Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Here's a rhetorical analysis paper I wrote for school a while back. I like the essay. The second to last paragraph is funny, I think.
Rhetorical Analysis of “Nothing But Nets” by Rick Reilly
Recently I was reading through the McGraw Hill Guide and came across “Nothing But Nets” by Rick Reilly, an article that first appeared in Sports Illustrated in 2006. I was just browsing through the textbook, looking for a text I could rhetorically analyze for this assignment. I started reading some of the texts on the pages with purple borders, but, for some reason or another, I quickly stopped reading them, and flipped the pages again, looking for something else. Then I flipped to “Nothing But Nets,” read the first few paragraphs, and then the next few paragraphs, and then kept reading until the article was over. Maybe it was the clever writing, or maybe it was the interesting subject matter. Whatever it was, by the end of the article, I was seriously considering donating money for nets in Africa, like the author, Rick Reilly wanted me to.
Then I remembered why I read the article in the first place. I was not an ordinary Sports Illustrated reader. I wasn’t even really a sports fan. Really, I was a college student given the assignment of rhetorically analyzing the article. So what rhetoric was in there? How did the author use rhetorical appeals? It is my purpose in this essay to identify the rhetorical appeals used in “Nothing But Net” and show how they were used. Also, the effects of the audience on this text will also be discussed.
After carefully reading through the article again, I spotted Reilly using ethos several times. In the third paragraph, Reilly says, “And according to the World Health Organization” (Reilly 434). This is use of ethos. Rick Reilly knows that he himself is not a reliable source on the number of malaria-related deaths in Africa, but the World Health Organization is.
In another part of the essay, Reilly uses ethos by citing another important organization. He writes, “’Every cent will go to nets,’ says Andrea Gay, the U.N. Foundation’s Director of Children’s Health” (435). I didn’t even know there was such a position as the “U.N. Foundation’s Director of Children’s Health” but that title doesn’t sound made-up, and it sounds really important. And that’s what ethos is all about: sounding authentic, reliable and important.
Another place I spotted ethos was when Reilly tells his audience about a website where they can donate money. Reilly writes, “Please go to a special site we’ve set up” (435). Wait a minute. Why does Reilly use the pronoun “we”? Clearly he is only one person writing the article. Does Reilly have some kind of an ego problem or a multiple personality problem? No, I think he uses “we” to give himself more authority. It makes him sound like more than one person. If the reader thought that Rick Reilly was the only person who was in charge of donating nets to Africa, then the reader would not be as convinced that the charity operation is genuine. But, if the reader believes that numerous people are involved in this charity project, then he or she will be more likely to do what the author wants them to do: donate money to Africa for mosquito nets.
Reilly also uses plenty of logical appeals in his article. One very prevalent way in which Reilly uses logos is by citing statistics. He throws around numbers such as the amount of money it would take to buy a net, the amount of money he has personally donated, and the amount of money that Bill Gates and Ted Turner have donated, (which name-dropping, by the way, is a little bit of ethos).
Reilly makes another logical appeal when he mentions that the nets are coated with insecticide. Telling the audience about the insecticide coating gets the reader thinking along these lines, “Oh, insecticide kills the mosquitoes, so the malaria-infected mosquitoes can never bite people, so people don’t get malaria, so African kids keep living.” That’s all very logical and sense making.
Reilly also heavily relies on pathos in his article. First of all, the topic of the article alone- children dying from malaria in Africa, is an emotional one. And Reilly doesn’t avoid the emotionality of the subject, either. He goes after the reader’s heart. One place in which pathos is most obvious is in the third and fourth paragraph. Reilly says, “See, nearly 3,000 kids die every day in Africa from Malaria…That’s a 9/11 every day!” (434). 9/11, as you well know, was a horrific event that left a scar in the collective American psyche. Just saying the term “9/11” calls up images of planes hitting the Twin Towers, people in business suits running and screaming- it’s a very emotional thing.
Then at the end of the article, Reilly hits the reader with another emotionally charged anecdote of his visit to Tanzania. He tells the story of when he played soccer with some school kids there. But the kids didn’t have wonderful sporting equipment, to say the least. In fact, all they had was “a taped-up wad of newspaper” (436) for the ball and two rocks for the goal. After Reilly got back to America, he mailed them some soccer balls and nets. His last paragraph, filled with pathos, is “I kick myself now for that. How many of those kids are dead because we sent the wrong nets?” (436).
Reilly successfully uses all three rhetorical appeals in his article. But in addition to using these rhetorical appeals, Reilly is very aware of the context in which he is writing the article. That is, he knows who he is, who his audience is, what the purpose of his article is, and he writes accordingly. For the rest of this essay, I will examine how Reilly’s sense of audience affects the text. (How author and purpose affects the text can be left to your imagination.)
You can tell that Reilly is aware of his audience in several places. First off, the title of the article is a play on the familiar basketball phrase, “nothing but net.” This title is an example of using a familiar phrase most readers of Sports Illustrated would know. Would a title like that be found in an issue of the scholarly journal Shakespeare Quarterly? I doubt it.
