Traditions of Dia de los Muertos

By: Leslie Lopez Ibanez & Kayla Arellano

Día de los muertos is a Mexican holiday that is celebrated on November 1st and November 2nd. It originated in Mexico and Central America. This holiday is celebrated by many Mexicans to remember and honor their loved ones who have passed away. 

On November 1st, we honor the children who have passed away and on November 2nd, we honor the adults. This holiday is a celebration of life, not death. 

There are many traditions that Mexicans do when this time comes around in the year. One of them is putting up an altar and una ofrenda. An altar is a way where you honor your loved ones by setting up a table with some pictures of them, some of their belongings, and memorable objects.

Every ofrenda includes 4 elements which are: wind, water, earth and fire. 

  • Papel picado, or the traditional paper banners, represent the wind. Many beautiful and vibrant colors are used for this. You fold the paper, cut it up, then you open it and it creates a pattern so you can hang up around the altar.
  • On the altar, they leave water so the spirits can drink it when they come and visit.
  • Earth is represented by food. Some traditional food that is placed on the altar are pan de muerto, tamales, sugar skulls, champurrado, mole, and some people put the deceased’s favorite food.
  • Fire is represented by candles. People set up their candles in the shape of a cross so the spirits can find their way to the altar.

Another way spirits find their way from the cemetery to their family’s homes is by making a path with a traditional flower that is called Cempasúchil flower, or in English, Mexican Marigold flower. It’s a very beautiful flower with a vibrant color. 

Another tradition that is done in Mexico to celebrate your loved one is music and dancing. There is a traditional dance that is called “Danza de los Viejitos” (“Dance of Little Old Men”). This dance is danced by boys or young men dressed as old men with a cane who walk slowly then suddenly they jump up with a lot of energy and start dancing. 

Gruesome revenge: ‘I Saw the Devil’

By: Hayden Fitzsimons

‘I Saw the Devil’ is a Korean film which was released in 2010, and was directed by Kim Jee-woon. In my previous reviews, I’ve often gone into detail on the director, cast, release, and plot in general. However, I find myself wanting to avoid describing this film as much as possible. This does pose some problems as a review is, well, a review.

‘I Saw the Devil’s’ plot is something I will try to avoid spoiling or detailing as much as possible, however, the central point is hard to not talk about. The film revolves around the gruesome murder of Kim Soo-hyeon’s fiancé. Kim Soo-hyeon, a heavily trained secret agent, makes it his duty to track down the killer and avenge his fiancé. However, the vengeance isn’t as simple as one may assume. In films like ‘John Wick’, the plot is simple; a character important to the protagonist is killed, and so the protagonist tracks down and kills or catches the antagonist. ‘I Saw the Devil’ takes a different route.

It does not take Soo-hyeon long at all to catch the killer, and whilst brutally assaulting this man, Soo-hyeon decides to let him live. He places a tracker into Kyung-chul, the killer, and repeatedly attacks him for the rest of the film. Another monster has been created by a monster.

But, this film is not as simple as following the creation of a monster thanks to revenge. No, the film chronicles nearly constant violence. When I say that this film is not for the faint of heart, I mean it. Many films pose as such and yet barely reach an R-rating. However, ‘I Saw the Devil’ more than earns its R-rating. This film is one of the most brutal and disturbing films I’ve seen, and yet it somehow manages to not be in poor taste, and not go over the top into absurdity.

Once again, I must stress the disgusting and deeply disturbing events that continually happen practically one after another with very little down time. There is constantly blood and violence, however, this is barely the tip of the iceberg. Depictions of cannibalism, severed bodies, decapitation, attempted rape, mutilation, and torture are all on-screen multiple times throughout the film. This is why I find myself unable to recommend this film, despite the fact it is an incredible film with an enthralling and action-packed story.

However, if you believe you can handle the violence, or even get a kick out of it, then I’d advise caution, but would urge you to see the film. ‘I Saw the Devil’ somehow manages to use its continual gruesome violence to teach a valuable lesson on the dangers of revenge, and the horrid lengths humans will attempt to reach just to inflict pain on another.

COVID Halloween

By: Anna Hisle

During COVID, people have kept to themselves. Now, with Halloween approaching, children are getting antsy and are counting down the days until they can trick or treat. But are parents really going to let their kids trick or treat in the midst of a pandemic?

While no one really knows what will happen for Halloween, many neighborhoods and people do have plans.

Trick or treating 

According to “WMUR,” in the state of New Hampshire, along with trick or treating guidelines, each town/city has a specific trick or treating time. So, if you live in Nashua, you would most likely be trick or treating at a different time then someone that lives in Barnstead.

