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February 2005 Archives

February 3, 2005

The Machine Stops

The Machine by E.M. Forster is a story that I didn't understand entirely the first time that I read it over, and thats partly because of the manner in which it was told. We are only given a few bits of exposition and then a jump right into the mechanistic world of the future. I wasn't sure quite how to take it all in. It wasn't like it was the first time I had read a sci-fi/future story. (Dr.Wendland Popular Fiction) But for some reason I just didn't like this variation of the genre. I tend to be more enthralled by CyberPunk like Johnny Pneumonic.

Initially I thought that the idea of an air-shp was reffering to a blimp but apparently it was a type of air plane that came up from under the earth's surface. (Go Figure) The language in these types of stories is always so unique as well with examples such as 'Pneumatic Post.' The idea that 'the beds were of the same dimension all over the world' indicates that unity and conformity are valued in this society more so than any type of individuality. There is a concept of suffiecency that is brought about...it suggests that if you have good enough of a solution then there is no need to strive for/pursue a better one.

In the story, art becomes representative of what is real in the world. The only hunger of Vashti is for music. She lives for the machine and music. Because the machine is viewed as a God to these people, when it stops working that is representative of the crucifiction of Jesus Christ. Another allusion to Christianity is the Machine's manual or book. It is signifigant in the sense that it is like the Bible for these people. The idea was also brought up that Isolation equalled a loss of transcendent values. To those that did not conform to the ways of the machine, they were viewed as having become un-mechanical and in the same regard un-Christian/immoral.

The Machine Stops ASN.

Other important ideas:

February 7, 2005

Jerz & Spears...the hidden hatred

Well the time has come for someone to post about the Jerz and Britney feud that has been brewing in the EL150 classroom for the past two classes. In class last week we were talking about music and its expression in the time when there were no recording devices and the only way for people to have a musical experience was to see a live show. Somehow Jerz referred to Spears as a no talent singer that is quote "Known for other things like stirring up the tabloids and her dancing. She is known as a great performer rather than a great singer." (the class laughs very hard and Jerz replies) "Well it's true. It's true!"

I just don't know what it is about Jerz and Britney. Maybe he is the president of her fan club and he has to donwplay their connection in class because it just would get weird if we knew he loved her like we all do. I mean come on people the world wants to know. Get out there an investigate this mystery. In reference to Moira's comment about Jerz being Spears...well maybe thats why he grew the beard..to throw us all off. Someone was getting too close to the truth.

DISCLAIMER: Dr.Jerz, we (bloggers) are just having a little fun with you. Please don't take any offense to the comments made on this blog entry. You know we love you.

February 9, 2005

Million Dollar Tears...

Last week I went to the movies right here in Greensburg with my friend Jaynelle and we saw the new Clint Eastwood movie Million Dollar Baby. Wow! I don't know if I can express how much I enjoyed this movie. First off, the trailer was completely different from what the movie was actually about and I loved that. Unlike most movie trailers today the plot was not given away in the preview. In the trailer we see a stern old boxing coach in Eastwood and an eager boxing prodigy in Hillary Swank that seems to be a great story of an underdog. In actuality it's not just a movie about boxing at all. The boxing is only a sub plot that lingers in the background after a paralyzing blow is dealt to Swank.

I have to admit that I cried for about a total of 30 minutes out of the almost three hour long movie. It wasn't just when all the horribly bloody boxing was taking place or when Swank was killed by Eastwood. I cried at the touching scenes between Eastwood and his pseudo daughter Swank. Their relationship really hit home with me especially because of the enviroment in which it was developing. I have to say that my expectations for this movie were exceeded. I also have to say that it was nice to see it with someone that could appreciate it as well.
Million Dollar Links
Official Movie Site
Movie Trailer

Various Poems #1

1.Emily Dickinson "Because I Could Not Stop for Death
-Dickinson tends to make a lot of references to nature and things around her that will go on living even after her own life has stopped. She also seems to write a lot about death and ponders her own demise. In this particular poem death has come to get her and she is passing/riding down the path of her memories and childhood as she travels in a carriage to meet her maker. Dickinson uses aliteration in the lines, "Horses Heads," "Dews drew," "Gazing grain," and "Setting sun." And according to the singing talents of Dr.Jerz, any Emily Dickinson poem can be sang to the tune of "The Yellow Rose of Texas."

