Spring Break, Finally

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It is finally time for a break. The week everyone has been waiting for to come. I'm glad to have a week off. I am going to enjoy every single day. This semester so far has been pretty good and it is going by at a moderate speed. Once school starts back after the break, hopefully the semester will pick up and before we all know it, the summer will be here and school will be out for the year. Not only will school be out, in this case, but I would have made it through by FIRST year of college at the University of Memphis. This would be a very happy time to celebrate.

My last two posts were not about the semester's topic, but I wanted to share a favorite song I hear listen to throughout the week and then there are two letters I found good and that happens in someone's life one way or another. The word we had to post about this week, I did my best to write about it before reading the article; however, I could not find the word in the article. That could have helped me out a lot in helping me with writing about the word and how it relates to the article. As I finish my reflection for this week, I hope everyone enjoyed blogging, had a good day and did well on any exams they had to take before the break and if not you do well on it after the break.

Enjoy your break everyone!
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Dear Prudence

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The Dear Prudence column was updated today. I usually read the letters whenever I visit the Slate magazine. Some are interesting whiles you can relate to, but this week there are two letters that I want to share since they deal with young people.

LETTER 1
Dear Prudie,
I am 19 years old and doing my best to live with multiple anxiety disorders. My dad is very smart, with a type A personality and a successful, high-pressure job. I am very shy and sensitive, and cannot work in such a setting. If I did, I would get a panic attack every time I did something wrong for fear that everyone would be mad at me. The only jobs I feel comfortable doing are those with children and a few motherly adults. Right now, I have four such jobs as a preschool aide: three of them are one day a week, and the other is as often as they need me. All of the adults I work with constantly tell my parents how well I'm doing at work. Yet my dad is unhappy. All he says when I mention these accomplishments is, "That's great, but you should be doing more. You need a full-time job that's challenging and that you can learn valuable skills from." Whenever I tell him how much his put-downs hurt me, he just says he wants the best for me—even though his idea of what's best is way too much for me to handle. How do I let him know how much it hurts when he shows that he cares more about my status than my happiness?
—Can't Measure Up

Dear Can't,
Your father is dealing with anxiety problems, too. He wants so desperately to feel that his smart, lovely daughter is on a path that will lead to her being able to support and protect herself as she goes out into a tough world that he loses sight of how hard he is on you. It's great that you can tell him both about the praise you get at work and that it hurts when he doesn't seem to appreciate how others see you. Being able to assert yourself with him is good practice. And it's not that I want to pile on, but I also think your father is making a valid point. It's great that you feel your niche in life is working with preschoolers. But I agree with your father that you should make it a real career choice. Bouncing around in a series of part-time jobs is not going to give you the work record or the stability you need to advance in your career. Address what is holding you back from finding a full-time job and from continuing your education, so that you can thrive as a professional. I hope you are under treatment for your anxiety problems. If not, you need to look into possible medications and therapy. Cognitive therapy can be an effective treatment for panic and anxiety disorders. Don't do it to prove something to your father. Do it so that you can give your best to the children and get the most out of your life.
—Prudie


LETTER 2
Dear Prudence,I have a question regarding etiquette for my high-school graduation. Space is limited, and graduates are given only eight tickets. I was going to invite my mother and father (they are divorced, and my father is remarried), my younger sister, and three grandparents. This leaves me two tickets. My father has bluntly informed me that since I am inviting him, I should invite his wife, too. I do not have a close relationship with her and do not consider her a member of my family. She does not fit in with my mother's family in the least, and inviting her would mean not inviting my aunt and uncle, with whom I am much closer. I view the ceremony as a celebration of my graduation and those who helped me get there. My father and stepmother have been married for only a few years and, while she thinks we are indeed best friends, I do not view her as someone I should invite. How do I approach this with my father?
—Irritated Graduate

Dear Irritated,
Despite what I'm sure is an excellent education, some information has apparently been withheld from you: Your stepmother is part of your family. And now that you're about to become an adult, it's time you acted like one. You don't even attempt to make a case against inviting your stepmother; you don't say she always gets drunk and makes a scene, nor do you say she is verbally abusive to your family members. Your stepmother actually thinks that during the "only a few years" that she has been married to your father, her attempts to win your friendship have worked. Well, even if they haven't, she is your father's wife and your stepmother, and on your big day, you need to be big and graciously invite her. Since space is so restricted, maybe your family could have a small party afterward and invite the family members who couldn't come to the ceremony. Not only will they understand, some will even be grateful they weren't required to sit through the graduation.
—Prudie

To read more letters and current events in this everyday changing world, visit slate.com.
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That's What Friends Are For - Dionne Warwick

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I know I am gearing off topic for the last few days before Spring Break, but I just couldn't feel the mood to write and plus I was not motivating myself to write. Here is one song that I enjoy listening to. It is a favorite song that I have on my iPod Nano.


