Thursday, February 28, 2008

Rhetorical Analysis

I like to pretend this is mine and my wife’s song. I think it describes marriages in America pretty well.

Pedro the Lion - Options

We were walking, holding hands
With our bare feet in the sand
And the seagulls overhead
When I broke the spell and said

"I could never divorce you
Without a good reason
And though I may never have to
It's good to have options"

But for now, I need you
But for now, I need you
But for now, I need you

But it was only in my head
Because no one ever says
What they really mean to say
When there's so much at stake

So I told her I loved her
And she told me she loved me
And I mostly believed her
And she mostly believed me

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Free Write

I once owned a black 1985 Volkswagen Scirocco. Volkswagen produced this car from about 1974 until about 1989 in the United States; however, they were sometimes hard to come by and quite popular among European/Volkswagen car enthusiasts. In fact, they were so popular that many people wanted to start a Scirocco club, similar to those where the people own Corvettes or Ferraris.

I was approached on countless occasions by strange men who saw me near my car or driving. They would stop whatever they were doing, come up and start conversations about the car. They would always tell me some story about how they used to own one or their friend owned one or their girlfriend’s dad owned one. Then they would proceed to tell me how they want to start a club and they’ve already talked to some other people who own Sciroccos, and we should all get together so we can show off our cars, talk about our cars, make animal sacrifices to the Volkswagen gods, and get Scirocco tattoos all over our forearms and necks.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Volkswagens and I loved my Scirocco. It was a great, reliable little sports car that people sometimes mistook for the Back to the Future car. My whole family loved the car and we all did everything we could to keep it in good condition. Sometimes my dad or brother would drive it on a Saturday or Sunday just to see how many people asked him to join a club too; the weekends brought out most of the maniacs.

I never joined a Scirocco club, much to the disappointment of the strange men and my friends, who just wanted me to go see what the meetings were like so we could make fun of them. I guess I just didn’t love me car as much as some, I guess. To this day I still look for Sciroccos, they’re not hard to miss, and if I ever get the chance to talk to the owner I always ask them to join a Scirocco club, just to make sure everyone who owns that particular kind of car gets to have the same experience I had. I always get looked at funny, but I assume it’s the same look I gave the others before me.

P.S. The license plate on my Scirocco contained the numbers 566. These numbers were the inspiration to perhaps one of the most demonic bands to date: 566 and the Mopeds of the Apocalypse, Satan’s own doomsday band.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Rhetorical Analysis

Pedro the Lion – Never Leave a Job Half Done

“Blood stains on the carpet, blood stains on my hands. Drag her toward the kitchen, hide the evidence. Oh, the toil a lie can bring, quitters never know. But lies can be the perfect things, if they never show. The crisis posed a question, just beneath the skin. The virtue in my veins replied, 'Quitters never win'. She almost ruined everything. Oh, the toil a lie can bring, quitters never know. But lies can be the perfect things, if they never show.”

This song, which is about a husband who has just murdered his wife and is now trying to cover up what he did, poses perhaps two arguments. By simply reading straight through the lyrics, the argument is that if you lie you can get away with it. People, who are quitters, don’t see a lie through until the end and don’t know that “lies can be the perfect things, if they never show.” However, from the tone and certain words in song, it seems as though this is a very cynical argument. David Bazan is most likely making the argument that even though quitters never win, that phrase doesn’t apply to all situations.

Because this is a song, the intended audience would likely be anybody who listened. The intended audience is also those who have the audacity to say that “winners never quit” or “never leave a job half done.” Obviously, these are not eternal truths or sayings.

The cynical nature of this argument is very effective. By juxtaposing the phrase “quitters never win” with a situation where a man is trying to hide the evidence of killing his wife brilliantly shows paradoxical nature of all encompassing phrases working in real life situations. By also suggesting that the “virtue in my veins” told him that quitters never win also adds to the cynicism.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Technical Application - Introductions