2.William Carlos Williams "Just To Say"
This poem was so funny to me. I read the "Red Wheel Barrow" last year and I knew that there is always a deeper meaning to something so simple (symbolism). Williams writes very complex and symbolic prose that can really make you think. At first I thought of the ice box as being a place where you would store something you didn't want to get messed up or spoiled. (Because its basically a primitive version of the refregirator.) So I initially thought of the story as being about a man and a woman, and the man stole the women's virginity. It was also suggested that this poem could be viewed as a reverse version of the Adam and Eve scenario.

I know this sounds weird but let me explain. The plums being represented as her actual virginity, then the line "you may have been saving them for breakfast" also made me think that he took from her too soon...when she had other purposes or intended recipients of the plums/virginity. In class I did not bring this point up for fear that it was no on target at all. Who knows? It may not be, but its a loose an rather obscure interpretation. Jerz mentioned a possible link between domestic plain ordinary things and symbolism.

3.Gerald Manely Hopkin's "God's Grandeur"
This poeam basically says that God has been scarred by the world's commercial interest in things and he no longer has the same jurisdiction/power. The point is raised that as we go on living our lives, nature does its own thing and the theme nature is bigger than us is brought about.

4.T.S. Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"
I don't know what to say about this one. I hated reading it because it was so long. In my mind poetry is supposed to be a short look at something using literature/prose. This was telling a man's story. It was written in a monologue format. Rhyme plays a large role in this poem as well. There is some repetition. The man that the poem refers to is obviuosly miserable with his hum drum life that consists of attending morose tea parties because he feels as if he can do nothing else. His life has become empty and without meaning or purpose.

Ps: Dr. Jerz is a really good singer. PLEASE ask him about 'The Yellow Rose of Texas'

Various Poems ASN.

February 10, 2005

Million Dollar Brawl...

milliondollarbabypubd.jpgWell if you've been following the comments on my blog you can see that there has been much debate and discussion about the origins of the movie 'Million Dollar Baby' and its storyline. What was it really all about originally? Was it based in truth? These questions remained heavy on my mind as the discussion continued. Myself, Lou Gagliardi, and Jaynelle Stevens have been the main ones discussing it. The original post was to state how much I enjoyed the movie and that I suggested that if you were a fan of Swank, Eastwood or boxing you see this movie. Anyway, it spiraled into a war of the words so I decided to do a little research about it.

Here is what I found:
Amazon.com description/editorial of the book 'Million Dollar Baby: Stories From The Corner' by: F.X. Toole
Yahoo.com Movie Review/Synopsis of Million Dollar Baby

February 14, 2005

Sonnet 18 & Sonnet 116

Sonnet 18:
In the first line of this sonnet Shakespeare opens with his main point of the poem which is the comparrison of a woman (or someone he is infatuated with) to a summer's day. "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day" The second line acts as a justification for this statement and elaborates by showing us how she is like a summer's day. "Thou art more..."(You are more lovely and temperate.) In regard to rhyme scheme the first and thrid line rhymes of the poem are not re-used. The pattern in this sonnet is as follows: ABABCDCDEFEFGG.

Notice that the last two lines of the poem do not alternate rhymes and both end in the "ee" sound. "See, thee." This is very signifigant and is identifed as a rhyme couplet. These lines also do not illustrate or support a new idea like all those previously did. Shakespeare uses a lot of imagery in the poem as well, "changing course untrimm'd" refferences sailing and "hot the eye of heaven shines" signifies the sun. A very interesting thing about this sonnet occurs in the break of the last two lines. "So long as man can breathe or eyes can see" "So long lives this and this..." and these lines reveal that even after the poem's subject (the woman) is dead the poem (this and this) will keep her memory and their (Shakespeare and her) love alive.