In another place, Reilly tries to get readers to understand what’s happening with malaria in Africa by giving them an analogy. He says, “Let’s say your little Justin’s Kickin’ Kangaroos have a big youth soccer tournament on Saturday” (434). This is a perfect hypothetical situation to create for his audience. After all, many of the people reading the Sports Illustrated article are fathers; perhaps even fathers with children involved in soccer. Thus, the audience can relate to the scenario that Reilly is creating, thus it is more meaningful to the audience, and thus Reilly shows us once again that he is very aware of his audience.
Now, if “Nothing but Nets” was an article in a Star Wars fanzine, maybe the author would say something like, “To put things in perspective, imagine the planet Endor being blasted every day by the Death Star. Every day at noon, let’s say, storm-troopers in space revved up the ion canons and blasted the wooded home of the Ewoks, killing a fourth of them, forever silencing thousands of our furry friends. That’s basically what happens every day in Africa. Every single day. Except in the real world, kids aren’t dying from the neon-colored blasts of ion canons, they’re dying from malaria.” See how that works? The article changes as the audience changes. The author cites different references, creates different hypothetical situations, crafts different analogies, and uses different words, depending on who his audience is.
As a veteran writer, Reilly is adept at using the three rhetorical appeals. And he doesn’t just use one at a time; oftentimes in a single paragraph he uses all three, thus weaving together an effective tapestry of a persuasive article. Reilly is also very aware of his audience and writes accordingly. In fact, the rhetorical situation in which “Nothing But Nets” exists, the author, audience, and purpose, makes the text what it is. Come to think of it, that’s the way it is with all texts, everywhere; the particular author, audience, and purpose largely determine the makeup and characteristics of a text.
Reilly, Rick. “Nothing but Nets.” The Concise McGraw-Hill Guide: Writing for College,
Writing for Life. Gregory R. Glau, Barry M. Maid, and Duane Roen. New York: McGraw Hill, 2009. 434-436.
When I was a teacher for a year, I had to come up with all these procedures, and I had to write them down and give them to my first year teacher trainer. Having precise procedures like this is based on "The First Days of School" by Harry Wong.
I read them now with mixed reactions.
I laugh when I read them because I know that by the end of the school year, all these procedures were broken and mocked. (It's my fault they were broken and mocked, mostly, I think.)
I sadden when I read them because they remind me of all the stupid stuff I had to deal with as a teacher. I wanted to teach great literature. I wanted to live the life of an artistic scholar. I wanted to have a good time. I didn't want to enforce rules about how to appropriately retrieve tissue from the teacher's desk.
I wrinkle my forehead when I read them. They're good procedures. I don't see what's wrong with them. They look so great on paper. I wonder why they didn't work. Well, they didn't work because I didn't really care about them enough to really enforce them. My personality was wrong for the job. I couldn't fake a good teaching personality. Not for very long, anyway. Just like I couldn't sustain a fake personality while I was a door-to-door alarm-system salesman, I couldn't fake being a teacher. Well-intentioned people used to say to me, "You're an actor. Why don't you just act like a good teacher?"
"Great idea," I should have responded, "then after I'm done acting like a good teacher, I'll act like a good helicopter pilot." Ha ha ha. If only it were so easy. Playing a part in a play is almost nothing like changing your personality to become a successful teacher. Maintaining a double personality is difficult, and maybe deceitful. I realize that some people have to put on fake attitudes at work- the cashiers that are fake polite, etc., but I was never good at that, and I'm glad that I have a job now where I don't have to put on a fake attitude.
Maybe it's unhealthy the way I look back at my failed teaching career. When I reflect on it, I feel ashamed of myself and the horrible job I did. But then I think I need to forgive myself and hope that others will forgive me.
I get reminded of my teaching stint a lot. I get reminded of it when school buses go by, when I teach Primary at Church, when I drive by the school, when someone talks about school in any way, and when I see people I used to work with. And when someone asks me what I do for a living, I say, "I make movie screens in a factory," and then I usually add, "but I used to be an English and drama teacher," to give people the impression that, once upon a time, I had ambition and drive and talent and education. In some ways I'd like to move away to a new town, a town where nobody knew that I used to be a teacher.
Anyway, here's those classroom procedures I wrote about a year and a half ago:
Procedure for coming into class. Students will silently come into the room, get out paper and pen/pencil, and start on the Bellwork. Rehearse the procedure three times. We will go outside into the pod, enter the classroom silently, go directly to their assigned seat, and start on the Bellwork. The students will have assigned seats the first day.
Procedure for going to the restroom/ drinking fountain: Raise your hand and wait for Mr. Bird to come over and sign your character card.
Procedure for passing in papers: pass them to the left. I will collect them.
Procedure for answering teacher’s questions and participating in class discussions: listen respectfully and thoughtfully to whoever is talking. Stay on topic. Raise your hand silently and wait to be called on. (I plan to have mostly bookwork -meaningful, drama-related bookwork- for the first two weeks- no improvisation games or getting up in front of the class. Later, I will introduce procedures for students getting up in front of the class to perform, whether it’s individually or in groups.)
Procedure for getting the class’ attention: the same rhythmic clapping I did this semester, except this time I’ll rehearse the procedure a thousand times during the first two weeks, so that everyone participates, and so that it actually works. :)
Procedure if the phone rings: I’ll get it. I hear it ring.
Procedure if someone knocks at the door: I’ll get it. I hear the knocking.
