Jul 31, 2017

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Jazz in Culture

Born on the 1st of December in 1951, John Francis Anthony Pastorius III was surrounded by music since his parents, Jack and Stephanie, were well-known musicians. After birthing the first of their three children in Pennsylvania, Jack and Stephanie uprooted their family to South Florida. John Francis began school in Oakland Park, Florida at the St. Clement’s Catholic School, where he became an altar boy. Although raised and educated religiously, our jazz enthusiast expert for Wedding in Key West says, John did not stick with the traditional Catholicism path. Once entering Northeast Highschool, John gained the nickname ‘Jaco’ after the umpire Jocko Conian. At this time, John had been a talented athlete and was gaining momentum as a musician as well. A friend in a letter had written his nickname ‘Jaco’, and it appealed to John more than with the former spelling with a ‘k’.

In high school, Jaco formed his first band, The Sonics, with two friends. Throughout the years of high school, the boys would have multiple jam sessions and occasionally perform in front of small groups. At first, Jaco would play the drums, which he learned from his father. However, after a sport injury in high school, he was unable to pursue anything further with percussion. When playing small gigs with the local band, Las Olas Brass, the bass player had unexpectedly quit, leaving Jaco to take up learning bass guitar. He bought his first electric bass at a local Fort Lauderdale pawnshop for less than twenty dollars. From there on, Jaco would learn to play and improvise by listening to famous jazz musicians.

Later on in Jaco’s high school career, jazz music started to become more prominent in his repertoire. He drew inspiration from Charlie Parker and John Coltrane. By following their lead on instruments, Jaco began to define his own style with the electric bass guitar. Once he became more proficient on the instrument, Jaco switched over to an upright bass. Although he was satisfied with the instrument, the Florida humidity greatly damaged the tone and overall structure of the upright. Feeling slightly defeated, Jaco turned in the upright for what would become his signature instrument, the Fender Jazz Bass.

After graduating from high school, Jaco searched and auditioned for many gigs that needed a proficient bass player. He finally landed a position with Wayne Cochran and The CC Riders, a well-known soul band from the late 1960’s. Until this time, Jaco had already done a few recordings with other musicians but the musical creativity did not flow well. Jaco began venturing out to find more compatible musicians and created his own trio with guitarist Pat Metheny, pianist Paul Bley, and drummer Bruce Ditmas. With this group, Jaco features on Pat Metheny’s debut album, Bright Size Life. The technical experience Jaco gained from this recording session gave way to beginning his own musical debut. After just one year of writing and recording in 1976, Jaco Pastorius released his self-titled album, Jaco Pastorius.

Jaco became a recluse for a long while once he began receiving criticism about his music style. As legend goes, he locked himself in a room for a few months only with the necessities and his bass guitar. When he entered the world once again, he was a master of his craft. Jaco attended a Weather Report concert in Miami in the late 70’s and there he introduced himself to the band with abrasiveness. The frontman, and soon-to-be friend, Josef Zawinul admired Jaco’s persistence in discussing music and other topics. Zawinul invited Jaco to play on their next album after listening to his mixtape performance. Zawinul believed Jaco had true potential as a musician and arranger. The jazz album Black Market served Jaco well since his own composition was featured on the track listing and their next album, Heavy Weather, went on to become a Grammy nominated work.

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Jul 21, 2017

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Traveling with Relationships

Codependency is a pattern of behavior in which you find yourself dependent on approval from someone else in order to gain self-worth and identity. It is known as a ‘relationship addiction’ because people with codependency often form or maintain one-sided relationships, usually emotionally destructive or abusive. The learned behaviors of codependents are passed down usually from relationships they observed in early adolescence. Codependency is not only found in romantic relationships, but also bonds that are formed with friends, parental figures, and their own children as well.

Who Does Codependency Affect?

Codependency often is found in those who suffer from addiction and mental illness.

Because codependency is referred to as an addiction, research has shown the brain of someone who is codependent is chemically imbalanced, just as someone suffering from bipolar or drug addiction.

Dysfunctional Family

A dysfunctional family is one in which family members suffer from fear, anger, pain, or shame that is ignored or denied, causing the member to suppress and regress in their emotional maturity. They learn to avoid and disregard their own emotions, and they typically sacrifice their own needs to take care of others. When co-dependents place other people’s health, welfare, and safety before their own, and they lose contact with their own needs, desires, and sense of self.

Characteristics of Codependent People:

  • An exaggerated sense of responsibility for the actions of others
  • A tendency to do more than their share
  • An unhealthy dependence on relationships. They will do anything to hold on to a relationship to avoid feelings of abandonment
  • An extreme need for approval and recognition
  • A sense of guilt when asserting them
  • A compelling need to control others
  • Lack of trust in self and/or others
  • Difficulty identifying feelings
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Problems with intimacy
  • Poor communication


Treatment of codependency involves an intensive exploration into early childhood issues and their relationship to their current destructive behavior. Education, experiential groups, individual therapy, and support groups are viable treatment methods that will allow the individual to rediscover themselves, identify their own desires, and reconstruct their family dynamics.

