All American Gatsby

What is the most stereotypical term for an american?

Obese.


Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe that all Americans are obese. In fact, a lot of Americans are quite fit. However, it is fact that 33% of America is obese. Why is this so?

Greed.

When I say greed, a lot of people think of money. Yes that is one big greed, however, even food or other small things can be a greed. I think to call greed as obesity may not be a wrong term. Just because you’re obese doesn’t always have to be that you’re fat. In fact, let’s look at it in the terms of a great classic, Great Gatsby.

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Ashes.

auschwitz-birkenau-2

 “’And why do you pray?’ I asked him. ‘I pray to the God within me that He will give me the strength to ask Him the right questions.’”

“I told him that I did not believe that they could burn people in our age, that humanity would never tolerate it.”

“We were the only men on earth.”

“Did I write it so as not to go mad or, on the contrary, to go mad in order to understand the nature of madness?” 

“Never shall I forget that night,

the first night

[…] that smoke

[…] the small faces

[…] those flames

[…] the nocturnal silence

[…] those moments that murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to ashes.”

“Never.”

 

“The look in his eyes as he gazed at me has never left me.”

“And I, the former mystic, was thinking: Yes, man is stronger, greater than God.”

“Every question possessed a power that did not lie in the answer.” 

“Action is the only remedy to indifference, the most insidious danger of all.” 

This series of quotes is almost like a timeline depicting the evolution of Wiesel’s/Eliezer’s mindset from the time before the Holocaust to the time after. Before his imprisonment, Eliezer wholeheartedly believed in God and religion. But the time and effort he spent in his early days of the Holocaust were soon realized to have been wasted trying to reach the divine powers in order to pray for relief. It seems as if Eliezer’s abandonment of faith was caused by God’s lack of response to his cries. He became indifferent to the rest of the world, even feeling scorn against his father.

Night was a fascinating read and I highly recommend it to everyone.

 

MetriDee

How Hungry ARE You?

It’s really fascinating how different your mood becomes when you’re extremely hungry. It’s like your body fills you with an overwhelming need to eat and regain energy. I, for one, go absolutely bonkers when I’m starving. I don’t think you’d want to see how I’d look, but it looks something like this:

angry

So when I was reading Animal Farm, I couldn’t help but understand completely how angry the animals became when they weren’t fed.  Mr. Jones neglected them, forgetting to feed them all day, and I knew something bad was about to go down because of it. Then, when the animals rebelled and kicked Mr. Jones off of his farm, I was excited for the animals. Mr. Jones was a horrible, drunk farmer anyways, who needs him? Certainly no one. While reading this, I found many parallels between this book and the Russian Revolution of 1917. Mr. Jones symbolized the last Russian Czar, Nicholas II, who was also a bad ruler. A famine spread throughout Russia and food shortages got worse because of the World War. Because of the food shortages, people also got angry, like the animals did, and organized riots. The Duma soon abdicated the czar and the people soon fell under the rule of Lenin, then Stalin. Similarly, the animals soon fell under rule of Napoleon, who like Stalin, was a totalitarian ruler. Too bad the situation got worse for the animals, and not better.

In my English class, we also watched The Seventh Samurai. For those who don’t know, this Japanese movie is about a village of farmers who have been raided by bandits. These farmers are devastated, left with almost nothing to live for. They seek the help of samurais, who they believe can help against a future attack of the bandits. However, many samurais decline their offer, because the farmers have nothing to offer them besides a little bit of food every day. Fortunately though, through time they find a group of samurais willing to help them. The movie shows their process of preparing for a future attack, their struggle for survival in the process, as well the outcome when the attack eventually takes place. Fueled by hunger and misery, these farmers fight to their best ability alongside the samurais to defend their village. They actually have to starve themselves in order to provide enough food for their samurais. The samurais give their best efforts to defend the village as well, even though they know there will be no great wealth or honor as a reward for their services and there won’t be much food given by the farmers. Although this movie is a little dated, you should watch it if you haven’t already. It’s an amazing movie with an amazing plot and an amazing moral. Fight for what you’ve got and don’t let anyone step over you, no matter what situation you’re in. Help those in need, regardless what might be given as a reward. You should just do good deeds for the sake of doing good deeds. It’s the thought that counts.

So yeah, hunger cause you to do things you normally won’t do. For me and the animals in Animal Farm, hunger causes anger and agitation. For the farmers, it gives them a certain strength, a reason to defend their village from the bandits.

-Cinnamon Roll.  

 

 

 

The Readiness Is All

“If it be now, ‘tis not to come. If it be not to come, it will be now. If it be not now, yet it will come – the readiness is all.”

