CLAIM NO. GCML.2015420511

In July of this year my Mom received a letter in the mail from someone named Ana Martinez. My Mom prepared and sent an email, to Mr. Martinez. I would have thought Ana was a woman’ name, not a man’s. For some reason I don’t know, Mom also decided to copy my sister, brother and I on this email and gave us no backstory. So we are part of the journey.

I researched Ana Martinez online and found out a person named the same is the Harrisburg NWC program coordinator and co-pastor of the First Spanish Christian Church of Harrisburg. Perhaps she meant to email him. How my Mom found his information and why he might deserve a letter from my Mom is a mystery… although I have the history of knowing my Mom and that her email might not have been directed to the correct person. There is a person named Ana Martinez at Buiten & Associates Insurance and she is her, not a him, and her email seems to be different than the one my Mom used. I was able to use the context clue of Bureau of Risk and Insurance Management (below). Regardless of this, Mom’s email said:

Dear Mr. Martinez:  The letter you sent to me regarding the accident on Cottman Ave. did not advise me about the reason you would not “Pursue” this matter.  I had been informed previously by the City of Philadelphia that this Ave. becomes “Township Line Rd.” outside of the city.  This incident happened where two lanes become one, and the roadway is painted with faded red lines!  I know nothing about the investigation and the reason why, as stated previously that you have laid the responsibility in my Lap to try and recover something from the home owner (if there is one?  I already stated that the City said it did not belong to them.  I am a 72 year old woman who has survived cancer 3 times, survived six surgeries, and am unable to do what you request.  It would be dangerous for me to knock on peoples’  doors in the area accusing them of owning the tree with the BRANCH that damaged my automobile.  I would like your Supervisor to  find a safer and better way to resolve this situation .  I need your help.  This happened near the City of Philadelphia in which I lived, taught school, worked at the voting, worded @ the voting, and lived  FOR FIFTY YEARS.  I am truly insulted by the way I am being treated by the Bureau of Risk and INSURANCE Management.  I would like a reply to my e-mail!  Please reply to mymom’semailaddress@aol.com asap!  Thank you for your past and present attention to this matter for a Senior Citizen of Philadelphia for 50 Great Years! 

I laughed out loud at how angry it was, and almost immediately dashed out a retort – this is my version of the way the email could have been written:

Dear Mr. Martinez
My email – here is what it says

The letter that you sent
Fills me with regret

I had a little accident
I am not sure what you meant

It happened right on Cottman
I saw them smoking pot, man

Now I am not sure what to do
Since in this matter you will not pursue

“Pursue” is what I mean so it shouldn’t be in quotes
I think the same applies to any “Township Line Roads.”

I live in Beaver Hill just outside of the city
As a driver I rely on other people’s pity

Two lanes become one and I was unprepared
So when the branch fell I got kind of scared

You’re trying to put the responsibility in my lap
I am a 72-year-old woman and I won’t take that crap

I survived cancer at least 3 times
And so far I have created a hundred thousand rhymes

Check it out – because I can swear to ya
I won’t be knocking on peoples’ doors in the area

A six surgery survivor, unable to do what you request
My Mother used to keep her a change purse against her breast

Your Supervisor can find a safer better way to resolve
A situation I need your help with revolves

Around my being a resident City of Philadelphia
I lived and taught school and enjoyed some decent health in a

Manner of speaking, get up off of your ass
FOR FIFTY YEARS I voted when I got out of a class

Teaching the kids that run our city now
I’m insulted by the way you discard me and how

My kids just stand idly by
So if you wouldn’t mind can you GIVE ME A REPLY?

 

 

 

Love you Mom!

 

 

Look Out (Here Comes November)

Look Out (Here Comes November)

…with apologies to The Monkees, who recorded Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow) way back in 1967…

 

Look out, here comes November!
That’s when we’ll have to choose.
How I wish I’d remember,
The difference in win or lose.