Sonnet 116:
The rhyme scheme of thie particular sonnet was the same as sonnet 18 and stayed consistent with Shakespeare's patterns of writing poetry and the italian formatted sonnet. I noticed that in line three and four there is repetition of the same word but in a different form. "alters when it alteration finds" and "remover to remove." I suppose this is done for emphasis. (?) AS in sonnet 18, the last two lines of the poem are used to drive home a centralized theme or message. In sonnet 116, "If this be error and upon my proved" "I never writ nor no man ever loved" are the ending lines of the poem. This means that if he is proven wrong in his love than he never wrote about or loved at all.

Sonnet 18

Sonnet 116

Sonnet ASN 1
Sonnet ASN 2

February 15, 2005

Donne's: Death Be Not Proud

"Death Be Not Proud" is another type of sonnet written by John Donne that varies signifigantly from those of Shakespeare. Firstly it is not one of love and romance though I guess it can be said that Donne is romatisizing the idea of death. It consists of 14 lines that follow an unusual rhyme scheme of ABBAABBACDBCEE. Also similarly the Donne sonnet and the Shakespeare sonnet each end with the same rhyme (EE). Donne appears to be mocking death in his writing as he compares death to sleeping and resting. These are each two things that give us pleasure and this is an unusual comparrison.

Many people fear death and percieve it to be horrific and painful but Donne wants to convey the message that it is a time of peace/relaxation (no longer vexed by the worlds problems) as is sleeping. He emphasizes that we should not fear it (death) but rather embrace it, for it is inevitable. Donne also refers to the fact that often times 'our best men with thee do go" which is about soliders and war heroes. Something very interesting that I noticed was that Donne tended to personify death as if it were a person instead of a state of being or and event. He used language like "And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then?" Only death as a human or actual person has the ability to swell.

Death Be Not Proud
Death Be Not Proud ASN.

The Sonnet in the Twentieth Century

I was intrigued by the fact that over the years the general format for a sonnet has remained the same. Ususally you see either an evolution or a de-evolution in the structure of such literary forms to the point where they become more complex or too simple. A small shift in the sonnet format came in the implementation of closed verse rather than open. The Edna St. Vincent Millay sonnet "XV" followed a very unique rhyme scheme: ABBAABBACDCDEF.

It varied slightly through out and embraced modern themes (jazz, cigarettes) It otherwise follows the italian standard sonent. I never knew that nearly 1/4 of E.E Cummings's work was poetry. The lines of these sonnets run together and make it seem crammed. There is also a lot of alieration. 'selves sing sweetly' which at times can be overwhelming. Apparently this is done to make the line seem new and refreshed like spring. Today in class we talked a little bit about the meter and rhythm of a sonnet and I am still a bit weary about writing my own in the coming weeks.

The trochee was a word that I had heard before but I definately didn't remember it when Jerz was lecturing. The thing about sonnets is that they can be about anything, not just lovey dovey stuff. They can be about love, loss, death, life and even the seasons. A sonnet defined: A 14-line verse form usually having one of several conventional rhyme schemes.

Tips: How to write a sonnet?
The Sonnet in the Twentieth Century by Anthony Robinson.

Love, Life and Death in Colderidge's "The Raven"

In this essay/reflection on "The Raven," Hacova discusses the theme of life and death which is prevalent in many of Colderidge's works. There is a lot of talk about symbolism in this poem and Hacova discusses that in the article. The raven itself is used as a tool of revenge which I thought was some what fitting in the regard that they seem to be dark looming creatures. I also noticed that there appeared to be some similiarites between Poe's "The Raven" and Colderidge's poem.

The raven stands as a symbol of knowledge for many people. "Visually, no differentiation is made between the symbols of a raven, a rook or a crow. The symbol of the crow signifies that the bearer is someone who is watchful and vigilant for friends. The cornish chough is a bird that has been called the "King of Crows." It may indicate that the bearer is crafty and strategic, to the disadvantage of his enemies."

Love, Life and Death in Colderidge's "The Raven" by Pavlina Hacova.
Creepy Revenge Raven ASN.

