Dead Poets Society proves to remain relevant

Story by Meghana Mohankumar

“O Captain! My Captain!”

This famous line was written in a poem by Walt Whitman about the death of Abraham Lincoln. However, it also plays an iconic role in the book Dead Poets Society, written by Nancy H. Kleinbaum.

The first time I picked up this book I thought the beginning was slow and it was hard to remember who all of the characters were, but after the introductions, this book takes a turn for the better.

Dead Poets Society is set in a prestigious all-boys boarding school called Welton Academy. The school takes pride in its successful students who get accepted into Ivy League schools. According to the headmaster, Gale Nolan, the key to success at Welton Academy involves four pillars: tradition, honor, discipline, and excellence. 

The book starts slowly by introducing all of the characters. The main character, Todd Anderson, is the shy new kid. Almost everyone at the school seems to have their whole life planned by their parents. Even when it comes to decisions as simple as extracurriculars, these boys do not have any say in what they do.

Then, John Keating is hired as the new English teacher. Keating changes the way the boys think about their entire lives. Unlike the other teachers at Welton Academy, Keating uses unconventional methods like ripping pages out of the textbooks and having the students call him “O Captain! My Captain!” to show them that language is a powerful tool and the importance of being able to express themselves through words. 

The boys then find out that Keating used to be a student at Welton Academy and that he used to be a part of the Dead Poets Society. This was a group of students who would meet in a nearby cave to read poetry. So, the boys decide to restart the Dead Poets Society. They use Keating’s lessons to discover who they truly are and what they are passionate about.

This book is filled with several surprises and twists. Some find love while others find themselves. The last half of the book is filled with challenges the boys must face and a bittersweet ending.

Kleinbaum’s writing makes the reader understand the pressure the boys feel. Her descriptive language shows you how passionate the characters are.

The Dead Poets Society teaches you to appreciate the beauty of life and emotion. While poetry has never been an interest of mine, this book teaches you to love poetry and to enjoy it. The Dead Poets Society relates to younger audiences by discussing the pressure students feel when it comes to their future and how to truly live. What I loved most about this book was how inspirational it was. It made me rethink everything. Keating does not only teach the students at Welton Academy, but he also teaches the reader when he whispers, “Carpe Diem. Seize the day. Make your lives extraordinary.”

Quotes like these make the Dead Poets Society an inspirational book that can relate to so many people around the world.

Report Card:

Author- Nancy H. Kleinbaum

Published in 1988

Pages- 176

Based on the script for the movie written by Tom Schulman starring Robin Williams

Grade: A

Age rating: PG

A Baddude’s Journal Underrated Athlete Spotlight: Junior Bella Barney

By J.D. McKay

Right now all spring sports are in jeopardy. The coronavirus has shut down sports leagues, but the IHSAA still has not shut them down yet; and like all spring athletes, junior thrower Bella Barney hopes they do not, because she has big goals for the season. 

Since her freshman year, her throws have gotten longer and she has finished deeper in the state tournament each year. Now, she wants to make a splash at regionals and go to state. 

“I want to go to state this year,” said Barney. “I scored last year at regionals but want to get top 3 this year and get my chance at state.”

The work she puts in year round for throwing makes going to state doable, though.

“I work-out and condition hard year round. I probably put in 10 hours a week throwing,” said Barney. 

Throwing has been a big part of her life for several years, leading to her success her first two years in high school as a varsity thrower. 

“I started when I was in seventh grade,” said Barney. “I started because it looked like fun and it was something new to try.”

While it sounds like she has enjoyed throwing, that is not her favorite part of track and throwing. 

“I like getting to workout with friends while we all work toward a common goal,” she said. 

The best advice Barney has ever been given about throwing came from coach Codie Hamsley, and it was short and sweet. 

“He said just throw it hard,” said Barney. “So that’s what I try to do.”

