Go ‘Murica! By Brendan Zbanek

The 2022 World Cup officially kicked off last week, and somehow, now the whole world seems to love soccer. Everybody I talk to acts like they watch soccer every week and follow all of the leagues, whether it be the Premier League in the UK, or the Champions League in all of Europe. But let’s be honest! I know for a fact that some of these people have never watched a single minute of soccer in their lives!

Although my 11 year soccer career ended promptly after eighth grade, soccer has arguably been the biggest part of my family forever. If you walk into my house, you will be greeted by some random soccer game playing on the TV. (I am not exaggerating. Soccer is ALWAYS on.) My dad played soccer all the way through high school, my older brother played soccer through his senior year and still plays intramural at college, and — as everyone seems to know — my younger brother, who is a freshman here at Shaker, plays on the varsity team in addition to club teams year round.

Needless to say, I can confidently proclaim that I understand the rules and the game of soccer. But, I hate watching the World Cup. Not only has my TikTok “For You Page” been taken over by videos regarding the tournament, but the one USA game that was during school somehow made its way to the SmartBoard in my class. Was I excited because I wanted to go home to watch the game but couldn’t? Absolutely. But as the game progressed, I just started to get increasingly infuriated. With just blatantly wrong claims about every single play and every single call from the refs, watching a World Cup game in a class of 20 IB kids just reminded me of sitting next to my grandparents (who don’t know soccer for the life of them) watching my little brother play.

I am not saying that everyone needs to take the time to fully understand all of the intricacies of this sport; it is absolutely not necessary in order to watch the game. However, I just wanted to yell at everyone when they said one thing even slightly wrong. 

  • Fouls happen, and the majority of the ref’s calls are typically fair. 
  • No, the clock is not supposed to stop when someone gets hurt or they stop playing for some reason.
  • Not every shot on goal was a “good” shot. (Usually when I hear people say this, it was genuinely a bad shot…)
  • Yes, offsides is a real rule, and no, they should not get rid of it.

There are countless other things I could say after hearing what some of these people were saying during the game, but I’ll keep them to myself. You get the gist!

So yes, watch soccer! It’s a fun sport! 

But just please, please, please: Keep your crazy statements that are just simply wrong to yourself!

Unthanksgiving by Evan Barragate


791 Angry Turkey Illustrations & Clip Art - iStock


Everyone I have spoken to agrees that this Thanksgiving break felt long. It usually feels like the shortest break of the year, but this time it was different. Having so many days off gave me a lot of time to think, which is something I typically avoid doing. I expect that most people spent time thinking. As stress fades with the absence of work and classes and families come together around a delightful meal, people can’t help but think about all the things they are grateful for. And as I said, this free-time does make me think. But the happiness and compassion in the air fill my brain with thoughts of everything I am unthankful for.

This Thanksgiving, I thought about how ungrateful I am for anything sentimental. When I scrolled through my phone, I saw countless posts telling me things like, “Even if I don’t know you, I am thankful for you. I am thankful that you are here.” All I could think to myself was, “Wow. I am so not thankful for whoever posted this. Why would I want to see it?” Though this does not only happen during the Turkey holiday. The sentimentality tortures me year-round when I see it in Instagram captions and posts, picture frames, and on posters in the school hallways. It’s more than just “live, love, laugh.” Any ounce of touchiness or drama fills me with fury. When I see comments on social media posts from people’s boyfriends or girlfriends talking about how good they look, how much they love them, how much they want to see them, or anything trying to be clever and cute, I throw up in my mouth. It isn’t that I don’t want people to have loving relationships; I just don’t want to see all the loveyness. This, probably, is what I am least thankful for.

The worst aspect of every holiday centered around family, whether Thanksgiving or Christmas, is the unfortunate need to celebrate them with relatives whose opinions conflict with our own. Eating stuffing next to the sexist uncle is something we dread each year. I am very ungrateful for this, and I’m not just referring to conflict between family members. Many people appreciate exposure to those who think differently than them. Many people are open-minded. I am neither open-minded nor appreciative. I never want to be surrounded by people who disagree with me, and not just politically. I would cut off any friend who I found out didn’t like pickles or olives. I don’t want to know why they don’t like these foods; I never want to see them again. I’m thankful for all of the people in my life who are close to me. Unless they disagree with me. Ever.

