Some of the reasons I love October

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 Some of the Reasons I love October 

1) The Foliage that surrounds my world, the deep orange, red, and yellow that make reality collide with fantasy.
2) There are great movies at the Theater!
3) Halloween Wars is on Food Network.
4) I met my best friend in October.
5) Football is in full swing, an experience my dad and I turn into a series of angry and happy screams.
6) The Good Doctor has enchanted me.
7) I am finally comfortable in school,my schedule and otherwise.
8) There are the memories of homecoming week.
9) I turn 29 this year!
10) October is an in between period. It’s fleeting and ever-changing – just like me.
11) Weather is unpredictable; sometimes the best things in life are the ones that are not for sure.
12) The rivalry between the Bears and Packers is on and I know my loyalty.
13) ♫ Marching Band memories, the thrill of the game and the marching that captivates me.♫
14) The last days of the bike trail- I love that sudden and intense rush.
15) It’s the last month I will wear sandals … maybe
16) A warm day that surprises everyone is really nice.
17) I love raking the leaves and basking in the sun.
18) I love crunching the leaves, running purposely crunching them.
19) The Jump from Summer Mode to Sweater weather is on point.
20) Halloween, a time for costumes, candy, pumpkins and the beginning of house decorations.
21) I learned how to ride my bike in October.
22) It’s cold enough for a lovely cup of hot chocolate.
23) The color orange is everything, assaulting my eyes in the best way.
24) I get to see my family from far away because it’s my birthday month.
25) This year I got the ultimate gift for my birthday – a sense of who I am, and who I could be.
26) The color orange is everywhere!!! I ♥ orange! (yes, this one is there twice.)

[My birthday is the 26th so there are 26 reasons!]

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Your Eyes

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They were introducing us to everyone
And I was fairly calm
Until I saw your eyes
You have a beautiful smile
I cannot tell lies
But there is nothing more beautiful
Than your sparkling, intense eyes
We talked about football
We talked about the young happy couple
We talked about so many things
In the end
Weeks later
When I feel particularly calm
And hold my thoughts tight
I remember how your eyes sparkled
That warm September night

Absolutely Fearless: my life story!

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15 years ago today
In the middle of a bright, warm September day
They had to take me away to the hospital
To see what was going on with me
They ran so many tests and they were all very stressed
I was completely terrified
So I hid and I wept and cried
And frankly I wondered
No one knew what was to come
No one knew where it all came from
From such a happy child to frighteningly sick
My diagnosis was something I never heard of
So I thought wow, I’m so lucky let’s go home
Boy was I wrong as can be
I didn’t know the challenges in front of me

The time began to tick
They told me that there was no way I could finish school no way!
But I was certainly no darn fool
My mom pushed the high school hard and then they pushed back
My mom was a Rock star like J.J. Watt and she got the sack
I went in there with positive spirit
And it’s alive in this poem
Can you hear it?
I finished high school, finished so incredibly strong
Held my head extremely high, not a thing could be wrong

Then community college came along
I always knew I wanted to write
So I took that dream and I held it so tight I clutched that dream with all my might
And one night in 2010 I began to have real joy again
I wrote for the school paper and with utter glee
The words and phrases they just came to me: epiphany
Movie Reviews were my thing
God, I could really make the page sing
I’m in clubs like ecology and making friends
But that’s not how my story ends

In 2013 I discovered my saving grace – Shimer college
I decided that was my new dream
The pages on the table literally gleamed
The sun a ray of light casting hope on the page
As I took that pamphlet that my remarkable teacher had
I thought cool, now I’m going to MY school
A school of insight, bliss, and love
A school that was high above
Anything I could ever foresee
And then wonderful things happened to me
There was pain and suffering still
But I made it because I said I will

I made wonderful friends and learned things I couldn’t fathom
My studies were my love and joy
My friends were abundant and present
My classes were quite demanding
Their gift to me from my teachers :their complete understanding
I went on a spectrum of studies
And I had some grief and strive
But I had more in me and had the time of my life
Orange Horse and Solidarity
(Because everyone has seen the phoenix fly)
Two school events
Relished by me
After Aristotle, Darwin, Copernicus, Lerner and so much more it came
After Priestley, Dante, Shakespeare, Bell Hooks, and Woolf
After Gödel, Einstein, Virgil, Kant, and Augustine
After Humanities 3 and wondering deeply about my faith
After Fem Theories and two incredible senior classes
The big day, the end of me as a student came
April 29th 2017 was a day
Where they handed me the diploma and I internally screamed hurray!
I will never forget hearing my name and walking the stage to my happy ending
And a new beginning