Top 10 binge-worthy shows to stream during this pandemic

Story by Gracie Vanover

On Monday, March 23 Governor Eric Holcomb announced that Indiana would be going into a shelter in place lockdown until April 7 at least. With most of us being stuck in our homes most of us turn to television as a form of entertainment. Of course, most of us wonder what shows are best to binge? Over the past two weeks, I have done a lot of binge-watching so here are my top 10 picks across all streaming platforms.

10. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is a hilarious title that has 14 seasons and is still going. The show is about a group of friends and their hijinks. The show is basically a slightly more vulgar version of Friends. The group, who call themselves “The Gang,” own a bar called Paddy’s Pub; however, it is not exactly a successful business. This group of friends loves nothing more than embarrassing each other and scheming to put themselves ahead in life. Whether it is impersonating officers or creating an absurd musical to get a girl, this group of friends will do whatever it takes to make fast cash. Overall the comedy and writing of this show are what makes this show so binge-worthy — a must-watch for comedy lovers.

Where to Stream Hulu
Age Rating TV-14
Notable Actors in the Show Danny Devito
Seasons & Episodes 14 seasons and 154 episodes
Favorite Episode “The Nightman Cometh”

9. Community

Ranking number nine on my list is the show Community. After being suspended from his law firm for lying about his degree, Jeff Winger [Joel McHale], goes to community college to get his degree. After meeting a cute activist [Gillian Jacobs] in one of his classes, he makes a fake study group to get to know her and from there the rest is history. As the “study group” continues these adults get into all sorts of trouble and soon see that community college is more than what they bargained for. Although the group argues non-stop, the chemistry in the friend group is like no other, which makes the show really stand out. This show is relatable, which makes it even funnier and a great watch, especially late at night when you need something to fall asleep to.

Where to Stream Hulu, Netflix
Age Rating TV-14
Notable Actors in the Show Chevy Chase, Donald Glover
Seasons & Episodes 6 seasons and 110 episodes
Favorite Episode “Advanced Advanced Dungeons and Dragons”

8. The Good Place

Have you ever wondered what life is like after you died? Well, welcome to the Good Place. After dying, Eleanor Shellstrop [Kristin Bell] is relieved to find herself in the Good Place. After living in the Good Place for a while, Eleanor discovers something; she was not supposed to be here. While hiding for the leaders of the Good Place, she learns how to change her ways in order to be accepted and good enough for the Good Place. With help from her soulmate Chidi [William Jackson Harper] and some of her neighbors, nothing can stop Eleanor from becoming someone good enough for the Good Place. This show is intense since Eleanor is essentially on the run, which makes it exciting to watch. The humor in this show is like no other, especially since they cannot curse in the Good Place. I recommend this show for those wanting to follow a comedic but dramatic plot.

Where to Stream Hulu, Netflix
Age Rating TV-14
Notable Actors in the Show Kristin Bell, Marc Evan Jackson
Seasons & Episodes 4 seasons and 53 episodes
Favorite Episode “Janet(s)”

7. Atypical 

Atypical is a heart-warming comedy following the life of an autistic teenager named Sam Gardner [Keir Gilchrist]. The show follows Sam through high school and college life, which he struggles with. After announcing to his family he wants to try to date girls, his father, Doug [Michael Rapaport], uses this to connect with his son. As Sam becomes more independent, his mother, Elsa [Jennifer Jason Leigh], struggles to find something else to do; especially since his sister Casey [Brigette Lundy-Paine] focuses on track and Doug is away due to being a paramedic. Inside each character is a layer of struggle and drama which makes this show so binge-worthy and exciting to watch.

Where to Stream Netflix
Age Rating TV-14
Notable Actors in the Show Michael Rapaport
Seasons & Episodes 3 seasons and 28 episodes
Favorite Episode Searching for Brown Sugar Man

6. Bojack Horseman

Now a huge forewarning on this show is that it is heavily filled with darker humor. The show Bojack Horseman follows the main character of the same name who is a washed-up actor. Throughout the series, Bojack [Will Arnett] is haunted by his past and his decisions. As he recovers from being an alcoholic and depressed, Bojack tries to write a memoir to make himself relevant again with the help of ghostwriter Diane Nuygen [Alison Brie]. Something special about this show is an adult cartoon, like Archer. I do not see many of those that grow to be popular, so it makes it more appealing to me. This show is definitely for those with a darker sense of humor [and plots based around it] and a fan of adult cartoons. 

