“Everything We Keep” is everything a reader wants

By HALEY DICK

Gull Life Editor

In “Everything We Keep,” author Kerry Lonsdale keeps the reader captivated page after page through a dense plot filled with unexpected events, romance and strong character development.

It is an adult fiction novel listed as a top Amazon bestseller of 2016 and a Wall Street Journal bestseller that breaks the reader’s heart just to build it back together again, only to tear it right back out by the next chapter.

Lonsdale sets the stage in the first chapter with heavy heartbreak, in which the protagonist, Aimee Tierney, is attending the funeral of her fiancé, James Donato, whom she had been dating since she was eight years old. Talk about a tear-jerker.

Later in time, Aimee discovers that James is indeed still alive and the reader follows her in uncovering the mystery of what happened to James at the hands of his dysfunctional family, as well as the journey Aimee takes through her loss and recovery from love.

The novel’s strengths lie in its unique plot twists that leave the reader both relieved and irritated as the story comes to a close. The journey to the end of the book pieces the characters together in an invisible web that makes sense once the conflicts are resolved, though some may argue that the ending is too much of a cliffhanger.

While the novel is impressive, it does have setbacks. The author provides too many obvious clues that can leave the reader guessing what is going to come next, but she does still leave the element of surprise in some instances.

The title itself, “Everything We Keep,” reflects the major theme of secrets that is present throughout the storyline, for most of the characters in the novel grapple with something or someone they have lost in the past.

The sequel, “Everything We Left Behind,” will be released in July 2017, and will continue the tale of what happens after the epilogue of “Everything We Keep.” The question readers are asking will hopefully be answered: will Aimee be tempted to fall back into the arms of James?

This book is ideal for mature readers, as some of the conflicts pertain to situations college-aged readers can grasp. Some of these concepts include career obstacles and medical diagnoses. The characters in the novel, especially Aimee, teach the reader lessons on how to overcome uncertainty, set and accomplish goals and continue forward after losing someone foundational.

The Flyer gives “Everything We Keep” a 9/10.

The backpack with the broken pocket

By BRIANNA TIEDEMAN

Adviser

It is 6 p.m. on Friday evening and the text sound goes off; “I’m here.”

Going into rush mode, I drop what I am doing, save my work, pack up my stuff, throw my wallet in my broken backpack pocket and shrug because I still have not fixed the latch I just let my life—credit cards, cash, license, donor ID, Triple AAA card, insurance card—depend on. What else could go wrong? It’s totally cool, I gotta go.

The “I’m here” text later escalates into the verbal “Let’s get RedBox” idea and I venture to Walmart, fully confident I will be able to swipe my M&T Ravens debit card and make my transaction. What movies are out now, we wonder: Mike and Dave are still looking for wedding dates, the pets are still living their secret lives, and that girl is still on the train.

We pick our RedBox movie, we have a plan, we want pizza, but what is not in my backpack? No wallet. Panic mode. This is hands down a First-World problem, but the kicker is world-wide, so keep reading.

When you lose your whole life (or just your wallet), the worst feelings in the world all come in one whooping swing of awful. Your heart is racing, you want to get angry but you try not to freak out, you want to call everyone and their sister to replace your cards even though they are closed and ultimately, everyone you look at or talk to is the person who, later that night, you are going to blame.

Running through the building, calling SU Police, checking and double-checking the lost and found; I could not get a handle on myself. The thought that someone stole my wallet took over and I wanted to give up, call my bank and go to the MVA at 9 p.m.

Life on Earth today perpetuates with a stigma: people are inherently bad, inherently ill-intentioned and inherently selfish. Anyone on campus could be swiping left and right all over my credit cards or stealing my identity, and I failed to find a reason to think otherwise. Except I decided to, because what else did I have to lose—literally, my wallet was already gone so what else?

The first go-around of searching, nervousness and doubt blurred my ability to ask the people in the building if they saw a wallet that night. I asked the people standing behind a desk, monitoring a sad drawer with other sad lost items, none of which were wallet-shaped, small and previously belonged to me. The second and last round we checked, I found my faith—my faith in people and in the good, just for this moment. The idea of people, all people, being malicious would not be true tonight.

