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English Class Blog

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Should the NCAA football decide its champion by a playoff? In my opinion that would be a huge mistake. Adding a playoff for the top eight teams would mean that in order to win the championship a team could conceivibly be forced to play 16 games in one season. That may not seem like it is a lot however, adding two games to a season is a huge deal. Many teams now a days play 11-13 games in a season, including a bowl game. By adding these two games athletes are forced to play two more grueling games that wear down their bodies faster. Many players start out in middle school by playing around 7 games, in high school that goes up to 9 games, in college its around 11 and finally the NFL plays 16 games. By slowly transitionining the players up to 16 it is a lot easier on their bodies than just jumping from 9 to 16 games in one season. Some might argue that this will get rid of all the controversy over who the national champion is, such as with this year with USC and LSU. The problem with saying that is there is going to be the same problems with trying to fill the eight slots for the playoff. What if there are ten teams that deserve it? Then they can fix this by making the field 16 teams, which will lead to more teams being included the next controversy. Eventually all this adjusting could end up be a 64 team playoff like NCAA basketball, which would be completely insane to do for football. Teams would have to play up to six extra games to win the championship. For me the best system is the current system. I'll admit it, I was pissed off when USC wasn't in the title game last year. However, the LSU-Oklahoma game was great to watch, because I LOVE defense, which made up for USC not being in it. The BCS has lead to such championship games as Miami- Ohio State and Oklahoma- Flordia State, both of which were some of the greatest games ever. If there is a split national championship then there is a split national champion, I don't see a problem with that at all.

Go Red Wings!

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

The best movie that I have ever seen would have to be Gladiator with Russell Crowe. What makes the movie so great is that the movie is able to evoke a lot of emotions during the movie. Everybody that watches the movie ends up hating Commodus because he is effectively portrayed as a very bad person. When he is finally killed in the end it makes you feel good that Maximus won. However, when Maximus dies a little bit later, the feelings plummet to sadness over such a great man dying in the end. The rollercoaster of emotions throughout the movie add the overall experience of the movie and make it so much better than other, similar stories. The story is also important to making the movie so good. This is a classic revenge story, which a lot of people, including myself, enjoy. This story is very easy to follow, about a man who loses his family, becomes a gladiator and ends up killing the man who ordered the death of his family. The story doesn't make the viewer think at all and allows them to get into the story more. Due to connection that the viewer creates with the characters and the easy to follow storyline, Gladiator is one the best movies I have ever seen.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

The article that I looked at was in the Daily Cardinal and it is an opinion letter called "Thanks to alders, liberty goes up in smoke" by Eric Kleefeld. This letter was extremely well written in my opinion. It is clear right away that the writer is opposed to the smoking ban that the city council instituted in bars. There is a great example of a counter argument in here. He gives an example of the positive from this ban, which is reducing the amount of second hand smoke. He then points out that the ban would cause the second hand smoke to move outside where it will be a bigger annoyance to the people walking past the bar and on State Street with a lot of pedestrians that could be an even worse thing. By putting this counter argument in the writer is able to better point out a flaw in one of the major reasons for the law, reducing the second hand smoke in the bar. The author also puts in that there was an alternative, which was voted down by the city council. By saying that this more moderate ban was voted down, the author is trying to show the reader how uncompromising the city council was in their vote. The author could have better supported his point by getting a quote from someone that voted against the law, or get some reaction from bar owners or people that this affect. By using these it would better show how this law was a bad idea and how it will negatively affect the city. Overall I think that this article was written very well.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Today the United States Supreme Court decided to reject the appeal that Maurice Clarett had brought to them. In their ruling they upheld the NFL’s right to not allow players,who have not been three years out of high school from entering the league. Clarett is now not allowed to enter the draft which is held this weekend. The Supreme Court was right to uphold the NFL rule. The rule was not some arbitrary rule that the head honchos in the NFL decided to add to punish young athletes. This rule was drafted to make sure that kids do not throw their life away when they try to enter the NFL but are not ready. This rule can prevent the problems that the NBA faces when a high school kid or freshman is drafted and turns out to not be ready to play with the professionals. This rule was approved by the NFL Player’s Union, which is a key reason why the rule has been upheld in other court rulings. Since this rule was approved by the Player’s Union in the previous collective bargaining agreement this rule does not fall under the Sherman Antitrust Act, which Clarett had argued. Unfortunately the biggest loser in this ruling is not Clarett, but Mike Williams from USC. He was projected to be a top 10 pick in this draft and he therefore signed an agent. With this ruling Mike Williams cannot enter the draft and he cannot return to college because he has signed an agent, which is against NCAA regulations. In my opinion the NCAA should make an exemption for Williams, since he signed an agent and tried to enter the draft, when he was allowed to after a successful court challenge of the rule, which was later overturned.

