For the Rising Stars Program
Welcome to the Rising Stars Blog! This blog will be different than my other blog "Soul's Windows" in that it's dedicated to a singular topic: My Rising Stars Pursuits :)|
| I wasn’t trying to get fired. I mean, sure, being an online pirate isn’t a great example for the kiddos, but who had to know? It all started when I met Blackbeard. I know how that sounds, but I’m dead serious. Blackbeard came back from the dead just to ruin my life. Let me start from the beginning…
So, I run a pretty tight gig pirating and selling movies online for half price, which earns me about minimum wage, surprisingly, and so to up my cash influx I also operate as a mall attendant in the food court, and during the winter, I’m a mall santa. Really fun stuff, but I digress. So here’s how it happened:
It was winter, so I had just peeled off the red coat and fake beard, and was about to head home. When what to my wondering eyes should appear but a dude in my car, giving me fear. (Ok, I was still in character, you’ll have to excuse me.) Now, here’s the odd part. This dude looked old. I mean, really, really old. His clothes were all leather, long jacket and a scabbard holding what appeared to be a cutlass. My first thought was Huh. Nice cosplay. My next thought was Ahh! Pirate man in my car! I’m gonna die. So I did the only thing anyone in my position would do. I got in the car, locked the door, and waited for what he had to say.
“Well indeed.” I had no idea what he was talking about, but I wanted to make a good impression.
“Do ye know why I’m here?”
“Nope. Killer outfit, by the way. Where’d you get it?”
“On the high seas, laddy. I reckon you know a bit about the tempest of the sea?”
“Well, aren't ye a pirate?”
“Not that kind of pirate! Who are you anyway?”
“The name be Blackbeard, matey.”
“No way. You mean the Blackbeard? Of olden times? Famous pirate Blackbeard?”
“Aye. But now I must be going, ye aren’t who I’m lookin’ for.”
And with that he disappeared, never to be seen again. (By me at least)
So please reconsider my termination, It’s not my fault that I confessed.
|“Give me your phone.”
“No. Nope, absolutely not. Never in a thousand years.”
She looked at me, skepticism written all over her face.
“Look. I need to call my brother. Can I please just use your phone?”
“Hmm. Well, you do have to call your brother somehow...better find another way.”
I groan, sliding down the wall before hitting the ground. I’ve got to get to my brother. I’ve got to let him know what happened.
“Why exactly do you need to call him anyway?”
“It’s not your business!” I shout, before immediately feeling guilty. I need her help if I want to tell my brother anything. “I’m sorry. Really. But I just can’t talk about it.”
She slides down beside me, resting her hand on my knee. “You can tell me.”
I sigh, leaning back and closing my eyes. “It’s a long story. You don’t want to hear it, I promise.”
“Try me. We’ve got time.”
I push myself up, starting to pace. My footsteps echo weirdly loud on the tiled linoleum. She’s still on the floor, fidgeting with the rings on her fingers.
“Caleb? What happened?”
Her words hit me like a slap in the face. She knows my name. How?
“How do you know my name?” I ask abruptly. “Who are you?”
“What’d you mean?”
“I mean what I said. How. Do. You. Know. Me.” I say dragging each syllable out.
“You do. You called me Caleb.”
“Did I?” She comes to stand beside me, eyebrows raised. “Sorry.”
“Answer the question.”
“Answer mine first.”
“Fine. I need to call my brother because I’m concerned about him. He wasn’t doing well when I last checked in on him. Nothing really happened, I just needed to call him to check in. Happy?”
“Alrighty then.” She tosses her phone over to me, the calling app already waiting for number input.
“Can you answer my question now?”
“I already gave you my phone. Isn’t that answer enough?”
Birds sing overhead
Deer prance on the grass below
Spring finally sprung
Wails of sirens
Echo across Manhattan
Racing against the clock
Emergency workers rushing
Memorial services and
Enduring tragedy and
Memories of that terrible day
Bringing flowers and prayers
Ending up here, 20 years later
life's constant joy
smiling, bouncing, giggling,
hopping into a game of tag,
|Samuel Clemens was born November 30th, 1835, in Missouri. Mark Twain died on April 21st, 1910, in Connecticut. But in between was a life lived that no one could have prepared for, one that gave us the classics The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Roughing It. Twain was born 6th in line to a couple named John and Jane Clemens, 2 moths early. He was in poor health up until age 10, when he became healthy again. His large imagination served him well in boyhood, as did his Tom Sawyer-like tendencies to test his mother’s patience. He and his friends would often play games, like pretending to be Robin Hood, or a gang of pirates. Although it seemed like his childhood must have been great, it was, at times, anything but. His sister died before he was 4, then his brother 3 years later. The measles swept through, and then cholera. His father died from pneumonia, making the family’s financial situation all the more precarious. In 1844, he discovered the dead body of a man in his late father’s study, left there by the murderer, and a year later saw a man get shot to death in the street. The incident was the inspiration for the Boggs shooting from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. His friend drowned in 1848, and then found the dead and mutilated body of a slave a couple of days later. Needless to say, his childhood was cut short by the violence around him.