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Jul 14, 2017

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Addiction Culture: It’s In Your Genes

It’s In Your Genes (and Environment)

As genes are innately beyond a person’s control and are determined through natural processes, the environment refers to the influence of not just people, but surroundings, events, and situations.

The phrase ‘alcoholism is in my family’ refers to the genetic coding throughout an entire family tree: they stem from a long line of alcoholics. They may be able to see first-hand how alcoholism affected their lives growing up. Although there is no known gene for alcoholism or any specific drug, various genes are involved when determining substance abuse. For instance, our counterpart in research who also owns a marketing in Boca Raton agency believes if a person is genetically predisposed to addiction, their nervous system (which transmits impulses to parts of the body) may react strongly to alcohol or drugs. Meaning, a fairly large amount of dopamine, or the ‘feel-good’ chemical, is released into the body. This hormonal release sets off a reaction, making the body crave more and more.

The environmental factor that plays part in budding alcoholism is due to external influences, such as the way someone was raised, their socioeconomic status, their peer group, or their work atmosphere. Many have blamed their environment for their developing addiction, so they remove themselves from the workplace, only to find the developing symptoms follow them elsewhere. The ‘geographical approach’ rarely works. This calls for an inside job.

The first segment of recovery is detoxification, or simply removing the harmful chemicals situated in the body. Detox handles removing the physical dependency of the drugs and alcohol. When the detox is completed, the psychological and social factors begin to be treated, often through 12-step programs, self-help groups, counseling, lifestyle changes, and emotional awareness. In conclusion,

addiction culture is everywhere. No matter how far or wide you travel, there is always the next drug around the corner. The question is: what are you going to do about it?

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Jul 3, 2017

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On February 11th’s volunteer day, Alexandra and I were given guidance in how to assist with the adults who were studying for their GED exams coming up later this and next month. We prepared their work area so they would be able to study and take practice exams. We occasionally sharpened the broken pencil or two and assisted with any types of questions they may have had about certain subjects. It was interesting this week compared to previous because we were more hands on with some of the work involved than before. It was nice to meet some of the people as well. We all had something in common: we are working towards higher goals.

At the Chisholm community center, my group and I witnessed quite a few new changes and programs going on. First, construction on the lot was being put into place, so the parking lot was roped off. This caused a bit of confusion. Secondly, there was a job fair taking place in the main multi-purpose room. We met a lot of the townspeople and we felt like we became part of the greater DeLand community just by listening in on the presentations and engaging with the groups. Ultimately, it was an enriching experience. While the GED tests were taken place in the back room, my group and I helped organize the many events that were to be held in the center in the upcoming days.

On Tuesday’s day of service at the Chisholm Community Center in downtown Deland, FL, I was witness to a community board meeting. In the rear room in the center, a panel of educators and community leaders gathered to discuss important local issues which also included many global affairs. Although my group and I could not actively participate in the conversations, we did engage in activities regarding the local GED program in DeLand.

We were given the opportunity to assist in any questions that the participants had and assist in preparation for their study period. Each week we are exposed to new and various types of opportunities, from people to places, to languages to beliefs, each culture is symbolized through the numerous differences between all of the participants at the Chisholm Community Center. Yet, each difference is proven to be a factor in similarity amongst many people, societies, and cultures.

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Jun 29, 2017

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Our Ethnic Differences

There I was able to put forth my own worldliness and ideas on how to change people’s perception on those with different ethnicities, beliefs, languages, and so forth. I explained to my group that instead of sympathizing with another person, they should instead empathize because

there is a major difference in the process of caring. With sympathy, the statement “walk a mile in another shoes” before you cast judgment could work but is not truly allowing one to experience what another may be going through. Empathizing is strapping shoes on next to the person and walking with them, instead of leaving them behind while sympathizing. Another idea we came across was the usage of the terms “equality” versus “equity”.

Whereas equality is distributing the same amount to each, equity is distributing the right amount to each based on the individual’s need. So, contrary to popular belief, it is not equality that we strive for as individuals, society’s, or nations, it is equity — the fairness between subjects by the subjects.

Whereas equality is distributing the same amount to each, equity is distributing the right amount to each based on the individual’s need. So, contrary to popular belief, it is not equality that we strive for as individuals, society’s, or nations, it is equity — the fairness between subjects by the subjects.

I envision a socially just world as an orbit of understanding, even if something is not agreeable; where judgment is not based on physical aspects or preconceived notions of ‘morality’, but where recognition is encompassed in interpersonal affairs between one and another. This world of social justice is far from what we have today, yet it is not an unobtainable goal. A type of equality that goes into constructing a socially just world is the ability to ‘zoom out’ to be able to see a broader

A type of equality that goes into constructing a socially just world is the ability to ‘zoom out’ to be able to see a broader picture but also having the tolerance and patience to ‘zoom in’ to recognize each as an individual. Another attempt at change can be recognizing any form of injustice and standing up for it’s right, whether it is a micro-level or macro-level issue. The step from recognition to action is a huge step in the right direction for humanity.