Where to Stream Netflix
Age Rating TV-MA
Notable Actors in the Show Will Arnett, Paul F. Tompkins 
Seasons & Episodes 6 seasons and 77 episodes
Favorite Episode The View From Halfway Down

5. Bob’s Burgers

Another binge-worthy adult cartoon is Bob’s Burgers. The show follows the Belcher family and their struggling burger restaurant. While Bob [H. John Benjamin] and Linda [John Roberts] struggle to run the restaurant, the kids help out and attend school where most of their troubles and fun happen. Each episode follows a new plotline so this is a good show for people who need background noise or something to fall asleep to. The humor in the show matches that of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Community. If you find yourself enjoying those shows then Bob’s Burgers is for you, too.

Where to Stream Hulu
Age Rating TV-14
Notable Actors in the Show H. John Benjamin, Kristen Schaal
Seasons & Episodes 10 seasons and 189 episodes
Favorite Episode Tinarannosaurus Wrecks

4. Dexter

If serial killers are interesting to you then this show is for you. Dexter Morgan [Michael C. Hall] is a blood-spatter analyst and undercover serial killer. But there is a catch. He only kills criminals who escaped through loopholes in the law. Alongside officers, like his sister Debra [Jennifer Carpenter], he leads a “normal” life in the Miami Metro Police Department. However, he is starting to struggle with juggling his double-life. Throughout the series, each season is based on a new overarching serial killer that Miami Metro is working to take down while Dexter struggles with smaller criminals and his “dark passenger.” Dexter is a binge-worthy drama for those infatuated with serial killers and crime shows. With each episode ranging around 45-minutes, there is plenty to binge. 

Where to Stream Netflix
Age Rating TV-MA
Notable Actors in the Show Michael C. Hall, Desmond Harrington
Seasons & Episodes 8 seasons and 96 episodes
Favorite Episode The Getaway

3. The Handmaid’s Tale

In our society today dystopian novels and shows are all the rage. Based on the 1985 dystopian novel of the same name The Handmaid’s Tale is a show written like no other. In a world where fertility rates have plummeted, women have become handmaids in order to give infertile women babies. June [Elisabeth Moss] has been assigned to the Waterfords and throughout the show has flashbacks of becoming a handmaid. However,  in the Waterford household, June discovers Mayday, which is a group that are trying to end the madness or escape America. June soon discovers she can either play life safe as a handmaid or be rebellious and save herself and others. The Handmaid’s Tale is such a well-written drama that makes you come back for more with each season. Episodes are around 45-minutes so there is plenty to watch until the release of season four in the fall.

Where to Stream Hulu
Age Rating TV-MA
Notable Actors in the Show Elisabeth Moss, Yvonne Strahovski, Alexis Bledel
Seasons & Episodes 3 seasons and 36 episodes
Favorite Episode Postpartum

2. Brooklyn 99

If The Office is your type of show then let me introduce you to its police counterpart Brooklyn 99. Jake Peralta [Andy Samberg] is a carefree cop who does whatever he pleases to solve cases in the precinct. But that all comes to a halt when they get a new captain named Raymond Holt [Andre Braugher]. Holt tests Peralta in every way possible to become a better cop and better the precinct. This workplace comedy should be a binge-worthy favorite for all due to its resemblance to The Office. New episodes release every Thursday so there is plenty to watch during this pandemic. 

