Tunnel Kids

Chapter One: El Boston’s Questions

Chapter one opens up by introducing a seventeen-year-old boy named Pedro “El Boston”.  He was the oldest one of the kids who belonged in a gang of the streets of Nogales.  The narrator describes Boston’s physical features; Asian with a flat face, pale olive skin, and round eyes that smiled when he wasn’t high on paint fumes.  In his personal diary, he starts to talk about how he started hanging out in the tunnel at the age of eleven.  He describes his encounter with his mentor Duda who taught him everything that he knows today.  El Boston starts to describe his day at the tunnel and how he had some problems with the border patrol.  Boston decides to right down forty-four questions that he thinks is appropriate to ask the people that hang around the tunnel and interview them.  He started to interview his friends and their lives in Barrio Libre.

Chapter Two: Some Geography Lessons

Chapter two introduces two more people, La Flor a fifteen-year-old girl and her six-month-old son, Davidcito.  La Flor had Davidcito from a previous boyfriend but has been dating Jesus not long after her baby’s birth.  The chapter opens up with Lawrence Taylor, La Flor, Jesus, Chito, EL Boston, and Davidcito driving through the streets of Nogales.  Taylor describes how the streets are filled with kids of the border city.  He goes into detail about how most of the cars were driven by Mexicans or Mexican Americans who either worked on one side of the city or lived on the other.  Custom officials interrogated most of the drivers, and every so often dogs for drugs sniffed their cars.  Chito starts to talk about his past few years living in Nogales and his memories of the first time he slept in Nogales.  He tells Taylor that he wants to be a bus driver when he is older and enjoys driving his friends buses.  The chapter later introduces Guanatos and Geronimo; two others tunnel kids and friends and El Boston, Jesus, and Chito.

Chapter Three: Houses And Families

The Chapter starts out with Maeve and Lawrence Taylor going to Mi Nueva Casa and finding out that no one had shown up for breakfast except a boy named David.  Taylor went to go find the others at Jesus’s house.  Taylor wanted to continue filming his documentary.  El Boston agrees to become the reporter again and introduces the members of El Barrio: Chito, Humberto, Ricardo, Jesus, and La Flor.  Taylor went with La Flor to visit her family at their house.  La Flor starts to open up to Taylor about her past and her relationships with her family.  She says that she never got along with her father and her siblings.  Her family would always put her down calling her names and telling her she’s bad.  The chapter ended with all of them in the car driving Chito and the family to Los Virreyes.

Chapter Four: Taking Photos

The chapter opens up with the Lawrence Taylor and Maeve Hickey heading towards El Viachi, the Nogales supermarket with a huge pig’s head sculpture made of chorizo.  They took a detour because they saw Jesus, Juanito, Jorge, and Davidcito.  They all decided to head to Mi Nueva Casa for some breakfast and school lessons.  Taylor starts to interview other kids at Mi Nueva Casa and asking them how they ended up in Nogales.  He starts to talk to a girl named Fanta and her life in the tunnel.  Taylor joins the boys with a swimming lesson in the pool and starts to have a conversation with Fanta’s boyfriend Romel.  He was not an easy person that was able to open up to Taylor, but Taylor noticed he was the wisest one out of all the boys.  After a few minutes of convincing Romel that he was safe, Taylor starts to ask Romel about his childhood and his past.

 

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Al Capone: Gangster!

In history, one may not think of Al Capone as a victim, but there are several examples that show he was victimized in his life. Capone’s parents and his two older brothers moved from Naples, Italy to Brooklyn, New York in 1894. Southern Italians, like the Capone family, were viewed as lazy, criminal and stupid people. They were not respected and were often portrayed badly by others in their new environment. On January 17, 1899, Al Capone was born into this world of racism and discrimination. Growing up, Capone and his family lived in a poor part of Brooklyn surrounded by other Italian immigrants. Their Italian language isolated them economically and culturally from the rest of society. This part of the city was dirty and was hazardous and dangerous, filled with crime and street gangs. Capone, being exposed to this on a daily basis, thought of his criminal surroundings as normal and did not think of it as being bad. It was this dirty, dangerous place of crime that, as a child, was his home.

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General Motors

It was once the most powerful and influential company in America. Its automobiles captured the country’s love affair with the car.  For decades, General Motors was not just the highest profile symbol of the past one hundred years of the American Century. General Motors was America. As Charles Wilson, GM’s president in the 1950s, said: “What’s good for GM is good for the country.”  Then why were there so many controversial opinions involved during GM’s downfall?  Many people speculate if it was a right or wrong decision for the government to bail out GM at the peek of the deteriorating economy. The seeds for General Motors’s downfall were implanted as far back as the 1960s, but ultimately its poor management skills and the involvement of the United Auto Workers labor union led to its failures.

