Friday, March 10, 2017

Invisible Desert House? by Clayton Davis

As part of a desert art exhibition in California, an artist has designed a house in the desert that is created to blend in with its surroundings and be essentially camouflaged. How is it camouflaged in the desert you ask? Probably just painted to look like sand right? Nah, way cooler. The house is built entirely of mirrors. The mirrors reflect the image of the desert back at you (what typical mirrors do) and this gives the house the illusion of being camouflaged into the background or "invisible". It's a really cool looking house, even the insides of it are made of mirrors. Click here to see some pictures of the house. Unfortunately, it isn't a permanent installation. The exhibit ends in a few months, and with the end of the exhibition, the house will be torn down.

Tim Tebow Just Isn't That Good at Baseball by Clayton Davis

When I say the name "Tim Tebow" you probably think of football. After all, he was an excellent football player, for a time. He won the Heisman award in college and then had some successful seasons in the NFL when he first got there. If you follow sports at all, you probably know that he decided to make the swap to baseball last year. He hadn't played baseball since high school, but who cares. It's not like he'd be going up against people who have been playing baseball consistently since they turned 4. No big deal. Well, long story short, he's not holding up very well in spring training this year. Click here to see the full ESPN article that includes an interview with Tebow about his performance.

Spring Break Pros and Cons

By Kyle Kuykendall

Its March again, which means Spring break! The week that is full of parties and NO school. Now, this week is a fun and crazy week but it isn't always a good thing. Here are some of the pros and cons to Spring Break.

The pros to spring break is its one of the best times of the year to have a little break from school. You and your friends can pile into a car and hit the road to wherever you wish to go. The beaches are filled with kids who are off school, and all of the parks are filled. The weather is nice and cool because of spring rolling in, and that means sunshine and cool breezes to top it all off. Yes sir spring break is a blast, but it isn't always fun and games.

Some of the cons which are closer to reality than the pros, consist of the fact that it's a whole week for a break for school. Now let me explain. When you go and hang out with your friends on a weekend, you know that when Monday hits, it's dreadful. So when you get a whole week off, the Monday that follows is awful. And I won't lie when I say that a lot of people, myself included wait till the last minute to finish work that's due the coming up Monday. And another reason why it's not so good is that you will have a lot of inexperienced drivers on the road, normally with 2 or more friends which can lead to crashes and a lot of injuries. There are also a lot of college students who will become intoxicated at some parties they attend, which could lead to car accidents or other petty crimes. But that is not always the case. 

All in all, spring break is a lot of fun, but the way you spend celebrating it could have you in the hospital, or left with amazing memories.

Why Spongebob Squarepants Needs to End

By Kyle Kuykendall 

Spongebob Squarepants, you don’t have to watch to show to have heard the name. Truly this show has been one of the most renowned shows and will go down in history. It has truly defined a generation, myself included. The show was my childhood summed up in a TV show and many others feel the same way.

But the sad truth of this marvelous show, is that Nickelodeon has been milking the show ever since season 7, which lasted from 2009-2011. Nick still produces new episodes and they are stepping into their 11th season. But the mass majority of Spongebob fans will in fact tell you that the old episodes were by far better.

Now of course there are still some die hard fans who appreciate the new episode on account of the fact its Spongebob. I would be one of those people as well, but its just sad at how absurd and un-entertaining the show has become. Now before you say that it has always been absurd, let me say this. It has always been absurd, that’s a given, but the level of absurdity that it possesses now it far more annoying than it used to be. If you grew up watching it you would know that yes it was stupid, but it enacted stupidity in a way that was funny, and not in a way that is just horrid.
One of the main reasons that the show has lost its likeness, is because Nick has kept it going longer than it should have. If I further explain that its that as I said before, ever since season 7 in my own preference, the show has lost all of its originality and its creative use of humor. The seasons that were prior to that, season 5 and 6 were better than season 7 in the sense that they were funnier. But the season before that (1-4) were by far the greatest. They were humorous, creative, and used a form of comedy that was so entertaining that so many people enjoyed it.