Where to Stream Hulu
Age Rating TV-14
Notable Actors in the Show Andy Samberg, Terry Crews
Seasons & Episodes 7 seasons and 137 episodes
Favorite Episode Ding Dong
  1. That 70’s Show

How about we kick it back to the 70s for this final pick. That 70’s Show steps into Eric Foreman’s [Topher Grace] basement and opens the audience up to the typical teenage life in the 70s. This show is filled with tons of innuendos that will make you laugh for days. Characters like Hyde [Danny Masterson] really bring the show to life with the classic 70s hating the government feeling. That 70’s Show is all around amazing. The writing of this show and the character development is immaculate.

Where to Stream Netflix
Age Rating TV-14
Notable Actors in the Show Danny Masterson, Topher Grace, Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, Tommy Chong
Seasons & Episodes 8 seasons and 200 episodes
Favorite Episode Hot Dog

 

Ordinary Man Marks A Victorious Return

By Daniel Anderson

By all accounts, it is a miracle that he has gotten this far.

From his days as a scraggly youth in Birmingham, England to his firing from the band that finally gave him success and prosperity, there have been countless times where people thought his career to have hit a dead end, like many who inhabited the sunless, industrial city from which he came. But such was not the case for the Prince of Darkness.

If someone were to ask who defines metal music, the name Ozzy Osbourne will inevitably be among the first to be mentioned. Whether it be with his synonymous band of origin, Black Sabbath, his illustrious solo career or even any of the various ventures in popular media over the years, the extent of Ozzy’s influence seemingly knows no bounds.

Of course, as is with many who spend time in the limelight, there has been no shortage of hardships, what with notorious substance abuse and legal scrapes being a constant association. In recent times, especially last year, things have unfortunately not fared well either.

In late 2018, several tour dates ended up postponed due to a hospitalizing staph infection accidentally contracted from a fan, but this was merely the beginning of his troubles. Early the following year he wound up in a brief skirmish against pneumonia, and while recovering he suffered a fall which resulted in nerve damage, thus requiring neck surgery (and the postponing of all 2019 tour dates, which all have since been canceled). And to top it all off, in February that same year he revealed that he had recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

Ozzy called 2019 “…the worst, most painful, miserable year of my life.” Considering the countless mishaps throughout his previous decades in existence, it was quite the statement for fans and the public to process.

At this point in his life, there is very little that he has left to prove to the entertainment world. With all the record sales, awards, and accolades he has accumulated along with his shortcomings, Ozzy seems to have realized that time may be closing in for him, however fast or mid-paced it may seem. It is only logical that, if such is the case, then going out with a whimper would be least apropos.

With two teaser tracks released in the latter half of the year, it was soon revealed that the decade-long gap between studio albums would at last be closed in late February with his twelfth full-length project: Ordinary Man.

Even on a cursory glance, this record is an absolute blockbuster. All throughout the tracklist, there are guest musicians and features galore. Tom Morello (of Rage Against The Machine) and Slash (of Guns N’ Roses) on guitars, Chad Smith (of Red Hot Chili Peppers) on drums, plus features from Post Malone and even the Rocketman himself, Elton John, the personnel list is beyond stacked.

Yet still, I went into this album with a fair amount of reservation, as I find that the majority of Ozzy’s works past his 1991 release No More Tears to range from average to lackluster. With so much hardship endured and with such an all-star ensemble to back him, I wanted to see if the ends truly justified the means. Thankfully, this was the case for the most part.

Opening with one of the teaser tracks from last year, the anti-drug rager “Straight to Hell” the bar for what is to come is already set at a decent height. Following a short, angelic choir intro (which is quite a fitting tone-setter considering how long the absence was), a blazing riff enters and the record takes off. While the drum fills and bass certainly do justice, I particularly admire the guitar tone here. The heavily distorted and fuzzy effects added make it nearly akin to the numerous stoner and doom metal acts that follow in Black Sabbath’s footsteps, like Sleep or Windhand.

Despite restraints in his age and conditions, Ozzy’s delivery is surprisingly solid on this track as he devilishly spews lyrics of crippling addiction: “I’ll make you lie, I’ll make you steal and kill / I’ll make you crawl until your final thrill / Enjoy the ride, I’ll plant my bitter seed / You’ll kill yourself and I will watch you bleed.”

