Really Old News-The French Revolution

By Teddy Walker

The French Revolution happened between 1787 and 1799. It’s often referred to as the Revolution of 1789 to distinguish it from later revolutions in France. Over the course of the revolution, the French feudal system was destroyed and Napoleon became the ruler of France.

The revolution, like all great political change, had many driving factors. Among them included the rising price of bread, high taxes, national debt, and poor harvest. Much of France’s problems with money were due to their support of the American revolution. The support of the United States left France on the verge of bankruptcy and caused the Monarchy to increase taxes on the nation. This largely affected those who were not of noble birth, of which there was a massively increasing number.

Between 1715 and 1800, the european population had doubled in number. This, combined with a growing commoner merchant class and better education and living conditions, caused a significant degree of political unrest as the lower classes sought to remove the last vestiges of the feudal system from their lives. While this problem was prevalent throughout Europe, it was much more of an issue in France as it had the largest population of any european nation and a crippled economy.

In 1789, the period known as the Great Fear began. On July 14, Parisian rioters took the Bastille (a large fortress in Paris) to secure weapons in an effort to prevent an aristocratic conspiracy. In the days that followed, the estates of the wealthy were attacked and many feudal documents proving nobility and the like were destroyed.

In 1792, France declared war on Austria. The monarchy hoped that the war would either enforce the power of the crown or allow another nation’s army to save the king from his own people. A few months latter, the kingdom of Prussia joined with Austria against France and battles largely resulted in french defeat for the rest of the year.

In early 1793, the french king was put on trial before the national convention ( a proto-senate/parliament of sorts) and sentenced to death for treason. Latter in the year, the reign of terror began. The reign started on 19 Fructidor, year 1 and ended on 9 Thermidor, year 2. If you don’t know when that is it’s because revolutionary France decided to use a stupid calendar that didn’t work very well because time doesn’t fit into a metric system. From mid 1793 to mid 1794, about 300,000 people were arrested by revolutionaries. About 17,000 were tried and executed while many more were killed without trial or died in prison.

Following a victory over Austria and the reoccupation of Belgium, the reign of terror was ended. This led to another, albeit smaller, wave of unrest across France. During this time, royalist revolutionaries attempted the “white terror” and tried to seize control of Paris. They were crushed by the armies of Napoleon and were unsuccessful in reinstalling the monarchs.


Stardew Valley and How I Discovered I’d Be Okay With Being A Farmer

By Lola Burris

Stardew Valley teaches you that each day is precious.

Stardew Valley is a game about moving to live on your grandfather’s farm, which he left to you when he passed, in a small town named Stardew Valley. Our protagonist is fed up with working for big corporation,Joja Mart, and decides it’s time to stop slaving away in a cubicle and actually breathe.

A lot of people compare this game to Harvest moon, and that makes sense; I think that was the developer, Concerned Ape’s, intent. But, I grew up playing Harvest Moon, those games are very dear to me, and I’m not afraid to say that Stardew Valley improves upon Harvest Moon in every way possible and is ultimately better. Stardew Valley taught me more about connections than any other game I’ve played thus far.

In Stardew Valley you fall into a rhythm while playing: wake up, check the weather, water your plants, pet your chickens, say hello to pierre in his store, give a gift to that pretty girl, go down a few more levels in the mine than you did yesterday, and go to bed. You do this every day, but somehow it never grows boring because you’re always progressing. Each relationship grows simply by saying hello, every time you harvest your crops you have more money to buy more seeds than you did last time, over time you’ll sell enough eggs to buy another chicken coop, or maybe a barn.

There is so much to do in this game: if you’re happy with how your farm looks (which you never are but whatever) you need to fill out the museum, if you’ve filled out the museum than maybe you want to finish every romance route (there are lots). I could speak for hours about every character in this game, but they’re so special that I just want to leave it to you to play. Basically I’ve put an embarrassing amount of time into this game.

Stardew Valley was my favorite game of 2016, by a large margin. This game is so so special to me, and I think it’s going to be a game that stays with me for a long time.

Thank You for Smoking

By Noah Beaver

What if I told you that there was a movie that made giant corporations look appealing, lobbyists promoting good health like scum bags, and that smoking is cool as hell? That movie is Thank You for Smoking.