Many believe that the cause of GM falling into financial distress was because of its sluggish and arrogant management. Management has to be proactive when deciding on changes that would enhance its company. Failure to adapt to a positive change will lead the organization to an unsuccessful path. The company was too focused on trucks and SUV’s, cars that gained a reputation for being unreliable.  They were unprepared for the gas and energy price increase, and did not take into consideration the demand for smaller and more efficient cars.  General Motor’s focused on their profits over production led to sub- par quality.  Too many dealerships caused excess competitions for a declining consumer base.  The company’s resist to change for the costumer was the ultimate end to this deteriorating company. GM’s management failed to change. The failure to adjust to change led the company to bad financial policies and uncompetitive vehicles, which ignored competition.  GM management believed if the company has been successful in the past, then it would always be successful.

 

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Organic Food

After reading the Time Magazine article “What’s so great about organic food?” by Jeffrey Kluger, it only reassured me on all of my beliefs about the importance of organic food and nutrition. The American diet is so consumed with high fructose syrup and sodium, which leads many people to obesity and ultimately death at a young age.  Fast food restaurants on every corner of every street are also another main factor of America being known as the most obese country in the world.  I believe that going organic is possibly the only way that we can lower the rate of obesity and live a healthier life.

As an 18 year old living in the city of Los Angeles my health and my physical appearance is extremely important to me.  “Tell me what you eat, and I’ll tell you who you are” a quote by Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, is a motto that I live by every single day of my life.  I believe the food that you consume, ultimately factors how you feel emotionally and physically.  If a person is feeling sad or depressed, they usually feel the need to comfort themselves by eating foods that are high in fat and low in nutrition, such as desserts or pasta.  On the other hand, if a person is feeling extremely joyful or ecstatic they usually eat foods that make them feel good about themselves and are healthy.  I also believe that people’s economic status has a huge impact on what people eat.  In the past couple years the recession has took a huge toll on many families around the country.  They no longer have the luxury to be able to eat whatever they want.  Some families can only afford fast food restaurants to stay full.  Organic food is very limited and expensive compared to other foods, and at this time many families can only afford inexpensive grocery items.

 

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Hollywood Bowl Concert

Pablo Heras- Casado led David Fray and the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the beautiful Hollywood Bowl.  This evening was full of drama and excitement as it was the debut of David Fray, a 28-year-old French prodigy. Pablo Heras- Casado anxiously walks out onto the stage at introduces himself, David Fray on the piano, and the rest of the Los Angeles Philharmonic musical group.  The atmosphere and ambiance of the Hollywood bowl was delightful.  This modern outdoor amphitheater was a perfect setting to listen to Ludwig Van Beethoven’s brilliant musical pieces.  This concert was dedicated to Beethoven and was called “Heroic Beethoven”.  Even though the seating at the Hollywood Bowl roughly seats 17,000 people, surprisingly many sections of the amphitheatre were full in capacity.  The Hollywood bowl is such a beautiful place to have a concert because of how it is outdoors, and even though it was a little chilly that night, it was all worth sitting under the stars and listening to such wonderful music.  Everyone in the amphitheater had amazing seating and the sound was heard everywhere.

 

The two pieces that Levy and Chouchon played were “Sonata in F major, Opus 24, ‘Spring’” by Ludwig Van Beethoven and “Sonata No. 2 in G major” by Edvard Grieg.  Sonata in F major, Opus 24, “Spring” was written to have four major movements known as, Allegro, Adagio Molto Expressivo, Sherezo: Allegro Molvoto, and Rondo.  Sonata No. 2 in G major had three major movements known as, Lento doloroso; Allegro vivance, Allegretto tranquillo, and Allegro animato.

The two pieces played at the concert had many similarities.  The piano and the violin were the two instruments played in both pieces of music.  The music in both pieces seemed to be polyphonic and had many senses of consonance.  Beethoven and Grieg were able to make their pieces pleasant and enjoyable to ones ear.  The music flowed and was light and flowed very easily without any interruptions.  The fluidity of both pieces made me go into a peaceful trance that was hard to get out of.  The piano in both pieces seemed to be the base of the music while the violin gave more of an upbeat sound and higher notes.  Both Grieg and Beethoven made the introduction of their pieces legato and very smooth.

