King of Pride Rock" score and usually get chills. I quote it so much, that somethings I just say I don't realize are from the movie till I watch it again. I can nearly recite the script. Its unhealthy. I am constantly faced with the struggle that comes with showing it to other children. I will bring it when I babysit sometimes, and it is appalling how many kids tell me that its "boring" or "scary". This frustrating new generation doesn't know a good thing when they see it.
However, apart from by obsession with it, I do think that the Lion King is the best Disney Movie to ever grace the cinema for the following reasons.


1. The Villain Song: "Be Prepared"

This is arguably my favorite song in the entire movie, although I wasn't allowed to watch it for most of my childhood because it was "evil". But upon my middle school years, I googled the lyrics, found a youtube clip and learned the song by heart. "Be Prepared" is hilarious and the jokes are made with intelligent wit that I have yet to find elsewhere. For example here is the second verse:


Hyenas: "It's great that we'll soon be connected
              With a king who'll be all-time adored
Scar:     Of course, quid pro quo, you're expected
             To take certain duties on board
             The future is littered with prizes
             And though I'm the main addressee
            The point that I must emphasize is
            You won't get a sniff without me!"

Its so.....evil. But yet it is phrased with all the tact of a royal seeking for revenge, or a politician slyly crafting his speech. Somehow Scar manages to convince the Hyenas that helping him will be in their own interest, its an opportunity to rise from their low standing in society that they can't pass up. Also, its worth mentioning that the chorus of Hyenas in the background of the end of the song is these lyrics here:

"We'll have food
Lots of Food
We repeat
Endless meat"

2. The Princess

Not everyone considers Nala a disney princess, mostly because she is a lion and doesn't where a dress or do your typical princess things. However, I think Nala is the best of the princesses (closely followed by Mulan of course). Nala is a strong lioness, she can take care of herself, and doesn't succumb to leadership easily. She was the only one brave enough to go searching for help, and she she did she took down a full grown male lion on her own, which is quite impressive. Furthermore, in the original storyline of The Lion King, Scar tried to make Nala his queen before she went in search of help, and instead of falling prey to Scar and his will she stood up for herself.

Nala supports Simba, she see's him for the King that he really is, even when he can't see it himself. She encourages him to live up to his full potential and ultimately make him a better person. Even in the moment where she though that he was responsible for the death of his own father, she didn't turn on him. Nala is a fighter and a leader, more independent than any of the other female disney heroines.

3. Mufasa's Death

The saddest disney death is the death of Mufasa, hands down, no argument. Mufasa is a father figure for all of us, being voiced by the most famous father of all, Darth Vader. More than that however, he was everything samba aspired to be, everything he looked up to and over all he just made a great dad. His death, not by some type of accident, but by his sacrifice to save his son, is beautiful; it is oddly similar to the death of the Son of God to save us, despite our rebellious nature and flawed existence. 

What makes this so heartbreaking largely comes front he fact that Simba, a young reckless child, believe that it was his fault. As he lays next to his fathers dead body, pleading with him to wake up, its impossible not to feel something, or to shed a tear.

4. Timon and Pumba

Now to everyones favorite characters, the duo that raises Simba from a young cub to a rebellious adult. Originally, the voice actors for these two were cast as the hyenas: Shenzia and Bonzai, but the directors were so impressed with their performance that they recast them as Timon and Pumba. 

Timon and Pumba are lovable outcast, who live a bit of an alternative lifestyle in an african oasis. What makes this comedy duo so effective is that Pumba is so insecure about himself that even though his suggestions are right, they are constantly shot down by a more imaginative, false explanation by his more confident counter part. My favorite exchange between them in the movie:

Pumba: Timon?
Timon: Yeah?
Pumba: Ever wonder what those sparkling dots are up there?
Timon: Pumba, I don't wonder, I know.
Pumba: Oh, what are they?
Timon: They're fireflies. That, uh, got stuck up in that big blueish black thing
Pumba: Oh. Gee. I always though they were balls of gas burning millions of miles away.
Timon: Pumba, with you everything's gas.

5. The Minor Characters

Somehow, The Lion King magaes to include a large amount of characters, but they are charming and lovable. Each play a part in Simba's journey and whether their part is large or small they capture our hearts. Here are just a few:

Zazu is the King's majordomo. Carrying news, keeping things in line, He is fundamental to the ruling of the empire. Due to his particular nature he becomes a bit of a joke, and is strikingly similar to Sebastian from the Little Mermaid.  Favorite Line: "The cheetahs are rather hard up but as I alway say, Cheetahs never prosper."

Shenzi is the leader of her trio of bandit hyenas. She is fierce and controlled balancing out the blind passion of Bonzai and the mute Ed. She is full of one liners and some pretty menacing threats. Favorite Line:
Shenzi: Whats the hurry? We'd love for you to stick around for dinner.
Bonzai: Yeah... we could have whatevers "lion" around.
Shenzie: Oh I got one, I got one, make mine a cub sandwich, watchya think?

Raffiki is the baboon Shameman of the tribe. He's a bit insane, but he holds up the spiritual part of the story, reminding Simba of his father and ultimately his destiny.  He is crazy and wise all at once, prancing around singing nonsense but also professing some incredible truths about the circle of life. Favorite Line: 
Raffiki: It doesn't matter, its in the past
Simba: Yea but it still hurts
Raffiki: Yes sometimes the past can hurt, but you can either run from it or learn from it.

6. Simba

Simba is young, he's reckless, he's flawed and he makes a lot of mistakes. He gets caught up in something bigger than himself and he run from his past. In several ways, he is like us. We mess up and we get scared and sometimes we run away. We believe lies about our life, we hold onto things that aren't ours to hold and it keeps us from reaching our true potential. However, just like Simba we are destined for more, and by facing our past, our demons and our mistakes, we can overcome them. Through that victory, we find our selves suited for the life we have been wanting our entire existence, but only through the journey are we truly prepared for it. Then we take our place in the circle of life, where we belong. 


