Chutes and Canons

This game, Chutes and Canons, riffs off of the popular board game Chutes and Ladders except with a few major differences. Up to 4 players can play and the objective of the game is to make it to the last square on the pathway set out on the board. Each turn, the player whose turn it is will roll a die and move their tokens however many spaces the die comes up to be. If they land on a space without a chute or ladder their turn ends but if they land on a space with a chute or ladder they will have to answer a question about one of the five canons which will be on cards that are drawn from each time a question is needed. If they land on a chute and answer the question correctly they remain on the space they landed on, otherwise they go down the chute. If they land on a ladder and answer the question correctly they go up the ladder, otherwise they remain where the die put them. Once the players draw close to the last space, they must roll the exact number of spaces it would take to get to the last space and also answer a question correctly to successfully move to it and win the game.


Halfway In Retrospect

On October 10th, the assignment which dictated that we respond to questions about TSIS and then rewrite a I.M. conversation between Romeo and Juliet in a comic. If you look at my blog it’s plain to see that I did not post the assignment, not even late. This is due to the fact that the week this particular assignment fell on was a bad week, a similar scenario happening in other classes as well. Other than that one assignment all assignments have been turned in on time. I’d give myself a C in this aspect.

In the aspect of thoroughness, each post accomplishes what is asked of it. While the wording of the posts do not explicitly state that they are the response to a specific requirement of the assignment at hand, they still allude to those requirements. I’d give myself a B in this aspect.

Each post on the blog only goes as far as the margins of the assignment, not delving any deeper than the task at hand. In the future I will try to go more in depth to the subject and provide my own conclusions. I give myself a D in this aspect.

My posts contain very little to no surface errors or distracting formatting. Where other people’s bright and vivid page layouts may distract the eye and take focus off of the content being read, my layout is simple to the extent that the content being read is some of the only lively content of the page. I’d give myself an A in this aspect.

My blog does display a sense of original thought through both the titles of the posts and the diction that exhibits an understanding of the prerequisite knowledge of the reading material. I give myself an A in this aspect.

Based on the diction and tone of my blog posts it seems as though the posts are directed towards a more educated audience with a vocabulary at least slightly broader than a college freshman. While I’ve been told that I should try to dumb down the diction I use so that it can be better understood by my in-class peers, I refuse to do so. I give myself an A in this aspect.

Through the timeline of my blog, it can be seen that not much has changed as far as the layout goes. The PR class’s responses did not indicate any major push for the layout to change, saying that it made more sense to them after reading my first post. I give myself a B in this aspect.

If I were to choose one post to revise and add to my portfolio it would have to be my post for the Bartholomae piece Inventing the University. If I chose that piece I’d give myself a B in that aspect.

The Not So Sanctity of Marriage

How is marriage different now than what it used to be?

How is marriage different now than what it was during the 1950’s?

How is marriage different now compared to the 1950’s in Western Civilization?

How is marriage different now compared to the 1950’s across societies around the world?

New Age Opinions On Age Old Ideals

At the root of every moot point seen in today’s global forum there is one factor that seems to stand most prominent amongst the rest: religion. Get into any kind of argument with someone and there’s a good chance that they may play the religion card. Religion itself is not meant to be a sort of conveyor belt to raise you up onto a pedestal or anything of the sort; why do people feel the need to believe that this is the case? It all comes down to closed mindedness. The inability to place themselves into other people’s shoes and think as they might causes their minds to be clouded and thus the idea of “they’re unlike me so they don’t deserve to have a say in the world” comes about. Both of the videos I chose poke fun at the hypocrisy in the major religions of the world, mainly Christianity.