Highlights do not end with the intro, as there are other tracks and moments worth listening to. “Under the Graveyard” (another teaser track), is a throwback to 80s arena rock, with its thunderous presentation in its chorus and blazing guitar solo near the tail-end.

 Track 6, “Eat Me” has a reverb-drenched harmonica intro that harkens back to the Black Sabbath classic “The Wizard” before a savory bassline lets loose. Plus, the chorus melody ranks among one of the catchiest in the tracklist. 

The lyrics revolve around campy, macabre perspective of something, or someone being eaten. The true intentions for this are unknown, but in a Reddit AMA Ozzy made a cheeky remark claiming that it is about a golf match.

Then there is the title track, in which Elton John makes his feature appearance. An old-school, lighter-worthy ballad, this song is where both men, especially Ozzy, truly take time for introspection, as they reflect back on their past decisions, triumphs and tragedies, stating that the lives they have lived warrant a legacy that they can be satisfied with, “Yes, I’ve been a bad guy / Been higher than the blue sky / And the truth is I don’t wanna die an ordinary man / I’ve made momma cry / Don’t know why I’m still alive / Yes, the truth is I don’t wanna die an ordinary man.” Considering all the troubles Ozzy has endured in the past year make the sour melodies and guitar lines particularly gut-wrenching.

Unfortunately, aside from specific moments of decency, I did not think that much of the album could climb over the peaks which these songs did. I find that there is not much separating tracks like “All My Life” and “Today is the End,” as the record seems to be defined by the slow or mid-paced ballads thrown about. “Holy For Tonight,” while good in execution, is not far removed from what the title track sets to achieve; it is practically a second attempt.

Curiously, I find that many of this album’s pros and cons parallel with those of Kirk Windstein’s solo album Dream In Motion from last month. Both celebrate and lament the past and present lives of their leads, but sadly suffer from pacing issues in their tracklist. Much like with the closer on Kirk’s record, the decision to make the smash hit Post Malone and Travis Scott collaboration “Take What You Want” the curtain call for this album is quite disappointing, considering the same song closed out Post Malone’s album Hollywood’s Bleeding last year. By no means is it a bad song, it just feels like it was placed in here to pad out the runtime.

The same can be said with the preceding track “It’s a Raid” (also featuring Post). Again, it is not terrible at all, but if “Take What You Want” was left as a bonus track, then it would still amount to a rather anticlimactic finish, despite the ferocious performances it has.

Also, once more like Dream In Motion, the production was quite underwhelming most of the time. The best tracks on the album seem to be the least applied to this (especially the opener), as the guitars and drums are compressed beyond belief in nearly every song. And of course, as I expected it would be, Ozzy’s vocals seem to hinge on the effects used for enhancement, which can make them feel robotic.

Still, I did not let this record’s shortcomings impede that which I enjoyed, which was thankfully present in several moments throughout. If anything, I, like many others, am just grateful that he was even able to get this album finished and released. With all that has happened to him recently, it is nothing short of a gift, a miracle.

If Ordinary Man ends up being the swansong for the Prince of Darkness, then this is a fine note to end on. Cheers to you, Ozzy, I too hope that they serve tea in heaven.

Standout Tracks: “Straight to Hell,” “Under the Graveyard,” “Eat Me,” “Ordinary Man”

Verdict: 7/10

Tracklist:

  1. Straight to Hell
  2. All My Life
  3. Goodbye
  4. Ordinary Man (feat. Elton John)
  5. Under the Graveyard
  6. Eat Me
  7. Today Is the End
  8. Scary Little Green Men
  9. Holy for Tonight
  10. It’s a Raid (feat. Post Malone)
  11. Take What You Want (feat. Post Malone and Travis Scott)

Link to album: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_n3lOLF85jSMEMjDLqYAoiISkQCiv23H1w

 

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