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October 31, 2005

"There's More Honor"

"According to Marx, to avoid the pain of the ending that would logically have developed (presumably, Huck hanged and Jim sold down the river), Twain has Tom Sawyer re-enter the narrative and assume command. Tom, a representative of romanticized Southern society, is responsible for subjugating Huck and subjecting Jim to farcically inhumane treatment. It is an ending, Marx argues, that betrays Huck and Jim and exposes Twain's "glaring lapse of moral imagination" (435)."
I didn't understand why Clemens ended the book this way at first and why it was such a disappointment, but because Tom and Huck butchered things up that they were trying to help, the ending wouldn't have been happy. Clemens seems to have thought at the last minute, "wait that would make all of Huck's wonderful contemporary views for his time be in vain" and decided to just throw in that last chapter. According to Hemingway,the book should've stopped before ch.31. I also agree with Scott's views that Tom "romanticizes" Jim's plight and ends up screwing him over in the end and he is also depicted as a mockery of the southern mind, which I find very interesting. Overall, this criticism is excellent and gave me an idea more of what the book was really about and how to better make my own.

Posted by ErinWaite at 11:58 AM | Comments (0)

Ch. 8 and 9 IANS

"Be aware of disparities" ch. 8 says when it comes to researchers who are trying to(and many sucking at)portray reality. Once again, Ch.9 goes in with similar ideas, but then says "don't shoot the messanger." Many reasons that news stories get twisted are not because of the reporter, but it could be the person they interview exaggerates or perhaps the study that they got the statistics from was faulty. Overall, we have the choice to believe or disbelieve everything that we hear on t.v. People tend to agree with whatever statistics suit their own "pet projects," but to be well-balanced, objectivity has to eventually come into play.

Posted by ErinWaite at 11:17 AM | Comments (0)

ch. 6 and 7 IANS

"...it is noteworthy that popular beliefs-however erroneous rather than expert opinion largely determine our allocation of resources to lessen and eliminate risks."(118)
Whatever the media says, affects people and makes them upset or smug that they're "safe". Instead of actually looking and seeing if there's a bit of commons sense in a news broadcast, people say "Ooh, Y2K and start wasting money on flashlights, generators, and canned beans that they end up throwing away anyway. The right knowledge comes from careful research or even common sense that no one "has time" to use. In chaper 6, "a poorly worded question yielded a shocking answer that turned out to have little validity." If reporters ask good questions and don't use double negatives, it's easier to get the right answer.

Posted by ErinWaite at 11:10 AM | Comments (2)

The Bad Boy Boom

Huckleberry Finn was said in a review to have"irreverance which makes parents, guardians, and people who are all good and proper [look] ridiculous." Alot of reviewers believed that classics like these and the famous Jesse James made boys to be little terrors. It's funny because to me, it just seems like what parents do now. Instead of blaming themselves or the kids themselves for being ornery, they say it's because of Marilyn Manson or the Power Rangers. Meanwhile, many people just enjoy the artwork and disregard what they don't like. We all have free will, so I think it's up to us to make our own judgements.

Posted by ErinWaite at 07:49 AM | Comments (2)

The End of Huckleberry Finn

"...how ornery and tough the fried chicken was --all that kind of rot, the way women do to force out compliments." I had to laugh at this quote in 26 (hopefully I'm reading the Roman numerals right) because I know that women still do that. It's hard not to because if people don't say something's good right away, it kinda makes you nervous. I wasn't that disappointed with the ending. At least Tom, Huck, and Jim ended up on good terms, but Tom was giving alot away on freeing Jim and there was a footnote that said that this was bad. It was good though that Tom was in the end because he was the beginning of everything and Huck is kind of the end. Tom makes Huck "comfortable" and in a friend, that is one of the most important qualities. Did Jim end up being free or was he still "enslaved" technically? The language started to get on my nerves, but I tried to understand all that was happening in the end.

Posted by ErinWaite at 07:40 AM | Comments (2)

October 27, 2005

Ch. 5

I think it’s important to look at the direction of where statistics are pointing and this reminded me of Ch. 4 in some ways, because as a reporter, it’s important to ask the right questions, and have proportionality which deals with looking at something from “both sides.”

Posted by ErinWaite at 08:16 PM | Comments (0)

Ch. 4 The Perils of Proxies

The FRAC took a faulty proxy that NBC sensationalized that said one out of every eight American children under 12 is going hungry. Only 33% said that they didn't have enough money to buy food, so the children went to bed hungry, which is the most vital question, whereas 98% said they relied on a limited number of foods to feed their children. When you think of starving children you may think of Sally Struthers or Kathy Lee on T.V. whaling, but notice these children aren't usually American. The authors suggest that it makes a difference to know whether or not there was "a traffic jam on the way back from the supermarket" or maybe the children are getting fed a "monotonous" diet. Either way, like we discussed in the last chapter, it is important to ask these kinds of questions before you start getting upset by numbers.
Ted J. Smith III and Melanie Scarborough, who worked for an unpublished paper, discovered that 87% "simply relayed the findings of the FRAC study to the public without negative criticism of any kind." (75) The Physician Task force which was lead by psychologists instead of actual doctors used even worse methods of research that concluded 20 million people were not getting enough food stamps to buy food, yet there were many counties that fell under this category that had farms that were "valued well above half a million dollars. If farmers like these, who may technically be eligible for food stamps, fail to participate in the program, you somehow doubt they're suffering from malnutrition." (76)This shows that proxies are inaccurate, but researchers like to use them because it makes the issue seem more "pressing."
This reminds me of lacking proportionality. If a reporter only gets quotes or numbers that favor their personal cause it also shows imbalance. It goes back to the beginning when we learned that if you have a pet issue, stay away from it if you can't handle it. Proxies do the job of their name by only getting an approximate and broad definition of hunger. The authors criticize nutritionist Jean Mayer who uses hunger as a "synonym for inequality." They then point out measuring iron intake in poor kids will not support that.
Another flaw in measuring hunger and poverty, is measuring income. Definitions of poverty are purely subjective. News should be objective, but it's hard to do that when you personally have to define something. I agree with the author's statements on the error in using low-income as a definition of "poor." (79) Examples are retirees who have a low income but own a home and have assets. Also, ex-students who are just getting into the workforce and live with our parents are placed under that category too. I think this makes it unfair because if people who have other means of income receive government assistance, I think it takes away from people who really need it. Low income means some income, not "no income!" Measuring more directly than proxies would still be troublesome because then we'd have to ask specific questions, like how many rooms and what sizes do they have to be for the occupants to be poor? As reporters, we can learn to ask better questions, because as the authors said, we would have been able to use all the funds donated to aid in poverty better if there hadn't been insufficient proxies.
Finally, even scientists are affected by proxies, due to the flaws in the study of electromagnetic fields, the public lost between "$1 billion and $3 billion per year." (83)Imagine, we could've been feeding all those kids whose parents don't use their food stamps with that money! Researchers aren't completely to blame. Sometimes, they just don't know the right things to measure or sometimes, they can't measure it directly. There's no denying that hunger is an issue, but as reporters, we shouldn't focus on the object of the studies, but the methods we use. As the authors say, don't ask "how many", but ask "how." In news worthy story, statistics may make us seem smart, but if we can't understand how bank robberies, etc. happened, it is hard to make a news story interesting. I take the two-year-old approach and ask "why" over and over, because whatever the numbers say "ain't necessarily so."