As Susanna Clarke took off her high school letterman’s jacket to don her favorite college sweatshirt, she gave herself a look in the rearview mirror of her Mercedes Benz CLK550 and decided she was ready. She confidently walked into the admissions office of the very college written on her sweatshirt. She’d hadn’t turned in her college application yet, but decided that an early visit to get to know the university officials wouldn’t hurt. Luckily, when she walked in, several people were free and she was able to talk in great length with each of them about her interest and desire to attend. Susanna felt pleased as she walked out of the office into the fresh, spring air towards her car. Once she had sat in the driver’s seat, she grabbed a list from her purse and crossed off the number one spot. She took off the sweatshirt and then grabbed another from the back. A different sweatshirt and a different college name. She started the engine and thought about the long road ahead of her. Three more colleges to visit and three more meetings where she’d have to feign a smile, excitement and interest. Even though she hated doing it, she knew it would help her chances of getting a good education. At least she was traveling in style and always knew she had the financial support of her parents. What she didn’t know was the situation of William Golding, who didn’t have the money to do what Susanna was doing to sway a potential admission decision his way. He was leaving his chances only with his application and fate. What he didn’t realize was fate has a way of being manipulated by unfair and unethical admissions procedures.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Free Write

Living in this landlocked, useless state, I am often allotted a large amount of time to reminisce about my previous residences in far grander places. When I was about eight years old my father was enlisted in the Navy and we were all stationed in Anacortes, Washington, a city near the San Juan and Orcas Islands in Puget Sound. We lived not far from several piers and docks, which allowed my father and me to discover several interesting hobbies, one of which was shrimping. The salt air and abundance of fresh, locally-caught salmon and crustaceans instilled a lifelong love for seafood in me, and when my father and I found a way to get free seafood, I assumed I had died and gone to fish heaven, if God would allow such a place to exist.

One day while we were walking along the wharfs to see what the fishermen had caught that day, a grizzled, portly man stinking of fish pulled up a curious looking contraption attached to a rope from below the pier, full of plump shrimp. Next to him was a bucket brimming with the same type of shrimp. As we got closer I realized what the astute fisherman had done to catch these delectable sea-treats. He was using an empty, one gallon milk jug. He cut a large hole in the top of the container, but was careful not to cut too close to the handle because that was where the rope was to be attached. He then cut numerous slits around the entire container, small enough that the shrimp could not escape. We were told that under the particular pier we were standing on was a common feeding ground for the shrimp. The trick was to lower the trap right next to the pier piling, which was where the shrimp congregated. The hole in the top of the milk jug allowed the shrimp to swim into the container to, but as you pulled the trap up from underneath the water, the holes allowed the water to leave, but not the shrimp. It was simple, inexpensive and quite ingenious. The only missing piece was the bait. What would possible tantalize shrimp enough to swim into a milk jug? As I asked the question, the fisherman seized me with his filthy, rough hands and pulled me close to his parched, cracked lips. I could smell his foul breath laced with rum and jerky. In a spit-filled hiss I received my answer. Canned cat food. I looked at him with bewildered eyes as a maniacal laugh erupted from his sunburned face.

My father and I speedily left the pier, not only to get away from the lunatic, but to also go home to make the shrimp trap and try it for ourselves. We took a trip to the pier the next day and sure enough the trap worked. The canned cat food proved to be irresistible and the cat was eager to give up her canned dinner in exchange for fresh shrimp.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Technical Application

Here is what I’m leaning towards for the upcoming paper:


Allowing the practice of demonstrated interest to continue in the college admission process (A) on the overall student population (B)

Allowing the practice of demonstrated interest to continue in the college admission process will negatively affect the diversity of the student population by giving an unfair advantage to those with money and connections to college and university officials (C)


This paper will first and foremost be targeted at university officials and administrators who are directly involved in the college admissions process. This paper is meant to curb their continuing usage of demonstrated interest, and expose the disparities that are being created between the applicants who are accepted and rejected. This paper is also meant to persuade potential third-party influencers, such as high school college advisors, club presidents and private school officials who are still pushing this practice among their own student body as a viable way to help your chances of getting into the university of your choice.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Rhetorical Analysis - Research

Demonstrated interest - High school students express their desire to attend a particular college by visiting the admissions office, introducing themselves to the admissions officers and trying to attract the attention of admissions personnel by performing stunts like sending photographs of themselves wearing the college’s sweatshirt. Officials at 56 percent of the 595 colleges surveyed by the National Association for College Admissions Counseling reported that they consider demonstrated interest as a factor when selecting students to accept.
This trend is disturbing. The practice of demonstrating interest is largely limited to higher-income students attending high schools that are geared towards preparing students for college. Low-income applicants cannot always afford to visit numerous colleges to meet with admissions officers. Many public high schools do not have college counselors or guidance counselors who are knowledgeable about the most recent developments in the college admissions game, so most public high school students are not as aware that they should indicate in this manner their interest in the colleges they want to attend.