February 16, 2005

SHU Sonnet

A Parody of William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 15:

I have begun to watch closely as Seton Hill grows,
Buildings shoot up to the sky in many a moment,
As the stage of the athletic complex does show,
Whereon athletes give all their greatest commitment,

As I observe the nuns walking happily about,
From Caritas Christi back to main Admin,
Wonder if they are plagued by gout,

They simply continue with those cherubic grins,
Breakfast, lunch and dinner need not improve,
The fried ravioli tastes so delightful,

You’ll be so full you cannot move,
The SHU shuttle driver seems very spiteful,

Because I love this school… even to blog,
It doesn’t bother me that much when the Brownlee toilets clog.

-Leslie Rodriguez 2005

Sonnet Parody ASN.

February 21, 2005

Blank Verse Sonnet


You have a smile like no other one
It makes the earth move round the burning sun
The words from your mouth are always pleasent
Lucky I am to have been given such a present

When you slouch there and smirk with much delight
Magic errupts into the dark summer's night
We indulge in one or two for fun and more
Those are the nights that can never bore

I feel a way the can't be described yet
You are special and thats without regret

Leslie Rodriguez 2005

Blank Verse ASN.

The Tempest Act I,II

Act I:
One of the first things that I noticed about The Tempest was its incorporation of magic. Prospero does a lot of magic in order to control things in his life and have them go his way. This says a lot about human nature of people and the desperate measures they will goto in order to achieve what they see as a goal. I found that I needed to look up the meaning of Tempest in the context of the story. I found that in the play it is defined as: Furious agitation, commotion, or tumult; an uproar: “The tempest in my mind/Doth from my senses take all feeling” (Shakespeare). The play opens with the natural disaster in the form of a spectacular storm. I thought overall it was kind of weird how the story began in the middle, long after the exile of Prospero had begun and we travel back in some exposition but then jump forward once again.

Act II:
Shipwrecked mariners look around the island where Prospero resides, and they describe it. We really begin to see the magical aspects of the island. The aggressive behavior of Antonio and Sebastian makes Prospero act very defensively. It also puts Alonso in a sympathetic position. He is a potential victim of the duo’s treachery as well.

Acts I, II ASN.

The Tempest Acts III,IV,V

General Response:
Overall I liked The Tempest because it was a nice mixture between a comedy and a romance but I felt that the ending was a bit anti-climactic. Prospero just went back to Milan and likely attended the wedding of Ferdinand and Miranda. I belive it was put best in class by Ashley, "I wanted a fight scene at the end or something of that nature." (forgive me I'm paraphrasing) There is a very unusual epilogue at the end of Act V in which Prospero pleads with the audience for some type of forgiveness. Some interpret this as Shakespeare's goodbye to the theatre. It was rumored that he acted in several of his own plays and perhaps portrayed Prospero in The Tempest. Therefore it would make sense for him to use this stage as a platform to say his farewell.

Act III:
I thought it was really out of the character/implausible for Miranda to ask Ferdinand to marry her. “I am your wife, if you will marry me; / If not, I’ll die your maid." she basically tells him she will be his wife. For some reason there is a weird lingering theme that Prospero is somehow in charge of Miranda not only because she is his daughter. He is sad to see her leave him and grow up and for this reason he may seem overbearing at times.

Act IV:
The wedding of Ferdinand and Miranda is in the works by now. They are visited by three spirits which Prospero scares away when he remembers there is a plan to kill him by Caliban. Overall this act continues to show the innocense of Miranda. An innocense that she is about to lose to Prospero. Its funny how as a father losing his daughter to another man, Prospero begins to reflect on his own life including his age. Marriage seems to be emphasized in this act as well by the spirits and Ferdinand/Miranda.

Act V:
This act really shows how Prospero has begun to change when he lets the prisoners go. Later Prospero promises to grant freedom to his servant and sends him to help the wrecked boats and their crew. He also decided that he is going to relinquish his magic which is another characteristic that makes him dynamic rather than static.


February 22, 2005

EBSCO Shakespeare Catholicism Article

This academic article regarding Shakespeare and the evidence of Catholicism in his writings was one that I really enjoyed reading. (and that is a rarity) I usually don't like to read these over analyzed reflections on the text that we are reading but because of my interest in Shakespeare I seemed to relate to this topic. There is always something new to be found in his works of literature that hasn't necesarily been discussed before.