George Carlin on Religion and God

If you’re familiar with George Carlin you’ll know that his style is to backhandedly criticize those that he’s talking about in his routine. In this particular routine he starts out by criticizing religious followers in general, stating that “religion has actually convinced people that there’s an invisible man living in the sky…” He delivers it in such a way that he’s obviously mimicking those who are at the butt end of his jokes and establishes how ridiculous they sound. The arrangement of his telling of all the punishment God inflicts on his followers if they are to go against him and then his remark “but he loves you!” further solidifies how ridiculous their beliefs sound to an outsider of their religion. He then attempts to see eye to eye with those who are of some sort of faith and builds his pathos as someone who’s at least tried to step into their shoes. He explains that he tried to believe as they do but as he’s grown older he sees that there is too much ungodly things happening in the world for humanity to have been created in God’s image at all. He appeals to women by labeling God as a man because of man’s proclivity to letting his own domain reduce to shambles much like God’s domain being plagued by war, disease, torture, and the supposed onslaught of the homosexual agenda upon the heterosexual population of America. George then draws from the rhetorical canon of invention by declaring Joe Pesci as someone who is worthy of being praised because of his ability to successfully fulfill prayers that God cannot, namely those that are having to do with the physical world. Here he is implying that you might as well pray to Joe Pesci if what you are praying to has to do with any other sentient being dealt with.


Bill Hicks – Religion

Bill Hicks starts his routine with the declarative statement “I’m getting [that] close to hell right now”, already developing his ethos as someone who has a tendency to speak of religious topics in a joking manner that may lead to his eventual eternal damnation. This prepares the audience for what is to come for the rest of this segment of his routine and gives an idea of where his opinions lie. He draws from the rhetorical canon of memory by pointing out the irony behind the fact that most people who are against any kind of sexually provoking material are of a faith group known as Fundamentalist Christians who hold the belief of “being fruitful and multiplying”. The hypocrisy behind this group’s disapproval raises questions of whether or not Fundamental Christianity is truly a logical belief system and evokes thought in the audience by elaborating on it with his question of “shouldn’t they be for things that cause sexual thought?” He further builds his ethos by telling a story of an experience of his in Alabama where two “rednecks” met him after the show and roughed him up for comments he made about religion during his set. Their saying “we’re Christians and we don’t like what you said” exemplifies the closed mindedness of followers of major religions in the world simply because of the vast majority of their peers who have similar views and the fact that those who do not think likewise are the minority compared to the followers of different beliefs systems.

Graduating Stereotype

Graduation day: a seemingly infallible day that will remain to be viewed as such just as it has since the beginning of public education. But as Maya Angelou’s Graduation makes evident, the ceremony’s reputation of infallibility and the series of events depicted in Graduation aren’t quite equal. Set in 1940 in Stamps, Arkansas, Dr. Angelou depicts the events leading up to and during her Middle School graduation ceremony, remembering both the joy and bitter disgust towards these events. Much like the civil rights movement as a whole, that day was a roller coaster, jam packed with both the triumph and dejection observed throughout the movement.

Dr. Angelou begins by painting a picture of the excitement felt by everyone in Stamps, and not just those that are graduating. Schoolchildren and adults who “were years removed from their own day of glorious release” (par. 1) alike felt the electric buzz in the air as the days persist to the defining day that they were all looking forward to. When the day finally arrived the “sunlight was itself young, and the day had none of the insistence maturity would bring it in a few hours” (par. 19-20). All was right with the world. That is until the ceremony itself where the ugliness that showed itself plain as day beyond those walls began to creep inside but was almost instantly cast out. Edward Donleavy and Henry Reed are the two responsible for allowing that ugliness to creep in and also for subsequently casting it out, respectively.

Donleavy’s speech immediately followed the principal’s message on Booker T. Washington and friendship (par. 31), a more than typical choice of topics for the occasion. Riddled with patronization and the subtle yet blatant racism that defined the era, Donleavy’s speech, which could be chalked up to nothing more than a simple stop on his campaign trail, droned on about the series of improvements that the Central School was to receive — Central naturally being the white school — in the coming years (par. 37). He went on about the white children growing up to become scientists, philosophers, doctors, anything to progress humanity on the destined path manifest in all white human beings, whereas the colored males would become the next great athletes to show their physical strength on the playing field (par. 40). Nothing more, nothing less. It is obvious to see that he feels like the black sheep in the herd and doesn’t particularly care anything about giving any sort of riveting account meant to inspire by any means; he just wants to go in, give his spiel, and get the hell out without even attempting to thank the audience or students seated behind him for their time. Which is exactly what he did.