Where I am now compared to where I was
All the hard work I put in and my family and friends
All the dark places I found myself in
I got out of them with perseverance, I got the win
Why?
It was because of love
Because you don’t quit when times are so tough
You are strong enough
So I will rise, with a loving family
And a college degree
And for all those who ever doubted me
You only ignited my passion to succeed
And now at 28 sometimes when I think that I’m too late
Too late to live my life
That I missed out
I pause
I take a moment, I take a breath, and realize
I’m just getting started
There’s so much life left to go

Does the Cruelty justify the means?

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(In all that is going on this world I think this essay needs to be written)

In Machiavelli’s The Prince, we are given a detailed view of how to rule over people, gain land, and have political power in this manner through an unforgiving lens. Our author is incredibly skilled at taking any given scenario and given a particular set of variables, this is how you can conquer a particular area. He weaves historical examples into his “guide book”, and people are disillusioned into thinking that because he sites history he was a man of vision and good intent. The author is a master with words until his true colors come through. It can be argued that Machiavelli’s intentions were to get on the good side of a powerful family and that is why he wrote The Prince. That is the case many make. However, it is the execution of his words and methods that is very troubling to the reader. Machiavelli is interested in showing people how to achieve political gain but the level of cruelty is unnecessary, by pushing cruel methods over others more peaceful and furthermore claiming cruelty as necessary when that is not the only way that the ends can be reached.

In speaking of gaining territory, Machiavelli states “When a state accustomed to live in freedom under its own laws there are three ways of keeping it: the first is to destroy it, the second is to go and live there in person; the third is to let it continue to live under its own laws, taking tribute from it, setting up a government composed of a few men that will keep it friendly for you” (Machiavelli, 28). It is easily noticed that the first method listed is destruction. Those who argue it is not meant in order need to look further down where Machiavelli states “For in truth there is no sure method of holding such cities except by destruction” (Machiavelli, 28) going even further to say that if you don’t destroy the city, it will destroy you. All of Machiavelli’s reasoning is full of holes. Why does the first course of action have to be destruction, in a most unapologetic wipeout for the Prince’s gain? Furthermore, this mentality that that if I don’t destroy you, you will destroy me can have a shred of truth to it, but there are ways of ruling through negotiations that are more peaceful and don’t involve this complete destruction of a state in order to maintain it. There is this glaring assumption of human nature that Machiavelli claims. The weaker people will be easier to rule, but the strong will put up a fight and thus must be destroyed. He never offers a less intense, less cruel alternative measure and therefore is unnecessarily cruel in his methods.
Another example of cruelty that is jarring is the cutting in half of the man, which is an example from history that Machiavelli used but he goes a step further in what he claims this slaughter accomplished, another way cruelty is unnecessary to the reader but necessary to Machiavelli. “Having found an occasion to do this, one morning, he had Remirro’s body cut in two, placed on view in the public square of Cesena with a wooden block and a blood stained knife resting beside it. The horror of that spectacle gave people reason to be both shocked and gratified” (Machiavelli 36). Killing someone and then mutilating their body is a cold, gruesome act in itself. What elicits a reaction is the body being on display in the public square as to serve as a warning to everyone who sees it. Ruling a state through fear is something that Machiavelli agrees with and addresses later on in Chapter 17 (which interestingly enough only claims it adequately addresses cruelty). However, the concept of gratitude is really what should be found fault with in this particular section because it through the joy of not being cut in half that you are grateful for, and it is that ruling by fear is in itself cruel.