The story is deep, powerful and moving. The hero is relatable. The song are intelligent the characters are charming and strong. Lion King remind us that everything in this life is beautiful. From the mistakes to the triumphs, the small people and the big ones, we all play a role in the circle of life, if only we have the courage to take it.

"Remember who you are. You are my son, an the one true King."



Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Book That Stole My Heart by Cara Haley

      For me, I will always admire a good book with a strong storyline, dynamic characters that has a meaningful relationship amongst each other, and of course, a logical adventure that thrives towards significance. So when I read The Book Thief  by Markus Zusak, I was easily able to grasp unto the storyline with attentiveness. It starts off in the gloomy time period of World War II in Germany where the Nazis reigned in terror and the end was everywhere. Hope was robbed and many starved for some actual salvation. Life was hard, but not nearly as hard as some had to endure. Death itself was the narrator during this colorless rubble. So many predictions, so many dead, and yet, somehow everything was good for a moment, but was hindered in awfulness for the next. However, one young girl after her miserable loss, found a new beginning.
   She was innocent, yet was slaved in suffering, growing Liesel Meminger was fostered in the home of the Hubermann's after she witnessed her brother's death and mother's carelessness. Her foster father, who served more like a true father, Hans Hubermann, was a man of guidance and morals. He appreciated fairness and that was what separated him from the others who followed heedlessly around him. His reminder of a savior stayed with him and influenced his foster daughter's future forever. Actions can lead stronger than flat empty words could ever. But wise words are as powerful as war itself. With that influential, but deadly material, a learning mind sought out for more expertise. This was the beginning of a leading story.
    Liesel Meminger was a girl with a mountain to climb. When she discovered, actually more like resurrected, her love for books, she sought out to learn these confusing unknown words. With her desire for meaning and escape, she allowed some simple penned letters to fulfill her world. And that world grew in wonder with the tremendous help of her father. Never greedy when she was seeking this knowledge that books gave her, Liesel shared her stolen words with others when only crowded isolation blinded everyone together. But oh, she did steal several things from the destructive flames of deception. Passionately driven, her zest could not simply be tamed. Her love for books is what brought even more understanding between her and the earnest reader. She held unto the world that saved her from drowning in those nightmarish memories and she was unable to let it go. Why abandon your salvation that not only holds you, but your memories as well? With bravery, she fought for what she loved and what she loved was more than she was herself.
    This story captures a youthful desirous heart that is led throughout heaps of difficulties. And while everything was bound to fall, she held on. She learns to love what she loses and was left behind with only the memories of unsaid faded goodbyes. This tale is an enjoyment and will bring a questioning fate upon you. The demand for the "lovely ugly words" gave power to those  who knew how to speak persuasively. It showed the historical swelling of the world in selfishness and the blame it brought on the rest of us. And how it all ended with rumbles where even death was overwhelmed with the scattered emptiness. Left alone, death didn't do the only stealing...We weren't born with the immediate desire to take, but we do have a deep intimate passion that burns inside of us. And that can and will drive a person to extent. What are we willing to give up to keep a secret? What will we leave behind in order to obtain that little piece of happiness? "Can a person steal happiness? Or is it just another internal, infernal human trick?" But it is wonderful truly when you open a book and a new adventure sprouts out all around you. It takes a certain degree of sacrifice to leave behind those things that you preciously love. The whole world saw the realization of an innocent child with a passion  and that left wondering in many of our hearts. What would you do to help another? Would you listen to those deception of lies raised above you or will you risk everything for a burning ending?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Sight of the Blind by Cara Haley

     We all know the inspirational story of Helen Keller. She created a new meaning to life, one which she longed for others to share. Other than becoming a world famous writer and spokeswoman, Helen Keller accomplished many extraordinary additional aspects in her life, especially the fact of living a captivating one. She left behind a legacy, many foundations for others that had the same difficulties like her, and mostly, a dream for the future. Mrs. Keller spoke up for what she believed in and wasn't afraid to oppose others for what she thought was right. Her courage is admired and she earned praise for all of her accomplishments. Helen Keller was countless of things, including an author, political activist and speaker, but her story alone imbued life in many of ways. Never allowing her disabilities, deafness and blindness, block her from learning and seeking better ways to overcome all of the world's struggles, Mrs. Heller pulled through with a survivor's heart. That type of daring determination takes strength and Helen Keller knew several things about strength.
    Helen Keller became the first deaf-blind individual to earn a bachelor of arts degree. Although she never regained her stolen senses, Helen would not allow that to rob her goals of an exceeding life of excellence for herself and others. She learned and fought for more. Never doubting her ability, she was able to move throughout life with more capability than imagined and definitely much more than the average individual. But she wasn't left alone to walk through this journey. No, she had faithful encouragement from those who believed in her to achieve including Sarah Fuller, Mark Twain, Wilhelm Jerusalem, Polly Thomson, and of course, Anne Sullivan. The autobiography of hers, The Story of My Life, surely showed the conflict and rising triumph that she lived through. When there was little to no faith in her, Anne Sullivan came along when Helen was six years old and taught her. Helen's mind blossomed with the guidance of Mrs. Sullivan and their relationship bonded them through the rest of life's obstructive battles. With that, many was moved by this spiritual journey and hope blossomed in our hearts as well. Helen's autobiography purposed the play, The Miracle Worker  by William Gibson. It portrayed Helen's early life and keyed in on some of the main turnarounds that influenced so much more. All of the audience felt a new spirit championing and this simple act was another way of showing the world Helen Keller and her fulfilling hope she had within her.
    Helen Keller is remembered as an advocate for people with infirmity and she was proud to earn that position. She held on to the thought of improvement and how we all can move on after suffering. Her words that will always be a reassurance is,"Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it." Life will have its own downing, but it is up to us to rise above it all. We all have the power to do so, we only need to grasp unto it. Her personal essay, Three Days to See, was what truly gave us an insight of her wishes. But more importantly, it was the realization of our own gifts that we so often take for advantage that Helen impacted us deeply with. It broadens the point  on we all have something that someone else longs for. This brought us emotionally through the world that Helen experienced. All because she was blind doesn't mean she couldn't see life clearly. Words of hers that brought me to humility was " The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or ever touched-they must be felt by the heart." I think that Helen Keller saw life more than the rest of us and she gladly appreciated it, even when  all became despair. Although she was first lost, she was at last able to grab a purpose and achieve what she never at first dreamed of. That surprise  in her is what lead me to believe in myself, no matter the obstacles set up in life. So I thank Helen Keller for  her inspiration she had on me and I hope that you are able to experience something new by simply reading her wise words.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Worth of Your Life: According to Society by Mikayla Halsell

