Little Red, Like You’ve Never Seen Her

little_red_riding_hood_by_bmjewell-d56eama

Looking through some of my old writings, I discovered this:

Gather ‘round my children
And come hear a tale,
An event that occurred
When I was just a gal.

My mother said to me,
“Here, please take these cakes.
Granny’s not feeling well
She’s complaining of aches.

She lives beyond the woods,
You know where to go.
But do stay on the path
You know that wolf tries so –

To gobble little girls
That pick wild flowers.
Don’t dilly or dally,
It’s only an hour.”

She gave me the basket
And a rifle too,
“It’s to protect yourself.
Use it if you have to.”

Off to Granny’s I went,
Through the woods I skipped.
With my basket and gun,
I was fully equipped.

And as luck would have it,
That wolf I did meet.
I looked him in the eye
And told him to retreat

“I have a gun, you see
And I will use it.
So go run along now
You no good misfit.”

He looked at my basket
And began to grin.
“Let’s have a race,” he said,
“I even bet I’ll win.”

I took on the challenge;
I never back down
“The finish line is Gram’s.
She lives just outside town.”

The wolf took off running
Before I said start
I hurried after him
We weren’t far apart.

When I got to Grandma’s,
The door was ajar.
Worried for her safety,
I prepared to spar.

If that wolf touched one hair
On my Granny’s head,
I’d pull the trigger and
Shoot that villain down dead.

“Granny?” I called to her.
“In here!” she replied.
I entered her bedroom
And I wasn’t surprised

In her bed was the wolf,
Oh, that rotten crook!
He ate Granny, I’m sure,
I could tell by his look.

I took aim with my gun
And swore not to cry
“My name is Little Red,
Now prepare to die”

“No, wait!” he waved his arms.
“That’s not how it goes.
You’re supposed to ask me
About my ears and my nose.”

“Tell me why I should care
About what they say?
You ate my Grandmother,
And now you have to pay.”

So I pulled the trigger
And shot that wolf dead.
The bullet found a home
Buried deep in his head.

Then I rescued Granny
From the wolf’s belly,
And used his intestines
To make grape jelly.

I tell you, my children
The lesson to learn,
Don’t ever trust a wolf
Or you might end up burned.

I saved my Granny’s life
On that fateful day
Because I knew a thing or two
About wolves and gunplay.

???????????????

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The Dawning: Aquarius

2012-1

I’ve been counting down since 2005.

I’m not kidding.

I wanted an upheaval of everyday life. No more tall buildings. No more pollution. No more government, money, or capitalism. If it takes a pandemic, a pole shift, a giant volcanic eruption or a galactic alignment, so be it. Just so long as something about this world changes.

There have been so many apocalyptic theories made over the last five or ten years that I don’t dare make a prediction. I don’t believe one will be more likely to occur than the other. In fact, at great reluctance, I’ve resigned myself to the possibility that absolutely nothing could happen.

But hasn’t there been enough evidence in our planet’s history to point to our inevitable demise? Dinosaurs roamed the earth for 160 million years, and a meteor wiped them out. Ice ages and global meltdowns are a part of Earth’s natural climate regulation. Our magnetic poles have shifted several times before, there’s talk of volcanic activity under Yellowstone, and our tectonic plates are moving at rates faster than any scientist has seen before.

As humans, we’re equally as responsible. We’ve depleted the ozone layer by pumping our atmosphere full of greenhouse gases. We’ve contributed to the acceleration of climate change. We’re harvesting nuclear weapons; we’re drilling and spilling our oil. Our economies (which include monetary systems, politics, educational institutions, and businesses both big and small) are so fucked that they’re beyond repair. Our values are off, our health is down, and our waistlines are larger than ever. It’s pretty clear that if we don’t straighten ourselves out, we’re on a sure path to extinction, quite possibly within our lifetime.

If the world doesn’t end next week.

Doomsday conspiracies aside, the most significant change taking place is a shift in our ages. Years ago, when ancient civilizations were at large (and by respect, not so ancient), they mapped the skies and found that the earth rotates on an axis, and wobbles as it revolves around the sun. Consequently, on the morning of the Spring Equinox, roughly every 2,150 years, the sun will rise in a different constellation of the zodiac. This is known as the Precession of the Equinox. The constellation in which the sun rises determines what “age” we’re in. Today, and for the last two thousand years or so, we’ve been in the Age of Pisces, but we’re soon moving out of it, and into the Age of Aquarius.

But what does that mean, exactly?