Hillary, knows how to tweet, girl.
Lies, like, all the time.
Donald, weird hair and big walls.
Can’t make up my mind!

I feel all types of bizarro,
Why can we only vote once?
Look out, here comes November!
Oh now I bet November I’ll pick a dunce.

TV, said lots about them.
Heard it’s all not true.
But I can’t pick neither one so I…
Don’t know what to do

I feel all types of bizarro,
Why can we only vote once?
Look out, here comes November!
Oh now I bet November I’ll pick a dunce.

Hillary, I love you
Donald, I love you

I feel all types of bizarro,
Why can we only vote once?
Look out, here comes November!
Oh now I bet November I’ll pick a dunce.

Mike Pence, I love you
Tim Kaine, I love you

Hare, The Hammer, Harry Hancock

Hare, The Hammer, Harry, and even Hare Bear, who’s this you ask? Harrison Oliver Hancock.  Being in his senior year as a Media and Communications major with a minor in Business Administration has kept this young man busy throughout his time at DelVal. Some of what he has been and is involved in is being the Vice President of the Drama Club, Treasurer of the Inter-Club Council, and an active member of Colleges Against Cancer, but hands down is most proud of being the Founder and President of the Podcast Club.

Becoming official in January 2016, the Podcast Club has quickly grown in popularity amongst students, departments, and other clubs on campus. Members record themselves ahead of time, talking on a subject of their choosing, which is then posted online on their Youtube and Facebook page. The major’s lack of courses in broadcasting and the fact that there was not a club of the sort already at DVU was the fuel behind Harry’s drive to start the club up.

With all of his experience and involvement that DVU has donned him with, Hancock hopes to either go in to broadcasting or take over the family business and become a funeral director, both of which are worthwhile choice.

As he finishes up school this year, there are some things that he will enjoy reminiscing on. For starters, classes involving media (so anything with Doug McCambridge) or classes with Dr. O’Connor where the first amendment is talked about are and will always be his favorite classes. Like most graduates, he is going to miss friends, professors, memories, and his overall time here at DVU, but leaves the following advice:

“Stay golden pony boy. Don’t eat yellow snow. Take classes with Doug. If life gives you lemons, make apple juice and have people wonder how you did it. Get involved- specifically with the Podcast Club.”

So if you’re looking to voice your opinion, go in to broadcasting, or just want to be involved with more clubs relating to media and communications, email Harry and tell him I sent you! (hancockho6241@delval.edu)

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Long Distance

I once had a mentor who told me that long distance relationships will never work out. At the time, he didn’t realize that I was in a relationship that was about to be long distance. As we sat there I got more and more anxious about the coming months and what they would bring. This isn’t some sappy blog about love conquering all. That mentor of mine was absolutely right about one thing: long distance sucks and it’s really hard. You are more apt to fight with your SO because things can easily be misconstrued via text and it’s easier to remain in a fight because you can just put down your phone and walk away, they aren’t standing right there. So clearly, this isn’t a sappy love blog. I wanted to write this because there are some benefits to long distance and as my fellow classmates and I end our time at DelVal, I feel like it’s important to share these. I want to note however, before delving into my reasons that long distance is ok that my relationship did not start out long distance and that definitely skews my point of view. However, I think these points can still be relevant to anyone who is doing long-distance.

