Tuesday, December 15, 2009

What's the worst crime you can commit? Murder? Embezzlement? Burglary? These are all felonies and carry high jail times, but I think the worst crime where there is an actually victim is rape. No other crimes put nearly as much of an emotional or physical strain on the victims. Shouldn't we show a little more Respect for Rape Victims?

Sexual assault is a very heinous crime. Rape kits are easy to acquire from the victim--though it is an extremely intrusive process--and even easy to test. You acquire the sample and you test the DNA. Simple as that. Right? Not according to "the long arm of the law." In 18 percent of the nations open, unsolved cases, no forensics evidence has even been submitted to a crime lab. Now that is pretty outrageous.

A little bit about sexual assault cases:

One out of every six women will be sexual assaulted in their lifetime with college age women being four times more likely to be victimized. Just think: A vast majority of the people in this world know someone that has been a victim of sexual assault. You may ask around the people you know and figure out that not a person knows an rape victims, but that doesn't mean that they don't know any victims. The more likely answer is that the victim just hasn't told anyone. 60 percent of the cases aren't even submitted by the victims themselves. Stunning isn't it?

Yes rape is an outrageous crime but what makes it worse is that 73 percent of victims know their assailants. Almost three out of four victims know who attacked them. Despite all of signs leading to sure fire conviction only 6 percent of the assailants ever do any jail time.

Shouldn't law enforcement at least show the respect for those victims who don't know their assailants and are actually courageous enough to come forward after such an event? Maybe we need to raise the numbers for the number of attackers who spend time in jail. We have the ability to protect the victims. Why don't we?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Semester Book Review

This semester I’ve been reading some realistic fiction novels. These are my favorite types of books, especially the ones by such authors as Dan Brown, John Grisham, and Tom Clancy. my parents have always read and their books of choice have been thrust upon me from a young age. Every time my dad goes to Little Rock he always buys a brand new paperback from Barnes and Noble so I have always had a plethora of books at my disposal.

The Broker by John Grisham—2 books

This is a great novel. The plot is very windy and shadowed and I really didn’t ever know what was going to happen. It is action packed and takes place in the ancient streets of the Italian city Barcelona. I also really liked how all the streets, cafés, and plazas were all accurate and real. A recently pardoned prisoner tried to broker a deal to give the world’s most powerful satellite surveillance system to the highest bidder. CIA—not knowing who built of owned this amazing system—sent the prisoner to Italy and slowly leaked the news of his whereabouts to the other leading countries in the world to try to find out who is trying to keep this satellite secret. Along the way the prisoner makes a few friends and makes contact with his son that he rarely communicated with when he wasn’t in jail. In my opinion this is one of Grisham’s best works and this is a novel that everyone should read.

Angels and Demons by Dan Brown—3 books

This is the prequel to the very popular yet very controversial The Da Vinci Code. The main character Robert Langdon, a Harvard University symbologist, is faced with the quest of uncovering the mysteries of a secret society called the Illuminati, and unraveling the plot of this brotherhood to annihilate Vatican City. The main theme is the conflict between science and religion which is extremely divisive. This is an action-packed novel which I really like. Again in this novel all the churches, villas, plazas, and art pieces are real and accurate. Though Dan Brown has only written five novels with two of them being completely unrelated to all the others, he is a great author and I think everyone should read all his books.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Medi Janes

Weed, marijuana, cannabis, chronic, hash, pot...the list goes on and on, but whatever you call it it is the most used "illegal" drug in the world. I don't believe in using this drug recreationally but I condone the use of it medically. There will have to be a well planned course of action to go about legalizing this herbal treatment. An editorial from the Dallas Morning News brought to my eyes how some states are mature enough to handle this privilege while others are not.

I've been taught in every single health class I've ever taken the effects of marijuana use on the human body. Although it has been known that smoking anything (including cannabis) can be harmful to the lungs and throat, even the experts can't agree on the effects of the other methods of administering this therapeutic plant. In every circumstance of the medical use of marijuana there are experts arguing on both sides which makes it very hard to judge and determine who to trust and believe.

