The Baby and the Bird

Kenneth Berkenstock


Introduction to Writing Across the Media


The Baby and Bird

The onlookers eyes lay glazed in the vision of the speaker. A 7 P.M. class was less than ideal for most of the students attending. Although the speaker and the presentation was quite interesting. The speaker, Dr. David Downing, gave a presentation detailing the accounts of WW1 and the effect the war had on some of the greatest literature ever written. Narnia and Lord of the Rings are considered some of the most cherished literature, but how much is know of the authors.

These great tales begin in the dark, barren lands of Europe and its trenches. Both J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis would see these unimaginable terrors up front. “Having both been at Oxford, the demand to fight for their country was there” Dr.Downing stated in the presentation.

“ Though neither were actually from the British mainland,” Downing chuckled at this statement. With being transferred to the front lines, the foundation of both books would be laid. When asking a fellow student James Vernon about how he viewed the presentation his response was simple “Downing brings life into a simple presentation, what may be perceived as a simple lecture has a greater means with him speaking.”

Downing touched upon the importance Oxford would play for both these writers. When they returned from the war, each learned of their own intentions of writing about these “fantasies”. The writers would eventually come together and meet at their favorite bar, The Baby and Bird. Their group would eventually expand and included others to look upon the writings and have their own input. Dr. Downing would go on to explain the importance that this would play in shaping each chapter, for the better or the worse. Caleb Clements also a fellow student felt that “What may seem like an uninteresting topic for a bio major still grabbed my attention with great interest.”

One of the key aspects of both stories would be how Christianity was tied into each of the writers stories. Multiple aspects for each writer’s life is deeply entwined with the writings. WW1 would be the push that opened up each authors ideas and truest feelings. With J.R.R. Tolkien’s writing, the characters are also perceived as being a band of brothers, just as him and his fellows in the unit were considered. Each character has strengths and weaknesses that were key to making the group complete. With C.S. Lewis the same could be seen with his writings, though there would be an aspect that would be seen with darker emotions. Battles would carry the same erie strategies of WW1, large mass charges towards the enemy lines would be seen in particular battle scenes. The groups would be mercilessly mowed down with no success, just as in WW1.

Ultimately, these findings played a big part in allowing students to have a deeper understanding of what these great stories stored. Often it is thought that key events give true depth to what the author is writing of. The events that are felt or seen are redistributed through the words of an author. This attempt at giving fuller meaning may not always be transferred exactly as wanted. Overall emotions can only be shared so much, it is the skill of the author that is able to capture this moment and pass it.


Me and Earl and the Dying Girl Review


“Me and Earl and the Dying Girl”, directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and adapted for the screen from Best-Selling author Jesse Andrews, is about three highschoolers in rural Pittsburgh, one of which is recently diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia. As an admirer of indie films, this one really impressed me. This small and touching movie had the best of cinematography, music, and acting. All of which surpassed expectations and turned out to be a work of art. In addition, the music is quirky and kooky, fitting for “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl”.

Thomas Mann portrays Greg, the lanky, socially awkward teenager who only has one “friend”. His physique and way of words is almost an exact replica of one may think of when they try picturing Greg Gaines from the novel. His lifelong best friend is Earl, who Greg often refers to as his “coworker” due to his inability to trust people enough to consider them friends. Earl and Greg make films, though not good ones, but still short and creative films using Greg’s parent’s camera. Completing the trio is Rachel, the dying girl. Olivia Cooke is another excellent casting choice, and her snappy and witty comebacks are hilarious, and will make even the friend with the worst sense of humor giggle like a Japanese schoolgirl.

The cinematography definitely had indie written all over it. Written may be an understatement, as every aspect of the movie is indie-esque in its own unique ways. Moments such as when Greg reluctantly begins to show Rachel his movie collection, and the seasons passing by in different shots are great examples of top-notch camera work. It’s truly a classic of our time and but should only be shown to anyone worthy enough of gazing upon this glorious film.

“Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” in pristine, paperback format.

“Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” is a uniquely sympathetic dive into the struggles of high school, and taking care of a sick (really sick) friend. The music choice is excellent, and one can truly feel the emotions and sense the ambiguous future of Greg Gaines and his sick partner in crime, Rachel Kushner.

What’s similar about “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” and other teenager cancer movies are that people walk in expecting a sort of cliché movie. Two teenagers find out they have cancer, and fall madly in love with each other, and spend the rest of their lives together (which isn’t very long really). But what people wouldn’t expect is the laughter that ensues.

Unfortunately, a few people may find “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” appalling, but a few scenes will be bound to sneak past their defenses.

In conclusion, I won’t try to beg you or convince anyone to watch this movie. Everyone has a decision in whether or not they want to spend 1 hour and 45 minutes of their life on a movie, but all I can say is this: This was my first glimpse into indie movies. It’s a wonderful and happy experience when you watch it and when you see your friend’s reactions to the funny scenes when they first view it. It’s a quirky movie that you can call your favorite, and still be different. It’s a movie that you can tell people, “This is me. This movie is LITERALLY me and values and hopes and dreams and everything I’ve ever lived for.” Maybe not… but you understand, right?

This utterly irresistible comedy-drama featuring a lovable group of misfits definitely gets a 10/10 from me.

Forks Township Community Center’s Men’s basketball league’s Green team is dominating the league after another win against the Black team on Sunday.