And I never thought I'd feel this way
And as far as I'm concerned

I'm glad I got the chance to say That I do believe I love you
And if I should ever go away
Well then close your eyes and try
To feel the way we do today and then if you can remember
Keep smilin' keep shinin'
Knowing you can always count on me for sure
That's what friends are for
For good times and bad times
I'll be on your side forever more
That's what friends are for

Well you came and opened me
And now there's so much more I see
And so by the way I thank you
And then for the times when we're apart
Well then close your eyes and know
These words are coming from my heart
And then if you can remember

Keep smilin' keep shinin'
Knowing you can always count on me for sure
That's what friends are for
For good times and bad times
I'll be on your side forever more
That's what friends are for
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Paradigm

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I have not read the article "First, Kill the School Boards." However, I read half of two articles from the Atlantic Magazine. I know I done a better job reading them, but I did enough to get Wendy's initials. Today we did a roundtable of all our topics and shared with the class where we are at with these papers. It was enjoyable to finally seer her baby. It was cool and helped the class period progress. There is this word we are to know the meaning of it and then discuss a bit about it on the blogs. This is my response to what Wendy wanted us to post on our blog about a certain word. I hope this is something she is looking for or meant to go in this direction.

The word is paradigm means to use an object or concept as a model or some sort of pattern. It is a unique style. This word has several different meanings, but this is the one meaning that we are dealing with in these articles. I have not completely read all of the articles, so I can really narrow what I would like to say down one aspect or perspective. So for now, the word is being used in context as a generalization. To use this concept in our papers is to say that I should use a patter or standard style of writing my paper this semester and in future papers. I like this word and how it rolls off the tongue. To use a model or set pattern is having a sense of style and purpose in writing. This allows people to think beyond just reading it for entertainment, but to gain something useful. I can always write using a model or something of the like in order for me to present everything together and increase awareness locally.
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I'm a Student Blogger

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Usually Mondays and Fridays is when I encountered the challenge of what to post on here. This Monday is a different story. I found a topic that I have found to have meaning; therefore, I decided to write my true feelings about blogging, using this in class, and the course itself.

When I first came to the class and started hearing about having blogs as apart of English class, I never had an actual reaction to how Wendy was going to integrated technology in the class. I feel that technology should be used in classes integrated with the regular chalkboard, lectures, and labs. I can recall reading articles in the past about technology being used in schools and how average people are not up-to-date on using computers. I believe that fact can be true. Coming to class with materials and doing everything else such as typing up papers, assignments, and submitting them online is actually good for me in way. I would want to turn in the assignment online and give a hard copy to the teacher.

As I started to get to know Wendy and how she runs her class, in retrospect, this class is going pretty well. I do like using the blogs as way to sort out and better my writing. So far this semester, or year, I have written a good pile of posts. I think they are not just posts, but writing and thoughts with meaning. I'm not writing just for nothing, but with a purpose. The theme of this class is to "Think Globally, Act Locally" and I know this is a journey in progress for me. I feel like I'm accomplishing this goal. I may want to tell others about this blog and my paper. It can come in handy and with creativity, it can serve as a presentation of some sort. I am quite sure where blogging will take me, but I think this blog is a part of me. I say this because its something I enjoy doing not just having it for class, but just a hobby and an outlet to online journalism. I don't expect to stop blogging once I leave Wendy's class because this is like proof of what I have been doing in the class, and what is going on with me and college. This is my work. This blog is me. I am this blog.

One thing I have noticed is that my passion and knowledge on the topic that I'm writing about this semester is rising to the surface. The voice that is kept silent within me is starting to rattle and make an appearance. I do not really share my position an issue since I don't think that it matters to everyone. I observe what goes on around the university and people and I have second thoughts if someone believes what I tell them. I guess they will find out one way or another. This blog helps me to put everything I'm thinking and progressing through Freshman year on the internet for anyone and everyone to read. I am glad I have am apart of Wendy's class. I find the work to be challenging, but not hard. In other words you have to be on top of the work and making sure you leave time to work on everything to meet the multiple deadlines.

