Monday, January 9, 2017

The True American and the power of mercy

Recently I have been reading much more than I have been for the last couple of years, I enjoy reading and the goals I have set for myself have been met with flying colors. For my last blog entry I would like to talk about The True American. In this book, a Bangladeshi man moves to the USA to pursue his dream of working in the tech industry. After finding New York City too expensive to live in, he moves to Dallas, Texas and opens a convenience store. After getting shot and nearly killed by Mark Stroman, the avowed "American terrorist". Ten years after the shooting Rias starts a campaign to get Mark Stroman spared from the death penalty under the grounds that Rias believes that Mark is just ignorant, and if he knew better he wouldn't have done it. In the book, Rias defends Mark by saying "Even though he did try to murder me, I believe that every human has the capability of doing good, inside every man is a pure center shrouded by the prejudice acquired from living. (Anand 147)" This quote really spoke to me because if more people thought this way then the world would be a much better place, it would tear down the walls of contempt people have for others. People would not judge a person just on some of the ideas they follow because no matter what we all have good inside our hearts. After the years of hate that has stemmed from politics people have forgotten that just because a person believes something doesn't make them deplorable on the inside, they just have a different point of view, people do not develop fears from being born, but more so because they had a bad experience with it, and calling people evil because of that fear isn't the right thing to do. People should try to convince others not to be afraid and try to help others to rethink their fear of something instead of just reinforcing it.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Metro 2033 and the idiocy of progress

My personal reading goals and challenges are being fulfilled and I am reading many books I am interested in, recently started reading a book called Metro 2033, it is about a grim future after world war 3 in which Moscow is covered in a sea of radiation, forcing the dwindling population to take refuge in the Moscow subway system. As Artyom is talking with Dimitri, Dimitri asks “Do you know the parable about the frog in the cream? Two frogs landed in a pail of cream. One, thinking rationally, understood straight away that there was no point in resistance and that you can’t deceive destiny. But then what if there’s an afterlife – why bother jumping around, entertaining false hopes in vain? He crossed his legs and sank to the bottom. The second, the fool, was probably an atheist. And she started to flop around. It would seem that she had no reason to flail about if everything was predestined. But she flopped around and flopped around anyway . . . Meanwhile, the cream turned to butter. And she crawled out. We honour the memory of this second frog’s friend, eternally damned for the sake of progress and rational thought.” This quote made me think about how only the idiotic people, who question their surroundings and flip and flop around in the cream survive, even when their instinct tells them not to. When one frog survives, we all follow and repeat what they did until people get used to the norm and then the same thing happens, another frog dares to think of another, better way to get out of the pot while all the other frogs scoff and think that the new frog is a moron until the frog achieves a better way to get out, and the cycle repeats infinitely. Almost all modern inventions and ways of thinking are due to people disregarding what everyone else says and thinking outside the box. George Washingtion, Bill Gates, Socretes, Henry Ford, J.P. Morgon, they were all frogs that defied the traditional notion of sinking and instead flipped and flopped and came out on top of the world. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and violence in the media

Lately I have been reading the classic novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. This novel has had much in the way of controversy throughout the years for a myriad of reasons, but on this blog post I want to talk about one that not many people have mentioned; let alone thought of. Early on in the book Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer and the other boys are in a cave talking about the gang they are going to form and what they will do. At first this just seems like kids being kids and playing pretend, but once they start to delve deeper into what the gang is planning to do it begins to be disturbing. Like in page eight where this conversation transpires "'What's the line of business in this gang?' 'Nothing, only robbery and murder'" but the worst part is that these kids don't even know what half of the words mean in the books but they are still doing it because the books say they should. For instance the kids don't know what ransoming someone is, they just want to do it because "I've seen it in books; and of course that's what we've got to do." These kids are planning to rob and murder people and they don't even know what half the words they are using are. The kids thought of these horrible ideas while they we're reading their books about robbery and murder, so can kids in the current day still be affected by the coarse subject matter in the media? Should we ban all media with violence and mature themes for the good of the children? In my personal opinion, no. It should be up to the parents to decide what children watch, and even then children can't actually murder somebody and even if they tried they would probably stop because of their consciences. The fault of the matter lies on the parents and teachers for allowing these kids to look at books that are much more graphic than they should be reading.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Albert Einstein and his Image

