Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Class Dismissed: Malala's Story (From Mike Lohre)

Take notes on the documentary Class Dismissed: Malala's Story found at

Homework: In the Comments section, write a response to this short documentary. 

If you were reviewing this for another, would you give it a positive, negative, or mixed review?  Why?

What evidence or information from the film and Malala's story would you use to support this conclusion? 

Use evidence from your notes and a direct quote somewhere in your response.

She has a voice with the purity of the principled.  This is Malala Yousafzai.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Vietnam Connections and Modern Day issues. From Mike Lohre


For your homework, actively (that means take some notes!) read and listen to these links.

Read and view at least two historical and current links.

Write a response to the one you feel most strongly about in the Comments section of this post, and use one direct quote from the source in your response.

HIstorical Links and connections:

 "Back to My Lai" 60 Minutes

"The Cost of Campaigns" NY Times video links campaign abuses then and now

"Paying Respects, Pentagon Revives War Over Truth, Then and Now" NY Times

Current Links and connections:

 "Kurdish Women Fight on Front Lines Against ISIS"  Wall Street Journal

"The Horror Before the Beheadings" New York Times

"A Woman, A Kurd, and an Optimist" New York Times

 "Who, What and Where is ISIL? Explaining the Islamic State"  Al Jazeera America

Female fighters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) sit down for lunch in the group’s mountain stronghold of Qandil. Unlike the peshmerga in socially conservative Iraqi Kurdistan, the PKK includes female fighters.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Exploration 5: Elianna Ponte

1. The story that has meant the most to me so far in reading The Things They Carried probably has to be Church. I had gone to Catholic school my whole life up until I started going to OSUM, and I remember most people thinking that because I went to Catholic school, I didn't say things like "Oh my God!", and I remember being asked various times if the reason my parents put me into Catholic schools was so I could some day grow up to be a nun. I kind of laughed these questions off, thinking that people were crazy for thinking that, but the truth is, as I got older, I realized what being a true Catholic really meant. It didn't necessarily mean agreeing to everything the Catholic Church said, but rather treating people fairly, and "just being nice to people, that's all. Being decent", as Dobbins said on page 115. Although Church is a short chapter, I think it has meant the most to me so far just because it related the most to my life in terms of my religion.

2. I think the character I connect with the most is Tim O'Brien. Although I've never been in a war, I think that Tim has taken us through a lot of moments in his life throughout this book that I've been able to relate to. For one, towards the beginning of the book, Tim tells about his fear of being known as a coward for not going to war, but then he says that he's a coward because he fell into the pressure of everyone encouraging him to go to war, so he did. I think that sometimes I worry too much about what others think, and rather than stick to my own opinions and ideas, I end up really taking into account what others say, which isn't always necessarily a bad thing, but I tend to be a people-pleaser, and sometimes I end up putting myself last in order to make others happy.

3. Something taken from my active reading is probably the amount of description in the chapter of The Man I Killed. Tim O'Brien really goes into detail about how he killed the man, and he has a lot of guilt afterwards. The first paragraph of the chapter really intrigued me, and as I kept reading I felt sorry not only for the man Tim killed, but also for Tim himself because it almost felt as if grief had completely overtaken him.

4. The passage that I was really struck with, again, is the passage I included in the first answer to the first question; "The thing is, I believed in God and all that, but it wasn't the religious part that interested me. Just being nice to people, that's all. Being decent" (Pg. 115). It really impacted me because it reminded me of growing up in a Catholic school setting. Throughout my 18 years of Catholic schooling, I never really understood what it was to be Catholic, and as I came to the end of my senior year, I realized that I'm not technically a "devout" Catholic because I don't go to church every Sunday, and I don't pray every night before I go to bed, but I am always trying to help others and I'm always trying to just be nice. I usually always have a smile on my face, and I know how much of a difference it made in my day when someone would just smile at me or say hi to me because I felt like I was important enough for that person to want to make me feel better that day. I always try to do the same for others, and again, I just try to be nice!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Exploration 5: Jacob Keller

1.  The story that I felt meant the most to me was the story of when O'Brien tried to run to the Canadian border.  The reason why I feel it has meaning is because he had to make a very difficult choice when running away and eventually had to be brave and say enough running and come back.  An example from the book would be "all right then I submitted.      I would go to the war- I would kill and maybe die-because I was embarrassed not to."

