Monday, September 26, 2016

Greetings 9.26.2016


     Good evening y'all. 

     Apparently, Emily cannot be trusted with instructions above the details intended for a toddler.
michael caine you trusted me and i failed you the dark knight rises 

   But I'm here now, and amidst the maw of the Clinton/Trump "debate" that never should have happened. In summary, Trump regurgutated poorly researched statements and guttural, noxiously racist garbage, while Clinton's face epitomized the phrase "Not Today Satan. NOT TODAY!" The lives of hundreds of thousands of wine bottles were lost; emptied into the frustrated abyss of our current political climate. The only thing that we know sure is that time travel will never be invented since this is still taking place. Thanks future geniuses. Thanks.
   Enough of my angry tirade, let's delve into some good news. . . Yes, that's still a thing. I promise. Anyway, OPEN MIC IS COMING UP!!!! 
    If you have any works of fiction, sonnets, haikus, slam pieces, a short drama, an eloquent grocery list, song lyrics, a clever Tinder profile, a stand-up comedy routine, a wikipedia page that you edited with pride, etc. that you wish to share aloud, then stop on by Boylan 3416 for the Open Mic sign-up sheet (...some of those were exaggerated suggestions of course, must I spoon-feed you these jokes?). The event will take place on Tuesday, October 25th from 12:15-2:45. And guess what? All of the lovely Boylanblog interns will be in attendance, so feel free to ask us about our tastes in books, K-Pop, underreported news, Japanese productions of Shakespeare, and much more. 

   Until Next Time, 

News Briefs 9.26.16

Why Are Dreadlocks Unprofessional?

           "It shall be unlawful employment practice for an discriminate  against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual's race, religion, sex, or national origin."
- Title VII, Civil Rights Act of 1964

               Here's the original article!         

            On September 15th, 2016, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a 3-0 decision that banning employees from wearing dreadlocks is not a form of racial discrimination.
            The conflict originally began in 2010 in Mobile, Alabama, when Chastity Jones applied to work at and was hired by Catastrophe Management Solutions, an insurance claims processing company.  Jones was later contacted by human resource manager who told her that she needed to cut off her dreadlocks because they don't comply with the company's grooming policy.  When Jones refused to cut off her dreadlocks, the company withdrew its offer.
            In 2013, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, filed a case against Catastrophe Management Solutions, stating that the company's refusal to hire Jones on the basis of not cutting her hair is racial discrimination, which goes against Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
            This brings us to present day, when the court refused to acknowledge that refusing to hire individuals based on the way they wear their hair is not a form of racial discrimination.  Furthermore, the litigators for Catastrophe Management Solutions "accused the EEOC of indulging in 'novel theories' about race and culture that sounded like a sociological thesis on critical theory, not a valid legal argument" (Gershman 1).
            Courts have determined that discrimination on the basis of race refers to skin color and "immutable traits" (Gershman 1).  Perhaps, since someone can change her hair so easily, it slides under the radar of blatant racism.  There have been calls to interpret the Title VII to include not only physical characteristics of race, but also cultural characteristics as well.
             There is a reason that I started this article with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  This is the true law that is coming into question here.  This law is in place for a reason.  Many people fought so that one day no one would be refused employment on the basis of discrimination.  On this day, the courts showed that this law doesn't matter, what matters is the justice system's definition of racism.  It is the interpretation of this law that allowed companies to continue to refuse employment because of something as foolish as the style of someone's hair.
             The truth is I am tired.  Just the thought of this lawsuit ending the way it did makes me incredibly disheartened.  I wonder how refusing to hire someone based on having dreadlocks isn't racism.  Even if you take away the concept of race from the situation (which I still find hard to do), wouldn't refusing to hire someone because of their hairstyle still be considered discrimination? Wouldn't that be against the law?  And wouldn't it be considered racial discrimination if a company refuses to hire someone because they choose to wear a hairstyle that is traditionally an African hairstyle? Why are dreadlocks considered a hairstyle that "tends to get messy" while long hair is acceptable in the workplace (Gershman 1)?
                I think that 11th Circuit Judge Adalberto Jordan was right.  I think the court didn't make this decision because they thought that it's okay for companies to turn employees away based on something as small as hair.  I think the court ruled in favor of Catastrophe Management Solutions because the court wasn't prepared to fight a battle that no court has ever faced before.

Gershman, Jacob. "Appeals Court: Employees Don't Have a Right to Wear Dreadlocks." 16           Sept. 2016,           have-a-right-to-wear-dreadlocks/. Accessed 24 Sept. 2016.