Later in the ceremony, Henry Reed, the valedictorian, begins his speech quoting Hamlet’s soliloquy, asking the audience whether it is better “to be a man, a doer, a builder, a leader, or to be a tool, an unfunny joke, a crusher of funky toadstools” (par. 54). This contradicts what Donleavy’s lofty account led the audience to believe about the potential of colored students (par. 53). Juxtaposed to Donleavy, Reed at first seemed to be regurgitating wishful thoughts of doing something with his life despite his inherent imputation that will render him unable to be anything more than a brute confined to the inner circle of a stadium. But then Reed turned around to face the graduating class of 1940 and began singing the all too familiar composition the Negro nation anthem. The sea of schoolchildren habitually sang along, reveling in the larger than life spectacle they were putting on for the audience. While the last ringing note cascaded through the air Reed bowed his head, said “thank you,” and returned to his seat (par. 60).

It takes a certain kind of perseverance to be able to pick yourself back up after an emotional beat down like Donleavy’s speech and Reed’s followup to it is a beautiful example of how one’s perseverance can inspire many people to pick themselves back up and keep on keeping on. Whether it be the arrest of Rosa Parks or the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., the civil rights movement exemplifies the notion that when the odds are stack against you the last thing to do is accept defeat. If not for paragons like Dr. Angelou and Henry Reed civil rights may still be nothing more than some far fetched fantasy never to leave the confines of the great minds that paved the way for the movement to rock America’s boat and start the domino effect that eventually led to the change that they wanted to see in the world becoming a reality.

Reinventing the University

University students are assigned papers and essays about certain subjects all the time; but what they don’t realize is that the assignment does not stop there. They are at the same time being instructed to consider who the audience to their paper may be and then writing accordingly using the discourse and knowledge at their disposal. But what if the students aren’t very well versed in the subject they are assigned to write about? The answer is very straight forward: fake it ’til you make it. The days of high school that writing 2 pages of solid material and 3 pages of fluff are over; now are the days of actually knowing what you’re talking about, even if you have to pretend like you do.

It seems so tedious, this idea of pretending to be an authority on all things insert-subject-here; however, it can be taught. In Bartholomae’s “Inventing the University”, he explains that basic writers seem unable to mask their true novice standing and instead take upon themselves the persona of the most easily accessible and familiar authoritative figures: teachers. Because of their apprenticed skill set in writing, rather than making “academic conclusions” as a legitimate authority on the matter they make statements more as a parent lecturing at the dinner table. But as long as the writer can acknowledge the audience as members of the academy that have already entered the conversation, their almost talking down at the audience may be able to be overlooked.

Bartholomae continues to point out that because readers can’t telepathically sense the contexts behind the writer’s theses and points of view, it’s necessary to build bridges between the two parties to more successfully get the ideas across being presented in the piece. This exemplifies Bartholomae’s theses in Inventing the University of using discourse to communicate in a writer-to-reader setting through specific discourse to see eye to eye with the reader.

As Bartholomae explained well in depth, sometimes “general commonplaces” and “readily available utterances” just won’t cut it when writing with a certain kind of audience in mind. Because of this, you have to take on the voice of an expert on the matter with all of the discourse and confidence of such. Although basic writers may not be able to take on the task of becoming an expert overnight, it can definitely be learned. After all, every expert started out as something small to begin with.