Procedure for sharpening pencils: Please avoid this, because sharpening pencils is distracting to your classmates. Come to class prepared with two writing utensils ready to go. However, if you need to sharpen your pencil, raise your hand, wait to be called on or for me to come over to you, and ask for permission.
Procedure for getting a tissue. Raise your hand, wait to be called on or for me to come over to you, and ask for permission.
Procedure for throwing things away: You don’t need to throw anything away. Keep your trash with you until the end of the period.
Procedure for coming back after being absent: Before or after class, ask Mr. Telemoonfa or another student about what we did the previous day and if there is any work that needs to be made up. Check the “absent” folder on your way into class. It is your responsibility to find out what you missed.
Procedure for being done with work early. If you find yourself with no other drama work to do, then you should be silently doing homework for another class or reading a book.
Procedure for using the compliment box: For each period, I will have a shoe box with a slot in the top that is labeled “Compliment Box.” During the week, students can write anonymous compliments to each other on little slips of paper and put it in the box before or after class, not during class time. Then on Fridays, I will read all the compliments to the class. The first time around, I will go “fishing for compliments” where students will write two different people compliments and put them in the box. Students shalt not look in the holy compliment box, EVER!!!
I keep wondering if the man-made global warming theory will go away any time soon. It looks like it's still going on strong, and I guess it could still go on strong for the next few decades, even if the Earth's average temperature doesn't actually increase. There's a lot of powerful people who have a big interest in keeping the hoax going. Obama, for example, seems bent on promoting solar and wind energy while destroying oil and coal and nuclear energy, and Obama's able to do this because so many people think that gloabal warming is real.
But global warming is a hoax.
I was looking through my computer files, and I found this email that a college student sent to his professor around 2008. It's an email from one of my former student's brothers, I think.
I don't know how comfortable the guy would be with me putting it on my blog, but, I've taken out all identifying information, and if he ever does find out about it, hopefully he'll see it as a compliment. I do like the email. I can sympathize with the urge to tell a liberal college professor how I really feel. I sat through class after class after class of liberal indoctrination, and I kept my mouth shut.
I remember once when I was filling out a class evaluation form, (which would be read by the professor AFTER my grade was finalized) I wrote a lot about how I didn't appreciate his attempt to convert all his students to communism. It was refreshing to finally open up.
Anyway, here's the email. Enjoy.
Dear Dr. -------------,
My main concern is that will the theory of man driven climate change and global warming be presented in a fair and just light, because the film today seemed very one-sided. I understand you are very busy and probably don't have time to read all this; I just wanted to voice a concern. Overall I have thoroughly enjoyed your class, the Woburn case was very interesting and I look forward to what you further have in store for us.
After viewing the film "Too Hot to Not Handle" I found it to be entirely one-sided and quickly dismissive of the few, if any at all presented, critics of man-made global warming. While I respect the fact that this is your class and you have every right to present whatever material you wish to educate us with, I do remember that sometime during the beginning of the quarter, you mentioned that you wanted to present a fair, multi-sided view of environmental science and climate change so to not make it seem as if all industries are the bad guys.
What I think people tend to forget, or simply do not know, is that man-made global warming and climate change is very much only a theory. Many of my peers, much less the American and global public, seem to be in a general consensus on the issue, with what they believe to be a general knowledge of climate change. I myself used to believe in the same basic idea that humans were largely responsible for the current global warming, generally believing that C02 produced by us is causing the warming global climate, and that this idea was pretty much indisputable. However, after taking it upon myself to further investigate into this area (and by no means am I saying that I am in any way qualified in this field; I just feel I've been motivated lately to look into environmental science a little more than my average peer) I can't help but notice several holes in the theory that mankind is driving global warming and climate change.
I know this is a long email, but I would like to point out a few problems that I have with the theory, and why environmental science is like no other science in our world today.
First of all, the entire field seems to have become intertwined with politics and mass media. Everyday on the news we are pounded with stories like "Extreme Weather!" or "Climate Crisis!" or Killer Tornadoes and hurricanes. This alarmist view of climate change is what really kills me. People are being manipulated into thinking severe climate is as big a fear as terrorist attacks; the media has no shame in jumping on every negative story they can find, whether it's a rapist/murderer on the prowl or a potential hurricane in the Atlantic, words like DISASTER and CRISIS grab your attention, boost ratings, sell papers, and generate income. As for politics, you even said yourself that the field has become highly politicized. Because of this scientists worldwide have their opposing research and beliefs suppressed; they are afraid of losing funding for publishing contradicting beliefs to man-made global warming. If they do end up publicly
criticizing the theory, they are immediately jumped on by scientists, politicians, and the media alike and labeled as backers of big oil and other industries. To continue to receive funding for their research, they must alter their results to the liking of the organizations funding them, otherwise it'll dry up. Additionally, when told to find evidence for man-made global warming, scientists will. In psychology it's called the conformation bias, where we look for evidence supporting our beliefs, and overlook contradicting evidence or additional causes and explanations.
I'll wrap this up by listing a few holes I've come to find in the entire theory of man-driven climate change and global warming:
The media's been driving climate change worries for far too long. In 1974, TIME magazine released an article predicting another Ice Age
are other gases responsible.
Last of all I'd like to return to the idea that climate is local. The urban heat island temperature bias refers to the concept that weather observation stations that are located in metropolises or other urban areas will produce a mean temperature higher than those located in more rural areas. So many people concentrated in a small radius heats up the surrounding area as well as the fact that weather equipment located around lots of concrete structures, glass skyscrapers, or factories tend to display warmer temperature readings (attached).
