Monday, April 7, 2008

Analyzing My Argument

Claim: Patriotism cannot be described by only one definition.

Qualifier: Most people only think of one definition for patriotism. Either the dictionary definition or those provided by the media.

Good Reasons: People die in the name of being Patriotic.
There are a multitude of different definitions for every word.
Every word can have a different meaning for every person.

Warrant: People should realize that the definition of patriotism depends on the person doing the defining and that it is all of the ideas and thoughts of all Americans combined that makes up the genuine and complex definition of Patriotism.

Backing: The general public should be aware that each definition is unique to the situation and person, and that one should take what the media says with a grain of salt.

Evidence: People are dying for their definition of patriotism.
The government and media take advantage of the community’s feelings of unanimity and patriotism.

Authority: Quotations from different public figures regarding patriotism.

Rebuttal: Some people in the community use the idea of patriotism for their purposes only and don’t care about the true definition.

Response: If people do not wish to be informed or taught, they do not have to listen. However, everyone has the same right to being educated and informed.

I thought that this essay was incredibly hard to do a Toulmin Analysis on since there was really no hard evidence provided. My essay was basically based on opinions and thoughts. However, it did present the different views and versions of definitions of patriotism. If I had to rewrite this essay in a Toulmin style I would most likely need to find some more hard evidence and use that to support my ideas that were presented. I would possibly use more statistics and polls from the general public on their ideas and feelings.

GE's Claims

I thought that this was an interesting way to analyze. However, I found that analyzing a written paper was much easier than evaluating a photographed or drawn image. There were not any Toulmin terms left out that I saw, but there may have been something that I missed. I thought that the arugment was very well turned-out.

Claim One: The Evolution is the cleanest locomotive ever made.

Claim Two: GE locomotives are at work maintaining and preserving the world around us.

Claim Three: People should ride the GE Evolution locomotive because it is the best for the environment.

Claim Four: If people ride the GE Evolution locomotive they will help to preserve the environment.

Reason One: The GE locomotive does not disturb the environment.

Reason Two: The GE locomotive is in sync and at peace with nature.

Warrant One: What gets along with nature and does not disturb it must be good for the rest of the environment.

Warrant Two: If the GE Evolution locomotive does not do any harm or injure the environment, then it must be the safest, cleanest and the finest to travel on.

Evidence One: The birds are content to have the locomotive pass them by.

Evidence Two: The image presents a calm, clean, beautiful and serene environment.

Evidence Three: There are no train tracks to mar the perfection of nature.

Evidence Four: In the image there is no pollution, trash or smoke that could potentially harm the environment.

Qualifier One: Most trains add to pollution.

Qualifier Two: Most trains do not protect nature.

Qualifier Three: Most trains disrupt and harm the environment they run through.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Censorship Issues

I seriously loved this essay by Alan Dershowitz. He basically said everything that I was thinking but more eloquently then I ever could. He made some great points about censoring hate speech. I completely agree with his last statement about criticizing and analyzing the speech instead of censoring it.

There is no way that any government or any university could fairly pick and choose what subjects or topics to censor. If one touchy subject that is offensive to one group of people is banned, then in order to be fair, every subject that is insulting to every possible group of people would also have to be banned. I really have not changed my feelings or thoughts on this subject other than to agree about criticizing the hate speeches. I still really do not believe that anyone has the right to censor someone else’s thoughts, no matter how offensive they can be. If a person does not want to hear an offensive speech, they really are not forced to sit there and listen to it.

AHHHHH Plagiarism!!!!

I found this to be an interesting and informing essay about plagiarism. I thought that the links in the essay helped to illustrate his points. They also helped to provide more substantial proof and evidence to back up his arguments. I think that one of the best links he had, was the link that sent you to the page that had Ms. Goodwin’s plagiarized paper. That way the readers could actually know what he was talking about as he critiqued her. There really was not a link that I clicked on that was not at least a little bit helpful. All of the links I followed related to his topic and helped support his argument. I would definitely consider using links in an argument if I was posting it on the internet. I found the links to be useful in clearing up any questions I had and they did a good job defending points made in an argument.

Noah did an excellent job backing up his argument with quotations used from Goodwin’s work. He argued his claim quite persuasively. I think one of the most persuasive parts of his argument was when he was talking about how Goodwin is not just a one time offender of plagiarism. He used a great quotation from her works to prove the point of his argument.

Picture the Wonders

*Image: Our Love Is Free.

This is a great picture that would help argue the point against cloning companion pets. It's great for illustrating the point of how silly it is to pay thousands of dollars to clone a dead pet when there are millions of stray pets that are waiting to be adopted.

This is a picture of the baby ox Noah, who was the first endangered animal to ever be cloned. He was cloned from a single skin cell that was taken from a dead ox. He was also the first clone to be born from a different species than his own (he was born from a cow).

I think that this is a really interesting picture. It could be used to help in the argument about human reproductive cloning. Throwing out the points and fears of eventually having a designer babies made in a factory; which would basically be like man playing God, because who would CHOOSE to have a baby with cleft palate or an incurable disease?

Monday, March 31, 2008

Will It Never Stop!?

Baird, Stephen L. "Designer Babies: Eugenics Repackaged or Consumer Options?" Technology Teacher 66.7 (2007): 12-16. Academic Search Premier. EBSCOhost. Helmke Lib., Ft. Wayne, IN. 24 Mar. 2008

The article discusses the pros and cons of the genetic engineering of human beings and reproductive cloning. The author talks about the history of manipulation of the reproduction process. He also talks about Louise Brown who was the first test-tube baby. The fairly scary and disturbing idea of humans creating "designer babies” in the future was also brought up. The genes of children would be manipulated in order to control their character and physiology. The Arguments both for and against "designer babies" are also presented in this article.

Hayry, Matti. "Philosophical Arguments for and Against Human Reproductive Cloning." Bioethics 17.5/6 (2003): 447. Academic Search Premier. EBSCOhost. Helmke Lib., Ft. Wayne, IN. 24 Mar. 2008

In this paper the main arguments that are presented by philosophers are analyzed. The paper goes over what human reproductive cloning is, what moral values will come up, and what outcome based arguments can be presented. It also talks about what types of “deontological” and “teleological” arguments can also be presented against human reproductive cloning. The author of this paper also talks about what he sees as the limitations of philosophical arguments involving the cloning debate.

Morgan, S. Philip, Suzanne Shanahan, and Whitney Welsh. "Brave New Worlds: Philosophy, Politics, and Science in Human Biotechnology." Population & Development Review 31.1 (2005): 127-144. Academic Search Premier. EBSCOhost. Helmke Lib., Ft. Wayne, IN. 24 Mar. 2008

The article focuses on the advancements in biotechnology, which have important applications to the concerns of human reproduction and longevity. The article also raises a number of difficult ethical issues that are discussed. However, what I found to be really interesting were the references to Huxley’s novel Brave New World. I was excited that I found an article that talked about that book in reference to cloning and the future of human beings.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Return of the Clones!!!!