Another reason is that the new episode are written by new writers, who obviously have no good sense in humor. The humor they use is so modern, which instantly makes it bad because what is considered humor now days, to children at least, is just awful. If you were to watch an episode from season 2 and then proceed to watch one from season 10, and you will see a night and day difference between the way the story of the episode is panned out, and the way it attempts to be funny. The older writers of the show had such creativity and such amazing use of humor that wasn’t so crude.

Spongebob is one of my favorite shows and will always be. And it is the favorite show of millions of other people. But ask any of them that have watched it for years, and they will tell you that it needs to end.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

An Open Letter to SAC Day Students by Emily Winningham

I’ve been struggling to figure out what to write for my final blog post. I want to leave behind something meaningful for our Quirky (ha *kneeslap*) readers and for the Journalism class of 2018 to look back on and think, “Wow, Emily really made me think about something here.” So as I was thinking and hoping someone might actually think that, I have decided to write an open letter to the students I’m leaving behind this year as well as future students who won’t even know who I am. 

Dear SAC Day Students of 2018,

If you’re even reading this, I just want you to know that you’re not alone in anything. If you’re a senior, freaking out with stress for all the colleges you need to apply to, don’t fret. I mean, don’t put it off and procrastinate either, but take a deep breath, take each day one at a time, tackle each obstacle individually, and ask for help if you need it. 

That advice can actually apply to anyone, no mater what grade you’re in. Whether you’re a freshman, a sophomore, a junior, or a senior. It’s the best advice I’ve learned and the best advice I can give. 

The next best advice I can offer is to find good friends and keep them close. I’m not lying when I say I have literally found and made the best friends I have ever had at both SAC Day and HAAC Day. There are people here who will care about you, accept you, and love you exactly as you are. when you find these genuine friends who feel like family, you seriously need to keep them. They’ll be your greatest allies in this chapter of your life.

Keep yourself firmly rooted in God. I can’t stress that importance enough. Yes, there will be days you’ll feel like God is against you, or you’re not even sure you’re following His plan for you anymore. But He’ll never leave your side, and when life gets fuzzy and crazy, He’ll make it all clear again if you give Him the chance and the time.

SAC Day has literally been the best schooling experience I have had, and as a senior, I’m not ready to leave it all behind because it’s become comfortable and familiar. This is my only year at SAC Day, and I already knew a lot of people because I went to HAAC Day last year, but even the people I didn’t know embraced me really quickly. I really hope 2017-2018 is a great school year for all SAC Day students. 


Emily Winningham

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Darker Side Of Mary Sue

by Hannah Herndon

Many writers are familiar with the terms, “Mary Sue” or “Gary Stu” which generally refer to characters who are seemingly perfect in every way, and are only lacking in the way of flaws and depth.

As much as we try to avoid creating these kinds of characters, it can be hard to avoid when we sincerely want our characters to be likable. Many videos and articles addressing the Mary Sue issue recommend adding flaws to your character and challenges for them to face in their journey. These things can help add needed depth to characters and make them more believable and relatable.

However, I have recently noticed a flip-side to the Mary Sue dilemma, and I’m a little disappointed that it doesn’t seem to have a name. I’m talking about characters who are essentially the reverse of a typical Mary Sue, characters who have too many flaws, and not enough good in them.
I would argue that this is still a Mary Sue.

First, let’s look at what makes a Mary Sue bad:
Mary Sues are good characters taken to an extreme level of goodness. As much as we want a hero to be good, we don’t want them to be gods. One of the beauties of stories is being able to see yourself in them, and a character who is perfect in every way will make a story hard to read without rolling your eyes, and steal a lot of the joy of the story from the reader.

On the other hand, a character can be given so many flaws and shortcomings that they become a glorified villain. If a character is all bad, they can be every bit as annoying and unrelatable as a typical Mary Sue.

This “Dark Side Mary Sue” is not to be confused with an Anti Hero, though Anti Heroes seem to be particularly at risk of becoming this type of Mary Sue.
Anti heroes are basically characters who lack particularly heroic characteristics. This may mean that the character is heroic for selfish reasons, or that they aren’t especially willing to be heroic, or something similarly not associated with a run-of-the-mill hero.