There are several other problems I and many other people with similar suppressed feelings have about this politicized science, but this email is too long as it is. Once again I'm just a regular student and I've merely taken a side interest in the topic and I am not saying my view is any more correct than that of the majority, but the fact that this subject is often portrayed so one-sidedly at times by the media is irritating.
I'm sorry for taking up your time if you actually read all this, but I really appreciate it. I hope I'm not in anyway being offensive or critical of your teaching, beliefs, or your class. Once again I have very much enjoyed your class and do not wish to be a problem. Thank you.
Friday, April 22, 2011
A hunched, shriveled, dark tribe,
not much brighter than apes,
the gem of anthropological research,
digging in dirt with sticks,
chewing crickets, clicking with their tongues
chanting magic words,
wiping with leaves- Ugh!
No, I’m just kidding! “Savages” have their pristine,
postcolonial charm; we don’t call them “savages.”
Maybe I’m “savage!” Just to set the record straight,
They’re Aboriginal Peoples of Wherever.
I know that.
Of course they are MUCH brighter than apes;
With what genetic superiority shall I
judge their intelligence? I have none!
I only called them “savages”
to see your reaction,
because that’s how I judge people.
No I’m just kidding! I don’t “judge” people.
They aren’t savages-
I don’t “judge.”
Ha ha ha!
Prick them, they bleed!
And just because the people who happen to live
beyond the jurisdiction of the HOA
in the rotting blue trailer topped with a satellite dish
that transmits 17 channels solely dedicated to NASCAR-
just because they have beer cans crushed
by greasy foreheads piled in the front yard
just because they have weeds the size of human femurs
growing from under the haunches
of rusted out, bullet-holed appliances,
just because they have
a device for launching potatoes
leaning against their Leaning Tower
of empty Little Caesar’s pizza boxes,
just because they happen to have
a walrus Mom with candy corn teeth
who birthed a mob of children who all stink,
that doesn’t mean they aren’t “people”.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
spiritual & maximizing matrimonial
it for you it now cash-flow yes,
Lions live inside me.
And me am and lion. Roar.
It descends to possess up or obnoxious
but when I move the way
way way way move the way
Fork Fork Fork Fork
then the lions
then the lions
then the lions don’t sing.
like the pouring of water.
You cough, you groan. Pain brings
you to a breaking point, and then,
a rest. No more physical sensations.
A fisherman has hooked your spirit
and is pulling up, up, up, up,
you pause, back against the ceiling,
to see your body below:
the closed eyelids, the curled fingers.
It is a slump of muscle, bone, skin-
covered with a few clothes.
Not an ounce of desire in the whole mass.
A warm light fills you,
a warm light directs you upward,
you fly, you feel heavenly.
it. tomorrow night is going t obe a nightmare-
I hope the principal doesn’t come to the plays,
because theyre going to bomb.
I have to make writing work for me
and I’m scared to death of failure,
rejection, I need to relzx,
but I also need to write
my shoulders ache, sting, ouch, no, please-
i can ride my bike if i want to right now maybe
it's getting dark
I don’t really really don’t want to go back to teaching
drama after fall break, either-
I don’t have any ideas for screenplays
Here is a cute report about West Virginia that I helped my nephew write for school a while back. The requirements for the essay were very strict. It had to follow a precise outline and have topic sentences and have this specific information about one of the American states. Hopefully my nephew won't mind me putting this on my blog. I'd like to put it on Telemoonfa Time because I think it's a good example of the mounds and mounds of essays that schoolchildren produce in America these days. It's also interesting to read this essay and try to figure out which words were chosen by me and which words were chosen by my nephew. Collaborative writing usually turns out weird.
A West Virginia Paper
January 4th 2009
How much do you know about West Virginia? This report will help you understand a little more about West Virginia. It will include West Virginia’s state symbols, statistics, features, and the history of the state.
West Virgina has many symbols. The seal of West Virginia is a picture of two miners next to a rock that says June 20th 1863. At the bottom of the seal it says “Montain Semper Liberi”, which is Latin for “Mountaineers are always free.” The flag of West Virginia looks a lot like the seal of West Virginia, except that the flag has a wreath around the bottom, and a red bow, and the ribbon says, “State of West Virginia” at the top. It has a white background. The state bird is the red Cardinal. It is indigenous to most of the U.S.A. The state flower is the rhododendron. Rhododendrons are pink. They grow on green plants, and they are very beautiful. The state license plate has a blue top, and on the bottom it says, “Wild, Wonderful.” The state tree is the Sugar Maple. The state mammal is a black bear, which spends most of its days climbing trees, eating berries, and eating the state fish, which is brook trout. The state butterfly is the monarch butterfly, which sucks sap with its straw-like mouth from flowers. The state reptile is the timber rattlesnake, which usually eats rats, rabbits, and many other small creatures. Those are a lot of state symbols.
There are many statistics associated with West Virginia. The population was 1,808,344 on June 12th, 2001. Some of the largest cites are Charleston, Huntington, Wheeling, and Weirton, just to name a few. The governor of West Virginia is Joe Manchin III. He is the 34th Governor of West Virginia. He is a Democrat. The Senators are Robert C. Byrd and John D. Rockefeller IV. They are both Democrats. The Representatives are Alan Mollohan, who is a Democrat, Nick Rahall, who is a Democrat, and Shelley Capito, who is a Republican. Those are just some of the statistics!
