Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Midway Adventure

I recently returned from an awesome trip to Chicago! I went to see my best friend Leo's Navy Boot Camp Graduation. We were there from September 8- September 11. It was difficult flying only because I had to make arrangements to travel with his parents because I am only 17 years old and therefore not allowed to fly on my own. Fortunately I was able to work enough hours this summer to pay for my plane ticket, hotel room, and all other expenditures.
While I was there, I was able to enjoy some spectacular food, as well as some amazing sights! Upon arrival I ate at a restaurant called Tuscany. It was authentic Italian food, and not only was the food good, but the service was great! The reason the food was so good is because everything is homemade and made fresh! I highly recommend it to anyone in the Chicago area.
I then checked into the hotel for the night and prepared for an early morning the next day. Day two in Chicago was very eventful as it was graduation day for my buddy Leo. I met Leo while working at the golf course and where we eventually grew to become good friends. After a ceremony of about an hour and a half long, I was finally able to meet with him. It was the first time I had seen him in a little over two months! We were able to spend the rest of the day together, hang out at the hotel, and caught up on what was going on in each others lives, until about 9:30 when he had to return to base.

I had my own hotel room which was nice but I slept through my alarm clock and Leo's parents had to bang on my door to wake me up. I finally got up and we left around 7:30 am to pickup Leo where we walked through some of Chicago. We saw Wrigley Field where there were lots of statues and some old school urinals. Prior to this, I had only seen Wrigley Field on TV. Later we went to  the Sears Tower and we then went to Navy Pier.
Navy Pier is a huge boardwalk on Lake Michigan. We took a boat ride tour across the lake and it was amazing, you couldn't even see all the way across to the other side. Lake Michigan does not even seem like a lake though, more like an ocean!
The next morning we flew out which just so happened to be on the ten year anniversary of September 11th. It wasn't too bad, though security was heightened but it didn't affect us too much. On the plane ride home I sat next to a middle eastern guy who talked to himself in a different language. That irked me a bit and I did breathe a sigh of relief when we finally touched down in Seattle without the plane having been hi-jacked, thank you Jesus! What a way to wrap up a great trip to the windy city!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Unknown Accomplices

Yesterday I finished reading the book, Chasing Lincoln's Killer by James L Swanson. In the book it talks about the plot to assassinate President Lincoln, as well as other heads of state, such as, Vice President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William H Seward. The conspiracy to kill President Lincoln was however, not a one-man job. It is common knowledge that John Wilkes Booth was the assassin who killed Lincoln, but did you know that there in fact were three other accomplices? I sure didn’t! In this paper I am going to reveal the other three accomplices and the part they played on that cold April night.
The first of the three accomplices was Lewis Powell. Powell had orders from Booth to kill Secretary of State, William H Seward. Booth thought that this would be a manageable task for Powell since Seward was recovering from a recent carriage accident and was therefore, bed ridden and helpless to any assailants. The attack however, did not go quite according to plan. Powell made his way into the Seward house by saying that he was a messenger with important medication for William Seward. Once he got upstairs, he leapt into action, as he began to stab the helpless secretary of state. Augustus and Fanny Seward, who were the secretary of state’s children, were able to turn the attention upon themselves and were then able to fight Powell out of the house, causing him to hop on his horse and gallop away. Seward ended up surviving the ordeal and had a pretty noticeable scar to show for it.

The second of the accomplices was David Herold. Herold was an excellent tracker, and knew his way around the country very well. His job was to escort Lewis Powell to the Seward household and to then wait outside with the horses, so they could make a quick getaway once Powell killed the secretary of state. Once Powell entered the house, Herold was left to wait outside and keep watch. After a while though, he started to get nervous when he heard Fanny Seward cry out for help from the upstairs window. Worrying that the authorities might catch him outside the house, he left Powell’s horse behind and galloped away, thus abandoning Powell.

The last of the three men was a gentleman by the name of George Atzerdot. Atzerdot was supposed to kill Vice President Andrew Johnson at his hotel in Washington D.C. Atzerdot however, doubted Booth’s entire plan and ended up at the hotel bar, drinking. He never even attempted to kill the vice president. Atzerdot was still found guilty and hung for his connection to John Wilkes Booth and his plan.