“South Korean Researchers Successfully Clone Human Embryos.” Asia Pacific Biotech News 8.5 (2004): 256. Academic Search Premier. EBSCOhost. Helmke Lib., Ft. Wayne, IN. 24 March. 2008.

This article presents the brief research findings of a team of South Korean Scientists. The scientists claim to have managed to successfully retrieve stem cells from a cloned embryo. It talks a little about what stem cells do and how they can possibly be used in the future for therapeutic uses. The article goes a little into detail about the therapeutic cloning treatment that could be used for degenerative diseases and also briefly discusses arguments against human cloning for the stem cells.

Fiester, Autumn. "Creating Fido's Twin." Hastings Center Report 35.4 (2005): 34-39. Academic Search Premier. EBSCOhost. Helmke Lib., Ft. Wayne, IN. 24 Mar. 2008.

This article dealt with the issues surrounding companion pet cloning. It discussed the different sides of pet cloning and talked about the ups and downs of it. The article hit on the arguments surrounding the animal suffering, but mentioned that it is progressing so that the animals suffer less than before. It also talked about how the companies that are cloning companion pets for profit are really just exploiting their customer’s feelings and emotions. The clients may not realize that the clone is not a resurrection of the original pet, and that it would basically be like a twin and could have a totally different personality. This article also talks about the good aspects involved with pet cloning and goes into detail about how it is raising the common views of the “moral status” of animals. I found this to be an interesting and worthwhile article since it talks about both sides of cloning companion pets.

Strong, Carson. "The ethics of human reproductive cloning." Reproductive BioMedicine Online 10 (2005): 45-49. Academic Search Premier. EBSCOhost. Helmke Lib., Ft. Wayne, IN. 24 Mar. 2008.

This article goes over the question of whether human reproductive cloning could possibly be ethically justifiable in some cases which would involve infertile couples who wanted to use cloning in order to have a genetically related child. The article also points out that the high risk of problems is a forceful argument against reproductive cloning, it also talks about whether cloning would be justifiable in the future if the elevated risk of cloning went down. In this article the argument about the freedom to use cloning is a form of procreative freedom and deserves to be recognized as such. Objections that appeal to the cloned child's interests are also talked about.

Hate, Hate and More Hate

I found these essays to be thought provoking and definitely worthwhile to read. I have always thought that the arguments and dissension surrounding the First Amendment interesting. The decision of where to draw the line on free speech has always been a touchy subject.

I agree with the views of keeping free speech actually “free.” One idea cannot be banned or forbidden without others also being banned. Everyone would still have to be treated equal, which would mean that pretty much everything could eventually cause dissension and therefore would have the grounds to be banned.

I have never really run into this problem before since I am from a dinky little town. The closest I have come to banned topics would most likely be the Pledge of Allegiance. At least at my school, we could still say it in the mornings, but we were not forced to.

Hate speech is always a prickly topic. Should it be banned? But where would the line be drawn, how would we determine what would be considered hate speech? There is no way to fairly determine what hate speech would be defined as without eventually going down the “slippery slope.” Honestly, as the authors of the essays mention, the best way to get rid of hate speech is for people to ignore it and stop paying attention to it. The “hate” speakers should be talked to and rationalized with. Possibly talked to about his feelings and hopefully someone could find out why the need to put others down is present.

World of Pictures

*Image: MouseMan. Posted on July 31, 2007.

I found this picture to be incredibly disturbing. This picture started circulating in 1997 and shows a mouse with supposedly an ear growing out of its back. This picture started a huge protest of genetic engineering and would make a good picture to help illustrate the negative aspects of cloning.

*Image: Dolly. Posted on CBBC Newsround.

Yes, I realize it is a sheep. BUT it is not just any sheep. This is a picture of the famous Dolly, who in 1997, was the first mammal to ever be cloned. Dolly was a huge step in the cloning world since she was the first, and I believe that she has a right to be included in anything that is dealing with cloning since she was one of the first pioneers.

*Image: Programing Clones. Posted on Computer Science for Fun 2004-2008.

I thought that this was a really fitting picture to be included with the scares of cloning on future generations. It makes you wonder if that is just science fiction or whether we really will have "designer babies" and everyone's destinies and futures are already laid out before they are born.

An Argument You Can Only Picture

Use your imagination and picture malnourished children scrambling around in the dirt, pushing and shoving each other to get to the waterhole first. You cannot see through the water more than half an inch, looking down all you see is the scum floating on top and the worms and fish swimming around just below the surface. There is no clean purified water, there are no clean wells, and there are no bottles of water. There are only rivers, puddles and disease infested wells to be seen. Welcome to Africa. Every day the people of Africa must choose between dying of thirst and the multiple diseases lurking just below the surface of their only water.

This picture and others like it show the dreadful reality of Africa. The words that follow the pictures give sound statistics and other facts that pull on your emotions and make you willing to give to the needy. Other than informing the ignorant public of America about the needs of Africa, this article and these pictures are also prepping you to give money and donations to The Missionaries of Africa who will use the contributions to provide safe drinking water for men, women and children in Africa's neediest regions. As the article says, all donations are also tax-deductible. This applies to your emotions and also the sensible and greedy side of Americans who refuse to give without receiving something in return. This was a fairly effective argument that worked on a person’s emotions in order to hopefully receive money to give to the needy in Africa.

Tugging At Your Heartstrings...

I personally found this to be a very intense and moving picture that immediately grabs one’s attention. This picture is an incredibly emotional picture that makes a claim all on its own. The claim being that the conditions that people in Africa are living in is horrible. This picture clearly points out the terrible reality of starvation and suffering that is now common normalcy to even the smallest of the African children. The picture induces feelings of pity, disgust, horror and sadness all at once. These extreme emotions make people more likely to want to do something about helping the more unfortunate. The emotions help to persuade the audience of the atrocious and shocking conditions, and this picture shows the appalling health care and living conditions are in fact a reality.

Monday, March 24, 2008

What Do YOU Think?

I have always thought the different ways that questions can be phrased as interesting. By changing just one word, you can change the entire meaning of the question. By making the question more personal, you can touch a person’s heart and make them more likely to agree with the subject. By including money or anything negative a person is automatically more likely to disagree with the topic.

1.) Do you think that there should be limits on cloning?


2.) Do you agree with cloning pets?
Strongly Agree -> Strongly Disagree

3.) Would you clone yourself?


4.) Would you clone your child if he died?


5.) Do you agree with cloning embryos for profit?
Strongly Agree –> Strongly Disagree

6.) Do you agree with cloning endangered species?
Strongly Agree -> Strongly Disagree

7.) Do you agree with cloning extinct animals?
Strongly Agree -> Strongly Disagree

8.) Do you agree with cloning in order to grow organs for dying children?
Strongly Agree -> Strongly Disagree

9.) Do you agree with cloning livestock to help provide more nutritional food?
Strongly Agree -> Strongly Disagree

Attack of the Clones!!!!