As humans, we are an incredibly progressive species because of our ability to communicate with one another. At this point, our communication skills have advanced so much that we are able to have inspirational and intellectual phrases and speeches. I would expect that people are thankful for the beauty of the spoken word and its ability to uplift us. By now, you can expect that I am not thankful for this. One of the speeches I have been forced to hear over and over again throughout my life is about how the actual definition of insanity is doing the same thing several times, consistently failing, and expecting different results. When people say this, they try to send me a message: I am the most clever, intelligent, unique person in the world — this definition is different than what you expected it to be, and that is because I am smarter than you — who else would have an idea this eccentric and bright? The phrase contradicts itself because it has been repeated to me millions of times with the intention of inspiring me, but it never does. I’ve never been less inspired by anything I’ve ever heard. First, the definition of insanity is being crazy; there is no other meaning. Second, I don’t know who this speech is trying to reach because nobody does the same thing over and over if they fail. When people fail, they just give up. I wish the world would revert to when everyone was stupid and everyone knew they were stupid. I will never be grateful for the enhancement of intelligence (or perceived intelligence) because it leads to dramatic sayings that irritate me.

Even though I just dedicated my Thanksgiving-themed blog to rant about the many things I am unthankful for, I still consider myself a relatively grateful person. If you think about it, maybe all the things I am ungrateful for make me grateful for the opposite. I am ungrateful for sentimental things because I am grateful for sarcasm. I am ungrateful for people who think differently than me because I am grateful for people who think just like me. I am ungrateful for inspirational, profound phrases because I am grateful for funny, stupid ones.

See. Look how grateful I am.

My Search History by Anna Welsh

I love Google. If Google took me on a romantic beach picnic and proposed to me as the sun set, I would unquestionably say yes. Not that I’ve planned my wedding with Google. Maybe. I am also a very curious person. I probably Google 100 things per day. I’ve compiled a list of some of my most recent searches and the reasoning behind each of them. 

Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle 

Incredible movie. I don’t care about any of your pretentious film snobberies, this movie slaps. According to Wikipedia, it is a “buddy stoner comedy film.” I do not condone stonery, but boy do I condone this film. The reason I looked it up is that I realized Kumar was played by Kal Penn! Kal Penn, the former associate director of the white house office of public liaison. That is just shocking to me, that you can play a stoned character who wants nothing more than to eat at White Castle and in the same lifetime work at the White House. 

Meghan Trainor and Husband 

While I was supposed to be doing homework, I instead found myself falling into the rabbit hole of Meghan Trainor lore. Now, I wouldn’t call myself a Meghan Trainor fan. I would call myself easily distracted, though. Did you know Meghan Trainor and her husband (Juni Cortez from Spy Kids) have His and Hers toilets? That’s weird. I don’t like that. 

Takis Turkey

A lovely Thanksgiving pondering. Could one rub Taki dust on a turkey, cook it, and eat it? The results were sparse, but I did come up with a Youtube video of a wild-eyed man rubbing a turkey in the fabled electric blue Taki dust. 

Chevy Chase Bad

I was gathering evidence for my case against (shudder) comedian Chevy Chase. Sometimes I just like to talk about how much I hate Chevy Chase. 

Takis Dust

I want to be able to buy just the dust and put it on various foods. I didn’t find any dust for sale, but I did notice that there were strangely-shaped Takis for sale on eBay for about $10,000 each. Wild. 

Do all Priests Believe in God 

You know what, I think this is a really good question, inspired by the movie First Reformed, which I watched over break. It is a film about a nihilistic priest (Ernst Toller) going through an environmentalist awakening. Toller’s demonstrated faith made me question the beliefs in the Church. 

How to Become a Chocolatier

I feel like I have this thought after every Malley’s bar. I want to be Malley. How did Malley become Malley the Chocolatier? I am so passionate about chocolate, at least once a week I experience a wave of desperation to become a chocolatier. 

Artie Glee

My friends and I were casting the school as Glee characters. I was cast as Artie and was reviewing my role. 