If you have ever had someone you love or someone that you are close to go through a bout of pain and suffering then you know how painful it is not just for that person but for everyone around them. Cannabis treatments could help easy that pain (amongst other symptoms) while its chemical make up is just as safe, if not safer, then other drugs used for treating similar symptoms. The issue then becomes a moral one: if you could ease a cancer patient, a patient suffering from Alzheimer's disease, or any type of terminally ill patient, would you?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sentence 12

His sentence:
Are we obsolete?
From Angels and Demons by Dan Brown.

He uses this rhetoric question to raise the question of the outreach of the Catholic religion.

My sentence: Can you there?

Sentence 11

His sentence:
Science, you say, will save us.
From Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

He sets off "you say" with commas to show the procession of the phrase.

My sentence:
The movie, she said, will change you.

Sentence 10

His sentence:
Somehow, as though the words were flowing from God himself, he spoke the modern language...delivering the ancient message.
From Angels and Demons by Dan Brown.

He juxtaposed two contrasting words to show the complexity of his argument.

My sentence:
Somehow, as if the text was flowing from Shakespeare himself, he wrote the next novel...using the classic style.

Sentence 9

His sentence:
We see UFOs, engage in channeling, spirit contact, out-of-body experiences, mindquests--all these eccentric ideas have a scientific veneer, but they are unashamedly irrational.
From Angels and Demons by Dan Brown.

My sentence:
He sees the hole, starts running, avoids contact, the unforeseeable, linebacker--all these sporadic ideas pass through the tailback's mind, and they are instantaneously processed.

Sentence 8

His sentence:
But you have not won fairly.
From Angels and Demons by Dan Brown.

He starts the sentence with the conjunction "but" so show a big shift in the speakers argument.

My sentence:
But he did not play properly.

Sentence 7

His sentence:
It shatters God's world into smaller and smaller pieces in quest of meaning...and all is finds is more questions.
From Angels and Demons by Dan Brown.

He uses the (...) to let the first part of the sentence really sink in before going on to drive his argument home.

My sentence:
She does puzzles with more and more pieces in the search for a challenge...all she finds is a bigger puzzle.

Sentence 6

His sentence:
Does science hold anything sacred?
From Angles and Demons by Dan Brown.

He uses this rhetorical question to raise the question of the humility of science: addressing science as a living growing thing rather than just a subject.

My sentence:
Does basketball show no mercy?

Sentence 5

His sentence:
Even the technology that promises to unite us, divides us.
From Angels and Demons by Dan Brown.

He uses two juxtaposed, contrasting words to describe more effectively the downfall of this type of technology.

My sentence:
Even the players that promised to help us, hurt us.

Sentence 4

His sentence:
From Angels and Demons by Dan Brown.

He uses this one word to describe a whole scene in the story.

My Sentence:

Sentence 3

His sentence:
Medicine, electronic communications, space travel, genetic manipulation...these are the miracles about which we tell our children.
From Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

The (...) shows a long pause after the first part of the sentence. This was probably put in so show the building of suspense added by the speaker.

My sentence:
Catching, running, throwing, kicking...these are the techniques about which our coaches speak of.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sentence 2

His sentence:
Terrorism, has a single goal.
From Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

The comma after terrorism is not needed. It was put in the sentence though to signify a short pause between the two parts of the sentence.

My sentence:
Bob, had a single remark.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Sentence a Day


His sentence:
Carlo could not get enough…the silence…the floating…seeing his mother’s face in the billowing white clouds as he soared to earth.
from Angels and Demons by Dan Brown.

The disconnected ellipsis emulates the dream-like state that Carlo is in as he experiences skydiving.

My sentece:
Bill could not stand it anymore…the torment…the pain…feeling helpless as he watched the prisoner of war tortured.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Channeling My Annoyance

In Dan Pinks book A Whole New Mind he describes how to continue to flourish in the coming age we must learn to be R-directed thinkers as well as L-directed thinkers. This means we must learn to use the right side of our brain along with the left side of our brain.

Broken into six categories, Pink describes these R-directed skills: design, story, symphony, empathy, meaning and play. Each chapter is about one of these skills. At the end of each chapter Pink gives many activities to work the right side of the brain. The one labeled as Channel Your Annoyance Ch caught my eye because I happen to like coffee.

