December 12, 2010 § 1 Comment
It’s strange how some memories of your child are just a few well-placed mouse clicks away. And then, suddenly, it all comes back. The familiar faces of Wanda, Phoebe, Arnold, Carolos, Keesha, Dorothy, and my personal favorite, Ralphie. Once the familiar theme song kicks in, I develop a feeling of nostalgia. The music and the lyrics take me back to the days of my 4th grade science class, when we watched hours of that show. It makes me miss the careless, relaxed atmosphere of elementary school.
As Dorothy would say, “according to my research” the Magic School Bus was easily one of my most favorite shows from my childhood. It puts a smile on my face when I hear Arnold’s familiar, nasal whine of a voice or see Ralphie’s same backwards hat that he never changes. Even the orange locks of Ms. Frizzle’s hair look like old friends.
As I continued watching the episode when the class takes a trip to outer space, I was surprised to recall the majority of the episode. I even remember thinking of how tasty the orange “juice” that Ms. Frizzle extrapolates from Jupiter looked. I also recalled and had the same reaction towards Arnold’s attempted suicide near the end of the episode when he removes his helmet on Pluto and his face turns completely blue. I guess, even though his voice has a familiar tone, I still dislike his constant complaining and whining. I still, eight years later, want to tell him to be quiet and stop acting like a complete scrub.
I was especially surprised by all the details of the show that, once I re-watched an episode, seemed to be lingering in the deepest reserves of my memories. The yellow whir of the bus as it transformed into some fantastical machine, the “at my old school” line that Phoebe always dropped, and the crazy interactive dress that Ms Frizzle always wore. I could even recall other of my favorite episodes, such as when Ralphie ate some contaminated cheetos and got sick, or their exploration into a haunted house to name two. It almost seems as though this has created a link to the past. I can now recall all the times I spent in the public library or Borders reading some Eyewitness books about space, geology, weather, etc. I even remember a time when my mother told me that we could only stay for half an hour, so I grabbed three of these such books and tried to read them all at the same time. To put it simply, I was a bookworm. I really did love everything I read. Growing up a in a big world, I was eager to learn how everything ticks. My brain was a sponge; I wasn’t exceptionally smart, no way, but I loved everything I read. At The Harker School, we spent quite a few science classes watching various Magic School Bus episodes, and this re-watch brought back quite a few memories of school. I can recall all the names of my teachers from Harker lower school, and I even remember the things I used to do with my friends at the time (talk about Pokémon, play tag out on a field, or play handball).
Looking back, I don’t really think the fact that I watched The Magic School Bus could reveal anything about me today, apart from the fact that I have changed a lot. Back then, I was rather a nerd to put it simply. My brother was always the one reading sports almanacs, memorizing statistics, and playing sports. I spent all my time in my imagination, wondering about space or the dark blue depths of the ocean. Today I’ve lost quite a bit of interest in all that. After years of schooling, I use all my free time resting my brain cells and taking a break from learning. Books have disappeared from my repertoire altogether, and I spend most of my free time watching TV, playing videogames, or playing tennis. But deep down inside, there is a part of me that wakes up when I watch the occasional science film or NOVA program.
I enjoyed taking a little time to revisit a familiar part of my childhood, as God knows that with impending college apps and a large workload, that’s something many seniors can’t do very often.
December 8, 2010 § Leave a comment
After watching the first half of “The Cove,” I was struck when they (I cannot remember exactly who said it) mentioned how Americans kill cows on a daily basis in response to being accused of killing dolphins. It seems to me that we have begun to place values on the lives of animals in the wilderness based off of their intelligence levels. We often preach how “money cannot buy happiness” to avoid placing a physical value on the intangible, yet Americans must pay for medical care. I feel like we preach some sort of utopial mindset to respect all life on this planet, yet it is impossible for us to follow through on our thoughts and put them into our actions. We know what we want. We just lack the passion, the effort, the desire, the will to reach out and grab it. And we still continue to recognize this; we just make more excuses.
December 6, 2010 § Leave a comment
Upon hearing the news that we will be watching “The Cove” later this week in class after reading the essay from today about perceiving ourselves as animals, it made me wonder about the role that perception plays in our lives. I then did a quick search and found this article. The title “Scientists say dolphins should be treated as ‘non-human persons'” was all I needed to see to “solidify” my argument. I feel that, after centuries at the top of the food chain on this planet, we have cast away our most primal roots and become something totally new. We are animals. Our environment of cities, suburban neighborhoods, and other man-made establishments has warped our view of the world. I believe that we have elevated or transformed homo sapiens into some new “super race” that is above everything else we know. When the scientists says that dolphins are “non human” humans, we are differentiating ourselves from the dolphins. However, are we really that different from them? I feel that they “love,” albeit differently from us, and feel emotions. We characterize their absurdly high intelligence as a humanizing factor, yet when it comes down to it, their four flippers, dorsal fin, blowhole, and gray skin are the separating factors between humans and animals. I agree with the author who wrote the essay we read. We need to recognize that we too are animals. And maybe then, we’ll finally find some common ground with nature. But until then, we’ll continue with our negligent, supercilious behavior: abusing resources and disrespecting nature and animals.