West Virginia has many features. Some of the features are Hawk’s Nest, Abandoned Caverns, Wonder Caverns, and the Virtual Library, the biggest learning museum. Some of the restaurants are the East Coast Coral Place and Hillbilly Hot Dogs. Some of the famous people are Daniel Boone. Daniel Boone wore a raccoon hat. Stonewall Jackson is another famous West Virginia person. Stonewall Jackson was a general in the Confederate army in the Civil War and he has a resort named after him, the Stonewall Jackson Resort. The weather is mild in the spring, and very nice. In the summer, it’s not that hot. It gets just right. It’s perfect swimming weather. During the fall, it is breezy and cold with leaves flying everywhere. During the winter, it is cold, with icicles hanging from the roof. They don’t get any tornadoes. That sounds like perfect weather to me. Those are just some of the features.
West Virginia has an interesting history. West Virginia became a state on June 20th, 1863. That was during the Civil War. It broke off from Virginia, so that’s how it got its name. The nickname is the Mountain State. The capitol of West Virginia is Charleston, which has about a fifth of the population.
This report helped me learn a little more about this magnificent state. If I had to visit this state I would go to Huntington, which is where I used to live. Thank you for reading.
Book: The Fifty States of the United States by an unknown author
Book: A Portrait of West Virginia by Arnout Hyde Jr.
Personal experience, and interviews with my Dad, who grew up in West Virginia.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Did you hear that the Arizona legislature recently passed a bill that requires Obama to show his really really real birth certificate to the Arizonan Secretary of State before he can appear on the Arizona ballot in 2012?
Now Governor Jan Brewer just needs to sign it into law, and then we'll all be so much closer to solving the mystery of Obama's real birthplace! See, if HB 1277 becomes law, then maybe Obama won't like it so he'll sue Arizona (again) and he'll have some of his goons in federal courts rule it unconstitutional. But if Obama made any of those moves, then that just goes to show you that Obama is really an alien!
Here's the beauty of the proposed law: If Obama fights against HB 1277, the Tea Party wins. If Obama doesn't fight against HB 1277, Tea Party still wins! And then you know who wins? America!
See how wonderful this all is?
I just sent the following email to Jan Brewer encouraging her to sign the bill into law.
Dear Governor Jan Brewer,
Please sign HB 2177 into law.
I’m a precinct committeeman for the Republican Party in Pinal County and a concerned citizen. HB 2177 is important legislation that will help verify that Barack Obama is indeed a natural-born citizen, which, as you know, is a U.S. Constitutional requirement for being the President.
Please sign HB 2177 into law.
What are you afraid of? Are you afraid of looking kooky if you sign it? Well, a lot of liberals already think that Arizona is kooky, looking just a littler kookier can’t hurt things now. And you know that despite what some critics may say, Arizonans are sensible. We simply want to put to rest all the conspiracy theories about Obama’s birthplace.
Please sign HB 2177 into law.
Obama has already been vicious to you and to Arizona by suing Arizona over SB1070. Politically speaking, Obama is not our friend. We shouldn’t worry so much about decorum, or about ruffling Obama’s feathers. Instead, we should worry about reaching the truth, and we should worry about ensuring that those who hold public office are eligible to do so.
Please sign HB 2177 into law.
Even if you don’t believe this legislation is that important yourself, what could it hurt? It’s very cheap. It’s not like HB 2177 would create a whole new expensive bureaucracy. It wouldn’t take very long for the Arizona Secretary of State to verify that anyone appearing on Arizona ballots is eligible to be a candidate for the position he or she is running for.
Well, I think I’ve said enough. I hope that you add my opinion to all the other opinions that have been given in favor of HB 1277. Thank you for your time and consideration, and please sign HB 2177 into law.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
It's official! Mitt Romney is running for President in 2012! Hooray!
Here's the video where he announces it. Watch it and join Mitt Romney's team! Your life will be better if Mitt Romney is the next President! Believe in America!
Seriously, the way things are looking, and the way polls are going, it doesn't look like any other Republican has as good of a chance at beating Obama. Ron Paul is too kooky. Donald Trump has too much baggage. Sarah Palin is too polarizing. Mike Huckabee didn't do as well as Mitt Romney last election. Michelle Bachmann doesn't have enough experience.
Mitt Romney 2012!!!
Saturday, April 9, 2011
I’m starting to question the value of a college education. Especially when I see all these worthless classes that Northern Arizona University is offering in the course catalog:
SOC 319 POPULATION AND ENVIRONMENT (3)
Studies population growth as it relates to the social and natural environment. History of the emergence, growth, and organization of human populations. Examines contemporary population growth and distribution patterns in relation to natural resources and environmental stress.
Let me save you from a lifetime of guilt (and about $1,000) by summarizing the course for you: Students who complete this class successfully will undergo sterilization, inefficiently gather wild berries, abandon the Industrial Revolution, and sacrifice their quaint relics of Christianity to Mother Earth.