2.I think that I connect with Kiowa the best.  I feel that I connect with him the best because we both have similar values in that life is a sacred thing and that we both strive to help others in times of need or despair.  Kiowa is a very pious person like myself as well as having great respect for his fellow soldiers.

3. What I found interesting in my reading was that O'Brien does not use a lot of quotations rather he relys on a different style of writing to show conversation which I find unusual and need to find out why that could be.

4. a quote that struck me was when sanders took out a Yo-Yo and said " well, that's nam, garden of evil. Over here man every sin's real fresh and original."  It impacted me because of how truthful this statement is in it's entirety.

Exploration 5

1. I think On a rainy river meant the most because Tim talked about his whole drafting process and his thoughts about the war. I connected most to this because Tim told a story that he hasnt told anyone else before. So he let us into his thoughts.

2. I connected most to Tim O'Brien because he was very to himself about everything. He showed and explained how he felt in situations like when he was drafted and didnt want to go and didnt feel he was the kind of person to go to war. He went to war anyway because he had to and i would have done the same thing.

3. I really like that the first chapter started off with talking about what everyone had to carry and that if someone died you had to carry the stuff they were carrying but also the thoughts of the people you lost. I made me really feel what they had to go through and how hard it was mentally and physically.

4. What really got me just like in above in chapter 1 he started of many paragraphs with "they carried" and different variations of that and nailed in the importance of what they had to carry and all the emotional baggage they had to carry with it.

Exploration 5: Skyler Siles

1.) The story that i have found the most intriguing to me is the about Marry Anne. What i really liked about this is the fact that up to this point, its been about how the soldiers have had to interact and deal with Vietnam and how that has affected them. The soldiers know it changes a person but know they have gotten to a aid station near a river called song tra bong that is very well protected and isolated compared to what they have had to encounter. It was so well protected that mark fossie invites his elementary school sweetheart Mary Anne to come over. She comes over and is very good a picking up some of the language and culture of Vietnam. She learns to cook and isn't afraid to help out when injured people come in. She gets so emsured in Vietnam that she starts not coming back to the camp at all and goes missing for a few weeks. She comes back with the same outfit but in her tent she set up candles, singing tribal music with a leopard head mounted above and the skin dangles and she is wearing a necklace made out of tongues. she tells fossie that he doesn't understand Vietnam. She later goes to the other side and she goes out and becomes part of the land. I really like this story because when everything is suppose to be protected a outsider that comes in and is really suppose to be there to support and keep fossie company is influenced so much by the culture that she eventually becomes the land.

2.) The character that I connect with the most is Tim O'Brien. The fact that he was faced with this huge decision and forced to do something that he did not believe in and the fear that he was feeling, well i think everyone has some kind of event that they have faced similar, maybe not to the magnitude to what he encountered but myself, and I think everyone can understand and somewhat relate to.

3.) One part of the book that I picked out from rereading this book a second time and from the chapter how to tell a true war story is that the way how he describes a true war story is true when you believe it in your gut, and to make a point or how to explain himself and maybe a way that he couldn't get out, he has to use fictional stories and fiction parts so that way he can describe what and how he feels from his experience

4.) In "Spin" at the very end he describes how what you have left is your memories and stories. "stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember expect the story". I really like this whole last paragraph of spin not because i can relate to it but i am amazed of what these people like Tim had to go through and really what they have to carry with them for the rest of their lives are their stories and how those stories and memories make the past become their lives now.

Exploration 5

1)On the Rainy River is the most meaningful story to me so far. This story has so much impact on the river because of what all happens to him. He has so much going for him in his life. He was planning to go to Harvard on a full ride scholarship. He is having such an amazing life and the next thing he knows he gets a letter to be shipped off to war. This story was meaningful due to the fact he was wanting to leave the country and had the opportunity to, but decided to do the right thing and stay in America. When he was sitting in the boat and started crying because he didn't want to leave everything behind, it shows that he knew the right thing was to go to war and not flee the country.

2) I probably connect with Elroy the best so far. This is because he is a kind person who likes to help out. He does not need to know any background or anything that is happened. He was just somebody that wanted to help someone in need. I am just like that.  I will help out anybody in need. I do not expect any type of repayment i just like to help out for the greater good.

