Alas, Babylon Book Report

Alas Babylon is a short story written by Pat Frank (the pen name of Harry Hart Frank) in 1959.

The story is regarded as one of the first apocalyptic novels of its age, due to it being written during the Cold War. The title is a reference to the Bible passage in Revelation, which says “Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.”

The book’s plot is centered around one man, Randy Bragg. He lives an aimless life in the town of Fort Repose, Florida. That all changes, however, when he wakes up one morning having received a telegram from his brother. The telegram describes how Randy’s brother Mark’s family is flying down to the town for protection. The message ends with the words Alas, Babylon.

Those words are a code that the brothers came up with, meaning that danger or disaster was coming. Soon after that, an American fighter pilot, while chasing down an enemy plane, inadvertently fires a heat-seeking missile at a Syrian ammunition depot, creating a massive explosion.

This becomes the excuse for Russia’s bombardment of the US with nukes. The following morning, Soviet missiles are launched from the Arctic and submarines. The US, naturally, sends missiles in response. Randy’s family is awoken by the nearby explosions, which are hitting several key military outposts.

Chaos ensues. Tourists are trapped in their hotels, hospitals are filled beyond capacity, banks are robbed, convicts escape, looters strike, and general panic abounds. Randy helps organize his neighbors to provide food, water, and general protection among each other.

I thought that the book was a very interesting read. While shorter than the average book, it is well worth your time and money. It has a very good message about how humanity can chug on even during a desperate scenario. Definitely read it!

Something Wicked This Way Comes: Book Report

Something Wicked This Way Comes

This book is a 1962 novel written by none other than Ray Bradbury. It is a Fantasy Horror novel, set in a quiet, boring, mid-western town in the month of October. In this town live two 13 year-old boys, Will Holloway and Jim Nightshade. The two are best friends, and go on many adventures around the town. However, they eventually learn a carnival is arriving soon.

Excited by the prospect of a carnival coming so late in the year, they decide to go as soon as possible. Will’s 54 year old father, Charles, has a bad feeling about it. The carnival arrives at three in the morning, coming in on a strange train playing calliope music. The next day, they go to the carnival to see what it is all about, coming up with the temporary conclusion that this carnival is completely normal, but that changes when they try to ride a carousel, just before the carnival closes for the night.

However, Mr. Cooger, the owner of the park, arrives to tell them that the carousel is broken, and that they should return the next morning. The boys pretend to leave, but hide in a bush instead. They witness Mr. Cooger board the carousel and start riding it backwards, accompanied by backwards calliope music. When he steps off, he has become a twelve year old boy. Will and Jim chase him back to the carnival, where he tries to ride the carousel forward to age into an adult. Jim wishes to join Cooger, but Will destroys the switch on the carousel and it flies out of control, turning Mr. Cooger into a 100 year old man.

They flee, then return with the police, only to find that the ancient Mr. Cooger has been set up as a new act, Mr. Electrico, who they run electricity through. The boys are told to return the next day. When they go home, one of Mr. Cooger’s cronies, the Dust Witch, floats by, attempting to find they boys, but Jim lures her to an abandoned house and shoots down her balloon with a bow and arrow. Later the next day, the boys meet their school teacher on the road, but she has been turned into a weeping, 12 year old girl.

Will and Jim are then interrupted by a parade, which has been put on as a facade for trying to find the boys. They hide in a storm drain. Charles soon spots them, but is convinced to keep quiet about the situation. The new owner of the carnival, Mr. Dark, then shows up to grill Charles about the two boys, but he pretends to not know who they are. The Witch comes by and begins to sense the boys’ presence, but Charles scares her off by blowing cigar smoke into her face. Mr. Dark asks for Charles’ name, to which Charles says that he is the town library’s janitor.

That night, Charles meets Jim and Will there, where he has done some research about his father’s ministerial notes, saying that this carnival arrives only once a generation, then leaves in a huge storm. Right then, Mr. Dark shows up, the boys hide in the book stacks, and then he finds them. Charles tries to fight him off, but this results in Mr. Dark crushing his hand, right as the Witch arrives. She casts a spell on the boys, mesmerizing them, as well as trying to stop Charles’ heart. Just as he is about to die, however, he looks at the witch and laughs hysterically. This wounds the Witch and drives her off. After this is done, Charles secretly follows Mr. Dark to the carnival to rescue the boys. There, he triumphs over Mr. Dark, finds his son, Will, who has been trapped inside the mirror maze, destroys the mirrors by laughing, and shoots the Witch with a smile on the bullet, killing her.