These can make for really interesting characters, but like anything else they can be taken too far. What may have started out as a deep and beautifully imperfect character can all too quickly become a dehumanized monster who is hated by readers.

This is not to say that a character like this cannot be used. In fact, monster-like "heroes" can be quite well done if they are somehow redeemed as their character grows through the course of their journey.
But if they show no growth, and are always monstrous, you can’t really expect people to like them much.

Basically, I’m saying that there are many ways the Mary Sue can hide in characters. Sometimes it’s the blatant, in-your-face, pink, fluffy, meaningless character, and other times it’s in a more subtle way.
The best way to avoid creating one of these characters is to keep them well-rounded: let them have flaws, but don’t make them heartless. Let them be selfish and stupid at times, but don’t let that be all they are. Let your characters be humans.

It’s hard to find the balance between too perfect and too flawed, but it is possible, and there are plenty more articles and videos out there on this sort of thing.

Here are some links to the ones that have helped me the most:

For a video by youtuber Tyandaga about how not to make a Mary Sue, click here.
**Ignore the ponies, the advice is useful even for non MLP fans**

For an article by author Gail Carson Levine giving her prospective on the Mary Sue, click here.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Writer's Block

By Allyson Reyna

I will be honest, as I am writing this I have no idea what this will turn out to be. I am simply writing whatever comes to mind. Dependent on whether or not I delete what I am currently writing, this may or may not be posted. I do not really know though. For some apparent reason, whenever I am thinking of writing articles for the blog, I have writer’s block. You see, I am a much better fiction writer than non-fiction. When I am writing for said paper or blog than my article should be appealing to said specific audience. However, when I write for myself or for fiction, I am able to write in the compelling way in which I enjoy. This is not from fear of being judged for my writing but more-or-so me being compliant with the general audience on whatever will be published or posted. I decided to try and get out of writer’s block by going to the “trusted” internet and typed into Google, how to get out of writer’s block.

*** Something that is stated in the blog post I linked is this, “You do not overcome writer’s block by reading articles on how to overcome writer’s block.” Well said, well said.

If you are interested in reading the article I found, click here:

Sunday, March 5, 2017

A Post.

 By Kyle Kuykendall

Pres. Donald Trump address Congress for the first time on Tuesday, February 28. In that speech he covered many different points but one of the most renowned points he made in the speech, and quite frankly his career is addressing the now deceased Navy Seal, Ryan Owens. Owens wife, Carryn Owens was in the crowd as Trump honored the Navy Seal, which was followed with applause which lasted an incredible 2 minutes long. It was one of Trump’s moments that is sure to go down in histor

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Why I Can't Wait For Beauty and the Beast by Emily Winningham

By now, surely everyone has heard of Disney's live action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, hitting theaters March 17th. Just like anyone else who loves and has seen the original animated version, I cannot wait to see this one, starring Emma Watson as the beloved Belle.

I believe Emma will make the perfect Belle, as she has all of the right features to play the iconic princess. Not only this, but the actress is very bookish and smart. Also, Emma Watson was born in France, much like the Parisian Belle, who starts out as a mere peasant girl in the French countryside. Being a strong feminist means Emma will surely live up to the role of Belle, who stands up for what she believes in and doesn't allow herself to be pushed around.

I cannot wait to see other beloved characters come to life, like Lumiere and Cogsworth, and Mrs. Potts and Chip. Lumiere has always been one of my favorite characters from Beauty and the Beast and I have high hopes that the live action film will give him just as much sass and tender qualities as his animated counterpart.

Then there's just the music. Beauty and the Beast is very much a musical with masterpiece songs to progress the story forward and also a score just as timeless as the unforgettable song, Tale As Old As Time.

If you would like to watch a video on the actors of the film discussing what Beauty and the Beast means to them, click here.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

How To Condense A Story To Fit The Word Count.

by Hannah Herndon

Personally, I have a lot of trouble saying things concisely. I've always loved words, which is part of what drove me into writing, and I sometimes forget that often less can be more.
As a result, my stories tend to become far more lengthy than intended. In the right setting, this can be a good thing. But Sacday's Creative Writing class has recently been assigned to write a short story between 1000-2000 words, and I must admit, I panicked when they told us. I have tried to write short stories before, and every single time, I have gotten frustrated and given up. It can be really hard to chop up your own creation to suit the standards of others, and were it something other than length, I would never submit willingly.
I searched around the internet for advice on condensing a story, and happened upon an article by one of my favorite authors that I found helpful.