       Yesterday, while scrolling down my newsfeed on Facebook, I came across a picture that was appalling on so many different levels. As I examined and analyzed the picture and it's content, I became more and more disgusted with the moral decline in our society.


DISCLAIMER: The picture contains a list of activities, some invovling inappropriate content, that may not be suitable for younger children. Viewer's discretion is advised.


       I found this picture with the title of "Add up all of the things you've done and see how much your life is worth." In the comments below, countless people were posting how much "money" they had accumulated and were sharing how much their life was "worth". I can't decide which appalls me more: the fact that people believe that their life's worth is determined by how many "cool" or "rebellious" things they've done, or that the actions on this list are even considered praiseworthy and meritorious at all. 







       The top three things listed that are "worth the most" are:
                1) "Had sex"
                2) "Been in a fist fight"
                3) "Got drunk"
       And then all tying for 4th place are "Kissed someone of the opposite sex", "Kissed someone of the same sex", "Been expelled", "Done drugs", and "Got arrested". 

       Is this really what makes our life worth something? The very first thing on this list is "Had sex". So is that the meaning of life? Should that be the goal that we all strive for? I'm sorry if you have contrary views, but I am deeply offended by this.  
       
       All throughout my life, I have been taught to seek Christ first, love others, and strive for excellence in everything I do. Granted, not everyone has had the privilege of growing up in a Christian home, but I would hope that everyone would have been taught at least some morals. Taking my religious and spiritual beliefs aside for a moment, my parents taught me good morals. I knew that all of the following would be required of me and I was expected to learn/achieve all of them:

   - Make the best grades that I could
   - Follow the rules in class or at home
   - If I broke the rules, consequences would follow
   - Tell the truth
   - Do not cheat (on school work or people)
   - Respect other people
   - Be responsible 
   - Accept your mistakes and learn from them
   - Be dependable 
   - Earn trust by consistently being obedient/following through with your promises
   - Have integrity 
   - Be humble 

       These are just a few of the things that I learned as a CHILD. Yes, I failed at all of them. Probably several, several times. But they were, nevertheless, instilled in me from day one, all the way until the present. Even though I still mess up, I am aware of these morals and I do my best every day to achieve them. 

       However, according the the list above, I wonder whether or not these morals are still existent in homes around America today. Almost every single action directly opposes some of the morals previously mentioned. This leads me to question if children today are even being taught morals at all. If they are, then they certainly are not listening. Children that grow up without morals are the kind of kids that "mature" into teenagers and youth adults that think their life is measured by how many rebellious/"cool" things they did in high school and college. However, in reality, the compilation of everything listed sounds more like a negligent high schooler looking for attention and making all the wrong choices in the process. 
       
       In a moment of vulnerability, I am guilty of some of the actions listed above. Am I proud of them? Absolutely not. Do I go around bragging about everything that I've done? No, I don't. But based on the list, the more bad things that you have done, the more "bragging rights" you have earned. In all honesty, none of the actions are "brag-worthy". Almost all of them lead to hurt, regret, and even lifelong consequences. The top 8 things to achieve all have their consequences, some of which could even be quite dire (getting drunk, getting arrested, getting expelled, and doing drugs). My point is, none of these things should hold any merit in of themselves. Yet, they, supposedly, are key components in making your life worth something. This is completely opposite of the way it should be. 
    
       I have spent my life trying to excel academically, serve other people, acquire integrity, learn to love, persevere through difficult situations, strengthen my weaknesses, accept responsibility, go beyond what is expected of me, learn from my mistakes, overcome peer pressure, develop different skills, refine my talents, expand my knowledge, apply wisdom, inspire others, become a leader, earn trust, obtain respect from all age groups, and yet....none of these things are considered meritorious or included on a list that determines how much my life is worth. THAT is what offends me. 

       None of those actions listed in the above picture should be relevant at all in determining whether or not your life has worth. And anyone who believes otherwise is a fool. I know that is harsh, but it's true. Life is measured by so much more than petty, irresponsible conduct. I truly hope that my generation comes to that realization quickly and ceases to conform to the impetuous and negligent behavior that is rampant in our society. 


Friday, March 21, 2014

What is a "thigh gap"? by Amy Yarbrough

What is a “thigh gap”? 
by Amy Yarbrough


Nowadays everyone is told what is pretty, what is acceptable, and what is “hot”. And we just sit back and let society decide for us! The funny thing is, it’s been going on for years. If you look back to the 70’s, the 50’s, heck, even the 1800’s, there are always standards of what is considered “right”. And now, we have society telling women that we’re fat if we don’t have this thing called a “thigh gap”. Quite frankly, I don’t understand it! So apparently when you put your knees together, if there is a gap in between your thighs you’re considered attractive. But God forbid your legs have meat on them and slightly touch, because that means you’re “fat”. That’s basically what they’re telling us! A little problem with that statement, is that for some people, it’s not physically possible! Some girls do have thigh gaps, but that’s because they’re built differently. So I guess it’s good to look malnourished now! What’s weird is that way back in the Medieval Era, women were suppose to be big. A hefty woman was more likely to get married than a super skinny woman. In the later nineteen hundreds, a heftier woman was considered more attractive as well. And now all of a sudden, BAM, we’re all suppose to look like chickens!  If you go online and find various work out plans or diets, a majority of them are made to get the thigh gap. It also seems like it might be kind of hard to shop for pants if you have one. Just saying. I think the worst part of it all is that some girls actually believe that they’re fat! Everywhere on the internet, you see pictures; videos; etc of girls doing random stuff. And on every one of those pictures or videos, if the girl is even slightly curvy, there is always some jackwagon who tells her she should go on a diet or something. When did guys start liking toothpicks? Although, in the Victorian Era, women were suppose to be insanely skinny. In order to make women look this skinny, they had corsets. How did corsets make them skinny? IT WAS SO TIGHT THAT IT MOVED THEIR ORGANS. For generations, people have been doing everything they could to fit in to what society says is okay. And it keeps getting more and more idiotic! Don’t let society tell you what to think! Especially if it means putting someone else down.