Some concerns about the growing importance of the demonstrated interest factor are:
• It is helping colleges ensure a higher yield ratio in a skewed manner,
• It is biased against students from low-income households who might not be able to afford frequent trips to campus or have e-mail access,
• It is turning the whole admissions process into more of a game.
Despite the concerns, fewer and fewer students are willing to ignore the demonstrated interest factor these days.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Free Write

Shortly after getting my license at the age of 16 I found myself out of work. At the time, I rarely had more than a few dollars to my name, but my lack of money did not curb my insatiable desire to drive. Even though my car almost continuously read “E” on the gas gauge and I ignored it to pursue my young, teenage dreams.

I was driving one sunny, Friday afternoon and notice that, as usual, I had barely any gas. I had enough to buy a couple of gallons, but since it was Friday I obviously had more pressing financial endeavors in store in the coming hours. I shirked the gas station and continued on my way when I felt the car begin to jerk slightly. I stepped on the gas to find that instead of moving forward, the unresponsive engine was slowing bringing me to a stop. I couldn’t believe it. I had always gone this far before. When I looked at my surroundings I was shocked to learn that I stalled in the middle of the intersection. I quickly jumped out and began pushing with no one willing to help me – everyone seemed to already know what was going on and decided they should punish me for my teenage stupidity.

There are two key positions when pushing a car. One to steer the vehicle and one to push. Both are equally important, as I quickly learned. With only myself pushing the car and no one in the driver’s seat, my car began veering off and, before I realized where I was going with the car, we both ended up in the ditch on the side of the road.

Luckily for me, when I walked to a near by grocery store to phone for a tow truck I stumbled upon my grandfather buying cottage cheese and lottery tickets. He, of course, help me out, called and paid for a tow truck and bought me some much needed petrol.

Everything turned out OK in the end, or so I thought, however when I showed up for school on Monday I learned that several “influential” students saw my little incident and began spreading the news of my idiocy. When I went to church on Sunday I also learned that the bishop’s wife had seen me actually push my car into the ditch, yet did nothing. Thanks, sister.
P.S. The picture is an accurate representation of the type of car I had when I was 16 - A 1981 Ford Fairmont stationwagon.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Rhetorical Analysis - For the Motherland!

This Russian poster, which says "Under Lenin's banner - forward, for the motherland, for our victory," is a striking example of communist propaganda. The main purpose of the argument is to motivate, inspire and encourage those going to fight in World War 2; however, its main argument is to fight in the war for communism, the USSR and, most importantly, Lenin, who has given the people everything they have.


Of course, this poster is aimed at those Russians going to fight, but because we know that this is communist propaganda, the poster is also aimed at everyone who has or could have something to do with the war.


The credibility of this poster depends on how you look at it. To someone outside of Russia, this looks completely bogus, but to an actual citizen of the country, during the same time period, this was probably completely credible. Under communism, since everything you have and all the information you receive comes from the state, the people to trust them, especially under Stalin who would most likely send them to a gulag if they didn’t.

The theme is very emotional to Russian people and, during this time, would be effective at stirring up both sentimental and patriotic feelings alike.

Logically, this makes sense. With everyone working together, the motherland is stronger and we can achieve victory. This poster has also replaced an “under God” slogan with “under Lenin” so, technically, those fighting are still possibly protected by a higher power.


Again, this depends on who you are. To Americans this seems ridiculous. To Russians, however, this would be very effective at the time. The communist propaganda machine was one of the most effective in the world, and was great at deluding the masses into thinking like the state. This poster conjures up incredibly patriotic emotions and would convince a people to die for a cause.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Technical Application - Style or Letter From a Concerned Owner


I’ve come to the end of my rope, friend. Your lack of respect is astonishing. As I look back on my pain filled days, in that hour of quiet meditation we all find when the suffering prevents us from sleep, you have invariably caused me the most anguish. When you heard my screams, did you feel joy? When you cut into my flesh, did you laugh? When you saw the streams of blood on my hands and face, did you rejoice? I have tolerated your malfeasance long enough. You will pay the price for your sins. Whether it is by my hand or the hand of your Maker, you will suffer the consequences of your actions.