Ch. 5
I think it’s important to look at the direction of where statistics are pointing and this reminded me of Ch. 4 in some ways, because as a reporter, it’s important to ask the right questions, and have proportionality which deals with looking at something from “both sides.”

Posted by ErinWaite at 08:10 PM | Comments (0)

October 26, 2005

All about race? I think not!

It's quite hypocritical that Thomas Jefferson (who was speculated to have children with his slaves) has the balls to say that black people have more "sensation than reflection" and that they don't remember or have feelings about what happened to them. Meanwhile his multi-racial gene pool is on tv discussing him, so I think if he came back he'd get a wake-up call. At the same time, even abolitionists were said to have a low opinion of blacks at the time. I don't think Twain is racist but defends "human dignity." (359)"Racial discourse is more than just attitudes." (359) Twain emphasizes the goodness and evil in both blacks and whites and Jim contradicts everything of his stereotype by being wise, cautious, and missing his wife and kids. Jim "is white inside" according to Huck. Even the doctor later commends Jim on his good work. Although Tom and Huck can be racist and mean to him, they do try to make up for it and I really think Twain wants us to reject hypocrisy and go for honesty. (369). The reason people seemed racist was because it was a normal act of the time. People have just redirected that hostility at Iraqi people, but are now learning to get a better understanding before being prejudiced towards someone.

Posted by ErinWaite at 12:46 PM | Comments (3)

AHF Introduction: These guys are a barrelful of monkies compared to crazy wallpaper lady

I love how Concord Library referred to this as the "veriest trash," but it has been declared by even more people as one of the greatest literary works ever. I'm in the middle about this one. As a lover of crude humor and someone who has the attention span of a 2 year old, unless I am truly entertained and enlightened by a book I will just skim through it. This was a book that I actually wanted to read because of the strong moral voice in it and the touching relationship between Huck and Jim. The intro takes a look at the way Tom and Huck represent the two views of slavery and freedom. Tom repeatedly mocks Jim, who turns out to be wiser and kinder than he in many instances (325) and Huck says he'd "go to hell" for Jim. Twain really didn't know much about Ohio and he put Duke and King in to drive Jim and Huck from their insecurities (Ch. 19). My favorite part of this was the metaphors of the shore being like slavery and the river representing freedom. Mr. Trilling best describes Huck and Jim's adventures as "modern imagination of autonomy and delight, of surprise and elevation, of selves concieved in opposition of the general culture." They bring laughter and go against the grain so much that I have to admire them. I relate to them better than I did to another woman such as Hestor or the crazy wallpaper lady.

Posted by ErinWaite at 12:35 PM | Comments (0)

Ch. 3 Bait and Switch

It is true that the high numbers that we see when it comes to rape, abuse, etc. is probably because all of what is defined as these things aren’t listed for the reader.
“Underreporting is thought to be particularly common when it comes to rape, domestic violence, and family abductions. Fear and shame would be obvious factors that might lead victims to keep silent.” (59). As we discussed earlier, reporters should never include rape victims names because people often blame the victim. It’s sad because people will often say “She was dressed like that so she asked for it.” I think that it’s a biased view and that reporters do have the power to protect victims. I feel that also in situations like this it might be okay to use a more sympathetic voice, especially if you’re interviewing the victim.
I found it very disturbing that the Common Wealth fund’s survey categorized the shoving with the stabbing as apart of statistics in domestic violence cases and making it look like there was such a high number. This was the example of bait and switch. Surveys at least make people a little more truthful. I find it embarassing to be put on the spot about things but a survey has the downfall of letting people manipulate the statistics in whatever way they see fit. When it comes to rape, I’ve seen many girls that I went to high school claim rape on a guy when it got out that she did things with him but then as soon as the drama was over she’d end up dating him. Thus, I think that some rape and domestic violence cases are just put out there to give guys a bad name so girls can cover up their own discretions. As a feminist I do believe women have the right to choose and if a girl was given a date rape drug or actually did say “no” than it’s a different story. Over all, I think this chapter really helped define what should and shouldn’t be covered.
Here’s what I learned:
1. Frequency of crimes should be looked at skeptically until you know the definition.
2. Usually, the worst incidents are the least common.

Posted by ErinWaite at 10:04 AM | Comments (0)

Ch.2 Much ado about little

“Too often, research that is either preliminary or inconclusive (or both) receives most reverential treatment in the press.” (35)

The flaws in the sperm count story were ignored because it seems that today; no one wants to actually believe that scientists could be wrong about something. It is so much easier to sit and absorb the facts while being a couch potato than question something that you may see as being a little off or even taking time to research it yourself. I’ve seen some excellent blogs in which students will question news stories and really come up with some good facts to back up whatever claim they are making. It is hard to swallow that the media doesn’t always do that. I think sometimes it has to do with the fact that the people that force-feed us the facts have such a great title or have qualifications from universities we feel we’d never get into, so we are afraid to question them. I think the news just preys on that. I think if more people questioned the flaws of such an experiment, perhaps scientists would be forced to do more research before their faces would be on the cover of Time.
It is not the reporter’s fault in this case like the authors have said but “coverage even of mature science can mislead if reporters don’t acknowledge the existence of alternate interpretations or rival data sets.” (37). They also explained that it’s easy for readers to confuse the partial truth with the whole truth, so it’s no wonder we are so mixed up. I think having alternate data goes back to the beginning when we learned about having balance. We were told that if we got quotes from one side on the abortion issue than we’d better have an equal amount from the other side, so that it’s not just our own biased view taking over. If there were more balance in news stories, a lot more of the truth would come out. Often, people have a harder time excepting the truth and I think sometimes that the media is afraid that it won’t sell enough papers. If they say something true that might come out “boring.” This is when creative writers could come into play.

