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.

Flugzeug/Flugmachine

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).

Handschuh

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?

Antibabypillen

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 !!”

Kühlschrank

Definition: Refrigerator

Literal translation: Cool cupboard

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

Treppenwitz

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.

Freundschaftsbeziehungen

Definition: Friendship

Literal translation: Friendship relationship

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

Schildkröte

Definition: Tortoise

Literal translation: Shield toad

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

Stinktier

Definition: Skunk

Literal translation: Stink animal

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

Krankenwagen/Krankenhaus

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.

Meerschweinchen

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.

Nacktschnecke

Definition: Slug

Literal translation: Naked snail

…yeah.

Kummerspeck

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.

I Hate Running by Matilda Spadoni

I don’t like to run, yet this past year I ran about 200-300 miles. Why? I’m actually still trying to figure that out. My whole life, I’ve been bad at sports, and cross country is no exception. I am consistently the slowest or second slowest girl on the team, never finishing races before 26 minutes. However, this is not why I hate to run. My perpetual slowness is actually one of my favorite parts of running. I never feel pressure to perform well for the benefit of the team. My race does not affect whether or not we make it to states. I only feel personal pressure, which can suck, but it can also take form in personal goals and growth.
Some of my best friends are also on the team. However this is not why I hate running. The slower people of the team have a bond, I cannot describe. We are all connected in our statistical failure. I like to think the fast people on the team aren’t as bonded as us, but alas, they probably are bonding over the plethora of victories they have, and how it feels to fly through a race in under 20 minutes.
This longing for speed is what makes me hate running. I feel myself dreading workouts because I know mine will take longer, purely because I go through it slower. I dread race days. My race will take 5-10 minutes of more pain than our average team finishing time. I dread talking about running, my “great race” of 27 minutes, which would absolutely destroy a varsity member if they had performed the same way. And although I know we are different runners, my stats, seen as bad in another runner’s eyes, will always make me feel worse than.
The first sentence of this blog was a partial lie. I love to run, but I hate it too. When I’m out of high school I will remember the friends I made, the runner’s highs I had, the amazing shape I was in, and my toned calves. I won’t remember the dread I felt in all the moments of self doubt, so maybe, just maybe, I will try to focus on it less now too.

My Inspiration by Elliot Rendall

If you’ve known me at all this past year, you’ve heard me groan about men in STEM classes.

If you’ve met me, you’ve heard my loud angry rants about being a womxn in my field.

If you’re my friend, you’ve probably seen me question my entire career, the one I’ve been so sure in my entire life, because of the discrimination in my subject.

As I go on more and more field trips, I found that the women on these trips are the ones who make me feel like my career choice is possible. That I could go into science, and achieve my goals- without sacrificing my happiness.  I find these women on work floors now, but growing up, I found those women in the books my mother gave me.

Here’s my list of five of the women who made me feel a little less alone.

TIME for Kids | This is Amelia: Read the Story of Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart – the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. My absolute idol- as in, deep obsession. I had an Amelia Earhart action figure, and an entire birthday at the Air and Space Museum. I am completely, totally, obsessed with her.

Mae Jemison, an astronaut with down to Earth wisdom on climate change | Lucy Siegle | The Guardian

Mae Jemison – She was the first black woman to travel into space. I loved her story- especially the fact that she was an engineer, a physician, and an astronaut. Her pages in my history books were ones frequently flipped to.

Margaret Hamilton Led the NASA Software Team That Landed Astronauts on the Moon | At the Smithsonian| Smithsonian Magazine

Margaret Hamilton – A software engineer who worked on NASA’s Apollo program. One of the things I love the most about Margaret Hamilton is the iconic photo of her standing proudly against a stack of handwritten code the same height as her, all done by her! She was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Katherine Johnson | Biography, Education, Accomplishments, & Facts | Britannica

Katherine Johnson – Also a NASA employee who worked as a mathematician. Most of us have probably seen the iconic film Hidden Figures, and I absolutely adore this movie. What I love about Katherine Johnson in particular is how much she genuinely enjoyed her work and mathematics.

Ada Lovelace | Mathematician and first computer programmer | New Scientist

Ada Lovelace – She was the first computer programmer. A name frequently forgotten, Ada Lovelace has been an inspiration for me for years. Though she was the daughter of a famous poet she instead found love for computer science.