I don’t really know. But examining patterns derived from past ages might give us a clue. Zodiac

  • Christianity arose during the age of Pisces, which is symbolized by two fish. Throughout the New Testament, there are numerous references to “two fish,” including a verse in Matthew where Jesus feeds 5,000 men with a couple of loaves of bread and two fish.
  • Jesus was aware of the Precession of the Equinox, and in Luke 22:10, he tells his followers what’s coming next. He says, “Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he entereth in.” This water bearer he is referring to is none other than Aquarius.
  • Jesus also reveals, in Matthew, just how long he plans to be with us; “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
  • Judaism was the world’s prominent religion during the Age of Aries. One might notice that to bring in a Jewish New Year, Jews blow a ram’s horn.
  • Also in Judaism, after Moses frees the Hebrews from Egypt, he climbs Mt. Sinai to retrieve the Ten Commandments from God. When he returns with the tablets, he find his people worshiping a golden bull. Moses is livid, and most contemporary Jews believe he was upset to see them worshiping a false idol. But that isn’t entirely true. They were in the Age of Aries, and the bull represented the Age of Taurus, which they were no longer in.
  • In texts that pre-date the Bible, bulls, oxen, and cattle are considered sacred animals. Even in modern day Hinduism, they are considered sacred.
  • Today, with the rise of science and technology, people are beginning to relinquish their beliefs in God. But something new is cropping up in it’s place. Maybe, as we usher in the Age of Aquarius, we’ll discover new truths and let go of our out-dated deities.

If you’re really interested in the ages and their religious ramifications, I would recommend watching this.

In 2005, when I began my countdown to the end of the world, I looked up the definition of apocalypse in the dictionary. Among numerous meanings that implied destruction and devastation, one interpretation stood alone.

Apocalypse (noun)
4. Any revelation or prophecy

It’s possible we misunderstood the Mayans. They prophesied the end of one thing, and the beginning of something new. Astronomically, they were talking about the Precession, but spiritually, they could have been talking about something entirely different. In shedding the old age, the Age of Pisces, we’re expected to shed our old beliefs. What comes next is beyond anyone’s comprehension.

But I know one thing. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the apocalypse. For seven years, I’ve been watching documentaries, reading articles, and discussing with peers what December 21st, 2012 might bring. Obsessed is a good word for it. I’ve been anxious to finally see what happens. As a creative individual, I’ve spent a great amount of time imagining what could be, playing out scenarios in my head just for fun. There’s much room for possibility! But I’m also a logical individual, and for as many apocalyptic theories as I’ve come across, there are just as many facts disputing them. The world, as it turns out, might not end.

There’s only one more week left to go. That’s another 189 hours before we arrive at the date that almost every prophecy points to. Life will go on, or it won’t. What happens will happen.

At this point, we can only wait and see.

*******

Some cool videos you might be interested in:
Zeitgeist on Religion
Shift of the Ages
A Mayan Explanation
2012 & Beyond

An Analysis of the Dynamic between Charlotte and Tiana: An Essay on Disney’s The Princess and the Frog

I’ve always been a huge Disney fan, which is why I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to write an essay examining the dynamic between Tiana and Charlotte. Their friendship intrigued me, so for fun, I decided to write an comparative essay analyzing the two girls. Enjoy!

What is the value of friendship? How can it be measured? Why do we keep trying to set guidelines anyway? I don’t have the answer to those questions, but I did catch myself asking them after watching The Princess and the Frog for the fifth or sixth time. I remembered thinking the same thing after the seventh an eighth time too. (How many times I’ve actually watched this film is irrelevant, and I’ll spare myself the shame by not revealing it.) I found myself intrigued by the dynamic between Tiana and Charlotte, and wondered if one girl was more of a friend than the other one. So naturally, being the inquisitive geek that I am, I had to evaluate the situation, and being the writer that I am, I of course had to provide a solid, well written argument, with a side-by-side comparison, in favor of my beliefs.

In case you haven’t seen the film, here’s a brief summary of the key points. Tiana is a hard working African American girl growing up in 1920’s New Orleans. Charlotte is a wealthy white woman raised by her Daddy and has no idea how the world really works. The girls came to be friends at a young age when Charlotte’s father hired Tiana’s mother to be his daughter’s personal seamstress. The girls spent hours together, enjoying an unbiased friendship, that, years later, as our story takes place, still remains true.

Then Prince Naveen comes to town. Charlotte, always on the look out for her prince, plans to marry him at Mardi Gras so she can finally be a princess. Lucky for her, Daddy is Mardi Gras King for the fifth year in a row. Meanwhile, Tiana finally has enough money saved so she can buy that old building and open up her restaurant. Everything is looking on the up and up. Then, on the night of the Mardi Gras ball (hosted by, no surprise, Charlotte’s father) Prince Naveen, he gets himself turned into a frog. Through a series of unfortunate events, so does Tiana.