Our protagonist is Nick Naylor, played by Aaron Eckhart. He’s a spokesperson for the world’s biggest cigarette company. His job is to convince as many people as possible that smoking is good for you.

His antagonist is a senator from Vermont, played by William H Macy. He’s trying to prove what should be obvious: that smoking kills. His overall goal is to make it

mandatory for cigarette companies to put image labels that warn about the effects of Tobacco.

With this description alone, you’d probably think of Nick Naylor as the bad guy, just like in an after school special. However, that’s not the case. Nick’s job is to convince the masses of the pros of smoking. And the thing is, he’s great at it. He convinces by having actual valid points, such as the fact that cholesterol is a much bigger killer than cigarettes, if cigarettes should have a giant warning label, shouldn’t also Vermont cheese?

His rival is trying to put a giant label with a skull on crossbones on all cigarette boxes, so that everyone will know of the dangers of smoking. But the fact is, everyone knows about the dangers of smoking. Schools and parents both already warn of the dangers of smoking, as they should. So why should a cigarette box do the same? Nick believes that with the knowledge present, people have the right to choose for themselves.

You may still believe that this movie isn’t worth watching, because you still don’t believe in it’s message. You probably have family members who have lost their lives to smoking. So, have I, and I don’t believe that smoking is good for you at all, or that cigarettes companies should have the freedom to sell to everybody. And neither does this movie.

A story almost always gives you a clear good guy and a clear bad guy. Or maybe it will give you a redeemable bad guy, or even no bad guys at all. Part of the genius of this movie is, neither are obvious. The smoking company is corrupt for trying to make as much money as possible, selling the deadliest substance in the world. But the lobbyists against it are just as corrupt, they use the same advertising tactics cigarette companies use to influence the public, censor media from having any of the characters smoking (even as far as to censor old ones by replacing the characters smoking with having a lollipop or candy cane in the mouth), and profit from raising the tax dollars of cigarettes.

If you’re a fan of comedies/satire, watch this movie. If you want a reason to smoke, watch this movie. If you believe that all smoking should be banned, and that you’re 100% sure that this film would do nothing but offend you, watch it. Because the only thing offensive about this movie, is the message, and the only possible danger you could get from it is finding out that your beliefs are wrong.

PS Also this film is rated R. That’s only because it uses “the f-word” too many times, it doesn’t use any swear words stronger than that, nor does it include any naughty body parts.

Kinds of Monotony that aren’t Monotonous

By Eden Pearl

Something of an introduction to a rant/self help book in the form of a blog post, written by a teenager to evoke the feelings of companionship & understanding/An Attempt to replicate a blogger

Mornings are never the same. I’ve often wanted desperately that bleeding, beautifully scheduled monotony, but it was never destined for me. Boredom is the least of my problems. Boredom is a lovely feeling, as when I experience boredom I know that there are no hidden worries under the doorstep. When I’m bored, I’m not scared (I can think of three times I’ve felt genuine fear, There are few feelings as safe as boredom). Happy is wonderfully painted but it’s destined to end. I’m not nihilistic; I think everything matters. For those that are lucky enough to have monotony; I am pleased for you. You’ve accomplished what I’ve always pleaded with myself to achieve. However, if your boredom is crushing, crushing your feet and back of your neck, I’m afraid that’s not quite boredom anymore. We may have a bigger problem than I have a solution for. And why shouldn’t you bite off more than you can chew? If you feel good enough where you want to take that risk, and it’s not something bubbling up from your throat simmering in the back of every moment you know, then be wary. If you’re looking for something to make you happy, I don’t have an answer for you. Nothing can make you happy. But, see, again, there are people who seem to have found relief in their god or gods or goddesses which can be a way to start progress towards happiness. But it isn’t the god that makes you happy, it’s the stories and teachings that teach you to take care of yourself. When people finally get happy, they thank god, which is perfectly alright, no problem. All to them. When people start taking care of themselves, their life changes. Now, I do not mean this with the intent of “go take a bubble bath and get over it”. We all know that’s bull. If you want to feel okay enough to spend your free time, to use your free time well enough to learn guitar, there is a different way to go about it. Most people want to do things. It’s hard to do things. What I realized, (actually just now, maybe this will be edited out later) is that no matter how much you want to pack your schedule, fill your day with tennis and language and school and music, you can’t do it all at one. There’s a reason New Year’s resolutions or fad diet plans don’t go out the way you want them too. Because no matter how much planning you do, your plan for yourself will always be out of reach. If you are someone who takes tennis and ballet and swims competitively while simultaneously competing with the top minds in the nation, you’re either someone being forced to do these things or you have your life together. Polar opposites. If you’re really being controlled, you’re not happy. You can be happy, but most of your days have some sort of cloud over them, whether it be the raining or snowing or hailing type. If you don’t really relate to any of these things, that’s absolutely fine! People like different things; you’re not expected to like everything. But maybe this is not for people who are looking for a quick answer on how to feel good this second. I suppose this is written for those mentally ill, depressed, anxiety-ridden, or people with problems that won’t go away. I’m not here to tell you how to live your life, but I kind of am, however, most importantly, you don’t have to listen to me. Do with my thoughts what you will.