Machiavelli has a plethora of other options that he could restore to in order to achieve his end goal. He insists on cruelty being the vehicle that drives success of The Prince forward unapologetically and harshly so. His concepts of ruling and running a state work in the examples he presents or in his concept model. It does not mean that it is the only way to achieve greatness. On page 40, he speaks of a man not acting in virtue or fortune whose success through murderous acts is not celebrated because it was not the way to go about doing things in Machiavelli’s eyes. There is hypocrisy in this and to discover it one must dive further into Machiavelli’s arguments. In Chapter 17, discussing being feared vs. being loved he uncovers for us a subtle and disturbing aspect of his argument. It is about discarding your father if it serves your purpose saying this. “And if he finds it necessary to take someone’s life, he should do so when there is suitable justification and manifest cause; but above all, he should refrain from property other person, for men are quicker to forget the death of their father then the loss of a patrimony” (Machiavelli, 66). It speaks volumes about someone to value patrimony (the inheritance) over their own father. This subtly points to a strong, internal concept of cruelty embedded inside of our author that one cannot escape. It is curious how this one sliver of information gives us such crucial information that directly shows the meanness that lies not so far beneath the surface.

Machiavelli actually acknowledges cruelty by addressing it directly and makes an interesting claim about it saying “a prince, therefore, must be indifferent to the charge of cruelty if he is to keep his subjects loyal and united” (Machiavelli, 65). So what can be gathered from this statement is that wickedness, that evil that he acknowledges through the book should not apply to the prince if order is meant to be held. This brings us to be able to state that Machiavelli believes that cruelty should be ignored for the greater good of the prince. He even goes a step further in talking about a ruler that “preached nothing but peace and faith” (Machiavelli 70) and how that costs you power and reputation. He has the audacity to say that peace is actually someone’s downfall. He does not give examples of peaceful ways nor does he try to implement peaceful options into his lessons about attaining power. He states that you won’t get far using that but does not back up that claim, only to use more examples of cruelty.

Many people state the counter argument, that Machiavelli was using this book as a vehicle to discover a specific type of political theory without cruelty as a theme. He does go step by step explaining very detailed things about armies and rules to follow, for example in detail what armies are loyal to whom and at what time in Chapter 13. He explains the rankings of various troops stating , “with mercenaries the danger lies in their cowardice; with auxiliary it lies with their capability” (Machiavelli 57). This book can be seen as a strategic guide for how to conquer lands, and in stating that cruelty is disregarded as previously mentioned, does that in fact mean that Niccolo Machiavelli is not excessively and unnecessarily cruel? He seems incredibly convincing in many aspects of his concept of what the prince’s role is in obtaining and then maintaining power. We are flooded with historical examples of why his methods will work in practice not only on paper from Spain to Sparta. If we were to read it in this manner, we would come away with an incomplete meaning. Also, it would take a strong level of denial to not see the glaring examples of unnecessary cruelty in The Prince. Surely, more peaceful ways of doing things are possible and violence, death, and destruction are all extremes that become the norm for him.

To dismantle his concepts as not being cruel, he has a chapter on evil means and he says that there was a ruler who was wicked but his vigor helped him to become a commanding officer (Machiavelli, 39) and this drives at the heart of pulling away any doubt of the unnecessary cruelty that Machiavelli is clearly putting forth. This example says a lot more about what Machiavelli actually intends. He tries to steer away from this point but here he is happy to profess that if you are wicked, cruel, or evil (all his own terms) then it is not a stretch to say that if you have strength despite having a strong vice like the three above you can still rise and be a successful ruler. Again, peaceful solutions or being a kind ruler are not something he is concerned with in the slightest and that is made apparent here. In this light, Machiavelli opens the gate for the ability to say he recognizes that he is cruel but is much more concern with the ends. For him, the ends are what one must work towards and if those means that accompany the ends are cruel, then that is perfectly acceptable by Machiavelli.
In conclusion, Niccolo Machiavelli aims to convince his audience that there is a very specific way to obtain power through this chilling guide book of sorts, The Prince. He makes many claims that can be quickly dismantled in their unnecessary cruel way to achieve power. It is not to say that following these lessons wouldn’t give you the power you want, but at what cost? We have the example of destruction being a first restore for solving control issues. The fact that other measures are there, but that destruction is best is so cold and superfluous. There is the way of cutting a body in half and displaying it to instill fear. This is a transparent way that cruelty is seen. Mostly important is Machiavelli admitting that yes, cruelty exists but to acknowledge you will lose the backing of your subjects. He does not give alternatives and absolutely shoots the idea of using peace down. Through these examples, Machiavelli’s ends are cruel because his means are intentionally cruel. His tunnel vision of what is a means of obtaining power is unfortunate, because you can have power using Machiavelli’s methods. What are you willing to lose in your humanity to achieve that power is a chilling question to examine in order to decide for yourself where you draw the line.