In closing, I really enjoyed this book, as I found it to be a very valuable source of information. I never knew that John Wilkes Booth had three accomplices! While the murder of President Lincoln proved heart breaking for the Union, just imagine how catastrophic it would have been if all the assailants had carried out their mission. It might have changed the world, as we know it. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a good historical read, that might also give them insight into lesser well-known people involved in a very well-known crime of perhaps our greatest president of all times.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Brain Fever

While reading Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle I came across an unfamiliar disease called Brain Fever. Brain fever is a medical condition where a part of the brain becomes inflamed and swollen. The symptoms are often very similar to that of a fever, thus giving it the name Brain Fever. If left untreated, it usually takes two weeks to claim its victim’s life. Brain fever can turn into much worse though, such as Encephalitis or Meningitis. Both of which have proven to be very deadly in their own right. Brain fever was a common ailment in the 17th century more specifically. Brain Fever is often attributed to unsanitary living conditions. It is also used as a device in the book, Sherlock Holmes.

While Sherlock Holmes is not the only literary or historical reference using brain fever though it is the most recent account of Brain Fever that I recall having read. Theodore Lyman who was a staff sergeant in the civil war, had a daughter who passed away from brain fever in 1869. There is also a bird that is called the brain fever bird, due to its unorthodox call sounding like someone suffering from this painful disease.

In Sherlock Holmes, a selfish husband takes advantage of his wife, by pretending she had died of Brain Fever. Instead, he committed her to a mental asylum. All so he could inherit the small treasure that she had. But this lie didn’t fool Sherlock. He and Watson ended up discovering that the husband had faked his wife’s death when the maid came forward and told them the truth. He probably would have gotten away with it if it weren’t for those meddling kids. Just kidding. 

In fact, in the early 1900’s, husbands could simply commit their wives into an insane asylum for little reason at all. Hundreds upon thousands of women were committed into asylums unnecessarily. As they may have just been sick and the husbands did not want to care for them. They were often left to die. Thankfully, times have changed and women are not treated in this manner.
Even though brain fever isn’t as wide spread as it once was, it is still lurking in our midst ready to pounce on unsuspecting victims. Brain Fever typically isn’t as deadly though, because breakthroughs in medicine have allowed doctors and scientists to find ways of combating this deadly disease. Sadly, most third world countries do not have complete access to sanitary living conditions and medicines, proving brain fever to be a much more common foe, than it would be in America.

It is definitely more prevalent though in the crowded streets of India, where people end up living. For me it is unimaginable to think of the conditions that some people are forced to live in throughout the world. In closing, if Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would have written Sherlock Holmes in today’s society he might have been more apt to choose a disease such as E-coli rather than one like Brain Fever.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Call of Duty By Buck Compton

I recently read the book Call of Duty, My Life Before, During, and After the Band of Brothers, by Lt. Lynn "Buck" Compton, with Marcus Brotherton.  Let me start by saying that I particularly enjoyed this book because the writer kept me entertained with many different topics such as, war, baseball, and life in general. I think the author did a superb job in translating and organizing, Buck's thoughts and what he said into a book.

 The book begins with a foreword by Senator,and presidential candidate, John McCain. In the first chapter Buck speaks about his high school and college days. He was an outstanding baseball player for the UCLA Bruins before he volunteered for the military. He even had the privilege of playing ball with Jackie Robinson, who later on became the first player of color to enter the Major leagues, breaking down a huge racial barrier that had been preventing African Americans from playing in the MLB.

Once Buck volunteered for the military, he chose to join the paratroopers. In the book he talks a lot about his days in Germany and France. But don't get me wrong, this book is not only about war and death, it is also about Buck's personal life. In this book, he talks about his father's death, and his relationship with his soon to be wife.

 After the war was all said and done, Buck went back to Los Angeles California where he married his long time girlfriend, Donna Newman. In Los Angeles he became a member of the LAPD, where he served for five years. He then graduated from law school and became a well known district attorney. He successfully prosecuted Sirhan Sirhan for the murder of Robert Kennedy. After his days of being a lawyer, Buck and his wife moved up to the San Juan Islands in Washington State where his wife passed away in 1994 and he currently resides.

