Heroes Wall – Biddeford, ME

I believe that the particular group of people who would like to visit the wall are veterans.  This is because, as a civilian, there is only one familiar name on the wall that I instantly knew.  I gasped and realized that Chris Kyle, The American Sniper, was on the wall.  I am only familiar with the name Chris Kyle because of his popularity in the media. Because of this I know that he truly is a war hero and deserves to be immortalized on the wall.  

As a civilian, I can only understand heroes from history books and the news.  I have never before, nor ever want to, serve on a platoon of soldiers fighting for the free world.  To me, only people who I here about on the news and learn about their sacrifices is how I determine who is a hero and who is not a hero.

Heroes Wall

I am somebody who greatly expresses my thanks to veterans, however, I never want to see combat or anything of the sort.  That being said, I couldn’t imagine witnessing a soldier choosing to sacrifice themselves or make meaningful decisions and difficult ones.  

Thankfully, I have never been in a difficult situation, and because of this, I do not know what it is like to witness a hero first hand.  I think that if a veteran saw a familiar name on the wall they would think of the immense sacrifices and bravery that a certain soldier has made.  These veterans viewing the names on the wall would be able to remember their own experiences by reading when or where the person served.

Going to the wall as a civilian, I was able see a large amount of names, names of those who I don’t recognize, names of those who I couldn’t relate to.  I cannot relate to the experience or pain that a veteran feels everyday, even after retire their uniform.   Because I can’t relate to veterans, is why I believe veterans would appreciate the heroes wall the most because they can relate.

“Joker”—How a Man Became a Killer

“Joker” certainly isn’t a movie for everybody.  Each scene of gore and crime highlights the movie’s attempts to break through the typical super villain genre.

Todd Phillips’s, “Joker”, depicts how the mentally deranged, Arthur Fleck, rises to become the Joker.  Throughout the movie, Arthur is faced with criticism, hatred, and a false belief of his past.  With each passing minute of the film, the viewer begins to understand the circumstances that turned Arthur Fleck into the villainous Joker.

Unlike traditional super villain movies, there are fewer killings in this film, but the character development is so adept that viewers actually experience loss, sorrow, and shock for Arthur’s victims, and how he decides who lives or dies. As the movie progresses, Joaquin Phoenix’s performance of Arthur Fleck brilliantly illustrates his character’s mental illness to viewers.  With each killing, Arthur’s lack of remorse, coupled with his ability to go on with his regular life, emphasizes the depth of his psychopathy. 

The majority of the film is focused on Arthur’s mental illness rather than on the Joker’s exploits across Gotham City.  The movie is rated R, given that movie director, Phillips, takes the viewer through Arthur Fleck’s insane existence, therapy sessions, failed comedy shows, awkward social interactions, and most importantly, violent crimes.  

This film is not for everyone, but a wonderfully different  production by Bron Studios and DC Comics for those fascinated by the super villain genre.  As of this writing, October 2019, “Joker” is still available in theaters.

IMDb: 8.8 out of 10

The Plague of Snails

Without any natural predators, the Giant African Snail (Achatina Fulica) is invading Cuba and killing the local ecosystem.  The USDA considers these snails to be one of the most damaging species for agriculture and crops.

Top 10 Countries With Invasive Species

Amongst the world’s top 100 most deadly exotic and invasive species, the Achatina Fulica, can grow up to the size of 15cm.  This Giant African Snail can lay anywhere between 100 and 500 eggs every two or three months. Eggs hatch 11-15 days after they are laid and the probability of the eggs hatching is 90%.  Once hatched, the snails do not receive any care from their parents.  The life expectancy of the snails is between 5-7 years. Other than mating, the Giant African Snail lives its life entirely alone.

The Achatina Fulica was first discovered in Cuba in 2014.  For Cuban epidemiologists and citizens, this  snail species acquired the infamous status of public enemy no.1, because of its ability to transmit diseases harmful to crops. Scientists are unaware of exactly how these invasive snails first made their way into Cuba.  The Giant African Snail, first found in Havana’s Arroyo Naranjo municipality has now spread to central and eastern areas of the country. 