- Michelle Cherian


Beyond the hashtag

It’s 2016 and we’re all living in a hyperreal world called Earth. Seriously. Just type up “news” on google or look at the trending hashtags section on Twitter. You’ll be surprised at the news content you find (or the lack thereof). For example, some of the top trending hashtags Twitter showed me on Friday (and Saturday) night of last week were #TheWalkingDead, #RadioRaheem, #nitiasia, and countless others. I searched up the top trending Twitter hashtags for 2015 and the top three hashtags under the news category were #jobs, #Quran, and #ISIS (followed by #PrayForParis). It may be biased of me for using Twitter as my first pick here but look, I personally like to use Twitter. It’s a gathering for people like me who want to know what’s going on here and now. It is a great tool to see THE PEOPLE (like any old Joe) comment on the news. It shows trends (only when the company isn’t blatantly filtering them out but that’s a conversation for another day).

But here comes the reason for this post. Why does this matter? It’s because to so many people the release of season six of “The Walking Dead” on Netflix or the brand new iPhone is news. It’s what people want to hear. A lot of people don’t want to hear about war, revolution or the massive refugee crises going on around Europe. Nope.

That’s why i’m going to talk about the news (and my own take on it). I’m going to don my temporary pundit-hat and tell all of you a story, which started July 15, 2016 (yes last summer). There was a coup d'é·tat in the country of Turkey. A military faction attempted to overthrow the government and many different state-run institutions. The result? It failed. Why? It was a poorly-led effort (the instigators couldn’t even assassinate the head of the state) and the people marched across the streets of Ankara and Istanbul, forcing the rebels to stand down. Many arrests were made. Cheers were resounding throughout the country. However, that coup was the tipping-point of a country which, in the past few decades, has been slowly leaning towards a more conservative rule. Secularism as we know it is probably gone.

Some would think that’s not a bad thing. Let Turkey do what they want. Statistics show that 97% percent of the country is already Muslim. Is that so wrong? I don’t know. Should government and religion be united? If you’re unsure go read Plato’s Republic. These are questions you need to be asking yourselves, generating conversation and awareness of these issues. If you don’t then who will?

That's besides the point. This is only the surface-level issue. Here comes the crux of my news brief. In Turkey there is a purge going on, one which will affect future generations of Turkish postmodern thinkers and students alike. After the coup, many professors in universities were being targeted in a wave of unprecedented purging. Many were fired; more were arrested. Many more simply fled the country, looking for work and safe haven in other countries. This is the tipping-point I mentioned earlier. The academies of Istanbul and Ankara have always been Western-oriented, but the recent purgings have led to an increased amount of power to those in the ruling parties. They've been left with an empty road, with little to no resistance, to impose their ideologies (rooted in nationalism and Islam) on the newer generations.

One of my friends, a math teacher for a private high school and a private University, was targeted and fired from his job, being accused of working for the man who organized the coup in Turkey. That is anything but the truth. This is part of a large, indiscriminate purge to those don't fall in line with the ruling party.

Here’s a thought experiment for all of you: Imagine if our government fell under the rule of one man who, leading his party, held total control over our country. He improves the infrastructure of the country and has won all of your hearts. Now imagine if one day this man  started imposing his religious ideology over many state and private institutions, say, Universities. Imagine if your admission to graduate school is determined whether or not you fall under a specific religious faith, or if your future government-run job is determined by your faith. Horrible right? None of us could care less about what’s going on in other countries, much less if it’s something that has already happened in the past. History has a habit of repeating itself. The Romans started off as a Republic but what happened? That’s right, they ended up becoming an autocratic Empire.

There you have it. That’s my piece on the news.
Here are links to some of my source articles.

Au Revoir. ~

-Onur Ayaz

 Protecting your Yahoo Account After Security Breach

         On, September 22nd, 2016, Yahoo confirmed that there was a major security breach in 2014 that affected "at least 500 million user accounts."  

       Yahoo said in a statement, "The account information may have included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords (the vast majority with bcrypt) and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers,"

 Basically, these hackers stole almost everything!

       There is one bright side, which is; Yahoo believes that financial information such as credit card numbers and bank account information are safe and were not stolen. 

 More good news! The FBI is in the middle of an investigating this massive security breach. 

"The FBI is aware of the intrusion and investigating the matter," an FBI spokesperson said. "We take these types of breaches very seriously and will determine how this occurred and who is responsible. We will continue to work with the private sector and share information so they can safeguard their systems against the actions of persistent cyber criminals."

As an avid Yahoo user, when I received an email from Yahoo's team I was immediately scared that my personal information had been stolen. But, within the email there were some tips and steps to protect Yahoo user accounts which I found immensely helpful. 

           First, change your password! It may seem self-explanatory and simplistic, but it will help more than you think. If you used the same password for other accounts, it would be a great idea to change those too.