November 29, 2010 § Leave a comment
Almost everyone in America enjoys an annual Thanksgiving dinner, and in my family’s case, I took part in the purchasing of all the food. However, once I got to the supermarket, I was astounded by the vast numbers of turkeys being refrigerated. Later that night on the news, I saw a story about a donation center that dolled out two thousand free turkeys in a single day. Though I certainly enjoy eating delicious turkey and other foods from animals such as steak, the vast counters all make me wonder, just how has our relationship with animals changed?
Personally, I think we continue to lose more and more respect for animals as time goes by. Consider the many slaughterhouses that exist around the world today. Millions of chickens are killed on a yearly basis. And yet, the moment (no disrespect intentioned RIP) Oscar Grant is killed by a police there is a statewide outcry. It seems to me that we have intrinsically placed a greater value on human life than animal life. This is also evident in a case when a lady tripped, fell, and died due to a dog tangling up her feet with it’s leash. The dog was later put down. Yet in this day and age, Americans die on a daily basis on the freeway due to poor driving or a lack of attention most of the time. It seems that animals have to pay the ultimate price more often than not. We see dogs being put down everyday at pounds, yet orphanages do not kill small children: we could see this as beyond the pale. We even hunt animals such as deer or quail for sport and kill them for their skin, as a hunting trophy, or just for pleasure alone. All of our respect for animals has evaporated away; our arrogance blinds us from our true, rather dark nature/role on this planet.
November 25, 2010 § 2 Comments
We all know that Timothy Treadwell constantly exclaimed how he was going to “protect the grizzly bears from poachers” who would kill them for sport while he was out in the wilderness. But then I have to wonder, why wasn’t a single poacher in the finished film? Now I’m not trying to discount Treadwell’s purpose out in the Alaskan wilderness: it takes a special kind of bravery to spend every day and night in the proximity of grizzly bears without any self-defense precautions such as weapons, an electric fence, bear spray, etc. I feel that Treadwell’s purpose out there transcended any preservative causes that he constantly talked about. Now don’t get me wrong; he clearly started a movement and spread awareness about grizzly poaching in all of his visits and talks at schools and commercials (he even received sizeable donations from celebrities). However, I believe that Treadwell needed the grizzlies more than the grizzlies needed him. Treadwell’s profound love and care for the bears was, in this writer’s opinion, unrequited in magnitude. His rather dark past involving substance abuse and violence was cast away when he moved to Alaska and finally found a measure of peace. He confided in the Grizzlies, bonding with nature and purifying his lifestyle of the human corruptions (guns, drugs) that once plagued him. The grizzles saved Treadwell’s life from a downward spiral; they lifted him up and helped him rediscover himself. I doubt any of the grizzles really understood the impact that they had on turning Treadwell’s life around. I personally feel that Treadwell braved the Alaskan wilderness simply because of his profound love for them alone and not for their protection
November 11, 2010 § Leave a comment
First impressions are only accurate with a handful of people, and Werner Herzog is one of them. Consider that during an interview, he was shot by someone with an air rifle and insisted on finishing it despite his injury. Herzog had a very unique, to say the least, childhood. He grew up in an isolated village and endured a strict childhood. Ultimately, after stealing a 35 mm film camera as a young teenager, he would become one of the most respected directors in the world today. Mr. Herzog is a straight to the business man. He dedicates all of his soul, time, and energy to producing the best movie that he can, and from what I’ve seen so far in Grizzly Man, this makes him one of the best.
Though I’ve only seen 30 minutes of Grizzly Man, I already immensely enjoy the movie. Perhaps the most striking feature of the movie so far has been his decision to do all the narrating throughout the film. This technique, in this student’s opinion, only enhances the viewer’s experience; it somehow ties the viewer and Herzog closer together. Perhaps the other most striking feature of the film is Herzog’s clear-cut potrayal of Treadwell. We see and hear Treadwell talk to bears, saying “I love you” and “I’m in love with you” over and over again. From any objective point of view, it would seem to maybe hamper the quality of the movie experience, yet the audience really seems to feel the depth of Treadwell’s love for grizzly bears and nature. In their most basic form, the quotes that Herzog includes in the movie really benefit our understanding of Treadwell’s inner feelings and soul.
October 25, 2010 § 1 Comment
I feel that, after writing so much about wildness for the last two weeks, I have been repeating myself over and over again. However, I will try to sum the concept up in one generalization. Dictionary.com says that wildness is “a state of nature; not tamed or domesticated.” But there’s more to it than a first glance can tell us. Wildness, whether we are referring to its place in nature or ourselves, appears to be a completely separate entity that can assume total control over not only ourselves but also our surroundings. It has a mind of its own, and we can almost predict when it appears. Our relationship with wildness has a lot of love hate qualities. We often find ourselves straying away from the primal nature of wildness and its presence in our environment, artificial or natural, or within us, yet other times, we are drawn towards it. Some latent element deep within drives us to embrace, get in touch with, the wildness that we find in and around us. Ultimately, whether or not we are embracing it or resisting its very existence on this planet, it is part of a existential balance in this world. It is an inseparable part of us. We are one.