Go Red Wings!

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

In my opinion the purpose of General Education requirements is to help broaden the skills of college students. By doing this the University is trying to create better citizens by expanding their knowledge base. If students only took major specific courses they may be very good in that area but lacking knowledge in other areas. I am a physics major and probably wouldn't have taken English 100 if it was not required as part of Comm. A. However, in this class I have learned a lot about how to improve my writing. Even though the papers that I write in later science classes may be of a different style than the ones I write now, their will be several qualities that they share in making a good essay. History and social science classes can help to expand the students knowledge in global issues which will become important in later life. By taking these classes students can better understand why things are the way they are in the world. They can also use the lessons they learned to change the world for the better. Ethnic classes help students better understand other cultures and reduce the amount of racism and hate that is everywhere in this country. I think that by creating these requirements the University is helping students succeed later in life and be better citizens in this country.

Sunday, April 18, 2004

Band of Brothers is one of the most powerful and important shows ever created. It is about the experiences that Easy company of the United States army face in World War II. It covers the entire experiences that the company faces from the tough training in boot camp to the struggles they faced in defending against the German onslaught in the forests during the Battle of the Bulge and the horrors of them discovering the Nazi concentration camps near the end of the war. The story is brilliantly told through the perspectives of the many people in the company. By telling the stories of all the individuals it allows the viewer to create emotional connections with the characters and for the entire episode you feel what the soldiers feel and understand how tough it is to fight in a war. When they lose a friend in battle the viewer feels the same sadness that the soldiers felt. By watching this show I gained a better appreciation of what the soldiers go through not just in World War II but in all the other wars and what they are going through today. If more people watched this show the country would be a lot better place. By better understanding the sacrifices the soldiers endured you will have more respect for just how important it is to respect this country and those people that risk their lives everyday all over the world to spread freedom to the rest of the world. The next Band of Brother airs Monday at 8 pm on the History channel.

Thursday, April 15, 2004

What is the best television show ever? In my opinion the best TV show ever would have to be The Simpsons. The Simpsons is one of the longest running television series ever. It is also one of the funniest series ever with timeless jokes and it still maintains a high level of comedic genius in its shows even after 13 plus seasons. The Simpsons has become a very important part of our culture. Bart Simpson was named one of the 100 most important people of the twentieth century. Before The Simpsons, who would have imagined that a cartoon character could be so influential in this country. If you asked anybody in America who the Simpsons are they would be able to tell you about Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie. With such classic characters as Barney, Moe and Mr. Burns, The Simpsons have appeal for just about everybody. How many other shows can say they have had Tony Blair, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and many other famous people appear on the show. By having so many stars appear, it shows just how popular The Simpsons are, not just in America but all over the world. Watching the episodes on DVD from seasons 1-3, still make me laugh no matter how many times I watch an episode. I could watch Simpsons all the time and I know I would never get sick of it. How many other shows can you say that about?

Tuesday, April 13, 2004

McCloud's main goal in writing Understanding Comics is to help the common person better understand the history of comics and explain why comics do not deserve the stigma that they have received over the years. McCloud showed how the comic genre is more than just a simple story with some pretty pictures. He probably hoped that by helping the public better understand the comic book genre that it would allow comic books to gain legitimacy as a medium and increase sales. I think that McCloud was very successful in destroying the stigma around comics. By showing how some comics, such as Maus, can be more complex than normal comic books the reader gains a better sense about the depth that comic book creators put into their stories. By reading this I gained a new sense about the deeper meanings in comic books and that they are not child stories. By reading this book I also learned more about how language and pictures can be related. Before I read it I never knew that those two were so closely related. It helped to show me how the pictures and the language/text used in the comic books are equally important in most cases.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

I may be in the minority in Madison but I believe that the war in Iraq was justified. Sadam Hussein was an evil tyrant that instituted mass murders and created political turmoil in the region that ruined many chances for peace in the middle east. In the war against Iran in the early 1980's, Hussein used his chemical weapons and other deadly weapons against the Iranians and killed thousands of soldiers and even more innocent civilians that happened to be in the cross fire. Hussein used this war as an excuse to kill hundreds of thousands of Kurdish people just because they were of a different ethnic group. He continued to exterminate the Kurdish people throughout his reign of terror. Hussein was as bad a mass murderer as Slobidan Milosevic who exterminated many people during his reign of terror against people in the Baltic region. The UN supported a war against Milosevic, as did many countries in the world. However, when the United Stated went to war against Iraq many countries did not support us because of a fear of losing oil. The way these countries, such as France, acted is very hypocritical. Through their actions they are saying that the international human rights rules don't apply to a country if you happen to have a large supply of a valuable resource. Hussein was a very big reason for the large instability in the middle east. Right after the Hussein regime came into power in Iraq, they have been a public supporter of terrorist groups that attack Israel and western countries. Iraq supplied money and weapons to several terrorist groups who then used them to attack Israel. Iraq may not have supported Al Quaeda as the Bush administration has stated, there is no doubt that Iraq has supported groups whose main goal is the instability and destruction of Israel. By getting rid of the Hussein regime we were able to take a giant step forward in getting rid of terrorist groups and stabilizing the middle east. The Bush administration may not have gone to war for the right reasons but there is no doubt that the world is better off with Hussein out of power.