“Why Cloning Is Worth It.” Gogoi, Pallavi. Business Week Online; 3/7/2007, p8-8, 1p.
I really thought that this was an interesting article. Other than being about cloning it also caught my attention because it was about cloning cows in particular. This made me giggle a little bit to myself, especially when I showed it to my boyfriend who is a dairy farmer. This article basically talks about the benefits of cloning cows and how it would benefit the economy and world. In the article it is explained how a higher quality of steak, meat, and milk can be produced by cloning cows. Basically only the best cows would be bred (cloned) in order to produce the best meat or in the instance of dairy farmers, to make cows that produce the most and highest quality of milk. Now instead of having “Designer Babies” we have the amazing “Designer Wonder Cows.”

“To clone or not to clone.” Christian Century; 6/5/2002, Vol. 119 Issue 12, p5, 1p.
In this article the moral and ethic issues regarding cloning are touched on. The cloning of human embryos for therapeutic purposes is basically the main subject of this article. It also talks about replicating living and deceased people. Most of the public seems to be against the idea of people cloning themselves or their dead relatives, but more receptive to the idea of cloning for therapeutic purposes.

“Here, Kitty, Kitty!” Time; 2/25/2002, Vol. 159 Issue 8, p58, 2p, 3 diagrams, 4c.
This article discusses the production of the first house pet. A calico cat was cloned and named Cc, which stands for Copy Cat (cute I know!). It talked about the difficulties of cloning the cat and how it was done. The article also hit on how entrepreneurs are picking up on the cloning of house pets. Already you can freeze your pets DNA for future cloning for a onetime fee of $895 and another $100 for every year it is frozen. It was also mentioned that the cloned pet will be a duplicate and NOT a reconstruction. Basically it will be like a twin. It will not necessarily have the same personality; it will just be genetically the same.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


After I had most of this post already typed, I went to upload the graph that I used and realized that it would not let me copy or even save it. I found it at USA Today under the snapshots. The graph was called “The Perfect Age for Women.” It is under the Life link and it should be the sixth picture or graph you see if you scroll through.

To start off I am going to make a few general comments about how the aging of women is usually viewed. The general consensus is that you are automatically “Old” once you hit the doddering age of forty. However, with all of the technology of today’s world such as vitamins and surgery, women are less likely to see their lives as “over” once they hit the Big Four “O.” According to this graph a whole 23% say that the best age for a woman is forty years or over.

On the other hand, this graph could also be interpreted to say that 29% of the women polled said that the ages of 31-40 are the best ages for a woman to be. This graph also shows that a whole 35% of women say the best age is 21-30. All together a total of 70% of the women polled said that the best age for a woman to be was 40 or under. This shows that most women still view their lives as over once they hit 40 years of age. This graph also shows that the main ages women wish to be are 21-30.

I always find it interesting how numbers can be manipulated to fit any purpose. Depending on how a person looks at it, 23% of the women in the United States would seem like a lot. However, when compared to the 70% of women who think that having fewer than 40 years is better, the 23% seems incredibly trivial.

Once again, I am sorry about the lack of the graph.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Joys of the New World

O’ technology, how we curse it, and yet how we love it. Every now and then I think back to the good old days, before all of the Gameboys, cell phones, IMing over the internet, and all of the other little conveniences that distance us from our fellow human beings. Since I technically was not alive during the periods of no internet, telephones, running water, or electricity I wonder what the dark days without technology were like. Children and teenagers would be outside running around in the town centers playing ball, wives would be gossiping over tea, men would be gambling in the gentlemen halls, and people would KNOW each other. Now a days the teens are constantly texting on their cell phones (myself included of course), the wives are bitterly whining about their cheating husbands and wondering which friend he is sleeping with, and the men are bragging about all of their sexual conquests.

Technology has changed the way everyone in our world lives. It has changed our communication, our transportation, our medical knowledge and procedures, what we eat and drink, how we keep track of one another, and every other minuscule aspect of our lives. There are negative sides to technology of course. Negative aspects such as the loss of face-to-face communication between people, less exercise, unhealthy fatty foods, and the loss of privacy to only mention a few. However, technology has given our world so much. We now have lights, miracle medicine, cars, and a vase array of information that is available at the average person’s very fingertips and but a click away.

Technology is used every second of every day. It is being used to keep people alive. It is being used to kill people. It is being used to free people. It is also being used to help capture, convict and sentence criminals. For example, in every court trial technology is being used. The technology being used can be as simple as the electricity used to see, or as complex and intricate as the DNA testing used to convict rapists and murderers. The evidence presented can be in the form of DNA, a video tape, a picture snapped from a cell phone, voice recordings, or even deleted email messages.

The technology of today is often being abused and twisted for people’s own uses. However, it is also saving innocent people and curing diseases. Every person benefits from technology, even if there are those people who use it for their own nefarious ends. Without the wonders of technology we would not have the evidence that is provided in court, the medicine used to treat diseases, the machines and instruments used to perform invasive and lifesaving surgeries, or even the stoves used to make our food. The good parts of technology unquestionably outweigh the more negative aspects.

Every great technological invention has two sides to it if a person wishes to think about it. Things that are intended for the good of all can always be used for evil, and vice versa. Guns that were used for protection and the procurement of food are now being turned towards murder. The internet that is for information sharing has become a pedophiles’ playground (excuse the sick pun). Even the electricity used for our lights has been turned to the use of murdering people in the electric chair. Every Ying will have its Yang. There cannot be light without the shadows of darkness. There would be no such thing as good if evil did not exist.

Are You My Clone???

Once the topic of our argument of fact essay came up in class I tried to begin wrapping my mind around any topic that might interest me. So far I have jumped back and forth between America’s aid in third world countries and the ever popular subject of cloning. Cloning has been my top choice for the past few weeks. However, I read an interesting article about the aid provided to other countries and almost made that my top choice. I tried using the opposing viewpoints site and really could not get into any of the article about it. I switched back to cloning and did a quick search that brought up multiple interesting articles.

I found this site to be really helpful. The statistics provided about what people think of cloning, college students in particular, were quite interesting. I have always found the subject of cloning and stem cell research to be the most interesting debated subjects. For me, stem cell research and cloning go hand in hand with the sense of bettering the world and helping to cure diseases and such. Since I am going into the medical profession, I find these topics to be even more relevant and interesting to my life.

QVRC helped me realize that the debate over aid in other countries would not be the best topic to write my paper on since I really do not know that much about it. I was happy to find that there was a lot of information on there about cloning that spiked my interest and made me want to learn even more. A little on the random side, but I have always related these subjects to the book Brave New World written by Aldous Huxley. It gives and interesting view of the future and shows some scenes that describe how the people are “made” and basically programmed. A grim view of the possible future due to cloning and controlling genetics is presented. I honestly think that reading this book was what first got me interested in this subject. I am excited that I used the QVRC and realized that cloning was the subject for me!

Poor Unfortunate Souls

One of the first articles that I clicked on was called, “Why so much aid for the poor has made so little difference” which was written by Mark Lange. This article really made me start thinking. I honestly had no idea what to do my argument of fact essay on, but this article gave me a push in the direction I think that I want to take.