100 Wise Words to Everyone by Mikayla Halsell

       Throughout our lives, adults and people wiser than ourselves are constantly giving out advice, both welcomed and unwanted. Some of it sticks, some of it we forget and never give it another thought. If only it was all written down somewhere to refer back to and glance over from time to time... Well lucky for us, some teacher already thought of that and has conveniently written it down for all to read! Granted, the following are all wise words from his perspective and opinions. But please, TAKE THE TIME TO READ ALL OF THEM. They truly are golden and quite wonderful. What wonderful words of wisdom to keep in mind.



Thursday, March 20, 2014

Lesser Known Works that Should be Read ~Written by Cara Haley

    There are many skillful authors, and some of the best are immediately recognized. Their marvelous works are known by name, such as F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, or famous essayist, Ralph Waldo Emerson's The Over-Soul. It is astonishing how their words collect a perfect invention on a few thin pages. But some of these amazing authors' fine works aren't as popular as their others. With such creative talent, all should be read. Authors such as William Shakespeare have a collection of polished plays which are highly valued, and his talent is known throughout the world. Even some of his shorter plays such as Julius Caesar, The Winter's Tale, and The Comedy of Errors are praised for their greatness. There are many admirable writers who wrote several things, but their one bestseller is mainly known for sole success. I think we ought to equally praise the author and the book, not the thrilling story alone. All throughout history, masters of literature rose and created words of art such as Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Dickinson, Robert Lee Frost, Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain, the Bronte sisters, Jules Verne, and Jane Austen.
     Jane Austen is best known for her novel, Pride and Prejudice. But she wrote a series of other fine  novels that aren't as acknowledged. The novel, Emma has Austen's appreciated dynamic character development, one with interesting relationships and interactions. Emma is a lighthearted novel that brilliantly portrays the provincial townspeople of Highbury in a luminous satire. The main protagonist, Emma Woodhouse, who culminates her entire life to improve others', seems to think of all, but fails to realize her own heart. This tale brings leisure and irony to that time period. It was a real enjoyment to read and the reader will savor the humorous manner.
     Another Jane Austen novel is Persuasion. Persuasion shows an entirely different romantic story from Austen's other novels, like Sense and Sensibilty. It sets up a story of mystery where previous love is no more and those once loving hearts are strained in hopelessness. It approaches the theory that love can't have love without suffering. This type of story was quite rare and inspired other great stories, such as For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund.
     The next author , Ernest Hemingway, was a strong influential writer who led literature from the 1920's to the 50's. He wrote several novels of fiction and two nonfiction with a collection of short stories. His one novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls, was like his final work, The Old Man and The Sea, for it focuses on the one battle of life, though this one happened to be actual war. It keys in on the luck some of us are fortunate to have, even if it may only last for a day. It displayed the shortness of life and how something so great can be given away in moments.
     Villette by Charlotte Bronte is a good as her other novel, Jane Eyre. It had something that was nearly supernatural to it, like the rest of the Bronte sister's novels. With a strong powerful female character behind it, Lucy Snowe, this tale was surreal and very memorable with the wise advice Ms. Snowe advised to those around her. Lucy Snowe endures an unspecified family tragedy and has to travel away from England to a French town, Villette, where she teaches English at a girl's school. Drawling in, Ms. Snowe finds herself an adventure and unwanted romance. Charlotte Bronte earned an award from the reader's indrawn mind. The similarity between her other novel is astounding with greatness and some of us were able to relive another enjoyment. 
     William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying is a spectacular book, one with functions fit for an imaginative mind. Even thought this book didn't win a Pulitzer Prize or the National Book Award like Mr. Faulkner's other book, A Fable, it earned potency with its capturing story. The difference some see in life created a new meaning. It was all about the perspective of how you see things. The earning message behind it was that life's emotional creations may be "merely a function of the mind-and that of the mind of the ones who suffers the bereavement." Compassion and lies are covered deeply in our soul and they are there with such guilt; guilt that stays with us until death and even beyond that.
     These vivid novels are masterly written and bind a committed purpose together throughout their stories. So if you read one magnificent thing from a profound author, try and check out their other works. You might be surprised by the overlooked books that are truly facile, but aren't highly promoted like others are.

All Smoothies, All the Time by Mikayla Halsell

       Today is the Spring Equinox, meaning it's the first day of spring! Now we can look forward to lovely weather, a decline in academic motivation, and anticipation for summer! As summer becomes closer and closer in view and temperatures slowly rise to ungodly levels, most people start breaking out those smoothie recipes that have been hiding in the pantry. But just in case you are one of the few who don't actually have any recipes or even a desire to make smoothies, here 10 different recipes to get you started. And if you don't like smoothies, then go re-evaluate you life decisions and come back later when you're a better human being. 


       But anyways, here is my Top Ten list of smoothies for the spring and upcoming summer! (The list is in no particular order. They're all good, so try them all.)