Charles and Will search for Jim. In the meantime, Mr. Cooger turns to dust and blows away before he can be saved by the carousel. They find Jim riding the carousel forward, and Will tries to stop him by grabbing onto his leg. They go for a brief ride before Will jumps off, taking Jim with him.

Jim is in a stupor, close to death, when a boy arrives. Charles recognizes the boy as Mr. Dark, seizes him, and kills him with affection, since Mr. Dark cannot survive being in close contact with someone so happy. As Will tries to save Jim, the carnival falls apart, and Jim is revived by singing and dancing, Charles and Will’s happiness bringing him back from the edge of death.

This is one of the better books I have read, and I enjoyed it. I would highly recommend it.

Week 25 English: A Description of My Cat, Colby

Assignment: Write a one-page essay for today’s writing assignment. Your topics are:

1. Write a narrative story describing someone in your family, using third person and active voice.
2. Write a story recounting an event from your week, using first person and passive voice.

Colby is an extremely fat and lazy cat, whose goal in life is to become a pampered, spoiled king of a cat who looks like this, even though he is pretty close to that size. Image result for the fattest cat everHis daily routine is to wake up, after sleeping in a bread shape or bagel shape, then he scratches and meows until a human comes and opens the door.

Then he meows until he gets his water, and then spends 20 minutes drinking his water before going off to wander around the house. Then, human gives him his food. Image result for cat with bug eyesColby then bounds down the stairs with a bug eyed expression, whilst his tounge flops about everywhere.

Then he sucks the food into his mouth until his jelly-bowl belly is stuffed so full of food he has to shuffle around on the floor.

His next goal is to laze around the house, sleeping or just sitting on the couch, looking like bread, possibly going to pee on human’s bed after sleeping for 3 hours. Then Large Human comes into the house after working and sits down on the couch for dinner.

Colby then decides to jump on Large Human’s lap and sit there for the next hour, before being placed downstairs in the dark for bed. Colby then takes a dump on the floor before curling up in his bagel shape to go to bed.

Repeat the next day. The End

Week 33 English: The Term Paper

Assignment: Write the rough draft of your term paper. Make sure it is five typed pages long (Times New Roman or Arial font, size 12 or smaller).

When you finish writing the paper, post it to the forums. Include “Term Paper Rough Draft” in the title of the post.

NOTE: I decided to just start working on getting the actual paper together, so by the time you see this, this will be the actual, finished term paper. The assignment wants me to spend forever working on it.

The Semester began with lesson 115 and the study of different religious terms and what they meant. The reason for this is because you can actually identify an author’s worldview if you study their writing closely enough.