I have always been interested in helping other people and learning about other cultures. This article made me even more interested in the other countries that we are supposedly “helping” by giving them free food and money. I have always been somewhat curious about how all of that worked, and now I am even more interested in the ideas behind it. It has made me wonder why our help is not really helping. Our help could be keeping the developing and poorer countries in a catastrophic and never-ending circle. There farmers can never hope to compete with free food, thus this keeps their economy downtrodden.

This should be an important topic to everyone. Not only are these people suffering and sick, but our country’s money, OUR money is going to these other countries to help them. One has to wonder whether our money, food, and medical supplies are just being wasted and given away to the brutes like the guerrillas, instead of actually being used for the impoverished and sick. Even though these countries are far away and the people of America make the mistake of thinking that these countries do not concern them, we should all be aware of the plights and problems of the poor. Not only are there poor people in third world countries, there are also destitute people in our oh-so-wonderful country. The people who do not care about other’s in far away countries would probably at least take the time to care about where all of their money is being shipped to. I know that this is a much debated topic in our country and especially talked about in politics. I believe that this would be an interesting topic that would give me some relevant insight into the countries cultures and lifestyles.

(And yes for you who noticed… the title is a song from The Little Mermaid. A lame and sad joke I know.)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Are YOU Concerned?

I honestly think that all of these topics could be interesting and worthwhile to present to a college audience. However, some of the topics would probably be best if they were presented to a specific audience of college students. A specific group as in the topic pertains to the audience’s major or career, thus they would more likely be interested in the subject.

I would say that about half of the subjects would interest the general college audience. The topics concerning Cancer, Diets, Jobs, Hurricanes, Minorities, and alternative fuels would all most likely concern and interest the general population of college students. All of those topics concern the nearby future of all peoples including college students. Some of the topics concern their health while the others concern their environment.

The other topics such as, Japan in 1945, boys in school, racial problems, past presidents, and political activists would mostly concern only those college students that are involved in history majors, education or who will become future politicians. Generally people do not care to sit for 45 minutes to listen to a speech about the past, or to listen to events that have already happen and that cannot be changed. People would much rather spend their time learning about the here and now that specifically concerns their specific person.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

In Order to Define...

I have always found myself fascinated with words and the way people string them together. Whether it is poetry, a song, an essay, or a novel I always find myself engrossed with the obvious and hidden meanings of the words. One simple word can mean so many different things to so many different people. In one person it may produce thoughts of happiness and love, while in another it manufactures thoughts of sadness and hatred.

As our textbook states, all of the italicized words are very controversial in meaning depending on the people talking about them. The words are very general and broad and can be interpreted in a multitude of different ways. I ask myself, “How would I really think of a definition for these words?” My mind stumbles over all of the different contexts and circumstances that these words appear in my world. To start off, I would first find a roughly general definition of the word and carefully apply it to the claim of the word.

After thinking of a general definition and applying it to the context of the claim, I would need to think about what the word personally means to me. What I consider to be “serious literature” could be totally different than another person. I would need to carefully and meticulously come up with my own definition of the particular word being considered. Following that, I would merge my definition with the generally applied to help narrow it and make it a more specific criteria.

As I have already said, I am sure that my definition of a word would be the total opposite of another person’s definition. I would need to look at the complete picture of the word, including the general definition, other people’s beliefs, my own thoughts and beliefs, and all of the varied meanings of the word. The combination of all of that when applied to whatever the situation is would help me to finally form a criteria of definition for that particular word or phrase.

In real life a word can mean one thing to one person, and another to someone else. A word can be defined by anyone, however she wishes to define it. It is all based on the context of the situation, the experiences of the definer, and the thoughts racing through someone’s mind. In other words, any word can mean anything to anybody.


As I look over all of my previous posts regarding the milblog, I find myself once again traversing through the horrors, joys and thoughts presented in the Sandbox. War is an ugly thing. It is a horrible event that takes lives and never gives in return.

In all honesty I really have never had much of an opinion regarding the war or politics. I have always felt detached from the war and from the soldiers. I have never personally known a soldier that has been sent to Iraq, I have never known anyone to die in the war, and I did not know any of the people killed in 9/11. I felt the families’ pain and sorrow, but I could never really understand the anger and hatred behind it.

I do not like this war; actually I would venture to say that no one LIKES war in the first place. I must say that I do not particularly support the war. I think that it is somewhat pointless and I do not like knowing that soldiers are dying “for me” when I really have no idea what they are fighting about. I do not want people to die for me over something I do not understand or know the full extent of. I do not understand why our soldiers are still over in Iraq.

However, even as I find myself confused about the point of the war and find myself ever more turning against it, I still support our troops. I can still appreciate the fact that they are fighting for me, my family, and my friends. Even if I don’t understand all of the facts, I can still recognize the bravery and courage it takes a soldier to leave everything he knows, to stand up, and to fight for something he believes in.

After all of the time reading the posts in the military blog, I still find myself partially against the war. I still do not see the point of it. The heartrending and tear jerking posts all made me resent the war even more. I wondered why our soldiers should be suffering and why should they be dying for another country. All of the posts made me realize how much I support and feel for the troops. However, they also showed me how little I really know about the war and how little I really understand. I still cannot bring myself to support the war, but I will always support and encourage those who are fighting.


Thinking back on 9/11 I remember the outrage and sudden outburst of patriotism and righteous anger. I asked myself, “Why do people not always show their patriotism, why only after tragedy?” After my mind stumbled over that question, I realized that I had to first define the word patriotism before I could answer my own question.

To me personally the word patriotic could mean a multitude of different definitions depending on the situation. When thinking of patriotism, loyalty is the first word that comes to my mind. The different meanings attached to this word abound. Not only can one be loyal to his country, but also his family, his friends, or anything else he loves. Loyalty and patriotism are synonymous in meaning, at least to me. Out of loyalty I would die for my family, out of loyalty I would fight for my country, and out of loyalty I would stand up for my friends. Love who you are and the country you live in. Accept the people of your country and fight for them. Stand up for those weaker than yourself and give of yourself freely. However, being patriotic does not mean loving only those who are LIKE you, it means accepting those who are different and defending them anyways.

I was browsing YouTube the other night and found this video poem about Patriotism. It is definitely interesting and worthwhile to check it out. It makes you think and would be interesting to discuss.

Think Pink Uniquely

To start off this little spiel, I am going to come right out and say that “pink think” definitely still exists in today’s society. The Pink Think of today, however, has many different attributes than that which was presented in the essay. Today’s society is all about the working woman. She is a stylish, chic, strong willed and adventurous feminist whose biggest fear is breaking a well-manicured nail. Girls of today’s world have no chance to grow up without the influence of the Pink Think.

As Ms. Peril mentioned, it all starts with a pink blanket. From the moment a mother gets the ultrasound telling her she is having a bouncing baby girl, she goes all out with decorations and shopping. The moment Baby Girl pops out into the world screaming, she is dressed in a pink blanket, pink hat, and a pink jumper. Not only are all of Baby Girl’s clothes sickeningly sweet, cute and pink, but poor Baby is also bombarded with happy frolicking unicorn borders and rosy painted walls as soon as she is brought home. Not once does the expectant mother consider buying a truck or G.I. Joe for her baby. Why for heaven’s sake that would be downright blasphemy! Nothing but the best squishy pink unicorns, pink booties, pink outfits, and pink bedding are bought for precious Pink Baby Girl.