1. Peach Smoothie




Ingredients: 

-2 cups of milk
-2 cups of frozen sliced peaches (sweet or unsweet)
-1/4 cup of orange juice concentrate
-2 tablespoons of sugar (optional)
-5 ice cubes (or more if you prefer a thicker smoothie)





2. Raspberry Vanilla Smoothie





Ingredients:

-1 cup of frozen raspberries
-6 oz. container of vanilla greek yogurt 
-1/2 cup of vanilla almond milk




3. Mango Pineapple Smoothie




Ingredients:

-1 mango, diced
-2 rings of pineapple
-1 heaping tablespoon of coconut yogurt
-1 tablespoon of coconut milk
-1/2 cup of apple juice
-6 ice cubes






4. Super Berry Smoothie





Ingredients: 

-1 cup of frozen blueberries
-1 cup of frozen strawberries
-1 tablespoon of chai seeds (optional)
-1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
-1 cup of almond milk
-1 cup of blueberry yogurt





5. Spinach Kiwi Smoothie




Ingredients:

-1 cup of fresh spinach (1 hand-full)
-1 sliced kiwi
-1/2 frozen banana
-1/2 almond milk
-2 ice cubes




6. Snicker-doodle Green Smoothie 





Ingredients:

-1 handful of spinach
-1 frozen banana
-1/2 of an avocado
-1/4 cup of almond milk
-1/2 teaspoon of vanilla
-1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon 
-2 ice cubes









7. Raspberry Pina Colada 





Ingredients:

-1/2 cup of vanilla yogurt
-1/2 cup of coconut milk
-1/2 cup of pineapple juice
-1 and 1/2 frozen banana
-1/2 cup of frozen raspberries 






8. Berry Green Smoothie






Ingredients:

-1 handful of spinach leaves
-1/2 cup of frozen blueberries
-1/2 cup of frozen raspberries
-1 frozen (or unfrozen) banana
-1/2 cup of milk (or almond milk)
-2 tablespoons of old-fashioned oats (optional)
-1 tablespoon of sugar (optional)








9. Blackberry Cherry Smoothie






Ingredients: 

-2 cups of frozen blackberries
-1 cups of frozen cherries (seedless)
-1 cup of vanilla yogurt
-1 tablespoon of blackberry preserves 
-1/2 cup of cherry juice
-1/2 cup of almond milk
-2 tablespoons of flax sees (optional)
-a few ice cubes







10. Green Watermelon Smoothie







Ingredients:

-3 cubes of watermelon, cubed (seedless)
-1/4 cup of parsley
-2 cups of packed kale
-1/4 cup of fresh mint leaves
-2 teaspoons of green tea powder
-3 tablespoons of pineapple juice concentrate
-1/2 of an avocado 









       Well, I hope that I have inspired your smoothie-making creativity. Don't be afraid to try different combinations and ideas. You can always substitute ingredients that you don't like for other fruits that you prefer. Start off this spring with clean eating and delicious smoothies! Have fun experimenting!



Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Why Music in the 80's are Classic Hits by Cara Haley

           Ahh, the legendary Eighties. It was the time when guitar solos reigned, the fashion was bizarre, but amazing with the variety of vests, and there was rebel ruling the world such as Billy Idol. Compared to nowadays, music back in the eighties is still highly admired and seems unforgettable. The sound lives on and leaves you wondering why aren't you at a real rock concert. That sound does truly capture the key of music, for it was played from real instruments and left from another dedicated heart. What is lacked in today's music is the love for music, but instead, there is the greedy goal of earning titles. So many artists are out there these days for fame and fortune. I am not saying that there was no pride or lust for wealth  back then, but many successful artists wrote their own songs and performed for the love of song. Even some side songs that were just  written as poetry such "We Will Rock You" by Queen or "Billie Jean" by Michael Jackson hit the right key in rhythm. One-hit-wonders like the "Eye of the Tiger" and "Ice Ice Baby" aren't so easily forgotten as well and are actually still played throughout the years with prosperity. Others who really rocked in this extravagant age, creating historical stories which music these days use as examples, have truly earned their titles. Extraordinary leaders in this marvelous sound of music such as the well known Queen, Journey, Bon Jovi, Duran Duran, Def Leppard, and Huey Lewis and the News leave behind a wondrous tale. Their carefully constructed music brings out a wild whimsical character of that age, truly expressing the undying heart of rock and roll.
     The songs written in this period expressed stories, and by simply listening to it, you are able to hear the profound emotion in it. There was more purpose to music then. Struggles, failings, and love aches were deeply shown through simple words and the audience felt the living moment. These famous artists weren't just performers, they were composers. They poured out their faults and lives into their music. Using the instruments, they found a perfect sound that did completely capture the message behind it all. Their goals weren't only to earn riches, but to connect with the audience. Being relatable is what brought those high struck stars into the common individual's world. To have such passion show is astounding. And I think it is passion so many young artists lack in today's industry. What makes a legend is the sacrifice to give up you own heart and soul in a dedicating action. To write about what makes you life move is what moved this great era in the eighties to such remembrance.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Flipped Storylines by Sydney Quanz

I often get extremely tired of classic, overused story lines. Time and time again the same plot is used in the same genre with only one thing slightly changed. It gets annoying to go to the theatre expecting something original and finding something that you have already a seen countless times before. However, some of the most classic story lines are much more original, and much more amusing when they are changed to be the opposite of what they are. The results are Immensely entertaining.

Communism Games
A girl living in a Democratic nation seeks to end the individualism and bring conformity and fear to the people. Armed only with her wit and her two female sidekicks, whom she does not have a love triangle with, she must destroy the leaders of the government to make way for communist rule. She is cold and heartless and seeks only to bring justice to her far too relaxed society. At the end, she finally achieves her goal, and can retire alone, where she is haunted by the horror of living under a democratic goverment.

The Not-book
A classic tale where a poor girl meets a rich boy and they have a passionate summer fling, until they are pulled apart by his disapproving parents. She writes him a letter every day for a year, he responds to them, it's romantic. She gets engaged to a attractive soldier and goes to see her love one last time. When they talk, they realize that they have nothing in common and don't even like each other that much. She marries the soldier and they don't grow old together and die. The boy marries Emma Stone, because Emma Stone makes every story better.