He worked several jobs from the time he was about 13, although he was allowed to stay in school and get an education. In 1850, Orion Clemens returned home and started up a newspaper. Samuel and hs brother worked for Orion, and occasionally he would put short stories into the newspaper. It wes then that he started using synonyms, such as “W. Epaminondas Adrastus Perkins” and “Josh”. He officially started using Mark Twain before the age of 17. He left his home and worked for a number of years doing different things, but it was not until his 37th year that he discovered that he was a “literary person” in his own terms.
Twain worked for many years until he found his style: Humor. His first published book was called “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” and didn’t sell particularly well, and following the lack of sucess, he moved to New York City. His next book, “The Innocents Abroad” was a major success. He met a girl named Olivia while he was on the boat on which he wrote “The Innocents Abroad”, and he fell in love with her, and they married in 1870. His first son, Langdon, died at 2, but eventually, his daughter was born. He had another daughter, Clara, and moved to a farm. He lived out the rest of his life a well known author, and he was happy.
In present day, he’s a household name. People still read Tom Sawyer, and several of his books never went out of publication. Mark Twain’s story is a story of endurance through hardship, ad triumph over tragedy.
|In today's society, everything is digital. It's out there, and sometimes, there's no telling what's real and what's fake. This presents a new slew of problems for upcoming generations, particularly on body image. Photoshop is a pandemic run rampant. Body image issues are on the rise, not only in girls and women but in boys and men too. In order to solve this problem, magazines should start putting labels on their covers or inside covers, warning the readers of unrealistic ideals.
According to HerCampus.com, In a survey done of over 2000 women, 15% could not tell what images were photoshopped, almost 50% said they struggled with body confidence, 24% said they only felt confident when not in public spaces, and 33% of the surveyed said they were trying to achieve a body type that was impossible. This response of disheartening truths of women today is caused by the over prevalent flow of photoshopped images. These women who try and achieve the impossible are related to the ever-rising plastic surgery statistics in the US. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons Statistic Report from 2016 shows that the number of plastic surgeries has risen 4% in the last year and a 37% increase since the year 2000. All of the media that surround us from a young age through adulthood greatly affect our self-confidence and can leave lasting impressions on our own identities indefinitely." What this is trying to say is that half of women and girls aren't self-confident and dissatisfied with how they look. But the statistic we want to address is this "15% could not tell what images were photoshopped." This may not seem to be much, but suppose there are 4 billion women in the entire world. Now, this isn't an unrealistic number, as there is 7-8 billion people on the planet at any given time, and the ratios tend to run pretty evenly. 15% of 4 billion is roughly six hundred million. That's more than the population of the United States, Britain, Italy, and Canada combined. Seems like a bit more now, doesn't it? But say we scale it back to the women in the US. There were 166.7 million women in the USA in 2019. 15% of that is 25,005,000. Twenty-five Million. How many women in your life don't know that the models that they're looking at, wishing they could be like, even starving themselves for are a reality that doesn't exist? Your mother? Sister? Friends? And women and teens aren't the only group that this affects. In recent years, studies have started to focus on how men are affected by media advertisements. Several of these studies have found that men of all ages become more self-conscious and even develop eating disorders as a direct effect of media advertisement. Sixteen percent of high school boys have an eating disorder and many report that they are more afraid of gaining weight than getting cancer or other terminal illness. While females are the most directly and heavily affected, men are affected as well, and the point still stands with both genders.
|Release Date: December 13, 1985
Director: Jonathan Lynn
Stars: Tim Curry, Eileen Brennan, Madeline Kahn, Christopher Lloyd, Micheal McKeen, Martin Mull, Lesley Ann Warren, Colleen Camp, and Lee Ving.
Clue (1985) is a charming movie for families with slightly older children, due to some references to sex, prostitution (although not graphic), and rough humor (again pertaining to corpses, sex, and homosexuality), and gore. Similarly to the board game, the movie has 6 main characters with pseudonyms, those being Miss Scarlet, Mrs.Peacock, Mrs. White, Professor Plum, Mr. Green, and Colonel Mustard, as well as a couple of new additions, Mr. Boddy, Wadsworth the Butler, Yvette the Maid, and The Cook (unnamed). Unlike the board game, however, we’re given a reason for the murder of a person in the mansion, which is blackmail.