Whenever you read a book, it is hard to not notice the worldview of the author, as they can subtly convey it in their writing. You also have a worldview about anything, whether you think so or not.
It is important to know the worldview of the characters, because it will shape the way the story is written.
Rationalism: A belief that opinions and actions should be based on reason rather than emotional response or religious conviction.
Transcendentalism: It teaches that divinity pervades all nature and humanity.
Existentialism: Existence precedes essence. You cannot find the meaning of life by thinking. Freedom is a human property each of us possesses that must be exercised through individual choices for which each person alone is responsible. It declares that God is dead, and so is what we put our hope in.
Postmodernism: It stems from the recognition that reality is constructed as the mind tries to understand its own personal reality. For this reason, postmodernism is highly skeptical of explanations which claim to be valid for all groups, cultures, etc, and instead focuses on the relative truths of each person.
The next part is deism: Belief in the existence of a supreme being, specifically of a creator who does not intervene in the universe.
Materialism: All things are composed of material and all phenomena are the result of material interactions; matter is the only substance.
New Age Pantheism: All is one. There is no real distinction between animals, humans, etc. Since all is one, all is god. This means each of us is god.
Humanism: Man is the measure of all things.
After the studies of various religions, there was the study of different “characterization” terms, which means we studied words having to do with characters or the placing of human attributes on something that is not human.
Narrator: a person who narrates something, especially a character who recounts the events of a novel or poem.
Point of View: The narrator’s position in relation to the story being told.
First Person: Telling the story like the author is recounting a personal adventure, using words like “I” and “My” in their writing.
Second Person: The person used by a speaker in referring to the one or ones to whom he or she is speaking: in English “you” is a second person pronoun.
Third Person: The person that is used by the speaker of an utterance in referring to anything or to anyone other than the speaker or the one or ones being addressed.
Voice: Voice, in grammar, describes the relationship between the subject of a sentence and the action (verb) in the sentence.
Active Voice: Used to describe a sentence where the subject is the instigator or cause of the action in the sentence.
Passive Voice: Used to describe a sentence where the subject is the target or subject of the action in the sentence.
Following the study of characterization terms, we touched upon words that fell under the “descriptive” category.
Denotation: The literal or explicit meaning associated with that word or phrase.
Connotation: The cultural or emotional association that is associated with a word or phrase, in addition to its denotation.
Personification: The assignment of human attributes to something that is not human.
Soliloquy: Talking to oneself.
Symbol: A literary device that contains several layers of meaning, often concealed at first sight, and is representative of several other aspects, concepts, or traits than those that are visible in the literal translation alone.
Imagery: When the author uses words and phrases to create mental images in the reader’s mind, often to help the reader to visualize what the author is conveying.
Contrast: the state of being strikingly different from something else, typically something in juxtaposition or close association.
To estimate, measure, or note the similarity or dissimilarity between
After descriptive words came the language of the playwrights, such as Shakespeare, and the terms they used to direct actors in what they need to do on-stage.
Script: The text for the play, which actors must memorize to perform.
Cast: The play actors
Introduction: sets the stage for the rest of the play
Act: A marker for major sections in the play.
Scene: a marker for smaller sections in a play, generally a change of location or people.
Exit: Cue to leave the stage
Irony: The expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous effect.
Sarcasm: A mode of satirical wit that uses bitter, caustic, and often ironic language for its effect
Diction: A style of writing or speaking determined by the choice of words by a speaker or a writer.
Tone: a feature of writing which encompasses the attitudes toward the subject and the audience implied in a literary work.
The next category of words fall under the poetic category, as well as types of words used within poetry, such as puns.
Onomatopoeia: An expression or exclamation that is intended to sound like a real life sound, like oof, oink, moo, woof, etc
Ballad: A poem or song narrating a story in short stanzas.
Elegy: A poem of serious reflection, typically a lament for the dead.
Epic: A long poem, typically one derived from ancient oral tradition, narrating the deeds and adventures of heroic or legendary figures or the history of a nation
Ode: A lyric poem in the form of an address to a particular subject, often elevated in style or manner and written in varied or irregular meter.
Limerick: A humorous verse of three long and two short lines rhyming aabba, popularized by Edward Lear.
Epigram: A pithy saying or remark expressing an idea in a clever and amusing way
Paradox: A statement or proposition that, despite sound reasoning from acceptable premises, leads to a conclusion that seems senseless.
Pun: A joke exploiting the different possible meanings of a word or the fact that there are words that sound alike but have different meanings.
Doggerel: Comic verse composed in irregular rhythm.
The next category contains more poetry words.
Quantrain: A stanza of four lines, especially ones having alternate rhymes
Lyric Poem: A short poem of song like quality, common to most songs in modern times
Couplet: A unit of verse consisting of two successive lines, usually rhyming and having the same meter and often forming a complete thought or syntactic unit
Sonnet: A poem of 14 lines using any number of formal rhyme schemes, in English typically having ten syllables per line.
Octave: A poem or  stanza of eight lines, the term used to refer to the first eight lines of a sonnet.
Sestet: The last eight lines of a sonnet.
Anagram: A word, phrase, or name formed by rearranging the letters of another, such as cinema, formed into iceman.
Simile: A figure of speech involving the comparison of one thing with another thing of a different kind, used to make a description more vivid.
Metaphor: A figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an object or action to which it is not literally applicable.
Alliteration: The occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of adjacent or closely connected words.
This category falls under the “descriptive category”.
Antonym: A word opposite in meaning to another; opposites
Synonym: A word or phrase that means exactly or nearly the same as another word or phrase  in the same language.
Hyperbole: Exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally.
Acronym: An abbreviation formed from the initial letters of other words and pronounced as a word.
For example, S.W.A.T  means Special Weapons and Tactics. F.B.I is another one, even if it is not pronounced like a word. It means Federal Bureau of Investigation
Understatement: The presentation of something being smaller, worse, or less important, etc, than it actually is.
Wit: a natural aptitude for using words and ideas in a quick and inventive way to create humor.
Sarcasm: the use of irony to mock or convey contempt.
Invective: Insulting, abusive, or highly critical language.
The final category this year focuses on more poetry words.
Poetry: Literary work in which special intensity is given to the expression of feelings and ideas by the use of distinctive style and rhythm.
Assonance: In poetry, the repetition of the sound of a vowel or diphthong in non-rhyming stressed syllables near enough to each other for the echo to be discernible.
Consonance: the recurrence of similar sounds, especially consonants, in close proximity
Foot: A group of syllables constituting a metrical unit. In English poetry it consists of stressed and unstressed syllables, while in ancient classical poetry it consists of long and short syllables.
Meter: The rhythm of a piece of poetry, determined by the number and length of feet in a line.
Cadence: A modulation or inflection of the voice.
Beat: A main accent or rhythmic unit in music or poetry
Iamb: a poetic foot consisting of one short (or unstressed) syllable followed by one long (or stressed) syllable
Spondee: a poetic foot, or a beat in a line of poetry, that consists of two stressed syllables
Dactyl: A poetic foot in a line of poetry that consists of one stressed syllable followed by two types of unstressed syllables.
Anapest: A metrical foot consisting of two short syllables followed by one long syllable or of two unstressed syllables followed by one stressed syllable.
Trochee: A metrical foot consisting of one long syllable followed by one short syllable or of one stressed syllable followed by one unstressed syllable.
After that, there were just a ton of words on “poetic meter”, such as pentameter, hectameter, etc, so I thought those really were not that important.
 I thought Mr. Fish did a good job teaching this class, and I look forward towards next year.