 

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The Awakening

Throughout history one is able to see women’s rights as a restriction and once was extremely limited.  In present time the barriers that prevented a woman from looking for a career for herself has been abolished.  Kate Chopin in her controversial novel The Awakening is able to expose a feminist point of view that is carried on by the protagonist Edna Pontellier. Pontellier’s journey of trying to find her own identity raises the question of if Chopin’s argument is truly a feminist argument.  The author creates many different female characters such as Edna Pontellier, Adele Ratignolle, and Madame Reisz to portray the contentious views of women in their society.  Through Edna Pontellier sets of “awakenings” one is able to see Chopin’s contrast of female characters that are even present in modern day society.

Edna Pontellier held many non- traditional attitudes towards the role of being a housewife and mother in the Creole society.  The title of the book The Awakening refers to her “awakening” as a person.  Edna suddenly finds herself extremely unhappy with her marriage to New Orleans businessman Leonce Pontellier and his conservative values of what a woman’s role was.  Through a sequence of “awakenings” that Pontellier experiences we see Edna transform into an independent woman, who seems to forget about her responsibilities as a Creole mother and wife.  Her separation for both her husband and children shows that Edna Pontellier is on a path to search for herself, which triggers her sexual and emotional desires.

Edna’s negative view towards marriage starts to grow as her “awakening” begins.  She no longer feels the need to hide under her husband’s wealth and status.  Pontellier believes that weddings are “lamentable” (Chopin 89) and regrets her marriage to Leonce claiming that it was an accident.  When Edna took “… of her wedding ring, flung it upon the carpet.  When she saw it lying there, she stamped her heel upon it, striving to crush it.” (Chopin 50)  Her act of stomping on her own wedding ring shows us that Edna was trying to crush the meaning of marriage and everything that it stands for.  She showed the readers that she was no longer willing to fake her happiness with her marriage and wanted nothing more with the Creole culture and view of what a happy marriage was really like.  She starts to backstab her commitment to her husband with multiple afairs with Alcee Arobin and her infatuation of Robert Lebrun.  Ultimately, Edna’s multiple “awakenings” separated her from everyone around her and tragically led to her suicide.

One character that may have been the most influential character in Edna’s journey was Mademoiselle Reisz.  Reisz was a talented pianist, who represented a woman of independence and freedom to Edna.  Mademoiselle Reisz was the epitome of what Edna wanted to be because Reisz was a woman of her own without the responsibilities of being a mother and wife. Edna starts to seek Mademoiselle Reisz’s friendship and she sees her as somewhat of a role model.  She is moved by Mademoiselle Reisz’s piano playing and starts to visit her often.  Pontellier starts to paint after she sees Reisz’s happiness when she plays the piano.  Mademoiselle Reisz was some sort of a mother figure to Pontellier and was the only character in the novel that knew the love she had for Robert Lebrun.

The sea was a main symbol that represented Edna Pontellier’s independence and liberty.  It symbolizes that Edna can escape and be brave only after she discovers her own strengths and will power.  When Edna is in the water, she is reminded of her position in the Creole Society and the depth of the universe.  The seducing and calming sound of the ocean waves constantly eases and soothes Edna throughout her travels.  The ocean and water also stands for purity and cleanliness.  When one thinks about water, they think about the act of purifying the body and renewing themselves.  Edna’s awakening is in a sense a rebirth into a new person and a new life.  We also see Pontellier end her life in the sea when she swam out into the ocean in total solitude.  In many ways the sea represents loneliness, purity, and restoration.

During the novel “The Awakening” we are able to see Edna Pontellier’s transformation into an independent and brave woman who stood against what society thought was appropriate of a woman.  Her constant set of “awakenings” shows us Kate Chopin’s femenists views on the society that Edna lived in.  Chopin showed us that having a husband, children, and all of the riches in the world did not guarantee happiness, and in the end only one person can make someone else happy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Twilight of the Books

The “Twilight of the Books” by Caleb Crain is a fascinating article that talks about the decline in reading and the effects it has on people and society today.  Polls started taking place around the world asking people questions about reading books. The Census Bureau and the National Endowment for the Arts asked many Americans questions about their consistency of reading.  The N.E.A. stated that the reason for poor reading skills could come from unemployment, low paying jobs, and less opportunities for people. The most frightening new is that not only are Americans losing the determination to read, they are losing the capability to read as well.  The Department of Education recorded fourth and eighth graders in the past decade and found that their reading skills have improved reasonably.  Unfortunately, twelfth graders reading scores fell, which shows us that they are taking after the elder generation.

There was also an outstanding decline in reading for literary experiences.  This involves a deeper understanding of text, which includes characters, settings, events, motifs and themes.  In addition, a recent study has shown a steep decline in literary reading among children.  Television played a huge role in the decline of reading as well.  Many people choose to watch television over reading books.  While the percentage of reading fell the capability of watching television kept rising.  “Between 1982 and 2002, the percentage of Americans who read literature declined not only in every age group but in every generation” (Crain 12).

