July 2, 2015

John Adams' Vision of Independence Day

Did you know that John Adams believed Americans would celebrate Independence Day on July 2nd? This is because the Declaration of Independence was finally approved by the Second Continental Congress on July 2nd, 1776. It was ratified two days later, which is why we celebrate the Fourth of July today instead.

Below is a portion of a letter John Adams wrote to his wife, Abigail Adams, on July 3rd 1776:

"The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward, forevermore.

You will think me transported with enthusiasm, but I am not. I am well aware of the toil, and blood, and treasure, that it will cost us to maintain this declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet, through all the gloom, I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is more than worth all the means, and that posterity will triumph in that day's transaction, even although we should rue it, which I trust in God we shall not."


CHARLENE ZALE

June 2, 2015

The Panasonic LX100

I recently purchased a new camera. This one has been on my wish list since last year. I've been in need of a handy little camera that I can fit inside my crossbody bag so I can carry it with me at all times, one that has a great lens. This one fits that description. I am still learning how to use this camera. Here are a few photographs that I have taken with it so far.













CHARLENE ZALE

June 1, 2015

Simple Joys


I have challenged myself to sit down and write a list of things that fill my heart with joy and gratitude.

The smell and atmosphere inside coffee shops and bookstores.

Inside jokes, coffee dates, kept promises, and forehead kisses.

Witty comebacks, instant friendships, and exploring new places.

Reading a novel in a dark room / mastering a song on the piano.

A baby's laughter, the kindness of strangers, seeing old couples.

Places, songs, and scents that trigger the sweetest of memories.

Capturing new moments with my camera / looking at old pictures.

Night walks, breakfast in bed, falling asleep to the sound of rain.

Sunblock scent, salty beach air, calm boat rides, seaside walks.

Autumn air, sweater weather, the warmth of a coffee filled mug.

Painting while listening to instrumental music / aimless driving.

Handwritten letters, reminiscing, road trips, trying new recipes.

Music discoveries and getting lost in the world of a good book.

Watching history documentaries and visiting old historic sights.

CHARLENE ZALE

May 30, 2015

Jurassic Park and Capitalism


I never imagined this day would come, the day I write about two of my favorite things: dinosaurs and capitalism. Yet here I am. In case you didn't know Jurassic World, the fourth installment of the Jurassic Park films, is set to premiere in theaters on June 12th. These films have been among my favorites since I was child. I have already purchased my ticket and I couldn't be more excited to watch the film. Because the release date is fast approaching, conversations are bound to come up in regards to the nature of the film. I recently had a discussion with someone who proclaimed, "Jurassic Park perfectly depicts why capitalism is evil". I couldn't believe my ears.

The first thing I want to do is debunk this statement. Jurassic Park does not depict the evils of capitalism, it does however depict the fall of mankind and what follows after man tries to play the role of God. Greed is a major theme within these films, no doubt, but only someone who equates greed with capitalism will connect those two together. The unfortunate truth is this, that danger and greed are found in every ideology backed by man because man is inherently flawed.

Let's quickly recapitulate the first film. In 1993 we are introduced to a man named John Hammond who has led the way, alongside a team of researchers and scientists, in the re-engineering of dinosaurs. He decides to capitalize on the creatures with the concept of a dinosaur theme park. He invites two paleontologist and a mathematician to the island, the location of the dinosaurs' habitat, to gain support and approval as to prevent the loss of investors, many of whom feel uneasy about the park due to the recent death of an employee. Long story short: chaos ensues and more blood is shed. In the second film we see that Hammond is a changed man who wants to have the island quarantined. He declares on CNN, "These creatures require our absence to survive, not our help. And if we could only step aside and trust in nature, life will find a way." Here we see redemption in man.

As for Jurassic World, it is set twenty two years after the horrifying events of 1993. The movie trailer shows the dinosaur theme park open to the public with several thousand visitors. As if that's not enough, the scientists decide to take it one step further by creating a new genetically modified dinosaur. And yes, more people are killed. I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume that none of the attendees we see were forced at gun point to visit the park. If we lived in a world where the catastrophic events depicted in the films took place everyone would have knowledge about the devastation of human and dinosaur interaction. Books would have been written and documentaries filmed. Then of course, there's good old common sense (which seems to be disappearing even in the real world). There's no logical explanation for the attendees' willful ignorance. They decided to risk their own lives to see dinosaurs up close and personal for the sake of entertainment. Let's not dismiss the consumer's role in this entire debacle, something anti-capitalists often overlook in general. A demand for a dinosaur theme park in the market place had to have been present in order for someone with no moral code to come along and take advantage.

I am a capitalist, however should I have lived in a science fiction universe in which dinosaurs roamed the earth once more, I would have been outspokenly opposed to the concept of a dinosaur theme park. If you truly hate capitalism, go right ahead, however using the example of men who gamble human life for profit to back your claim of the "evils of capitalism" isn't a well thought out approach. You're essentially capitalizing (oops) on a corrupt man's use of an economic system in which you oppose to make gains (oops, again) on your preferred system. It's easy to highlight flawed men who utilize something that you hate, the challenge is to acknowledge the good that capitalism has done for the world—which outweigh all its "evil" men.

CHARLENE ZALE