A Letter from the Editor: On The Future of the Whalesong

daniel-piscoya-1BY DANIEL PISCOYA
Managing Editor, UAS Whalesong

In my very first Letter from the Editor, I praised this university’s close-knit community and sense of participation. In my last letter, I will say that if this tradition is not bolstered in the coming years, there will be a time with no more letters – no more Whalesong. Continue reading “A Letter from the Editor: On The Future of the Whalesong”

From the Vaults: “Tuesday’s Tragedy Puts Deadlines on Hold”

For the UAS Whalesong

Editor’s note:

As we mark the 15th anniversary of the attacks on September 11, 2001, I thought it might be appropriate to look into the Whalesong’s archives for what UAS was doing and thinking at the time. Dated Sept. 18, 2001, this touching article was written by Kevin Myers (not to be confused with Kevin Maier), who was a student and Whalesong staff member at the time. Continue reading “From the Vaults: “Tuesday’s Tragedy Puts Deadlines on Hold””

UAS Whalesong Receives Donation for Gold Medal Tournament Contribution

For the UAS Whalesong

On April 5, 2016, Juneau Lions Club President Ted Burke and 1st Vice President Edward Hotch presented Whalesong Editor Daniel Piscoya and Whalesong Advertising Manager Holly Fisher with Certificates of Appreciation for their help in producing the Official Program for the Seventieth Annual Gold Medal Basketball Tournament.  Continue reading “UAS Whalesong Receives Donation for Gold Medal Tournament Contribution”

Madness and Music


Once, when trying to pin down the difference between poets and logicians, a wise man by the name of G.K. Chesterton remarked that “the poet only asks to get his head into the heavens; it is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head.” Chesterton, who would probably have characterized himself among both groups with a little bit of a leaning toward the poets, qualified this distinction with a warning: “it is his [the logician’s] head that splits.”

Now, this statement is no insult to logicians, mathematicians, scientists, accountants, or any people or students of the sort. Rather, what Chesterton is setting up is a critique of those who are simply logicians, mathematicians, scientists, accountants, or students of the sort. He speaks here, not necessarily of logic or math, but of a certain kind of mindset that can be found within those fields. What he is saying is that when we stress too much on always having concrete, comprehensive answers in life, we will inevitably go mad. We cannot know everything, and, if we try, we deserve a medal and a straight-jacket to pin it on.

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Listening to Shiver Twins


Southeast Alaska never ceases to amaze me in how it continuously proves how small of a world we actually live in. It’s fun in a sense though, because you can always be certain that you don’t know everything and there are always new surprises around the bend waiting for you. It’s crazy to me that I can live in Juneau for two years, come through this town my whole life, and still there is always some super cool band, restaurant, event, class, etc. that I don’t know about until I find them in the most unlikely places. Like the band, Shiver Twins! Continue reading “Listening to Shiver Twins”

Taking the Plunge for the Glory Hole!


The Polar Plunge is probably one of the most well-known events that happens worldwide annually. Most of the time it is associated with beginning a new year or jumping for a charity fund-raising event. This event has been a tradition at UAS specifically since 1998. For this year’s Polar Plunge, the campus was raising funds and awareness for The Glory Hole. The Glory Hole is a homeless shelter and soup kitchen located here in downtown Juneau. Unfortunately, they just went through a detrimental event; about two months ago a broken pipe ended up flooding the facility. They were just able to reopen on Feb. 5. What’s really awesome though, is what came about after this terrible event.

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Literary Traditions: Children’s Literature


While I did not have the chance to attend what was no doubt an excellent class by Professor Nina Chordas on this exact same topic, I will try to do the subject justice by addressing it through the lens of one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s most prominent essays—one which I lightly referenced in a previous article, “Literary Traditions: Eucatastrophe”—“On Fairy Stories.”

Tolkien, of course, is well known for writing The Hobbit, which is widely regarded as a children’s story, and has recently been transformed into three feature films by director Peter Jackson. Legend has it that Tolkien, who was a professor at Oxford, was grading essays one evening when he came across a student who had mistakenly left a blank page. Extremely bored at the time, he apparently nearly gave the student an A for his error, and proceeded to write, in the spur of the moment, the famous first sentence of The Hobbit: “Once, in a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit.” He then stared at it and wondered what on earth a hobbit was, which sparked a lifetime’s work of world-building, ultimately culminating in The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion.

In his essay “On Fairy Stories”, which he wrote just as he was beginning to write The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien unfolds why it is that he takes fairy stories like The Hobbit so seriously, and what they mean for children.

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Treat Yo Self


I don’t watch the show Parks and Recreation, but there is a series of screencaps I continually see from it online where two of the characters are flouncing about yelling, “TREAT YO SELF.” I assume they’re yelling, anyway. It’s difficult to tell when the subtitles are always in caps. The premise of this argument seems to be that life is too short to spend struggling through each day. Instead, you should “treat yo self” to one thing every day, because you work hard and you deserve it.

Now, I am all for this mindset, but it’s difficult to achieve in college. We are not full-time parks and rec employees with steady incomes; we are college students, and as such we cannot afford to stop, drop cash, and purchase things to “treat ourselves” just because we feel we’ve worked hard or had a bad day and we deserve it. Even if you think you can afford it, you probably can’t. I find this is a good rule to live by that results in me having more grocery money at the end of the week.

Alright, now that I’ve been the Debbiest of Downers, let me return to this most wise of adages. You do need to treat yourself, but it doesn’t have to be by spending money! Self-care is one of the most important parts of daily life, not to mention young adulthood, and it’s something that is really frequently overlooked in favor of a myriad of things that get in the way: social activities, late-night studying, early-morning studying, work, etc. There are some weeks when everything else in your life seems more important than you, and that’s just not the case. You’re in college to better yourself, not wear yourself to a harried frazzle of a human that can recite entire textbooks verbatim. So settle down and let me tell you about some low-key, inexpensive college ways to “treat yo self.”

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Goodness Gracious, Flambéed Bananas!


A couple of weeks ago, I was taken by none other than the lovely editor of this paper to go check out a “new” restaurant in town. The reason I put “new” in quotes is because the restaurant isn’t new, as such. Rather than being a completely new company, in a completely new establishment, they’re a new take on an old idea. The restaurant I’m speaking of, as you’ve probably guessed, is (or rather, was) the Waffle Co. However, the previous owners sold it and the new owners wanted to go for a more comprehensive menu schematic, as well as a new look overall. So they got a new menu, name, and paint job. I got to go check it out on Feb. 11, the day GonZo officially opened for business as a supposedly “new and improved” establishment.

Continue reading “Goodness Gracious, Flambéed Bananas!”