Along with changing your passwords, update your security questions and answers to your account to ensure that your account is even more secured.  

Yahoo's ongoing theme to protecting yourself seems to be change, change, change! Change your passwords now, change your passwords often, always pick tougher passwords than your last, and never ever use the same password twice.

There are also other tricks such as using a password manager and activating your two-factor authentication.

Last, but certainly not least, remain vigilant. Be aware of any suspicious activity within your account and look out for any fake emails that claim to be from Yahoo or any other usually secured website which are asking for your personal information.

       I hope these tips have helped you, like they've helped me! 

       Here are some links with my sources and some more information. 

What to do if your Yahoo account was hacked

Yahoo says 500 million accounts stolen

ow to protect yourself after the Yahoo email hack

This is Kayla, fellow Trini signing out,

Love and Happiness.  Trini to deh bone!!


Currently Reading 9.26.16

Currently reading... Always reading:

The Wheel of Time

"Light, forgive me! Ilyena!
The air turned to fire, the fire to light liquefied. The bolt that struck from the heavens would have seared and blinded any eye that glimpsed it, even for an instant. From the heavens it came, blazed through Lews Therin Telamon, bored into the bowels of the earth. Stone turned to vapor at his touch. The earth thrashed and quivered like a living thing in agony. Only a heartbeat did the shining bar exist, connecting ground and sky, but even after it vanished the earth yet heaved like a sea in a storm. Molten rock fountained five hundred feet into the air, and the groaning ground rose, thrusting the burning spray ever upward, ever higher. From north and south, from east and west, the wind howled in, snapping trees like twigs, shrieking and blowing as if to aid the growing mountain ever skyward. Ever skyward... 

At last the wind died, the earth stilled to trembling mutters. Of Lews Therin Telamon, no sign remained. Where he had stood a mountain now rose miles into the sky, molten lava still gushing from its broken peak."
- Robert Jordan
The Eye of the World (WoT #1)

A few weeks ago, I was given my very first assignment for my Fiction Writing class-- 'Submit your favorite piece of writing'. The piece did not have to be original, but rather, a work from another author- something that we as students of the Craft truly believed to be a superior bit of fiction. 

I should have, but DID NOT submit the passage above, excerpted from The Eye of the World.

The Wheel of Time is the single greatest fantasy epic ever written. 
It is fifteen novels of... Everything and anything any reader ever could ever want, need, or ask of-- EVER!

The series is about a world at war with the Shadow. The Dark One and his evil minions stir as the seals of their prison grow ever weaker. The world awaits the Dragon Reborn-- He who is destined to do battle with the Dark One and save Creation. Unfortunately, however, the Dragon is also destined to destroy Creation...

Time is cyclical. As the Wheel of Time turns, time passes, and the Wheel weaves an ever-complex pattern, using peoples' lives as threads. The Wheel is propelled by the One Power, which is divided into two forces: Saidar (the female half) and Saidin (the male half). The two forces work in opposition to turn the Wheel, and weave the Pattern. 

Each half of the One Power works in similar ways. They are comprised of the Five Powers: Water, Earth, Fire, Air, and Spirit. 

Certain people are able to sense the True Source (The Wheel), and touch One Power. These individuals are able to manipulate Saidar or Saidin, and do the most incredible things! By harnessing the Five Powers, and weaving them in various ways, they can call lightning down from the heavens, and hurl fire from their fingertips. They can heal life-threatening injuries with the touch of a hand, and create invisible shields that ward off evil. The Dragon Reborn will be one such person.

BUT time is cyclical! Just as the Dragon will battle the Dark One, so have they already done battle! Only, the last time they fought, the Dragon miscalculated. He was able to trap the Dark One, but the Dark One was also able to strike back. He tainted Saidin, the male half of the One Power, poisoning it so that any man who dared touch it would go mad. But the Dragon must weird the One Power in order to face the Dark One! What ever will we do?????????????

In the excerpt above, the previous Dragon goes mad from wielding the now tainted Saidin, destroying himself, and creating the infamous Dragonmount... The volcano that inspires awe and fear, signifying hope and hopelessness, and mocking mankind very existence. The volcano upon whose slopes the Dragon Reborn would one day draw his first breath.......

SORRY... I tend to get a wee bit rambly when it comes to WoT.

Needless to say, much of the series deals with this crisis, but there is sooo much more to it than the cliched Good vs Evil, and the overdone Magic Wars... However, short of me telling you the entire plot all fifteen WoT novels, I'd say that the only way for you to find out all the wonders these books have in store for you would be to READ THEM!!! :D

The Wheel of Time is OBVIOUSLY my favorite series ever!!!
As a literature scholar, I am frustrated by the lack of acknowledgement, study, and respect that the fantasy genre receives from my colleagues... I full intend to change that.