Fine Arts: A Not Too Shabby Alternative

Imagine a world that all traces of the fine arts were completely forgotten and the idea of culture is stripped of all merit and eminence. If you’ve got an idea of where North Carolina’s public education system is headed you’ll recognize that scenario as something that very well may be the case in the coming years. With the American economy the way it is there seems to be no end to the downsizing and budget cuts in sight so our state government is trying its hardest to make ends meet by slashing funds to public education along with other state funded programs left and right. After making their cost/benefit analysis, public high schools are responding to these cuts by slowly disintegrating arts programs from the curriculum, inching ever closer to the disappearance of these programs altogether.

My own view is that if students aren’t at least given the option to take classes pertaining to alternate forms of expression, like the fine arts, how would they learn to appreciate the plethora of cultures that are very different from our own? A society or government regime that tries to suppress the fine arts robs their people of the intellectual wholeness and open mindedness that is key to maintaining any civilized society. This state of affairs has been seen before in societies such as that of the Nazis and the Soviet Union (M. Streich,, Importance of Fine Arts and Music in the High School Curriculum), both of which democratic America denounces.

Though I concede that it’s important to focus on general education and that these classes may not benefit every single student that passes through the public education system, I still maintain that these extracurricular classes may prove beneficial to a good number of students. For example, in a study titled “The Role of the Fine And Performing Arts in High School Dropout Prevention” by the Center for Music Research at Florida State University, many students who were labeled as at risk of not completing their high school careers attribute their achievement to their participation in the arts programs at their school (T. Hawkins,, Will Less Art and Music in the Classroom Really Help Students Soar Academically?). Considering this, it seems that more often than not the incorporation of fine arts in public high schools help students rather than hurt them.

Although some might object that if it weren’t for fine arts programs students would focus more on their general education classes, I would reply that this is not the case. Many of my friends in high school that took various art classes said that being able to take those classes motivated them more to succeed in all of their classes due to the fact that those precious class periods could be spent focusing on learning and applying what they learn about art rather than worrying about their other classes.

This issue is important because if the fine arts were stripped from high schools that would leave an innumerable amount of people unemployed and struggling to make ends meet. This would cause even more economic instability, causing there to be more budget cuts, leading to the disintegration of more extracurricular classes in high schools.

If not for the fine arts, the history of entire civilizations like Ancient Greece and Roman society may be lost forever and if we are to completely remove classes that teach these subjects from public high schools they may as well not have existed at all. If keeping the youth of America cultured isn’t reason enough to keep the fine arts in schools, then at least think of the impact it will make when the upcoming generations won’t be able to understand and interpret the events depicted in artistic masterpieces, like in the painting Death of Julius Caesar by Vincenzo Camuccini. After all, in the words of George Santayana, “those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.”

Works cited:

Hawkins, Tyleah. “Will Less Art and Music in the Classroom Really Help Students Soar Academically?” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 28 Dec. 2012. Web. 28 Aug. 2013.

Streich, Michael. “Importance of Fine Arts and Music in the High School Curriculum.”Suite101. N.p., 25 Mar. 2013. Web. 28 Aug. 2013.


Hello, my name is Aaron and this is my blog. Either you’re a member of Ms. Browning’s English 101.38 class or by some convoluted route you’ve stumbled upon what seems to be my little slice of internet heaven, at least for this semester.

After much deliberation I decided on the Zoren theme for my blog because I am a strong believer of less is more, especially in how daily life is carried out. It’s simple yet bold and although it may not have the same extravagance of a theme like Nexus, it still accomplishes all that is required of it.

My blog’s background image is a mock-up of ‘the seed of life’, which is a component of the geometrical figure ‘the flower of life’. Although there are multiple geometrical shapes derived from the flower of life, I chose the seed of life because it embodies the notion that to create something on a massive scale (like the fruit of life, which is sometimes referred to as the blueprint of the universe) you must first construct a foundation on which you can build upon. It also implies that although everyone may possess the seed, it’s up to them whether or not they plant it in fertile ground so that it may grow to bear the fruit of a life of knowledge and scholarship.

I hope that you bear with me through this semester so that maybe together we can sow the seeds of life and take our first step towards the fruitful harvest that is to come.