If you are interested, you can read the article here.

Dogs by Clayton Davis

Animals are possibly the best things ever. Everyone has a favorite kind of animal, whether its a hippo, giraffe, panda, or something common like a dog or cat. Personally, I love dogs. They're cute and funny and they love to run around with you. There are even different breeds of dogs for different things.

Hunting dogs are popular with hunters for obvious reasons. Whether its a retriever or a spotter, dogs are great for hunting. I own a beagle, which is a breed meant for hunting rabbits. My dog is honestly pretty stupid and has not noticed a deer standing within 25 feet of her. She's quirky though, and I can't imagine what it would be like to not have her.

Herding dogs are also popular, mainly for farmers. They can help herd cattle, sheep, pigs, or other animals. I also have a herding dog, but this one is a mix. She's a mix of Australian cattle dog and corgi. She's a little bit more useful than my beagle, but we've kind of ruined her. She's extremely lazy, but a great dog. Her herding shows when she tries to herd my beagle around the house.

Lots of people have golden retrievers or labs, and those are some of my favorite breeds too. The puppies are adorable and so are the full grown ones. They're also really easy to train and are great with kids. If you haven't heard of golden retrievers or labradors, you really don't know much about dogs. But that's ok, it gives me an excuse to put pictures on here.

Monday, February 27, 2017

How Music Affects the Brain

By Allyson Reyna

Music is something that is such a vital part of today’s culture. It is a universally known language that is adhered throughout the entire world. Whether you listen to jazz, bluegrass, or reggae, music can impact the human brain in significant ways. The way it affects people, often goes overlooked; however, it has a very positive impact.

Neuroscience has been able to further research on this. Its impact is extremely pleasing to all people who play and listen to music. The way it affects people is through their happiness, productivity, health, and intelligence. It is also able to change their mood, concentration, and motivation at that given time. Music, as a whole, is quite therapeutic.

People who are avid music goers, especially musicians, have better brains. It has actually been shown through brain scans that their brains are healthier than someone who is not as relished in music. Their brains are typically more symmetrical and their corpus callosum, a band of nerves which is responsible for communication between the two sides of the brain, is larger. In general, the areas within the brain that are there for coordination, motor control, or auditory purposes are larger.  

The kind of music people listen to often resonates with their personality. There was a study at Heriot-Watt University which conducted the different kinds of personality traits that are typically cohesive with a particular style of music. For example, classical listeners are usually introverted, at ease, creative, and have a high self-esteem. On the other hand, rock and heavy metal fans have a low self-esteem, are creative, not hardworking, not outgoing, gentle, and at ease.

Music has also been proven to increase the way people learn and obtain knowledge. It helps with increased brain connectivity and spatial intelligence. A small increase in IQ, test scores, and language development are benefits that reap from music. It is able to help people to understand various subjects and is critical in careers, especially ones involving science.

If music is introduced to children at a young age, it has an especially profound impact. Just thirty minutes of music lessons can increase blood flow in the left hemisphere of the brain. It also increases brain plasticity which is responsible for the way the brain changes and grows. All kinds of methods that revolve around music are beneficial to children, especially if they are introduced at an early age.

Music can also help with a person’s physicality. It improves the way they exercise and increases a person’s physical capability. A 2012 study indicated that cyclists were required 7% less oxygen when listening to music, compared to those who did it in silence. This was due to music being able to help people use their energy in an efficient way. Another reason people are able to exercise better is when they begin to grow tired while exercising, the brain sends signals to the brain – to take a break. If music is being listened to it competes for our brain’s attention and in doing so it overrides signals of fatigue and causes the person to workout longer and harder. 

Even though many people listen to music for recreational purposes, they are receiving benefits without even realizing it. Many people even enlist the aid of a music therapist for their physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs. People with Alzheimer’s, dementia, autism, depression, and a variety of health and mental issues have had increased wellbeing due to the benefits of music. In general, music is able to improve the quality of life in many significant ways.