Sometimes I read articles, essays, and post something I have written, I do not find that as a challenge to block me from being productive. There are times when I stumble into a wall that blocks me from writing or tend to challenge me. Other times, I just feel the urge to write in my blog. Writing papers or a responsive essay that is worth writing has meaning. Blogging itself, or the blogger, must have a reason to blog or a specific purpose to blog whether it is personal, for entertainment, formal or informal. Being that said, there is a purpose for me wanting to write in this blog. If I did not show interest in this blog, then I would have less posts and not frequent updates as required. Sometimes I can go beyond the box of just blogging. Interaction with other bloggers can be a good aspect of blogging.

Besides just blogging for the class, along with my big paper on school assessment and this blog, I want to do something with it. Everything that is being accomplished and the finish products, the big paper and the blog (which may keep going), would like to use these go take along with me on and adventure. I am ready for the adventure.
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Poems Have Meaning, Too

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Besides writing an essay or a viewpoint with meaning, poems can have meaning, too. Most poems can serve different purposes. Whether a poem is one that you like because you can relate to it or if it is a poem that you enjoy reading in school, or either way you found the poem, they have a purpose, a message for the reader. With this being said there is one poem, or a the end of a poem, I had to memorize for a grade in high school for Honors Humanities was written by Lord Alfred Tennyson. The class was taught by Ms. JoAnn Hollenbach. Since we had to memorize it for a grade, it ended up being my favorite. This is a section of a poem that has meaning. If you read it once you may not understand what it means, but if you read it twice you will get form an interpretation that will be different from others.

"Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are,--
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to
yield."

--"Ulysses", Lord Alfred Tennyson

Another poem I remember reading in high school is a called "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost. From reading this poem, it is about choices. Once you choose a path, there is no turning back to take the other you did not pick. Would you rather take a road that is busy with people going back and forth on it or would you rather take the road where no one has ventured on with fresh, crispy leaves covered on it? It is all about making the right choice. Choices can either make a big difference or a tiny bit small difference. It just depends on the person and how they want the outcome to be in a situation when given two choices. There is no turning back once you have chosen the path in life. As an example, if you get yourself stuck in a situation and you can not get yourself out of it, then you have made the wrong choice of going down the road that everyone else has taken. You can always choose the road that has not been taken and venture out on your own. Which road you like to take?

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence;
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I --
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

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Parents Should Be Involved

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The blogger Mick Wright posted the letter from East High School's principal, Frederick Curry on his blog. The letter was published in the Letters to the Editor section of the Commercial Appeal and can be found here on the website, too. When I first read this article, I was not sure how to response or react. This letter is something that states facts, but also is someone's opinion coming from a principal. I don't see too many letters from a school official which is surprising to me since most of them come from citizens of the of Memphis. Violence is really bad when you have the mayor to step in to help control the situation and shootings. When Curry mentioned high expectations, I thought about the rules and what teachers expected from me in high school. Now I am in college the bar has rose high than ever before. I thought the letter was good and he has mentioned what is done at East High and a slight mention on less security and violence problems. I remember hearing about their mentor program they have at that school. I believe everyone should have a mentor. We all can benefit from having someone to call or stop by to see how we are doing or if we need help.

On the Commerical Appeal page where they have the letter are other lettters other people have written. Don't get me wrong, but I believe that we all should hear both sides of the story. One person wrote that there should be other ways beyond just have metal detector checks at schools. Charles Jones, a citizen who wrote his own letter, thinks we should have parents more involved with education and what goes on within the schools. I do agree with this person because we can't blame it on everyone, but what we can do is help let everyone know that there is an chance for one to step up to the plate and turn things around. Toya Mackey, who teaches at Ross Elementary (and attends my church), after explaining to her my what I was doing in English, she told me she thinks parents should be required to attend classes, PTA meetings, and workshops rather than announcing them. I do agree with her since there may parents who do not get involved with their children. That is a shame! Parents, get with the program see what your students are learning at his or her school.