All it took was a few conversations before I asked an amazing member of the janitorial staff, Mr. Baron, if he had seen my wallet. Then a lovely Chick-fil-A worker, Ms. Gail, overheard my inquiry and said, “Girl, you are lucky if you just said you lost a wallet—someone just turned one in.”

All of my anxiety diminished, my heart rate slowed and my faith in my fellow humans rose back up to its normal level, and then some.

Thank you to the staff who heard me out, and especially to the kind citizen who respectfully turned my wallet in, as well as turned my mistake into a lesson and a new mindset of faith in others. What we put in to our perspective will come out full circle, and what we believe of our society will do the same. Positivity, hope and maybe a new backpack could go a long way. My backpack may be a little broken, but its pocket is only as strong as its support.

Celebrity stunts, lying press show why Trump won

BY SAMUEL STEVENS

Editor in Chief 

@SamuelJ_Stevens

President Trump announced that he would not attend the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner, causing a stir among the media. While this is unusual in and of itself, given the media’s constant attacks on President Trump, it makes perfect sense that he will not attend.

The president’s use of Twitter and other social media to reach voters directly echoed the campaign of the previous administration. Trump, however, perfected what his predecessor began. Catchphrases like “many such cases” and “Sad!” have become a staple among some Twitter users.

While this may seem silly, it shows that the president’s simple, direct messaging unfiltered by the mass media reached many disaffected Republicans, Democrats and new voters. The media at every turn, particularly CNN, MSNBC and so-called “conservative” outlets like the National Review, viciously attacked President Trump. They made sure to spin the narrative and twist the president’s words.

The media has been completely discredited by the election. While some of their gaffes are certainly mistakes or naiveté on the part of individual journalists, it is clear that many of them are motivated by partisan animus. The complete lack of investigation into Hillary Clinton’s crimes was but one example of the media refusing to hold a public figure accountable.

President Trump has shown that he does not need the lying press to promote his agenda. Corporate media is dying in favor of new Web-based platforms. While there are transparently partisan news sites online, the bigger deception is the false pretense of objectivity portrayed by outlets like CNN and The New York Times.

In the past, many American towns had a Republican or Democrat newspaper. The news had its bias, but all news is biased no matter how objective a writer attempts to be. Corporate media pretends to report the facts until those facts clash with their narrative.

Americans are not just fed up with the lying press, but Hollywood as well. The Hollywood Reporter noted that the latest awards show continued the downward ratings trend of the last several years. Clearly, Americans do not want actors lecturing them about political issues. While they toe the left wing establishment line, they have the wealth to insulate themselves from the consequences of their failed policies.

Jimmy Kimmel claimed that “the country is divided,” yet an electoral map shows that Americans voted overwhelmingly in favor of President Trump. Clinton voters were clustered in urban areas. Trump’s message spoke to many different groups, particularly the white working class long disenfranchised with the GOP’s slavish adherence to global finance capitalism.

Actors and other Hollywood camp followers have no standing to disparage the president. While President Trump has some public gaffes, his behavior is nothing compared to the myriad of scandals that emerge from the world of celebrity.

Social media platforms like Twitter have gone on to censor what they consider harassment. Like the definition of “terrorist,” it is a nebulous term that has lost all meaning. Independent media, individuals on social media and the Trump movement have put the establishment on notice.

The division in this country does not come from ordinary Americans, but from the crises manufactured by the lying press and ruling class.

Eating disorders: An apple is just an apple

By Martina Maya-Callen

Staff Writer

An apple is just an apple. It may seem simple, yet this was a concept that took me a long time to grasp, and I am still working on it. The dark, bad number my mind projects when seeing an apple—“95,” representing the calories within it—is not how the world has to be viewed.

Numbers. They so seamlessly begin to sneak their way into controlling lives—weight, calories, sizes and measurements. Before one realizes, numbers can become the component that make or break their day. How many calories were consumed? How many were burned off? Constant thoughts of food and the individual’s fight to resist it permeate the mind.