Lost my Identity
An action hero wakes up from a coma to discover that he lost his special set of skills. He must now learn to do normal things, like make a pot of coffee, put on pants and make girls fall in love with him without impressing them with a bunch of stunt work. Throughout the story, he begins to forget his past life as an assassin until he remembers nothing, retreating into life of exceptional, but peaceful boredom.

Brakes
A parked bus is armed with a bomb that will explode if it accelerates over 50 miles per hour. Keanu Reeves fixes the problem by putting a sign on the window that says, "Bomb on Bus. Do not drive".

Foottied
A boy from a small town moves to Boston where everyone dances all the time, leading to destructive behavior and promiscuous activities. Together, he, a daredevil city boy and a shy, modest preacher's daughter create a petition and make dancing illegal.

Avatar: The Lone Star State
An alien comes to Texas to steal our supply of oil. To try and make a diplomatic solution, they dress up in avatars to make them look like humans and try to convince Texans to leave before anyone gets hurt. The main alien falls in love with Rick Perry's daughter and learns to respect Texans, and even gets his own set of Cowboy Boots. However, diplomacy fails when the Aliens ask them to surrender their oil and the humans insist that they "Come and take it". The aliens blow-up the Lone Star State. Later, they are destroyed by the surviving Texans who charge at them on horses with lassos and somehow still beat the much more advanced Alien technology.

Iron Man
The plot of Iron Man 3.

Harry Potter: the Boy Who was Normal
His whole life, Harry thought he was a special wizard who defeated the Dark Lord when he was a baby, but it was all a lie. A large hairy man comes to him and tells him, "You're a Muggle Harry." Harry then embarks on a journey to get used to life where he is not the chosen one, attending public High school and being ignored for the rest of his life until he ends up living in a cupboard under some strangers' stairs.

Every-Story-Ever
A girl embarks on a journey to find herself, only to find that being yourself is overrated.

The Avengers
A group of shy, insecure superheroes must work together to defeat a world ending catastrophe. The characters include Tin Man, Captain Canada, The Green Giant, Thor the god of Rain, Agent Coleslaw, Nick Happy and Spiderman. They spend the movie trying not to step on each others toes, insisting that they are the worst of the group and politely taking turns on who gets to fight Low-Key the chill god of Mischief. They step up their game when Agent Coleslaw is viciously stabbed, and Low-Key is escorted back over the rainbow bridge leaving earth safe, except for the Super humans who are now so egotistical that they demand that they each get their own movie.

Empiral Peace
A young boy (with two living parents) becomes the general of the Imperial Fleet, and upon discovering a rebel movement, must crush all attempts to overthrow the empire by attacking frost-bitten planets like Hoth and defending the wooded moon of Endor. He kills the chosen one, The rebels die, the Empire lives on.

Comment with your favorite flipped storyline or write one of your own!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Latest "Save the Children Charity" Video Showed a Relative Truth by Cara Haley

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       The Save the Children Charity published a video earlier this year, the Most Shocking Second a Day Video, that sent a strong message out to its viewers. It openly indicated the struggles of a child at war, which is happening at this very moment in the Middle East, on a child of our upper class. Privileges were stripped and it shockingly showed us our reaction to this event. The message behind this corruption was that "Just because it isn't happening here doesn't mean it isn't happening." Our problems are critical and we are divided, but imagine living in war where there is hardly any food or water and no comfort whatsoever. Many of us haven't lived through the struggles of war. Far less, we fail to realize the serious dangers it carries. Everyday, the death causality increases, while hope for peace decreases. War that last for several years have only grown more hostile such as the civil war that has taken place in Syria.
      The Syrian Civil War is an armed conflict in Syria between rising forces that are acceding for control. While Syria's government is in a raging war, the civilians, who are mostly defenseless, are fighting for survival out of fear. The estimation of deaths for this war that was reported last  year, which includes  a large amount of commoners, was ranged anywhere from 99,600 to 140,040. The United Nations Children's Fund reported that over 500 young children have been killed by early February in 2012 when the controversy was just arising. Another 400 was arrested and tortured in Syrian prisons. One other divulgence is that 75% of wars since 2001 have used child soldiers. The innocence of children is ruined in this belligerent climate and the death rates are rising year by year. In mid June last year, 6,561 children were killed in conflict and over 5,064 women were also murdered in this brutal struggle Syria is undertaking. By late November, the number of children's death rose to 11,420 while a myriad of others were victims of physical violence, sexual abuse, torture inflictions, and had to intake the exposure of their love one's oppressed suffering.
        People do and are still suffering in this war. Children lose any imagination for the future in this dreadful gloom. The prize of salvation seems lost to many.  The death rate in the Syrian Civil War is spiraling out of control. Real civilians death do occur, for there is hardly any protection given to those innocent lives in amidst of this war. The Save the Children Charity's propaganda uses emotion to stir a point inside of us, but it was an appropriate one. For many of us came across the realization of our stability and relative prosperity we have. All because we never struggle with hunger and seek survival doesn't mean others are as fortunate. There are more problems than we can see in life. And to witness such an alarming message should motivate us to take action and thrive for a change.  