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Jun 22, 2017

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Crossing Over

In Ruben Martinez’s novel, “Crossing Over”, the narrator depicts a certain story of three brothers who try to cross the border that divides Mexico and the United States. On the treacherous journey in the back of an overcrowded truck, the Chavez brothers are killed due to the unlawfulness of their smugglers, or coyotes. As the stories of these undocumented workers surge through the media in the States, widely held beliefs that these ‘illegals’ are stealing the jobs from the American people become of common hearsay and stereotypes begin to spread.

Instead of noticing people from Mexico as human beings, they are portrayed as ‘aliens’, or undocumented workers. This societal fallacy forces dehumanization amongst people who try to enter other borders, whether they are from Mexico or not. This sense of ethnocentrism, or the idea that one group’s way of thinking, being, and acting in the world is superior to others, play a major role in the distancing of other cultures from one’s own, qualifying others as not worthy or ‘not right’. By learning to appreciate other culture’s values, a form of communication begins and can influence the ethnocentric nations to pull down their ego in order to create positive change or intercultural competency.

When I was in eighth grade, I contributed to the social stigma of using derogatory terms which I was unfamiliar with to describe current emotions. My literature teacher overheard me use the term “retarded” and asked to see me after class when she then would lecture me about my choice of speech. I did not find her lecture to be important at the time, even after the three-page paper she required me to write because of my choice of words. A few years later in high school, the term came around again, but this time not from my mouth.

I remembered what my previous teacher told me and I used her advice in that instant to assist in ridding of discrimination within my own circle of friends. I have not used “retarded” as a way to express any certain emotion or person since, because I have learned that a person is a person first, they are not their situation. From this lesson, I learned that the true understanding of any word, person, or situation is necessary to be able to learn how to be empathetic and assist in the validation of a social issue in a positive manner.

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Jun 19, 2017

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The concept of globalization is often referred to as economic status, cultural development, and industrialization. But the reoccurring factor that has been affected throughout each nation’s expansion is the environment. The environment has often played the sacrilege sheep when it comes to human development. When the environment is a topic of interest, there are many contemporary factors that fall into place of the harmful effects that globalization has in circumstances such as forest transitions, oil trade, and the various types of pollution.

Globalization is the process of making something known worldwide. The spread of customs, ideas, language and so forth has increased rapidly thanks to the quick-paced transportation systems that have been invented throughout the years. Globalization has helped increase the number of varied cultures in numerous places. For example, the citizens of the United States are capable of experiencing Chinese food because of the spread of the Asian Eastern culture. The same goes for Italian food in America; the spread of recipes infiltrated the borders of each country. Another instance is the spread of religion, many of which contain similar aspects, but have their own system of beliefs.

The main goal with a global understanding of our environment is to live in a sustainable culture, that is, live in a way that little to no harm is done to our surroundings. Living sustainably endows our future generations with the necessary resources that our finite world holds. One facet of globalization that affects the environment is through forest transitions. In this process, developers use the landscape to their advantage and for their own profit. They manipulate the landscape structure by lacerating the indigenous trees to create industrial and urban areas. By transitioning these plots of land into their non-naturally occurring seasonal schedule, the changes can physically and timelessly effect the growing of any life once plotted in that location.

Once mass transit became accessible worldwide, the major corporations took advantage of the swift routes. The major development of transportation caused many issues that were foreseen but often forgone. For instance, the amount of oil consumption and the effects the emissions from the gas the transportation systems frequently used. Filling up a tank in a standard family car costs about $45 on a good day. This average consumption of gas emits just under 14% of the total of carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere. Many would speculate that carbon dioxide should not be harmful towards the Earth’s greenhouse since we give off carbon dioxide just by breathing. However, these emissions just from a single car add up to what we know as The Greenhouse Gas Effect. This situation often develops into a larger problem in which the surface of Earth begins to heat up, creating global warming.

Notoriously known as America’s “Men Who Built America”, J.P Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, and Cornelius Vanderbilt were of the first to grasp onto the capitalistic venture of oil. These entrepreneurs created railroad routes all across North America in order to transport goods. In the process of creating these direct routes, transportation grew faster, which required increasing fuel; that is, oil. The drilling of oil is a modern issue concerning the everlasting effect of burning fossil fuels and in turn, the spilling of oil.  The burning of fossil fuels creates emission of carbon dioxide which releases into Earths’ atmosphere. The emissions add up to the atmosphere, creating a defect in the shield, known as the Greenhouse Gas Effect. This defect allows the Suns’ rays to penetrate Earths’ surface quicker and more violently, heating the surface.

As for oil spills and the environment, the spills can be extremely hazardous to wildlife as well as domestic life. The commercials on television referring to the ducklings having oil stains on their fur is only a smidgen of the problem that the environment faces. When spilled, the oil can permeate through food, water, and other natural resources. This spread can cause serious health issues as well as sustainability issues in the near future. The wildlife and marine life that are affected ultimately are harmed from the food chain, that is, the bottom leveled food, such as a shrimp, could be carrying remnants of the oil, and a top leveled predator would eat that shrimp, causing harmful effects, which would be a cyclical situation.

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