Posted by ErinWaite at 10:02 AM | Comments (0)

October 24, 2005

Agenda Items for ch. 1-24 Huckleberry Finn

"The pitifulest thing out is a mob; that's what an army is--a mob; they don't fight with courage that's born in them, but with courage that's borrowed from their mass, and from their officers. But a mob without any MAN at the head of it is BENEATH pitifulness." I thought this quote was interesting because people often feel safe mocking and even assaulting others in a crowd and you hardly ever see anyone hit another person when their alone or without a laughing audience. At the same time, Clemens seems to touch on the fact that every group needs a ring leader to give the group a motivation and even protect and inspire other group members. I think the man who acts alone is the bravest personally because he is using his own thoughts and not the morals of others to guide him.

"We said there warn't no home like a raft, after all. Other places do seem so cramped up and smothery, but a raft don't. You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on a raft."
this reminds me of Thoreau because every man needs an escape and a chance to get away once in awhile to help in creativity and maintain sanity.

Posted by ErinWaite at 05:49 PM | Comments (2)

Huckleberry Finn up to ch. 24

I read Tom Sawyer when I was younger and fell in love with Clemens' style of writing. This has become the unknown half of that story to me,so it's a revisit into something I've wanted to finish since I was younger. Ernest Hemingway said, “all modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn.... All American writing comes from that. There was nothing before." I think he meant that this style of writing although considered by some schools today "racist" was one of the first books that had a young hero that seemed (to me) to more human. Huck has flaws, he curses, runs away, and is seen as deviant but all for a good cause. To me he is focused.
"It's lovely to live on a raft. We had the sky up there, all speckled with stars, and we used to lay on our backs and look up at them, and discuss about whether they was made or only just happened." Huck never had this kind of "comfort", which is another big theme and he never had that with his father and it's an escape from reality for both of them." "We said there warn't no home like a raft, after all. Other places do seem so cramped up and smothery, but a raft don't. You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on a raft." This allows the reader to feel that it is important for everyone to feel free and unsmothered in life. I think it's good to get away and it even relates back to Thoreau's need for the simple life, free of the drama that holds us in at times.
"The average man don't like trouble and danger." I think Huck and Jim don't want trouble, but because of their lifestyle and the fact that Huck and Tom have always been known for their mischief, it's hard for people to see them any other way. In society today, we are still marked often not by the good things we do, but by the bad things. I think this book attempts to do more than just glance at Huck's life but to learn from it when it comes to appreciating our own "freedom" and "comfort." It also offers comedic relief in contrast to the usual literature we read.

Posted by ErinWaite at 05:11 PM | Comments (2)

The shoe fits, but who will wear it?

PUMPKIN PATCH KINGDOM- Cindy Rella, 18, daughter of suspected and now deceased mob boss Joe “Pumpkin Head” Rella was found allegedly working unpaid in the home of stepmother Jen Bimbo and stepsisters Blondie and Paris Bimbo after returning in time for her forced midnight curfew.

Judge Jeff Prince issued Pumpkin Patch police a warrant for the arrest of Jen Bimbo on charges of physical abuse, violation of labor laws, and forging documents in her own favor that stated Rella had originally been the sole heiress to all of the shares and control of her father’s Enchanted Shipping Empire.

Officer Kingsman entered the home after being tipped off by Rella’s godmother Farrah Smith 42, of Storybook Forest, the neighboring town. Upon seeing bruised and bleeding Rella sleeping in an unworking fireplace and finding a blood stained glass shoe outside the Bimbo residence, he was able to apprehend further evidence he needed to remove Rella from the home.

Jen Bimbo allegedly assaulted Kingsman with a fire poker and was taken into custody at Storybook County Jail on those charges in addition to her previous charges and bail will not be posted until further notice and her daughters fled the scene in a White Coach SUV and are still at large.

“We’ve been nothing but kind to her and let her move into our home after Daddy died. She needed to pull her weight. Whoever’s shoe that was is the winner of this contest our radio station is throwing. That wouldn’t be hers. It’s mine,” Blondie Bimbo 21, said.

When asked what she thought of her mother’s charges Paris said “That’s hot,” due to the fact that her mother had recently denied her of the winning glass slipper.

Jen Bimbo’s lawyer declined to comment. Rella said she could “care less about having the winning slipper” and happy that she has “a shot at getting back what’s rightfully mine and Prince may help me do that,” when asked about the impending hearing.

Officer Kingsman has taken Jen Bimbo and her daughters in for further questioning. Rella was put in custody of Smith until the preliminary hearing takes place in December.

Posted by ErinWaite at 05:00 PM | Comments (1)

Ch. 11

This helped a great deal in defining the qualities of a good feature article. It is meant to inform as well as entertain and perhaps even relate to something newsworthy, but just involves looking at it from a different angle. The feature on the man with Down's syndrome really touched me and features are a good way of looking at life through someone else's perspective. It allows more freedom for creative writers who love to use descriptive words.

Posted by ErinWaite at 10:18 AM | Comments (0)

"It Ain't Necessarily So" ch. 1 and intro

I agree with Chera in the fact that this chapter covered what the previous readings did when it came to classifying what is and isn't "newsworthy." It seemed that unless it's a tragedy or a celebrity divorce, people just aren't interested. It did offer hope and many different statistics that prove if a reporter researches a topic well and gets alot of good interviews, the reporter can even make a feature article seem newsworthy. If a topic is selected and the reporter finds a way to connect with people through it, they are more likely to succeed in sales.