Another article I read on the CA's website entitled Mayor: Take away parents' excuses included Mayor A C Wharton coming up with a plan of action to get parents interaction with their children's education. Who does not want to be apart of their learning life? The mayor says that he would "like to redefine child neglect to include the failure, without justification, to take part in your children's educational progress." I wonder exactly what that means. That sentence has meaning. I think his definition of child neglect should be added to the records. If you think about it, to an extent, a parent is neglecting their child's education. If you have not thought about it, a parent will only take action if someone attacks their child, if the child is failing, or if the child is having problems with the child. To support what I have just said, if a child makes bad grades, think about, the parent will not actually care to help boost the grades up. However, they set high expectations, but that can lead to failure since the child will feel pressured to not let the parent down. If their child is failing, the parent will not do anything. According to Shelby County school board chairman David Pickler, "parents should have and should embrace a personal responsibility to ensure that they are doing everything necessary to give their children the best chance for a quality educational experience."
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Evaluating the Original Plan

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I remember in class somewhere at the beginning of the semester, we took like fifteen minutes to brainstorm our topic and just put ideas and thoughts on paper. When I looked back at the paper, below are the issues or problems that I wanted to discuss in my paper. As the class days went by, I started really focusing on one main idea and what is listed below is the everything else that falls under the umbrella. As I think about what I want to write in my paper, the issues dissolve, but they are details that could be mentioned within the paper. I could say that they are details that can support what I'm trying to let the public be aware about. As I think about it now, my paper shifted gears almost. Since I am getting a better understanding of what I'm suppose to be writing about, I can gain strengthen what I have written on paper so far. If you look at the list below, these are problems that are occurring within the schools.

- cafeteria food: money issues, better food
- not enough teachers: new teachers do not last long
- violence/safety: security issues (ways of preventing fights and guns in schools)
- the concerns from parents - what are students learning at school? (grades could be a factor)
- what are the problems school administrators are facing? how are they dealing with these problems?
- are there any awards or rewards given out to encourage excellence at schools?
- is there anything schools are missing? (books, supplies, lack of funding, a need of teachers) student involvement (clubs, organizations, SGA)
- Memphis City Schools vs. Shelby County Schools (district vs. district)
- if students are learning, they why do we not see better results? (reports, school based reports, state reports)

I guess I can put the list to the aside as a reference. I noticed a quote that is an article on the Education Week website about the state making stronger and tougher standards for students. At the end of the article, Governor Phil Bredesen says that "what we want students to do is to develop their minds, and think critically ... and to be better assure that when our students graduate from high school, they are truly prepared." I like what the governor said since it is something I believe that teachers at schools are required to do since it is their job to teach. To further state what I'm saying, this is something (I believe) Wendy is trying to tell the class. We should think beyond the box and get in depth with writing and researching our topic. When we leave this class, we will be prepared for other classes we will be taking.

When I graduate from college, I will be prepared for a career and what the world has for me. If there is a major crisis going on somewhere, I should be able to think critical to come up with a plan or more than one if the main plan fails, in order to help save lives. Focusing one or more skills in life will not help us; there we should be able to accept everything that we are learning so we can be prepared. As stated in my rough draft, the mission statements of an individual institution will be the key principles of gearing towards a better education for the generations to come. It is important to make sure that we are getting the best education we can get.

To conclude, I think that I have found a different direction that I will attack this issue. I'm evaluating what I first wanted to do in mind; however, I'm just following the foundation and then moving on to building the walls.
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The Foundation

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Here is what I have so far for my paper. This is a rough draft of part one of the paper which I am in the process of editing. This is the foundation of my paper and introducing the audience the point that I'm making, or rather, the message I'm trying to send out. Thus said, I would like to share with you the progress of my paper. Though this is a rough draft, I do expect everything to change and get cut out or something added. I would have to say this is a guide to help me find out what exactly I want to end up having as an introduction.

Schools are places for learning. At times we come to problems that will catch our attention. There will be certain situations that will get more attention than others. These problems or situations can involve students, parents, school administrators, or anyone within the education department. Going to school from elementary to graduating high school and going off to college is a standard path in life. Most people are playing a big part of our education while others really do not care. The future of education will be in the hands of future leaders. Education is like a button on a coat. It is something everyone needs to make it through today’s world.