  1. It makes seeing each other so much better. I used to see my boyfriend every day. That meant that doing things together wasn’t as exciting because it became the norm. Since we started being long distance, every time together is very exciting and we try to make the most of it. It also encourages you to not fight as much when together because you want time together to be good time. I’ve seen other friends get annoyed when their significant other ignores them or ditches them for their friends and I realize that I have that problem a lot less now because time together is special.
  2. This point is specifically for college students, you spend a lot less money on each other. When my bf and I both went to the same school, we went out to eat all the time. Also, when you’re together a lot, you try to find new things to do together to keep the relationship exciting. When you’re apart a lot, being together really is all you want. Stay in movie nights and spending hours in the same space studying or reading is the best thing in the world because you’re able to be next to them. Forget weekly dinner dates and trips to the movies, having time alone to talk and catch up is the new thing to do.
  3. If you only see your significant other ever month or so, it really gives you something to look forward to. My summer went by so fast because every day was a countdown to the next time I got to see my bf. You can occupy your mind with planning what you’ll do and hyping yourself up so that the days don’t seem to lag as much.
  4. Speaking of planning, being long distance really makes you assess your relationship. If the person isn’t there physically, it tests whether or not you are compatible emotionally. This may sound corny but hear me out, if you get bored of your relationship while they’re not around, why would you continue to put effort into it. Losing interest is a huge red flag and should lead to a discussion about your plans for the future. On the flip side, if you remain interested by them and continue to enjoy their presence in your life, then it’s a good indication that it could work in the long haul.

Like I said this isn’t meant to be just a sappy love piece. There are definitely trade-offs to long distance dating. Other than the aforementioned fighting via text, it makes your days drag. If you get to see each other on weekends, Wednesdays are the worst. You feel like you’re so far from seeing them and it really kills the mood for the day. If you’re less fortunate, and only see them once a month or every few months, it can be even more killer, but like I said in my third point, it gives you something to look forward to.

 

Nothing replaces having someone physically with you especially when you need a shoulder to lean on. But if long distance is something that is temporary and you are able to make plans to be physically together in the future, the time apart may actually be a blessing.

Oh, by the way, did you notice we are evolving into the planet of the apes. Great. This is the set up.

So maybe you aren’t as familiar with every nuance of the Planet of the Apes movies as me, that is the assumption I am operating under. Why, you ask? I think about the Planet of the Apes often, and most other people I meet do not. Hey, I think you’re great. I don’t mean to come off as insulting or cutting with my remarks. Maybe you haven’t spent as much watching it, or thinking about it as I have. Maybe you have. I actually don’t know nor do I have any way to know. I spend a lot of time watching the movies and TV shows. You may not have had the toys to play with. You may not have watched the movies and TV shows as a kid, like I did. You may not have formed thoughts about it only to re-watch as an adult and find a whole different set of thoughts spring out as a result of the viewing. Or maybe this same thing happened to you, too. Either way, I do have plenty of thoughts about Planet of the Apes and how it relates to things. Just in case it wasn’t already clear, I do not think I am a better person than you, the reader, for your knowledge or lack of knowledge on the subject. Hey, I think you’re great. I am going to set out to prove that we are living in the world that is the run-up to the world in the Planet of the Apes. Holy moley! What if I am right!? OK, time for some disclaimers!

  1. Disclaimer 1: I won’t write with any doubt. If you are expecting me to doubt myself, I do not plan to. I plan to be 100 % confident in what I am saying.
  2. There is some science mentioned or referenced throughout the Planet of the Apes franchise. I won’t be using science, or referencing science in my persuasion. I will more likely be making fun of science than anything else. Why? I don’t want to use science. For example, in Escape from the Planet of the Apes, there is a scene that discusses time travel and how it works, practically, and I will be neither discussing nor handling that conversation.
  3. As much as possible, I will try and avoid spoilers, and while some of these movies are only a few years old (excusable), some are almost 50 years old. Get amazon prime if you don’t already have it and you can rent any or all of the movies for less than five dollars each.
  4. I am going to tie things in our world to things in the world of the movies/TV show/cartoon/book. Be charmed. Be very charmed.

OK, that is out of the way. So, first up, the world of Planet of the Apes is every bit as rich and filled with meaning and power as out own world. So it should be possible to link those things that purport to happen in the series to the real world, making them credible. There is never a shortage of bizarre things happening in our world, so it should fun to string these real and theoretical ideas together. This is just the set-up for the information to follow. Come on, you’ll believe anything.

Let’s go!

