All posts by conorobrien2

The Power of Music

There may not be a more powerful emotional effect on the mind of a person than a beautifully written and wonderfully composed song. Everyone has a favorite song or a favorite band that they push onto their friends without a thought of remorse. The power of a song is limitless and can provide any kind of feeling that there is.

Behind every great song is an incredibly talented songwriter who finds a way to put our thoughts into words. Here is a very brief list of some of the most talented storytellers that I have come across in my never-ending search for great music.

Bob Dylan

A Minnesota born artist who has shaped his songwriting around political, philosophical, and social movements throughout the past half-century. The uniqueness of Dylan cannot be understated as he is truly a household name. The way in which Bob Dylan is able to tell a story is remarkable, and perhaps best seen in his 1975 song titled “Hurricane.” The song details the events that unfolded in the event of Rubin “Hurricane” Carter’s murder case in which he was wrongfully accused and imprisoned due to racism and social injustice.

John Prine

An Illinois born country-folk songwriter, John Prine was known for his detailed tunes of love and friendship that often featured a humorous aspect. Prine passed away recently due to complications with coronavirus yet his music lives on just as strong as it did while he was still walking the earth. John Prine received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2020 for his influence in the folk scene throughout the past fifty years.

Evan Felker

Known primarily for being the front man of the highly regarded red-dirt band the Turnpike Troubadours, Evan Felker has quickly come to be known as one of the greatest songwriters of our generation. Felker’s storytelling finds most of its influence from the scenes and life of Southeast Oklahoma. His songs tell the tales of lost love and coming home in ways that the common person can relate to. Perhaps the most unique part of Felker;s songwriting is the imagery. Lines such as “The sunlight shines in fine white lines on weathered stores with open signs, they may as well just close ’em down” help to bring the listener right into the story that he is telling. The Turnpike Troubadours broke up in early 2019 and since then the location of Evan Felker continues to be a mystery.

The Difference Between a Poisonous Animal and a Venomous Animal

It is often that one will hear the phrase “Careful! That snake is poisonous!” and I am quite sure that I have said it myself a number of times. In my effort to learn more about the other inhabitants of our world, I set out to better understand the difference between a poisonous animal and that which is venomous.

Poisonous:

Poisonous animals are that which use their toxin in a defensive way. For example, the Poison Dart Frog is a tropic-dwelling creature that contains a toxin on its skin. When another animal tries to consume the frog, the toxin is released and it is all downhill for the predator. Therefore, most snakes and spiders, which are often referred to as poisonous, are not under that umbrella.

Venomous:

Venomous animals play an active role in injecting their prey with the toxin they carry within. As an example, Killer bees, a hybrid of a honey bee, sting and therefore inject their toxin into whatever they decide to sting. With this knowledge, one can see that most snakes are in fact venomous and not poisonous.

The line gets blurred when it comes to plants, while they obviously cannot strike a victim, some plants do have protrusions that can inject a toxin to whatever may be unlucky enough to brush against it.

Lessons learned here

Understanding Hunters and Their Contribution to Conservation

The hunting community often receives a lot of flak from the population due to the fact that it has been slowly becoming a controversial topic over the last century. As studies have begun to emerge regarding the benefits of a plant-based diet and animal cruelty, the anti-hunting community has been largely vocal in expressing the problems they find with hunters around the globe.

To offer an attempt to show just how much complexity is involved in the issue, here are some statistics regarding the role that sportsmen and women play in conservation:

  • With the purchase of a federal duck stamp, a necessity if one aims to hunt ducks in the US, ninety-eight cents of each dollar spent on the license go directly to funding programs that preserve and produce vital habitat for waterfowl in the country. To add perspective, the cost of a federal duck stamp is $25, meaning $24.50 goes directly into habitat conservation.
  • State-sold licenses account for roughly 75% of a state’s fish & wildlife budget.
  • Through taxes on equipment related to hunting and fishing (Firearms & ammunition, angling & archery equipment, for example) sportsmen and women have contributed over $20 billion to habitat conservation since 1937.

Much of the reason that great wildlife habitat still exists in the United States is due to the men and women hunters and anglers who respect and contribute to the lives of our animal population.

“In a civilized and cultivated country, wild animals only continue to exist at all when preserved by sportsmen.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Statistics found on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website.