The One Choice in "Divergent" by Cara Haley

                 New York Times bestselling book,Divergent by Veronica Roth, has been filmed and will be released in theaters on April 21. It films in on another dystopian society, one which is divided in five fractions based on virtues. Leading star, Beatrice Prior,(played by Shailene Woodley)finds herself on Appointed Day where every sixteen-year-old, like herself, must decide on which faction to devote the rest of their lives to. Beatrice draws herself to the decision set between either her family or to experience freedom for herself. Such as the book did, the movie keys in on Beatrice and her choice that changes everything. Like almost every strong heroine, Beatrice fights for endurance, experiences betrayal, and of course, meets an attractive male character. Directed by Neil Burger, the film is well cast and has great expectations for grand quality.
               When I read the book, I admired Veronica Roth's strong female character, who takes a journey that continues on throughout struggles and very much promotes bravery, but it fell a bit short in the detail department. In every author's artistic masterpiece, I admire captivating details. In Divergent, it sets in on the Prior family, which you later discover is quite dysfunctional. Beatrice describes her family, which she known for her entire life, as quaint, selfless people, but found shortly later in the book that their true characteristics were well hidden. The reader, who doesn't have a strong basic foundation of the parents' behavior, is easily persuaded along with the story. Other than some short detail descriptions such as the dramatic change in Al, I thought that the characters' struggles indicated the demotion of fundamental structure, which fits quite well in this defective society. The change in Beatrice, who went from a stiff indecisive individual to a courageous, occasionally fiercely violent, leader, was much rather approved. But the main thing that I will always question is the purpose of the unending train. It never stopped, even when the entire power shut down in the takeover. The train wasn't even behind schedule with all the drama that night. Also it surely cost a lot of money to run a train without a single stop. And is there more than one train or is that lone train always conveniently there for you? That train comes with a load of questions; no wonder everyone prefers to jump off of it.
               Divergent has its own unique character to it and I don't advise not reading it. Though the motives weren't as effective as I expected it to be, it did fulfill on bringing another world to life and I admired that. If you want to read an alluring dystopian novel, my first recommendation would be to the Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins or the Lord of the Flies by William Golding, but the Divergent Trilogy would be a second choice in pleasurable reading. Divergent has its own imaginative concept to it and that is what made it even more unique. So hearing much about this best seller, you should make that one decision to see Divergent in theaters and decide on your own opinion about this golden nominee. And don't forget to keep an extra eye on that devious train now.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Things You Didn't Know About Chuck Norris by Sydney Quanz

1. Chuck Norris is the reason that Waldo is hiding

2. Chuck Norris was in all the Star Wars movies. He was the force.

3. Chuck Norris calls Voldemort by his real name.

4. When Chuck Norris does a pushup, he isn't lifting himself up, he is pushing the earth down.

5. Chuck Norris can hear Sign Language.

6. Chuck Norris is the only person who can punch a Cyclops between the eyes.

7. Chuck Norris was born when someone divided by zero. It has not happened since.

8. Chuck Norris refers to himself in the fourth person.

9. The only time Chuck Norris was wrong was when he thought he had made a mistake.

10. The Greeks named a hurricane named Chuck Norris: We are still looking for Atlantis.

11. Benjamin Franklin invented Daylight Savings, but Chuck Norris invented Daylight.

12. Chuck Norris is never late, nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to.

13. Identity some times has a Chuck Norris crisis.

14. The only one who can kill Chuck Norris is his future self, but he is usually to busy keeping the apocalypse at bay.

15. Chuck Norris does not have a watch, because he invented time.

16. The only one better at winking than Sydney Quanz is Chuck Norris.

17. Chuck Norris' wink is so powerful that when he winks at the sun, it blushes and hides for 12 hours, a phenomenon we refer to as night.

18. Chuck Norris can kill two stones with one bird.

19. Chuck Norris never takes test, because no one questions Chuck Norris.

20. Chuck Norris dated Hurricane Katrina. He broke up with her cause she was too tame.

21. Chuck Norris has been dead for 50 years, but Death is too afraid to tell him.

22. Chuck Norris has no friends or enemies, because he needs no friends and all his enemies are dead.

23. Chuck Norris took the SAT once; the test failed him.

24. Chuck Norris does not apply to college; Colleges apply to him.

25. Chuck Norris is the "X" in Calculus. He can never be found.

26. Chuck Norris can predict the Texas weather.



Share your favorite Fact about Chuck Norris Below!

Monday, March 10, 2014


Why Disney original shows are Bad Examples for Children to Follow
By Amy Yarbrough
 

Most kids start watching Disney because there is nothing else to watch. But the examples that these show set are not good. And you see the same examples in every show.

      The main character (usually starting as a child) always disobeys the parent, and  rarely gets in trouble. And when they do get in trouble, the parent is portrayed as the bad guy. They're always being "unfair" for not letting their kid go to a movie, or a party, or some other stupid thing. So, as usual, the child sneaks out and disobeys their parent. They of course always get caught some how, but the parent is almost always seen to have some fault in why their child disobeyed in the first place. It always results in some sappy talk about feelings, and a mutual agreement between the child and parent. That's very sweet and all, but I know that if I blatantly disobeyed my parents, I'd get a major butt-kicking and I would be the only one to blame!

     

      Of course, the  show also makes it easier for the child to disrespect the parent by making every adult in the show an idiot. It may make for good comedy, but it does make all adults seem as if they were irresponsible buffoons.

     

      Of course in real life there is always sibling rivalry, and some of it might be brought on by the fact that almost every character treats their sibling like dirt. I don't have a perfect relationship with my sibling, I don't even think such a thing exists! All siblings fight to a certain degree; it's unavoidable. But sometimes instead of just silly pointless bantering, a character will do or say something that could actually be hurtful to the sibling. No child should be taught that that's ok. Siblings can be infuriating, but that is no reason for treating them badly. Children are also taught that it's funny to be mean and have an attitude. The main character always has an attitude and is a smart-mouth. But what they need to realize, is that in real life there's no invisible audience to laugh at whatever stupid thing they said. Even if it was just joking, someone could really take offense to it.

 

      Another thing children are taught to do is "follow your heart". Sure, it sounds dreamy and all that, but in reality your heart is just an organ that pumps blood through your body. It can't make choices; it can't tell you what's right and wrong, and it can't give you advice. Children need to be taught that life isn't always fair. Not everything works out how you want it. Most of the time, you need to think practically, and work hard. What seems like a better life choice, becoming a pop sensation? Or going to a good college that will allow you to get a stable job, a house, and eventually a family? But sometimes things do work out like that. Everyone on the Tween Shows seems to be in show business. Sometimes people do get to live their dreams. But not always.