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Office TV Show by Clayton Davis

Because we live in a world with so many different TV shows available it can be hard to decide what to watch. Netflix alone has tons of TV shows and movies, old and new. Some people like the hardcore police detective shows, while others like funny shows more. Personally, I'm a fan of the funny shows. If you're looking for a funny show to watch, and don't mind it having ended after 9 seasons, I have the perfect show for you. The Office is without a doubt, the best show ever.

The Office was on TV from 2005 to 2013. It has 9 seasons of some of the funniest things you'll ever watch. This is majorly because of the amazing acting. Steve Carrell stars as the boss, Michael Scott. Also joining Carrell are John Krasinski, Rainn Wilson, Jenna Fischer, B.J. Novak, Ed Helms, and many others who play the employees of the company. The writing for the show is pure gold, and each episode is jam packed with hilarious jokes and scenes. Whether it's Michael acting like a complete idiot, or Jim and Pam (John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer) pulling pranks on Dwight (Rainn Wilson), there is never a dull moment.

The show tackles both serious and non-serious scenarios and turns them into hilarious moments. The Diversity Day episode in season 1 features Michael hosting his own, very racist and funny, version of a diversity training seminar. The Mafia episode in season 6 is about Michael thinking he is being tracked down by the mob through an insurance agent. The show also features many love angles. Jim and Pam being the most popular one, so there are other things to keep viewers interested.

If you're looking for a funny show to watch, I highly recommend The Office. Even if you've already watched it, rewatching it will still bring tons of laughs. I personally have watched the whole show through 18 times, and am on my 19th currently. You can find The Office
on netflix, go get watching!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

This is Why We Need Less Feminism by Emily Winningham

        The word “feminism” brings to mind a horde of rioting women trying to stick it to the man. What are they trying to stick to the man? Female dominance. Men would be nothing without women; women should be treated fairly and earn an equal amount of money as men; women need more rights; etc. 
I am a young woman myself, and I definitely believe there’s something to be said about a woman who can stand on her own and pave her own way in society. Women leaders are great. Women in highly official jobs are cool, too. Women who can get the job done are pretty fly as well. There’s nothing wrong with a strong, independent woman. 
However, there is something wrong with the need for female dominance. It’s corrupting the minds of the next generation of youths. I mean, literally. I turned on Disney Junior for my little sister the other day, and there was a commercial about how strong girls are and how girls can be just like their Disney Princess role models. This commercial made me wonder, What about the boys? 
Don’t boys watch this channel, too? Surely they must. How do little boys feel about growing up in a world where they come second to women? Do you think that’s supposed to teach them to respect women? To stand back and let women get that CEO position? No, it teaches them that they’re weak, that they’re unnecessary. 
Boys have no role models in this generation. The boys in the cartoons young kids watch are weak characters. They’re usually held back by fear from accomplishing anything. Older boys can look up to Harry Potter, or almost any middle grade adventure book. The funny thing is, many books of this type are targeted towards boys–with predominant male leads, rising to action and being a hero–whereas once you get to the young adult section, which is targeted at teenagers, almost every book has a female lead. 
So for one short period of time, boys have role models. They’re shown that they can be heroes and warriors. Until they become teenagers, that is. Because female dominance is once again asserted. Females are the heroines. only girls can save the day. 
And this is only boys who read. There’s a lot of boys who don’t read. I don’t know much about video games to know whether any impacting role models can be found there, but I do know there aren’t a lot of TV shows airing these days targeted at boys. 
This female dominance thing is hurting our men. They aren’t emotionless machines. They are as completely human as the rest of us, ladies. But because of the society we are forcing them to grow up in, they’re lacking in self confidence. They don’t believe in their abilities. 
Boys need to be told that they are strong and mighty. Little boys need to be told that they can be just like a Disney Prince or hero. They need to be told that they can achieve any goal in life they set their minds to. Men need to be valued for their worth. The world cannot stand to let female dominance grow, because God put men on this earth for a reason. And they need to be given a chance to fulfill that reason.
No, I don’t have a problem with a strong woman who can save herself. But I do have a problem with treating boys like they are second to women. Equality is what we need to strive for. Actual equality. We can work together to achieve our goals. Women are just as needed as men, and men are just as needed as women. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

A Post. by Amy Yarbrough

Here is a video that everyone needs to see in their lifetime. I was reminded of this video while watching my mother clean the house a little while ago...