Posted by ErinWaite at 10:08 AM | Comments (0)

Friday's exercise

I thought Friday's exercise was very helpful because it gave us a glimpse of how working for a newspaper would really be. Time constraints made grammar, style, and getting the details right a little hard. Stormy wrote about the first story and did it so well. Mine was a little longwinded. I think I followed the hourglass a little more than the pyramid style. I'm glad I got to get some practice though.

Posted by ErinWaite at 07:48 AM | Comments (0)

October 20, 2005

Crime Article Analysis rough essay

The private sector initiates the response to crime, thus as the prince’s footman stopped at Cinderella’s stepmother’s to look for the girl who’s foot fit the slipper, they found that a teenaged female was allegedly forced to work unpaid in the stepmother’s house. They noticed the squalid conditions that Cinderella was living in and suspected that she was physically and mentally abused by the stepmother and siblings. They could report this to the king or whoever is in charge of the area’s lawmaking. They must also determine Cinderella’s age to see what laws apply to her. If she is a minor, her name would not generally be used in papers. Since the response to crime also involves public safety, if the neighbors have a watch or are protective, they may offer guidance to Cinderella. The government must bring a criminal case through the justice system and this, in Cinderella’s case could involve labor laws and abuse laws.

In Cinderella’s case, they were looking for the girl whose foot fit the slipper, so this would begin the entry into the system. Once the prince’s footman has tracked her down, it will be easier to identify her and they can take a better look at the stepmother’s doings, which would allow entry into the system. Prosecution services to inform the suspect of their charges and allow the suspect and the victim to gather lawyers, etc. In Cinderella’s case, the prince may warn the evil stepmother that she’s in trouble, but he pretty much lets her have it, when he doesn’t deal with the adjudication part and simply listens as the stepmother claims not guilty and whisks Cinderella to live happily ever after. If he chooses to banish or punish the stepmother and/or evil stepsisters, this will fall under the sentencing and eventually the corrections part of the flow chart. In this he could recommend that they go to jail or seek counseling. This depends on how severe he decides that the crime is.

Finally, if the stepmother’s time in corrections is served and she goes out and does another crime, this would fall under the recidivism category on the chart.

Posted by ErinWaite at 06:49 PM | Comments (1)

AP stylebook p. 338-368

A reporter should use the word alleged if the suspect hasn't been convicted because it could be considered slander or libel saying that someone is a rapist if they could be innocent. In previous class discussions I also remember learning that revealing the victim's names can go against their privacy, especially in sexual assault cases. I didn't know that you could look up local sexual predators online, when we discussed that wednesday, I went and checked it out. I found out about alot of people I wish no longer lived in my area. Nowadays celebs sue for slander all the time and get away with it even though they were convicted of disgusting things that average people could never get away with. What's up with that?

Posted by ErinWaite at 05:44 PM | Comments (0)

Poe and Dickinson Poetry Slam/D'Elormie discovered

I think that the poetry slam was fun and not as scary as I thought because everyone was a little nervous and it was cool that every student had something different to offer. It also gave us a chance to cover alot of poems that we wouldn't have looked over otherwise. I found out that D'Elormie is an old deceased architect that built ancient buildings somewhere in Europe. I found it after searching hundreds of websites. I found it at http://www.emule.com/2poetry/phorum/index.php?0. She married him because she thought he was just as great as this guy, according to this groups online discussion but I could be wrong. I still have more research I could do on that one ;) Based on the peer reviews that I got back, I think I read my poems well and did a very good mark up. I felt that I answered the questions fine too. Ian said that I "sparked Jerz's interest" so I guess that was good and that he liked that I chose something a little darker. Overall, I think the whole class was really well prepared, but Quinn's toad won the prize.

Posted by ErinWaite at 05:17 PM | Comments (1)