Summary (Contains Spoilers):
The movie starts with a lone car on a lonely journey up a hill, approaching a mansion gate. The man in the car then unlocks the door, and leaves it open, and goes on his way. He has a short conversation with the maid, Yvette, before leaving to let the first guest in, Colonel Mustard. Mustard is introduced to Yvette, and the pattern is kept up until all the guests have arrived, sans Mr. Boddy, their host. The guests get to know each other and discover that they all either live in Washington DC or have some connection to the government. At this point, Mr. Boddy arrives, and the talking shifts to mysterious double meanings and vague references. The group moves to the study, where the real reason they’re all there is revealed. Mr. Boddy has been blackmailing all of them, for various reasons. Boddy then reveals that he will prevent scandal from befalling them if they kill Wadsworth, who was his butler, and who has notified the police and has evidence. He then flicks the light off, and a gunshot is heard. The light is turned back on, and but instead of Wadsworth, the aptly named Mr. Boddy lies dead on the floor. Professor Plum, a psychiatrist by trade, pronounces him dead and the guests set about figuring out who the murderer is.
Wadsworth then admits to summoning the guests to the party, knowing that they were all being blackmailed, as his late wife, who committed suicide, was also being blackmailed. They all check the house for clues, before finding the cook dead, stabbed in the back with the dagger, which Mrs. Peacock had dropped in a fit of hysteria, meaning anyone could have picked it up. They decide to move the body to the study, where they find Mr. Boddy’s body has gone missing. They soon find him, with new wounds inflicted by the candlestick. Wadsworth decides to lock the rest of the weapons in a cabinet. The group tells him to throw away the key, but before they could, a stranded motorist shows up at the door and asks to use the phone. Wadsworth leads him to the Lounge and locks him in before returning to the door and throwing the key out into the yard, over the blacktop. Colonel Mustard then proposes that they split up to search the house for anyone else, and they draw straws. The groups are Miss Scarlet and Colonel Mustard, Mrs. White and Wadsworth, Mr. Green and Yvette, Mrs. Peacock, and Professor Plum. They split up, and team Scarlet-Mustard (A good name, if I do say so myself) finds a secret passageway into the lounge, where, you guessed it, the Motorist is dead, killed with a wrench in the still-locked room. They begin beating on the door, and everyone rushes downstairs to try to open the door. Yvette grabs the revolver from the cupboard and shoots the lock off, freeing them from the lounge and revealing the motorist. Questioning begins: “Did you kill him? What secret passage? Can you stop screaming?” before turning on Yvette: “Where’d you get the gun? It was locked up! Yvette must be the killer!” But no, the cabinet was unlocked! Someone had the key! But Wadsworth threw away the key! No, he didn’t! The tensions rise, and a chandelier falls from a missed shot by Yvette prior, nearly killing Mustard and Co. Then the cops arrive.
Well, one cop, and he asks why they’re acting all jumpy. Wadsworth says that it was caused by the falling chandelier, before locking him in the library. The search is resumed, and all goes well. Until the electricity goes out. In this period of time, The cop is killed, as is Yvette, and a singing telegram girl that came to the door, with the pipe, rope, and revolver respectively. Wadsworth flips the electricity back on and exclaims that he knows who did it. There's 3 possibilities, 3 different endings, and that’s what makes the movie so unique.
Ending 1: Yvette Had 2 Murders, Mr. Boddy and The Cook, and Miss Scarlet told her to do it. Miss Scarlet then killed Yvette and the rest of the other victims. She wanted to extort the other guests and sell government secrets out for the right price. Wadsworth Identifies himself as an FBI agent and apprehends Scarlet, who presumably goes to jail.
Ending 2: Mrs. Peacock murdered everyone. Wadsworth decides to let her go, as she did them a service, but then she is apprehended by the FBI on her way out, and Wadsworth is revealed as an agent.
Ending 3: Professor Plum murdered Mr. Boddy, Mrs. Peacock murdered the cook, Colonel Mustard murdered the motorist (and swiped the key from Wadsworth's pocket), Mrs. White murdered Yvette, and Miss Scarlet murdered the cop. Mr. Green is accused of killing the singing telegram girl, but Wadsworth reveals he killed her, and that he is, in fact, the real Mr. Boddy (the man Professor Plum killed was his butler). With the witnesses to each of their secret activities dead and the evidence destroyed, Wadsworth now plans on continuing to blackmail them all. Mr. Green suddenly pulls out a revolver and kills Mr. Boddy. He reveals himself as an undercover FBI agent who has been on Mr. Boddy's case. He brings in the chief to arrest the others.