I thank my mother constantly for the stacks of books, the many stories, science kits, and summer camps she provided me with. Without these stories, I wouldn’t have the courage to create new ones.

 

In Honor of Native American Heritage Month by Sarah Marcus

In honor of Native American Heritage Month, here are some of my favorite books/songs/television/etc. by Native Artists.

The first thing I will mention is obviously the iconic TV show: Reservation Dogs. This TV show has a fully Indigenous cast and crew and is relatable to Indigenous people around the world. However, you don’t have to be Native to enjoy the show. While you may not get every cultural reference, you don’t need to in order to enjoy this comedy series. Just try watching the trailer (it does contain swear words – sorry), and then I promise you’ll be hooked. 

Now, in contrast to a show that takes place on the reservation, I want to choose a book that represents more Native experiences. When we think about Native Americans, we often think about them living on reservations. However, that is only one experience that Native people have. The book There There by Tommy Orange has multiple narrators, each with varying levels of connection to their Native community. This book is one of the most influential books I’ve read because it made me, as someone who doesn’t live on a reservation, feel less isolated from the Native community. At the end of the book, all the plot lines connect at a single event, a powwow.

Note regarding a powwow: a powwow is not a meeting. No matter how many times someone refers to a meeting as a “powwow,” the two are not the same.

 

Okay, so we have arrived at songs. My first song suggestion is going to be a serious one (or not as comedic as the following songs). One song I absolutely love is “Build a Bridge” by Nahko and Medicine for the People. This song beautifully describes the struggle of being Native but growing up in a different culture. It describes building a bridge between the two communities, the culture where he was raised, and his Indigenous culture. Quite the opposite of this song is the song “Rain Dance” by Lil Mike and Funny Bone. They performed this song on AGT, and it got them through to the next round. This song is just fun and a good time. They have many other songs; my other favorite is “Frybread Snackin’.” Frybread is also my favorite Navajo food, and I am so excited for whenever I go to New Mexico next, and can eat it again.

The last and most important way to honor Native American heritage month is to learn about Indigenous culture and its erasure. Learning and teaching others about Native American history is the most impactful way to support Native Americans. It is essential to also uplift Native voices as they fight for change and equality. 

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Meg Hahnenberg

Girl with a Pearl Earring

In 1665, Johannes Vermeer put brush to canvas and created his arguably most famous painting: Girl with a Pearl Earring. This painting shows a young Dutch girl with, as the title suggests, a pearl earring. I love this painting; the soft glance the young girl throws is so gentle and realistic.

This year, I had the chance to dress up as an art piece or an artist for my portfolio class on Halloween. After sifting through some favorite famous pieces, I settled upon the Girl with a Pearl Earring. I decided this would be the most recognizable piece I could recreate.

How did I create the costume? I knew I needed fabric, so my first step was to take a trip to Michael’s to see what they could offer. I found two t-shirts: one blue and one a light shade of mustard yellow. The colors weren’t perfect, but they were the closest I could find. Next were the earrings, the most important part of the entire piece. I was originally planning on taking a pair of Styrofoam balls and painting them with metallic paint, but whilst strolling up and down the aisles in Michael’s I stumbled upon their Christmas decor. In the Christmas section I found just what I needed: small white ornaments. The ornaments were perfect, because I only had to slide them onto a pair of hoop earrings to wear them! The last thing I needed was an outfit. This was the most difficult part. I eventually decided upon a tan jacket that I found in my sister’s closet. With the acquisition of the last element, I was ready to begin assembling my costume.

I must’ve spent an hour this past weekend trying to wrap t-shirts around my head in different ways. I eventually found it easiest to secure the yellow t-shirt around my ponytail and then layer a strip of the blue t-shirt on top. It wasn’t perfect, but in my opinion it was pretty close. I clasped on the “pearl” earrings, threw on the tan jacket, and I was ready to go!

Believe it or not, this is probably one of the easiest Halloween costumes I’ve ever done. It may not be my favorite, but it was fun to recreate!