From the first moment on, a child’s behavior and worldly role is defined by the very color she is dressed in. Little Baby Girl is constantly reprimanded for getting dirty, thus becomes a prissy girly girl. Baby Girl has never before seen a G.I. Joe or a toy truck, therefore she shuns them in order to play with her pink and fashionably dressed Barbie. These thoughts and actions stay with Baby Girl throughout her entire life, shaping the way she thinks, the way she lives, and the way she works. Baby Girl would NEVER want to work as a truck driver or trash woman; those jobs are too dirty and dull by far. She would much rather become successful as a Doctor, a Lawyer or a Business woman like her pretty Barbie was. The power embedded in the color pink is a terrifying but very real thing. From the very beginning it begins to shape women’s thoughts, behaviors, careers, and futures.

Another concept that I personally think closely relates to a woman’s Pink Think, is what I am going to call Straight Think. For this portion I am mainly going to focus on how this affects men in today’s world. Straight Think is a well established schema in today’s society. It is basically all of the acts and thoughts that shape and make up a person’s (mainly a male’s) heterosexuality. It is what some people think make you, in essence, a “good” or “Christian” person. Or as a few would say, what makes you a Manly Man. It is playing with “boy toys,” being a typical boy, and of course wearing blue. As with Pink Think, this can be brought into existence from the very moment of Baby Boy’s birth. Like Baby Girl, Baby Boy is encouraged to play with HIS toys with the fear that if he would play with HER toys he may be more likely to become *gasp* gay. He is discouraged from every playing with “dolls,” instead he is given “action figures” and trucks. Baby Boy is dissuaded from being in gymnastics, dance, or ballet. Rather, he is encouraged to become “tough” by participating in football, fighting, and roughhousing. All of this is in the hopes that he will turn out to be “normal” and straight.

However, I find this to be a dim-witted and foolish view to take. If a child is in fact homosexual, the parents and teachers are only isolating him. If a child wants to take place in the supposedly “other sexes” sport, he should be allowed to. Parents fear having to raise and own up to having a homosexual child and try to take all precautions to prevent it. Thus, they install in Baby Boy a homophobic sense of reality, in which anything different such as pink shirts and male cheerleaders are gay. It is an anxiety for all to be thought gay. Or to actually be gay in a society that was raised to shun and reject homosexuals with hate and fearfully constructed biases. Straight Think is definitely seen in the comedy movie “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.” Beyond all of the obviousness of the movie, the great fear of the parent is that his boy will is gay, and he is constantly discourages his son from dancing and singing, only to be push him towards more manly sports. In all reality, Straight Think is a concept that every parent strictly adheres to and fears the consequences of disobeying in case they accidentally allow their child to become gay. Oh the horrors.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

You hate Britney. I hate Britney. We all hate Britney!

To start off I am going to come clean and say that I was one of the teeny boppers who listened to all of her music and bought all of her CDs. I am actually pretty sure I have all of them but the last two. As much as I cringe to say it, she was one of my heroes and all of my friends and I looked up to her. Regretfully one of them developed an eating disorder so she could “be like Brit” and another got pregnant. What a great hero she was.

Anyway, I will move on to the actual assignment. I thought both the Coldplay and the Britney essays to be interesting and well written. I chose the Britney essay because it pertained to my life and life in general more than the Coldplay essay did. I found myself pleasantly surprised with this essay and would grade it as an A. Ms. Williams seems to be a very competent writer. She did well thinking out the essay, stating her main points, describing and backing up her thoughts, and adding in facts.

Ms. Williams did an excellent job setting up the layout of her essay and making sure that it flowed smoothly throughout the entire thing. The essay had a great introduction and attention grabber. Ms. Williams made it a very personal introduction and made sure that it would catch the attention of all parents and future parents. This helped carry her voice throughout the essay by making it more personal and by showing her fears for the younger generation of children that will be influenced by the pop culture.

The writer presented many facts throughout the essay in a very well-informed manner. She led up to the facts, introduced and explained them. They were all relevant to her points and helped support her thoughts. The only problem that I really noticed was that she started off some of her paragraphs with the facts. They were still explained thoroughly, however, it made her voice in the paragraph being presented weaker than in the rest of the essay.

On the whole I thought that this was a very well written and researched essay. It was organized by paragraphs that related to each other and had smooth transitions. Ms. Williams presented the multiple facts with finesse and talent, all the while keeping her voice present and strong.


To start off I honestly do not know much about any of the subjects we were given as choices. However, I have always loved going to musical plays. Thus, I will use “musicals” as the subject that I might actually know something about.

What makes a musical “good?” Well honestly there are a multitude of features that need to be considered in order to critique a musical play. What kind of play is it? Who is the target audience? Are the actors professionals or amateurs? I have been to three professional Broadway plays, however, I by no means view myself as someone who knows everything about musical plays. The plays I have seen include, “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Lion King,” and “The Phantom of the Opera”.

First off when considering whether a play is “good” one can always look at the selling of the tickets. If the play is sold out and packed, there is obviously something about it that people like. One should look at the overall selling of the tickets, not only just for one showing. If the play is sold out at more than one showing, then it’s notable that the first sold out play was not just a freak accident.

Something else to look for while watching a musical play is obviously the acting. Personally for me, I find the theater actors much more talented than the actors in movies. Not only do theater actors have to sing well and memorize all of their lines, they also have to perform in front of hundreds of people. They have no chances to do another “take,” they only have one chance to get the scene right. The singing of the actors should be on key and should project out into the balconies.

One last thing that I am going to focus on is the attire of the actors. When I saw the play “The Lion King” (seriously click on that link and check out the aweosme pictures) the costumes were absolutely stunning. The people dressed up as animals were able to move all of the body parts, make them talk, all while dancing and singing themselves. I vividly remember the giraffe walking down the aisle; it was seriously the size of a real giraffe and looked just like one. The costumes in a musical play should fit all of the scenes and the type of play. They should stand out to the audience, even after the play is over. It has been nine years since I saw the “Beauty and the Beast” play, but I still remember the amazing costumes and make-up that continually changed throughout the play.

On the other hand, I know absolutely nothing about NFL quarterbacks. I have never really been that into sports, especially watching them on the television. To start off, in order to actually evaluate a quarterback I would most likely do some background research on the internet. I would find out what exactly a quarterback does, or should do, for his team and also find out who some of the more well known quarterbacks are. I would look at some of the well known quarterbacks, find out their statistics and background and compare them to not so well known quarterbacks in order to try and decide what makes them “good.”

Sunday, February 10, 2008

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's... Bigfoot?

To start off, I went to both the crop circle site and the Bigfoot site. The crop circle site pretty much gave me a headache right away just because of the font and background. It messed with my mind way too much to actually try and muddle my way through it, so instead of the crop circles I decided to go with the much more interesting Bigfoot.