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Why I Think The Sabine Wren VS Gar Saxon Duel Is The Best In Star Wars History

by Hannah Herndon

If you actually watch Star Wars Rebels and have not yet seen the episode, “Legacy of Mandalore” DO NOT READ THIS ARTICLE.

***Other disclaimer thing***
This article is strictly my opinion. I am not saying that you are wrong if you think another lightsaber duel is better. No one get triggered.

With that out of the way, let’s begin.

Last week I  wrote an article called, “5 reasons why I love Mandalore.” In that article, I mentioned how excited I was for the continuation of the story arc in “trials of the Darksaber” with the new episode, “Legacy of Mandalore.”
The episode aired last week and it did not disappoint. It introduced us to Sabine Wren’s family, showed us more of the imperial Mando’ade, and ended in what is in my opinion the greatest lightsaber duel of all time.
This duel was really well done for a number of reasons, but here are my top 3:

1: Character Chemistry
An important element in any battle is the connection between protagonist and antagonist. The way they interact and relate to each other will play a crucial role in their fighting style, and may even change the outcome of the fight.
Gar Saxon and Sabine played off of each other really well, and in a way they were evenly matched even though Sabine had formal lightsaber training before the duel. The Darksaber which Sabine had trained with had been given to Saxon by Sabine’s mother, Ursa before the fight erupted, forcing Sabine to use a lightsaber tossed to her by Ezra when Gar began his attack. This left Sabine fighting with a weapon she had no experience with, and put her in a similar predicament as Saxon. (who had never used a lightsaber prior to his duel with Sabine.)  
As they begin fighting, we can see the contrast of their characters. Saxon is angry and grows more brutal with each blow he deals. What he lacks in skill, he makes up for in speed and passion. Sabine’s fighting style on the other hand, showcases the skill she was taught by Kanan, as well as the Mando fighting style she has been trained in from a young age.
Two evenly matched characters fighting in ways that showcase their differing strengths and weaknesses is a really enjoyable dynamic for sword fights, and it works well here.

2: Environment
The duel is set in a snowy environment, much like the one seen in The Force Awakens, during Rey and Kylo’s duel. Not only does this make the glow of the sabers stand out against the white backdrop of snow, but it’s also quite satisfying to listen to the sound of saber hitting snow. At one point, the terrain of the battle shifts to the surface of a frozen pond. As the fight grows more intense, the ice begins to crack, and it’s an effective way of making sure the audience sees that the battle is getting fiercer.

3: The two sides are both forceless
Sabine and Gar are not Jedi or Sith. In fact, they don’t have the force at all. This makes their fighting styles even more interesting, especially when they use their armor to compensate.

If you want to see the fight for yourself, there’s a video here

Monday, February 20, 2017

First Lines in Novels

By Allyson Reyna
Authors know that the most important line in any book is the first line. This either captivates the readers and draws them into the story that is being told, or it detours them away. Respectively speaking, authors want the first of these scenarios to occur. As you read these, pay close attention, observe, and listen to the words that the author is trying hard to project to its audience. Many times it is a much more mystifying sentence than meets the skimming eye.

***As I was researching first lines in literature, I just compiled a list of them that stuck out to me. This being said, read these novels within your own discretion. Most of these, I haven’t even read and probably will never read.