The curriculum deals with state and district standards and learning outcomes. Teachers develop lesson plans from the curriculum. At times a teacher may not like what they are required to teach depending on where on the local Board of Education. Knowing what students are learning is something that concerns the parents through the progress of report cards and other means of communication. At times schools may find the need to focus on certain subjects that may meet a passing grade. For example, only focusing on reading skills and mathematics in classrooms occurs throughout many states. School officials find that these two subjects are more important than other subjects or they think that these areas of learning will make a successful citizen that will make it in today’s society. This is an issue that is important because everyone is concerned what students are learning as they progress through the stages of elementary, middle, and high school. Everything that happens at a student’s school is affecting him or her one way or another whether it is mentioned to them directly or it is something that is going on during meetings.

The principle of education can be stated in different ways because everyone has their own goal of succeeding students to learning using different methods and standards. No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was signed in 2002 by President Bush to allow the schools to be able to provide the uttermost resources to every student at the local schools. These laws or document allow teachers and principles to be accountable for their students. It also acts as a support for parents. NCLB gives options for parents to help their children to get the best education that is available to them. There are different services that are offered for students. No Child Left Behind is used for scientific research and methods to improve education and find ways that will work in schools. This can make a difference in ways students are being educated and how they can be given resources to expand their educational experiences.

Finding out what needs to change and sometimes that needs to improve in schools, what students are learning, and how to get parents involved is really something that can possibly happen with the support of good leaders. Good leaders and skills of leadership goes on the same train as if a parent would choose what a child should do with his or her life. The little important situations that appears or long term situations is important to school assessment besides testing students and seeing if they are able to graduate with certain tests. All of us can play a part in better education and making successful citizens not only for our own selves, but also for others. Leaders are to set examples so we call be become decent people and go through the process of changing lives, or if not changing lives, influence of changing something from a bad habit to a good one

The mission statements of an individual school will be the key principles of gearing towards a better education for the generations to come. It is important to make sure that we are getting the best education we can get. Dropouts are mostly happening around the country. This usually happens around high school or even in middle school. Students feel that they have no life. Parents are not helping students that or family issues may overwhelm students versa them learning. Both of these situations affects the school in one way another. They could be taken as something that is bad within the schools because something is not going right. There could be other factors of school dropouts. One factor may include violence and the safety of students at school. Gang related activities and fights between one another is a concern to parents because these things could have been prevent. Everything must start from the home of the children. This is something that is very important.

Improving education and making sure that we are providing future citizens of today’s society the best education we can give them is something we all you consider doing. It is important for administrators to see beyond the situations and find solutions to what is going on at their schools. Parents should be more involved with their students as they are in school rather than being an unconcerned parent. Be apart of the solution and not apart of the trouble that is the surrounding area of schools near and far.
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Waiting on Memphis to Change? Do Something Instead

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I'm glad that the writer's strike is over and they can go back to their jobs. I remember reading the article one of the staff reporters wrote on last week about the strike being over. I guess I can say I am brainless today since I have not used it at all. I had a good weekend. It was a wanted break from college and just chill out and calm my body down from being overloaded last week.

In a post last week, I mentioned that I responded to the author of Commontaries about the issue of guns and violence in schools. The author wrote in response to my comment that
"The schools are reflective of the community. With all these shootings going on
in the community. Why wouldn't there be shooting in the schools also? I'm not in
favor of paying students to tell on each other, but I don't fight against it. We
need some folks on the job all the time."

I know someone is reading what I have to say. This is a start of interaction with other bloggers. I slightly agree schools being reflective of the community because I tend to see the area where different schools are located and looking around and seeing the people and activities around the neighborhood can prompt an opinion on stating whether the schools are bucking the system or if they show moral values. I hope that made sense to you. I can go ahead and say that if someone states an opinion about a school before understanding it as a whole, then that person will get their sentences "thrown away" by a student that attends that whatever said school. This goes back to understanding other's viewpoint and listening to them before we stopped them from talking. This goes along the lines of my response to the writing prompt from last week. Memphis City Schools need help. Help and support from the community, teachers, and principals, and from the state level. The violence and people getting shot and killed will not do us any good when other people reflect their opinions about our city. This is just a start to new problems, or a place to freeze everything and make a change.

