Slaughterhouse Five

My experience with Vonnegut is limited.  Specifically, I have two experiences with his works.  I own, and have read a bit of, Breakfast of Champions.  What I have read of that book, I have really enjoyed.

My second experience was in high school.  Freshman or Sophomore year we had to read Slaughterhouse for Academic Team (Academic Decathlon? I don’t know what these things are called anymore).  I remember disliking the book.  As a matter of fact, I remember really disliking the book.  I can’t remember why I had such a negative opinion regarding it, however.  I have just chocked it up to angsty, “I don’t like this because I have to read it” teenage stuff.  Now that I’m older, more refined, and not quite as ignorant (just a tad less ignorant), I have decided to give it another shot.

My personal copy of Slaughterhouse that I have had since high school.

The Wabash Society for the Furthering of the Liberal Arts (whew, that made my fingers have to stop and take a breath) is the organization, on campus, that is reading this book right now.  WSFLA is an organization that is dedicated to extracurricular, peer learning.  We teach each other things that are not readily available as classes at Wabash.  Earlier this semester, we ordered a few copies of the mass-market paperback edition of Slaughterhouse. Patrick Stroud ’14 decided to head the project as it is one of his favorite books, and because he has put a lot of time into reading, rereading, and thinking critically about it.

Today was our first “meeting” regarding the book, and the thoughts that other guys had concerning just the first chapter were very interesting.  This is one of the benefits, in my opinion, of reading and discussing a book as a group.  There are such wide discrepancies in interpretations that it is almost like freshly rereading passages over and over again.  It’s practically magic.

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Glee Club Tour Ends

Glee Club Spring Tour 2014 has officially ended.  We arrived back to Wabash campus at around 4:30PM on Saturday.  The trip was fun, if tiring at times.  The sense of friendship amongst those men that attend tour is made apparent upon returning to our normal schedules.  We also become more familiar with the various pieces, so we tend to carry the full Glee Club until they can catch up.  Below, I am going to include some select pictures from tour with captions expounding upon them.

We travelled to the St. Louis Arch, so I took the obligatory Arch photo.

The St. Louis Zoo was one of the best zoos I had ever visited. The best part? It is free to the public! Here’s a very cute Red Panda headed to a sunnier area of his small habitat.

Obligatory Botanical Garden photograph. It really was beautiful.

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. A Cathedral is a church out of which a Bishop operates. A Basilica is a title bestowed to a church by the Pope, himself. This Cathedral Basilica was covered with beautiful mosaics.

I hope you enjoyed the photos! Don’t forget that clicking on them will open the full-sized photo in a new window.

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Spring Tour Day 1

Glee Club Spring Tour is always an interesting experience.  Put a bunch of Wabash guys on a bus for hours, especially guys that love to sing, and you have quite the musical journey.  Our musical journey began at around 11:30am this morning.

I arrived at Ball Theater Lobby of the Fine Arts Center at 10:00am (I like to be early, what can I say).  After getting final musical preparations out of the way, things like final music pieces, we disembarked at around 11:30.  We got to Rensselaer, Indiana, about an hour and a half (by bus) from Crawfordsville, and had to turn back.  Someone on our voyage forgot their luggage back on campus.  Because of this, after we ate lunch, we had to head back south and add ~2 hours onto our total trip time.

I guess I can say that this was an interesting beginning to the Spring 2014 Tour.  Tomorrow, we have our call at 7:00am and our first official concert of the tour will be held during a Catholic mass at St. James’ Parish in Highland, Indiana.  It will be fun.

Stay tuned for more blogs concerning the tour!


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Ash Wednesday

I remember being in the 4th grade and experiencing my first Ash Wednesday.  I had gone to public school before then, but I started Catholic school my 4th grade year.  I had no idea what was going on with all of the people with dirt on their foreheads.  Never in my approximate ten years of life had I seen that.  I would get awfully familiar with it over the next few years, though.

I went to mass that day with my class and, like any other person attempting to assimilate into the practices of an unfamiliar group, followed everyone in line to receive my ashes and blessing from the priest.  I would later learn about the Ninevites, and how, in penance, they donned sacks and prayed in the dirt (dust, ashes).  This is why some Christians get ashes placed upon their foreheads, to symbolize humility.