 

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Photo of Edward G Robinson, who portrayed Dr. Zaius in the screen test, which was needed to green-light the first Planet of the Apes movie.

Marvelling at the Captains

When I was a kid, I loved super-heroes. Would you have been able to get me to admit that out loud to anyone? Unh, unh, no way. Cool kids didn’t like super-heroes, or at least if they did, they had enough sense to not tell anyone they did out loud. At that time, if you admitted that you loved super-heroes, you got bullied by cool kids. Or was that only my experience?

When I was a kid, it was no good to read comic books and hard to find anyone to talk to about super-heroes. Family? Not really into them or maybe they’re not cool enough. Friends? Well, if you had a friend with a high enough trust level… maybe. MAYBE. Aside from my first friend / cousin Chris, it was kind of weird secret back kept then. Now, thanks to the fact that there are super-heroes making money at the box office, it seems like EVERYone wants to talk about super-heroes. What I love about super-heroes in comic books is that they are a mixture of good and bad elements. Sometimes the bad parts are laughable (examples forthcoming), and sometimes they find just the right mix of pretend fantasy to provide an escape for my mind. Even now, when I am shaped like an adult but may still have the mind of a child, this holds true.

Recently I was in Skippack, PA – a small town close to my home in the burbs, at the local comic book shop there. From what I see in the communities I come in contact with, smaller shops with boutique items seem to be going away. Comic book stores have become even harder to find – truthfully they never were easy to find – which is a shame because they are adorable. If you overhear a shopkeeper talking in detail about a comic he keeps up with to his/her customer, or vice-versa, you will know exactly what I mean. I say to you, go. Go find a comic book store. Seriously, go if you are into comic books, because running a small business isn’t easy and big stores rule the landscape, so stores like comic books stores are going away. Go into a comic book store and you will find stuff and you can read it and I bet you will love it. Anyway, so I am in the aforementioned Skippack and there was a stack of Marvel Essential books clearance priced there. If you don’t know what a Marvel Essentials book is, it is a book where Marvel reprints a whole book-length run of back issues featuring one of their characters. I got two Marvel Essential books because they were half price; one I won’t mention further so you will have to guess what it is. The other: Captain Marvel.

This Captain Marvel is Mar-vell. I mention this because this one was a comic book character from the 1970’s and was printed by Marvel. Do you know the story of the Captain Marvel in the world of DC Comics? Let me tell you. Captain Marvel was taken in a bit of a hostile takeover by DC. Captain Marvel first appeared in Whiz Comics in 1940 and was published by Fawcett Comics. Then, according to Wikipedia:

“Fawcett ceased publishing Captain Marvel-related comics in 1953, partly because of a copyright infringement suit from DC Comics, alleging that Captain Marvel was a copy of Superman. In 1972, DC licensed the Marvel Family characters from Fawcett, and returned them to publication. By 1991, DC had acquired all rights to the characters. DC has since integrated Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family into their DC Universe and has attempted to revive the property several times, with mixed success. Due to trademark conflicts over another character named “Captain Marvel” owned by Marvel Comics since 1967, DC chose to publish the character’s adventures in a comic book titled Shazam! for many years, leading many to assume that this was the character’s name. DC later officially renamed the character “Shazam” when relaunching its comic book properties in 2011.”

Confusing, right? Let me make it even more confusing. Marvel itSELF has published stories of at least seven different Captain Marvels. If Marvel didn’t keep publishing stories with the name Captain Marvel, they would lose their trademark on the name “Captain Marvel”. Spoiler alert: The Captain Marvel I am speaking of in the Marvel Essential book is now dead – he died in the comics circa 1982 – this is the character I am describing. (By the way, there is a brand new Captain Marvel coming to the movies – the female version. Look it up. Go ahead, you are on the internet. Look it up.) I bring all of this up because I knew all of this history when I purchased the Marvel Essential Captain Marvel book and this strange history is right up my alley. It deepens my reading experience!