3) Tim uses a lot of conventions in his writing. One thing I noticed he uses a lot is repetition. He uses this to put a lot more emphasis on something and to really show how much something means. For example at the beginning he would repeat "They carried" over and over to show the amount of stuff these soldiers had to carry and how awful it was. He also repeats "How to tell a true war story" a lot to show that every war story is significant and painful.

4)"For the most part the carried themselves with poise, a kind of dignity. Now and then, however, there were a few times of panic, when they wanted to squeal, but they couldn't when they twitched and made moaning sounds and covered their heads and said dear jesus" This really impacted me because it shows the amount of stress they went through on a daily basis. They just had to accept it and carry on like nothing was going to happen and everything would be okay.

Exploration 5: Preston Wilkin

1. The story that meant the most to me was the story of poppa-san. I liked this story the most because it gave a different perspective of Viet Nam and its people. In most stories the people you are fighting are all your enemies. For example in world war two every German was a Nazi. So it was nice that this story told about Vietnamese people helping the Americans because most people don't realize that not every Vietnamese person in Viet Nam was trying to kill the Americans. I also like how it shows that they began to trust him and even missed him when they had to leave him. This is seen by the way that cross hugged him and sanders and strunk gave him their food. I also like how it puts a more positive and upbeat spin on the real danger that the platoon faced every day.

2. The character that I connect most with so far would be curt lemon. The reason I connect with him the most is that he is always doing things that are a little bit crazy and seems to make the other soldiers laugh. That is something that I try to do a lot in my personal life. I always try to make situations less stressful by making jokes about things. The trait he has is a more laid back attitude, this can be seen when they talk about him and rat Kelly playing with a grenade right before he dies. It shows how he just tries to have fun and that is a trait I relate to.

3. The convention that stands out most to me is in the first chapter where he talks about the things that they carried. Some of the things where assigned to them like the different weapons or explosives to the navigation tools for cross and Kelly’s medical supplies, and even the personal things like the tomahawk and the stockings. It is also interesting how he talks about the exact weight of everything because it would have been very important to the soldiers who carried them. I also like how he talks about the figurative weight the items carried. For example Dobbins Carried his girlfriend’s stockings as a good luck charm to keep him safe. That was the most interesting thing because it talked about the Physical weight, or the weight we can see and measure, and the figurative weight, or the weight things carry like luck and protection, that we can only feel.

4. The passage that struck me the most was on page seven of my book where they talk about the weapons and the explosives the different men carried. This passage is impactful because it ends with "They carried all they could bear, and then some, including a silent awe for the terrible power of the things they carried". I think this is impactful because in the beginning of the paragraph it takes a very logical approach to the weapons they carried, but at the end it reminds us that the also had to deal with the purpose of the weapons and how they would impact someone’s life. It was impactful because it was a very real reminder of what war is.

Exploration 5 Alex Thompson

1.     The story that has meant the most to me is "On The Rainy River." Tim O'Brian i showing his true colors here in this passage. He shares a story that many people at the tim did not know and that would cause people to look at him differently. I have the same feelings towards war as he does, but his final decision was different than what mine would of been if I was in his circumstances. This shows true human emotions and a tearing of a new life to his old one where he could likely die in battle for his country.

2.     Tim O'Brian is who I connect with. In my response for number one I stated that he and I have the same mindset on war and what we would do to escape the draft. He is also a leader in his school and had a great future in front of him. He shows, courage, bravery, and independence. He shows all of these characteristics mostly when he was at the cabin with Elroy.

3.      I enjoy how Tim O'Brian relives his stories through the processes of writing. He shares his stories with other people through his book to help us visualize the past and have a mindset of what happened when he was living through this war. He is a very descriptive writer, all the way down to the smell of things. I really like that I can imagine the smells and sights of what happened, even if it is sometimes gory or horrific.

4.     In the chapter "On the Rainy River" I liked the part where he stated his scholarship opportunity and he got selected for the draft and is now "loosing" it, all because he has to go away. Page 39, the second paragraph on that page, "...I was too good for this war. Too smart, too compassionate, too everything. It couldn't happen. I was above it. I had the world dicked- Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude and president for the student body and a full ride scholarship for grad studies at Harvard." That really hit me that people were taken away from their lives for this war. I personally think that is horrible and shouldn't be done. But it happens anyways.