October 19, 2005

Thoreau’s Conclusion

“In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put foundations under them.” (18, 5)
Thoreau demonstrates the need not only to have dreams, but to rid the mind of all clutter and begin to simplify life to achieve them. “The universe is wider than our views of it.” (18, 1). People may fall into a “beaten path” or routine of conformity, but to best succeed, new ones must be made.
“Why level downward to our dullest perception always, and praise that as common sense?” (18, 7). It is easy to look at anything whether human or nature, and claim it to be one simple thing. Each person has their own perception of what is “common sense” and what their priorities are. To reach them, instead of cutting down on themselves for going against the grain, Thoreau wants people to be the “biggest pygmy,” (18, 9) or simply the best they can be through their own means. His escape to Walden Pond allowed him to see this through everyday simplicity.
He became the best person he could be, by isolating himself from all the white noise of the world and became completely self-sufficient, without specifically planning to do so, but by looking to the “castles in the air” that he had already built. For days he enjoyed the beauty of bubbles and enthralled himself in each minor detail. He had not been able to do this before. He absorbed such noise as crickets at night and almost found dread in the sound of a train whistle. This reminded him of going back to the conformity and back into society where ideas and longings are pushed onto the buyer of whatever goods the train may haul and it appeared as a symbol of all that he went against. When he chopped wood and cleaned each brick painstakingly to maintain his life, he found the utmost pleasure. If he hadn’t worked so hard for his survival would he appreciate it?
He tells the story of a man who made no compromise with time and he, himself in a sense became that man at Walden’s.
“As he made no compromise with Time, Time kept out of his way.” He approached his daily tasks with that same single-mindedness and allowed nothing to stand in his way, which points back to his conclusion that learning to stray from the path and working from the “air” down to the very foundations that will meet them, will eventually lead to the dreams that were always there.
“Moreover, if you are restricted in your range by poverty, if you cannot buy books and newspapers, for instance, you are but confined to the most significant and vital experiences…It is life near the bone where it is the sweetest…Money is not required to buy one necessary of the soul.” (18, 13) He exemplifies this in the woods by being self-sufficient, though he has no words in papers and from the outside to world to live by, he is creating his own “foundations.” Being able to live without the distractions of the outside world allows the dreams that have been circling to stick, because the attention is focused on getting by as opposed to “how much can I get?”, “how much does it cost?” or “how much time will it take, because I’m on a schedule?”
“A goose is still a goose, dress it as you will,” (8, 14). No matter how much time a person wastes getting themselves the right job, money, or the right amount of time to achieve all of this, they can never change. Each person is born with a destiny and the Bible, it is said that God has a plan for each one. Instead of fighting against the tide, it is better to follow whatever path the mind takes, because that is where the person is meant to go. Thoreau believes that man cannot reach his dreams without laying the groundwork to make the transition from trying to be something that doesn’t exist to simply being what already does.
“Drive a nail home and clinch it so faithfully that you can wake up in the night and think of your work with satisfaction—a work which you would not be ashamed to invoke the Muse. So will help you God, and so only.” (18, 14) Hard work must be done to lay the right foundations. Thoreau wants to share that through his experience; he has learned that hard work will give the greatest satisfaction at the end of the day and not just following the same routine day after day. Not only does building castles in the air call for hard work, but for the truth. This truth can be one of two things. The literal truth, such things normally referred to as “common sense” and the Truth, which is each human being’s own values and the ways in which they find meaning in life. Once Truth is balanced with the longing to venture from the path, people begin to lay their real foundations. Thoreau found what was most important to him in life and took it literally.
Moving into isolation, to live a life of the “simple pleasures,” he layed out a new path that others could choose to follow or stray from and come to their own discoveries. Great men of wisdom, like Einstein and Plato, knew that they might not always get it right the first time, but upon making mistakes, they would find ways to bridge the gaps between what they were striving for and what foundations that they had already laid.
"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction." (Einstein, http://rescomp.stanford.edu/~cheshire/EinsteinQuotes.html). It took Thoreau hardships and pushing himself out of a pattern of “common sense” thinking that the world pushed upon him, but he made his foundations. He found his wisdom simply by not trying to analyze life, which is similar to Einstein’s ways. His castles were a higher awareness and appreciation for life, whatever a person’s castles may be; they must find their own way to get rid of whatever is holding them back. For some it is time, for others it is money, and for most it is the “common sense” that has been drilled into them from they day they were born. Thoreau attempts to put to rest the oppression that people put sometimes on themselves and almost give a mirror image that will show what the human is and reflect back, what perhaps, he can be.
Many are content in the way their lives are and Thoreau is not criticizing this, but perhaps trying to enlighten. He scoffs at the way people live only because he realizes that he was once the same way and that all humans fall prey to routine because they have not seen other ways of getting by. Each person has their own castles to build and how they build their foundations are based on their own choice.
“I do not say that John or Jonathan will realize all this; but such is the character of that morrow which mere lapse of time can never make to dawn. The light which puts out our eyes is darkness to us. Only that day dawns to which we are awake. There is more to day to dawn. The sun is but a morning star.” (18, 19). Thoreau demonstrates that humans need to look closer at what appears to be simple things, because from there, is where the stairways to castles begin.

Posted by ErinWaite at 10:27 AM | Comments (0)

October 12, 2005

Underage Drinking Laws: Saving Lives or Simply Saving Jail Space?

Alcohol consumption, abuse, and it’s consequences have been estimated to cost our society $86 billion each year, which is $26 million more than the cost of desert storm.
240,000 to 360,000 of the current college student body will eventually die of alcohol-related causes. That's comparable to the entire undergraduate body of the Big Ten dropping dead according to http://www.mudpc.org/stats.html.

Depressing and common as these facts may seem, many government and parents alike wish to lower the drinking age to 18 to prevent teens and young adults from sneaking around to have “fun” and further endanger their lives.

“We didn't always have a national "21" rule. When I was in college, in the mid-'60's, the drinking age varied from state to state. This posed its own risks, with underage students crossing state lines to get a legal drink.In the United States today a 14-year-old can be convicted of murder, but a 19-year-old can't buy a beer. In parts of the Western world, moderate drinking by teenagers and even children under their parents' supervision is a given. Though the per-capita consumption of alcohol in France, Spain and Portugal is higher than in the United States, the rate of alcoholism and alcohol abuse is lower. A glass of wine at dinner is normal practice. Kids learn to regard moderate drinking as an enjoyable family activity rather than as something they have to sneak away to do. Banning drinking by young people makes it a badge of adulthood - a tantalizing forbidden fruit,” Elizabeth Whelan, President of the American Council on Science and Health said in a recent online article.

The drinking age invites other problems besides car accidents and jail time. Fake ID’s are issued to many underage teens who say they can’t “get into most places and are stuck in the street.” Amber Johnson, 19, Central graduate, said she’s “had a fake ID since I was 17 and its always worked.” This defeats the purpose of a law that’s meant to protect. According to MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), the law is the only thing that will protect.
“The 1999 National Survey of Drinking and Driving Among Drivers Age 16 – 20 revealed that youth drove 11 million times after drinking in the past year. Their average blood alcohol level was .10 percent, three times the level of all drivers who drove after drinking. Forty percent of youth who drove after drinking had a least one passenger in the vehicle. Clearly young drivers are putting themselves at risk, but they are also putting others at risk. Society has an obligation to protect motorists from the risky behavior of underage drinkers. Society also has an obligation to protect kids from themselves,” MADD said on their website.

Even if the drinking age is dropped, college and high school students still run a high risk of accidents due to drinking and driving. Whelan and some parents of Seton Hill students (who asked to remain unnamed) believe that if students are educated on the importance of eating before drinking to absorb alcohol, choosing a designated driver, and learning their limits by drinking at home safely will help students to be more responsible when they go out. Some scientists disagree because of maturity levels
Robert Kirby, writer for the Salt Lake Tribune, had said that scientists once thought that the brain was fully developed when a person reached puberty, but it has now been discovered that the brain doesn’t actually develop fully until around 20-something. It has been learned that the prefrontal lobe of the brain is the last to develop and that doesn’t happen until around 20 years of age. The prefrontal lobe is the part of the brain responsible for self-control, judgments, and emotional regulation. It has also been found that alcohol does little or nothing to enhance brain activity and therefore is not beneficial and possibly harmful to drink alcohol before that time.

No matter what age, drinking should be taken responsibly. With all the knowledge and statistics, society should evaluate their risks, but also have the freedom to drink at 18. If someone is mature enough to vote for who runs the country and fight for their freedom during the war, being able to drink seems like a small luxury. Each person should be free to choose as well as have the right to decide not to drink without feeling pressured by peers. If laws change, the risk of crime and death could even lower if students and parents were educated on the matter.