Absolutely Fearless

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15 years ago today
In the middle of a bright, warm September day
They had to take me away to the hospital
To see what was going on with me
They ran so many tests and they were all very stressed
I was completely terrified
So I hid and I wept and cried
And frankly I wondered
No one knew what was to come
No one knew where it all came from
From such a happy child to frighteningly sick

My diagnosis was something I never heard of
So I thought wow, I’m so lucky let’s go home
Boy was I wrong as can be
I didn’t know the challenges in front of me

The time began to tick
They told me that there was no way I could finish school no way!
But I was certainly no darn fool
My mom pushed the high school hard and then they pushed back
My mom was a Rock star like J.J. Watt and she got the sack
I went in there with positive spirit
And it’s alive in this poem
Can you hear it?
I finished high school, finished so incredibly strong
Held my head extremely high, not a thing could be wrong

Then community college came along
I always knew I wanted to write
So I took that dream and I held it so tight – I clutched that dream with all my might
And one night in 2010 I began to have real joy again
I wrote for the school paper and with utter glee
The words and phrases they just came to me: epiphany
Movie Reviews were my thing
God, I could really make the page sing
I’m in clubs like ecology and making friends
But that’s not how my story ends

In 2013 I discovered my saving grace – Shimer college
I decided that was my new dream
The pages on the table literally gleamed
The sun a ray of light casting hope on the page
As I took that pamphlet that my remarkable teacher had
I thought cool, now I’m going to MY school
A school of insight, bliss, and love
A school that was high above
Anything I could ever foresee
And then wonderful things happened to me
There was pain and suffering still
But I made it because I said I will

I made true friends and learned things I couldn’t fathom
My studies were my love and joy
My friends were abundant and present
My classes were quite demanding
Their gift to me from my teachers: their complete understanding
I went on a spectrum of studies
And I had some grief and strive
But I had more in me and had the time of my life
Orange Horse and Solidarity
(Because everyone has seen the phoenix fly)
Two school events
Relished by me

 

After Aristotle, Darwin, Copernicus, Lerner and so much more it came
After Priestley, Dante, Shakespeare, Bell Hooks, and Woolf
After Gödel, Einstein, Virgil, Kant, and Augustine
After Humanities 3 and wondering deeply about my faith
After Fem Theories and two incredible senior classes
The big day, the end of me as a student came
April 29th 2017 was a day
Where they handed me the diploma and I internally screamed hurray!
I will never forget hearing my name and walking the stage to my happy ending
And a new beginning

Where I am now compared to where I was
All the hard work I put in and my family and friends
All the dark places I found myself in
I got out of them with perseverance, I got the win
Why?
It was because of love
Because you don’t quit when times are so tough
You are strong enough
So I will rise, with a loving family
And a college degree
And for all those who ever doubted me
You only ignited my passion to succeed
And now at 28 sometimes when I think that I’m too late
Too late to live my life
That I missed out
I pause
I take a moment, I take a breath, and realize
I’m just getting started
There’s so much life left to go

The Swerve

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In our discussion of The Aeneid, we talked of the distinct way law appears, Fate, Aeneas’ character, a history of the text, women’s role, Roman rule, and an array of other things. A swerve was discussed in reference to creation of the powerful Roman Empire.  While I found many parts of our discussion moving and interesting, the real “swerve” or turning point I find is the way women are depicted in this text compared to all others we have encountered, particularly in The Iliad. In stark constant to the Iliad, women in The Aeneid have a voice, affect change, rule a city, and dare I say have agency. Perhaps it is the hundreds of years between these two texts that cause this incredible change to be possible. I would argue that Virgil sees women’s value in a way Homer never considered. Virgil gives woman not quite the credit due to them, but a generous, commendable effort was made to give some much needed balance.  His language being more romantic as pointed out in class, I believe gives the necessary condition for a huge shift in the treatment and portrayal of women. The language of the other text was fitting for the amount of male influence, while this style of writing may be what allowed for women to be involved in a way we haven’t encountered very much in the scope of the class. In the Iliad, Helen was blamed for so much while the “wonderful, handsome” men were constantly sidetracked with avenging someone or being petty and angry. It seemed that within certain codes, men could do no wrong, and the massive slaughters committed were for the good of the people. It was almost like a running joke to me (the condemnation of Helen), as Helen did not actively choose to leave but was stolen, and while the men carry on in a bloodbath whose purpose I question as well. It then becomes so easy to blame a woman’s “terrible beauty” for an entire war. Furthermore, the few times she spoke added only to the hopelessness of her situation. It was as if by giving her a voice, she negated her own value even more, and her voice only empathized her lack of agency. In the Aeneid, it is flat out said that Helen shouldn’t be blamed for the war and that the true blame for that situation lies with the gods. The implications of such a concept being brought forth are immense. All through the Iliad, the gods dashed around impulsively like teenagers, and there was no real consequence for them. Here we have a truth that many students have pointed out and questioned countless times. The gods’ role in Fate and in the action of the texts is huge, but is just now being acknowledged as a point of concern by Virgil.