Exploration 5

1.The story that has meant the most to me so far has been "On The Smoky River." I feel this story has been the most down to earth and the one i found myself flying through. This story showed how human O'Brien is and that we can all relate in every way."I was drafted to fight a war i hated. i was twenty-one years old. Young, yes and politically naive, but even so the american war in vietnam seemed to me wrong." O'Brien writes in a way as if we are his conscious and nothing is off limits and that's incredible.
2.The character i relate to most is Tim. between Tim's intellect and emotion he shows i feel an incredible connection. The way he thinks shows me how true of a person he is. Without Tim this whole story wouldn't be possible so i also appreciate him for that.
3. I would like to point out the section where Tim says people want answers. Tim then tells a story about a group of men and one covers a grenade to save them all but then he claims what if it turned out to be a killer grenade and everybody dies anyway. "Before they die, though, one of the guys says, "The fuck you do that for?" and the jumper says "Story of my life, man," . this story just gave me complete depth and an incredible analysis for the whole story. 
4. "The way she quickly fell into habits of the bush. No cosmetics, no fingernail filing. She stopped wearing jewelry, cut her hair short and wrapped it in a dark green bandana." This comes from the chapter Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong. Reading this i quickly fell into a state of mind as the war did nothing but conform this sweet girl and turn her into another soldier. The war took away this girl's life almost and she fell into another statistic. This was incredibly sad to me especially with the finishing of the chapter.

Exploration 5: Lindsey Bridges

           I think the story that has meant the most to me is “Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong.” The story really showed me how Vietnam, and war in general, can really change a person. A passage that I felt really summarized how the story made me feel was when Rat was explaining what happened to Mary Anne. He said “What happened to her, was what happened to all of them. You come over clean and you get dirty and afterward it’s never the same.”

            For me, I found it hard to connect with the characters. I think this was because I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be a soldier in Vietnam during that time. If I had to choose someone who I connected with it would probably be Tim, just because I feel like I would have had the same feelings that he had when he was drafted to war. I feel like he doesn’t dance around the hard things that he went through and he didn’t hide them, even though he wanted to. I like his honesty.

            Tim uses many conventions in his writing. One I have noticed throughout the book is that he often uses repetition when making a point. I think this is so he gets his point across. The very first chapter is titled “The Things They Carried.’ Throughout this chapter numerous sentences began with “the things they carried.” In the chapter “How to Tell a True War Story,” once again numerous sentences began with this theme. Many sections began with “a true war story is.”

            One passage that really stood out to me was on page 81. It read “And in the end, a true war story is never about war. It’s about sunlight. It’s about the special way that dawn spreads out on a river when you know you must cross the river and march into the mountains and do things you are afraid to do. It’s about love and memory. It’s about sorrow. It’s about sisters who never write back and people who never listen.” This was a very powerful passage in my mind. I think that it conveys the way Tim feels about the war, that it isn’t just a war. I think it shows that war isn’t just kill or be killed. It shows that war is everything but war.

Exploration 5

1.) Like the majority of the class, the chapter that really hit me the hardest was " On the Rainy River." For me, like most young people, I think that this world is a very unforgiving place, but we manage to surround ourselves with people or things that we feel are good for us. Over time we grow to love them and look forward to spending endless amounts of time and energy to make what's best of what we have for us. Things like this keep us going. Whether it's your passion ( art, sports, science, etc..) the love of your life, your best friend, or anything else you would die for, these are the things that we hold onto, the things that make us happy. Now imagine all of that being ripped away from you, the decision is made for you by someone else that it would be best for you to go off to Vietnam to fight a seemingly pointless war, to risk your life every single day. Wouldn't you be a little scared?

2.) I believe that I connect myself the most with Tim O' Brien so far. Like him, I believe the very idea of war is idiotic, I mean I see the reasoning behind it and am not trying to downplay the major role it plays when it comes to the safety of the population, but  the fact that it is used as a weapon to gain more power is messed up if I do say so myself. I would have probably acted the same way Tim did when he was notified about the draft. Yes, I also wouldn't have been very happy if someone else had made MY decision for me. It's not right, but there's not much that you could do about it. I may have also felt as if i shouldn't have to fight in a war, but not because of how successful my future was looking, but because my freedom of choice was taken from me.