Greatest Navy SEAL Missions 

I had a day over break when I was really into the Navy SEALS. They’re just so badass. Obviously, SEAL Team 6 has been involved in some pretty brutal and ethically questionable situations, but I was looking at some of the accomplishments. The training they have to go through? I could never. 

Gorilla Noises 

Turns out they make some pretty terrifying sounds. Look it up. It’s truly unsettling. 

Melly Shum Hates Her Job by Reece Turner

Melly Shum Hates Her Job' but Europeans love this work by Canadian artist  Ken Lum

Fixed high on the side of a wall in Rotterdam, in The Netherlands sits a billboard with a tired looking woman in front of a typewriter smiling at the camera like a student in a college pamphlet. Next to her reads “Melly Shum Hates Her Job.” Although created as an advertisement for a now long-passed art show, the billboard has accrued a cult following in its native city. Looking at it, as arguably simple as it is, it’s easy to see why it’s become so popular: the contrast between the portrait of Melly and the writing sharing the space. While she poses as if for an advertisement, the massive, bold text beside her betrays a complacent facade. Though she appears the model employee, her discontent is unavoidable, equal in size and outlined in hazy red-orange lettering. For doubtless hundreds of Rotterdam commuters trudging down the street in the morning or drifting dreamlike and bumper-to-bumper, Melly Shum appears a beacon on a uniform white wall. She lays a wire that underlines the working population like a gas main. And at the core of its impact is its overtness. To view Melly without her exasperation is impossible where normally it’s the default.


My favorite thing surrounding the installation, though, comes from one of its fans. When the billboard’s creator, Canadian artist Ken Lum, went to take the work down following the end of its exhibition, he was surprised and somewhat disconcerted by the outcry of support from Rotterdam residents (Rotterdammers?) asking him not to remove what had now become a local landmark. Worried that there was some kind of insidious motive behind this swell of support, his fears were finally assuaged when the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, the building on which it still sits to this day, sent him a message from an anonymous fan reading, “Every city deserves a monument to people who hate their jobs.” The piece became so synonymous with the center that when, in 2021, it looked for a new name (Witte Corneliszoon de With, the institute’s former namesake, was an officer in the Dutch East India Company, sharing many of the imperialist organization’s brutal practices) the center finally settled on the “Kunstinstituut Melly.” 


Though the portrait may fade over time or whether the building comes crumbling down, the billboard’s message is overt and unforgettable. And although no details exist about its subject, ask anyone who knows her name and they’ll all say the same thing: Melly Shum Hates Her Job.

Tidbits of Wisdom by Jaimee Martin


Over my 17—almost 18, in 58 days—years of life, I have learned many a thing. I have loved and lost, cried and cheered; I have even gotten to see a little bit more of myself. While we all know that no thought is original and no knowledge is exactly ‘new’, what makes experiencing life exciting, however short or long, is that it’s new to us, right? And I think the geniuses in the world have always understood that best because experiences are where truths are born—or perhaps discovered; The ‘many a thing’ we do, regardless of how frequent, becomes a part of us.

Enough with the philosophical. One of my favorite YouTubers, Jenna Marbles, used to have a birthday-specific video she posted every year when the time came around. It was called ‘X number of things I’ve learned in X years’ (the x’s are obviously numbers here) and they were among some of her videos I rewatched the most. I thought it was so special how she took the time to share all the small experiences she’s had in her life that we don’t normally see as an expression of truth. When Jenna told me to never go on an all-carrots diet because she did it in college, and it was awful, that small piece of truth wasn’t just funny, it was genuine wisdom. I save tidbits of wisdom like this all the time and write them down in, you guessed it: my Notes app. So here are 18 things I’ve learned in 18 years, or my tidbits of wisdom to you.