One of the first things I needed to look up when reading this article was the use of the word papist. Shakespeare was referred to as having been a papist when he died. The use of papist as a noun is as a disparaging term for a Roman Catholic. This form of the noun used to describe Shakespeare was as a Roman Catholic who is a strong advocate of the papacy. Papacy being: 1)The office and jurisdiction of a pope. 2)The period of time during which a pope is in office. 3) A succession or line of popes: the Medici papacy. 4)Papacy Roman Catholic Church. 5)The system of church government headed by the pope.

The article, written by David Beauregard suggests that Shakespeare was indeed a Roman Catholic. It has recently been argued that Willy was a RC but only in parts of his life. He did not take communion at the Church of England which lends more support to the claim. There is a lot of historical speculation surrounding Shakespeare's Catholic beliefs that can not whole heartedly be viewed as fact because of poor record keeping. The author argues that (in The Tempest) "Prospero's epilogue, contains a peculiar series of references to sin, grace and pardon that are the expressions of a sensibility rooted in Roman Catholic doctrine." This is an interpretation but that does not mean it loses any validity.

The particular references to 'pardon' through out the play can be interpreted as the giving of indulgences by the Pope. Indulgences being used for the remission of temporal punishment still due for a sin that has been sacramentally absolved. Specifically during the 16-17/18th centuries. In the end its really very hard to conclude the real meaning behind Prospero's epilogue in the Tempest. There is merit for the argument that it is a farewell to the stage by Shakespeare as well as an allusion to Catholicism. The thing that makes you wonder is the credibility of each claim. I personally think about the story content of Willy's plays when trying to draw any conclussions. There is a lot of mention of women in the 'Original Sin' role. There are also many lines that can be interpretted as references to the Bible rather than specifically Catholicism.

The question remains, are we reading too much into this? Maybe Shakespeare wanted this to be a thought provoking debate and in the end he meant for it to be left up to ones own interpretation. It could be both things but I feel more strongly in saying that we can't say for sure.

Prospero's epilogue in The Tempest ASN.
'New Light on Shakespeare'

February 25, 2005

Shakespeare--"For all time?"

Paul Cantor's essay discusses the criticism in the teaching of Shakespeare and many of the themes/issues that are incorporated in his works. The contemporary teachings of Shakespeare are scrutinized in this article as being sometimes radical as they are taught by "radical" professors. This has a lot to do with the idea of teaching opinions rather than fact. There is no doubt going to be a skewed view presented about an issue if it is taught by a certain type of person. Ideally a professor or teacher should present an unbiased view but this simply isn't the case.

New Historicism is one of the most important issues brought about in this essay. Old historicism insisted that 'Shakespeare' dealt only with the Elizabethan Age where as New Historicism can incorporate new political topics. The play that Cantor discussed in depth was The Tempest (no surprise there). Shakespeare's plays reflect race,gender and class which are contemporary issues. It was interesting to see that Cantor stated that "Shakespeare becomes a powerful symbol for all that is wrong with our culture."

They say that art imitates life, and that can be very true. Marxism is mentioned briefly but I didn't necesarily understand its link to Shakespeare. There were limitations placed on women in Shakespeare's times that are often seen in his plays but yet there is the introduction of characters like Lady Macbeth, Miranda and Juliet (all of which are strong independent women).

Shakespeare For All Time ASN.

Rewriting of Shakespeare's The Tempest

I was very surprised at how many different versions of The Tempest that there are out in the world. The article began with a brief history of the play that actually suggested maybe Shakespeare didn't really write it. He came up with the original idea but much later someone else added puncuation and broke the play down into acts and then scenes. I guess we will never really know but this information makes you think. Each version of the play I read about had a similar main plot/premis, but they all presented different interpretations of the story. I specifically remember a mention of women as being "dimmed and muted" in the story and this claim held very true. There is also the suggestion that Prospero is actually the father of Caliban rather than just his master.