Signing off, a teenager constantly searching for answers

(I’ve written about nothing here)

You got pulled over, congratulations!

By Andy Murray

You got pulled over, congratulations!

You did something stupid and got noticed by the popo. The first question you should ask yourself is: Why did you get pulled over?

The answer should be something like this:

(A) I was speeding.

(B) I ran a red light.

(C) I have a warrant for armed robbery.

Once you know why it is happening, let it happen. Be sure to keep your hands on the steering wheel and answer all of the questions truthfully, don’t talk yourself into a ticket… that’s never good.

Talking yourself into a ticket is saying something like:

(A) I pay your salary.

(B) You have no cause to pull me over.

(C) See you in court bub.

Mean stuff like that.


Next is the handing of the identification.

Your officer will ask for you drivers license and proof of insurance. A driver’s license is that little card with the photo you keep in your wallet. The insurance is usually in the glove box and lets your officer know that you don’t want to pay for anyone’s car when you hit it.

Next, they will check your insurance to the car’s vin (Vehicle Identification Number) located on that sticker on the windshield.


They will then go back to their car and run you through NCIC/TCIC (National Criminal Information Center/Texas Criminal Information Center), this will tell them if you are a criminal or not.

They will then either give you a citation (Equivalent of a Class C Misdemeanor [Fine up to $500]) or a Verbal Warning. The you can leave, just don’t be the person that burns their tires and speeds away, that will just get you pulled over again.

Drive safe! (you terrible driver)

Three Small Stories

By Jacob Gantenbein

Three Small Stories:




The cocoons:


Green, Pink, Blue, and Yellow;

These are all of the colors they were proud to show off together in their little tree. They whispered to each other silently as they hung there for years… until something happened that none of them could predict. The wind blew through and they smashed into each other and some of them were even broken. Yet, no funerals could be held. The other cocoon sets were too far on the tree to hear what was happening. This tree was quite for the rest of it’s time hoping that would stop the wind, and it did. The cocoons, they hung there forever, beside their dead friends until the next gust of wind which never came, all thanks to the tree.


The Discount Ark:


Need to save every species of animal that exists on your planet?

Maybe you are suffering from a large flood? Or perhaps the sky is falling? Or maybe fidget spinners were just discovered by anyone born after 2001? Buy a discount ark! Don’t bother with Noah’s, it’s far too big and expensive. Our design is simple and comfortable! It’s baseball bat shape gives everyone onboard the same sensation you had as a kid in little league when you got hit by a bat! It’s floats nicely and is shielded from all sides! THERE ARE NO EXITS

You can’t know how great it is until you give it a shot! YOU WON’T REGRET IT.


Mixing Paint:


“Are we mixing paint?” Sarah said to the wall knowing he’d hear her. The wall began to warp as if it had been soaked in water for hundreds of years.
“Why though?” Sarah crossed her arms. The paint on the wall started to flake itself off.

