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.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Valentine's Day.... by Amy Yarbrough

       Valentine’s day is the mushy gushy poetry writing distant cousin in the holiday family. It’s not a holiday that people look forward to all year, like Christmas, or Easter, or Thanksgiving. All it provides to the world is lots of teddy bears and the vivid colors pink and red burning holes in your eyes at the grocery store. Even though Valentine’s day is technically over, I still felt the need to rant about it, because what else would I be doing on a Wednesday night? The sad truth is that if you just so happen to be single whilst complaining about Valentines day, people will just be like “oh you just have to spend it with the right person!” or “Don’t worry you'll like it someday! :)” <— This is bull poop. 
What this holiday really is? Pressure. You're expected to get some fancy gift for your significant other, or go out to a fancy dinner, or both… The point is it’s a whole lot of fancy for nothing. And then you have to deal with people who say “oh let’s not do Valentines day! You don’t need to get me anything!” and then BAM you got a teddy bear bigger than your partners disappointment. And what if you get them a gift that’s not as good as their gift for you? Now you feel bad. Now you question your life’s choices. Now you're considering running away with your disappointment sized bear. The concept of Valentine’s day itself isn't bad at all. I mean there’s a holiday for everything, and love isn't the worst thing to celebrate. But why is it just for buying gifts and trying to spoil each other? It’s like some weird contest to see who the sappiest couple is. This article might make it sound like I hate Valentine’s day, but that’s not true. It’s a nice holiday, but in the end, you're going to remember the time you spent with that person, not the gift they got you. Why spend money when time is the most precious thing you can give someone.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

5 Reasons Why I Love Mandalore

By Hannah Herndon

Happy Valentine's day all.

I didn't plan for my day to post to fall on the heart-filled holiday, but whatever, I can work with it.

   If you're not into Star Wars, you may have never heard of Mandalore. Mandalore is a system located in the outer rim territories of the galaxy far far away. The best known of the Mandalorians is by far Boba Fett, the ruthless bounty hunter seen in the original trilogy and Clone wars animated series.
  The lore and canon of the warrior system has grown and changed over the years, but it has also become one of the most well loved parts of the Star Wars fandom, and it's growing more independent from mainstream SW all the time.

In honor of Valentine's day, I present you with 5 reasons why I love Mandalore.

5: The History.
   I'm a huge nerd when it comes to backstory, lore, and other such things that develop the worlds presented in fiction. I am much more inclined to jump on a fandom bandwagon if there's a good history involved, and Mandalore has an interesting one.
   I've done a good amount of research on it, but like all Star Wars, there are always a few places intentionally kept blank. (And I am human, so there is absolutely no way I won't make a mistake when recounting the lore, so just forgive me ahead of time if I'm inaccurate in my facts.)

   From the beginning, Mandalorians were a warrior people. Founded by a race known as the Taung, they eventually allowed other races into their battle ranks to strengthen their army, causing the modern Mando'ade to be a mainly humanoid clan.
   They fought in many battles, often against the Jedi. In one such battle, the Jedi bombed Mandalore's surface, causing the fertile land to become a desolate desert. But the Mandalorians rebuilt their cities in bio-domes, and thus survived.
    Eventually, Some of the Mando'ade grew tired of the constant stream of wars that characterized their home world, and longed for peace. The clans of Mandalore divided into two factions: The self-proclaimed "True Mandalorians" led by Jaster Mereel, who fought to restore the codes and honor of the Mando'ade which had become corrupted after the Republic bombing of Mandalore, and the "new mandalorians" who sought to join the republic, bringing peace and security to their world.
   A civil war erupted, and though it seemed the battle trained True Mandalorians would be the victors, they were betrayed and destroyed by an insurgency called Death Watch that had risen in their midst. Death watch then vanished into the shadows, leaving The New Mando'ade to believe they had won the war.
    Duchess Satine Kryze took control as Manda'lor (soul leader) shortly after, and established a position of neutrality for Mandalore during the Clone Wars.
   Unfortunately, Death watch had been training on Concordia, Mandalore's moon, and had railed a specially trained army to overthrow the Duchess. They tried many times, recruiting her officials to betray her, and allying themselves with separatist leaders, but they did not succeed in reclaiming Mandalore's throne until they received help from Darth Maul.
   Maul helped Death Watch to successfully gain control of Mandlore, and the support of the people. He had his own agenda however, and ultimately betrayed Pre Vizla, leader of death watch, and took Mandalore for himself. After killing Vizla, Maul brought a final revenge upon Obi-wan Kenobi, and killed Duchess Satine.
Maul was overthrown shortly after by Darth Sidious, leaving the planet in the control of former Prime Minister Almec.
The "current" (around the original trilogy era) history of Mandalore is still a bit unclear, but it is being explored currently in season three of the Star Wars Rebels animated series.

4: The language
   Like many star wars systems, Mandalore has its own language, Mando'a. Unfortunately, Lucas Films/Disney decided it wasn't necessary to continue developing  Mando'a, so fans were left with only what had already been developed before the project was discontinued.
I'm currently learning Mando'a using the Mando'a dictionary available here:

3: The characters
   So far, Star wars has had around 12 developed Mando characters in the shows/movies. I can honestly say there was not a single one of those I was disappointed with.