The Black team (4-2) won the drop but the Green team (5-1) quickly gained control making the first basket in one minute. They Black team struggled to make baskets with the Green team staying in the lead. The Black was finally able to put more points on the board toward the end of the first period. The Black team made a comeback with eight fouls, the Green with seven and the first period score ending 23-25 with the Green team still in the lead. By mid-second period Green was leading with a ten point advantage score being 28-48 with black having four fouls and green with three. The final was 49-64 with black having five fouls and green with three.17741091_1409605102395905_552290809_n

The Green team will definitely be seen in the finals this year having only one loss this season. Dex Aquino, a player of the Green team who’s currently out with a knee injury spoke about his team’s performance stating, “They played good, I feel bad that I can’t contribute to my team.” Aquino said he’ll be returning to the court hopefully by next week with high hopes on winning the top seed this year.

Jess Ornum, player of the Black team said the team “played good the first period, but we got demolished.” Ornum confessed he that the entire team was not present for the game including their top scorer which in his opinion reflected in the ending score. He feels the team has a lot to review before the semi-finals but he ended with positive thoughts, “Today was bad but will come back,” Ornum said.

A player on the Black team, Mark Hits, gave an insight on how the league all started. According to Hits, in 2004  local immigrants from the Philippines began to gather at street courts on Friday nights for weekly pick-up games. Hits conveyed, “In the Philippines basketball is like a religion.” He continued stating, “Next to boxing, basketball is the most popular in the Philippines. Everyone plays basketball.” In 2006 they started to reserve courts inside at local community centers and in 2012 so many people got involved so they developed a league having yearly tournaments. Currently there are four teams that get divided depending on each player’s position and age. The league starts in the beginning of February and typically ends in early April.

Hits also had a lot to say regarding him and his teammates height. He finds that the average Filipino men are typically short and because most basketball players are tall others tend to point out their height. Hits feels that height is not everything in the world of basketball, “Our size doesn’t mean anything. We might be short but we’re fast,” Hits said. Orunm agreeing with Hits also stated that, “Basketball is a mind game”.

Q: What is the Thanksgiving tradition you are most looking forward to this year? “My favorite tradition that my family does is that I always get up with my brother and we watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade on TV.”
Q: What is the Thanksgiving tradition you are most looking forward to this year?
“My favorite tradition that my family does is that I always get up with my brother and we watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade on TV.”

Picture by: Aileen Ida

Blue Jays defeat Spartans at women’s volleyball match


Elizabethtown College defeated York College in a women’s volleyball match 3-1 over four sets on October 11.  This made for York’s third loss in a row while providing Etown with its first winning streak of the season.

Elizabethtown continues on to fight for a place in the Landmark Conference tournament. It was a closely contested game as both teams were unwilling to back down.

The Blue Jays began strong, gaining a 12-8 lead during the first set. The Spartans scored eight consecutive points putting them in the lead. Both teams continued to score. The set had been tied at 22, 23 and 24. However, a kill each from Etown’s Sarah Schneider and Mackenzie Garner helped the Blue Jays win the first set with a close score of 26-24.

In the second set, the Spartans took a time out as Etown gained a 7-3 lead. Despite a slight change in momentum, Etown continued to push for a 22-16 lead, forcing York to take another time out. While York began to close the gap, Etown pulled away, winning the set with two consecutive kills, and a score of 25-21. Then the decisive third set began.

The Blue Jays were only one set away from victory, but the Spartans quickly took a 7-3 set lead. Etown seemed to remain positive despite the slow start to the set. The teams battled back and forth before the game was once again tied at 19-19. Then the Spartans’ Madison Whitcomb had six consecutive kills. This helped the Spartans win the third set, allowing York another chance at victory.

The atmosphere in the gymnasium intensified as the match continued into its fourth set.  Both teams seemed focused and determined. Three consecutive aces from Etown helped set the Blue Jays gain momentum. Soon Etown found themselves in the lead 10-5. Kills from Schneider and Garner combined with a timely ace from Anna Simpson helped push the score to 19-13.

York continued to close the gap, bringing the score to 23-21. Etown took a timeout and shortly after the game was tied at 23-23. Similar to the first set, the fourth contained several opportunities for a match point. The set was tied at 23, 24 and 25. The match ended with a block from Garner. The Blue Jays won a close fourth set, winning the entire match 3-1.

After the game, first-year coach Alex Swan spoke towards the improvement of the team.  The entire team contributed to the win.  There was a number of strong plays from the Blue Jays.  “I am very proud of their serving and hitting efficiency,” Swan said. This match had its ups and downs for the Blue Jays. “I think the team handled all adversity really well,” Swan said.   There were many times that Etown had to combat consecutive points from York.  In the end, the team’s connectedness, technique and attitude helped them gain a victory over York.

Throughout the entire match, the morale of both teams remained visibly high. This applied to the Blue Jays in particular. There were many words of encouragement and team huddling on the court. During plays, the team displayed communicative skills and respect for one another. It would seem as if the players all knew one another for a long time. However, the team is fairly young, compromised of mostly first and second-year students.

After the game, first-year student Amanda Slaughter spoke towards why she enjoys being a part of the volleyball team.   “We are a young team and we are from many different states,” Slaughter said, “But we get to know each other one and off the court.  It helps us improve.”

Second-year Etown student Kristin Halliday attended the game.  She enjoyed seeing the teamwork on the court.  Halliday said, “Even when the team was down they still played together and did not lose their focus.”

volley final