Happy reading :))

  1. If you have to decide between hugging someone and kissing them, always choose the hug because the physical and emotional memory will stay with you for longer.
  2. Never buy a new car. Just don’t do it. There’s no reason except to a be a pretentious ass. You save money, the planet, and your reputation when you stick to used cars.
  3. Take the worst job at the best place. A stupid job at a more credible institution will do more for your well-being and life than an amazing position where you will never be able to grow.
  4. If you’re not participating in a curriculum (of any kind) that teaches you to question why and how you think the way you do, make it a part of your daily introspection.
  5. Clothes don’t really need to be washed. Unless you’re sweating profusely in them or they got dirty from the outside, (dirt, food, etc.) you can wear typical outfits three or four times before they need to be washed; the outside inevitably happens.
  6. If you have the opportunity to live somewhere else, take it. If you don’t like the new place, the old place will always be there and you can go back.
  7. What you major in in college doesn’t matter. It’s mostly about introspection and growing your personhood academically. When you use that space to learn more about you and what makes you happy, opportunities will be easier to take.
  8. You can learn to like any foods if you eat them enough. In fact, this applies to any new sensation, not just taste. Our brain has a natural aversion to anything different as far as sensory goes, but the more we acclimate ourselves, the more we can find the sensation enjoyable—and become more well-rounded along the way
  9. If you have the opportunity to learn a new language, take it. Immerse yourself as much as you can because you may think you’re ‘bad at languages’ but that’s only becuase you’re not exposing yourself appropriately.
  10. “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room” is very true. Put yourself in spaces where you’re always learning and being challenged by people around you. And being a leader in that space ≠ being the smartest. Approach people with the desire to expand upon your truth.
  11. If you have nouns in your writing that could be verbs, always revise the writing to add in those verbs. ‘Nounifying’ verbs is the primary way to lose your point or cover up the truth.
  12. If you have the option to make a numeric or alphanumeric password, always choose the latter because it will make a more fun password that’s also stronger.
  13. Keep a year-round list of gifts you would like so that whenever you think of one you can just write it down, and then when giving season comes around (like now) you can just send people your list. I’ve already done this in a previous blog, Gift List by Jaimee Martin, so no need to fret over what to get me from now until college.
  14. If it’s time to apologize, just do it—without ‘but’s and be genuine. Every time you say ‘but’ in an apology, replace that with a ‘**** you’ because that’s essentially what you’re saying. And make sure you say ‘I’m sorry’, not just ‘sorry’ because it makes a world of difference in meaning.
  15. The easiest way to culture yourself is by listening to music from that culture. Also, music is the same as food, you just have to listen to it enough to like it.
  16. If you’re getting a retainer after you get your braces off, get the kind that has a permanent bar behind your teeth. It may seem annoying to have a piece of metal permanently in your mouth, but it’s small, unnoticeable, and more effective than the non-bar kind. You can go months without wearing your retainer and your teeth won’t move, whereas with the other one, you have to wear your retainer 24/7 except when eating. What’s the point of escaping braces if you can’t actually live your life?
  17. Triple dates are the perfect combined date size. Double dates just create competition between you and your friend’s person, but triple dates, however are like a small friend group. Or a sextouple, where everyone is one couple. It can be whatever you make of it.
  18. If you need some easy mindfulness when you’re really struggling, break the day down into however much of a ‘moment’ you can handle. Maybe it’s 5 minutes, maybe it’s 30 seconds, but everything will seem more manageable when you can focus on whatever it is you need to for that moment. (Disclaimer: It only works if you actually put your energy into only that moment.)

Bonus (…and one to grow on): If you want quality wisdom in a short period of time, look at fish. It has to be in person so you can see them swimming right before you, but just look at them. I promise you’ll see how they hold all the secrets to the universe and it will travel by osmosis to you as long as you tap into their energy.

Bonus bonus (because I like to talk): The five things that save the planet are love, art, vegetables, communication and one thing that is not school appropriate. These are in no particular order, but I promise you’ll be okay in life if you have them. Perhaps I will write about the inappropriate thing on a personal blog later in my life.

Winter Traditions By Claire Borden

I love winter. I love snow, I love feeling cozy, and I LOVE the holidays. After the first snow on Saturday, it feels like the winter festivities can finally begin, and just thinking about it makes me excited. No matter what you celebrate, winter is a time for comfort and spending time with your family. I’ve realized that this is the last winter that I will spend at home, and I intend to make the most of it. While I love decorations, there has been enough controversy on the SWC blog about that, so today I will focus on my favorite family rituals/traditions associated with this time of year, some holiday-related and some not.