SOC 415 SOCIOLOGY OF GLOBALIZATION (3)
Processes of globalization and its impact on personal biographies, social institutions, and social structure. Theories of globalization, stratification, local-global linkages, transnational movements, and migration, labor, gender, race and ethnicity.
You’ll learn from this class that McDonald’s and Wal-Mart are evil and hippie communes are cool. You’ll learn that the British Empire was very very bad and that America is very very bad and that indigenous people are victims of the imperial Western Civilization. You'll learn that “Stratification,” is just a fancy way of saying, “Everybody’s not equal and that’s not fair. Things are unequal because mean people take it away from others.”
SUS 601 VISIONS OF GOOD AND SUSTAINABLE SOCIETIES: SELF, OTHER AND COMMUNITY (3)
Explores how we develop conceptions of ourselves, how such conceptions are related to those named as "other," and the ways in which we interact.
I think "SUS" stands for "sustainability studies." I’ve got a hunch that this class is worthless. What will students be able to do once they finish this class? How does it prepare them in any way to be productive citizens?
Remember when college students used to study law, religion, medicine, physical sciences, math, history, and business? Well, college students still study those things, but these days you can major in newfangled fields such as sociology, psychology, environmental studies, indigenous studies, ethnic studies, peace and conflict studies, queer studies, colonial studies, and gender studies.
I think women and liberals and communists are taking over college campuses and leading them in directions where they ought not to go. Liberal arts have gotten even more liberal and useless. There’s a whole graduate program at NAU about establishing sustainable communities. You know what my opinion is? Sustainable communities create themselves. Commonsense, Christianity, and capitalism organically create good communities. We don’t need a bunch of community organizers on government payrolls or bureaucrats from the Environmental Protection Agency making our communities “sustainable.” Lovers of big government are the type of idealists who think up the yellow bike program and make everyone pay for it.
Oh, I’m so glad that I’m out of college. I think I’m glad I went, though. I don’t know. I'm not using my college education now, in a direct way. Maybe I write better and think better thanks to my college experiences, but I don't use an ounce of my schooling at the movie-screen factory where I work. I almost feel bad that my parents and my fellow taxpayers subsidized my college education.
I feel sorry for all the college students who are enrolled in “Visions of Good and Sustainable Societies” and similar classes. I feel even sorrier for the students who are really enjoying those classes and who are dreaming of working for the government or working for a non-profit organization.
Did I ever tell you why I dropped out of the Master’s English program at Northern Arizona University? There were a lot of reasons, but it was partly because my last semester there was nothing but liberal indoctrination. I wanted to read great literature and learn to write like the masters. But the way my schedule worked out, during my final semester I was enrolled in a post-colonial literature class, a feminist literature class, and a communist literature class. No joke. I read liberal book after liberal book, and I listened to liberal lecture after liberal lecture, and it all go so overwhelming that I just needed to get out. I don’t regret leaving, and I don’t think I’ll ever go back. I see no point.
I just hope more people can escape the cave of college liberalism and see the light of real-world conservatism.
One last thought. You know how liberals insist that there should be a wall between church and state? Well, maybe conservatives should start insisting that there should be a wall between school and state.
Here are some more emails from the romantically afflicted, along with my Cupid-like balm.
Great news! I just found the perfect guy! He's 5' 9'', muscular, charming, and he plays the didgeridoo. I mean really! The didgeridoo! How hunky is that? (OK I don’t even know what a didgy-thing is, but it seriously sounds so awesome!) The only problem is, he's Australian, and he lives all the way in, you guessed it, Australia. I live in Texas. I only know him from the Internet. But we’ve seriously connected! Should I take a trip to the Great Down Under, or should I try to satisfy myself by lassoing a cowboy from this here Texan prairie? See, I don’t want to live in Australia so he better be willing to move here once we get married, but he won’t even come visit me. He says he can’t get time off from his work at a rehabilitation center for wounded koala bears. Like I think I’m in love with this guy! He’ll probably be a lot like Mel Gibson when I meet him in real life. What do I do? I’m torn up inside!!!
A Cowgirl Looking Longingly for Love
Listen Cowgirl, let me tell you something about Australians that you won’t hear on the Internet (except for right now). They don’t have cars. They ride kangaroos everywhere. Now if you think you can be happy hop-hop-hopping on a kangaroo all the time, go ahead and move to Australia. Be my guest. But if you think you’d go crazy after a week of storing your purse in a slimy kangaroo pouch while you straddle a kangaroo’s back, then you might want to reconsider your trip to the Great Brown Blunder. Did you know that Australia started as a penal colony for the British Empire? Yeah, it did! It’s very possible that this guy got kicked out of Britain for lying too much, and stealing, and it seems to me that he hasn’t stopped lying. He may indeed be 5’9,” but he most assuredly doesn’t play any didgy-thing. What did you call it? A didgereedoo? Listen sweetheart, there’s no such thing as a didgeredoo. He just made up a foreign sounding word to try to impress you. Next he’ll probably tell you he’s going to cook you a dish of crème brulee. Ha! I suggest you cut off all communication with the Australian. You’re a Texan, honey. Stick to your own kind.
What is meant by homogamy? How are homogamous norms related to endogamy and exogamy? Discuss in three well-developed paragraphs.