What many people do not realize is that going on a diet to lose a few pounds can trigger and initiate an eating disorder. National Eating Disorder Awareness Week is here, Feb. 26 to March 3, and the topic needs to be brought on to Salisbury University’s campus. Eating Disorders (ED) are not trivial. ED has the highest mortality rate amongst mental health disorders. They also very often co-exist with other mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, OCD and more.

For me, when life was crazy and uncontrollable in every other way, the numbers were the only thing I could control. In that way, calorie restriction and not eating feels…successful. It is like gaining power over your life. Quickly, this “power” began to regulate my thoughts, feelings and my entire entity. I so truly, madly, deeply hated myself. You would think I was a Savage Garden song.

I have had a love/hate relationship with food along with low self-esteem since I was in elementary school. Elementary school. As I glance at the playground, at that little girl, I wonder—will she have the chance to just be a kid? To not have her mind filled with self-hate?

With spring break and summer just around the corner, it seems everyone is on a calorie-restricting diet, exercising and talking about trying to get their “bikini body.” The problem is, this is the kind of society and culture that creates eating disorders. They are telling people they are not good enough in magazines and online as they fill the pages and posts with high, unrealistic, airbrushed beauty standards that truly do not exist.

You, as you are right now, are in your bikini body!

After over a decade of hating myself, I am now learning to fall in love with every part of my body and every component of who I am. As a society, it is imperative that we take care of ourselves—including our mental health. You are beautiful. Stop counting. No number will ever define you.

Counseling Center: 410- 543-6070

National Eating Disorder Association Hotline: 1-800-931-2237

I want my PBS

By Luke Wathen

Staff Writer

President Trump is set to release a proposed federal budget for the year 2018 in the near future. According to an article by “The New York Times,” several federal programs are on the chopping block, including the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

While it may initially seem like the government is simply cutting out unnecessary expenditures, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is a keystone for the American media, as it provides a great deal of funding for one of the oldest and most beloved television networks.

The network in question: the Public Broadcasting Service, more popularly known as PBS.

At first glance, PBS may seem like something hardly worth mentioning. To many people, it is nothing more than the station that always seems to be playing at doctors’ offices and retirement homes, with its programs ranging from boring to, dare I say it, educational.

But PBS is much more than that. Children over the past several decades have fond memories of PBS programs such as “Arthur,” “Sesame Street” and “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood,” shows that have stood the test of time with their social and educational significance.

PBS content also extends to adult audiences as well. From the in-depth documentaries featured on “Frontline” and “American Experience,” the scientific edutainment series “Nova” and what is often regarded as the least-biased television news syndicate “PBS NewsHour,” the station has clearly shown that it can reach and enrich audiences of all ages.

What makes PBS so special in this age of thousand-plus channel cable packages is the nature of its funding. Unlike other major networks such as FOX, CBS or NBC, PBS is a nonprofit entity that receives its funding from viewer contributions and federal assistance from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Because of the network’s nonprofit structure, they do not have to worry about ratings, sponsors or any other hassles that shape traditional, for-profit networks. This is why the programming on PBS is able to be as thoroughly educational as it is—there is no studio interference and no need to please corporate sponsors.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting is likely not to be cut entirely. However, PBS would lose a massive deal of its funding and likely be forced to rebrand itself as just another network. This would mean losing the integrity and foundation of its commendably enriching programs and compromising fact for the sake of entertainment.

If this thought sickens you as much as it does me, there is still time to act. You can extend a small, yet strong gesture by contacting your senator or congressman and voicing your concerns about the Trump administration’s proposed budget cuts. A simple minute of your time may end up making a world of difference.

PBS is one of the last bastions of honest and non-sensationalized television, so to see it die would be a truly disheartening thing. The best way to save the station, however, can only be done by the intervention of viewers like you. Thank you.

Third Time’s the Charm for Bruno Mars

By Drew Lacouture

Staff Writer

On his newest full-length album, Bruno Mars increases his stature as a pop icon with more confidence, inspiration and funk than ever before. The talented song-writer/performer mixes influences from previous decades and his pop sensibilities to create a passionate, yet fun listen.

