Saturday, March 31, 2012

More About Boys

After the last exasperation-laden post about the two senior boys in my journalism class, I now have an opportunity to speak well of them. Our teacher, Mrs. Shewe, brought her month-old baby Hannah to class. I expected the two senior males to ignore her completely. Understand this: one of them is bound for the Marines, and the other is in the Navy and is considered suitable for the SEALs. They are both proud of their military connections and of their supreme manliness. That being said, I expected them to ignore the baby and concentrate on their manly humor and sarcasm. So did every single person in that room.

They surprised us all.

When Mrs. Schewe walked in pushing the stroller, they both gasped with much the same sound that I'd heard girls use over puppies. The Marine exclaimed, "You brought it to class?!" At that point the whole class gathered round to look at little Hannah, sleeping in her stroller as sweet as could be. After about five minutes of admiring her, most of us went back to our laptops to keep "working" on the newspaper. But I looked up from my computer a minute later to see those two along with a sophomore jock were still siting about three feet away from the stroller watching Hannah. "Babies scare me," the Marine said. "I'm always afraid that they'll fall or break."

They spent the whole class watching over Hannah. The conversation went from how they would wear the pink blankets and the rabbit hat if it meant they could lie around all day, to how beautiful all babies are. At one point, the Navy man said out of the blue, "I don't think it's possible for anyone to hurt a baby. I don't think even those demon-possessed serial killers could hurt a baby. I just don't see how you can." When the Marine growled that it happened all the time, the Navy man shook his head and said, "Then those people are the most evil people in the world." I thought for a minute he would cry. At the end of the class, after they had spent the entirety of the time watching over but not daring to touch Hannah, he said, "When I'm around babies I become a woman. I'm not at all ashamed of it."

I have never had more respect for them. Not because they can be soft and gentle, although that was part of it; rather because they have kind hearts and brave spirits. God bless them. I am proud to know them.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Last Man Standing

A new ABC comedy is Last Man Standing, starring Tim Allen. The main character, Mike Baxter, works in a store called Outdoor Man which strongly resembles Cabella's. The guy loves sarcasm, hunting, and the outdoors but holds in contempt men who aren't "real men." He has a wife and three daughters, one of whom has a two-year-old son. He loves his family very much and is proud of his job. What I love is hearing his mockery of the guys who try to date his daughters.

I like cool shows like that! :)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I Wonder...

I'm sure every single girl out there has heard the befuddlement of men over cosmetics and other beauty aids. They wonder why on earth women would spend so much time trying to look pretty, and why they think they're never good enough. The logical reasons assumed by men is that girls compare themselves to either their classmates or movie stars or supermodels. Or they think girls are just irrational, blind, and stupid.

Today in my Journalism class, two guys started talking about Kierra Knightly and how drop-dead gorgeous she is, even when not wearing makeup. Then they started talking about how girls who are not absolutely stunning but perfect in every other way are just friends and not good enough to date. So, in other words, if a girl wants to date a guy she has absolutely no chance at all unless she's really beautiful.

Of course girls are stupid to try to look pretty.

I'm not saying girls need makeup and perfume and whatever other ridiculous stuff is out there in order to look beautiful. God made each and every girl pretty and unique. What I am saying is that boys, who are so befuddled by the obsession to look beautiful, are the ones helping it along. Guys, please, get a clue! You will find many happier girls if you do.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Bathsheba

Sometimes I wonder why more authors haven't written about David and Bathsheba - after all, it's a prime story. I came across a novel entitled Bathsheba by Jill Eileen Smith, and it is probably the best adaptation I have ever read. It captures in flawless accuracy and beautiful detail the story of the last years of King David's reign, from his fall with Bathsheba to his annointing Solomon as king. It was both uplifting and heartbreaking, uplifting because of the message of total forgiveness and heartbreaking because of the painful reminder that all good things must come to an end. A fabulous read that I could not put down until I finished it, I would recommend this book for any and everyone!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Dancing...

If anyone has ever seen the A&E Pride and Prejudice (which, in my humble and unbiased opinion, is the best one) you will see some pretty amazing ballroom dancing. I wish I could find a place that teaches it, because it is beautiful and far harder than it looks. There's all kinds of very intricate steps that take concentration.

While on the subject, I found one of my last dance performances thrilling, and not because it went absolutely perfectly (which it did!) One of my best dance friends had mono for about three weeks prior to the performance. She hadn't been in practices for a while. So on Saturday, when our last performance was at the Elks Inn in Burien, she showed up and I was thrilled both to see her and to not be the only one in my class dancing. I expected her to do well, because she always does, but I didn't exactly expect her to be on top of her game. I mean, she'd just been sick! However, to my extreme surprise and delight, when she got up to dance for our first dance (a reel to the Celtic Woman version of Nil S'en La,) she was not only on top of her game, she was better than I remembered! I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, because she's a very good dancer, but it was still amazing!

And finally ... I am working on the saddest dance of my life: my Senior Solo. It is a special privilege to high school seniors at my dance school. Sigh. This will likely be the last year that I'll do much dancing, as I have no idea how I'll get places in college. I'll be so sad to leave high school. I really enjoyed high school, and I loved the dancing I've done for the last six years.

However... if by some miracle I find a place nearby that offers dance...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Luck of the Irish

Irish people are no luckier than anyone else out there. Trust me, I'm part Irish, and I know!