These are profound questions brilliant thinkers have pondered for the ages. Have you ever thought about watching a butterfly flap her wings, flowers swaying in the breeze, and letting that silent, reverent observation being your answer? Let’s hum together. Hummmmmmmmmmmm… hummmmmmmmmmmm… hummmmmmmmmmm… I’m not avoiding the question because I don’t know what homogamy means. But then again, I’m not avoiding the question because I don’t NOT know what homogamy means, either. Does that make sense? OK, actually I don’t know what it means, but the word depresses me. The words “endogamy” and “exogamy” depress me even more. I don’t want to do your sociology homework for you.
Friday, April 8, 2011
The U.S. military has been in Afghanistan for quite some time now. We've spent a lot of money and we’ve spent a lot of lives fighting that war. I used to be gung-ho about the war, but now I’m starting to have doubts. I’m not sure what we’re doing in Afghanistan.
Well, we’re supposed to be preventing Afghanistan from becoming a terrorist state. We’re supposed to be fighting the terrorists and preventing anything like 9/11 from happening again. That sounds great.
But sometimes I think the people of Afghanistan are so backward that we ought to just leave them alone. I don’t think we can change Afghanistan into a beacon of democracy and tolerance and multiculturalism. Not in a hundred years.
You know what they do in Afghanistan if you convert to Christianity? They kill you. And they kill you really fast, too. You don’t sit on death row for decades while lawyers appeal and appeal and appeal.
And did you hear about what Hamid Karzai, the President of Afghanistan, said recently? It’s outrageous. He was commenting on Florida pastor Terry Jones burning a Koran recently. An Associated Press article says,
“President Hamid Karzai expressed regret for the 20 protest deaths, but he also further stoked possible anti-foreign sentiment by again demanding that the United States and United Nations bring to justice the pastor of the Dove Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, where the Quran was burned March 20.”
(By the way, if you haven’t been following the news lately- and I don’t blame you at all for not following the news; I hate the news sometimes- Pastor Terry Jones, a wacky but lovable Christian, burned a Koran. Then a bunch of Muslims in Afghanistan got mad and killed over 20 people and injured about 80. They killed United Nations workers, and just some innocent bystanders, I think.)
So Karzai wants Terry Jones “brought to justice”? What does that mean? Does he want him killed? Is President Karzai aware that in the United States of America we have the First Amendment, which protects the freedom of speech? And if burning the American flag or the Bible or the Book of Mormon is protected under the First Amendment, then burning the Koran is also protected, dang nabbit.
Pastor Terry Jones has done nothing illegal. He shouldn’t be punished at all. The government should just leave him alone. I don’t even think they should make the effort of asking him not to burn any more Korans, like General Petraues did recently. I think that just sends a message that says, “Please, Americans, don’t do anything to make the Muslims angry. Just be really nice to them, respect their interesting customs, and everything will be OK.” But we’ve already seen what’s happening to Europe when polite post-Christians accommodate Muslims by the millions arriving at their borders. The churches come down and the mosques go up.
I sort of like Pastor Terry Jones. He may be a little loony, but he’s also a little brave. And he’s doing what he thinks God wants him to do, even though legions mock him and deride him. I respect him for that. (Of course, the murderous Muslims are doing what they think God wants them to do, too… But I think we can all agree that killing people is waaaaaay worse than burning a Koran.)
But back to Afghanistan, the subject that started this blog post: How can you begin to fix a country like Afghanistan? Maybe we should follow Ann Coulter’s advice:
“We should invade their [radical Islamic terrorists’] countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.”
Our U.S. government seems to be doing great at invading countries, so-so at killing their leaders, and horribly at converting them to Christianity.
Remember one of my favorite quotes: “A study of correct doctrine improves behavior quicker than a study of correct behavior improves behavior.” (I can’t find the source of that quote, other than my own brain.)
Right now in Afghanistan, we’re trying to teach terrorists correct behavior, such as democracy, voting, capitalism, formal education, not beating their wives, etc., but we’re not teaching them correct doctrine. Maybe we should be teaching them that Mohammed was a false prophet and that Joseph Smith was a true one. Maybe that would improve the situation in Afghanistan.
Oh, I need to bring something else up, related to Afghanistan. A few days ago, I read this article, and it's really been bothering me. If you want a rosy picture of the world, don't click on the link. Go look at pictures of babies and kittens. There are plenty of babies and kittens on the Internet. Just google "babies" and "kittens." The article is about some U.S. soldiers who killed innocent Afghanistan civilians on purpose, for sport. Um... it's shocking and it's disgusting. And it looks factual. It makes me want to write a letter to my elected representatives, asking them to get the military out of Afghanistan. I know that's not logical. I know there's always a few rotten apples in the barrel, but that's the way I feel.
It seems fitting to end this post with The Lord’s Prayer.
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Oh, and don't get me started on Libya. I think Obama is doing a horrible job handling Libya. I like everything Rand Paul says in this video:
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
I'm not sure if this dish should be spelled "tuna noona" or "tuna nuna." Both spellings make sense. But I like the way "tuna noona" looks better, so I'll use that spelling. This is a dish that my Mom used to make all the time when I was a kid. It's not fantastic, but I like it. Tuna noona occupies a squishy spot in my heart.
a few cans of tuna fish
a bag of egg noodles
lemon pepper seasoning
cream of mushroom soup
(I don't know if there are proper ratios for this recipe. I just mix together however much I feel like mixing. It always turns out OK.)