What I like about this Marvel Essential Captain Marvel particular book: it is totally a sign of the times. The writing, for example – it is chock-full of seventies jargon and cheesy dialogue which is totally and unintentionally hilarious. It also contains some really amazing comic book art. I love the work of artist Jim Starlin, whose art I never really came across anywhere else, in the comic books I read from that same time period. He creates imaginative and moody, trippy comic book visuals that help create the right mood for an outer-space epic. These visuals were a great introduction to a universe that was expanding for the reader in a similar way that it was expanding for the characters. Starlin made a clear distinction between the normal earth scenes which were credible alongside ethereal elements of a “cosmic cube” and battling in space which elevates the reader out of the normal into the wonderfully weird. Whereas I love some of the writers, they are also responsible for a story included here called Shootout at the O.K. Space Station, which is wonderfully awful.

Along with the surface level of just reading these stories for what they are, realize that in the back of my mind I am thinking about the bigger Captain Marvel “picture”. For example, DC versus Marvel; DC comics called their Captain Marvel Shazam and Marvel called theirs Mar-vell. These two competing comic book companies may be competitors, but both of their Captain Marvels share some interesting similarities. In both Marvel and DC, Captain Marvel has an alter-ego. Marvel introduced Rick Jones and DC showed us Billy Batson. The Captain’s alter-ego cannot be in the same place at the same time in either DC or Marvel. When the hero is summoned, the other identity disappears. Crazy coincidence! Captain Marvel has different personalities dependent upon which of these companies is writing and illustrating him at which time. Shazam’s alter-ego, Billy Batson, disappears in a burst of thunder and lightning when he shouts, “Shazam!” in the world of DC. Rick Jones slaps his “nega-bands” (golden bracelets) together and Captain Marvel appears casting Rick into in limbo, nowhere to be found in Marvel. Seems to me to be saying if you really want to be the hero the part of you that is squeamish or hesitant must vanish. That is a cool underlying meaning. Other similarities; they both wear red suits and fly. They both have some good and some terrible stories attributed to them. For example, Shazam was relaunched in 2012 by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank, and I think that story is terrible. I just think that story is dumb. Another example is 1982’s The Death of Captain Marvel where the main character succumbs to the realistic – cancer – instead of some big intergalactic bad guy. The story was both beautiful and tragic, handled grittily the truth behind the terrible disease.

On another note, why are both Rick Jones and Billy Batson young boys? Seduction of the Innocent? Don’t answer that.

My advice: don’t fall in love with just this current crop of superheroes in current movies – they still have so much to get right, such as DC not managing to get a character into an engaging and successful box office arc and Marvel never creating a strong and powerful heroine or an engaging villain they don’t have to immediately do away with. Comic reprints such as these are so great because where you would have had to follow all of these stories for months and months, you can read in a single sitting. Binge-read some comics. Get them in a store, where you can say words to the shopkeeper and pay with cash currency and eventually end up with some ink on your hands.

I love super-heroes. Yeah, I said it, that’s right. I love the bad and the good. Especially when they are mixed together, which happens a lot in the Essential Captain Marvel. Go ahead, go to Skippack and get it. I won’t tell.

Would You Love Me If I Was Anyone but Who I Am?