A female goddess who is treated very differently in these two texts is Hera, so much that the term “New Hera” was coined during our discussion. Hera, while cunning and conniving throughout The Iliad, is passed over as an irrational angry women whose ideas aren’t valued. Zeus admits to being afraid of his wife, but the limit of what say she has, even as a goddess is rage inducing. It is interesting to trace a female god, and Juno (or Hera) as an example of this shift in women’s agency within the two texts. Interestingly, in The Aeneid, although “New Hera” shows her action through a masculine-like rage, there is a greater question I consider. I do not buy that Hera (or Juno) was acting particularly masculine. She was acting in a way that fueled events that were to come. Yes, all people previously behaving in this way were men. Achilles was synonymous with rage almost throughout The Iliad, as was Ares God of War. It’s as if women are not permitted to have this level of power, and so Juno’s rage on the first page of Virgil’s text is jolting. I would argue that character traits being ascribed to men such as rage and power are unisex traits. Women can be powerful, angry, and affect change and Virgil shows us that. When men are angry, they rush off to war, avenge a death, or having a silly argument. Yet, angry women are cast off as the irrational ones… The reading that Hera had to be written with a masculine description in order to be taken seriously is not my reading at all. Innana, queen of the heavens, had this same kick-butt attitude throughout her story, but we never described that as a masculine attribute. She was also clever and conniving in a similar way to Hera. As I recall, Inanna was considered a very powerful woman and that gave her so much agency. By calling Hera’s behavior “masculine”, it takes away from the notion of agency I feel is given to her in The Aeneid. In class, the reason that was given for why Dido, the female ruler of Carthage was being tricked was that Virgil would be giving her too much agency if she fell in love of her own accord. Indeed, I agree that Virgil took Dido’s agency for something that is not even explained in the text. The fact that there was a female ruler of a city is remarkable, so I would expect some clear, concise reason for why she would be put to ruin.

Having agency or free will verses everything being up to Fate in The Aeneid is something we did not come to an agreement on in class. The concept I found striking while we questioned Fate in class was walking a path, and being able to deviate from this path. It was pointed out as a possibility, that you can have four paths to deviate to, but they will all lead to the same place. The power of Juno in this text gives me the sense that while Fate is in place, there is a certain degree of agency for all mortals and gods alike. One source is the gods intervening and changing events through a drastic action or something as simple as a mist. I maintain while it is written on a scroll, both mortals and gods can change Fate. Now that Virgil has presented this huge change in how we think of women, they are a part of this discussion of changing Fate. Before this, I didn’t think of women as able to affect change. However, this is only the beginning of this epic. Unlike Aristotle in On the Heavens, I have not taken into account everything in my argument. As this text evolves, what will become of women’s voices and their agency? Will Dido’s ruin be seen as something that was in her control? Was Virgil’s generous amount of time spent on evolving the agency of a woman something that was created only to be later destroyed?

March 7, 2016 and this poem still haunts me

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A man with a plan he is not

Not any decent plan, anyway.

He belittles, rants, and offends

The rich he defends

In the building of his wall

He’d isolate us all

America is great because of:

Diversity of people

Respect

He does not have respect towards

Diversity.

That sets us apart and makes us remarkable.

The unique flavor of individuality is been threatened.

It boggles the mind that someone could support a man that says such offensive things.

Why are we allowing this circus to continue?

Truly, it’s a circus and the future of America is not a joke.

He is a joke.

We need a clear minded, reasonable, and understanding leader. He is not.

Let’s focus on making America great again with someone else leading us forth towards a great future.

 

Update : Is there hope for the kind of America that is being created?