1 - Bring a big pot of water to boil. Put the egg noodles in the boiling water and stir them around a few times. After 7 minutes or so, taste one of the noodles to see if it's done. That reminds me, I always liked throwing a spaghetti noodle up against a cabinet to see if it stuck, to see if it was finished cooking. My Mom and Dad used to do that. But you can't really do that with short, twisty egg noodles. Isn't that a shame? Oh yeah, there's a lot of different types of egg noodles to choose from when you make tuna noona. For some reason I like the basic swirly ones more than bow ties or wagon wheels or anything else. I always use the basic swirly ones, unless they're not stocked in the pantry. I think I like the basic swirly ones the best because those are the ones I always use. And I always use them because those are the ones I like the best. But I only like them best because I use them so much. The basic swirly egg noodles are comfortable. It's a silly sentimental attachment, I know. When I'm dead, new people will come along and start making tuna noona with elbow macaroni. Or maybe the new people won't make tuna nuna at all. In my personal life, I like things to remain pretty much same. I like opening my sock drawer and finding my socks there.
2 - When the noodles are done, drain out the water and put the noodles back on the warm burner on the stove. (You have been cooking on a stove this whole time, right? I mean, you're not trying to cook tuna noona over a campfire or anything are you? Ha ha ha.)
3 - Plop in the tuna.
4 - Dump in the cream of mushroom soup. Be absolutely certain that you do step 3 before step 4! Putting in the cream of mushroom soup before the tuna will immediately and irrevocably destroy the entire meal, and all those tuna fish will have died in vain! Ha ha ha. Just kidding. It makes no difference at all.
5 - Sprinkle a whole bunch of lemon pepper seasoning over the whole thing.
6 - Stir it all around. Congratulations. Your tuna has officially reached the state of noona.
7 - Eat it!
Monday, April 4, 2011
Here's another yummy recipe. Happy cooking!
1 - Toast two slices of bread.
2 - Fry two eggs. I like runny yolks. Hey that reminds me, most times when I order eggs in a restaurant, and I say I want my eggs runny, or "over easy" as some of you might call them, they still cook them too long. Maybe it's a litigation thing. But I remember I ate at The Galaxy Diner in Flagstaff, Arizona once and when I ordered runny yolks, they really gave me runny yolks! It was great! Some people are afraid that runny yolks might give you salmonella or food poisoning or something. Maybe runny yolks are bad for you, but I think I would rather have a short life sprinkled with runny egg yolks than a long life devoid of oozing eggy pleasures.
3 - Fry about four slices of spam. After a minute or two, flip the spam slices, then put the cheese slices on top of the spam slices, so that the cheese melts a little. You should probably use cheddar cheese.
4 - Put the jalapeno slices in the hot pan with the eggs.
5 - After a few minutes of cooking the eggs, spam, cheese, and jalapenos, put all of it onto your toasted slices of bread.
6 - Eat it! I suggest eating this sandwich with a large glass of whole milk close at hand. It's pretty hot, temperature-wise and spicy-wise. If you don't like a lot of heat, then you could either reduce the amount of jalapenos, or substitute them with green chilies. I've had both, but I still prefer jalapenos. I tried this same recipe using green onions instead of jalapenos or green chilies, but that was kind of lame.
Oh, and another thing: It might be best to refrain from eating this sandwich in front of polite company. It's messy. It resists containment between bread slices. You'll want to wash your hands after you eat it. The jalapenos tend to fall off, and the runny egg yolks drips onto your hands and plate, and sometimes your lap. What I do is sop up the puddles of egg yolk with the bready edge of the sandwhich. ("bready" should really be a word. My spell-checker is telling me "bready" isn't real, but I don't care. I'm using it anyway.)
Trust me, this sandwich recipe is a winner, but it's difficult to avoid looking like a slob when you eat it. It's probably best to just eat this sandwich alone. I practically have to, because my wife hates the sight, smell, and thought of spam. I'm not sure if she hates the taste of spam; she refuses to try even the tiniest little nibble. So I wait until she's asleep or out of the house before I cook this meal. In a way, that almost makes the sandwich better. I cook it and eat it while my wife's away... and afterwords I destroy all the evidence... scandalous! Ha ha ha j/k lol :)
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Here’s a recipe I just invented and enjoyed the other day.
1- Slice the spam and heat it up in a pan. I use a cast iron skillet because it makes me feel old-fashioned and manly. After the spam has cooked for a minute or two, flip it. Then put slices of cheese on it. If you like a lot of cheese, then use a lot of cheese. The cheese starts to melt, and the grease from the cheese mixes with the grease from the spam, and spam grease + cheese grease = yumminess.
2 - Toast two slices of bread in a toaster. Toast it long enough so it’s stiff and crunchy, but don’t burn the bread. Burned bread is gross. Plus eating burned stuff gives you cancer, or is that an urban legend? I think this sandwich tastes better with white bread. But if you use wheat bread, then use more spam and cheese and pickles, because wheat bread is a flavor-hog. That is, if you eat a sandwich with thick wheat bread, it’s like all you can taste is the thick wheat bread, you know what I mean? But back to toasting the bread. My toaster has a settings from 1 – 9, so I usually set it on 5 or 6.
3 - Put the spam and the melted cheese and the pickle slices on the bread.
4 - Eat it!