(Hamlet, Act V Scene II)

These lines from Shakespeare’s Hamlet are spoken by Hamlet after he accepts an invitation to a duel from Laertes, which both Hamlet and Horatio quickly recognize as a trap. Up to this point in the story, Hamlet has finally resolved to move past his grief and prepares to exact his revenge on others. Horatio insists that his friend reject the invitation, but Hamlet has finally realized the meaning of life and God’s role in it. He accepts the challenge, blatantly willing to face his destiny.

In a general sense, this quote reminds readers that it is always better to be prepared for anything that comes their way, whether it be good or bad. At some point in everyone’s lives, people will find themselves either stuck in a desperate situation or faced with a difficult choice. As this quote implies, it is always better to be prepared than not.

In The Count of Monte Cristo, the main antagonist Edward Dantès escapes from prison, where he was wrongly imprisoned for a crime he was framed for. Dantès happens upon a large fortune that was passed on to him by a late priest he had met during his time in prison. Fast-forward thirteen years from the day he was sent to the Chateau d’If, Edmond Dantès has now assumed the title of the Count of Monte Cristo, after the island where he found his treasure. He begins to formulate plans for revenge and to reward those who have either contributed to his imprisonment or who have done nothing but good since his leave. However, with such elaborate plans comes much patience. Dantès steadily carries out his scheme over a long stretch of years, seeing to it that whomever he chooses to be his next target will be sure to carry out his plan appropriately.

As a person who has literally seen his life flash before his eyes, Edward Dantès had lost all hope in escaping prison once he was torn from his innocent life and thrown in the Chateau d’If. In context, the statement “the readiness is all” takes on a deeper meaning for Hamlet because when he says this, Hamlet is primarily referring to the subject of death itself. By accepting Laertes’ challenge, he his preparing for his own death. As it is implied, if you wait for death to stroll up onto your doorstep, it may never come. On the other hand, if you expect death to be a far-off phenomenon, it may arrive more suddenly than you expect.

By using the alias of Count of Monte Cristo, the people of Dantès’ former life would not recognize the man they had betrayed. Thus, he would be able to deliver a swift and sudden surprise to the unbeknownst. As the executor of these plans, Dantès is aware that in order to have his plan run smoothly he must be willing to wait for the right moment after he has accomplished what needs to be done beforehand and prepare for any complications that may arise. With this, Hamlet’s proclamation “the readiness is all” can surely be denoted as the motto for Edmond Dantès success.

 

MetriDee

Abstract art, abstract food

“When I was your age, we didn’t even have cellphones. So don’t come complaining about not having an I Phone 5.”

Ugh. Parents, always saying their favorite phrase. “When I was your age…”

when I was your age

I’m sure you all had that thought. 🙂 Living in a world where every second is a change somewhere in the world.  Just a couple years ago, the Samsung Galaxies, the I Phones, and mini laptops were in. And a few more years was the creation of Elmo.

elmo

No, not that kind of Elmo.

elmo tech

This kind. Teachers now still use it for it is quite an advancement in technology.

Anyways, change is something that is natural, that is never going to stop. But that doesn’t mean we need to just ignore the past. I mean, I still love Tetris…

tetris

You’ve got to accept the fact that change is life.

change

Now let’s try to look at it in matters to art.

In the olden days, there used to be a type of art called realism. This art was basically about daily life, reality of life, about facts, and usually about the middle and lower class, or in our terms, the poor peeps. There were no fancy decorations, no fluffy toppings, like a beautiful cupcake.

cupcake

However, a new era of art was found. Modernism.

Modernism is a type of art found in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It is a mix of fauvism, cubism, and post-impressionism. In world war I, there was too much modernism in propaganda and such that it was too much suffering. Therefore, many people of that age are jaded and search for a relief.

Does anyone know Duchamp?

A french modernism artist, his artwork enchants me.

duchamp fountain

Yes, this is a urinal. This artwork is basically a urinal flipped down, and called a fountain. Surprisingly, it’s a quite famous art. This reminded me of another artwork,

this is not a pipe

“This is not a pipe”. Translated from french, this painting and the fountain by Duchamp gave me a great thought. If we can convince people that the “thing” is not what it actually is, why can’t we do that with food?

Old-Fashion-Berry-Layered-Cake

This is not a cake, it’s poison.