Hanukkah- my dad’s side of the family is Jewish, and my mom converted, so naturally we celebrate Hanukkah. As the sun goes down, my parents turn on our Hanukkah playlist and we hold hands and dance around the house, in something that resembles a disjointed Horah. Of course we make latkes with applesauce (NOT sour cream), and we finish the evening playing dreidel with m&ms, my dad’s family tradition.

Pippi Longstocking- this is kind of a strange one, but a couple years ago, someone suggested that we turn on a Pippi Longstocking movie. My family used to be obsessed with these movies when I was younger, and we have a photo of Pippi perched on our living room bookshelf.  One year, my mom even hung our Hanukkah presents in the trees outside our house like Pippi did for Tommy and Annika. Now it has become a holiday tradition to turn on one of these masterpieces on a cold winter night when my sister is home from college and revel in the strange special effects, bad English dubbing, ginger wigs, and catchy music. If you haven’t seen these movies, I would highly recommend them. Pippi is fun for the whole family!

Family celebrity- When my mom’s side of the family gathers for the holidays, one of our favorite traditions is playing celebrity. Celebrity is similar to charades, but with a few key differences. It starts by everyone writing down at least three celebrities/politicians/fictional characters/anyone famous or recognizable, folding them up, and putting them in a bowl. For the first round, you can use unlimited words, for the second round you can use only three, and for the third round, you can’t use any. I love seeing my 83 year old grandpa having to dance like Michael Jackson, or my very serious 32 year old cousin doing an impression of Kim Kardashian. It’s always the highlight of the evening and I’ve already started to think about who I’m going to write down. 

Tea party dinner- This is a tradition passed down from my mom’s family. Every year, on Christmas Eve her family would make a tea party dinner with pastries, tea, deviled eggs, tiny sandwiches, etc. Although deviled eggs are disgusting, I love this tradition. It makes me feel like I’m in Downton Abbey and I love the sense of connection to my mom’s childhood. Making dinner is my favorite part, and the atmosphere in the kitchen is so festive and fun.


Don’t Believe Stupid People by Jakeia C. Banks

Stupid People /adj/
/ˈst(y)o͞opəd ˈpēpəl/
A person who goes out of their way to ruin the hopes, dreams and motivations of others.
A hater

When actress, producer, director, and icon Issa Rae sternly said the words, “Stop believing stupid people,” in a microphone while holding her 2019 Special Achievement Webby Award, my third eye was thrust open.
I have found that others that drink waaaaay too much of the haterade disgust me. When people say I simply can’t, won’t, or will never achieve my dreams—I get so upset. Because—let’s be honest guys—those people rarely benefit anyone’s mental health in the long run.

I think Issa’s words ring so much truer to me as a Black girl. I am always met with skeptical looks when I express my five-year plan. Those looks say to me, with sunken suburban sadness, “Oh, how you dream.” I don’t know how to describe those looks—it’s not exactly pity, but a bit of a mix between doubtful amusement and fascination. Those looks are just exhausting. I urgently want to staple my dreams to my heart and scream, “I DON’T HAVE TOO MUCH DIP ON MY CHIP.” If I give them that big, capitalized statement—surely they will leave the sunken looks for the lost puppies.

I look forward to the future, no matter how much the unknown makes me quiver. I don’t know if it’s 17-year-old naivete, but I think that everyone should have some hope for the way their lives might pan out in every little which way. I try to empathize with these so-called “stupid people” who resort to hateration and simply being jerks. I really do try and put myself in their shoes. Maybe their partner just broke up with them in the rain. Maybe they fractured their pinky toe on their way to work a mundane and greasy job that they despise with every morsel of their being. Maybe their dog died, their hope for a better tomorrow faded with a quarrel with their best friend, the first kiss they hoped to share with their significant other ruined by someone screaming “Fire!” in the movie theater. I know the anger they might be harboring in their hearts every second of the day, living a life full of apathy and cynicism.