These ashes are made from the burnt palms from the last year’s Palm Sunday.  Palm Sunday takes place the week before Easter and represents Christ’s entry into Jerusalem. During Christ’s arrival, the people threw their cloaks and palm fronds in front of him.

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I usually wouldn’t write about something so specific but, because the event is so ubiquitous, I felt it justifiable.  I was not aware of the statistical breakdown of religions in the world until very recently, after beginning to look into it.  Christians comprise 2.2 billion (32%) of the world’s population, 1.2 billion of those Christians being Catholic (  While it is not only Catholics that celebrate Ash Wednesday, and the Lenten season, the overwhelming majority are Catholic, thus my generalization.

I hope that everyone had a good Wednesday, whether or not you were celebrating Ash Wednesday!

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I would not say that I am the biggest Shakespeare fan.  I find his work hard to read, from a linguistic standpoint, but I understand and appreciate the importance of the work.  I have seen three Shakespeare performances: Romeo and Juliet, As You Like It, and, now, Macbeth: two tragedies and a comedy.  Seems like I need to get a historical performance under my belt.

The amazing set of Macbeth.

Two of the performances that I have seen were “professional?” performances.  I do not say this to undermine the work of the Wabash College Theater Department, I only mean that the performances that I have seen were produced by large theater companies.  As a matter of fact, I believe that Macbeth was just as exciting as the “larger” productions that I have attended.  There are, of course, some limitations to a smaller production, but these are completely nullified by the fabulous work that is made of the set and, of course, the actors.  All of this for the fabulous price of $0.00.

If you have never been to a Wabash Theater performance, I urge you to attend.  They are free to the public, and are fantastic.  There is one left for this season!

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“No Title, Just Wisdom”

Yesterday, Chapel Talk was given by Jean Williams, Honorary Class of 1953.  Her talk was entitled “No Title, Just Wisdom”, and full of wisdom it was.  Mrs. Williams is 95 years old, and is the oldest honorary alumna of Wabash College.  She loves to travel, and has been to 115 countries (that’s a big chunk of ‘em).

Mrs. Williams began her talk by making the chapel roar with laughter.  She said “What can a 95 year old woman say to a group of men in their late teens and early twenties whos current interests include sex, food, passing midterms, sex, where to go on Spring Break, getting a job…and sex”.

Jean Williams came to Wabash in the 1940s with her husband, a visiting zoology professor. She claims that, while her professors didn’t remember her when she went back to her alma mater, when we come back to Wabash, she bets we’ll be remembered by our professors.

She told stories about how Wabash was a bit different back then. It was smaller (smaller!?).  About 500-600 students attended Wabash then, and many were WWII vets. Many of these students were married and lived in Quonset huts on Mud Hollow with their spouses.  Back then, there were no big dormitories, so most independents, and some fraternity brothers, live in private, off-campus housing.

She told us how the buildings have changed in the 50 years that she has been around campus.  Hays Hall didn’t exist in the same fashion and, instead of bein a biology and chemistry building, it was biology and zoology. Detchon Hall was called Yandes, and was the school library.  Hovey Cottage and Forest was not where it is now, but were by the athletic building.  I think that this campus history is fascinating; it shows that this campus is still alive and evolving.

Back then, much socializing was done by fraternity dances.  ”The young, presumably, innocent females were to be chaperoned around the young, presumably, predatory males by the older, presumably, wiser faculty.”  Can you imagine chaperoned, college parties? That would be a gas.  Mrs. Williams told us about how the students taught her new dances called the mashed potato, the Indian, and the fish.  She even demonstrated some of the dance moves for us, you can see the full talk here:

Mrs. Williams continued by giving us six of her “pearls of wisdom”:

Pearl 1: When, if, you get married, marry someone smart. Smart and plain is better than dumb and pretty. You’ll be much more likely to have smart children, and smart children will bring you much pride…and also scholarships.

Pearl 2: When, if, you have children, give them love and hugs, but don’t give them everything they want. Instill a work ethic in them.

Pearl 3: Provide for your old age. Put money in an IRA.  It may not seem very important now, but it will be as you get older.

Pearl 4: Participate in your community.

Pearl 5: Don’t compare yourself and your life to someone else.  Appreciate what you have, and don’t take it for granted.

Pearl 6: While you’re here [at Wabash], learn everything you can whether it is relevant to your future career or not.  You never know when this seemingly random material will pay off later in life.