:b

For those of you chickeneers who have kids, you can try pulling off a this is not a vegetable.

salad

This is not salad, this is colored paper with sour candies. These are flowers.

pasta

Oh, there goes my hair…

🙂

A famous painting by Picasso was the Guernica.

guernica

This cubism art was created in response to the bombing of Guernica, a small city in Spain. German and Italian fighter planes dropped bombs during the Spanish civil war. Abstract art. That’s what I call modernism art, and I love it for being abstract. It allows the person to see art and interpret it any way they want. This could be a nightmare of someone in Guernica, or a famous horror film made in Spain. It all depends on the person. I feel that food should be like that too. Abstract food, edible art that the receiver can interpret as anything they want to see it as.

abstract cup

This can be a cup of sprite with different food coloring drops. Or it can be water with melted jelly beans poured in. One day, there will be something called abstract food. Copyright Raining chocolate 2013!!! :b

Go home, go to a restaurant, a friend’s house, a market, and look at a commonly eaten food. Forget about everything you’ve ever known about that food. Then try to think of what that food can be. Create your own abstract food.

Forlorn War Veterans and Restaurant Etiquette

After finishing the book All Quiet on the Western Front, only then did I realize that soldiers who survived the war truly were scarred for life. Unlike other stories of the war, All Quiet really hits you with the reality and horrors of the front line, life in the trenches, and watching everyone around you drop like flies. In the middle of the novel, the protagonist, Paul, goes home for a seventeen-day leave. As he encounters people and memories from his life before the war, he became aware of the fact that no one back home really understood what having the life of a soldier really meant. Despite the enticement of glory and the insistent persuasion of Paul’s schoolmaster, willingly fighting for the war didn’t entitle any of the things people promised. There was no glory, only gore. There was neither victory nor spirit, only misery and death. Back at home, Paul’s father wanted him to keep his uniform on so he can be shown off to his father’s friends. What Paul’s father didn’t understand was that the war was brutal and cruel. He did not realize that his son was now a different person, hardened by the barbarity of fighting and numbed by the deaths of his comrades. As a result, being surrounded again with civilians of the likes of his father, Paul was faced with the challenge of how to  fit in again and interact with others on a different level than his fellow soldiers out in the front (line).

As with any environment, people have to be able to adapt to their surroundings and act properly (according to the standards of society). That is where etiquette comes in. Like Paul’s rehabilitation as a war veteran to a member of society, there are unspoken rules that have to be abided by in restaurants. Theoretically, let’s say we have Bill, a man who has never interacted much with people besides his family and has never stepped foot inside a restaurant. Bill will not realize that his open-mouthed chewing and boisterous laugh does not belong in such a public place. As Bill is surveying his menu, how will he properly flag down a waiter to put down his order? Will he wave his hand in the air like an overly-eager student or stare down a waiter and motion with his index finger to come to his table? After Bill’s plate of spaghetti arrives, how will he choose to eat it? With chopsticks or a fork? Spoon or no spoon? To twirl or not to twirl? As Bill eats, he is greeted by a waiter who checks up on how he is doing. “Is everything okay, sir?”, the waiter asks. Bill doesn’t realize that the waiter isn’t referring to his life, but merely his food. Oblivious to the shallowness of the question, Bill pats the seat next to him and tells the waiter to sit down. With a mouthful of pasta, Bill begins to tell the uncomfortable-looking waiter the problems he is having with his colon and how he has trouble sleeping at night because of his cat’s incessant snoring. After a while, Bill asks what’s the matter with the waiter. “Are you alright there, pal?” Finally, Bill receives the check for his meal. Now, how shall he go about paying the fourteen dollars and seventy-eight cents when he only has a twenty-dollar bill in his pocket? Bill shrugs and tears off a fifth of his twenty-dollar bill and inserts it into the black book.

Clearly, this demonstration with “Bill” was exaggerated, but it does help to clearly show the little things that people have to deal with as they decide on what proper etiquette is and what is not. It ties in with the behavioral issues some shell-shocked war veterans have with day-to-day interactions most people don’t even bother to think about. We all have our little eccentricities and confusions about what society thinks is best and what is unacceptable. What’s your quirk?

MetriDee

I’d Die For You

Nah, I’m just kidding. Many people aren’t serious when they say those words, but to the soldiers, these words aren’t thrown around lightly. Soldiers do everything together; during their time they serve in the army, they’ve all seen their comrades through everything. Through good times and hardships, through times where they just wanted to give everything up, and through times of complete horror. They’ve seen it all. They’ve also seen their strengths, their weaknesses, their good and their bad qualities. They know each other inside out, better than married couples do. I wasn’t really aware of how close they were until I read a war novel in English class called All Quiet on the Western Front. Have any chickeneers read this book before? If so, I’d like your thoughts about this book! I just find it so amazing how strong of a bond they have, that it makes the friendships we make in our lives completely incomparable.