Achatina Fulica is mostly active during the night, and during the day it remains dormant, often buried beneath the ground. Because the snail has no natural predators in Cuba, it eats anything including fruits, vegetables and even garbage, allowing it to grow rapidly and further infect the entirety of the island’s agriculture. It has such an enormous appetite that it feeds on more than 500 types of plants, including those farmed by humans.

News Story About Florida’s Battle With Snails

“It’s a health problem, an economic problem and an ecological problem”, said Isabel Díaz, a biologist who runs a non-governmental environmental group in Havana.  Although Cuban health officials have asked citizens to assist them in the destruction of these snails, some say the Cuban state’s response to the crisis has been inadequate.  Although native to Africa, today the Giant African Snail can be found on every continent except Antartica.  

Performance-Carroll Shelby

Born in Leesburg, Texas 1923, Carroll Shelby would grow up to be the most successful  failed chicken farmer and chili connoisseur in the world. In fact, he would be the fastest.

This man, born the son of a mail carrier, would grow up to dominate the racing tracks, make history, and create one of the best performance companies in the world.  Shelby’s determination for success changed the world and made him famous. 

At the age of 89, after a long and happy life which included his passion for the motoring world, his performance designs for vehicles, and his love of family, abruptly came to an end in a Dallas Texas hospital room on May 05, 2012. 

Carroll Shelby wouldn’t start his racing career as soon as he  became of age.  In fact, he first joined the Air Force and began his training at the San Antonio Aviation Cadet Center. 

He soon learned how to fly and became a “hometown” romantic. During his inflight training missions, the young pilot would send love letters to his fiancé by dropping them onto her family farm. 

After becoming a flight instructor, Shelby soon married his fiancé and trained pilots to fight in various World War II campaigns.  Carroll Shelby, however,  never saw combat himself.

In 1945, with the Second World War over, Carroll Shelby and his new wife, Jeanne, started a dump truck business in Dallas.  By 1949, he soon got bored with the trash business and decided to become a chicken farmer. 

With a very successful first season of raising chickens, Shelby earned himself a healthy profit and, quite literally, put all his eggs in one basket with the  hope of having another successful season. 

Unfortunately, in 1952, having failed his second attempt at chicken farming, Carroll Shelby turned his attention to racing. 

From the beginning, Carroll Shelby was a fast and capable racer.  So fast that, on his first exhibition into road racing, he won both the morning and afternoon competitions. 

Despite his speed and agility, Shelby made grave mistakes behind the wheel.  In The Carrera Pan Americana Mexico 110 mile race Shelby rolled his car four times after his vehicle T-boned a rock. 

This injury proved to the world that he indeed had the fight to persevere, despite extreme pain.  Only four months after his accident, Shelby was once again behind the wheel.

When 1960 rolled around, Shelby made a name for himself.  At this point in his life, he had three children, and had won many races. 

Shelby began experiencing immense chest pains, and separated from his wife.  Ultimately, after Shelby was diagnosed with a hereditary heart condition, he moved from Dallas to California which was his last racing season behind the wheel.

Despite serious drawbacks, the 1960s  also held amazing successes for Shelby.  It was during that time that he won at Le Mans with his Cobra team, beat Ferrari, and had great success with the Shelby GT350.  

In the ‘70s, Shelby ended his partnership with the automotive world and  moved to South Africa to create his own chili powder.  Kraft bought Shelby’s chili company in the 1980s. 

Shelby then returned to the automotive world and began working with the Dodge automotive company.

In 2005, 35 years without the Ford Mustang carrying the Shelby name,  Ford partnered with Shelby to release the GT500. 

The last car that Shelby oversaw the production of was the Shelby 1000.  Overall, Carroll Shelby’s life was a series of personal and professional highs and lows that defined a man of  great curiosity, skill, and perseverance. 

He was much more than a  “car guy”.