The spotting Bigfoot site was easier to look at and understand. The site has a simple and professional looking black background with a white colored font and blue links that were fairly easy to read. The setup of the site was reasonably simple and painless to wade through. The makers of the site made the links easy to follow and pretty clear as to what they were connected to. The set up of the information on the homepage of the site was also straightforward and clean cut. It was a simple process to quickly scroll down the page and see the different information and links set up in an uncomplicated centered line.

The graphics and the links leading to them were great. The heading on the site was very clear and concise, stating what the site is, when it was founded, and how to make contact with the makers. I also enjoyed the video that clearly stated what the site was all about instead of having six or seven paragraphs that stated the same thing in a lengthy and boring drawl. The video was a great way to show the technological savvy of the maker in correspondence to navigating the World Wide Web and the making of a semi-professional website.

The balancing act of mixing text and pictures can be a fairly tricky process. Where should the graphics be placed? Beside the text? Below it? It takes a certain finesse and talent to find the perfect balance between the two. This site didn’t completely muck up the job, but it could have been better. As I said before, it was nice to be able to scroll down the page and see the information; however, there could have been more space between the pictures, links, and text. It made the page look almost too messy and less professional. It was a tad cluttered and could be easily cleaned up to look less amateur. For example, the entire “Expedition Schedule” should have been linked to a different page. There is a goodly portion of the homepage token up by it, but there is also a link to the schedule elsewhere on the page. It took up too much room and would have worked much better just as a separately linked page instead of both.

This website may have looked more professional with a simple homepage that had multiple links to other pages. The pictures that were posted on the homepage were interesting I admit, but did not have explanations that described them. I think it is fine to click on a picture and be taken to a page just about that picture, but wouldn’t it be quicker and more efficient to make ONE page with ALL of the pictures and explanations on it? All in all, this site does not seem very credible to me. The overall set up of the website seems a little immature. The additional pages about sighting reports are very easy to read and quite clear, however, the homepage just seems too messy. Everything is there on the page, but its chaotic mixture of scrunched graphics and bright blue linked text made it seem unprofessional and made it harder to shuffle through. On the other hand, I believe that the maker of the website did well presenting the visual argument. There were multiple relevant pictures and each page had a clear concise heading. The maker did a decent job at letting the readers know what he wished to present and make known..


After clicking and scanning through all of the pictures, it just happens that the one I fell in love with was the very last one I came to. The pictures taken of Haiti and the Haitian people are all overwhelmingly touching and heartrendingly sad. However, amidst all of the turmoil, heartache, tragedy, and sickness, this little girl still found something to smile about. Her beautiful charming grin argues that even among disaster and chaos, there is still hope and love to be found. She has given me hope that not everything in life is horrible. She has shown that there are still things to smile about. No matter how small or insignificant the pleasures may seem to others, as long as they make at least one person smile they matter.

Diving In

Once again I dive into the sandbox, ready for adventure. After reading this week’s military posts, I found myself in some sort of a funk. I realized that I never really know how to respond to the posts after reading them. Nothing I can say would really make a soldier’s life easier to bear. They don’t know me; I don’t mean anything to them. I am just another blank face. I am just another nameless person. I am always just another blank nameless person offering a few simple meaningless words of remorse.

A New Hope
The first post I clicked on was once again written by The Usual Suspect. He seems to have finally come out and said that he uses his posts for ranting, raving and talking to help him deal with his problems. I love the way he words his sentences and the way he gets his points across. The vulgar language and sarcastic phrases really put his attitude and emotions into perspective for all of us readers.

The Tale of Two Mountains
This was a touching story about how one man made many mistakes and survived, and how his friend did everything perfectly and was shot. The soldier put it much more eloquently than I am able, but that was the gist of it. The soldier feels guilt and confusion over being the “survivor.” Why did he get to live when he made so many mistakes? Why wasn’t he the one that was dead? Why did he get to come home to his family and his friend couldn’t? The question is always “WHY?” There’s never a real answer that can make a person feel better. There’s never a real reason to the why of things, other than that’s the way God wanted your cookie to crumble.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Always Politics

I actually surprised myself by finding this to be a very interesting assignment. I honestly have never been all that interested or concerned with politics. I know that is probably not the best attitude to maintain, but I have my excuses like everyone else does. Excuses such as being too busy with my own life, wanting to watch reruns of Grey’s Anatomy instead of political debates, not caring what politicians are arguing about, and of course thinking that they are all full of crap anyway. Every time I would actually pay attention to the campaign advertisements or watch a little bit of news, I found myself irritated that all the politicians would do is say how horrible and ignorant the other party is. I always wondered why they couldn’t just talk about what they would do for our country instead of bashing the people they’re running against. Even after doing this assignment I still find myself shaking my head at the fallacies and flashpoints every politician uses to further his ideas and career.

I will go ahead and move on to talking about the actual class assignment. I found myself randomly picking a political blog that was listed in our textbook and found myself traveling to <>. It is a very interesting and quick responding blog site. Of course the first post I would happen to click on would be about the infamous Bill Clinton. Not only was this about Bill Clinton, but the author, Andrew Revkin, really talked about how quickly the internet and blogging can spread misinformation and faulty assertions. Revkin posted about a Mr. Tapper’s post that blatantly twisted Mr. Clinton’s words around and made his message to the public completely different.

Revkin point blank criticized how Tapper used only portions of Mr. Clinton’s speech instead of using the full text. Revkin points out that Tapper only used portions of the speech that supported his preexisting stance and idea. Revkin pointed out a few fallacies and flashpoints regarding Tapper’s post, however, he did not exactly explain them. Rather, he assumed that his readers would automatically know and understand what he was talking about. He pointed out an Ad Hominem argument that was used against Clinton. Attack the man and ignore the bigger argument going on. Attack his character and ignore the fact that his entire speech wasn’t quoted, only the incriminating parts.

By the way Revkin spoke, I also believe that Tapper may have set up Clinton as a Straw Man. Tapper built up an argument against and criticized Clinton for something that didn’t even happen and wasn’t there. Tapper wrote that Clinton seems to be saying that we should slow down the economy to help prevent global warming. However, in reality the full text of Clinton’s speech was stating that a slowdown of the economy wouldn’t work because other economic powerhouses (i.e. China) would fail to do the same. Revkin happily pointed out that Tapper completely twisted around the speech, cut out major parts, and used it to further his own means and ideas.

I found it really interesting how much people on these political blogging sites will argue about anything, everything, and nothing at all. Not only do they argue about what people actually say, but they also make up, twist and distort speeches in order to argue about the made-up stuff. Some bloggers obviously do the making up and twisting to start the arguments on fire. Other bloggers actually seem to take pride in sniffing out and discrediting the people that are making up.

Like I said at the beginning, I still shake my head and grimace every time I hear the word “politics.” I am aware that this may come across as a rant against politics, but seriously politicians seem to stoop to any means to further their own causes. They lie. They make up arguments just for the sake of arguing. They bash and try to discredit their opponents. They basically talk and argue about everything but the real topics and problems. The world of politics will always be filled with intrigue, backstabbing, and lies. However, I still found this an interesting assignment because I honestly never would have taken the time to go to a political blog even if I had known they existed

Wiki Wiki What?