Posted by ErinWaite at 11:35 PM | Comments (0)

Blogging Portfolio Part Deux

Coverage: I feel covered so much more this time and had fun doing it check out my Oct 11 newspaper blog and my Lunch Lady Land blog. I felt really inspired and wrote the most on them. Class discussions and Morgan Spurlock really got me going.

Depth: I went into depth the most on my first Oct 11th blog because I just turned 21 and it had so much relevance to me because I also attended school with Jimmy. I also touched on issues of Elements of Journalism in this entry.

Interactions: I got some great interactions with Elyse, the Katies, and Nancy when I commented on their blogs and we discussed everything from tabloids to the fast food industry and their entries helped me to get further in-depth with my own.

Discussions: The in-class discussion on Oct 12, when Mike Sichok brought up the fact that liberals are getting bashed and the “War on Terror” is mentioned to keep fear going and Bush looking good brought up a lot of feelings and I blogged about it right away. I also discussed tabloids with ChrisU, Katie Aikens, and Katie Lambert. Elyse and I discussed our feelings on the fact that relationships are the number one thing celeb mags target because that’s what we can relate to more than jetsetting. Check out my comments at blogs.setonhill.edu/ElyseBranam/ and blogs.setonhill.edu/KatieAikens/ . Also I posted a response to Oct 12 class discussion.

Timeliness: I was the first one to post a blog about Oct 11, because it had a lot of significance to me. I also made an effort to get all my blogs and comments done ahead of time instead of waiting till the night before, so I did a much better job than I did on my first portfolio.

Comment Primo: I was the first to comment on Katie, Nancy, and Elyse’s blogs.

Comment Grande: I feel very strongly about the fact that schools aren’t helpful with their lunch plans and commented a lot on Nancy’s blog and because I was so inspired, I did my Lunch Lady Land blog right after so that I could keep my thoughts rolling.

Reflection: I finally understand this blogging thing thanks to Stormy, Michelle Koss, and Meredith Benson, because even if I blog something Jessica Simpson would say, they still give me funny, intelligent feedback that sparks further ideas. I now understand what blogging is all about and I think you’ll see that more in this portf

Posted by ErinWaite at 09:43 PM | Comments (0)

Newspaper discussion oct 11

I completely agree with Mike Sichok that they are still using terrorist strategies daily to keep someone looking at Bush as a hero. They should focus on something positive he's done besides wage war if the authors want to really use their "slant." More people in PA voted for Kerry I thought, but I could be wrong cuz like Katie Aikens said, I really don't know much about politics, but through listening to classmates and reading the newspaper, I'm forming some more biased ideas. I found the idea of finding some mutual ground on the abortion issue would be helpful instead of marching around with bumper stickers and signs, but what do i know? I also found the article on Halloween costumes amusing because they said that the sales in pope and boxer costumes have gone up. I suppose that's much better than teletubbie and tacky playboy costumes. The paper has at least become more relevant to me, thanks to this class.

Posted by ErinWaite at 09:10 PM | Comments (0)

October 11, 2005

a retraction on some man tantrums comments

a certain man in my life, who has now thankfully become a little more "caveman" for me has asked that I retract my statement on the fact that men fake sensitvity all the time and always run away from fights and commitment. I didn't at first but I found a guy who's not a quitter or middle-aged guy trying to mack on college chicks for once, so I owe him this much. My new breed guy dodged a plate I threw at him the other night and even got in my face about it then cuddled up and said the magic words within an hour because i learned that even heavyweight fights need time-outs and women do tend to hit below the belt more often. I'm just glad I have one who can dish it back for once, now that I've forced him to. It's hard to fight with an opponent that's exactly like you. At least that makes victory a little sweeter. And honey, if youre reading this, you are the one who knows how to drag me to the cave. who else would follow me around barnes and noble for 2 hours even while i ignored him? (until I had the guts to look in those Thai eyes,i was yours, TKO). I admire persistence. you chased me around the ring from day one, so i just have to learn to let you win once in awhile. so there, i'm sorry and i won't say it again, you know that, "Mr. Sensitive."

Posted by ErinWaite at 11:11 PM | Comments (1)

Homecoming Carnival

I enjoyed the carnival and it was fun to see that some of the parents were having more fun than the kids. For the first time, everyone was invited to this event so it made homecoming more family oriented than just a traditional football thing. Even those who aren't into sports had fun and I liked the fact that there wasn't a homecoming king or queen. This made it more about the college as a whole and not just a popularity contest. I admire that about Seton Hill. The people here are so intelligent and down-to-earth. It is much less prejudiced or focused on partying than other colleges I've visited and attended. That's just what I've seen so far, but on the other hand, I've had alumni that beg to differ. I just wanted to say that this is my first year and besides the terrible parking situation and $25 dollar fee for lost id's, I'm really learning and enjoying myself for once. Homecoming was just the icing on the cake.

Posted by ErinWaite at 10:53 PM | Comments (0)

Oct 11 newspaper

I read the paper today not just because we had to, but because I usually check out the comics and being superstitious and blonde, I have to read my horoscope usually. What drew me to it today, was not my typical reasoning. The night before I'd been celebrating my 21st for the third day in a row with my family and boyfriend, when a girl I knew from school told me about the death of one of my high school classmates. I'm aware this happens, sadly, to almost every school district, but it really hit me because I looked for him in the paper today and sure enough, Jimmy was on the front page. It wasn't a car accident, which three other of my classmates died of, but it said that he was out celebrating his friend's 21st birthdays and he'd left a pizza place saying he had to go to the bathroom and wound up at the bottom of a river. I know several other people that are turning 21 around this time and as contrived as it is to say I'm just glad I'm still alive. It also made me ashamed of myself, because it has taken me many car accidents and fights with my boyfriend (who works at the county prison) for me to understand I needed to slow down on my drinking. It makes me sad to think that many people my age have to push themselves to the limit or lose a classmate to realize this and sometimes I almost feel guilty for celebrating so much when my boyfriend sees people die in jail or battle their addictions without therapy and go through withdrawal cold turkey. I'm glad he does lecture me on this because I had a few drinks and a d.d. on my 21st and made it home without being sick or with police. I noticed Jimmy's family and friends declined to comment and I don't blame them, because when classmates had died in the past the students were literally chased by reporters accosted everyone as we watched our classmates being lowered into the ground. Thankfully, this journalist had conscience. When Jimmy's father had mentioned the beauty of the view, even thought that river is where is son died, I admired him so much for his strength and heart. I believe the reporter was touched and since this was the last comment, it really hit home. I hope that journalists keep using their consciences when it comes to deaths of these young people because families and friends suffer enough when they hear these gruesome tales retold and they don't need slapped in the face with constant q & a, but I think the writer handled this one a little better. Rest in Peace, Jimmy. Everyone loves you and is missing you.

