Cigarettes Kill

I stumbled across an article NYTimes article that address an old  health issue that baffles- cigarettes. Although cigaretts are deadly, people continue to smoke them. CIgarettes have always had a glamourous image, despite the horrendous side effects. Not only is the nasty habit addictive, but it can also kill you or even cause cancer. Still, people love their cigarettes. I remember in one of the first Mad Men episodes, the ad agency is representing Lucky Stripes- a cigarette brand. Around this time, the FDA had just released the side effects of smoking cigarettes and the ad agency was attempting to follow new health regulation- putting warnings on cigarette packs- while still generating sales for the tobacco giant. Don Draper- the shows main male character-  couldn’t have said it better, “People love their cigarettes.” He made a good point. It’s nearly 60 years later and people still love their cigarettes.

However, even as cigarette rules around the globe get tighter, I’m not too sure if that will affect the number of people who smoke. The FDA just came out with a new design for cigarette packages that it might enforce. Every tobacco company would have three designs to choose from: a man smoking a cigarette with a hole in his trachea, a dead body laying down on a table in a morgue, and person hold an inhaler. All three designs have warnings on them as well: cigarettes cause strokes and heart disease, cigarettes are addictive, and cigarettes cause fatal lung disease. However, are these messages a surprise to anyone? Maybe visually seeing what your potential future could be if you continued to smoke would stop someone from buying another pack.

In my opinion, that tactic won’t accomplish much. Other countries have changed the design of cigarette pack in order to discourage buyers, but packaging isn’t going to stop someone from lighting up if that’s what they want to do.


Health improvements in public schools

Improving nutrition in school food programs has been an on going debate. Every time I go into Whole Foods I see at least one poster advocating school nutrition improvement. For me, I don’t see the issue. The answer seems to very very obvious. Yes, school food programs should be improved. Poor eating habits don’t develop over night. I remember in middle school I couldn’t wait for the days when Chick Fil a or dominos would sell food products during lunch. The school cafeteria sold nachos, which consisted of chips and a mysterious kind of cheese, buffalo wings, Blue Bell ice cream by the pint,  and other non-healthy food items. Maybe those food options are why I now have an addiction to Chick Fil A and pizza. I’m not so sure. I can’t forget the infamous ice cream vending machine. But, this doesn’t sound like the best combination for a healthy nutrition. If I had been given healthier options, would I have chosen them over the greasy, delicious non healthy options? Maybe not, but this does bring light to the fact that schools have control over what their students are eating.

In high school the food situation was the same. Although the fast food chains weren’t catering to our school, the school lunch line served the same starchy foods. I went to the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts with a focus in dance, so my diet began to change. My instrument was my body , which meant that I needed to care of my body. I began bringing my lunch to school so that I could ensure I was having a nutritious meal. However, I remember being envious of my friends of who went to a private school in the city-they had a salad bar. I love salads and having them readily available would have been so convenient. I would have made the decision to eat a salad if I had the option.

If schools give children the option to eat healthy, or make it their only option, I’m sure we would see an improvement in children’s nutrition. Child obesity is a recurring issue in America, but it can’t improve if proper measures aren’t taken. An article in the NY times addressed this very issue.

Black Swan

I didn’t attend your typical high school. I graduated from the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts with a major in Dance. Although I no longer dance as much as I used to, dance is still a hobby and passion of mine. So, when I heard that Darren Aronofsky – the director of Requiem for a dream, The Fountain, and The wrestler- was releasing Black Swan- a physchological thriller starring Natalie Portman as a ballerina- I couldn’t help but get excited.

But, what really got me excited about the movie, which comes out in December, is that Natalie Portman performs all of the dance routines. As a dancer, I know much hard work goes into learning point. It’s not easy. It’s also very painful. Portman does have a dance background ; however, she did extensive dance training for the role. In the article, which I found in the NY Times, Aronofksy comments on how he is interested in the performance, which is so true. Anybody can have talent, but you have to know how to perform to make your talent standout. Performance is everything.

I remember when I was in high school and all of the upper division dancers couldn’t wait to see whose piece they got casted in for the fall and spring recital. No matter the outcome, you knew what the choreographers were looking for. Each had hi or her own unique style and way of performing. Nevertheless, performance played a large role in whose piece you were casted in. I know that when I go to see a show, regardless of if it’s the theatre or a ballet, I focus my attention on the artist who immerses themselves completely into the role they are playing. Some people are natural born performers, I’m not sure if it is something that can be taught. My best friend Alice and I both went to the same high school and received the same training, but she is without a doubt a better performer than I am. It’s truly unfortunate.


Death of the Book

I began reading the Stieg Larsson detective triology- The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest- this summer; it’s addicting. I became so fascinated by the series that I talked my Aunt into reading the series with me. We wanted to try and make it like a book club. For Mothers Day, her husband gave her an ipad, so she thought that it would be neat to buy the book on her itunes. I was immediatly jealous; however, I couldn’t imagine not having the physical book to read.

I have always been an avid reader. I’m one of those people who loves the smell of library books. According to my aunt, the ipad had a neafty feature that made it more like reading a real book than reading a screen- the pages turned. As cool as that was, I still couldn’t grasp my mind around the idea of not actually reading from a book. I just never caught on with the kindle and ebook trend. An article in the New York Times discussed this very same phenomenon an how it’s growing. Now, apps are being created so that readers can join a chat room specifically designed for the book they are reading. If I had a kindle or an ipad, my aunt and I could have joined a Stieg Larsson book club.

