Located at Morningside College

Month: November 2020

Article 4 Final

I get out of my car and lock the door. Walking into Bob Roes I look at the bartender and prepare to order one of my favorite drinks, a gin and tonic. She starts making my drink as I check my phone while I’m waiting for a few friends to join me. While waiting I’m making small talk with the bartender asking how the night is going.

            After fifteen minutes or so pass my friends join me at the bar. They give their orders to the bartender as they get settled at the bar counter. This was more of a business meeting than just a casual hangout as we needed to discuss the upcoming booking for our concert venue. Before we get out our laptops and multiple manila folders, Grace says something out of the blue “What is zero proof gin?” Tanner and I both looked at each other probably wondering if we heard the same thing.  

            We had no idea what she meant so we asked her what she was talking about. “There’s a bottle behind the counter named Ritual zero proof gin alternative” As someone who drinks gin occasionally, I was unaware of such a thing. Sure, you have a nonalcoholic beer, but this is my first time seeing a zero proof spirit like gin. Being the curious person that I am I ask the bartender for a shot of the Ritual zero proof gin. All that I can say is that it had the same kick that typical gin has which surprised me because it didn’t have any alcohol in it.

            We joked about it at the time, but later that night I thought what purpose zero proof could have? I wanted to ask several people not only if they knew that such a thing existed, but what purpose such a thing would serve. I interviewed a bartender, an owner of a bar, and another friend of mine to see what their responses would be.

            The first person I interviewed was Autumn Solomon, who started bartending three years ago at the Firehouse in Sioux City. First, I wanted to establish if she was familiar with the concept of zero proof spirits. I could tell that she wasn’t right away because when I asked her, she looked confused. “You mean like beer, right? I don’t know you could get gin in a nonalcoholic form”. I replied, “neither did I until the other night when I had some”. I asked her why she thought such a thing existed. Autumn sat there thinking for a few moments until she replied, “Maybe it’s for recovering alcoholics”. Up to this point, that thought hadn’t even crossed my mind. With quitting any addiction, I can only imagine how difficult that can be. Particularly one as destructive as an alcohol addiction. I have had family members go through rehab and it’s always a difficult thing to go through as a family. 

            Next, I interviewed the owner of Buddy’s Tavern Bud Hall to find out if he was familiar with this type of liquor. We agreed that we would meet at his bar in Whiting and we would do the interview there. I can’t remember the last time I stepped foot in that bar. Bud is somehow related to my mom as her maiden name was Hall. I think a distant cousin maybe. Certainly, can’t remember much about him growing up. It’s been at least several years since I’ve visited his place of business. 

            Whiting doesn’t have much in terms of businesses left. Besides a gas station, there isn’t much left to the town. Somehow there is enough business to support two bars though. As you would expect there isn’t much to the bar itself. It is comparable in size to the television studio on campus. Besides the bar counter, there isn’t much to speak of with any additional seating. Bud and I sit down at the bar counter as I get prepared for this interview, he gets a call on his phone. Of course, I say no big deal as he answers his phone. I must lose track of time as close to twenty minutes pass and I’m already on my third beer.

            Bud then emerges from the back office like our conversation didn’t miss a beat. The first thing that I asked him was how his business was responding to the pandemic. He thought about it and said that all things considered it could be worse. When I asked him to go into more detail, he replied “I think some of the larger bars that are used to seeing a larger volume of customers are in a worse spot than we are.” I then proceeded to ask him if he was aware of the existence of zero proof liquor. To my surprise, he said yes without any hesitation. I followed up with that by asking what purpose such a thing would have “I have seen recovering alcoholics order it if they are going to bars with people who do drink.” Up to this point, I hadn’t even considered the social aspect of drinking with friends or co-workers. It’s nice that there is a substitute out there for recovering alcoholics to where they can still order a drink with friends. I thanked him for his time and paid for my drinks as I left the bar.

Finally, I wanted to interview some of my friends. One night I had four good friends over watching the Kansas City Chiefs play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. We were all drinking light beer as that’s what most college students can afford. Out of everyone there I knew that Dane enjoyed mixed drinks. At this point, the Chiefs have amassed a 17 point lead in just the first quarter. While most of us are Chiefs fans, Dane is a Buccaneers fan. Well, he’s more of a Tom Brady fan above all else. I asked him what some of his go-to drinks were. Dane responded “I don’t drink anything fancy usually just a rum and coke or something similar. Usually, I’m just more of a beer guy.” I asked him if he was aware of zero proof alcohol. He had no idea such a thing. “It’s cool that something like that is around though.” I then gaged the room to see if anyone was familiar with it. I received a resounding no as all the attention in the room was on the football game.