“No! You shut up! I’ve had with this Jenn. I can’t be the only one in this relationship who tries! I can’t be the only one who has the paint Jenn!” Sarah turned away from the wall. The wall moved and brushed up against Sarah. “You’re selfish Jenn!” Sarah pushed the wall away.

“I can’t…” the wall was shaking and a crack began to stretch from one end of itself to another. It sounded like bones under a press; like dry macaroni under a shoe.
“Jenn…” Sarah moved closer. Sounds of flesh echoed through the crack in the middle of the wall like cooked macaroni still under a shoe. A thick liquid oozed from the crack like some kind of slime. Sarah’s eyes opened wide and her lips stretched to a smile just like the crack the wall.

“The paint!” She hugged the wall. “You’re the best girlfriend ever Jenn.”



“OASIS” – a short story and photos by Jacob Gantenbein



Part 1: Unclear Beginnings

It’s tough being curious. But we all do it. Might as well embrace it, otherwise, you’ll never get anything done.
Annie was a curious teenager. However, it is not his fault. He was fed stories from generations.

Stories of beasts and magic growing on and on, past the city walls above the ground. Stories of things possible that would never be in his world. It was forbidden to walk among the surface for reasons he never understood. However, that didn’t stop him. If it did, what kind of story would this

Be? He, being the prince of the city, was always under high watch. Always cared for and never given much freedom at all.

How do they know it’s bad?

He asked himself.

It’s not like they’ve ever been up there?

He asked these questions constantly on long nights watching the stars through the front gates that had never been opened.

It was late and the moon still shone through the bars of the cage they called home. Occasionally darkened out by the clouds.

Annie had devised a plan. He had been preparing the night beforehand for hours and had finally mustered the courage to pull through.
He had put sleeping elixir in the guards’ water supply and waited patiently.

He watched them drop one by one.

“What’s happening?”

He said.

“I’m scared.”

He said.

And they believed him. He walked over them and out to the city gates where he climbed. He swung his bag around and tightened the straps and just went up.

Part 2: The Lake Sabrina



Lights. Nothing but lights. Blue trees under a purple radiated sky littered with fireflies that never extinguish their flame. Four legged beasts with horns slowly but smoothly trotting across the moving fields illuminated by the sky.

On the other side of the field, in the light of the forest, calmly stood a girl. She saw him and reached out as she could kill the distance between them just by moving her hand.

He saw her and moved. She sank into the ground like a popped water balloon. He kept moving anyway.

He was scared now. And he wasn’t faking it. Still, he was curious and did not stop. Past the animals which ignored him as he moved. Through the ocean of fireflies where everyone of the lights felt like the small touch of another human’s hand.

Directly to the forest where night seemed like day.

The trees were like soft sponges and every touch was a kiss being passed between Annie’s hand and the tree. He was stopped. Frozen still by the sound of rustling approaching him faster than anything human. He glanced one way and then another. He couldn’t find the noise.

Maybe they were right?
He said.

Maybe this is just a death trap?

He said.

I’m going to die. He cried and the rustling stopped. Tap. Tap. Slush. Slush. It was directly in front of him. He peeked out and looked up. A young girl stood over him with hair like a woven blanket. A dress blue like the trees surrounding them with light. They stared into each other’s eyes.

“Who… Are you?” She said.

“My name is… Annie,” His voice hesitated to work again and again. He’s never been asked that question. He was used to everyone knowing who he was.

“What are you doing out here?” They asked in a frightful harmony.

“I live here,” The girl said. “My name is Sabrina. I am the lake.”

Part 3: Never Ending Endings

Time passed and Sabrina and Annie got to know each other quickly. Sabrina hadn’t seen anyone in a long time. No one ever came out to visit her and she got lonely. Annie liked it above ground.

Sabrina was nice and fun even though she was a body of water in a forest full of large creatures and things that could kill you.
Annie liked it a lot.

Day after day, they made songs and laughed and ate glowing fruit from the trees and telling stories about what it’s like above ground vs what it’s like under.

The city sent for Annie and brought back only the desire to venture out again. The want to explore what else there was. More of what they had tasted. Word spread, that the world is not what it used to be. Led by an orange flag, the city people made their voyage out of the dull underground and to the surface.

A new life for them. A new story. Annie was nothing but ready.