Word Count 1000
| There was a disturbance in downtown Atlanta today when a group of who appeared to be Cowboys walked through oncoming traffic, causing an hour-long backup and many unhappy residents. They appeared peaceful, even cooperating with law enforcement and handing over any weapons they had, but refusing to be taken into custody. Law enforcement finally convinced the men to come with them, where they were taken into custody. Upon questioning, they appeared more confused than aggressive, not knowing how they got here or where they even were. When they were told “Atlanta” they laughed, saying that Atlanta was much smaller.
When questioned, the whole group had the same consistent answers… They range from 16 to 35 in age, the year is supposed to be 1881, and they’re all from Georgia. Police say that they have no records of the men, and are currently seeking answers. It’s still unclear how long the men can be lawfully kept in custody or how and why they’re here, but the answers are promised soon by science’s top minds. It’s also unapparent if there are any criminal charges against them, aside from disturbing the peace. We interviewed one of the men, Jackson Davis, and his answers were intriguing.
“What’s your name, sir?”
“Jackson Davis, Ma’am. Nice to meet you.”
“And when were you born, what year?”
“Where are you from, Jackson?”
“Georgia, around a place called Stockbridge, I wonder if it’s still around?”
“It is, would you like to see it?”
“Yes ma’am, very much.”
“Well, we’ll see what we can do.”
Just from that short conversation, I could tell several things about Jackson. He’s confused, out of place, and he wants to get back. I talked to a few more of the men, and their answers were all largely similar, they’re from the 1800s, and they want to go back.
But so many questions are still unanswered…where did they come from? How did they get here? What do they want? Can they get back? In search of answers, I looked up one of America’s top scientists, Dr. Alan Hayside, who has several PHDs in Theoretical Physics, Quantum Physics, and Temporal Mechanics.
“Hello, Doctor. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
“The pleasure is mine. I understand you have some questions for me.”
“Yes. I understand that you’ve researched time travel somewhat?”
“Well, it’s highly theoretical, of course, but yes, research has been done.”
“Have you found anything that may explain why the men are here?”
“Well, in short, no.”
“What do you mean, in short?”
“Well, it’s classified, and I’m not at liberty to say.”
After that, the interview ended fairly abruptly, leaving me with little to work with. In all my 15 years as a journalist, I’ve never had someone walk out on an interview. I feel that something bigger may be going on, but I’m not authorized to explore any further, unfortunately. So the world may never know what happened to these men out of time, and they may never know either.
|My first encounter with Robert Frost’s poetry was in 4th grade when I read “Nothing Gold Can Stay”, and since then, he’s become one of my favorite poets. But who is he?
Frost was born in 1884 in San Francisco. However, after his father’s death, his mother moved the family to Massachusetts, where he would remain. Eventually, he graduated top of his class (co-valedictorian along with who would be his wife, Elinor White) and went off to Dartmouth for college, although he’d drop out after about a year. In the years following, in order to support their growing family, he taught school and farmed.
Frost went to Harvard for 2 years before leaving for Derry, where he operated a poultry farm, and continued writing poems, with little publishing success. He became discouraged, but decided to persist, until 1911 when the poultry farm fell to him. He decided to sell it and move to London, where he wished for more success.
The publishers in London did indeed give him better luck, and at the age of 40, he published his first collection of poetry. He was called back to the states soon after, as World War I was starting. While he was away a woman by the name of Amy Lowell had read and reviewed his work, gaining him some notoriety in the United States. Not long after, Frost started getting offers from magazines clamoring to publish his poetry.
From there, he bought a farm in New Hampshire in 1915, but the income wasn’t enough to support his family of 6. He taught part-time at Amherst College and the University of Michigan from 1916 up until 1938, after publishing Mountain Interval in 1916. He only continued to rise, with 4 works winning a Pulitzer Prize ( New Hampshire, Collected Poems, A Further Range, and A Witness Tree).
But who is he to the public? Some say that he’s one of the most authentic poets of all time. Some disagree, saying that he was to focused on the past and not enough on the present and future. The claims were never really refuted, and how could they be? Others still think his works are nostalgia in poetry form and the good old days of the past. I think it’s worth mentioning that most of his poems have some higher message or observance, like the poem Fire and Ice:
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
Frost is musing on the nature of world-ending forces, and while it isn’t one of his most nostalgic poems, it’s one of the most obvious examples of pondering bigger things.
To conclude, Robert Frost was a poet of great renown, and his story is one of extreme perseverance and insight on the workings of the world. From a son of a single mother to one of the most well-known poets, up there with Poe and Dickinson, he shaped our world with his pen, his words sticking in our minds and teaching us about the ways of the past, with eyes straight ahead towards the future.