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Outside Event 1: A Lesson Before Dying

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As one of the outside events that we are required attend, I will share my critique that I did for my Theater 1030 class. I decided to go see the play A Lesson Before Dying at the beginning of this month the weekend before the shows ended. For English we required to attend four are outside events, I would to share my critique as my experience as I sat back and watched the performance. Everything I have said about this play is what I experienced as an audience member.

The play A Lesson Before Dying is something everyone should know about whether they read the book, watch the movie, or go see the play. I saw the play the other weekend with my cousin. Attending the theatrical performance in person allowed me to better understand the context of the story. In other words, the performers brought the book to life and that allowed me to better understand what the author has written. I think there is a message that the author wants us, or me, to learn after learning about his novel. To critique the actual play is to explain why I enjoyed seeing the play A Lesson Before Dying.

The plot of this story features the teacher Grant Wiggins. He is a school teacher and teachers on a plantation in Bayonne, Louisiana. He has the responsibility of teaching Jefferson to be a man before he dies. Miss Emma wants Grant to convince Jefferson that he is not a hog. Jefferson went to jail because he at a crime scene at the wrong time and got caught up in the middle of everything. As Jefferson gets visits from family and friends they convince him to find the injustice in the situation. Though he is in jail for no apparent reason, he is still on the death path. Grant and his girlfriend discuss their person problems and share thoughts and feelings between each other. Jefferson is given a journal to write in everyday. Though is not a very educated person, the teacher is able to communicate with Jefferson about what he has written in the journal. With encouraging words, Jefferson dies with a lesson that he has learned.

I would describe the dialogue throughout the performance as an important aspect in the way of being the text of the novel to live. For example, reading the novel with feelings is not the same as people acting it out. In other words, just reading the text a person will understand and analyze what is going on, but the dialogue of hearing what people during the time of the novel will bring a clearer imagine to the audience. I would describe the dialogue being balanced with the other elements. All of the characters, or actors, were not being too chatty. Throughout the play, there was dialogue interaction. I heard and seen every one interacting with each other. I find that there is nothing wrong with the words and actions between the words. The dialogue goes along the line of the text.

The actors did not really have a certain way of being our entertainment on stage. The actors acted like regular people doing their job, but with a passion. They got up there before the audience and did what they did. The movements of the actors brought the book to live as everything else. In saying this, the actors did not make the play boring, but they brought emotions, connection to the audience, and the using their bodies to speak. To point out as a good example, when Grant started to attack Jefferson, I could tell that he was mad. His body language allowed the audience to assume that he angry and is doing his best to take care of the responsibility of teaching a lesson before a man die. The relationship between Wiggins and his girlfriend reflected a modern relationship because of the drinking, discussion of problems, and the emotions between each other. They had a true relationship. I believe that they were in love and if the author continued to write the story, then they might have gotten married. Their relationship is similar to one of modern time. In some way the audience can relate how the relationship could be happen to any average person. There was plenty of effective body language to suppose the emotions of the actors at the right time. Everyone had a certain way of using their tone of voice so help the audience know the feelings of the characters rather than just talking in normal voice. For example, the sheriff would use his tone to create the sense that he is taking the situation as a joke and really does not care about anyone else that is in the story. The sheriff had the “I don’t care” attitude while the school teacher had a deep voice at times to show his seriousness.

The setting of the story took place during a different time period and the costumes reflected the time period. What I mean is that what the actors wore were looking a bit old, but then again, it fitted what you might see everyday people wear, especially elderly people. The set of the performance was basic and did not consist of big props or anything that took the meaning out of the story. In short the set was minimal. The scenes all took place like in the jailhouse (jail cell), and you had the lights to point out two different areas of the stage to create different scene of the story. Although the set was unique, it was different because you did not see the actually jail cell nor was it a movable stage to go from scene to scene. I think the set could have been a little better, but it did not totally affect the way the actors did a live show of the novel. In one corner of the stage, you had a desk that was used for the actor who played Grant to do the classroom scenes and the opposite side was the table for the scenes for Grant and his girlfriend. Besides pointing out those aspects of the entire play, the lights did set the mood. Each time the mood changed the lights got either dark or lighter. The lights were a necessary because without them I don’t think that just the tone of voice of the actors would provide great strength with the rest of the elements of the play. Overall, the play was good. It was a bit of what I expected, but it was very good to see the book come to live.
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Thank You for Smoking