Even if you don’t trick or treat with many people near you, the CDC suspects that the holidays will bring more spread of the virus.

Wear masks even though you’re outside. Even if there’s no people near you while trick or treating, protect yourself from the person you are getting candy from. This also protects them from you.

Wearing your mask while going door to door isn’t just safer, but it will also keep you warm if it’s chilly outside. Your mask will also be a cute accessory in case your costume needs some pizzazz!

Parties/gatherings

While many people usually throw Halloween parties with friends or even just family, you might want to skip this year. If you must throw a party, the smart thing to do would be to limit the number of people attending the party and wear masks at all times.

If you attend, according to the “Centers for Disease Control (CDC),” there are many ways to stay safe while trick or treating:

  • Wear masks at all times
  • Stay socially distanced (at least 6 feet, if not more)
  • It might be chilly, but if possible, stay outside
  • Try to have a shorter gathering (the longer the party, the higher the risk of being exposed)
  • Keep it to very few people! (Many states/cities have a rule about how many people can gather)

There are so many more things you can do to stay safe during this pandemic and holiday season! Make sure that you are researching and do not go to large gatherings or parties unless you take proper precautions.

But honestly, be smart! Don’t throw a party or have a big gathering. Don’t trick or treat unless you stay distanced and wear a mask.

But most importantly, STAY SAFE!

The controversy of capital punishment

By: Olivia Knafla

Image taken from: safecalifornia.org

The death penalty, otherwise known as capital punishment, has been a very controversial subject for quite some time. There are many arguments both for and against the death penalty, and in this article we will be exploring both sides and their reasonings.

The first argument that we will be looking at revolves around the following idea: many people who would otherwise commit a violent crime are deterred from doing so as they don’t want to risk execution. However, there is no real proof of this situation ever taking place, or at least any that has been recorded to date. I won’t stay on this topic for too long, however, it was worth mentioning as it is commonly brought up in debates between whether the death penalty is right or wrong.

The death penalty also presents a financial issue. According to the Death Penalty Information Center (DIOC), it costs more to execute a prisoner than it does to keep them incarcerated for the rest of their life. It’s not necessarily the execution itself that is so expensive (sometimes reaching the millions), but instead, the extensive trial leading up to it.

Under the Constitution, every U.S. citizen is granted the right to a fair trial, meaning that oftentimes death row inmates require very experienced lawyers. On top of that, DNA testing is a common thing to be used in these trials, and it’s not exactly cheap.

Outside of the trial, death row inmates spend their entire stay on death row apart from general prison populations. They stay in special buildings, which require additional upkeep and guards. From the DIOC again, it is stated that these buildings alone cost states millions more annually than what it would have taken to sentence these inmates to life imprisonment.

All this being said, for those against the death penalty, this presents a solid case for their argument, saving both money and human lives. However, many people who are in favor of the death penalty argue that justice cannot be thought of in financial terms. Some people believe that the money is worth spending to rid the world of criminals who have committed the worst of crimes, and many people have expressed that opinion on online forums such as Reddit and Quora. 

The final issue we will be looking at today is that of false conviction. This is possibly the most spoken about, and it presents a great controversy among people.

It is estimated that 1% of the US prison system, or roughly 20,000 people, have been falsely convicted. However, when we focus solely on death row inmates, that percentage only increases.

A study by The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concluded that roughly 4% of people on death row were, and are likely, innocent. As of July 2020, states have executed 1,516 people since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976. If you calculate 4% of that number, that leaves you with 60 people who were executed after being falsely convicted.

For those against capital punishment, this is enough evidence to get rid of it altogether. And while false execution is a serious risk and is not something to be overlooked, many people in favor of the death penalty believe that this is a risk worth taking.

On top of that, the trial leading up to the execution of an individual is quite thorough, with years or even decades between sentencing and execution. It is estimated that nearly a quarter of death row inmates in the United State die of natural causes while awaiting their execution date.

To conclude, there are many arguments that are both for and against capital punishment, and many people who believe in the statements for both sides. There are plenty of reasons to take one side or the other, but it seems that the controversy of this issue will not be going away anytime soon.

When it comes down to it – is it moral to punish somebody by taking their life? That’s for you to decide.

Teenage portrayal in the media

By: Annika Getz

A lot of times, when a TV show or movie has a teenage character, the character is played by an adult. This may seem harmless and unimportant, but a lot of teens, including me, actually find it to be very harmful for teenagers to be portrayed this way.