 

      Not every child uses these examples. Watching Disney doesn't automatically make children brats. Disney could be ten times worse, and children watching it could still turn out to be nice people. It just depends on how they handle the influences given to them.

Just Be Taller by Timothy Warren


These days, it is common for one to stumble across a short person (4' 11"-5' 5") from time to time. I, myself, tend to get a wee bit agitated at this. Some even take their anger out on their smaller counter parts. While this is frowned upon in most societies, here is my little bit of wisdom as to why this is not only understandable, but also quite healthy:

1. You could trip on a short person, and hurt yourself severely.
 In the event that you do, in fact, trip on someone of shorter stature than yourself, it could result in thousands of dollars in medical bills and law suits. I don't think any of us wants to have to deal with all that, now would we? I find it is best to always be on the look out for them, so as to decide whether or not punting them would be worth the trouble/laughs that it would produce.


 2. Shorter people will have lower body temperatures, giving them attitudes.
 Being closer to the ground, and considering the scientific fact that heat rises, it  results in the conclusion that shorter people must have lower body temperatures! This can only mean that they have a colder heart and an evil nature. The Bible says that demons are evil. Take this information, and do with it what you will.


 3. Napoleon Bonaparte
He was short. And he killed a lot of people. So... That's bad.


4.  They're short. They have it coming.
They can't reach stuff! They just can't! The length of their torsos, combined with the length of their arms and legs results in them just standing on their tippy-toes with their hands raised. This could easily be mistaken as them volunteering to be punted.


5. Just be taller! 
 This one goes out to all my shawties. Just be taller! Is it really that hard? I can't imagine being so unwilling to catch up with the rest of us and be able to reach things! Picture it... You're walking through a grocery store and you see a nice little bag of gummy bears on the top shelf. You can't resist. Your first instinct is to ask for help. Then, you feel it. The will to be better. To be...taller... I can tell you from experience that it comes with many more advantages.

If you have made it this far in, you can see that I have no definitive stance on this subject. I merely wish to give some food for thought to all of my tall friends who are clearly better than my short friends, due to them being taller. If you enjoyed this article, then I am honored that you took the time to read this. If you did not enjoy it, then you'll probably have to jump and wave to get my attention (disclaimer: I may take that as you volunteering to be punted).
 
 
 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

All Sitcoms Are the Same By Sydney Quanz

            I am not a movie watcher. In my experience, they provide to short of a time frame to truly fall in love with characters and see them develop, often falling fatally short of the book they were based on or the trailer that preceded their premiere. However, I do love sitcoms, and the invention of Netflix’ instant streaming feature has allowed me to indulge in several of the best shows whilst simultaneously robbing me of several weeks of my life.
            Recently, I have noticed a distinct pattern in the over arching plot of relationship sitcoms. Though this does not change my eternal love for them, it makes it clear that all of these sitcoms are extremely similar, each having the same components. Here are just a couple Sitcom Archetypes that can be found in your typical relationship sitcom.

1. The Destiny Relationship
The Destiny Relationship is defined as being the relationship that involved two people easily falling in love, and proceeding to marriage before an of their friends. The Best example of this is Jim Halpert and Pam Beasley in the Office. The audience is rooting for them from the very beginning, and though it takes a while for them to actually end up together, once they do it moves quickly and leaves no one doubting that they belong together.
            The main purpose of this relationship is to introduce a long-term relationship and/or marriage to the storyline. The entertainment is not in how they fall in love, but how they interact once they become a couple. Usually, these are the couples that the audience longs to be apart of, because no matter the struggles they face, there is no doubt that they love each other.
            Examples: Jim Halpert and Pam Beasley from The Office, Monica Geller and Chandler from Friends, Marshall and Lily from How I Met Your Mother, Ben and Lesley from Parks and Recreation, Howard and Bernadette from The Big Bang Theory, April and Andy from Parks and Recreation.

2. The On and Off Relationship
The On and Off relationship is one of my favorites, , because until the end it remains and unsolved mystery, leaving the audience watching each episode to see I they will end up together. Typically, it starts from the very first season, and often the very first episode, when one noticed the other and they begin to pursue each other, often with wrong timing, disastrous mistakes and alternate periods of loving each other and hating each other. An Ideal On and Off relationship is that of Ross and Rachel from Friends. From the very first episode, we know that Ross likes Rachel and that he always has, but she doesn’t see it. By the time she realizes his feelings and returns them he has moved on to someone else. This elusive dance continues for the entire length of the show, never being truly resolved until the last episode.
            The purpose of this relationship is to keep the viewer watching and keep the plot unpredictable. It is obvious that they will probably end up together, but on the off chance that they won’t; we must keep watching.
            Examples: Dwight and Angela from The Office, Robin and Barney from How I Met Your Mother, Cece and Shmidt from New Girl, Ross Geller and Rachel Green from Friends, Leonard Hofstadter and Penny from The Big Bang Theory, Ted and “The Mother” from How I Met Your Mother, Chris and Ann from Parks and Recreation.

3. The Irritating Friend
This is often one of the best parts of the show, and often what makes it so funny to begin with. The irritating friend is usually a bit eccentric, having strange ideal and the rest of the crew seems to find amusing and annoying simultaneously. Unlike the relationships above, this archetype is slightly more flexible. The friend can be in love or alone, smart or dumb, a free spirit or extremely OCD; but they all have one thing in common, their quirky tendencies that make them loveable and funny.
Usually, this character provides us with most of the comic relief, because nearly everyone can identify with having a friend who makes their lives both more complicated and more exciting. A perfect example of this is Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory. Sheldon is extremely smart, but also extremely arrogant, insensitive and obsessive. He constantly insults his friends, due to his lack of human consideration; he flaunts his intellect and always needs his spot on the couch.

Examples: Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory, Dwight from The Office, Barney from How I Met Your Mother, John-Ralfio from Parks and Recreation, Schmidt from New Girl.