Non Fiction Text Review 2

Where Men Win Glory The Odyssey of Pat Tillman by Jon Krakauer chronicles the life of star football player and American hero Pat Tillman. Pat Tilman was a standout linebacker at Arizona State University. He was subsequently selected in the 1998 National Football League draft by the Arizona Cardinals. After playing safety for Arizona he declined to renew his contract after the 2001 season was over. Tilman moved by the events of September 11th enlisted in the United States Army. 

            Going into this book I was unsure what to expect. With a title like The Odyssey of Pat Tillman, I would expect a wide focus on his life. As a sports fan, I was hoping that there would be a focus on his athletic career. Jon Krakauer decides to dedicate much of the book to Pat Tillman’s time in the military. Krakauer had access to Pat Tilman’s diary that he kept while he was serving in the army. Due to this, the author is able to use quotes throughout the book giving us insight into Tilman’s thoughts.   

            When I first started reading this book, I had a difficult time getting started. Unlike my previous book Can I Keep My Jersey by Paul Shirley which I had no problem reading. I think part of this is because Where Men Win Glory starts off at a snail’s pace talking about how the events that transpired in Afghanistan during the cold war created terrorist cells throughout the middle east. While I think It is important to explain to the reader how these things came to be, it wasn’t what I was expecting. 

            I think part of the reason I enjoyed Can I Keep My Jersey was because it got straight into the workout with the Lakers without going too much into who Shirley was right away. This book takes the opposite approach. If I read the first few chapters I would have thought it was a generic book about the Iraq war or the Taliban. While there are references to Pat Tillman in the first chapter, we don’t know much more than he was a football player. Once you get a few more chapters into the book Krakauer spends some time on what Tillman’s upbringing was like growing up and playing football. I wish Krakauer would get to this earlier as I think It would be important for the reader to know. More so than the history of Afghanistan during the cold war. 

            The best part of the book is when the author spends time talking about Tillman’s time playing football. Particularly the brief portion on the night Tillman was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals. Again, it reminded me of Paul Shirley what he was going through being drafted. Another subject the book spends much time on is the death of Pat Tillman and the controversy surrounding it. I would say the last third of the book is focused on this and the fallout following the friendly fire incident. 

            I did enjoy the book the farther I read particularly towards the end when Krakauer detailed the attempted coverup from the Military following the Pat Tillman accident. Prior to reading this book, I had no idea the length the government went to cover up the fact that Tillman died by friendly fire. The parts where the book lost me was when it went into the political climate surrounding the middle east. Like I said earlier I think there is merit to including this information, I just would expect to see it in a history book as opposed to a book about Pat Tillman. 

            Jon Krakauer’s writing style is very dry and unengaging. The book is split into four parts that each focus on a particular aspect. For example, part four which I found the most engaging focused on the aftermath of Tillman’s death. Instead of featuring diary exerts from Tilman like the other three parts, Krakauer interviews people who were close to Tillman personally and from his time in the military. My least favorite part was part two which mostly focuses on how the Taliban came to power and the conflicts in Afghanistan during the cold war. As someone who enjoys history, I did learn some things that I wasn’t aware of regarding the Russian insurgency attempts in the late twentieth century.

            One thing that I appreciated as a reader was the maps and diagrams that are throughout the book. There are multiple maps that serve to give the reader a sense of how a certain event unfolded. My favorite example of this is on page 220 that shows a map of a firefight that Tillman was involved in. It goes into great detail breaking down everything that happened over an hour-long encounter. I think that It helps the reader visualize the event better as I found it confusing while just reading the text. 

            Overall there are certain things that I like about Where Men Win Glory, I don’t think I would go through it again. Krakauer failed to keep me engaged when I was reading. When I was reading Paul Shirley’s book I wanted to keep reading to the next encounter or event that was going on in Shirley’s life. With this book, I felt that It was more focused on the events around the war and the terrorist attacks on the twin towers than Pat Tillman’s life or athletic career.           


Something that makes me angry is the lack of a national plan to deal with the pandemic. The first case arriving in the United States all the way back on January 20th. Yet even after all this time, the United States is disproportionally affected by the Coronavirus. As I am writing this the U.S. reached another daily high case count yesterday. The United States is rapidly approaching 250,000 deaths. We have had plenty of time to prepare, so what went wrong? 

I think the problem is obvious, we have a President who reacted slowly at first praising China’s handling of the pandemic earlier this year. Then changing his stance once cases started showing up in the U.S. While he did shut down some travel from China early on this wasn’t a complete travel ban while certain people with special standing could still travel freely. 