·         I am an Invisible Man. – Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man (1952)

·         It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. – George Orwell, 1984 (1949)

·         All children, except one, grow up. – J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan (1911)

·         In a sense, I am Jacob Homer. – John Barth, The End of the Road (1958)

·         It was like so, but wasn’t. – Richard Powers, Galatea 2.2 (1995)

·         All this happened, more or less. – Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five (1969)

·         For a long time, I went to bed early. – Marcel Proust, Swann’s Way (1913; trans. Lydia Davis)

·         The moment one learns English, complications set in. – Felipe Alfau, Chromos (1990)

·         Dr. Weiss, at forty, knew that her life had been ruined by literature. – Anita Brookner, The Debut (1981)

·         It was the day my grandmother exploded. – Iain M. Banks, The Crow Road (1992)

·         A story has no beginning or end; arbitrarily one chooses that moment of existence from which to look back or from which to look ahead. – Graham Greene, The End of the Affair ( 1951)

·         I write this sitting in the kitchen sink. – Dodie Smith, I Capture the Castle ( 1948)

·         He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad. – Raphael Sabatini, Scaramouche (1921)

·         I had the story, bit by bit, from various people, and, as generally happens in such cases, each time it was a different story. —Edith Wharton, Ethan Frome (1911)

·         The time has come. – Dr. Seuss, Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now! (1972)      

·         All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. – Leo Tolskoy, Anna Karenina (1877)                     

·         Don’t look for dignity in public bathrooms. – Victor LaValle, Big Machine (2009)

·         See the child. – Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian (1985)

·         You don’t know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, but that ain’t no matter. – Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884)                                                                                                                                                      

And my personal favorite (which is also deemed as the most well-known first line in literature) is…

·         It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair. – Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (1859)

Friday, February 17, 2017

President Donald Trump takes Action

by Kyle Kuykendall 

    Nearly 30 days have passed since President Trump was sworn in, and in that short period of time he has signed at least 23 Executive Actions, 12 Executive orders, signed five bills into law, and has seen 12 members of his cabinet confirmed. Unlike many presidents before him, he has truly delivered and kept true to his promises that he stated during his campaign. And he has fulfilled many of them in just the first month to add to it all. Here’s a list of the signed executive orders.

    -Minimizing the Economic Burden of the Patent Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Signed on January 20, 2017
    The executive order says that the Trump Administration will “seek prompt repeal” of the law. To decrease the “economic burden” of Obamacare. The order directs the secretary of state, and human services and other agencies to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation” of any of the law that puts fiscal burden on the government, businesses or individuals.

    -Expediting Environmental Reviews and Approvals for High-Priority Infrastructure Projects.
Signed on January 24, 2017
    The order outlines how the administration will expedite environmental reviews and approval of “high priority” infrastructure projects, some examples are repairs to bridges, airports and highways.

    -Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States.
Signed on January 25, 2017
    The order states a few changes to be made to immigration policies, but most notably it will strip federal grant money to so-called sanctuary cities. It will also create an office to assist the victims of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants and calls on local and state policy to detain or apprehend people that are in the United States illegally.

    -Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements.
Signed on January 25, 2017
    This order is targeted at fulfilling one of Trump’s key promises made in his campaign, enhancing border security, by directing federal funding to construct a wall along the mexico-U.S. border. It directs the secretary of homeland security to prepare congressional budget requests for the wall and to “end the abuse of parole and asylum provisions” that complicate the withdraw of undocumented immigrants.

-Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry in the United States.
Signed on January 27, 2017
this order suspends any entry of immigrants from seven of the muslim-majority countries such as Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Yemen and Somlia. For 90 days and stop all refugess from entering the country for 120 days. Syrian refugees are banned any other way. During the ban the secretary of homeland security of state will review and reword the refugee admission process.

    -Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Appointees.
Signed on January 28, 2017
    This order will stop all executive branch officials from lobbying for five years after they depart office and places a lifetime ban on lobbying a foreign government.

    -Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs.
Signed on January 30, 2017
    This order states that executive departments and agencies must cut two regulations for every one new regulation made. The regulation spending cannot exceed 0 dollars either, and at any costs associated with regulations must be offset with eliminations.

    -Core Principles for Regulating the United States Financial System.
Signed on February 3, 2017
    The order lays down the administration’s “core principles” regarding the U.S. financial system which includes:
    *making regulation “efficient, effective and appropriately tailored.    
    *preventing government bailouts.    
    *ensuring that U.S. firms are competitive with foreign companies.    

    -Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety.
Signed on February 9, 2017
    This order directs Attorney General Jeff Sessions to make a task force that would propose new legislation to diminish crime, highlight drug trafficking, illegal immigration and violent crime. This task force will submit annual reports to the President.