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This movie begins with the show host introducing Nick Naylor, Vice President of Academy of Tobacco Studies. While on the show, he is the spoke person. On stage is a teenager who stopped smoking because he has cancer. I find that to be a good thin that he stopped since it is not a good thing for the body. If someone does not pay attention, they will miss that the rest of the guests are against smoking whereas Nick is for smoking and he a lobbyist. Though the young guy has cancer, I think Nick is using him to get more customers. It is ironic for Nick to talk to a group of elementary students about challenging authority. For instance, he does not exactly tell the children they should try smoking, but if should find out for themselves if cigarettes since everyone who is telling them it may not be good to smoke is not an expert. I think the director wanted this piece in to show us that there is hidden message that can be found when business people are trying to sell their products or make it known. From the title of the movie, the business is thanking you for smoking since it is the only way they will make money.

Throughout this movie, you will notice that there will be times when you noticed a force that prevents people from smoking and also trying the public to find smoking to be okay; that there is nothing wrong with the habit. Thought Nick is a father and apart of the tobacco business, he must continue to be a role model to his son Joey. I think the title of this movie is ironic though the director and actors work together to put together this movie that persuasive the viewers to go out and challenge them to do something that will bring them out their comfort zone. I think, political wise, one must support an argument by having a strong foundation that will convince someone that he or she is may be wrong. Throughout the movie you will hear people mention house mortgage and everyone has to pay it.
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Let's Not Get Out the Vote

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After reading this essay, the idea that comes to mind is that Robert Coulson encouraging people to vote and how a certain amount of people feel about marking a candidate’s name on the ballot. I think the speaker is probably a writer that has been published throughout his life and probably is an editor or a publication writer. From reading the essay, there are no context clues that are meant to be read between the line that signifies if the write is apart of a political party or group. The writer does not really tell us if he is apart of a political party. I can assume if Coulson may not be because he does not actually states anything about it in the essay; however, it can be assumed that he may not be with a political group. Does it matter if we vote? If you did a poll of that question, probably majority of those who are care and really into politics will say yes whereas those who really are confused, lost, or dang on right do not care, will simply vote no.

Coulson grabbed my attention by saying that we should be able to vote wisely and form some sort of opinion about the candidate who is running in the race to be voted a chairperson or a position in a group. Once we form that opinion we should be able to go to the voting booth and mark the candidate’s name without changing our minds at the last minute. There is no certain audience the writer is talking to since this is just about voting and persuading everyone to vote. Perhaps Coulson is talking to the non-voters since the people who do vote make it a “duty, it ceases to be a privilege.”

Though this article was written in 1955, there seems to be not much of a difference in the way people thought about voting than they feel about voting now. In one point of the essay he mentions that people are persuaded to go out and vote. By this being said I mean that often we hear other people around us that will want us to go vote and tell us why it is important for everyone, especially the youth to vote. However, by just telling people to vote, they first have to get familiar with those candidates who are running and why they want to grab the position that is up for bids. The phrase “vote this time or your vote may be gone forever” ties with similar phrases that you hear on TV, political rallies, schools, and even family members. To make it very known that some people feel pressured to vote leads them not to vote since they may not know everything about a presidential candidate or they are fretting to decided which person will get their vote. Though everyone is encourage to vote, not all will vote because they may not care about who because president or have sense enough to vote. The public awareness and pressure of 1955 and today really do not show much of a change.

I find voting important since it is an activity that involves us learning more about the important documents of the United States. I’m not engaged with all the politics and the educational influence of it; however, the person who becomes the next president does matter. The laws, bills, and amendments that will be set forth will matter to use in the long run. When the presidents make a law, I believe it will affect every citizen depending on whom it is being mandated towards a certain age group. If a person does not like what the outcome is like, then he or she should not get mad because their vote did not count since the person did not vote whether they agree or this agree with the new law or amendment. To support that some people do not because they do not, I think that not everyone remembers in American Government the process on how the president is elected or how the your votes get counted in the concept of the electoral college.