Frogs aside for a moment, Tiana and Charlotte are both self-motivated. Charlotte wants to marry a prince so she can be a princess. Tiana wants to own and operate her own restaurant. Despite their motivations, both girls display a vast amount of respect for each other through comforting words, helping hands, and the support each other’s dreams. However, there are some instances where the line between friendship and self-motivation are a little blurry. For example, Charlotte asks Tia to make her famous beignets for the Mardi Gras ball, hoping to lure in Prince Naveen, but gives her enough money that she’ll have some left over for her restaurant fund.

Since we’re talking about Charlotte, let’s stay here and examine her actions toward Tiana throughout the film. Although she gives Tiana enough money for her restaurant, you could easily argue she didn’t have the slightest clue what she was doing. Charlotte was excited about Prince Naveen and thrilled that her friend Tiana could help. Sitting beside her father, she squeals with glee and pulls a wad of cash from his wallet, thrusting it into Tiana’s arms. “Will this do?” she asks. The means of Charlotte’s kindness was clearly to achieve her own ambitions.

But then at the ball she surprises us. Just as Prince Naveen arrives, Tiana takes a spill at the beignet station, and ends up covered in jam and powdered sugar. Instead of rushing over to greet the prince, Charlotte immediately takes her friend upstairs to get her cleaned up, lending Tiana a stunning ball gown and a tiara. Later, at the end of the film, she puckers her lips and kisses the frog for Tiana, because she was unable to do so herself. Though she wanted more than anything to have Prince Naveen to herself, she was more than happy to give up her dream so that Tiana could have hers. The fact that Charlotte shows no resentment toward Tiana speaks mounds about her character.

Now consider Tiana. She speaks freely with her friend, unafraid to let her know when she’s being unrealistic. While in Duke’s, the diner where Tiana works, Charlotte shares the news that Prince Naveen is coming to town, and she plans on reeling him in at the ball and then marrying him at Mardi Gras. Tiana has no qualms about telling Charlotte that she needs to rethink her plan. She does it in jest, of course, but later at the ball, she is a little more straightforward. Before taking her own spill, Tiana gets a chance to comfort Charlotte, who is unsettled because Prince Naveen is late in arriving and is afraid he isn’t coming.  “Lottie,” she reasons, “you can’t just wish on a star an expect everything to go your way.”

But like Lottie, Tiana is also unopposed to using her friend to get what she wants. A little later in the story, while on her wild amphibian adventure with Naveen, he reveals to her that he needs to marry Charlotte for her money, because his parents cut him off. By this point in the film, the building Tiana planned to buy for her restaurant has slipped through her fingers. Though she knows how important this is to Charlotte, that she marry a prince and become a princess, Naveen just promised to use Charlotte’s money to get the building back for Tiana. How does Tiana respond in her friend’s defense? “You a prince? She’ll marry you.”

Tiana is blinded by ambition. It’s unclear whether she realized she was, in effect, using Charlotte for her money, or if she even planned on telling Charlotte that, in reality, Naveen had none. What is clear is that her goal, at the expense of her own heart, is to get Naveen back to Charlotte in time to marry her, so that she can finally get her restaurant. The only time that Tiana appears to even be thinking of Lottie is when she realizes she is falling for Naveen. She withdraws from him, commenting that Lottie is getting one heck of a dance partner. Granted, I think Tiana was a little preoccupied with turning herself back into a human first.

But when is all is said and done, Tiana and Naveen both become human again and get married. Tiana becomes a princess, opens her restaurant, and lives happily ever after. Charlotte couldn’t be more supportive. At the restaurant’s grand opening party, she even dances with Prince Naveen’s six year old brother, joking that she can wait for him to grow up so she can get her wish. Maintaining the unspoken agreement that friends should be honest with one another, be respectful, and support each other unconditionally, then which girl is the better friend? Is it possible to pick one?

Tiana was honest enough to bring Charlotte back to earth, but not honest enough to defend her when she discovered Naveen had been cut off from his family. Charlotte’s primary focus was becoming a princess, but she didn’t allow her goal to get in the way of her friendship with Tiana. She took time to help her when she was down, and gave up her own dreams so that her friend could have hers. She even went so far as to kiss a frog because for Tiana, because she couldn’t do it herself.

If actions speak louder than words, and if friendship can be measured using some of the agents listed above, then it safe to say that Charlotte is the better friend. We can’t determine if the friendship means more to her than to Tiana, but we can conclude that she earns more points for doing right by her friend. She didn’t allow her selfish motivations to get in the way of her honesty and respect for their friendship.

Look! I’m dancing with the prince!