One thing that is mentioned in this article that I picked up on while reading the play is the theme of servitude or servant/master. Prospero is in a sense a servant to the people as well as his personal economic developement. Deconstructionism is present in this idea. There is no doubt an allegory relating The Tempest to "class conflict and social subordination." Although Caliban is not a person (he is a 1/2 man 1/2 monster), we can still see evidence that he is treated like a slave. In general there is a lot of context regarding leadership roles.

In class we spoke of the Intentional Falocy...a non deliberate lie, a mistake made when trying to understand/interpret a text, in this case the words of Shakespeare. It's a mistake made by critics that read and ask the question, "I wonder what he meant by this passage?" There is no way to apply present day idealogy to works written so long ago. We also mentioned seeing Prospero as a Scientist in the regard that magic and science were once so closely linked and he was the one to call upon the Masque.

Dabydeen's "Samaroo's Tempus Est. ASN."

February 26, 2005

Music for the heart...

This is the first non-academic entry that I have had the pleasure of writing in a long time. The other day I was sitting around in my room (thats a first) and I was listening to some of the songs on this mixed CD that I hadn't heard in a while. I'm pretty sure it was from like the 9th-10th grade era when I started to really like mellow folky music like Nina Gordon, Sheryl Crow, Juliana Hatfield, and Jill Sobule. But then there was like this early 90's fem-rock on there as well. Bands like Veruca Salt and Letter's to Cleo. Don't worry there is a point to all this rambling. I wanted to expose my little blogging friends to a song that meant a lot to me and still does. It happens to be one that really touches me and its by Letters To Cleo.

Co-Pilot-Letter's To Cleo (Selected Verses)
Everybody says that you`re no good I don`t pay attention though
It doesn`t matter though I know it should I don`t pay attention
It`s true so much for them who cares about my friends
Be my co-pilot come be in my dream you looked so beautiful there
Everybody tries so hard to bring me down I don`t pay attention though
It doesn`t matter I can hardly hear a sound
Because number one I`m good with you the way you look at me is number two so what else could I do?
Be my co-pilot come be in my dream you looked so beautiful there
I feel like I could foat away so what`s the use when it never ends
You`re singular it`s true so much for them who cares about my friends
Be my co-pilot come be in my dream you looked so beautiful there just like the part of you that makes a part of me seem to take a ride co-polot
Shimmer on in my dreams

My List of Favorites from the 9-10th grade era:
Meredith Brooks, Nina Gordon, Sheryl Crow
Jill Sobule, Juliana Hatfield
Beth Hart, Sinead O'Connor
Veruca Salt, Letters to Cleo
Sarah McLachlan

February 28, 2005

Napoleon Jerzamite...

Well I'm sure by now many of us have had the pleasure of seeing the movie "Napoleon Dynamite." It has quickly grown and turned into a college cult classic. I first viewed the film over the Christmas break when I went home. When I returned to SHU in January, everyone was talking about Napoleon and his crazy antics. The reason I am having this sudden outburst of Napoleonism is because today in my EL150 class (Intro. to Lit Study) Dr. Jerz was acting very Napoleon like. He made a comment regarding our class which was, "People that have great skills are commended for them." Suddenly it hit me. Where had I heard such a line before? Napoleon!! Yay!!! I believe Nappy said, "Girls only want boyfriends that have great skills!"
It was all becoming so much more clear to me as I began to think of other comparisons between Napoleon and Jerz. They both wear glasses, and have probably played their fair share of Sci-fi games. They believe in things of the mystic and magical realm like Ligers and Star Wars. A perfect match. Then another revelation came to me in this moment of lucidity. Dr. Jerz is a master of disguise because not only is he Britney Spears (according to a speculation by Moira) he may also be Napoleon Dynamite. Which brings me to my much anticipated conclusion that if Dr. Jerz is Napoleon and Britney he makes a lot of $$$$... but he loves us (EL150) and teaching so much that he doesn't quit his day job. Thanks for loving what you do Dr. J, we'll keep your secret.

About February 2005

This page contains all entries posted to Roamer's Zone in February 2005. They are listed from oldest to newest.

January 2005 is the previous archive.

March 2005 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.