I’ve come to the end of my rope, friend. I am astonished at your lack of respect. As I look back on my pain filled days, in that hour of quiet meditation we all find when the suffering prevents us from sleep, you have invariably caused me the most anguish. When you heard my screams, did you feel joy? When you cut into my flesh, did you laugh? When you saw the streams of blood on my hands and face like the varicose veins of a World War 2 veteran, did you rejoice? I have tolerated your malfeasance long enough. A price must be paid for your sins. Whether it is by my hand or the hand of your Maker, you will suffer the consequences of your actions. Not only will your guilt weigh upon your soul like the world upon Atlas’ shoulders, but your eternal salvation shall be in jeopardy.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Free Write

I was recently thinking back to time when I lived in Russia while I was doing missionary work. In a city I was living in called Novokuibishevsk I came in contact with a very strange man around Christmas time. He was very amiable person, full of joy and happiness. His character was magnified by a great bushy, round belly, great stature and large bundle of hair he kept under a beanie. Before talking to him I noticed that he always smiled and was always cordial to everyone he met, which was quite uncommon in comparison with his comrades. However, not everyone was glad to see him because also unlike many Russians, he refused to wear clothes in the winter except for a pair of boots, gloves, bicycle shorts and his beanie. He didn’t look especially cold and, to great astonishment, he wasn’t shivering or frostbitten. As I conversed with him, I learned that he had been healed by a priest at the local Russian Orthodox cathedral and was now immune to all disease, sickness or ailment. He also informed me that he walked around in the winter practically naked to be a witness to all that the Russian Orthodox Church had the power to work miracles. He had no interest in hearing about my religion, but was happy to talk to me just the same. He invited me to walk with him for a while, but I figured that it was best not to support another religion while I was trying to support my own, and I had no desire to strip down to my underwear and walk around town, which was his stipulation to the endeavor. After parting ways I saw him around town quite a few times. In the pure white, Russian winter, one couldn’t help but notice the pale, fleshy figure lumbering down the sidewalks. I left that city about a month later and never saw the man again. However, every time it snows I get a little smile on my face and picture an oversized, hairy Russian man wearing nothing but bicycle shorts and boots coming my way.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Technical Application - Style

At any new job you are usually forced to get to know your new co-workers, and they, in turn, are forced to get to know you. Usually the conversations begin simply with questions like how old are you, where are you from, and what do you like to do for fun. There tends to be a natural progression in the co-worker relationship. As you know your fellow employees better, you give up more information about yourself. This is how the rest of society functions and I believe this is how your job should function as well. As I began my job at the movie theater, a job I was forced to take when I couldn’t find employment anywhere else in this God-forsaken city, I figured this would be the likely scenario.

“So I think I’m getting fired tonight. I got suspended from work for a few weeks for swearing at a customer and this is my first day back, but the manager just found out I was stealing money so I don’t know what’s going to happen. What’s your name? Are you new?”

This was the first thing said to me by a co-worker on my first day. The second day was a little better, but not by much.

“Hi, my name is Jane, what’s yours? Are you new?”

“My name is Jordan, and yeah I’m new. How long have you worked here?”

“Well, I’ve worked here ever since my boyfriend went to jail for selling drugs. He got arrested about 2 and a half years ago, so I guess I’ve worked here a little less than that. I don’t plan on working here much longer though. I’m pregnant with my boyfriend’s brother’s baby and I shouldn’t be here when he gets out or there’ll probably be some trouble.”

The third day left a more lasting impression, however, after I met another co-worker. The first thing out of his mouth was this:

“So what’s your favorite movie? Mine is Saw or maybe Saw 2. Do you collect anything? I collect swords and knives. I have over a hundred swords and knives under my bed and my mom doesn’t know anything about them. Sometimes I take them to school with me in my back-pack. I also make secret compartments on my jackets so I can stick knives in them without anyone knowing that they’re in there.”

After that encounter I began to isolate myself at work. I decided it would be best if I didn’t know anything at all about my fellow co-workers. At the very least, I wouldn’t have to go to court to testify.