1. Choose a household item that annoys you in any way.
2. Go by yourself to a cafe with pen and paper, but without a book and without a newspaper, and, for the duration of your cup of coffee, think about improving the poorly designed item.
3. Send the idea/sketch as it is to the manufacturer of your annoying household item.

I went to Morning Side coffee a couple of days later to try this out. I was eating a Tootsie-Pop previous to my trip so I decided to redesign the common sucker.

I wondered what would happen if a small child accidentally swallowed this sucker. He/she would inevitable suffocate. I decided to think of a way to prevent suffocation is such a travesty did happen.

I bought a sandwich with my coffee because I was hungry. It was a turkey and cheese sandwich, but it had swiss cheese on it. That made me think...what if the sucker had holes going all the way through like this cheese. Then if a child swallowed it it would not obstruct the air so he/she would be able to breath. Then the sucker would eventually just dissolve or it could then be removed.

This was my R-directed thinking talking through the design. With a little bit of help from my turkey sandwich. Although it sounds far-fetched to me there may be something behind Pink's thinking with this R-directed thinking.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Of Mice and Men book review

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck was based in the times of the great depression. Everyone was traveling around just looking for a place to live, eat, and sleep. Jobs were hard to come by.

Having a dream to have his own land land, George did any job that needed being done. His friend Lennie was a big guy and did most of the heavy lifting. Together these two were going to buy some land and be their own bosses.

Turns out Lennie is not the brightest crayon in the box, and he likes to touch soft furry objects such as animals and nice hair. This gets him and George into a lot of trouble later in the book.

George ends up going his separate way with Lennie but not in a typical manor. You will have to read the book to see what I mean.

Though there is some language in the book, it conveys a very strong message about life during the Great Depression. It is a short easy read and I recommend it to everyone that is not offended by language.

Sophmore Year

Being a Sophmore was almost like starting school all over again. I was finally in high school. I remember grade school like it was just yesterday so the time really seemed to fly by fast.

This year went by super quick except during basketball season. A 4-18 record will make any season slow to a crawl.

I learned a whole lot this year but especially in math because I learned how to think. Mr. Sparks is one of the best teachers I have and will have.

This year was really fun and quite a learning experience. I am ready to be a Junior and then finally the big Senior because I learned as a Sophmore how to get through high school.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Digital Fortress review 430 pages

Although Dan Brown is widely known for writing Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code he also wrote two other very good books one of which is Digital Fortress. This book is based widely on espionage, action, and romance.

The NSA’s super code breaking computer TRANSLTR is at serious risk for becoming obsolete. A former NSA programmer has written an unbreakable code that will render the six billion dollar computer useless. The only way to stop it is to find the kill code.

The what was supposed to be a peaceful weekend for the soon to be married couple turned into a fight for their lives half-way across the world from each other. Both are fighting against a National Security breach in two very opposite ways.

This book displays some sexual and gruesome content so I would only recommend that mature audiences read this book. Once you start reading, though, it is very hard to stop.
In The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros the lives of poor Latinos is portrayed. Being made of many very short chapters over various subjects this is a vignette of Esperanza’s life in Chicago.

Moving from place to place Esperanza and her family never really settle down until they buy their house on Mango Street. That house is where Esperanza spent a majority of her childhood growing up.

This book shows how she makes friends and foes. Also described is here school life and life as an adolescent.

I read The House on Mango Street in about two hours so it is one of the shortest books I have every read. All the characters and places are described vividly so it is easy to read and follow.

The Giver review

In The Giver by Lois Lowry a boy by the name of Jonas is different from the others in his community. He has the power to see beyond. He senses that he is different, but he cannot describe how he is different.

In his community there is one person that holds all the memories and he is called the Receiver. When the Receiver ages a new Receiver is chosen and the current one becomes the Giver.

After being selected as the new Receiver, Jonas sees the extremely wise Giver everyday. This is where he learns that he can see color. Yes he did not know he could see color because the community he lives in cannot see color.