While “Doo-Wops & Hooligans” and “Unorthodox Jukebox” were massive commercial successes, they did not contain enough distinctive qualities to insert them to many yearend lists. “24K Magic” is not a masterpiece, but in comparison there is much more focus and replay value in these songs.

Mars has always presented himself as a love-seeking heartthrob first and a womanizer second, but on this album it is reversed. He is having the time of his life with women, money and luxury. The only sappy song on here is the closing ballad “Too Good to Say Goodbye,” and it reminds listeners why everyone loves this womanizing version of Mars instead.

This new image is presented best in the fantastic opener “24K Magic,” followed by its even better follow-up, “Chunky.” It improves on its predecessor with a more distinctive base line and sensual backing vocals. Both these tracks have the soul and spark that “Uptown Funk” was missing.

It does not end here, for James Brown would be proud of the song “Perm” and every R&B singer from the 1990s will be jealous they did not create the song “Finesse.” The same might not be said for “Versace on the Floor,” which radiates so much cheese from that decade that it is hard to take it seriously at first.

A similar song to “Versace on the Floor” in tone and nostalgia is “Calling All of My Lovelies,” which has a strong 1980s feeling with its gorgeous synth lines and ballad tempo. Mars himself has never sounded more convincing and dynamic himself. Most of those who are skeptical of him will find excitement in this track and “Chunky” without question.

“That’s What I Like” and “Straight Up & Down,” are mid-tier tracks. The trap-flavored drums on “That’s What I Like” do not match the rest of the track but it is saved with several pleasant surprises in the transitions and a sweet bridge. “Straight Up & Down” is meant to be a love-making song, and has the production for it, but it is unclear if it succeeds in that with its awkward chants in the chorus.

On a side note, it is a shame that Mars continues to charge full price for a nine track album. His albums are too short, and it is especially disappointing in this case because it is his best work yet. The man has the potential to be on the level of Justin Timberlake in terms of quality music, but nine songs an album is not going to prove much.

“24K Magic” is not pushing pop music forward in a remarkable way with its crystal clear influences and flaws, but Bruno Mars is surely distinguishing himself from his contemporaries. He has not unleashed his full potential as an entertainer due to some questionable decisions. With that said, he is improving his craft with each release, which alone deserves praise.

The Flyer gives “24K Magic” a 7/10.

 

“Fake news” latest irony of lying press

By Samuel Stevens

Editorial Editor

Corporate media manufactured their latest ploy to discredit alternative information in the past week: so-called fake news. The Washington Post recently published an article with the absurd headline “Russian propaganda helped spread fake news during the election.”

The LA Times featured a similar story about a Merrimack College professor who released a collection site branded as fake news. Deviously, the Google doc (since taken down due to alleged harassment of the author) interspersed sites critical of U.S. foreign policy with media pushing UFO conspiracy theories. Either due to gross negligence or, more likely, malicious intent, the professor equated establishment-critical media with wild speculation about extraterrestrials.

The LA Times story on fake news reported that Facebook and Google would take steps to block fake news sites from utilizing their ad services as well. This is nothing more than a power play to keep major corporate media as the only source of information. Five multinational corporations own all mainstream media, down from 50 in the early 1980s.

Liberals have long been critical of Senator Joe McCarthy’s investigations into Communists in the US government and Hollywood in the 1950s. Now, they use the same excuses to keep the public away from alternative media. They have resurrected the specter of Russian antagonism to push their agenda, when the United States has demonstrably been the aggressor, fomenting war against Russia in Ukraine and expanding NATO.

Further, the leaked Podesta emails proved numerous corporate journalists were essentially Hillary Clinton campaign operatives. Comedian John Oliver, whose show poses as a news program, also took direction from the campaign.

The lying press delivered on their orders from the Clinton machine throughout the election. Trump was constantly attacked and had his words taken out of context. There have also been attempts to tie Trump to white nationalism and the “altright” when Trump is, ideologically speaking, a centrist who has been both a Republican and a Democrat.

Mainstream media spin is not unique to this election cycle, of course. The American press has a long history of complicity with the U.S. establishment.