It’s hard to ignore how much technology has changed the way we interact with one-another, and how we do an simple tasks such as reading a book. I think that these new inventions are great; however, I find myself still wanting to just read a book. Maybe I’m old fashioned. I like having a book and feeling the pages. I like how worn out a paperback can look once your done reading it. Honestly, I don’t think that these inventions will be the end of the “book.” But, it’s interesting to think about what will happen to text books, or what will happen to the publishing industry in the years to come.

“iphone”, the cry of a new generation.

When the iphone4 came out, my younger sister vowed that she would get it. Of course, I argued with my mother about how impractical it was for a sixteen year old to get a brand new iphone 4. Nevertheless, a few weeks later, I received a nasty text message from my sister that read, “guess who has the new iphone 4? I do.” She had won. However, I couldn’t be that upset; I loose my phone just about every 3 months. I couldn’t imagine having to replace an iphone every few months.

Surprisingly, this new iphone phenomenon is extremely prevalent among younger generations, which is remarkable since many toddlers don’t even have the funds to buy their own iphone, or know its worth. An article featured in the New York Times reported how the gadget of the year has become the it toy for toddlers. My former boss once remarked that her children will never know the world without iphones. Usually, when people discuss iphones they address how it has revolutionized telecommunications. However, the iphone has become the new pacifier. In order to entertain children and keep them quiet, parents have defaulted to handing over their iphone. Babies have a serious fascination with the phone; however, how is this going to shape their behavioral habits in the future. For a generation that can choose between an ordinary toy, or an iphone, what will happen to the idea of playtime? How will they interact with other children if they are used to being glued to an iphone?

My generation is constantly being ridiculed for being out of touch with reality and secluded from human interaction because of the technology era we have grown up in, but what is being done to correct such degenerate behavior. I can only imagine what children will grow up demanding if an iphone is the only thing that  keeps these toddlers from crying. What happened to barbie dolls and legos? It will be interesting to see what new technologies emerge in the following years. Maybe for toddlers, the iphone will be just another phone. But, what amazes me the most is how easily toddlers are able to use the iphone. Apple is known for its simple and intuitive, but even I still have no idea how to handle an iphone. Clearly, I have some catching up to do.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Although  it is the twenty-first century, the mindset of many Americans hasn’t progressed. Yes, women have rights and slavery is not longer permitted; however, homosexuals still don’t have basic rights. In an age where technology and scientific advancements, why are gay rights still an issue? One controversial issue in particular has come back in the spotlight- the don’t ask, don’t tell policy. As reported in the NY Times, on Tuesday, a federal judge issued a worldwide injunction stopping enforcement of the outdated policy. Finally, the landmark ruling accomplished what our government has neglected to do centuries. This historic step is hopefully one of many to come to homosexuals residing in America.

For years, the don’t ask, don’t tell policy has infringed upon the rights of  servicemen. Servicemen who have fought for our country and protected the American people have had to hide who they are. But, what does their sexual preference even matter. If they are fit for the job and have dedicated their time to serving our country, what difference does it make if they are straight or gay? Some argue that the military has an image to uphold, an image that doesn’t include homosexuals. Others argue that it might jeopardize the performance of other servicemen who feel uncomfortable around homosexuals. However, both of these points derive from close-minded thought.

Recent studies have shown that homosexuality is a result of genetics. Which means that individuals are not necessarily in control of their sexual preference, which many people still believe. Although everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, you can’t dispute science. Homosexuality is a very sensitive and controversial topic. My best friend is gay and it’s unfortunate to see how he is treated from time to time. In American we focus so much on race, but being homosexual is like a race of its own. Why is it that we can put so much effort into working out our differences about ethnicity; however, when it comes to sexuality, that’s another story.

I’m amazed that it has taken this long for the policy to be band. Hopefully, this is just a stepping stone for more progressive action.

What Recession?

For the pas year or so, there has been one topic in particular that has dominated the news: the recession. While Americans have been suffering from for closures, lay offs and all sort of financial issues, there still seems to be a vast number of Americans who have been able to live spend their money as they please. As an Art History minor, I have a great appreciation for art. I also know they value of prominent pieces. It still amazes me that people are willing to spend millions of dollars on art works. If only every one had that kind of luxury.

Despite the economy and reluctant buyers, there are still collectors willing to splurge on art. Specifically, Warhol paintings. Barney Obsworth, a Seattle collector, has decided to sell one of his Warhol soup can paintings, for a good cause.In order to finance a church designed by the Japanese architect Tadao Ando. Obsworth chose the Warhol painting simply because it would make the most money.

He could have chosen a de Kooning or Calder or Pollock to auction of. No big deal. Wrong. On November 10, 2010, Christie’s will be auctioning “Big Campbell’s Soup Can With Can Opener (Vegetable,)”, a 1962 painting of Warhol’s signature image. Auction experts at Christie’s estimate that the painting will sell for $30 million to $50 million. That’s not cheap change. After reading this article my jaw dropped. Of course, being a college student at a private institution, I hear my parents talk about the value of money all the time. Especially during this recession. Everyone seemed to be cutting back. I remember reading another article about the wealthy was still spending a lot of money; however, they were spending their money on different things.

Women in particular were spending the same amount of money are smaller things, rather than larger buys. Maybe this was only true for women. Although I doubt it, this New York Times article reported how the wealthy are still spending just as much money on larger items. Someone is going to buy Warhol’s piece for more than $20 million, which means that that particular market is still surviving. I just can’t get my mind around it. I can’t help but think what else someone could do with that much money. I mean, If you can spend that much money on one piece of art, how much money do you actually have. Money is very fascinating.

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