Friday, November 16, 2012

It Should Never be Forgotten

Photo provided by Julie Graul
Above: Florissant Valley Sociology and Psychology students attended a field trip to the Holocaust museum in Creve Coeur in October 2012. Also included in the photo is LaRhonda Wilson, Sociology faculty , and tour guide at the Holocaust museum, Sarah Jane Friemann.

By  Linda Henning
FV-psychology student who attended the field trip

       I am grateful for the experience of visiting the Holocaust Museum with my fellow students from Flo Valley. Hearing first hand of the trials and losses from holocaust survivor Rachel Miller stirred our hearts. After this moving presentation, Sarah Jane Friemann guided us through the museum. They gave us knowledge that caused our insides to scream injustice for the many slain during this horrific tragedy. This personal interaction made our experience far more impacting than if we had gone through the museum individually, or read about it in a history book.
    Rachel Miller made her presentation very personal, sharing details of how her life was before, during, and after the holocaust. She showed us pictures of her family as she walked us through the events that transpired, how their happy lives were taken from them, never to be the same. Putting names and faces, along with feelings, to the sickening treatment they faced, etched this sad story into our memory banks, as a truth that should never be forgotten.
   Then we received one interesting history lesson after another on our tour with Sarah Jane Friemann; starting with one Jewish boy whose life was spared, that grew up to save many lives with his discovery of a cholesterol lowering drug. We also learned of how the charismatic speeches of one man deceived an educated nation into believing they were a superior race, who could rule the world. One thing that stuck out to me were the four categories, or groups of people found during that time; those who were persecuted, the persecutors, those who did nothing, and the righteous, the ones who risked their lives and the lives of their families to help the victims. My desire is to stand with the righteous when faced with situations that are too cruel to imagine.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Book Review: Albert of Adelaide by Howard Anderson

Author Anderson Takes Readers Into A Fantastical Australia

by Sarah Hayes of the Forum

"Is this the place?"
The wombat looked at the pieces of desert being blown around them and took the pipe out of his mouth. "I hope not."
"What I meant was, is this the place where things haven't changed and Australia is liked it used to be?"
The wombat thought for a long time before he answered. "If you mean somewhere animals run around without any clothes on while being chased by people with spears and boomerangs, the answer is no. It's not bloody likely that you'd find old Jack in a place like that. (Albert of Adelaide, page 12, paperback ed.)
Albert of Adelaide is what would happen if someone took the writing quirks of Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien, dropped them into the harsh terrain of the Australian Outback, made all the characters talking animals who cuss up a storm, and added copious amounts of booze, bar fights and shotguns. This is the world author Howard Anderson has crafted for his readers, and it is unlike what most students will probably read this year.
The story of Albert of Adelaide follows the title character, Albert, a platypus with only an empty soda bottle to his name. Having recently broken out of the Adelaide Zoo, he is searching for the fabled "Old Australia", where animals still act like animals and can find freedom for themselves. Like any good journey, Albert doesn't find what he's looking for without running into a few speed bumps, such as a pyromaniac wombat named Jack and a chain-swinging "demon" from San Francisco named TJ. Off the bat, this is not your typical fellowship.
Unlike most well-known stories featuring talking animals as the main cast, the animals in Albert are not virtuous or even agreeable. They fight, get into vicious turf wars, and do a lot of hard drinking. Anderson does not shy away from showing readers the after effects of the various groups' gunfights, describing the bodies of the animals on the desert floor in such a way that it's difficult not to feel something for the fallen creatures.

One of the strengths of Albert is Anderson's writing style. It's hard and sparse but still packs an emotional punch when necessary, such as battle scenes and moments of great upheaval for poor Albert. Anderson also describes, in detail, the landscape of the Outback which Albert and his associates are walking through. Even if readers have never seen a photograph of what Australia looks like, Anderson effectively paints a picture of the land and the kinds of animals and plant life one would come across if they were following Albert's webbed footsteps.
The story of Albert is a hard one, and Albert the platypus' journey is no easy trip. He often has to rely upon his wits and the poisoned spurs on his back feet in order to defend himself against the Outback's more antagonistic four limbed residents. It's a violent and dirty world Albert finds himself in, much different from the zoo cage he ran out of, but through everything he still finds hope that somewhere out there is the “Old Australia” he dreams of. Readers of Albert will soon find themselves cheering on the titular platypus and hoping to find this mythical place alongside him.
Students can order paperback or hardcover copies of Albert of Adelaide from the Florissant Valley Community College book store or at their local book store. The Flo Valley book store is open Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

CNN Calls It: Obama Wins Second Term

President Obama Wins Over Mitt Romney In Tight Race
by Sarah Hayes of the Forum

In a historic race that looked to be as tight as ever, incumbent President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have taken a second term in office, defeating Republican challenger Mitt Romney and his vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan.

Obama received 275 electoral votes. The majority of votes required for a victory is 270, putting Obama five votes over the majority count. The race was officially called after Obama won a number of key states, including Ohio which has been a historical marker for who becomes president.

CNN has officially called Obama the winner of the presidential election for 2012, and all other major news stations have confirmed CNN's call. Romney has yet to officially concede.

Update: Mitt Romney has officially conceded, making Barack Obama the new president-elect of the United States.

In Missouri Senate Race, McCaskill Projected To Beat Akin

Democratic Party To Take Missouri's Senate Seat For 2012

by Sarah Hayes of the Forum

With a quarter of the ballots counted, CNN has called the Missouri race for the Senate for Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill. She has beaten out challenger Todd Akin, Republican candidate, with 52% of the votes that have been collected so far.

In terms of demographics, McCaskill won overwhelmingly with women voters, possible due to Akin's recent comments on "legitimate rape". She also won the majority of the younger vote - voters aged 18 to 29 years old.

A complete breakdown of the vote can be found on CNN's website.

9:44 PM: Todd Akin has formally conceded the race to Claire McCaskill.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Open Mic Event

The Poetry Club will be hosting an Open Mic Event on Wednesday, November 7, 2012 in the MPR of the Student Center from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Bring your poems: free verse, spoken word, or traditional. Bring a very short story or personal essay. If you have original music bring that too. Refreshments will be available for those in attendance. For any questions call 513-4763