Easy Pickings: A Criticism of InfoWars

In the age of rapid information output, it is understandable that mistakes are made, and it is relatively easy to forgive them. However, throughout the world or internet-based information, there are content creators who seem to thrive on just being outlandish.

There may not ever be someone more fit as a poster child for fake news than the founder of InfoWars, Alex Jones. While most of the population is in agreement that Jones is entirely loony, he has amassed a following in his years promoting conspiracies and all around fake news. Now, it would be tiring to write about Jones as a person, so an article has been chosen to analyze.

InfoWars article on the release of a supposed coronavirus dossier

If you were to still form some trust in the site after navigating past the sea of iodine supplement ads and hoax polls, you may need to read up on whether the site is promoting news or is just trying to profit. Either way, the story features headlines that seem to be incredibly biased. I am not entirely discounting the story, as there is a possibility that through the fake there is some real and true content. The site aligns itself with its views entirely, and there is no getting around that.

It is incredibly hard, or near impossible to locate unbiased information on the internet so the best course of action is to take it all with a grain of salt. The media is everywhere, and this sometimes is for the better and is sometimes for the worst. If one can critically think through the news that they read, it will at the least provide a sense of duty within their mind.

Maintaining Your Mental Health Through a Pandemic.

In the wake of COVID-19, much of the population is still adjusting to the completely different lifestyle that is required to slow the spread of the virus. Perhaps at one time the thought of being at home with nothing to do was one of strong appeal, but as the country is approaching the two month mark of quarantine, that feeling has dissipated.

Those who had already been suffering with a mental illness are some of the people being most affected through the stay-at-home order. With a lack of tasks that need to be completed, a person can quickly feel unproductive and begin, or continue, to spiral into a sort of depression. The loss of income and the uncertainty of the future for many creates an easy path to anxiety-related issues.

In the interest of maintaining mental health, and the importance of it, we must find a healthy way to deal with all that we are feeling. It is crucial that we find a way to become productive during these times, no matter the significance of the task. The Canadian Mental Health Association provided an article displaying ways in which we can aid in the healing of our minds.

Benefits of Good Mental Health – Canadian Mental Health Association

As a brief rundown of the subjects covered:

  • Get Physical
  • Eat Right
  • Take Control of Stress

All of which play a large role in the state of your mental health.

Another resource that I came across while browsing the subject is an article on meditation done by the Black Dog Institute. Within the article there is plenty of information to give an understanding of meditation and what it does for your brain. For the topics covered, the article includes information such as:

  • Physiological effects of meditation
  • What happens to the brain during meditation?
  • Why should you try it?

It is easy to feel worn out after doing a whole lot of nothing, but there are decisions a person can make to solidify the well-being of their mental health. “Your mental illness is not your fault, but it is your responsibility.” – Marcus Parks

The Importance of Protecting Our Wild Country

As our world is exponentially being formed into a concrete playground, the future of the wild is truly becoming one of question. Public land ranges from east to west and from massive national parks all the way down to the little nature preserve in your backyard. Whether it be the snow-capped mountains of the Rockies or the sawgrass wetlands of the southeast, the beauty that is held in these areas takes the breath of millions of visitors year-in and year-out.

It may be simple to take the land for what it is and believe that places like Yellowstone and the Everglades will stand the test of time, but that is all too far from the truth. There is a constant battle between economics and preservation, one in which the outcome creates ruins of what once was sacred. Millions of acres of land that is owned by the public, our land, is being sold off to energy companies in the hopes of extracting the valuable resources that lay beneath. In the midst of a pandemic, the Trump administration is acting quickly to open thousands of acres of land in the western US for drilling and mining operations. A Guardian article explains the specifics of the operation and can be found here. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/apr/30/public-lands-sale-trump-coronavirus-environmental-regulations

Among the land that is being threatened is a 150,000 acre chunk just a mile away from the Canyonlands National Park in southern Utah. Environmentalists are questioning the action of the administration, the “planet drowns in oil” which is seen to be true with current oil prices.

The importance of our wild country is far beyond words, it has to be seen and experienced. If we want to have that option for ourselves and for our children, we have to realize the beauty that lies within the land and actively voice for the continued preservation of it all.