The Sound of Music is Here

Got that sixteen-going-on-seventeen blues? Don’t know what to Do-Re-Mi? Want to see one of my favorite things? The Sound of Music is coming to Churchill. Now you can experience this heartwarming tale of nuns, Nazis, and the power of song in our very own Lanny Naegelin theater.The show stars Meredith Trapp as Maria and Michael Coyle as  Captain Von Trapp.

So clip yourself an edelweiss boutonniere and climb every mountain to Churchill, now alive with the Sound of Music! Opens February 3rd at 7 p.m. with shows the 4th and 5th, also at 7 p.m., and  a matinee showing on Sunday the 6th at 2:30. Tickets are $10- buy at the door or reserve your seats today!

By Jessica Reece and Rachel Burnstein

Valentine Hooplah

Everyone get ready to carve their hearts out with a spoon: Valentine’s day is on its way. It’s a hopeless romantic’s dream (nightmare, rather) come true.

St. Valentine isn’t even a big deal. Roman Catholics erased the celebration of St. Valentine’s day from their calendar in the 1960’s. The Cherubs printed on Hallmark’s cards and the boxes of chocolates people end up eating alone in a dark room now only serve to mock our ignorance of Corporate America cashing in on our souls. Geoffrey Chaucer is credited with the creation of this sadistic holiday when he made mention of it in his poem Parlement of Foules. The idea of such a poem is particularly disconcerting, and I am especially concerned with the proposition of chickens starting a democratic government. Besides this, Chaucer didn’t understand what he was doing. Chaucer was a nobleman, a writer, and a wealthy man. Chaucer could have any woman he wanted, and now the average American teenager seven hundred years later suffers the consequences of his artistic portrayal of his own lust.

Of course now the wives and girlfriends will be in an uproar, but men agree: they just want more chocolate. Carrying their stuff, listening to them talk, and spending money on them doesn’t do anything to legitimize the relationship until they get a box of truffles. In return, maybe we’ll be lucky enough to get a Jonas Brother’s Valentine and as we tear in half the commercially manufactured phrase next to Nick Jonas’s face we can realize he’s far more successful than us and our dismally broken hearts don’t really amount to much when three guys with no musical talent can get their face on a Valentine.

I’m sure most will have iPods full of love song playlists on loop when the fourteenth comes around. Eighties love-pop is going to suddenly be appearing on many iTunes accounts. While I’m a big fan of good music, who could say no to Michael Bolton, Kool and The Gang, and for the really ambitious, some Barry Manilow. Don’t deny it, everyone’s listened to ‘Mandy’ and thought for at least a little bit it was an alright song.

But in all seriousness, there’s no reason to even fathom such ideas. Everyone knows as well as I, it’s going to be a not much of anything day. We’ll all just swap some candy with each other and call it a good time. Maybe some will be lucky enough to get a Disney Princess card pitched their way. It’s only when someone has a ‘significant’ other that something will really go down. Maybe a good friend of the guy will record the couple making-out in the hallway and put it on Facebook with Aladdin’s “A Whole New World” theme playing over it. Don’t be fooled, that’s all high school romance has ever amounted to be.

The Dreams we Gave Up

We’ve been asked since we were children what we wanted to be when we grow up, and as we grow older many people’s answers to that question become more and more practical. A child goes from saying ‘astronaut’ when he’s six to ‘engineer’ when he’s in high school. According to MSNBC, less than 45 percent of workers age 45 to 54 are satisfied with their job.  Whatever happened to following your dream?

Michael Gebhardt, junior golf player, plans to do just that. Since a very young age, Michael has played golf with his father almost every weekend. He played on the golf team all through out middle school and made varsity golf his sophomore year. Golf is all that’s ever on Michael’s mind.

“I think about it a lot. It’s what I do everyday,” Michael said. “Golf is just fun.”

For Michael, there isn’t a better way to pass the time. It’s his passion, his dream. That same spark that keeps kindergartners believing they can be professional basketball stars still hasn’t gone out in Michael.

“I want to go as far as it will take me,” Michael said.

After graduating college, Michael would have to enter a series of mini-tours to go professional. He would go on the “Nation Wide Tour”, which is considered the breeding ground for the PGA. Michael is determined. He takes lessons and is always working to improve.

He would play all the time if he could. Over the summer, Michael played three to four hours daily. He tries to practice every afternoon if he hasn’t too much homework.

“It’s a really good stress reliever if I’ve got a lot of homework or something hanging over my head,” Michael said. “I can just go out and play eighteen holes to calm me down. I can forget about everything and just focus on golf.”

Who says we can’t be astronauts and movie stars? Who told us what was unachievable? When Michael gets asked what career he plans to pursue, he’s a bit reserved in saying ‘a golfer’, knowing what sort of wild dreams that must insinuate. But a world without golf for him is a world not worth living in.

“Not playing golf at all? No, I couldn’t see myself doing that,” Michael said.

Of course, this world we live in is depressingly realistic and Michael keeps his options open.

“I have other options I could pursue academically. I would be more happy with golf, though. It’s the best job I can think of.”

It’s hard to keep the spark alive when he’s pressured into a realistic lifestyle. 84% of people working today say they’re not in their dream job. They define their dream job  as something fun, something that makes a contribution to society, and a few people said money. Michael doesn’t plan to stop for anything, though.

“I guess I just have keep at it. Keep at it and don’t give up.”

Don’t Be Too Caffeine Carefree

According to Discovery Health, ninety percent of Americans consume caffeine every day, making caffeine America’s most popular drug. By consuming too much caffeine a day, people risk suffering from side effects such as anxiety, dizziness, headaches and jitters (kidshealth.org).

Caffeine, in its pure form, is a bitter, white addictive powder that is used to stimulate the brain. It is most commonly found in chocolate, coffee, tea, energy drinks and sodas.

On cold winter mornings when people can barely pry open their eyelids, or on late, lazy evenings when sleep is beckoning, caffeine is an easy go-to. However, caffeine has its downsides. When the caffeine wears off, and an emotional blowout occurs, people look to consume more caffeine to sustain their emotional buzz. The amount of caffeine needed to produce the same results progressively rises with regular caffeine reliance. The half-life of caffeine in the body is six hours. That means that if someone drinks a cup of coffee with 200 mg of caffeine at 3:00 p.m., by 9:00 p.m. there will still be 100 mg of caffeine in his or her system. Even if people don’t have trouble getting to sleep, it may keep them from falling into the deepest, best level of slumber. On top of the jumpy and irritable moods brought on by caffeine, people suffer from an extra dosage of grumpiness from their lack of quality sleep. Caffeine becomes the quick go-to solution for all negative emotions. And so, our society spirals into a vortex of deep exhaustion and what we expect to pull us out of this negative downfall.

Teenagers should intake of no more than 100 mg of caffeine a day. Adults are allowed 100-200 mg more per day, and children should consume much less. Most people drink coffee in 12, 14, or 20oz. containers, and eight ounces of coffee contains 100 mg of caffeine. Black tea contains 50 mg, and Coca-Cola has 54 mg. (That means two Cokes in a day is pushing it!) Red Bull (8.3 oz. can) contains 80 mg of caffeine per can, and Monster has 160 mg, more caffeine than a teenager should have in a single day. Milk chocolate, in contrast, only has 6 mg per ounce.

By no means should caffeine be avoided, feared or stressed about. The key to caffeine is moderation. Teens today are continuously tempted to fall into the destructive habit of relying on caffeine. This habit will carry on into adulthood and only get worse. So, oft for caffeine-free soda, caffeine-free tea or water. And at night, break the cycle of exhaustion by putting down the third soda and climbing into bed early.