3.) I like how Tim O' Brien, still tells his war stories, even years after he's been actively on duty, and not for the sake of boasting by any means, but to "connect the past to the future." I feel as if he really could care less if his stories are even acknowledged, he wants the lives' of the innocent men, who were mostly also stripped of there freedom of choice, and were pushed into battle with him, who lost their lives' for this country. Over time these people grew to be his friends, he spent everyday with them, he wholeheartedly trusted them with his life. To me, Tim feels their stories are the one's that really matter and should never be forgotten.

4.) "He was a slim, dead, almost dainty young man of about twenty. He lay with one leg bent beneath him, his jaw in his throat, his face neither expressive nor inexpressive. One eye was shut. The other was a star-shaped hole." This passage comes from the story, The Man I Killed, and it's is an in depth analysis of the young Vietnamese man Tim had blown up with a grenade. I just think that it is so saddening that, young people like Tim, who did not sign up to kill people, were forced to kill or be killed. These memories of over kills haunt soldiers like him for the rest of their lives'.

Exploration Five

1. "On the Rainy River" means the most to me. I like this story because Tim talks about how he was drafted, but he didn't want to go to the war. Instead he drove north heading towards Canada. On the way there he stops at the Tip Top Lodge where he meets an old man named Elroy Berdahl. The part that touched me the most came towards the end when Tim was on a boat with Elroy, thinking about his childhood and future. But then he imagines people calling him names like "Traitor" and Tim decides that he is going to go to Vietnam. My favorite quote to describe this moment is "I would go to the war-I would kill and maybe die-because I was embarrassed not to."

2. I connect the best with Tim, especially in chapter 4. At first he decides to run away because he is a coward and doesn't want to have to go through the war in Vietnam. But then he finally decides that he will go because he had no choice. The quote I described in the last question is exactly something that I would probably think to myself if I were drafted and had to go to war. I would feel just like Tim at this moment because I too would feel like a coward if I had to fight and die in war, while at the same time I don't want to be thought of as betraying my own country for not going to war like Tim.

3. I like how Tim describes everything that the men carried in the first chapter. To me the soldiers carried more than weapons. They also carried food, photographs, and other equipment. What I think weighs on more than any of that is that they are also carrying their emotions with them. Emotions of fear and anxiety about what could happen to them in war.

4. At the beginning of the second chapter titled "Love" a passage that I thought was good was in the first paragraph when Jimmy Cross visits Tim and they "talked about everything we had seen and done so long ago, all the things we still carried through our lives." This quote impacted me in way that even after many years of not fighting in battles, people who went to war still talk about everything they did during that time as well as remembering their own feelings about what they went through to stay alive. I think what Tim and Jimmy still carried in their lives are their emotions of what they had gone through.

exploration 5

1.     The story that talked about Poppa-San stood out to me. The man they followed through the jungle was called Poppa-San. The reason this story stood out to me was because it conveyed a feeling of love towards Poppa-San. The troop trusted him to lead them through the harshest terrain. Not only was Poppa-San old, but he could move through the jungle safely because he could almost feel the earth beneath him. This story just made me care about the characters. I don’t know what about this story was different, but this one made me care because I could just picture a local man, who had been walking the forest his whole life, helping them through. I can even picture the chanting and the emotional hugs when they had to leave him.
2.     In the novel I would have to say I connect most with is Elroy Berdahl. I connected with him because he was not judgmental, but he knew what why Tim was there. Elroy was nice to Tim and knew he needed to make a decision and gave him the chance to make it for himself. Without Elroy’s help Tim would not have been able to make a rational decision. I saw Elroy as an honest and good old man, who knew how Tim felt. He wanted to give him what he needed to grow. I connected to Elroy because he just wanted to help Tim.
3.     One of the conventions that stood out to me was in the first chapter where he literally named off the items each man carried. He named off all of the weights associated with them also to give an idea of how much the soldiers literally had to carry. They were lugging around hundreds of pounds and they were also carrying around a lot of emotional baggage. He described all of it to show how burdened the poor soldiers were. They had a lot to deal with, more than what a 19 year old should have to.
4.     The one passage that I thought helped show so much was on page 15. This passage was about the soldiers being like children almost. It talks about them searching villages and not knowing what to look for. They didn’t care either. They were just blowing tunnels and setting fires. They did what they wanted because there was no consequence for their actions. They were immature in a sense because they were not focuses on what they were there to do. I felt like this passage can help explain many of the stories in the book. Playing with smoke grenades, peeing in the middle of battle, and bringing a girlfriend to war are just examples of stories that can be explained by this.