To start off I am going to say that I have definitely been having fun making my wiki. However, I couldn’t take the wiki tour because the link would not connect for me, so I hope that so far I am doing it correctly and not completely botching it up. Here is the link to my wiki,

I think that the wiki could have an interesting potential for sharing our thoughts and feelings much like a blog. So far, to me at least, a wiki really just seems like bragging place that is all about YOU. Which of course is wonderful, you always need somewhere to go to in order to brag and make yourself feel great and above the world! And of course everyone wants to know EVERYTHING about you, so why not make a bragging website all about yourself!? I really am not all that sure of what the exact point of a wiki is, but I am definitely having a lot of fun making it and finding all the videos to attach to it on YouTube!

Digging In The Sandbox

Once again I return to dig through the Sandbox. Once again I find my heart aching. Once again I find myself humbled by the braveness and strength of the soldiers. Every time I return to the Sandbox and read the soldiers’ posts I find myself touched that the soldiers would share their thoughts, feelings, and experiences with us ordinary civilians.

“Suspect’s Creed”
The first post I came to was by The Usual Suspect. The first post I read by this soldier was about his insatiable love for rocking out to his hardcore metal music and how he uses it to get through the days in hell. His newest post, Suspect’s Creed, was also an excellent post that I believe allowed him to vent his angers and frustrations to a world that cares. I think that this is his way to relate to the rest of the world and his way of getting through the hell he is going through. I love his writings and the way he is so confident that he will not take shit from anyone and that he will never be a “yes man.” This was definitely another interesting post by a very interesting soldier.

“From Hero to Zero”
This was a sad post and a very cold dose of reality. As I read this I thought about how much crap soldiers take when they are sent away, only to come home and find their wives cheating on them, to be spit at, and to be held in disdain for doing their job and protecting their country. What kind of a world do we live in if the very people who protect and fight for us are scorned? This man talked about his surprise at finding one of his friends had murdered and was going to be in jail for the rest of his life. His points about going from being a hero fighting in Iraq for our country, only to come home and be treated as dirt were very sobering and upsetting indeed.

“The Faces”
I usually do not get choked up and teary eyed at many things, but this post made my eyes well up and gave me the goose bumps. This woman is an RN in the army and was caught off guard when she was walking through the ICU section of the hospital. She saw not only a wife of a severely wounded soldier, but also her two beautiful children. They sat there day after day hoping that this wounded soldier would wake up from his drug induced coma and come back to their world. Not only did this RN take the time to stop and chat with the soldier’s wife and children, she also took it upon herself to give them a portable DVD player to help take their minds off of the present. This nurse’s small kindness gave hope to this mother and her two children and made their days a little bit easier to muddle through. When this RN described the scene of when the soldier woke up and his wife began crying, it seriously gave me the chills. The kindness of this RN was amazing and she has definitely earned her place as an angel.


Saturday, January 26, 2008

Where to look?

Out of all of the ways to present material to the public, I find that the internet is the easiest and fastest way to find something you are looking for. Honestly there are very few websites that I frequent, and even fewer websites that I admire. However, I can think of one site that I have used in the past and just recently had to use again. I have raised and shown horses pretty much all of my life, but a few days after Christmas we had to put my horse down because of some freak accident. Anyways, afterwards I needed a new horse to bond with and spend time with, so I went to this site called DreamHorse where you can basically find any horse in the world… literally. I also realize that this site does not really have an argument presented, but since it is really the only website I use I figured that I would give it a try.

Now I realize I might lose a few of you with the horse lingo, but I will try my best to explain what exactly I’m talking about. First of all, looking for a horse to buy or even selling a horse is hell. I’ve done both, so seriously trust me. The internet is the best and most effective way to find a good and decent horse. There are a few other ways to find horses, but like I said this is the easiest. This site is the best site that anyone I know has been able to find for buying, selling, and trading horses. Everything is set up perfectly on the home page. You can easily look for horses depending on where they are located, their names, their breeding and bloodlines, their color, their breed, or even whether they have a picture or video. Besides horses, you can also buy saddles, bridles, show clothes, horse blankets, horse trailers, and other tack. All you need is just a mouse click away.

The internet holds many advantages over the printed or oral selling and buying of horses. For instance, the internet allows you to sell or look at horses that are on the other side of the country. With printed or oral you are confined to your small region, town, county, and if you’re lucky your state. To buy a horse you want to see millions of pictures, from the time they were born to the present day. You also want to see a video of how the horse moves, know all of its bloodlines and if possible, all of its past owners. You want to know EVERYTHING. With the internet and this website, it allows the seller to post all of that and the seller to look at everything they want. This website also allows buyers to type in what type of horse they are specifically looking for. Click on the advanced search then select what breed, color, age, discipline (what the horse is good at), where in the country you want to look at, gender, and even price ranges you want. Click the submit button and hundreds, even thousands of horses for sale that match your criteria pop up for you to look at.

With the printed way of selling horses, you basically print off flyers with the horse’s picture and your phone number on it and leave them wherever you go in the “Horse World” (i.e. tack shops, horse shows etc.). After leaving the flyers wherever you go, you sit back and hope for months that someone might call to ask about your horse. Or on the other hand, you find a picture of a horse, and call the owners only to find out it sold three months ago. Orally selling and buying horses is pretty much a nightmare too. You can take the horse to an auction and basically take whatever people will pay you, which usually isn’t very much. Or you can spread the word by mouth and once again hope that someone will take pity on you and just buy your horse. It is very rare indeed that you will find a good horse to buy at an auction, you never know what they are like and definitely don’t know anything about its past. This takes so much time, money and energy to do that you get sick of it and usually give up.

Like I said before, it is pretty much impossible to sell or find the “perfect” horse without the internet to help guide you. With this website I sold one of my horses to someone in Texas, who seriously would have had no idea my horse even existed without this DreamHorse website. With printed and oral “translations” of this website there would be hundreds of random flyers floating around and a million lost opportunities of finding a wonderful horse that is a few hours away. Without the internet sites it can take months or even years to sell or find the right horse. The first day I started looking for horses on this DreamHorse website I found the horse I eventually bought. I typed in exactly what type of a horse I was looking for and POOF he popped up, I clicked on him and knew he was the “perfect” one.
Playboy (his new name) now happily resides here in Indiana with me as a spoiled and content horse. Without this website I never would have even known he existed.

The Fine Details Of Life

To start off I really was not all that excited about watching a woman lecture on how advertisements degrade and put women down. Thinking that it would just be another boring rant I reluctantly clicked on the link to take me to the video. However, as I watched the six and a half minute presentation I found myself captivated not only by the topic, but also by the efficient and compelling speaker. She was a very smooth and knowledgeable about her subject and set up the lecture perfectly.

