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 Tale of a Legend: Elton John – the “Rocketman”

The legend of rock, camp icon Elton John returns to spotlight with biographical musical film “Rocketman” and shakes the grounds of Hollywood. Pictured by Taron Egerton and directed by Dexter Fletcher, film recounts a slightly updated, but just as extravagant version of the real story of Elton John. 

During the first frames of the movie, we encounter the singer in his adult years, wandering down a hallway in an orange tracksuit with flashy wings and horns, that appear to be a typical concert outfit for John. The star reveals his most threatening and severe addictions: drugs, sex, alcohol and shopping. Later on, the story proceeds to Elton’s childhood, how his talent has been found in a very early age and grew within seconds, up until his breakthrough in the 1970’s and metamorphosis from a shy pianist to international superstar.. Since this movie is a musical, we can already expect to hear the greatest hits on-screen, such as “Your song” and “Tiny dancer”. 

The director, Dexter Fletcher, is a face, often seen in Hollywood. He directed some great movies, such as “Eddie the Eagle” and a part of “Bohemian Rhapsody”. The latter movie is often compared with “Rocketman”, since both are created to represent music grands, and are also arguably two single most successful films of 2019. The story of Queen, however, is less of a fantastic musical, and is more of a biographical drama, whereas life of Elton John is viewed through extravagant and not less realistic musical performances in the movie. 

Taron Egerton, actor, who was trusted to impersonate Elton John, has also played the main character Eggsy in “The Kingsman” movie franchise. Moreover, producers David Reid, Matthew Vaughn and Adam Bohling have also worked with the mentioned franchise. 

Due to Elton John himself insisting on movie being as real as possible and showing the actual worst moments of his life, the movie was R rated, even though in the beginning of production, Paramount pictures hoped for PG-13 rating. Moreover, Rotten Tomatoes rated this movie with 89%, and IMDb gave “Rocketman” a rating of 7.4/10 .

(IMDb)

Barcelona: 5 things to visit or see

Many know Barcelona as the perfect European gem – warm climate, comfortable access to Mediterranian sea, beautiful architecture, etc. And it is absolutely true! Barcelona is gorgeous and definitely worth visiting, except that there is a lot more to it than an average traveler might think…

1.Picasso Museum

Even though legendary artist wasn’t born in Barcelona, although he had lived a big part of his life in this majestic city and considered it to be his home. Nowadays, all tourists may visit the museum of Pablo Picasso, admire his unique artwork and broaden their cultural horizons. The entrance to the museum costs an average of 16 dollars.

2. Gaudi architecture

Antoni Gaudi is undoubtedly architectural genius. Everyone, visiting Barcelona, must see (and get in, if possible) the church Sagrada Familia, the iconic symbol of Catalona. However, since this monument is so widely popular, one might find difficulty in getting tour tickets. For such occasions, there is a free option – attend the mass on Sunday! Mass is held in three languages, one of which is English. Therefore, if catholic mass does not conflict with your religion, feel free to observe this mind blowing church from inside. 

Sagrada Familia is not the only legacy of Antoni Gaudi, there is much more to this ahead-of-his-time architect, for example two Gaudi villas and Park Guell. The latter is definitely worth spending Mont time in. This park is full of beautiful little buildings and even better – the scenery from the top of the hill which the park is located on, is breathtaking and every photographer’s dream.

3.Montserrat

Monastery of Montserrat is located high up in the mountains, 2 hour train ride outside of Barcelona. If traveling in the summertime, one might find it a challenging trip, because of scorching southern European sun. However, if you manage to overcome these hardships, the destination is absolutely worth it and will exceed all of your expectations. 

After you get off the train (or any other kind of transportation, but the train is the most comfortable, therefore the most recommended one), you have multiple options. The first one is to take a lift and explore the monastery. Second, more challenging one, is to take two lifts to the very top of the mountains and go for a short pilgrim hike. Now this sounds appealing, until you walk for 20 minutes and realize that the path is over and now you have to use your arms, legs and brains to climb a steep cliff. After quite a dangerous and tiring hour of climbing, the strongest and bravest travelers will face the most beautiful scenery of mountains and the Monastery of Montserrat below their feet

4. Magic fountain of Montjuïc

Magical dance of water, lights and music is a must-see for everyone! The shows of the ‘dancing’ fountain are held every Wednesday through Sunday in summer from 9:30pm to 10:30pm. However, it is smart to consider getting there earlier, since every day the crowds of people are enormous. And the best part about this gorgeous attraction – it is absolutely free! Just beware of pickpockets though.

5.La Rambla

La Rambla is one of those places that is just incredibly difficult to avoid, because it seems that most of Barcelona’s population is always clustered in one street (sadly, it’s probably a little bit less than that) and it is impossible to get by without crossing this shopping street at least once. Anyone can find anything within their needs on this avenue – clothing stores, souvenir kiosks, museums, markets, you name it.

Barcelona has always been the perfect holiday destination in Southern Europe. In recent past, however, the number of tourists has grown dramatically. In fact, tourists in Barcelona outnumber locals by few million! Moreover, in the year, it is the smartest to visit Barcelona in colder months, as during the summer the numbers of tourists might even double. Therefore, prices of accommodation and other expenses will increase as well.

Borneo Pygmy Elephant

Malaysian locals discovered the body of an endangered Borneo pygmy elephant on Monday, September 30, which was tied to a rope, attached to a tree, and floating in a river with 70 bullet wounds, and its tusks brutally hacked off. 

This is just the latest attack on the Borneo pygmy elephant, which is one of the many animals on the endangered species list. According to the international conservation group (WWF), there are less than 1,500 of these creatures left in the world.  They also state that 20,000 African elephants are killed each year.