In my last post, I discussed the mental health crisis on college campuses. After reviewing the post I felt that the illnesses themselves deserved further explanation. One of the major issues fueling these global mental health issues is a lack of understanding of some of the more prominent mental illnesses  such as anxiety disorders, depression and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Though none of these illnesses always presents themselves the same way in every person, and there and many different ranges of each, there are a few common behavioral traits associated with each.
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Earlier today Humans of New York posted a persons story where he described anxiety as “…the indescribable fear and nothing.” So many of these illnesses appear as behavior we are conditioned to brush aside. They often appear in ways that are can’t be easily defined, which helps create misconceptions. The clinical definition of an anxiety disorder is a continued feelings of worry, fear, and anxiety that are interfering with one’s daily life.   IMG_0365Anxiety disorders are exceptionally common today and often times result in obsessive behavior/Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), panic attacks, depression, and PTSD. Many of these disorders have close relationships with one another and present at the same time. In 2014, Poet Sabrina Benaim, performed “Explaining My Depression to My Mother”  where she coins anxiety as “the cousin visiting from out of town depression felt obligated to bring to the party; mom I’m the party.” Depression is known to present with a host of different behavioral symptoms as well as other issues. People with depression can have anxiety, or be guilty, apathetic. They can have moods swings or have no moods at all and have a general discontent and hopelessness. These moods can lead to irritability, isolation, crying, or screaming. Depression hits in a way that affects multiple facets of life such as one’s sleeping patterns. When suffering from depression one can either be consumed with sleep, or suffer from insomnia and restless sleep. Depression is closely linked with suicide as well as weight loss. I believe that through understanding the ways in which these disorders manifest, we can learn to treat each other accordingly and help each other battle them.

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4 Adult Fantasy Series Worth Reading

My hope in posting this is to introduce you to a series, and in effect a world that is all together new. So often I over hear other students referencing fantasy novels or a series like Game of Thrones (great series) or The Magicians (not a fan) and I wonder how masterpieces such as these listed below have fallen through the cracks. If you have read any of these books, or are interested in knowing more about them feel free to comment, I would love to hear from you! Also suggestions are ALWAYS wanted and appreciated!! The series listed below were chosen based on the two most important criteria (in my opinion) concerning what makes a work great; originality, and well-crafted characters.

The Wheel of time

By Robert Jordan

(Completed)

In the epic, high fantasy world which Jordan has created over the span of 13 (14 including the prequel) books. Venturing into Jordan’s world is not recommended for fans of easy reading; it requires an investment of time and imagination. The reader’s immersion into Jordan’s world is an experience like none other. His attention to detail, complex characters and moral dilemmas all confined within a completely original construct sets this series apart from all others that have come before. Journey through an entirely new world, filled with dangers and magic’s in a quest to have good triumph over evil as the wheel of time turns into a brand new age.

 

The Gentleman Bastards

By Scott Lynch

(Unfinished series)

Lynch creates a cast of characters like no author has before, though the narrative is reminiscent of story lines like Game of Thrones (in that no one is safe) and Robin Hood (the heroic thief). Time and again the main character Lock Lamora (as we know him) and his companions find themselves in seemingly impossible situations, with no hope of escape. The twists and turns of the series that Lynch has created keeps his readers engaged and on their toes, emotionally invested in the characters and thirsting for the next installment. The story line follows a group of orphans, scooped up by Father Chains (as we know him) and schooled in the art of thievery, then let loose on the high society of Camorr, along with its darker underground.

 

The Stormlight Archives

By Brandon Sanderson

(Unfinished series)

Brandon Sanderson excels in this world of his own devising, he scores highly in points for originality in not only character and development but also in the construct of power and how power is acquired. The narrative starts off disjointed by delineating from the traditional narrative structure Sanderson takes his on a journey following the son of a surgeon, a former soldier who is branded as a slave and then sold. Throughout the novel Kaladin works his way from the very bottom ranks to the uppermost portion of society. Here is the story of triumph self-discovery and heartbreaking sorrow. War breaks out not only from without specific societies but also from within, this series is full of surprises and leaves you waning more.

 

The First Law Trilogy

By Joe Abercrombie

(Completed)

Joe Abercrombie has out done himself in terms of the developing and crafting of his characters. The series is dark, gritty, cynical and truly depressing. The character that sticks with me most, and who I find to be the most well-crafted and true to form is Sand dan Glokta a former hotshot Cavalry Officer taken as a POW then returned home only to end up working for the Inquisition. His entire story line becomes a series of tragic events that are dark and yet humorous. There are plenty of battles, magic, barbarians and characters who the reader goes from loathing one moment to sympathizing and rooting for the next.