 Buck is still very active in the community,  as he speaks on a regular basis to different groups. I personally had the privilege to hear Buck speak, and he talked about many of the things I read in the book, as well as the television series Band of Brothers. In closing, I thought this was a very well written book, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a good biography to read.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Book Review of- Uncommon

The book Uncommon by Tony Dungy and Nathan Whitaker is all about finding your path to significance. For those readers who don’t know, Tony Dungy was a very successful football coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Indianapolis Colts. While coaching for the Colts, he lead them to one super bowl victory and countless playoff appearances.

What I most enjoyed about Uncommon was that the author did not focus on just one subject for an excessive amount of time. Instead the author touched on many different subjects over the course of the book such as, his days as a football coach. While talking about his coaching career he discussed many important decisions that made his legacy what it is, such as choosing Peyton Manning over Ryan Leaf in the 1999 NFL Draft.

 He also spoke about his strong relationship with his children, and how it is important that you should always be there for your family. Unfortunately, he had to cope with the loss of his oldest son, but his relationship with God helped him keep moving forward in his life. He also explains how crucial a strong relationship with his parents was to his success. He discusses how his parents always encouraged him and his strong devotion to God is also important to his successes, and his personal life as well. Dungy explains that he would not be where he is today without his strong relationship with God. All this and more really kept me interested in the book, and I found at times, it was hard to stop reading.

The author also lets the reader in on his keys for loving his family. The first of the seven keys is to be a leader around your home, but lead for the benefit of your wife and children, not for your own benefit. The first is, “Be aware that the world emphasizes style, but substance is what really matters.” The second is, “Make a conscious decision to determine your priorities. If there are others who should be involved in the process, sit down together and put personally those things into writing.” The third is, “ Be prepared to start making your actions complement your list of priorities.” The fourth is “ Never confuse what you do with who you are.” The fifth is “ Follow your dreams. Don’t take them to your grave. Better to have fallen short than never to have tried.” The sixth is “ Learn to discipline yourself so that you can begin to enjoy more of life the way you want to enjoy it.” The final key is to “ Balance the priorities in your life- spend the appropriate amount of time and effort in each area. “I myself, took each piece of advice to heart, and thought about how I was doing this in my own life with the suggestions that were given in the book. For example, I have been trying really hard to respect my parents and be honest with them. I feel that this will lead to a better life overall for myself.

This book brings so much to the table. It offers helpful advice with your family, friends, and most importantly, God. If you are looking for a book that will be hard to put down, and will make you think about your own life and how you live it, Uncommon is definitely the book for you. I know personally that I would recommend this book to my own friends and family, because like I have said before, I feel that this book offers invaluable guidance in both your practical and spiritual life.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Brief History of Time Review

Stephen Hawking is one notorious attention whore. He is always talking himself up about how he is just so smart, or how he is such a "playa". I think he really can talk and only uses the robotic voice on his fake wheelchair because he thinks it makes him sound sexy. The guy even has his own best selling video game out on store shelves right now.

He seems to be such a self centered person to me. He even made these posters and hung them all over the city.

So I would like to caution everybody to take a long hard look at who you think Stephen Hawking is, and ask yourself... Is he really as special as he seems to think he is??

Recently I read the book, A Brief History of Time, by Stephen Hawking. Let me first begin by saying that I find it simply amazing that Stephen Hawking has such an understanding of our solar system and black holes most notably amongst other subjects, considering his physical disability. I also find it very encouraging seeing someone who is wheel chair ridden able to grasp the attention of the world and gain respect through his expertise.

Onto the book, I found A Brief History of Time sort of hard to follow while I read it. I often found myself confused, and “Googling” most of the words that I read such as Quark, which is a hypothetical truly fundamental particle. I am however very happy that I stuck with the book, because I did learn some very interesting things about space anomalies, such as how black holes are formed and what they are capable of. In fact black holes are so powerful they can envelop entire planets at once thus making the size of the black hole even bigger.

In closing, I would recommend this book to anyone looking to expand his or her knowledge of deep space. I do feel that most space enthusiasts will find this book simply riveting. This is also a great book to read in school, since it is crammed with excellent information.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Top 10 Acquire the Fire!

10 Hours on a cramped bus..
  9 Stairs that I fell down
  8 Mountain Dew's consumed
  7 My chair number
  6 Bands played
  5 dollars spent at Taco Bell
  4 The number of Volkswagon Bugs we saw
  3 The number of times we ran around the arena.
  2 Hours of sleep over the course of the weekend
  1 Unforgettable experience!!