I strongly believe that the ability to read is declining.  Our generation lost the interest of reading because we are surrounded with so many technological advances.  People feel as though they do not have time to read anymore because everywhere we turn there is a new product coming out that we need. No one wants to read anymore because there is television, Internet, and blackberry’s.  Our society is emerged in a world that basically forgot how to read or the purpose of reading outside of educational purposes.  Crain said “…reading books for pleasure will one day be the province of a special ‘reading class,’ much as it was before the arrival of mass literacy…” (Crain 12).  He went further in saying that reading is a “prestige of exclusivity” and is becoming more like a hobby.

 

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Old Film: Crimes and Misdemeanors

This weekend I watched an extremely interesting old movie called Crimes and Misdemeanors.  Here was my interpretation of the background of this movie.

Crimes and Misdemeanors is a movie occurring in the 1980s, in New York.  This exhilarating film depicts the life of a lucrative ophthalmologist, named Judah.  Even though it may seem to the audience that Judah is a moral and ethical man, Judah encounters many moral dilemmas. Judah starts to cheat on his wife and begins having an affair with a woman named Dolores.  Dolores and Judah’s relationship starts to get complicated and that’s when Judah decides he wants to end the affair.  Dolores was in love with Judah and told him if he ends their relationship then she was going to blackmail him by telling his wife Miriam. Judah does anything in his power to try to convince Dolores that this is the best decision for the both of them and for her not to tell Miriam, but she is not convinced enough.  At the end, Judah decides to have Dolores killed by a paid hit man so he could protect his marriage.  This part in the movie is the incident where Judah’s morals and values hit him, and he finally realizes what a disgusting and horrific action he carried out.  Throughout the film Judah is facing different flash backs and memories of the times he had with Dolores.  He confides in different companions in the film and asks what he should do in this type of a situation.

After Judah commits the crime he decides to stopover at Dolores’s house one more time.  Schubert’s String Quartet, Dead and the Maiden, is exceptionally used before Judah finds Dolores’s dead body.  When Judah parks his car right outside of his Dolores’s house, the audience is able to interpret that as a metaphor for her death.  Once Judah enters her apartment the camera angle shifts and starts to focus on Judah’s expressions, so the audience is really able to feel is emotions. Unlike most death scenes, Dolores’ eyes are wide open, with a smile on her face when Judah found her dead.

After the crime is committed Judah feels extremely responsible and in some way regrets his decision.  He remembers the Passover seder, discussing the Holocaust and the millions of innocent people who were murdered with Aunt May. Aunt May stated that, “if you don’t get caught all the power to you”, but Saul disagrees and says, “If a man kills, he is punished.  Murder will out.”  After this quote, Judah is contemplated by his decision.  He starts to drink alcohol much more.  He finally realizes what big of a mistake he make and how he has to deal with this crime for the rest of his life

 

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Steve Madden New Owner Of Betsey Johnson

Shoe designer Steve Madden has officially bought the company and clothing powerhouse Betsey Johnson.  

Sources were talking about how Betsey Johnson was not able to pay Madden back for a loan she owed him, which was about $48.8 million.  Steve Madden buying her company has nothing to do with that loan since Madden had a secure collateral that protected his money and his rights that he gave to Johnson.  

The COO of Betsey Johnson seemed ecstatic after the finalization of the company’s new owner stating:

“Whenever you come out of a situation with a good partner, cash coming into the business and the elimination of all debt, what’s not to love?”

Madden’s has many future plans for Betsey Johnson including a 30% increase in shoe sales and an expansion in Johnson’s daytime dress collections.

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Roberto Cavalli’s 40th Anniversary!

Last week a number of celebrities hit the red carpet to celebrate designer Roberto Cavalli’s 4oth anniversary party in Paris.  Every celebrity from musicians to models and actors were their to take part of this amazing stepping stone of Roberto Cavalli.

Leona Lewis was one of the first to step out on the red carpet wearing a beautiful pink and orange gown.  Of course her dress was designed by Cavalli, making her look extremely elegant and chic.  The dress was almost princess- like and made Lewis look like she was straight out of a fairy tale.

Taylor Swift also made time to attend the anniversary party after attending a fashion show in Milan.  The country singer wore a simple short black tight dress with accents of crystals all over.  She looked appropriate for the event and was age appropriate in this dress.

Heidi Klum also made the event to honor this extraordinary designer.  Klum wore a blush gown designed by Cavalli that complimented her skin tone.  Her up-do was the perfect touch to completing the gown, keeping her hair out of her face and making her look extremely young and fresh.

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