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Adult Swim

This past evening, ‘shOUT attended an event for the second year in a row.  This event is called Adult Swim and is sponsored by both the Children’s Museum in Indianapolis, and the Sapphire Theater Company (  The tagline is “created by adults, for adults, but with your inner child in mind”.  The entire Children’s Museum is rented out for the evening and all of the proceeds go to various education proceeds for children.  The even was fantastic, and ‘shOUT has attended both years that it has been put on (this year and last).  I hope it is an ongoing trend.  Below, you can check out some awesome face-painting that I was given after telling the artist “surprise me”.

On a completely different note, “” has gone and listed the best colleges by state.  They have listed both Purdue University and Wabash College under their “Indiana” category (  WAF!

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Spring Break Tour

On of the best organizations on this campus, in my opinion, is the Glee Club.  Unlike choirs from other colleges, you do not have to have any previous musical training, or be a music major, to be part of this ensemble.  All you have to do is audition, and pledge to devote an exuberant amount of time to the organization.  Fortunately, Glee Club has actually begun being offered as a credited class.  1/2 credit a year (1/4 credit per semester).  Glee Club is a staple of Wabash College.  We sing the National Anthem at every football game and are, essentially, the keepers of the school song, Old Wabash.  We know that song better than any other students on campus, because we study it inside and out.  These all contribute to the great organization that is Glee Club.

For those that don’t know, the Glee Club at Wabash College takes a tour over every spring break.  Last year we went to Pennsylvania, and it was a fantastic experience.  This year we will be going from Northwest Indiana, where I call home, down to St. Louis, Missouri.  I am very excited as I have never been to St. Louis before.  On the agenda we have trips to the Arch, the Botanical Gardens, and the Anheuser-Busch brewery, all in St. Louis.  Below is a map of our excursion.

Crawfordsville to Munster to St. Louis.


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Kiev’s Independence Square

If you have been living under a rock for the past day or so, you may not know what is going on in the Ukraine right now.  Tuesday evening began the peaceful anti-government protests against the current office.  Victor Yanukovich has been president of Ukraine since 2010, and was Prime Minister before then.

It was discovered that electoral fraud occurred in 2004, and the Ukrainian people were having none of this.  Couple this fraud with the fact that the current government succumbed to Russian pressure to back out of a deal that would allow Ukraine, a former Soviet nation, to join the European Union, and there was an abundance of unrest.  Amidst the peaceful protests of the Ukrainian people, an executive order was issued that outlawed public protests.  This led to the death of 3 peaceful protesters.

Since then over 800 people have been injured in this, now violent, protest.  25 people, citizens and police alike, have been reported dead, and the number will only continue to rise.  If you would like to read more about the events as they unfold, you can read updates here:

As an American citizen, one who wishes that more people would protest the substantially backwards stances that are taken by our government sometimes (I’m thinking Vietnam War protesters, and the like), I respect those Ukrainian people who have the courage to put their lives on the line for something they believe in; something that will better their country.  Below is a picture of Ukraine’s Independence Square in Kiev, how it normally looks, superimposed with a current picture.  The image is harrowing.

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You Can’t Do That!

I was browsing the secular realm of the internet today, as I usually do, looking for interesting tidbits of news related to my particular ideology.  I stumbled across an article about a high school girl being turned down by her administration after attempting to start a secular group.  Here’s the article I read:

I remembered back to my days in high school, and I realized how much chutzpah this girl must have to go against the grain with an issue that many people even refrain from discussing out of fear of upsetting someone.  I was reading this article, and I knew it was going to come to a head when I read that, while the administration wouldn’t let this girl form a secular club, there already existed a “Fellowship of Christian Athletes” at the school. That is when I began mentally chanting what the crowds at Wabash football games yell when the opposing team gets a penalty: “you can’t do that!”  C’mon Pisgah High School administration, you can’t favor one worldview over another, just because you don’t agree with it.

After dealing with the Secular Student Alliance, a group I am proud to be affiliated with, and the Freedom from Religion Foundation, the administration has allowed this 15 year old girl, Kalei, to start up her very own Secular Student Alliance.  You go, Kalei.  Fight the good fight.

P.S.  Here is a very well-written blog post from on of Kalei’s schoolmates regarding the issue, that is linked in the aforementioned article.  It’s quite insightful:

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