I can understand why producers do this, both from a marketing standpoint, and a practical one. Younger actors have more regulations for when they can work, and the work environment they’re in, and adult actors also often look better on-screen: less acne, less voice cracks, etc.

However, when these companies make the easy choices regarding their actors, they don’t think about the effect it will have on teenage viewers. When we see these actors, looking completely perfect, and not at all the way we look, it makes us set unfair standards for ourselves.

We start to think that that’s how we’re supposed to look, when really, these actors have already gone through the awkward stage we’re currently in, and many of them have had some sort of plastic surgery.

However, this is just one person’s opinion, so I thought I’d interview several of my friends (all Freshmen), to see if anyone felt the way I did. I found that many people do. I won’t be using their names, to ensure their privacy, but here’s what they had to say:

“When teens are inaccurately portrayed in the media, it often makes me feel like I am doing something wrong with how I dress, how I act, how I look, etc.”

“Media tends to portray High Schoolers with actors who fall in line with Western beauty standards. This is extremely harmful to self esteem, as those who don’t fit those standards, are rarely portrayed, or are seen as side characters.”

“It bothers me when teens are played by adults, whose bodies are often way more matured. I feel like this sets a standard that’s impossible to meet for many people.”

I think it’s very clear that when the media portrays teenagers as these beautiful, flawless, people, it not only inaccurately portrays what teenagers actually look like, but is harmful for any teens or children watching.

 

Images taken from:

Misconceptions regarding ACAB and policing in America

By: Olivia Knafla

Image taken from: Twitter user ‘Antifa_Ultras’

A term that you may have heard, or seen circulating around social media lately, is “ACAB.” In fact, this summer, the term hit a spike of popularity in regards to Google searches about it. But with so many more people interested (and critical), there are bound to be some misconceptions, or even simple questions, about what it means, and hopefully I can help use what I know, and have learned, to help clear those up in this article.

Image taken from: a Google Trends search of ‘ACAB’ over the past year as of October 2020.

Does ACAB mean all cops are bad?

No. In reality, it means ‘All Cops are Bast***s’, meaning that they are bastardized by the position of power that they are put in, and that the policing system in America is inherently corrupt.

It also means that choosing to become a police officer, and to support the system, makes that person complicit. So, while not meaning that each individual officer is a bad person, it does mean that they are still supporting a system that has historically oppressed people of color.

Why do people say that the police force was built upon racism?

The answer to this question is simple – because it was. According to ‘Mapping Police Violence,’ the beginning of policing in America dates back to times of slavery in the 17th and 18th centuries. Mostly (but not limited to) the South of the United States, created what was dubbed as the “Night Watch,” groups of white people whose job was to track down runaway enslaved individuals and return them to their slave owners. These people would also enforce laws that furthered discrimation against black people. At the time, the job of these Night Watchers was comparable to bounty hunting, and sheriffs would oftentimes go as far as torturing the enslaved people who they captured. 

In the Reconstruction era, the police force helped Southerners in ex-Confederate states to keep the power that they had, as people would use the police force to ensure that white Americans could maintain their rights while at the same time creating what is known as “Black Codes” and vagrancy laws, which would allow police the arrest freed black Americans for small, and even non-existent, crimes. While they were no longer “Night watchers,” they were now slave catchers, who would later reform into the police that we know today. This allowed former slave owners to legally re-enslave any black person by “catching them” for a crime that is either minimal or non existent. 

Image taken from: medium.com.

Even today, ‘Mapping Police Violence’ shows that black people are 3 times more likely to be killed by police than white people are. To be more specific, while the white police homicide rate is 2.5, the PHR for is 3.8 for hispanic people and 6.6 for black people. Even when looking at unarmed killings, black people are still 1.3 times more likely to be killed by police than a white person is. 

What do people mean when they say they want to defund or abolish the police?

Firstly, it should be noted that defunding and abolishing the police are two very different things. According to Brookings.edu, defunding the police means, “reallocating or redirecting funding away from the police department to other government agencies funded by the local municipality.” 

The act of defunding the police has some potential benefits which can reduce both police violence and crime, focusing on de-escalation of what could otherwise turn violent, as well as an entirely new approach for non-violent calls to 911. In short, the act of defunding the police and reallocating some, not all, of their funding to serve the community could result in less violence and killings by police officers.

Abolishing the police is different from defunding the police. A statement from MPD150’s, a group from Minneapolis in favor of police abolition, Arriana Nason said in a statement: “We’re not abolishing help. We’re abolishing police. That’s very different. We have to do the work to imagine something different and to listen to what people in different neighborhoods and communities want.”