This is the same media complicit with the outright lie that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction during the Bush administration. They have never raised issue with the Obama administration’s abuses of executive authority. The media claimed that Hillary led in the polls throughout the entire election, yet Trump won the majority of US counties.

U.S. media historically has been openly biased and partisan. Many newspapers began as vehicles of a local party organization. The concept of an “objective” press developed only within the last century. Bias in any kind of reporting is inevitable. The fiction of an objective media gives the establishment narrative credibility.

Social media and the internet have opened floodgates to new ideas and sources. The corrupt media of the establishment knows it is losing ground to alternatives. While many alternative sites have issues, the mainstream press is in no position to claim the moral or ethical high ground.

 

Faulty media divides America

By Riley Fanning

Staff Writer

The 2016 presidential election has finally come to an end and with the reveal of Trump as the winner, almost every article headline reads the same. Over and over are recycled phrases describing the shocking, unexpected and surprising win. The mainstream media is littered with astonishment, as every poll predicting Clinton to be the obvious winner was dead wrong.

The media in America has long been far from objective or unbiased, and the past two years of the campaign and election coverage proves it. Donald Trump won half of the country’s votes, and somehow the media had no inkling of this outcome.

News sources had painted a picture of Trump becoming president as an unimaginable joke. Clinton appeared to be leading by sturdy margins, with polling data to back up the claims. Yet the election polls did not prove to be reliable, leaving many Americans, including myself, in complete bewilderment.

The narrative of America being a liberal progressive country propagated by most media is a delusion. Millions of voters chose Trump, despite his unpredictable demeanor and hate-driven campaign, and despite the media spouting the impossibility of him being elected.

What we have to remember as well is that most voters were not gleefully skipping to the voting booths, with many trying to decide between two very flawed candidates. While some Trump supporters have prejudices, many do not and are just Americans who have been unhappy with the way the government has been run and believe he will bring change.

Both the liberal and conservative media has constantly portrayed exaggerated versions of Republicans and Democrats alike: racist rednecks versus the overly politically correct “social justice warriors.”  The media’s caricature of people is not an authentic reality, but rather a useful way to spread individual agenda and further widen the gap between political parties.

Since the election, nationwide protests have broken out and a growing petition has appeared on social media asking the Electoral College to change its vote in an attempt to have Clinton replace Trump as president-elect. The protests and petition prove just how divisive this election has been and display the fervent anger many Americans are feeling at the moment.

The problem with both of these things is that they are not actually protesting Trump as intended, but rather the democratic system itself. We had an election and just because you do not agree with the results does not mean you can change the rules and outcome after the fact.

While most media outlets are still wary and critical of Trump, a new note of positivity and hopefulness has come to the surface: as a country we should try to be optimistic that Trump will rise to the challenge of the presidency, and we should try to give him the opportunity to prove the predictions of failure wrong.

Media should give facts and the truth, not its own biased version of the truth. The lesson in all of this mess is that the media is not a wholly reliable source, and people will have to dig for the truth themselves. The country is in a deeply contentious state with many Americans either overjoyed or devastated with the election’s outcome.

Take this as an opportunity to use your First Amendment right to the freedom of speech—use your voice to promote values you uphold so that both sides of the political coin can begin a hopefully fruitful discourse.

Marvel gets Strange

By Drew Lacouture

Staff Writer

In their fourteenth film, “Doctor Strange” continues Marvel Studios’ streak of perfect casting, thrilling action and witty humor that all fits nicely into their cinematic universe while being the first film of theirs to introduce magic. While “Strange” is not a game changer by any means, the small risks it takes should be a sign of what is to come in future Marvel films.

Between audience’s lack of knowledge of the “Doctor Strange” comic books and the oversaturation of comic book movies this year, this film would be a tough sell without the star power of Benedict Cumberbatch. He delightfully fits the role and his presence in future Marvel movies will be most welcome.

Similar to Thor and Iron Man in their first movies, Doctor Strange starts off powerful, is humbled and has to fight an evil doer with a love interest in mind. This formula may be getting repetitive for some, but it is an effective way of telling a story. “Doctor Strange” does it well and to some degree executes it better by having him injured and frustrated, something many people can relate to.