This speaker was superb at briefly describing what the lecture was going to be about and at moving through her main points in the lecture. She was able to move from degrading ads about “You never thought you’d lose your looks either” to the ads about weight with one simple phrase that let the audience know the topic was shifting. This speaker set up her lecture so that it easily captured the audience’s attention. Between the speaker’s sense of humor and catchy wit, and the multitude of images and graphics to make her point, she made this a very attention-grabbing lecture. She integrated her images and photographs of advertisements with perfect timing into her lecture and I loved her comments on what the advertisements were presenting to the world.

By dressing well and looking professional, the speaker let the audience know that she meant business and really wanted to get her point across. This woman also had an amazing voice for speaking. She did a great job at putting in the voice inflections for mild disgust and humor, along with making sure that her voice was pitched just right so that everyone in the audience could hear and understand her. Another aspect of speaking that this lecturer managed to excel at was eye contact. She continually looked around the room she was speaking to, in order to make sure all of the people in the audience felt included in her speech. She also uses her body to communicate with the audience, she leans forward and uses subtle hand movements to help convey the points that she thinks are the most important.

I personally always hate sitting in class or at a lecture while the person speaking drones on and on about a subject that they don’t seem to understand or that they completely read from a PowerPoint. How is the audience supposed to get anything from the lecture if the person speaking does not even know what they are talking about? For me at least, this speaker seemed incredibly familiar with and well-informed about her subject. She was very enthusiastic about her topic and seemed to truly care that the audience understood the points she was trying to make. I’m guessing she used memory aids such as note cards, but she very rarely looked at them and when she did it was only for a brief moment. This made her lecture flow smoothly since she had no need to read straight from a PowerPoint or a note card.

I honestly think that the most memorable part about the presentation was the images that were added into the lecture and comments that she made on them. The advertisement about a woman’s husband wishing she had larger breasts was horrible. A husband should love his wife no matter the size of her breasts and honestly does not deserve to have her if he can’t appreciate her the way she is. Anyways, more than a handful is a waste. I also completely agree with her statements on “The more you subtract the more you add” advertisement. What an awful thing to tell young girls, or any woman for that matter. People have enough to deal with in their lives without thinking that the world will never accept them if they don’t weigh 100 pounds and are anorexic.

After my initial reluctance to listen to her lecture, I found it to be a very informative and somewhat horrifying slap in the face of what woman are being portrayed as. I mean seriously (in reference to the above picture) no one in the world will look like that woman in the picture just by eating that specific yogurt and it's just silly for people to believe that. Overall I thought that this was a very effective lecture. The speaker smoothly moved through her main points, effortlessly added in images, was always attuned to the audience, and more than got the information across the gape to the audience. I truly enjoyed watching this lecture and realizing how much advertisement really does affect our everyday lives.

Sandbox Memories

Once again I find myself scrolling through the thoughts and memories of our troops almost feeling like an intruder. I know I can never truly imagine what they are going through or have gone through, but these posts really bring the horrors home to me; whether they are the horrors of death and dying, of sending your children into war, or even of the horrifically ridiculous “care” packages. I am amazed at the talent that the troops use to voice their experiences, concerns, and thoughts.

This was a heart touching post about a man returning from war, only to send his oldest son back into the horrors of Afghanistan. The soldier posting was incredibly proud of his son, yet obviously worried. His comments about the majority of America being unaware of or not truly understanding the horrors really made me think once again about how little I know about the war. I can’t say that I fully understand how hard it is to send a child into war, but I can try to imagine. This man knows for a fact that the statements “it’s not really that bad over there” or “he will be safe” are just a way for people to distance themselves and give what are supposed to be the “make you feel better statements.” He knows what it was really like; he knows the hell he is sending his son into.

I thought that this was an amazing post in that the soldier was able to come to terms with all that he had seen, done and experienced. This man was able to see that the people of Afghanistan are worthy of our help; that they are real people who have feelings, get hurt, cry, get sick, and die like we do. This soldier had the strength to overcome the prejudices and hate thrown so casually around. He had the strength to care for not only his own country and people, but also Afghanistan and its people. He was able to understand them, to feel their pain, and to sympathize with the people. His strength amazed me, all of the soldiers who are fighting for not only their own country, but another country as well humble me with their courage and strength.

I found this post a nice refresher from the other, more somber posts that I have read. I think that this was a humorous way for the soldier to get across his feelings of frustration by making himself and others laugh. Most the soldier’s “list” made me laugh in sympathy, but I think that number 10 was a little harsh. No, people don’t understand what the soldiers are going through. They don’t understand the pain. They don’t understand the loss, but they are trying to and I think that that’s what should truly matter. However, some of the stuff people send to the troops is amazingly thoughtless. Once again I’m going to refer back to reading the letters for the “A Million Thanks To the Troops” project. We threw out so many goofy things. For example, an old used toothbrush, a tube of toothpaste that expired 10 years ago, half a roll of toilet paper, and an open stale box of cereal. I know people are trying to help, but the soldiers don’t need someone’s left over trash.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sosnoski Article Response

I honestly had some difficulty following the Sosnoski article. It was fairly interesting even though it was a difficult read. The parts of the article that I followed and understood were interesting and shed some light on the thoughts of hyper-reading, however, I had still had trouble following the author’s thoughts and therefore had issues discerning the deeper meanings of this article. Since I had trouble deciding the exact meaning of the article I will try to explain and illustrate what I actually managed to extract from it.

I did actually enjoy reading about the eight different issues of reading that Sosnoski hit on even though the introduction was fairly slow moving and drawn out. The problems such as de-authorizing, fragmenting, trespassing, skimming, filtering, pecking, filming, and imposing are all very real problems that people are faced with everyday. I found it interesting how he described them and what examples he inserted into the paragraph to get his points across. I myself have been guilty of “skimming” the text right before class, however, I have never been one to skim or peck through a novel that I am reading. Also, I cannot stand to watch a movie instead of reading the book or play and I believe that is just another way of cheating your way through life. Even though people say a “picture is worth a million words,” I feel as though the screen movies can never live up to a good old printed novel. As the author commented about the aesthetic pleasures of reading printed material, I completely and whole heartedly agree. I absolutely love curling up in front of my fireplace with a good book.

Besides the content of the essay, the author did very well setting it up; he made the structure extremely clear cut and nice flowing. He set up his essay so that it smoothly went from one subject to the next with very little confusion or puzzlement. The topics were easily discerned from one another with the excellent set up of the lengthy introduction that described what would be discussed. The essay was also very well researched and had a multitude of examples for all of the points that were made, along with a great section at the end that included his extra notes and citations. However, I do believe that he went off on a few too many tangents and a couple random anecdotes or stories that made his essay much harder to follow. It made the main points much harder to understand and extract from the essay. Even though he forewarned the hyper-reader about the many anecdotes included, it was still difficult to get my mind back on the topic that was previously being discussed. The author could have possibly cut back on his extra anecdotes, it made the essay incredibly wordy and not all that concise.

Even though I thought this essay to be a difficult and sometimes hard to follow read, I still enjoyed the challenge. I hope that in the future I will be better able to follow scholarly essays such as this one, and also that I will be able to better understand the deeper meanings that I had trouble finding in the Sosnoski essay.