I’ve always thought comparing COVID-19 to the seasonal flu was not just untrue but dangerous. We knew early on that it was something different from the flu. The President in an interview with Bob Woodward admitted that the coronavirus was more deadly than the flu. Now granted I understand wanting to keep people calm during a crisis, but could you imagine how different things would be right now if Trump was just honest about it from the beginning. It’s like with masks, every other country in the world seems to agree that they are effective. However, in America, there is a huge divide on masks as if they infringe on individual rights. My thinking is that protecting other people from something that may seriously impact their life couldn’t be more patriotic. 

I would have never thought that there would be a time when our medical experts are ignored. Take someone like Dr. Anthony Fauci who has been the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984. Fauci who has served under several presidents of both parties seems to have a good record and be nonpartisan. So why is President Trump attacking his credibility? I think it’s because Dr. Fauci has contradicted him several times. The President has made too many false claims to list them here, but I’ll just point out some of the most egregious lies. He said the virus was going to miraculously disappear once the temperature warmed up outside. One of his earlier goals was to open everything back up in time for Easter services. Finally, the most disturbing is how the President has repeatedly called the virus a hoax that would disappear after election day. Well it’s well past the election even though he is promoting baseless claims of voter fraud and saying it was a rigged election (big surprise I know). 

Another glaring issue is that there is no national plan. Every state has different guidelines and regulations set in place to stop the spread of the virus. While cases are rising nationally, unsurprising to me we are seeing a huge spike in the Midwest. We are now just seeing some governors issue mask mandates. States that were touted for their handling of the virus earlier in the year are currently in big trouble. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds issued a watered-down mask mandate that went into effect last Tuesday. In my opinion, it’s too little too late as the state just surpassed 200,000 cases and 2,000 deaths.

So where do we go next? Unfortunately, I think these next few months with both the coronavirus and the flu may be one of the most depressing times that we have gone through as a country. Due to weak policy decisions early on particularly the shortened shutdown that only lasted a few weeks. I understand that going into lockdown comes with its own issues, however, I think protecting people’s lives is much more crucial than being solely focused on the stock market. 

Trends Sketch

For this article, I will be looking at the emerging trend of “zero proof” drinks. There seems to be a movement towards nonalcoholic beverages. With mixers like Ritual a gin substitute, why are these substitutes for traditional liquor gaining popularity? Particularly during the pandemic where you would think the opposite would be true. I plan to interview multiple bartenders to see what their thoughts are. Is it popular at the bar you work at? If so what do they attribute the uptick in popularity to?

Platoon Film Review

“I think now, looking back, we did not fight the enemy; we fought ourselves. And the enemy… was in us.” Platoon which was released in 1986 and directed by Oliver Stone, portrays the harrowing reality of the Vietnam war. Prior to watching this, I was impressed with the casting and eager to see how the actors portrayed their film characters. 

The film opens on Private First-Class Chris Taylor, a US Army volunteer portrayed by Charlie Sheen. Upon arriving near the Cambodian border, he is dispatched with the rest of his division to a planned night ambush. As expected, things don’t go according to plan. The North Vietnamese army ambushes the U.S. Forces during the night. Platoon then captures the downward spiral of events and the horrors of war. What sets Platoon apart from similar films of the time is the perspective that it portrays the United States in a negative light. Stone a Vietnam veteran himself called upon his experiences while serving in the military.

One element that I enjoyed were the two opposing views of the war held by Sgt. Barnes and Sgt. Elias portrayed by Tom Berenger and Willem Dafoe respectively. Barnes who is a by the books authority character is quite the contrast from Elias a pot-smoking hippy who has a compassionate side.  To see how their relationship deteriorates because of one specific event was very surprising. Another strong point is to see how Sheen’s character evolves during his time in the army. He forms relationships with members of his platoon. Seeing how Chris Taylor reacts to the insurmountable loss of life and the terrible events that transpired is heartbreaking

You can’t mention Platoon without spending a moment talking about the incredible score composed by Georges Delerue. With other films about the war featuring music like Hendrix, CCR, and other what I would consider stereotypical Vietnam anthems, Delerue uses incredible restraint by only using one licensed song which is a Jefferson Airplane song. However, the main theme throughout the movie Adagio for strings maybe the most heartbreaking song I’ve ever heard. 

I’m not sure if It would be possible to recommend Platoon more. It certainly isn’t for everyone as it features sensitive and disturbing situations, but I think it’s one that shouldn’t be missed. 

5/5 Stars