Posted by ErinWaite at 10:31 PM | Comments (2)

More comments on Ch. 6-8

I think letters to the editor and editorials help "give a voice" to the common person and I've seen some amazing ones during the Bush/Kerry voting frenzy. I don't know much about politics like Katie Aikens said in her blog. By the way, Lou, I took your lib/conservative quiz and it described me perfectly. I'm very liberal when it comes to laws and enviromental issues, but when it comes to crime and punishment, I surprised myself by being very conservative. Your blogs are always relevant. Speaking of relevance, I find it hard to always make my articles within this principal because usually whatever is on my mind for the day sometimes takes over my writing. A journalist using their conscience can help with relevance I believe. If you know it will offend someone or you are too passionate about the topic,it is best to stay away from it. Proportionality is vital and Nancy Gregg demonstrates this by using Spurlock's comments and McDonald's.

Posted by ErinWaite at 10:19 PM | Comments (0)

Lunch Lady Land

After attending the Morgan Spurlock lecture, I felt he really hit home with his comments on the fact that schools don't push for healthy lunches. When I was in high school, lunch ladies actually charged us extra money if we refused fries with our lunch (can you imagine fries with Pizza, spaghetti,tacos, tuna surprise, EVERY DAMNED DAY?). When I asked one of them why, she said, "Fries are a potato, potatoes are vegetables, and you need veggies. The green jello is your fruit. You are required to eat them or I'll have to charge you an extra dollar." If she would've told me she'd charge me extra if I didn't get asparagas or broccoli, maybe I would've went along with it. Shit, I might've even eaten it. We had free cookie days every other day and I remember salads cost extra. Pizza Hut was extra too though. We should've had the brain power by senior year to make the right decisions, but it was hard when the apples were generally rotten and the salads were old. Nancy Gregg also explained that schools and restaurants do attempt to correct these problems, but like Morgan said, "If Oreos cost $50," it would be easier to eat healthy. My mother and I discovered that at Aldi's the produce is very cheap despite the setting and some of the mentally disturbed, half-naked customers we've witnessed there. Many people like to say that they don't have time to shop around, but when it comes to being healthy or wasting time talking on your cell phone bitching to your friends about your lack of time, do something like walk or perhaps actually look for something cheap and healthy. That's the message I got out of the lecture. Lunch Ladies are people to and I wasn't mocking them by the way. Many of my friends mothers do this, mine just ended up taking care of old people that yell at her for going to the bathroom, I think she as a LPN, should've joined the ranks of lunch ladies. She knows fries don't count as a veggie;)

Posted by ErinWaite at 10:03 PM | Comments (0)

Ch. 6-8 Elements of Journalism

"Journalism's first obligation is to the truth." The last: "Its practitioners must be allowed to exercise their personal conscience." In between come issues of loyalty, verification, independence, and power monitoring, among others. I beleive truth is so important, because alhough it might not always sell, it makes people feel safer knowing that perhaps they could make an informed choice about an issue just by picking up a magazine. Because some journalists don't use their consciences, we can't get off that easily. There are some positive effects of tabloids, I do feel. First of all, they are entertaining. Secondly, they allow people to make their own judgements and maybe even think, "wow, I hope i am not that stupid" or "i won't EVER do that." I admire Nancy Gregg for really following the Elements of Journalism. She was fair and used her conscience when it came to approaching McDonald's. She also got what she wanted by offering to simply use Morgan's comments.

Posted by ErinWaite at 09:54 PM | Comments (1)

Elements of Journalism Ch. 9-10

I found this chapter very relevant because some journalists are willing to do "a strip tease" to sell more copies of a magazine. Elyse's blog inspired me because it is the same people on the cover over and over again. I noticed the mags that sell the most are the ones that deal with relationships and kids. Brad and Angelina, having kids, getting married, Jessica Simpson, divorcing? I think these sell because relationships are one of the only things that non-jet-setting, small-dog-toting people can relate to. I can relate to relationship drama more than i can to being chased by the paparazzi or buying my dog Louis Vuitton raincoats. It is important to speak the truth and have balance, but I know that if celebrity magazines did this, many may not sell. any thoughts?

Posted by ErinWaite at 09:44 PM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2005

I taste a liquor never brewed

"Inebriate of air am I,
And debauchee of dew,
Reeling, through endless summer days,
From inns of molten blue."
This is so vivid to me and reminds me of summer and freedom. I just turned 21 yesterday and still have that feeling of debauchery myself, yet I know she is talking something that has nothing to do with being drunk, unless its being drunk on perhaps, passion?

Posted by ErinWaite at 08:54 AM | Comments (5)


"Choose one;
Then close the valves of her attention
Like stone."
Agenda Item: This intrigues me because it seems as though she is a person who focuses all of her passions into one thing and neglects what society things and i've always admired people who do so.

Posted by ErinWaite at 08:51 AM | Comments (0)


"There is a two-fold Silence — sea and shore —
Body and soul." I love this line because it depicts that silence has two meanings for a person. Your body or you alone may appear to be silent but sometimes your soul is full of worries, anger, and can be very loud. Other times, those who are always noisy and talking have the least to say and aren't very smart. A silent soul usually means you are at peace with yourself. Sometimes people are noisy just to distract themselves from a silence that frightens them.

Posted by ErinWaite at 08:36 AM | Comments (0)


"And this ray is a fairy ray —
Did you not say so, Isabel?
How fantastically it fell
With a spiral twist and a swell,
And over the wet grass rippled away
With a tinkling like a bell!"
I chose this because it is the most light-hearted of Poe's works I've read and I love these lines because the bell part reminds me almost of Tinkerbell. It sounds like he almost set a standard for what fairies should really be like. It had a dream-like the quality that intrigued me and for once Poe found a woman that made him seem happy instead of morbid.