The rest of the cast do a fine job with the material they are given. However, the script is exposition heavy and often predictable. During Cumberbatch’s training, a lot of explanations are given of this new world that he is being taught the existence of. While there are some funny lines here and there, the writers could have made the script more unique to match the uniqueness of the magic being used.

With all this said, the special effects and action sequences make up for the hefty summaries. The movie deserves to be seen in 3-D. As soon as Tilda Swinton’s character touches Cumberbatch’s forehead, it is made clear that this is not an ordinary Marvel movie in terms of concepts. The hypnotizing action sequences are also inventive and look phenomenal.

What is also phenomenal are the couple of surprises that are in the movie’s storytelling, one of them being during the climax and another during the post-credit scene. These small distinctions help separate Dr. Strange from other superhero origin stories. The fact that Doctor Strange is a music aficionado also leads to some hilarious humor.

What does not separate this film from other Marvel films is its underdeveloped and replaceable villain. There is just not enough screen time and personality to make Mads Mikkelsen’s character stand out. However, he does pose a moral dilemma in the movie that brings out the complexity of the Doctor Strange character.

Fans and casual audiences will most likely appreciate “Doctor Strange” for more than one reason, rather than just because they are distracted by a star-studded soundtrack (looking at you “Suicide Squad”).  The film is not as strong as this year’s “Captain America: Civil War,” but it is more engaging than “Ant-Man.” We will be looking forward to Cumberbatch and his mystical powers in future Marvel films.

The Flyer gives “Doctor Strange” a 7/10.

Trump victory heralds new order, discredits establishment

By Samuel Stevens

Editorial Editor

Donald Trump’s stunning defeat of Hillary Clinton last night was vindication for many voters. Trump brought many middle- and working-class white voters back into the fold of the GOP, long disadvantaged by the disastrous trade policies of previous Republican administrations. His level-headed rhetoric about Russian relations also captured former libertarians disillusioned with the war hawk policies of GOP neoconservatives.

Most importantly, Trump smashed the feckless campaigning of previous candidates. Rather than grovel and try to beg for support, Trump spoke with uncompromising strength and conviction. Neoconservatives of outlets like the National Review, Wall Street Journal, and Fox News have pushed a message that “respectability” will somehow win elections. Trump has shown that the exact opposite is true.

GOP voters have long wanted a candidate willing to speak plainly, whether they realized it or not. A Hillary victory would have meant the last gasp of the Republican Party as a serious political player. Their issue has always been reaching out to the base they do have, rather than try in vain to bring minority voters into their party.

Hillary Clinton and her supporters have little to stand on after the revelations of the election. The John Podesta emails revealed rampant political corruption as well as other crimes she is associated with. Her campaign relied on her status as the “first woman president” among other inanities. In reality, her policies were a mix of neoconservative intervention and far-left social policies.

Ironically for Hillary’s base, she has had the support of Wahabi Saudi Arabia by 68 percent, according a 21st Century Wire report. Clinton cannot believe in the social positions of her party if she takes the money and support of the most extreme Arab nation. It should also be noted that the Podesta emails showed Clinton took donations from Saudi Arabia in exchange for political favors.

Trump has built countless buildings and a successful company over the decades. Hillary almost single-handedly threw the entire Middle East into sectarian conflict in her tenure as Secretary of State. Clinton and her supporters cannot claim the moral high ground when her career track record demonstrates the exact opposite.

Hillary’s loss will go down in history as the death blow of the post-Cold War liberal and neoconservative establishment.

Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Trump on his victory, and announced he was prepared to resume normal relations with Russia. President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines made a similar announcement, a shift from his recent turn away from close American relations. Contrary to “expert” analysis, Trump has already started to solve the foreign policy messes created by the Obama administration.

In the span of a year, Trump has vindicated decades of work by men like Patrick J. Buchanan, Senator Jeff Sessions, and pundit Sam Francis. With the momentum of middle America at his back, Trump’s electoral victory heralds even greater national success on the horizon.