Week 36 History: The Final Lesson and My Favorite Parts of the History Class…

Writing Assignment: Write a two to three page essay on one of the following topics:

1. Summarize the developments in mainland Europe studied in this history year.

2. Tell the story of your favorite lesson or lessons and what you liked most about history this year.

This history class has had so much content covered in it that it would be difficult to summarize it all in one writing assignment, but I will talk about my favorite subjects covered during this year.

The first thing I really enjoyed studying was the wars. In history, there were many large conflicts, and I enjoy studying them and learning how a battlefield commander would take advantage of a bad situation.

I thought the Crusades were very interesting because of how the Christians wanted to take back Jerusalem from the Ottomans, or the Muslims, as we call them today. While the Crusades didn’t really turn out all that well for either side, it was still interesting studying the tactics the Christians used to try to take back their holy land. After a long time and several Crusades, the Crusaders eventually made a peace treaty with the Ottomans, which had them co-exist together in Jerusalem.

Another part I liked was the coverage of everyday life in places we studied, such as how the Spartans from Sparta lived, or the ways the American colonists lived. Small things like that may not seem very important to the development of history, but they can give you insight into their lives and how a certain race of people lived. Not knowing things like that will prevent you from getting an idea of what life was like in a certain historical period, which isn’t very good.

I also liked the World Tour part of the history class, because it showed that other nations were developing alongside of Europe. A lot of history classes can give you the idea that only one nation develops at a time because they latch on to one particular nation in history and they don’t say a word about any other place in the world. This history class does not teach that way, and I am grateful for it. Otherwise, history would be one confusing mess.

I really enjoyed the way Mr. Fish taught my history class, because he made history look and sound interesting, and I have knowledge about things I never knew before in history. I loved this year’s history, and I look forward to possibly doing the 8th grade history class. Thank you for a great year!