Their population has been steadily declining for years because of the loss of their natural habitat for industrial palm oil plantations. Although, poachers are still a large concern for the elephants.

Poachers primary reason for attacking these elephants is for their ivory tusks. Ivory is used for jewelry, piano keys, and much more, and can be sold for a very high price. WWF states that 90% of ivory tusks are sold to Chinese customers.

According to the Malaysian police, four men were arrested in connection with the killing by Malaysian police. A shotgun, two home-made rifles, and bullets were seized. 

“Identifying and bringing those responsible for the killings to justice is key to tackling this threat,” said Elizabeth John, a spokesman for the wildlife trade monitoring group Traffic. 

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.  

Premier Lacrosse League:A New Sports League Shows what it takes to be Successful

Many new professional sports leagues don’t survive, but the Premier Lacrosse League has shown what it takes to be successful for a new professional sports leagues to work. 

“We wanted to help the game and help these players who have invested so much time and sweat equity into the pro game” (Mike Rabil)

Paul Rabil and Mike Rabil are the founders of the new professional lacrosse league. The idea to start the Premier Lacrosse League was in September of 2018 when Paul was unsatisfied with the current professional lacrosse league, the M.L.L (Major League Lacrosse)

In the Premier Lacrosse League, Paul and Mike wanted to create a better playing experience for the players. They made multiple changes to the rules of lacrosse to try and make it better for the players and fans. These included, shortened fields, two-point goal line, shortened shot clocks, wings are closer on face-offs, and each team is allowed one challenge.

This graphic is important because it shows the changes in the way face-offs work in the P.L.L. versus various other lacrosse leagues like the M.L.L. or like NCAA lacrosse. In the P.L.L. the ball will be placed at the top of the head of the stick rather than in the mouth of the head when performing a face-off. Also the player’s sticks can not be on the midfield line.

A big factor in creating the Premier Lacrosse League was financially. The Major league Lacrosse offered very poor salaries and players needed multiple jobs to support themselves. In the Premier Lacrosse League, Mike and Paul wanted the players to have lives like professional athletes and not have to worry about a second job. Focus on lacrosse and lacrosse only.

As for the future of the league, Mike and Paul want to keep expanding the league by adding more players and teams. Eventually they strive to be as big as the N.F.L. or the M.L.B. As well as expanding the salaries of players in those respected  professional sports leagues. 

             A very interesting thing Mike and Paul decided to do was have a tour based league. This means they’re “homeless” teams in the P.L.L.. The are six teams, Archers, Atlas, Chaos, Chrome, Redwoods, and Whipsnakes don’t belong to a city. Every week the league will travel to a new spot in the United States or Canada and will play each of the other teams twice in a season. 

Also Playoffs in the Premier Lacrosse League work a lot different than in other professional leagues. For the first and second seeds it is double elimination, as for the third and fourth seeds, it is single elimination. With the loser bracket, teams play for the number one overall pick. In order to receive the first pick you have to win the losers bracket. 


Mike and Paul also made the decision to use a different color ball. All the way through college, players use white balls in games. When players advanced to the M.L.L., they would then use orange balls. However, in the P.L.L. they now use a neon green ball. The idea behind this was to have a ball that is extremely visible for every player on the field. 

Foul Ball Injuries


In all major league sports, there is always a chance of fans getting injured. Recently, it seems that fan injuries at sporting events has spiked. My focus will be mainly on baseball fan injuries.

The main reason fans get hurt during sporting events is due to lack of attention, but also, I think there can be more safety precautions to help the issue. There doesn’t seem to be too much attention to the topic overall, but it definitely wouldn’t take much effort overall to evaluate the majority of injuries at games and find a way to stop them from happening.

“Just the way life is,” he said. “As soon as I hit it, the first person I locked eyes on was her. “Right now I’m just praying and I’m speechless. I’m at loss of words. Being a father, two boys … but God willing I’ll be able to have a relationship with this little girl for the rest of my life. But just prayers right now and that’s all I really can control.”


Every year, about seventy three million tickets are sold in the MLB, out of all these people attending games, only about seventeen hundred and fifty people get seriously injured by a ball or bat going into foul play.

This means one in about every forty one thousand people get seriously injured from objects going into foul territory. This might not seem like a lot at first glance, but the average attendance for each mlb game is around thirty thousand. This shows that at almost every game, a fan gets seriously injured by an object flying into foul play.

One of the most memorable injuries in my opinion is when Almora Jr. hit a two year old girl and ended up fracturing her skull.

“Chicago Cubs center fielder Albert Almora Jr. dropped to one knee during the fourth inning last May, hands over his face in horror. He had just watched a foul ball fly off his bat and strike a 2-year-old girl in the head, fracturing her skull.

The incident, every baseball hitter’s nightmare, was not a one-off. Last month, a fan was hit during a Chicago White Sox game and another during a Los Angeles Dodgers game.”

This topic seems broad at first, but I think if people focus on the issue of foul ball injuries, there can be adjustments and changes to help the overall safety of fans at baseball games.

Sources-
https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2019/05/29/albert-almora-cubs-players-foul-ball-strikes-young-child-stands/1281122001/
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3069680/Phillies-fan-gets-hit-face-foul-ball-Atlandta-game-ices-swollen-forehead-cold-beer.html
https://www.npr.org/2019/07/13/739967250/after-numerous-foul-ball-fan-injuries-baseball-reconsiders-protective-netting
https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/foul-balls-are-the-pace-of-play-problem-nobodys-talking-about/
https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/news/20180330/more-baseball-fans-getting-hit-by-the-ball