But although the average hater might have some elaborate and very compelling villain origin story, I think that the words they spew to people just trying to live their lives are just ugly. Maybe this is my naivete, but is it just too much for people to take a break and be kind to others? It deeply saddens me that Issa Rae and millions of others (including myself) have to put on a thick skin of not believing, filtering out, and simply not entertaining the haters who live in the center of society screaming, “You can’t do it!”

I don’t know who needs to hear this—er, read this—but you are doing exactly what you need to be doing, Your path is decorated with gold and success, and if anyone ever tries to tell you otherwise, you don’t have to entertain their foolishness. You are beautiful, talented, smart, and very much capable of any and everything that you set out to do. Protect your peace, your light and your intention. And remember:

Don’t believe stupid people, kids.

Compound Words by El Szalay

Language is a funny thing. There’s thousands of languages, and several of them have the concept of compound words: taking two (or more) smaller words and combining them into one. After all, why invent a new word when you could just combine two into one and say the same thing? In English, this includes words like mailbox, football, sunflower, or milkshake. In my opinion, these are pretty tame. Lame, even. There’s potential to create some pretty silly compound words, we just choose not to. Why do I think this? Take a look at the German language.

Like English, German is a Germanic language. Unlike English, the German language is absolutely hilarious. It has its fair share of goofy-sounding words, but I think the funniest aspect of the language by far is its compound words. If there’s one thing to know about Germans, it’s that they hate inventing new words for things when they could either borrow it from another language (usually English) or, better yet, put together very literal compound words. Here’s a few of my favorites.


Definition: Airplane

Literal translation: Fly thing/Fly machine

The Germans do this a lot. When they can’t think of a word for something, they think about what the thing does (in this case, flying) and add -zeug, meaning thing, to the end of it. Some other good examples of this include spielzeug (toy, literally meaning play thing) and schlagzeug (drum, literally meaning hit thing).


Definition: Glove

Literal translation: Hand shoe

The thing that gets me about this one is that this word should theoretically be “handsocke,” meaning “hand sock.” Why is it a hand shoe?


Definition: Birth control pills

Literal translation: Anti-baby pills

I personally think we should add this word to the English language. Fun fact, the alarm in my phone to remind me to take my meds is called “antibabypillen !!”


Definition: Refrigerator

Literal translation: Cool cupboard

…I mean, yeah. Fair enough. That’s what it is.


Definition: A comeback you think of after the argument has already ended

Literal translation: Staircase joke

I literally just learned this word exists and I love it so much. I’ve been in this situation SO many times, and I’m glad the Germans acknowledge the need for this word. However, I cant wrap my head around the connection between this concept and staircases.


Definition: Friendship

Literal translation: Friendship relationship

It’s really not that hard to just say “freundschaft.” But whatever floats your boat I guess.


Definition: Tortoise

Literal translation: Shield toad

Toad??????? TOAD??????????? TOAD???????????????


Definition: Skunk

Literal translation: Stink animal

This one just feels like an attack. Leave skunks alone, they’re just defending themselves 🙁


Definition: Ambulance/Hospital

Literal translation: Sick car/Sick house

A classic. We’ve probably all seen the German vs. Other Languages videos on YouTube and all agree this word is hilarious. In case you ever wanted to know what it really means, here you go.


Definition: Guinea pig

Literal translation: Little sea pig

This one isn’t really that funny considering that we basically call them the same thing in English. But something about calling a guinea pig a “little sea pig” cracks me up.


Definition: Slug

Literal translation: Naked snail



Definition: Weight gained from comfort eating

Literal translation: Sorrow bacon

It seemed fitting to include this one in light of Thanksgiving next week. I don’t get the connection between this idea and “sorrow bacon,” but it’s hilarious and I love it.

As Canções De Eu Tu Eles by Rafael Bonilha Van’t Hof

My mother is from Brazil. She didn´t have much when she came to this country. One of the few things she could bring when she came was some music from Brazil. I have been listening to these songs for almost as long as I have been alive. One of my favorite albums that my mom would play for me was the soundtrack for the movie Eu Tu Eles. It was made by Brazilian legend and former “ministro da cultura” Gilberto Gil and it won a Latin Grammy.