He also learns many different things and ideas that his community keeps secret and he starts to dislike the people that live there. He knows, though, that they cannot help having these ideas for there were raised to believe them.

The Giver was a pretty easy and quick read. I recommend that everyone above the age of ten read this book.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Animal Farm Review

In Animal Farm by George Orwell—which is the pen name for Eric Blair—the Russian Revolution is depicted in a comical manner. Many famous people in history are depicted as animals overthrowing the farmer Mr. Jones, who is portraying the czar Nicholas II.

Old Major, the old prize winning hog, held a meeting just before he died to tell of a dream he had the night before. In this dream he recalled the words to a song called The Beasts of England. This song put the thought of rebellion into his head and he passed this along to the other animals.

The pigs being the wisest took charge of the rebellion. I thought I was ironic how some big names in history are portrayed as swine. Once the pigs took control after Mr. Jones was removed, they all got power hungry and were beginning to turn corrupt.

It seems amazing that none of the animals rebelled against the pigs but that is how it happened in Russia. No one could really figure out what exactly was going on. They just worked because the more powerful people told them to.

Animal Farm is a relatively easy read if you can read a little bit deeper into the meanings the book is representing.

Techie Tools

Although I do not like blogs a whole lot I actually find them very useful when I am trying to communicate and collaberate with my fellow classmates.

I find that blogs are a very good way for students to do homework and such without having to actually turn in a finished paper to the teacher. We as a class can just post our blogs and have the teacher and other students grade and comment on them.

Also, blogs help students learn to use different kinds of internet tools. These tools are normally not easy to learn how to use, but once you figure out how to use them correctly the outcome is very rewarding.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Anthem Essay

The novel Anthem by Ayn Rand is depicted to be a Utopia, but once the book has been read it seems more a Dystopia. Most of the residence of this society did not even live past the age of forty. Why, you may ask.

Everyone’s job was chosen for them by the Council of Vocations. Can you imagine living your whole life and not even getting to have a choice in the labor you are doing to support yourself. Almost every single job that was handed out had very long hours and few if any breaks.

Next there was no hope of any kind of change for the better because the government that was set up controlled every aspect of every single person’s life. If you know there is no hope then what is the point of trying to live.

Everyone was fed enough to sustain life, but no one was aloud to gorge themselves. The people that lived in this society were on average skinnier and shorter when compared to our modern day society. This could be attributed to the lack of nutrition.

Spring Break Fever

Spring break was a blast. I went to Orlando Florida and the only thing that made it better was the fact that I got to go with all my friends. I went with mostly everyone in our high school band and everyone had a great time.

I went to Universal Studios where I rode many rides but my favorite by far was the Dueling Dragons rollercoaster. Being just as good as the extremely famous Hulk rollercoaster, I didn’t have to wait nearly as long. I waited an average of thirty minutes to ride one of the Dueling Dragons whereas I waited about two hours to ride the Hulk.

Disney World, the happiest place on Earth right? Well not when I was dehydrated and nauseas the last three hours I was there. I tried to drink enough water but who wants to buy a $2.50 bottle of water. Is Disney so obsessed with making money that they can not think a little more about the customer?

Anyway the ride home was atrocious. Eighteen hours on a bus with a bunch of grumpy smelly people is no drive in the park. Everyone was getting tired of each other. I was fortunate enough to be able to sleep in the isle where I could spread my legs.

Vacation with all my friends was extremely fun and I am glad I am fortunate enough to be able to afford such things but there were drawbacks.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Broker review

The Broker by John Grisham is an action packed novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Scandals, espionage, and mystery what more could you want in a book.

The main character in the book Joel Backman has recently been pardoned from jail. A former D.C. power broker, Backman had everything he had ever wanted; cars, money, expensive houses, he had them all. Then he went to deep and got himself into trouble. He ran off to jail to save his life because he got mixed up with the wrong type of people, the type that will kill if they do not get their way.

After the pardon the CIA initiated, the feds fly Backman around the world to a European country. There they leave him. Backman thinks he is there for hiding. The CIA has different plans.

Based in the modern age The Broker is very easily comprehended by people of all ages. Though it can be read by all ages I believe read more by teens and adults. This is one John Grisham book you will not want to miss.

