1. The Quass: Robin Williams

    By now, Robin Williams’ death is no longer news. But people are still talking about the actor and his achievements all over the internet. Even while I’m at work, it’s easy to come by a conversation about what the best Robin Williams movie is. Usually when their is a celebrity death it is talked about for a day or two, but I don’t see this happening to Robin Williams. Now on the fourth day, he is still a hot topic for discussion whether it be how sad it is or how great he is. 

    Unfortunately Robin Williams won’t hear any of this. But I think it’s a great thing to discuss. The fact that his death hit so many people creating such a wide, open dialogue about him and the dangers of suffering from depression might help future would-be suicides. When people see how suicide does nothing but create sadness and hear how odd it sounds for someone so universally loved to do such a thing - hopefully this sends a message that no matter how low you feel, you are stilled loved by someone and that depression is a very real thing.

    Suicide not only hurt Robin Williams, but it hurt everyone who ever enjoyed his movies. His extended family he may or may not have realized existed. Memorials ranged from a bench from the film “Good Will Hunting" to a new character in the popular World of Warcraft game. So many different people were affected and the wide range of memorials show just how many people he touched through his talent and personality.

    Robin Williams chose to take his life, but hopefully his words will convince someone to rethink taking their own and simply enjoy it.


  2. The Quass: Hello World

    So what is The Quass all about? The first thing people usually do before embarking on whatever it is they want to do is create a Mission Statement. So let’s do just that: offer a Mission Statement for The Quass. To do that we should first define exactly what The Quass is.

    The Quass is the title of a song by a punk rock band called NOFX. That is where I discovered the term. The song is for all intents and purposes instrumental, consisting of guitars, bass and drums doing what punk musicians do best: play sloppy loud. But the song then features harmonized vocals repeating “quass” over and over again until the song abruptly ends. Meaning is not placed on the word and the band moves on to the next song almost as if The Quass’ only purpose was to be an introduction to the next song. So what is quass and where did NOFX grab it from?

    Googling “quass” reveals that it is a variant spelling of kvass, a Russian drink. Most places claim it to be alcoholic, while there are some accounts of it being nonalcoholic. In either case, it sounds distasteful – though I am not opposed to trying it if I somehow come across it.
    Unfortunately I am not Russian and have very little to do with Russian culture, yet I am still very attracted to the word. I am prominently of English and Scottish descent, but I am not scared to associate myself with Russian heritage. Maybe the term “quass” is only what I make it and nothing more. It is NOFX’s lack of focus. It is my lack of understanding. It is my lack of relation to Russia.

    The Quass, in short, is anything it wants to be. One day it is something, the next day it is something else. Focusing on one particular subject is boring and admittedly hard. Sometimes it wants to be a punk rock band. Other times it wants to be a Russian folk drink. It is short and to the point or it is a long rant about nothing. And that is the basis of what The Quass is which finally leads me to The Quass’ mission statement:

    Hello World.