The movie itself takes place in the Northeast region of Brazil and so the music was made in that style and inspired by famous artists of the region, one of the biggest being Luiz Gonzaga. Gonzaga is credited with popularizing many different types of Northeastern music like Baião. Some of his songs are even covered on the album. His first instrument was the accordion, which shows up in many of the songs on the album as well.

Gilberto Gil is also a very accomplished musician. He has won countless awards and has released 50 albums. Gilberto was born in Bahia, which has a reputation for being the state that many Brazilian musicians were born in. His first instrument was also accordion, but he also took up guitar at a young age because of another famous Brazilian musician, João Gilberto. He was influenced by many different people and music which lead to him developing a distinct style, and he even made a song about it (Chiclete Com Banana on the album Expresso 2222).

The music on this album isn’t all composed by Gilberto. Some of them were originally composed by Ganzaga. Nonetheless they are all worth listening to so I suggest you listen to them all, and I will leave a link here. Now I would like to talk about some of my favorite songs from this album. I really suggest that you listen to all of the songs because they are all really good.


Baião Da Penha

This is my current favorite song from the album. Baião Da Penha is an absolute Christian bop. This song is about someone going to Nossa Senhora da Penha, a famous church in Rio. He goes to the church to beg for protection of his Baião, his people, and his land. I just love the energy of this song and also has a great flute solo to open it up.


Esperando Na Janela

This used to be my favorite song from this album, and I used to listen to it so much that I know the chorus by heart. In this song, a rather creepy man is talking about how in love he is. His love is waiting by her window so they can talk and he can tell her his love. I really like the bass in this song; it sets up a nice leaded back groove that I really enjoy.


Último Pau-De-Arara

This song has a very different mood from the first two that I mentioned. This song is about somebody hiding out in the desert when things aren’t going so well.  He is praying for rain and hoping that the skin will stay on his cow. He will only leave when the last truck (pau-de-arara) comes. I love the bass in this song for a different reason than in Esperando Na Janela: in this song the bass gets turned up and is used to created the dire mood of the song.


Assum Preto

This song is very dark. It was original made by  Luiz Gonzaga as an metaphor for his love. He also wrote it with more of a country style of Portuguese. It is about a crow that has its eyes poked out so it will sing better, which is apparently something that used to happen there. Many lines in the song have “ai” in the middle of them, which is an interjection used for pain in Portuguese.


O Amor Daqui De Casa

This song is a bit weird, and me and my mother (who helped me translate the lyrics of these songs) couldn’t understand what the lyrics actually meant. The only thing that my mother could really put together about the lyrics is that it has a four bar rhyme. In every four lines the last word of the 1st & 3rd line and the 2nd & 4th rhyme. The main reason I like this song is because of how it sounds. The best way I can describe it is as a sound wave washing over you. I really don’t know how else to describe it so I really suggest that you listen to this one.

When Does Christmas Begin? by Beckett Smith

When does Christmas begin? It’s an age-old question, and one that some other interns seem to have taken upon themselves to answer. Well I’m here to set the record straight.

If you are starting to celebrate Christmas on November 1st, there is something horribly wrong with you.

My family is a proud Christmas-after-Thanksgiving family. Always has been and always will be. It is a foundational memory of mine, driving on Thanksgiving morning to my great-aunts house, blasting my mother’s carefully curated Christmas playlist. From then until December 26th, the only sound echoing throughout the walls of my house was the Barenaked Ladies Christmas album, classic Christmas carols, and (less favorably received) the holiday hymns that my mother insisted on.

Decorating wasn’t even a suggestion until Advent had begun. When you buy a real tree every year, it can’t be. The thing would die days before Christmas Eve. And cookies! If you made all your Christmas cookies in the first week of November, they’d never make it to winter break.

Maybe it’s for the sake of tradition, for reclaiming the joy my younger self felt on that long drive, but Christmas can’t start until after Thanksgiving. Listening to Christmas music, putting up decorations, any of the holiday traditions really feel hollow and meaningless when done too early. Holidays are traditions, built on traditions. When you change those fundamental aspects of Christmas, you change the holiday. And for that reason, I will never celebrate Christmas even a day before Thanksgiving.