I have been reading Albert Einstein and the Frontiers of Physics, I am up to the 126th page and I have been challenging myself by reading this book because it is above the sophomore reading level. While I was reading this I thought what do you see when you see the world-renowned scientist Albert Einstein, the founder of relativity and the innovator of modern science? Probably him in his prime, a full head of messy white hair and a bushing frost white mustache. But too little people take into account that he was just a man like the rest of us. Flesh, blood, mucus, and pus he was as human as it got. Nobody thinks about his life before his breakout role as the founder of the theory of relativity. Nobody considers that Einstein was once a teen like everyone else, full of hopes, dreams, and hormones. I started to think about then when I was reading page 24 on the novel."Nobody imagines einstein as a teen sitting at a cafe and laughing with friends." I read this and thought about how crazy it is that nobody considers this, Einstein was just a man, a very smart man, but just a man like everyone else. Of course most of you are thinking that we remember him this way because he was an old frizzled man when he became a world renowned "rock star" scientist like a mentioned above, and that way of thinking is correct, however, that way of thinking is the same as putting Einstein up on a pedestal and claiming he was the god of science. When there are extraordinary people we all have to remember where they came from as a message to everyone that says "You can do this too." Us humans have a habit of over glorifying famous people, and yes they deserve this glory if they have gotten to be a household name, but we all must remember their roots because they must be doing something right. Einstein's history was one that has had many rewritings. Einstein was born in the small town of W├╝rttemberg, Germany, and unlike people say, Einstein was not failing his classes, in fact, he did quite well in them. But what people didn't tell you was that Einstein was a troublemaker, a "wiseguy" and he hated the Militaristic views of his school. When we think of Einstein we don't think about the young boy who would talk back to his teachers and refused to conform with the views of his school.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Killer of Enemies: Killer of Hopes for a Strong Character

Recently I've been reading a book by Joseph Bruchac, a renowned young adult fiction writer. However, this book is probably not what he is renowned for. Killer of Enemies, is a post-apocalyptic young adult novel, what is not said on the goodreads page is that it is a fantastic failure of a book. The writing is cheesy, no characters have depth, and worst of all the character is an unlikable Mary Sue. For those of you who don't know what a Mary Sue is, it is basically a character who has near infinite powers and cannot be beaten by anyone. Basically: an author's wish fulfillment. Throughout the book our hero Lozen tries to be as "strong" as possible, not by having character depth and complex emotions but by just being... strong. Lozen acts like this throughout the entire book she is never beaten by anyone all because of her training she started when she was four years old. Keep in mind Lozen grew up BEFORE the apocalypse happened which means that her parents gave her training to fight grotesque mutants and gun-toting survivors just because. This training is mentioned throughout the entire book but not once is it said why she got the training at all. But this is just her first power, she can also read minds for... some reason, it is not explained ever, let's not forget that she also can find water anywhere in the desert and the best explanation for that is because she's native American and that's it. Also she has a voice in her head that is bigfoot, no i'm serious, on page 155 she realizes that the voice in her head is bigfoot "And I suddenly think I know who-or-what he is. Of course! And I feel stupid for not having figured it out sooner. He is not a gemod. Hes far older than that... They've called him by many names Big Elder Brother, Sasquatch, Bigfoot." why? Because Bigfoot. But don't worry folks we're not done yet, she found a magical pond of healing water that is used once and never mentioned again. Last but certainly not least she has a spirit guide that basically doesn't do anything. He just comes and goes. Wow. Now, this wouldn't be much of a problem if the character was a likable protagonist, however the only two things she talks about is how strong she is and how hard it is being her. About her speech patterns, she does this thing where if she is listing off her thoughts in numbers she always says "Numero Uno" instead of "Number One" or just "One" I think the author did this to send a message of some kind and then used repetition to enforce it, but it just comes off as a lame way to appeal to the "hip youth" like we all live in the 90s and still think wearing sunglasses and a leather jacket and talking like a moron will make you cool. Also, whenever she thinks about a video she says "viddy" which the author probably put in to give it the whole broken English wasteland feel but it makes no sense because she was born before the apocalypse and recounts watching movies on a video player like she says on page 136 when she saw her spirit guide dressed like a cowboy. "He looked just like a cowboy from the viddys i used to watch pre-c." so it makes no sense for her to forget how to say video unless she hit her head pretty hard on her ginormous ego. Reading this book has made me realize the importance of staying in school so hopefully I am smart enough to not write a character like this.

Friday, September 2, 2016

My reading goals for this year and my history as a reader

I'm Daniel Galate, my history as a reader has been a long and storied one, I was born with a book in my hand. My first book was The Magic Treehouse in: Tonight in the Titanic. My favorite books are Sci-Fi or comedy books. I like these books because Science Fiction is the place where you can live all your fantasies, just hop into another planet and you can be a knight in times of chivalry or a space ranger keeping order in a lawless universe. I have started expanding my horizons into non-fiction books covering a wide variety of things from the Vietnam War to how the original Disney cartoons were made.

This year, I plan to read seven books, at the time of writing this I am reading Killer of Enemies and I am NOT enjoying it, but i'll talk more about that later. Two books I'm sure i'm going to read are The Lord of the Flies and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy sequels. I'm reading The Lord of the Flies because I basically have to but hey whatever it looks like a good book anyway. I plan to read at least twenty pages per day on my current book to finish it in a efficient manner without rushing myself. I look forward to working in this class this year and i'm sure we're going to have a ton of fun.