The idea behind police abolition is that access to well-paying jobs, affordable housing, healthy food, education, and health care is the way to combat police issues, all while taking steps towards a police free future. As of right now, a police free future is unlikely to be something that happens in the short term, but it is possible that some of these ideas may be tested soon in Minneapolis after a city council vote to dissolve the city’s police department resulted in a veto-proof supermajority.

How can I learn more and educate myself?

Something as simple as a Google search will get you lots of information, just be sure that the information you are reading is unbiased and reliable. There is much more to know about ACAB and the history of policing in America than what is stated in this article, so I would definitely urge you to look into it yourself if you feel so inclined.

For more information, please visit:

Fact checking the 2020 VP debate

By: Aisha Dirie

The vice presidential debate was definitely interesting.

The debate took place at the University of Utah, shortly after President Trump contracted COVID-19. This debate was the only VP debate to take place this year.

The Commissions of Presidential Debates hosted this event. Both candidates answered to their best ability, as the debate ran for 90 minutes without interruptions. The debate ran on multiple TV stations, such as: CNN, ABC, NBC, etc.

Here are some things that Mike Pence (current vice president) and Kamala Harris (current vice president nominee) said during the debate. To remain unbiased I will do a fact check for both candidates.

Pence said during the debate, “They (referring to democrats) want to ban fracking.” This is false. Joe Biden never admitted to ban fracking, but he also said he won’t allow new fracking to happen on federal land. Joe Biden has in fact addressed this many times, very clearly. 

A statement by Kamala Harris, “Trump and Pence knew the severity of the pandemic on Jan. 28th.” This is true. Before lockdown procedures, Trump admitted that this pandemic was dangerous in an interview with a reporter early February.  Pence was also at this interview, meaning they were both well informed of the harm COVID could cause. Trump and Pence had been briefed on the severity of COVID-19 on January 28th, but waited until mid-March to shut down the country. 

There were many more false and true statements made by both parties during the debate, these are just a few. Contrary to popular belief, Kamala Harris had told some false facts, as well as Mike Pence. Many of these statements may have lacked context, proving them to be false.

The debate covered many topics, some being very sensitive. Election day is just a couple days away, and we are approaching one of the most important days of American history.

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UFC 254 build up

By : Jalalaisa Geleto

There has been a lot of excitement around UFC 254. It puts the legendary, undefeated, Khabib Numergamdov, up against one of his toughest foes yet, Justin Gaethje.

Justin Gaethje might be one of Khabib’s hardest matchups yet. So much so that thousands are betting Gaethje will stop Khabib’s lightweight title reign.

Stylistic Khabib, and Gaethje, come from the same background: wrestling. They are both phenomenal wrestlers but Gathje hasn’t used his wrestling at all during his UFC career and mostly focuses on striking (punches, kicks, elbows, knees). Khabib on the other hand stuck with his grappling (wrestling, jiu jitsu, judo, etc.) and has won most of his fights by out grappling his opponents.

People believe that Gaethje will use his D1 level wrestling with his precise striking to beat Khabib. They believe that Gaethje’s defensive wrestling (which we’ve never seen from him in the UFC) will stop Khabib from getting any takedowns and dominating Gaethje. If Khabib can’t get any takedowns, then he would be outmatched in a striking match by Gaethje.

On the other side, Khabib fans believe that literally no one can defend themselves from a barrage of attempted takedowns from khabib. They believe that Gaethje’s defensive wrestling can’t stop Khabibs attempts, or that Khabib will make, or find, an opening eventually. They believe that once it gets to the ground (takedown successful) Khabib will keep on striking him and holding him down making him support all his weight. They believe that Khabib has the endurance to completely wear down Gaethje.

Earlier this summer, Khabib’s father passed away. Many believe a fight a couple months after a loss like that will impact Khabib and he won’t be at his best. You can tell by his recent interview, the man has really low energy and seems depressed. Others believe that his father’s death will motivate him to give us his best performance yet, in the name of his deceased father.

Justin Gaethje has shown a lot of respect towards Khabib and there hasn’t been any trash talking at all between them. It’s just two men looking for glory and honor and that’s what’s attracting so many people to this fight.

According to Dana White, the fight is predicted to make 26 billion dollars, and that’s with conservative information used to make this prediction. Justin Gaethje vs. Khabib Numergumaduv is looking to break the UFC pay-per-view record, which was just broken a month ago with Adesanya vs. Costa.

This will be a fight to be remembered.