Week 32 English: The Poetic Creed

Assignment: For this week’s writing assignment, write a poem on the following topic:

Topic: Write a poem of at least 25 lines describing a moment or object in your life.

Your assignment should be one typed page in length

I believe in God, in the heavens above, creator of all things.
I believe that the government has ruined our life, they act like kings.

Abortion is wrong, and it kills innocent souls that the holy God created.
I believe that Christ, son of God, died to save my forsaken soul from the fires of hell and being devastated.

I am a stubborn sort, not easily swayed from his beliefs.
I refuse to acknowledge horrible people, I need a release.

Internet trolls are not very nice, and they destroy a fun experience, so help them repent.
I believe that the internet needs to be cleaned up, the trash, it has gone on a downhill descent.

I believe that cats are superior to dogs in every way, because they do not stretch my sanity.
343 Industries ruined the best game series ever, so I rally to depose them from their throne of profanity.

Microsoft only cares about money, so try to make that known.
I am not one to be easily scared, so please, if you try, you will be thrown.

I love my family very much, and am thankful they love me so.
I believe that God will save us all, and that we all need to repent and follow Him and go.

God will provide us everlasting life, if we just believe in him. Amen.

Week 35 History: Africa and the Egyptian Empire

Writing Assignment: Write a one to two page paper on one of the following topics:

– History of the Middle East
– History of Africa
– History of Oceania and Southeast Asia
– History of China and India

Africa is one of the earliest nations in the world, as the events in the Garden of Eden were supposed to have taken place there.

The continent of Africa started out as being extremely primitive, with the early people only having basic survival knowledge. They rapidly invented new things such as weapons and tools, along with clothes. The early people also lived off the land, and hunted for survival.

The one thing early people did not have, was metal. That all changed when somebody discovered that a certain rock melted when placed in a fire. This led to the discovery of metal, which in turn led to better tools and easier survival.

Eventually the wheel was discovered, and people also were becoming less primitive and more like the intelligent human beings we know today.

These events are what led to the beginning of the great kingdoms of Africa. One of the first happened to be the Egyptian Empire, famous for building the great pyramids. They began sometime around 3000 B.C.  and rapidly became the largest empire in Africa at the time. They made adobe-style homes made out of rudimentary bricks, and they filled them with elaborate furniture, idols to their gods, and, sometimes, paintings. Whenever a pharaoh, their leader, died, he would be buried in a massive pyramid such as the ones to the left.

Egypt was a divided nation, until a conflict united upper and lower Egypt together. Each nation actually had their own crown, and when upper and lower Egypt was united, the crowns joined to make one, symbolizing the uniting of the two nations into one.

The Egyptian Empire is one of the most well known kingdoms in history, mainly because tons of records were kept and found, and there are tombs that have been found. This is the last normal history essay I will be doing this year, so I hope you enjoyed reading it!

Week 31 English: A (sort-of) Poetic Summary of the Events in the Odyssey

Assignment: For this week’s writing assignment, write an essay on the following assignment:

Topic: Summarize the story line of books 9-12 in the Odyssey. 

Your assignment should be two to three typed pages in length.

NOTE: I decided to write this in an almost-poem style, since it has somewhat poetic language. Again, I am not great at poems, so I apologize if it sounds weird.

These books begin with the tale of how Odysseus led a failed raid on the island of Cicons. Odysseus and his men are caught in a storm-they end up on the island of the Lotus-eaters. These people give Odysseus’s men food that makes them just want to stay there and forget all about everything that has happened.

The lotus-drunken men are dragged away, and instead of sailing peacefully on, Odysseus and his men eventually land on the island of Polyphemus, the Cyclops.

While Odysseus is sleeping, curiosity overcomes his men. They open a bag Odysseus was given, and the blustering winds bring them back to Aeolus. The men barely escape with their lives and end up on the island of Circe. Half the men go on an expedition, are beguiled by Circe, and after feasting on enchanted foods, are turned into pigs.

One of the more wary men, who had been watching from a distance, ran back and tells Odysseus what had happened. Odysseus goes to confront Circe, and on the way, runs into the messenger god, Hermes. He forces Circe to turn his men back to humans and the men stay on Circe’s island for another year.