Anyway, I'm dancing in the Seattle St. Patrick's Day Parade with the Momentum Irish Dancers. We'll be wearing either green jumpers or green t-shirts. I'll also be at the Seattle Center on Sunday the 18th dancing. Irish Dancing is really fun to see, so I encourage you to come on down.

On a different note, my Mom and I were talking about the Honors program at my chosen college, and she mentioned that I could spend all kinds of time talking with motivated, dedicated people about religion, literature, and philosophy - "What it all means."

I said, "Mom, what it all means can be found in the Bible."

She replied with one of the smartest things I've heard in a while: "True, but God gave us Shakespeare, too."

I have been so blessed to have such smart parents! And that's not Luck of the Irish, that's a blessing from God.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

One More Thing About Books...

I just got Selah to read The Lost Hero, the first book in the Heroes of Olympus. For anyone who's curious, the Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan is a continuation of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, and in my opinion, it is the best series still being written.

I absolutely love the Greek classics, as long as they've been translated into modern prose, but if there is one thing I dislike, it is that the Greeks pretty much just did whatever they wanted because they wanted to. I'm not saying they were evil or anything, but even when they did good, they really only did it because they wanted to do whatever - even Thermopalae (sp) impressive though it was really wasn't more than just a statement of pride.

Rome was different.

I am not Ancient Rome's biggest fan. I passionately loathe the gladiatorial games. That being said, Rome was probably one of the best things to happen to the ancient world. Rome was founded on justice, duty, and sacrifice. True, the real Rome was screwed up, but I think that Maximus from Gladiator got it right when he said that there was a dream that was Rome, and "this is not it." The dream of Rome was civilization in a world of barbarians; justice in a world where one man's word was law; freedom in a world where the strong ruled the weak. Rick Riordan, to his credit, did a fabulous job showing the difference between the Greeks and the Romans. This was most notable part of this was probably the character of Mars in The Son of Neptune, the second book. The character of Ares, the Greek form of Mars, was an agressive jerk who picked fights left and right. The following quote describes Mars pretty well:
"Nobody welcomes war - not if they're smart. But war finds everyone sooner or later. It's inevitable... War is a duty. The only real choice is if you take it, and what you fight for."
I think that just about sums up the "dream that was Rome."

Friday, March 2, 2012

More High School Reading

So, today in English class we were supposed to be reading Pride and Prejudice, but it turned into a whole-class discussion of The Hunger Games (which, by the way, I would like a lot better if all the characters' sufferings were worth it -- not necessarily leading to rainbows and unicorns, but worth it. Whatever. To each author his/her own.) Anyway, there were a few guys in my class who said they'd never even heard of the Hunger Games. To describe it for them, I said it was something like Gladiator meets The Pearl. One guy in my class, who plans to join the Marines, said, "You do realize you just combined two totally awesome things, right?" I couldn't believe it, and I asked, "We are talking about the same Pearl, right? The Steinbeck one?" To my great surprise, he said, "Yes! That book was epic!"

I could not believe my ears! To clarify it even more, I pressed, "The one where the kid dies and they end up living in poverty?" He said, "Yes! The kid dying was such a surprise -- I never saw that coming!"

Well, what the heck? I could not believe it! I mean, really? The message in that book struck me as something like, "There's no hope, the world's going down in a handbasket, and you'll never be able to do anything to change what's wrong in the world." Nihilism in the extreme! A little bit like Romeo and Juliet - in the end, everybody dies, nothing is accomplished. Or Julius Caesar - everybody dies, nothing is accomplished. Maybe even Macbeth (although I do give Macbeth a little credit for being unique in Shakespeare and not killing himself.)

One of the reasons I love Gladiator so much, aside from Russel Crowe just being a BEAST, is that the hero died a heroic death, but it ACCOMPLISHED SOMETHING! He didn't die in vain, he killed the bad guy with him. Another example would be the Alamo, where they didn't have much hope of defeating the Mexican armies but they still bought Sam Houston precious time and it made a difference. Again, nobody at the Alamo died in vain. Rocky would be another good one: although I've never seen the movie, as I understand it, he could have just lost early to make the other guy look good, but instead he did his absolute best. He still didn't win, and he didn't change the world, but he lost with dignity and honor. Or, for another Russel Crowe movie, Robin Hood. Even though King John Softsword didn't sign the Magna Carta, Robin Hood didn't give up, didn't stop fighting. He didn't even die in that one!

I think to wrap up this post, a quote from my favorite character in my favorite of all movies says it all:
"There's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo! And it's worth fighting for."
For anyone who doesn't know, that's Sam Gamgee, The Two Towers.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

School Reading

Usually I hate the junk we need to read for school, but now we're reading Pride and Prejudice, which I happen to like. I read way ahead, and I especially love reading the little altercations between Darcy and Caroline Bingley. She is quite the idiot. Sometimes I can't help but wonder what Bingley was thinking when he watched Darcy with Elizabeth. For some reason, none of the boys in my class like Pride and Prejudice. However, when I grumbled about The Pearl (John Steinbeck) they all exclaimed how much they loved it.

WHAT ON EARTH???

I hate The Pearl! The characters go through the worst the world has to offer, and it was all for nothing. Nothing changes and they get nothing. Nihilism at its worst. Pride and Prejudice, on the other hand, shows that people can accomplish anything they put their minds to. But they liked The Pearl?

And they say girls are irrational!