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QB Patrick Mahomes watching the game from the sidelines. Photo by Jaime Squire, Getty Images.

The final week of the NFL season has come to a close. The season played out as I predicted in my piece covering kickoff weekend. Offense was the name of the game, and defenses were mostly in charge of bending but not breaking. The league MVP will most likely be Aaron Rodgers, who led the Green Bay Packers to a 13–3 record and the #1 seed in the NFC, finishing the season with 48 touchdown passes the second highest passer rating for a season in NFL history, only behind his own 2011 season. Many pick Patrick Mahomes as the second best player, but my money goes to Josh Allen, who led the Buffalo Bills to a 13–3 record and their first division championship since a year before I was born. His improvement was massive and if this season is any indication, they will be contenders for many years. The big question for them now is can they compete with the Kansas City Chiefs. …


MUSIC

How an international rivalry resulted in three of the most influential rock albums in history

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Since their first breakout hits in 1963, The Beatles were on top of the world. They proceeded to dominate the charts with constant record-breaking singles and chart-topping albums with little to no market competition. However, despite their success, the reputation they gathered was that of a pop group, with little to no musical or artistic praise. In the same discussion where The Beach Boys, who were looked upon the same light but with a more West Coast sound. Every Beatles song around that time was about love, and every Beach Boys song was about love and… beaches.

It was during 1965 where things began to change for both bands. The Beatles were becoming more innovative by the album, and their latest album “Help!” featured experimental tracks that would serve as a sample for things to come. The song that raised many eyebrows in this era was “Yesterday”, a soft and short melody written mostly by bassist Paul McCartney. It featured a string quartet arrangement rarely featured in pop ballads, giving the song the nostalgic feel it has come to be known for. It was a breakthrough track for the band, showing their range and potential. …


FILM

Using the dark and eerie environment of the 1970s’ as a backdrop, Scorsese created one cinema’s best case studies

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Scorsese directing a scene in Taxi Driver.

*This review contains spoilers.*

Martin Scorsese was already making a name for himself in the early 1970s’. His films Mean Streets and Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore gathered enough attention for him to be sought out by Hollywood producers and screenwriters in the hopes of collaborating with him in a film. While these films were relative successes, they would pale in comparison to the sea of praise that would become his way for his next film.

The story begins with Paul Schrader, the man who wrote the screenplay and fleshed out the world. He based the story off his experiences living alone in downtown New York City. He described this period of his life as very depressive and full of bad ideas. It is important to highlight that this was a dark period in American history as well. Scandals such as the Vietnam War, Watergate, the rise of petroleum, and an increase in urban crime resulted in a grim zeitgeist for the American people, with many unsure on how the future would play out. This image was vividly captured in various films of the era, with many disguising their stories to keep away from censorship. …


A different season from most, but promising in offensive potential.

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Photo by Joseph Gareri.

Before anything else, I am first and foremost a football junkie. From September to February, everything I do in life revolves around having the time and space to watch football every Sunday, and I don’t see this changing. The current world circumstances, however, are bound to make this upcoming NFL season, beginning this Thursday, a very interesting one to say the least. More than a dozen players have opted out of playing this season, with some leaving a huge space to fill for their respective teams. …


FILM

Exploring the dark and twisted world of one of cinema’s most creative auteurs.

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Lynch at the AMPAS’ 11th Annual Governors Awards. Photo by Michael Tran.

Few individuals have left a deep impact in the modern world of art quite like David Lynch has. Described by many as a modern Renaissance man, his work offers a captivating portal into a nightmarish dreamworld mixed with a semblance of our reality. His style has perfectly aligned with modern conventions of how people perceive the world. The power these images have had on popular culture can be seen in virtually every current television/streaming program available.

Lynch has dedicated his whole life to uncovering creativity. In his book “Room to Dream”, Lynch offers an honest insight into his life and what left him down this path. He was an artist at a very young age, and he knew it was his calling in life by the time he was 14 years old. His first love was painting, where he found the space to conjure images of surreal and grotesque nature. He followed this passion with filmmaking, and spent most of the 1970s creating a short independent film by the name of Eraserhead. Upon release, it was an instant cult hit, catapulting Lynch into the interest of Hollywood producers. He was offered the job of directing The Elephant Man, for which he gathered immense critical praise and an Academy Award nomination for Best Director. …


Reliving the legend of Michael Jeffrey Jordan

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When I was a kid, there were two people named Michael that were constantly mentioned in my surroundings. They were names you would hear as regularly as your friends’ names. The first one was Michael Jackson, and the other was Michael Jordan. There was probably a period where I thought they were the same person. Despite knowing these names, I had no idea what they looked like until I was in the second or third grade. You see, I was born long before Thriller, Bad, or Dangerous were a thing and barely two years old when Jordan won his last championship. The reason I knew so much about them was due to their legendary status in a moment I wasn’t a part of. …


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Using guides such as books and essays, my readings of James Joyce’s work have been more enduring and symbolical than other experiences. I have recently finished a book on his views on the critical and fanatical reception of his work titled “James Joyce and the Act of Reception”. It is interesting to uncover just how much time Joyce dedicated to hearing the opinion others had to say about his work. The second book I read, “James Joyce and the Language of History”, attempts to uncover the meaning of “Ulysses” using Joyce’s personal views on language and history.

What makes Ulysses, first published on February 2nd, 1922, the innovative masterpiece that it is has more to do with Joyce’s conception of history and humanity than any other concept. If read through this perspective, the book begins to grapple more meaning, turning into a more identifiable work of art. The allegories and hidden meanings are there for all to see and notice. Every page becomes a scavenger hunt for purpose and references to more expansive ideas. In a way, they serve as a portal to the past. …


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In the middle of the city. Photo by Ezra T. James.

I want to go back

To that beautiful scene

At the end of London,

Next to some factories

And a small airport.

The sun was setting

And the clouds were sparkling.

My mind was down the

Drain of thought

About all the small things

Lining into place.

It was my first

Impression of the great

City.

I can still remember

The strong wind blowing

A cold and chilly air

All over my body.

I come from the tropic.

Any hint of cold

For more than five minutes

Becomes a nightmare.

Yet I have nothing

But fond memories

Of those wind…


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Man reading burning newspaper. Photo obtained on Pikist.


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It took a few years

And maybe a little more

But I finally understand

The madness.

Now I know my place

Okay.

Before

It was a crisis

Sipped into the identity

Of the soul.

But now it’s a joke

For even bothering

To comprehend.

You can’t act a certain way

If you don’t walk

A certain way.

You have to be special

For something

To get a pass.

Don’t talk about things

You haven’t lived

For an opinion

No one asked.

The best kind of talk

Is silence.

Thank you for reading my work. …

About

Ezra T. James

Truth lies in the absurd. Occasional nihilist.

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