Posted by ErinWaite at 08:32 AM | Comments (1)

The Raven

" She shall press, ah nevermore!
Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Angels whose faint foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
"Wretch," I cried, "thy God hath lent thee -- by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite -- respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore;"

Did the raven say she shall press or is this what the narrator is finally realizing? He is coming to terms with Lenore's death and it seems that this bird is taunting him, not with just a learned voice, but a voice that is demon-like to him. I love the morbid feel to this and all of Poe's writing.

Posted by ErinWaite at 08:19 AM | Comments (0)

October 06, 2005

Walden ch. 13 and 18, I was wrong about the cynical bastard! Please read.

I blogged about my gut reaction, which being an avid reader who devours books like potato chips, I got so excited by his emotional outburst, that I had to comment without first reading the whole assignment.

At length the winter set in good earnest, just as I had finished plastering, and the wind began to howl around the house as if it had not had permission to do so till then. Night after night the geese came lumbering in the dark with a clangor and a whistling of wings, even after the ground was covered with snow, some to alight in Walden, and some flying low over the woods toward Fair Haven, bound for Mexico. Several times, when returning from the village at ten or eleven o'clock at night, I heard the tread of a flock of geese, or else ducks, on the dry leaves in the woods by a pond-hole behind my dwelling, where they had come up to feed, and the faint honk or quack of their leader as they hurried off. In 1845 Walden froze entirely over for the first time on the night of the 22d of December, Flint's and other shallower ponds and the river having been frozen ten days or more; in '46, the 16th; in '49, about the 31st; and in '50, about the 27th of December; in '52, the 5th of January; in '53, the 31st of December. The snow had already covered the ground since the 25th of November, and surrounded me suddenly with the scenery of winter. I withdrew yet farther into my shell, and endeavored to keep a bright fire both within my house and within my breast. My employment out of doors now was to collect the dead wood in the forest, bringing it in my hands or on my shoulders, or sometimes trailing a dead pine tree under each arm to my shed. An old forest fence which had seen its best days was a great haul for me. I sacrificed it to Vulcan, for it was past serving the god Terminus.(12) How much more interesting an event is that man's supper who has just been forth in the snow to hunt, nay, you might say, steal, the fuel to cook it with! His bread and meat are sweet.
I love this passage because I saw geese flying in a V yesterday and this caught my eye. Notice he makes note of each date the pond has frozen because he is so relaxed and observant because for once in his life he has time to observe it. His hard laboring of woodcutting, hunting, and hauling it back for his survival makes his food taste all that much better because he's worked so hard for it. I can relate because whenever I spend a day at my boyfriend's parents' farm, his mother and I lunge the horses and cook from scratch. We walk so far between visiting the guys,(who bale hay until they're sunburned and covered in hives) and the house that we are eat our homemade meal proudly and fall asleep around 9. His parents are always happy and I think its because they work so hard doing the toughest farm chores that eating lemonade pie and playing scrabble is a good, easy day. I no longer see Hawthorne as a cynical bastard because his happiness is from the best things in life.

Posted by ErinWaite at 10:51 PM | Comments (0)

morgan spurlock lecture

i thought he was amazing. i never realized there were thousands of parts in one greasy burger. did anyone meet with him? i loved his viking talk and the ronald mcdonald impressions. i had alot of questions, i wish there had been more q&a time.

Posted by ErinWaite at 09:32 PM | Comments (0)

October 05, 2005

Walden Agenda and Essay 1

Agenda Item:"The finest qualities of our nature, like the bloom on fruits, can be preserved only by the most delicate handling. Yet we do not treat ourselves nor one another thus tenderly."
I find this quote to be true because people tend to do better when they are praised and motivational speakers like norman peale have even written books on postive thinking that relate to following the golden rule.He talks all about Jesus' preachings on preserving your soul then takes a very negative turn and says:
" It is very evident what mean and sneaking lives many of you live, for my sight has been whetted by experience; always on the limits, trying to get into business and trying to get out of debt, a very ancient slough, called by the Latins aes alienum, another's brass, for some of their coins were made of brass; still living, and dying, and buried by this other's brass; always promising to pay, promising to pay" as though no one has morals and we all simply thrive off of others like vultures. Is this simply to explain to us why he's fleeing to Walden's pond? Will he get use the skills of getting the 4 necessities that he already has and gain spiritual growth as he intends?

Thoreau: A cynical bastard, or is he on to something? “Who shall say what prospect life offers to another? Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other's eyes for an instant? We should live in all the ages of the world in an hour; ay, in all the worlds of the ages.”
Thoreau seems to be trying to tell us that if we stay imprisoned within our own minds, it is impossible to get a full picture of all opportunities, opinions, and pleasures that the world has to offer. If no one ever communicated through written word or even if cavemen hadn’t drawn on their walls, we wouldn’t have documented history. If we didn’t have history, teachers wouldn’t have jobs and the world would seem very narrow.
Besides written word, speaking is also vital. If people couldn’t even make guttural cries, many of our population would’ve died when the dinosaurs came. What I find most fascinating about Walden is that Thoreau wants us to “get off of our high horse” and take a look at the world through someone else’s eyes. This is an old cliché and many still feel its important. If we lived in all the ages, he explains, we would have a better understanding of mythology (thanks, Greece), philosophy (thanks again Greece), and how to really survive on our own. With the Internet, Sheetz, and Wal-Mart we are the fattest, most spoiled, and not to mention a dense, (c’mon we have a President who waved at the blind Stevie Wonder) country in the world. I’m greatful for this, but Thoreau has a point, if we all went back in time or at least got to spend time without our luxuries, we would learn to be self-sufficient in getting Thoreau’s version of our 4 basic needs and become more kind-hearted. I hope Thoreau’s own quest for spiritual growth works because he is one “cynical bastard(which is one of my favorite Jerz’s dirty words although he wasn’t talking about Thoreau at the time).” It’s still only the beginning, the woods will make him a tree-hugger perhaps, or at least a little more relaxed.

Posted by ErinWaite at 03:20 AM | Comments (4)