Time Machine review

For many years time travel has been the leading topic in the Sci-Fi\Fantasy genre. The book The Time Machine by H.G. Wells is dominated by the thought of travelling forward through time.

Have you ever wondered what the world would be like in the year 802701? Well the main character in The Time Machine, the time traveler, got to experience it first hand. Many of his questions about the future were answered, but he left with even more questions than he had come with.

Would there be human life? Is the earth still intact? What animals have become extinct, and what new kinds of life forms are there? These questions and many more were answered, but new ones arose. How did this come to be? How had the world changed? What is left of the human race?

When talking about time travel controversy is always near by. Is time travel possible, we may never know. Have there been visitors from the future? What impacts on the future would there be if you did something in the past? All of these questions and many more arise on the topic of time travel.

Being a relatively short and easy read I would recommend the book to anyone with a sense of adventure. H.G. Wells is a resounding author and wrote some of the best Sci-Fi novels ever.

Anthem review

The future; when thinking about it most people see hover crafts, lasers, and many other major technological advancements. In Ayn Rand’s Anthem however that is not true. Though Anthem is based in the future you would not be able to tell that by the plot of the novel.

The main character Equality7-2521—yes every character in the book is named by this system—is different from everyone else. He is physically and mentally different.

In Anthem there is a sacred word that no one knows of. The society everyone lives in is based on a “we not me” mentality. This is where Equality is different. He lives more for himself rather than his “brother” (fellow mankind), but he does not really know that he is living this lifestyle.

I would recommend this book any more advanced readers because it stirs your thinking with its similes and metaphors. It is a short book and easy to comprehend what the novel is saying literally but not quite as easy to comprehend it analytically=

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Call of the Wild review

Jack London’s Call of the Wild showed me a side of adventure I never knew I had. I really liked the book because of themes and writing styles represented.

One of the themes is eat or be eaten. The main character Buck is a monstrous dog that got taken from his cozy home in California and was used as a sled dog. He soon learned that the Klondike was a harsh environment and he had to look out for himself. Dogs would regularly fight to the death, hence eat or be eaten.

Jack London used a very vivid style in this book. He shows the story not tells it. He makes it very easy to see and hear as if you were actually in the 1900’s Klondike gold rush. In many of the action scenes he has a very brutal form of writing but it is also extremely realistic.

Another theme is taking a stand. Buck takes stands in many instances that are life and death. He fought a dog to the death, wolves and even a group of natives that had bows and arrows. He inspired me to also take stands because he took stands in deadly situations so I decided I could stand up to the everyday challenges.

Call of the Wild is an early 1900’s book but I was a really simple read. I really enjoyed reading it because it was a nice change from reading about humans all the time.

Antigone Review

In Sophocles Antigone many different themes are represented. The strength to take stands against curses and rulers.

Losing her brothers in battle, Antigone must decide whether to take a stand against the ruler, King Creon, who would not allow her to bury her brothers or not allow her brothers to pass to the afterlife.

Taking major stands can have detrimental tolls both physically and mentally. Some are minute some are huge. Even though Antigone was faced with death she did not even have a second thought about burying her brothers and saving their afterlives.

Many say Antigone is much like Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet because of the ruined relationships from suicides and murders. I agree though I think Shakespeare modeled Romeo and Juliet after Antigone because Sophocles was a much earlier writer.

Antigone was a very hard read for me because of the time period it was written in but the message still came through clear.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Standing Up for What is Right

Parties can be a very fun place to be, but they can also be a very prominent place for trouble.

The party was raging, and everyone was having a great time. The partiers got so excited that they brought out the alcohol and that is when everything began to go bad. The brew started flowing from the bottles and cans and every one began drinking except me.

I sat in the corner unnoticed, but then someone noticed unfortunately. Soon everyone decided to get me to drink. After refusing multiple times, every one was saying “come on” and “just have a drink”

I kept refusing because I could hear my mom’s voice in the back of my head saying, “Don’t do anything stupid.” Finally I got so annoyed with all of them that I just got up and left the party. Though probably because I feared my mom, I am proud of the peer pressure I withstood.