    -Preventing Violence Against Federal, State, Tribal and Local Law Enforcement Officers.
Signed on February 9, 2017
    This order will call upon the Justice Department to “enhance the protection and safety” of law enforcement by increasing penalties for crimes committed against all officers.

    -Enforcing Federal Law with Respect to Transnational Criminal Organizations and Preventing International Trafficking.
Signed on February 9, 2017
    This order outlines the administrations approach to cutting down organized crime like gangs, cartels and racketeering organizations, by furthering cooperation with foreign governments and the ways in which federal agencies share and trade information and data.

    -Providing an Order of Succession within the Department of Justice.
Signed on February 9. 2017
    Just two weeks after firing Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, this order will change the order of succession for Sessions, who won approval as attorney general this past week. The sequence is: the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois and the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Missouri.

    Even though those are only the executive orders he has signed, President Donald J. Trump has kept his promises and carried them out in only the first month of his presidency. And at this rate America will surely be moving forward fast to becoming Great Again!

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Cardinals in Spring Training by Clayton Davis

As football ends and basketball reaches the halfway point, baseball fans begin to gear up for Spring Training. Spring Training is the point between the off season and the regular season for the MLB. Players begin working out and practicing with their respective teams, the front office tries to figure out how to build a championship team, and eventually the teams scrimmage each other. Adam Wainwright and the St. Louis Cardinals are already making headlines and we've barely begun Spring Training.

Check out more about what they're up to here.

Valentine’s Day and Other Useless Holidays

 by Emily Winningham

It’s no secret that almost every holiday has been worked into endless marketing ploys all wanting you to spend wasted money on their products for somewhat unnecessary traditions. For example: eggs for Easter. I enjoy the chocolate bunnies and Cadbury Eggs as much as the next person, but there’s no denying that these traditions take away from the point of the actual holiday. And then there’s just completely useless holidays that serve no purpose other than to give banks and schools the day off.

For one, why do we need one particular day to remind us to love our significant others? In my personal opinion, Valentine’s Day should stand as an extra day to show everyone our love and care. Not just as a day to show how wonderful your boyfriend is because he got you a bear that’s half your height. 

I don’t generally mind Valentine’s Day; any excuse to buy chocolates and things shaped like hearts and spread love is a good reason to celebrate. What I don’t like, however, is why this is expected on only one day a year. I would rather receive a bouquet of flowers because you were thinking about me and decided to buy me some, not because it’s Valentine’s Day and you felt required to buy them. 

This isn’t the only problem with Valentine’s Day. Singles seem directly targeted by media and society. It’s like being single is a bad thing to be and there’s something wrong with you just because you’re not in a relationship. When in all actuality there’s nothing wrong with not being in a relationship. No one likes to be targeted for their love life or lack thereof. And having Singles Awareness Day falling the day after Valentine’s Day is an even bigger joke and even more targeting is directed at those without a boyfriend or girlfriend. But all of the candy at stores is 50% off on this day, so some silver linings can be found.

Another pointless holiday would have to be Columbus Day. We observe the day that Christopher Columbus discovered America when in fact Christopher Columbus did not discover America. That’s right. It is believed that the Viking, Leif Erikson did, but we barely recognize Leif Erikson Day.
Groundhog Day is more of a confusingly useless holiday. It’s one of those holidays that makes you wonder how it started. I mean who decided that a groundhog could predict the weather and be correct? And why did this tradition stick anyway? I mean it’s the beginning of February. Unless you live in Texas where you only get a handful of actual wintry days, any place that experiences cold will probably stay that way until spring starts in March, regardless if the groundhog see its shadow or not.

And then there’s just the ridiculously random days like Talk Like a Pirate Day, where the only perk you get is a dozen free doughnuts at Krispy Kreme for dressing like a pirate. Or April Fools’ Day where you hope and pray no one covers your toilet seat or your car in saran wrap this year. 

No one cares much for these minor holidays other than to spend a few bucks on cheap merchandise or sweets. Everyone knows Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas or Hanukkah are the true holidays that matter in America, so let’s calm down on stressing importance on these other useless holidays and keep the focus on the things that truly matter.