Imma be in grad school, working on my WoT dissertation, wishing a trick would say something crazy to me about me conducting scholarly research on a fantasy series... ! Imma be there like....... >_> 

Like this dude (but with a SERIOUS tan-- BRUH.)!!!
(I don't know if that can/ will actually happen, but it's totally fun to imagine! :D)
(PS... I gots NO IDEA who dat be....... :D)

On a more serious note, the Wheel of Time has meant SO much to me...

When I doubt my decisions, I remember Moiraine Damodred, Aes Sedai of the blue ajah- True Servant to All, forever committed to the War against the Shadow.

When I need inspiration, I channel Egwene Al'Vere, who never relinquished her claim as the true Amyrlin Seat.

When I wish I could communicate with animals, just because that's like super bad@ss (:D), I think of Wolfbrother, and Master of Tel'aran'rhiod (The World of Dreams), Perrin Aymara.

When I need a reminder that Iam the master of my own Destiny, and that despite life's absurdity, I am a BOSS-- I am Rand Al'Thor (SPOILER ALERT [Not really!])-- Dragon Reborn.

I cannot believe I haven't blogged about WoT until this very post! I mention it in nearly every class! (In my speech class, 3 of my 6 speeches were about WoT, including an instructional speech on how to touch the True Source and weird the One Power [complete with different instructions for channeling Saidar and Saidin] :D)

Moreover, I can't believe I didn't choose one of the dozens of amazing passages that come to mind when I think of WoT for my first Fiction Writing Assignment. I guess I was worried that my professor (the dude who says "I read literary fiction, NOT genre fiction") wouldn't think it good enough...


WoT all day, every day!

Come at me, bro! 

Wheel of Time Characters
(This Artwork + This Music = LIFE)

The Light illumine you.

~ Clinton

Poem of the Week 9.26.16

Last week, Michelle posted this blog with a poem by Megan Falley.

When she read it aloud to the other interns in our office, I was immediately reminded of one of my all-time favorite poems.

"Recuerdo" by Edna St. Vincent Millay

We were very tired, we were very merry—
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
It was bare and bright, and smelled like a stable—
But we looked into a fire, we leaned across a table,
We lay on a hill-top underneath the moon;
And the whistles kept blowing, and the dawn came soon.

We were very tired, we were very merry—
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry;
And you ate an apple, and I ate a pear,
From a dozen of each we had bought somewhere;
And the sky went wan, and the wind came cold,
And the sun rose dripping, a bucketful of gold.

We were very tired, we were very merry,
We had gone back and forth all night on the ferry.
We hailed, “Good morrow, mother!” to a shawl-covered head,
And bought a morning paper, which neither of us read;
And she wept, “God bless you!” for the apples and pears,
And we gave her all our money but our subway fares.

It was something about the cadence and the feel to the poem that immediately brought me back to my emo teen years. Where I and my best friend, (who is now a professor of media and literary studies down south) would exchange poetry via email. It was sometimes something we'd written, sometimes something we'd found. It was all very, very, proto-aughts hipster. Of course, we loved it.

I remember this specific poem, not only because I fell completely in love with the poem, but because he mentioned it to me right before we went to see American Beauty in the theatre. We sat there, popcorn between us, remarking on how original the plastic bag in flight was. How novel the twisted sexual relationships were, how real the daughter's personality felt to us at sixteen and seventeen, respectively. We were those theatre kids. But the entire time we watched, and later, at Borders Books, I kept hearing the poem in my head. It felt so "us" to me. It didn't matter that we were strictly platonic, and frequently discussed our crushes with each other, we were comfortable with one another in a way that most people never get to be. We are still close. The poem has grown somehow to me. It holds not only us inside it, but those whom we have chosen or, in my case, made.

Our dozen fruit, that bounty, is now where we reside. We have each of us grown and expanded. This tiny encapsulation of an evening is now that ferry ride that we are all on together. We all have cold nights on dark waters, but if we have people in place to ride out the night beside? We're somehow good.

Now, some years later, I am blessed to also be good friends with his wife. The fruitfulness of this friendship has gifted us both in ways we couldn't have known when we used to drink too black tea and eat too rich chocolate cake. It's the support the narrator of the poem offers the stranger which we in turn offer ourselves as we get older. It's an undergirding for our life's trajectory. When I started dating again after splitting up with my significant other of more than a decade, they were some of the first people I called to tell. There was never any question in my mind if they would offer him a seat on our ferry, an apple from our bag, because the essence of friendship is that there is more room than less, and more to give than we thought. In this case, in giving everything, we get it back in fruitful abundance.