 The antagonists are well done, and the heroes have enough flaws to be believable without being bad guys themselves. Mandos are strong fighters, loyal to their allies and bound by honor to protect whoever the befriend. Despite their warrior ways and love of battle, they don't take life lightly, and place the protection of their family and clan above all else.
  My personal favorite characters are Satine Kryze, Sabine Ren, Fen Rau, Bo-Katan Kryze, and of course Boba Fett.

2: The Armor
   Perhaps the most well known and recognizable thing about Mandos is their armor. In fact, most of Mando culture and society is based around the construction of armor. The armor itself is characterized by full helmet with a black tinted T-visor, and smaller stand-alone armor plates attached to a black bodysuit.
   Mandalorian armor has become such a fan favorite, that a guild for its construction has been formed called the Mandalorian Mercenaries. The "Mercs" construct armor out of foam, metal, wood, and even 3d printed plastic, showcasing their creations at conventions and other fan gatherings.

If you want to see their fantastic work, you can find their armor gallery here: http://mandalorianmercs.org/forum/index.php?board=14.0
And their main site here: http://mandalorianmercs.org/

1: The Darksaber
   The Darksaber is by far one of my favorite parts of the Mandalore fandom. Essentially, it's a reverse lightsaber. It has a black blade that glows silver, and was created in ancient times by the first and only Mando Jedi, Tar Vizla. When Tar Vizla died in combat, the Darksaber was returned to the Jedi Temple, where it was eventually stolen by the members of clan Vizla who believed the saber was rightfully theirs. It became a symbol of unity and leadership for the Vizla's. Whoever wields the saber is honored as Manda'lor of clan Vizla. It was used by Pre Vizla to form Deathwatch, by Maul to rule Mandalore, and now (in season three of SW Rebels) by Sabine Wren to attempt to rally Mandalorian warriors to aid the rebellion.
In the latest episode of Star Wars Rebels, Sabine was trained to wield the saber by former Jedi Kanan Jarrus, and his padawan Ezra Bridger. Although reluctant to return to her home world after a difficult past with her family there, Sabine eventually learned to hold her own with the blade, and returned to Mandalore to seek the aid of her clan.
The next episode will air soon, and follow Sabine's return to Mandalore, and (as you can probably guess by reading this article) I am ridiculously hyped for it.

Monday, February 13, 2017

I'm Afraid of this Bird-en

By Allyson Reyna

            I admit it, I have a fear of birds. Even though I do not personally have a serious form of this phobia, I would like to explain it. Until recently, I did not even know there was such a thing.

There is a name for this fear and it is called ornithophobia. It is defined as a type of specific phobia, which is an irrational and abnormal fear of birds. It may seem quite silly, ridiculous, and absurd; however, it is a real thing and is more common than you may think.

            Some people who have ornithophobia only fear birds of prey such as vultures, while others fear innocent little birds like parakeets. It varies from person to person. In my case, I get nervous around ostriches and flocks of birds, but in no way am I afraid of chickens.

            The most common cause for ornithophobia is having an incident occur that would provoke the fear. These incidents are quite negative experiences with the feared animal. Let’s just say my fear of birds began when I got chased by an ostrich who can run up to forty-three miles per hour, while I was in a golf cart that could only go ten. Not a very keen kind of situation.

            Having a fear of birds does not necessarily mean someone would gain the fear through a negative encounter. Sometimes it is a phobia that is triggered by events someone has witnessed through other ways. It is all about how a person reacts to the situation and the extremity of it.

            Since ornithophobia is a fear people who have it are naturally scared of birds. Most of the time, if the person is scared, they will outwardly show their fear. They show their fear through crying, shaking, freezing in place, running away, anticipatory anxiety, and so on. Everyone varies in their severity of having ornithophobia. Some are better at hiding the fact they have a fear of birds and simply try to avoid the situation at all costs.

            Seeing that everyone varies with the severity of the phobia, some are worse than others. Ornithophobia can sometimes, very rarely, become so harsh that people may have to seek therapy. Those who seek help usually go through cognitive-behavioral therapy which is the most common kind of therapy for ornithophobia. This is to help with relaxation and staying calm. In very rare cases, some people may have to go to the lengths of getting a hypnosis or medication to be able to control their phobia. Some may have to go to these great lengths, but this is only to control it. After gaining control and taking the phobia into a manageable state, they will then begin to work through ornithophobia.

            Most people who have ornithophobia treat it like any other kind of fear, but on rare occasions that person’s fear may turn more into a mentality issue. This is not likely to occur though. It is not normal to go through medication, hypnosis, or therapy for having ornithophobia. That is just for those who have turned it into more of a mentality issue than anything else.

After reading this article, you may be thinking that this phobia is taken into extremity. In some cases, sometimes it does seem to go to those lengths. However, you have to take into consideration that the way some people fear heights, others fear birds. 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Test Post

by Gertrude Prune

This is a test. Let's see if it posts.