The men remind Odysseus of his beloved Ithaca. Odysseus tells Circe that his men want to leave, so she lets them, but tells him that he must gain advice from the dead. The ship sails to the end of the earth, where Odysseus performs sacrifices to the dead and enters the Underworld.

Odysseus eventually cracks under the strain of being in the land of the dead and runs back to the living worldThe last of the trials Odysseus is to face with his men is soon to come; they land on the island where the cattle of the sun are kept. They stay on the island for some time, and finally, one day, when Odysseus is praying for mercy, the men gang up and eat the cows.

The thunder god Zeus is outraged at this treacherous act. Storm clouds gather, the ship is wrecked, and all but Odysseus drown.

Odysseus, sad and woeful,  travels to an island and tells of his sad tale.

Week 34 History: The Battle of Jumonville Glen

Writing Assignment: Write a one to two page paper on one of the topics in this week’s history lessons:

– Atlantic Slave Trade
– William Wilberforce
– Taxation Acts in Great Britain
– Battle of Jumonville Glen

The Battle of Jumonville Glen is one of the most famous battles in the history of America, even if it only lasted 15 minutes and was fought between Englishmen, Indians, and Canadians.

The English side was led by none other than George Washington himself. The English were opposing against the EVIL FRENCH, who were led by Joseph Coulon de Villiers (his name was so incredibly long that I shortened it for your sake).

The battle started on May 28, 1754 in the state of Pennsylvania. George Washington and his men were sent to protect a small fort that was under construction. Unfortunately, the French had gotten there first, apparently having driven off the construction workers.

Now the English had been warned previously by Jumonville, a Canadian, not to trespass on French territory. George really paid no attention to this, and set up an ambush against the fort.

The ambush was a huge success, resulting in the battle only lasting 15 minutes and the opposing forces being devastated, which meant that this battle had a very large and long-lasting impact. Tons of Canadians were killed, including Jumonville (the poor soul).

The other French forces in America were really ticked off by this, so they sent reinforcements (commanded by Jumonville’s brother, no less) to the fort where George and his men were holed up.

The French overwhelmed George’s forces, and he was forced to surrender, albeit reluctantly. He acted extremely flippant and did not even read the “terms of surrender”, partly because they were written in French, and partly because he did not care.

The death of Jumonville had officially made waves around the world, which soon resulted in the British Empire sending an army over to the fort to dislodge the French.

These events had officially set into motion the beginning of the Seven Year’s War, and, eventually the Revolutionary War itself (also commanded by George Washington). Sadly, I will not be writing about the Revolutionary War this year, but I will eventually!

Week 30 English: A (sort-of) Poem About George Whitefield

Assignment: For this week’s writing assignment, write an essay on the following assignment:

Write a poem, similar in style to those of Alfred Tennyson, about one of your personal heroes and his/her accomplishments. Your assignment should be about one typed page in length.

(This isn’t really the best poem I have ever written, mainly because I hate writing poems, and I cannot make any sense of them, either)

George was born into a very poor family that lived in a place many say is a wrong starting point, in the great town of Gloucester, England.

Almost nothing is experienced about his time of being young, but he suddenly came into view again onto the map when he got into Oxford organization for higher education. Despite his parents being poor, he was able to give attention to Oxford by being a lowly worker there.

While at Oxford, he had meeting with the Wesley brothers, and joined a sort of very good club with them. With the Wesley brothers, he would eventually found a Methodist Church later in his living.

In the end, while at Oxford, he had a make into different sort experience after finally crying out in request to do with religion to God one day. After this experience, he was very readily moved by feelings about the things of God and took teaching them very seriously.

After becoming a views-giving person, he journeyed to the American countries under the control of another as a church division man of religion, and while there, he discovered an orphanage that had very serious questions, so he decided that this orphanage would become his livings work, in company with putting forward views. He then returned to England to lift funds and go on giving a talk.

George visited the countries under the control of another a total of seven times in his living before he died and was put under earth there, having been one of the most influential leaders of his time.

(This isn’t really the best poem I have ever written, mainly because I hate writing poems, and I cannot make any sense of them, either)