Thursday, April 08, 2004

One way this paper was easier than the first one is that there is a lot of more to talk about with Maus than with the first paper's court case. The article that I picked was pretty good in its analysis of Maus's chronology, it was very thourough supporting the claims. That made it difficult to find flaws in the reasoning. However, I was able to find a couple flaws and write about them. The problem was that my paper was only 5 pages long when I got done talking about the main claims. So it took me a while to think of stuff to discuss to add length to may paper without making it seem watered down with unimportant details. The important thing I learned in writing this paper is not to write it all in one day. I wrote the rough draft the day before it was due and by the time I was writing the final couple pages it didn't make much sense when I read it later. Next time I have to make sure to work on it before so that I can write at a good pace and not feel rushed. By doing this my writing will be a lot better and make more sense.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

With the recent conclusion of the NCAA men's basketball tournment there has been discussion on whether college athletes should be paid while they are in college. I say they receive enough compensation already and that they should not be paid. Scholarship athletes who attend division one schools recieve free tuition, free housing and their food paid for. All of these items are not cheap. Attending UW Madison costs over ten thousand dollars per year. Some may argue that since schools recieve millions of dollars from lucrative television contracts and tickets sales, that student-athletes should be allowed to see more of the profits. CNN reports that the NCAA recieves 6 billion dollars over eleven years from CBS to broadcast the NCAA men's basketball tournament. These funds are distributed among the participating colleges who then use them as they see fit. Those funds help the university pay for athletic scholarships and maintaining proper athletic facilities. Many athletic departments end up losing money, such as the UW for the past couple years. These athletes get one of the greatest gifts available, the oppurtunity to attend that school and get a degree that will allow them to get high paying jobs later in life, if they do not leave college early for the pros. If they do leave for the professional leagues, most athletes recieve millions of dollars per year, even if they do not start on the team. College gives athletes an oppurtunity to show off their skills to pro scouts and cash in if they end up signing with a team. If colleges start paying athletes then they will start falling into the same problems that have plagued pro sports. I personally enjoy watching college football more than pro football because many of the athletes on the field are playing because they love the game and not because they want cash a big fat paycheck at the end of the week.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

I believe that having an idea or purpose is more important to creating a piece of artwork than considering the form first. Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan are two great examples of having a purpose and then creating a piece of artwork. They were able to create social change by spreading their ideas through the music they wrote. As a result of the messages they put into their songs, they were able to reach a wide array of fans throughout the country. Having a meaning is very important to a piece of art because art is able to bring about change. It seems that many of the greatest musicians of all time have used their music to bring about change. Johnny Cash used his music to fight for the lower class and the equal rights that they deserved. Merle Haggard created the classic Okie from Muskogee to bring a voice to the majority of Americans who did not approve of the counter culture that college students created, the culture that Dylan helped to create. All these musicians started with an idea first and then based their form of presentation on that. Many pieces of artwork needs to have a tangible meaning in order to be appealing. An exception to this is the work of MC Escher. He created his artwork to challenge our perceptions of what art is. The beautiful complexities of his work makes his work enjoyable even though their is no real meaning behind it.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

I have noticed a couple classmates argue which season is the best. In my opinion the best season would have to be fall. Fall is such a wonderful time to be outdoors and enjoy nature in Wisconsin. People come from all over the country to enjoy the Wiscosnin fall, escpecially the leaves that turn into a beautiful array of colors for a few weeks. There is nothing better than fishing on a small lake in fall, with the leaves changing colors and the cool autumn breeze blowing. You can spend all day at the lake and it doesn't matter if you catch any fish, being able to hang out with friends and family and enjoy the little things in life makes it a wonderful time. Then there is the annual deer hunting tradition. Families come together for one week around Thanksgiving and head out into the woods to try and shoot the big one. Often times they come up empty handed and that spawns the fantastic stories about the 30 pointer that they just missed. When the snow finally comes down it is snowmobile time and it is still warm enough to enjoy it. The many trails around the state allow the rider to enjoy the vast and beautiful scenery that Wisconsin offers. Fall is such a wonderful season in Wisconsin and it allows people to enjoy the little things in life, like nature, family and friends.

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