Piano vs. guitar

By: Annika Getz

I’ve been playing guitar and piano since I was young, and I recently asked myself the question, “which is better?” I’ve heard this question be asked before, and I thought I’d give my take on the topic.

One good thing about guitar is that it takes less time to learn the basics. The chords are easy to learn, and once you have four or five of them down, there’s a lot of songs you can play.

With piano though, you have to learn more to be able to play the same number of pieces.

However, with piano, there really is just more to learn. With guitar, you learn the scales and the chords and that’s pretty much it. Piano you learn that, but then you can work on playing with two hands, and doing more advanced work. This could be seen as a pro or con depending on who you ask, so it really depends on your preference.

Now, let’s talk about the specifics with both instruments. The scales are easier to learn on piano, since it’s just going up and down. Less basic chords such as sevenths and minors are easier to remember on piano, since you change the same thing every time, no matter the chord, whereas with guitar different things change. However, I find that many of them (especially sevenths) are easier to play on guitar.

Another thing to consider is that with guitar there are several ways to play one chord, since you can use Barre chords. This also could be viewed as a pro or a con depending on who you ask.

Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s a simple answer to this question, as it really depends on the players preference.

It’s my personal opinion that piano is easier, so if you’re looking for a challenge I’d suggest guitar, but beyond that, I’d say to try both and see what works best for you.

The true story of ‘The Conjuring’

By: Nora Doyle and Liv Miller

Oldest known photo of the house where the true events took place. Image taken from: https://allthatsinteresting.com/true-story-of-the-conjuring-perron-family-enfield-haunting

We’ve all heard of the ‘Annabelle’ and the ‘Conjuring’ movies, right? And we know the little clip in the very beginnings saying “Based on the true events” that may give viewers a shiver down their spine. Well we are going to be covering these true events and tell the real story of the Conjuring house.

The family that these stories are based off of is the Perron family. They moved into this house in Harrisville, Rhode Island in January of 1971. They had a pretty large family, consisting of the mother, Carolyn, and the father, Roger, and their five daughters.

As soon as they moved in, according to ‘All That’s Interesting,’ small things started to happen that caught their attention. The first thing was the broom. Carolyn would notice that the broom would go missing, or move from place to place without anyone touching it. Next, she would hear the sound of something scraping against the tea kettle when no one was in the kitchen. She would find small piles of dirt in the middle of a freshly-cleaned floor. Little things like this were the beginnings of a much bigger problem.

Soon enough, Carolyn and Roger’s daughters began to feel the presence of spirits as well. At first they described these spirits as harmless. There were a few, however, that were angry.

Andrea, the oldest daughter, said that the family experienced other kinds of spirits as well. Ones that smelled like rotting flesh. These spirits wild cause beds to rise off the floor, and sometimes even the children. She claims that her father would enter the basement and feel a “cold, stinking presence behind him.” They tried their best to stay out of the dirt-floored cellar, but heating equipment would fail mysteriously, causing Roger to venture down.

One thing that stayed completely true in the ‘Conjuring’ movies was paranormal detectives Ed and Loraine Warren. Ed Warren said he got into demonology (the study of demons or demonic belief) because he grew up in a haunted house. Loraine Warren was a light trance medium she claimed to experience peoples auras and connection with the deceased as early age 7 or 8 years old. The couple met when Loraine was only 16, and got married in 1945. Together they have investigated over 10,000 cases, and were known as the world’s best paranormal investigators.

In the ten years that the Perron family lived in that house, the Warrens had made a few visits to investigate just what might be going on. During one of the trips, Loraine decided to conduct a seance to get in contact with any spirits that may have been possessing their family. During the seance, Carolyn Perron had become what looked to be possessed, speaking in tongues and even rising from the ground in her chair. Andrea, her daughter has even claimed that she secretly witnessed this event saying “My mother began to speak a language not of this world in a voice not her own. Her chair levitated and she was thrown across the room.”

While doing research on the home, Carolyn discovered that all it’s past owners had been in the family for eight generations and that many of them had died mysteriously or under horrible circumstances. Several of the children in these families drowned in a nearby creek, one was murdered, and a few of them hung themselves in the attic.

They discovered that the angry spirit had perceived themselves as the mistress of the house and she resented the competition of a new mother living in the house. Her name was Bathsheba Sherman and she had lived in the house in the mid-1800s. The Perron family believes this is the spirit that was tormenting them.

So, when you see that text at the beginning of a movie, ”Based on the true events,” don’t think that it is 100% real. Because sometimes it’s not as scary as the movie makes it seem. But sometimes it’s worse…

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