The Top 3 Most Haunted Places in the Neighborhood by Anna Welsh

The Onaway First Floor Girls´s Bathroom: This bathroom is one of the most horrifying places in Shaker. It´s not because of the strange stains, or the four-foot-high doors. No, there is a ghost in there. Or a really strange elementary-schooler. One of the two. I was in there one day, washing my hands and minding my own business, when a very short person waddled up to me. ¨Have you ever been upside down?¨ she eerily asked. 

¨Yeah, a few times.¨ I shrugged. Monkey bars, roller-coasters, unfortunate falls, yeah, of course I had been upside down before. 

¨Do you know what happens when you´re upside down?¨ The girl took a step toward me. 

¨No, what?¨ I humored her, expecting some sweet, child-like response, like you start to fly or your hands turn into feet. Something like that. 

¨Your head shrinks into your neck. Your neck shrinks into your shoulders. Your shoulder shrink into your stomach. Your stomach shrinks into your legs…¨ and so on, and so on. I hightailed it out of there. No first-grader I had ever met had introduced themselves by explaining how my body will collapse in on itself if I am turned upside down, resulting in unavoidable death. That was a ghost. I know it. 

Silje Jensen´s Backyard: My friend Silje always had stepping stones that spanned the grass of her backyard, between the trampoline and the soccer goal. Turns out, they were not stepping stones. They were gravestones. I am dead serious (pun intended). Silje learned this while she and her family were excavating the stones to create a larger backyard space. They were gravestones of the original Shakers from the 1800s. The Shaker Historical Society concluded that the stones had been dropped in her backyard while they were being moved between cemeteries in Shaker. That I cannot wrap my head around. The cart of stones was too heavy, so they just tossed a few off on a random plot of land. The disrespect! Those Shakers must be lingering around. I sure wouldn’t be resting easily if I knew someone had tossed my gravestone away like chopped liver. 

Those random little houses by the RTA Tracks: What are they for?! Someone has told me they are offices, but I have never seen anyone enter or leave. There is no parking. It doesn’t seem like there would be enough space for offices in there, either. The lights are never on. For some reason, these little houses have always been fascinating to me. Their interiors are hidden by dusty windowpanes and curtains. The glass windows are cracked and dirty. What are they for?! Rafael says that cities all over the world hide things in houses that they don´t want their people to see. I think it is ghosts that they don´t want us to see. Maybe the ghosts of mayors past? Or RTA conductors past? 

 

The RIGHT Time to Hang Up Holiday Decorations by Brendan Zbanek

Well, somehow November is here. Fall sports are done, Halloween is over, the Early Decision college application deadline is past, and we have arrived in the final two months of 2022. Every year, we hear the same huge debate over the appropriate time to hang up holiday decorations. “Wait until after Thanksgiving!” and  “I would never hang up decorations before December 1st” are some of the phrases heard over and over again. But through my life, my opinion has remained the same.

November 1st is the appropriate date for the holiday decorations to come out of their seasonal retirement. 

My family celebrates both Christmas and Hanukkah, so the holiday season is bound to be my favorite time of the year. Honestly, I love the holidays with all of my heart. The trees, the lights, the music, the cookies, the food. It’s almost as if this season should last forever! So why just mush it down into less than a month? When you’re waiting until December 1st or the day after Thanksgiving to put up holiday decorations, you only get about a month to bask in the glory and the joy that these decorations bring.

Starting yesterday (Tuesday, November 1) my morning car rides to school are filled with Mariah Carey, Michael Buble, and Ariana Grande Christmas hits, and the minute I got home from school was the minute I pulled out my box of decorations for my bedroom to hang up. However, I am the only person in my family who agrees with this. Until Thanksgiving passes, my holiday spirit is forced to be contained in the four walls of my bedroom, not the rest of our house. 

As much as I love Halloween (don’t even get me started on how much I love Halloween!), I wake up the next morning ready to rip down all of those decorations and replace them with holiday cheer! Don’t get me wrong, I understand why people would choose to wait until after Thanksgiving to put up their holiday decorations, but the idea of containing all of the love and cheer that the holiday season brings into just one month makes me sad! So for the rest of my life, I will keep hanging up holiday decorations at 12:01 a.m. on November 1st and will not let anyone else’s preferences get in the way of my holiday spirit 🙂