How many friends do you really have? You might say you have a lot, but think again. I don’t mean your facebook friends, those people you added but don’t really know, but true friends. Friends that would stick by you when things get tough, or support you when others don’t. Friends that you consider family, because you can say anything and everything to them and know that they’ll listen. Friends that care. Friends that love you for you, not for someone you pretend to be. How many real friends do you have? To be honest, I’d say I’ve only had 3 or 4 real friends in my entire life. And even so, I’d say I don’t know that much about my real friends; not as much as the soldiers. The soldiers are all one big family. Not only is it a huge amount of people, but they know the little things about each other that makes them, them. Their bond is like no other; it’s truly unexplainable. You might say that you have a friend who truly loves you for who you are, and will go through everything that you will go through- but is it one who will die for you? Is it one who will go through your hardships with you, sacrifice themselves for you?

Soldiers show true friendship. They’d do anything to be together, to make sure the other person doesn’t feel lonely. “We stick together; you see.” In All Quiet, Paul fakes a fever in order to leave the train with Albert, although he’s in good health. He decides to stand by him, even though he doesn’t need to. This type of sacrifice warms my heart, because although they’re not related, although they treat each other like family. The stronger bond is shown between Kat and Paul. When Kat was injured in chapter eleven, Paul carried him all the way to the dressing station while shells were raining down on them. He didn’t have to – he could’ve left him there, yet he used his own energy and painstakingly carried him to safety. It’s depressing, because once they reached the station, Kat dies because of a splinter in his head.

3811782-us-army-soldier-carrying-wounded-friend

“I am no longer a shuddering speck of existence, alone in the darkness;-I belong to them and they to me; we all share the same fear and the same life; we are nearer than lovers, in a simple, a harder way; I could bury my face in them, in these voices, these voices that have saved me and will stand by me.” (All Quiet on the Western Front, page 212) I find this quote really empowering. It shows how close to each other they really are, although they were strangers in different places in the world and had different life situations just a couple years ago. I’d have to admit, I’m envious of this type of friendship. One friendship like this is hard to achieve these days; it just can’t be done.

So there it is guys… what true friendship is. Yes, there is a difference between friends that you hang out in school, and friends (more like a second family) that you went to war with. But friends are friends, so be nice to them and don’t force them to go to war in order to make you guys feel closer. (Not that you guys would do that… right guys? 😀 Don’t be like Kantorek!)

-By Raining Chocolate, Cinnamon Roll, and MetriDee

Trust: How We Put the Fate of Our Well-Being Into the Hands of Others

By MetriDee

Have you ever wondered about what goes on behind the swinging double doors of restaurant kitchens? We trust a whole staff of cooks and chefs to prepare our meals for us safely and deliciously. There have been stories of waiters taking turns spitting into a plate of pasta that would be served to a rude customer. Well, it was the same idea when many foolhardy young men were terribly misinformed about the glories and successes of fighting in World War I. In the novel All Quiet On the Western Front, the main protagonist Paul recalls enlisting in the war with many of his friends as a result of their fiercely patriotic schoolmaster’s unrelenting pressure. The trust and faith placed in the hands of their teacher, Kantorek, later turned into disgust and hatred as they were exposed to the horrors of the war. One of the more hesitant of the group was first to die in battle, his death being quite horrible. Kantorek writes to the boys, calling them the “Iron Youth” and glorifying their bravery for fighting for their country. Here, it is evident that Kantorek is oblivious to the reality of the situation.

In a restaurant, a lot of things happen when you order your food; the kitchen staff prepares your meal, the bartender makes your drink, and finally your server delivers the food right to your table. Rude customers who snap/tap/whistle impatiently will be deliberately ignored for an additional ten minutes by the server. What most diners forget to remember is that when a restaurant is busy, there are other customers and issues that are being dealt with as well. Many waiters who have contributed to these “What-You-Don’t-Know” articles want to accommodate your needs as soon as needed, but are simply unable to due to the demand of multiple parties and guests

In most war-based novels of the World War I era, only the most optimistic and glorious parts of the war are recalled and remembered. The horrendously gory scenes of the aftermath of battles were, figuratively speaking, swept under the heavy cover of the rug away from the upturned noses of the extremely patriotic. Consequently, the masses of young men who were convinced to join the battle against the enemy were strolling blindly to what could likely be their own death. Most people never truly knew the ugly truth behind warfare and only had surface-level knowledge of what was really happening. Some of their thoughts probably consisted of remarks like “War! Of course people die in it!” or “Those brave men out there are fighting for our country! If you don’t, you will be considered a coward who doesn’t love his country.” What these people didn’t realize was that there was way more people being sent off to war than veterans who actually came back. Unlike other war-based novels, All Quiet On the Western Front depicted the war in a more truthful manner, including the blood, sweat, and tears that went into the pride and patriotism of serving their country for “the greater good”.