If we do not understand how important it is to vote or the voting process entirely, questions should be asked to someone that knows and could help us. Some people are registered to vote, but they do not take the time out to vote. Being this said, they should form an opinion and think twice based on what they know about a person before voting. Going along with the title, let’s not take out the vote, but keep the vote for someone who actually deserves the job and high rank of president or another position in other organizations. Everyone has a chance and choice to vote. Our vote is our voice on paper. Each vote means something beyond just choosing someone for president. It means a time for us to dare ourselves to think of a creative method to chang the issues they are on the top of the list. With the dare to change, we can do something about our situations. It is the thought of voting that counts. One vote change cause a shift in a decision that is important to our country.
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Writer's Block

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To read my blog is to know me. To know me is to read my blog. I am lacking the motive to get creative and write. I have completely my paper for Theater and now I have left is writing for English. I have writer's block right now. I want to take a break for a day from writing, but I do not think I have the ability since I would be wasting time. With all effort to getting my big paper done, which I am so behind on doing that, I will be pulling late hours. In other words, it is like I am on full time job writing, but after a certain time I should be off work and ending the day of homework; instead, I am doing overtime and draining brain cells. There is not enough time in the day to complete everything. I am dreading to study for my Government quiz I have tomorrow although it is multiple choice. I started today's assignment that Wendy gave us this morning. I have to finish that and get that posted before Thursday.

Does anyone else get writer's block? I'm sure you do get to the point of being drained from writing or the point of not having the urge to continue writing. I know some of the posts are far off the topic of school assessment, but that is a work in progress. When I come to the point of running out of words, it is like finding the needle in the haystack. What I mean by that said is we all have to find creative ways to continue to write. What does it feel like being an English major being in English and turning in papers? I have no answer to the question. That is something that I believe that has no one exact answer. Do teachers expect those students with English as a major to have well written papers that have a strong thesis statement with facts and evidence to support what they are writing? Does an English class matter do those who have other majors? I form weird questions in my mind. These questions and many more ramble around inside my mind.

To help me write, I usually have to wait a full day or afternoon to a whole day before writing in order for me to get the juices flowing. Once I hear about a paper that has to be written, I think about before I even start writing it on paper. I know there are some methods or ways to "cure" the writer's block. I do not like the idea of going home and just dive into writing since it will not get me anywhere but only a couple of rough lines and meaningless sentences. If you look at an internet modem or an object with lights that are constantly going, that is how my mind works. Instead of lights flickering, I have words and thoughts just tumbling around in my mind. Instantly this creates a mental headache. Getting mental headaches happens all the time once I start thinking too much or too hard, but mostly I think too much. I try to keep myself from thinking too much since that can stress me out and lead to other unwanted feelings. Though I plan on being an English teacher, writing is something that will be need and continue to use when I become a teacher.

It felt like I just ranted, but writer's block is a wall or a concept that is not well define that allows us to lose our muse or will power to continue writing. Writer's block is like a firewall protection, we can not go through the invisible wall that is keeping us from writing because if we continue on than what we have written will not be done to the best of our abilities by the fullest efforts. Even to those who are excellent writers. Though I find myself to like writing, but not an author, but a writer in different definitions, I find myself to be a good one. I, too, get writer's block.
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School Shootings

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Students are really getting wild about the violence and not trying to keep and be safe during the time at school. I have heard about the Mitchell High shooting on the news. There have been different events over the last week in the school system. I know Channel 5 News is doing a three part report on school security and how easy it is for an outside to enter school buildings. I believe that do that tonight at 10:00. That is something interesting to look at on the news. I think it is a good thing they are doing the report since it allows the parents and students to see how easily it is for any person to just walk in the school and something terrible can happen. On the Commontaries blog, the author has written a post about guns in schools. Something has to be done about students having guns in an institution of learning. Not only do students bring guns to schools in our city, but this happens all over the world. It is a global problem. I wonder where the students find the time to seek a gun, create a plan of crime, and then put the plan to action.

Generally, I believe all schools should have some policy or policies on the issue of safety and have safety checks. If the board policies are outdated, then there should be a need of an update. Metal detectors is a common thing to have in class though some students avoid it and they find other ways to bring items that are not allowed in the school building. I will say that most schools are in big cities are recognized as inner schools. Schools are schools. I think the community as a whole should create a positive outlook for young people. I remember reading a student's blog from English class and I think she may or may not be in the same class with me, but she wrote a post about life. As a response, I stated that we all have voices. Those students who commit the crime may be going through family problems. We do not know what they are thinking or what is going on with them personally, but they should be able to seek help for themselves. Why would they want to kill another student or their friend? Teachers are suppose to know their students well enough to tell if something is bothering them. Once that teacher see changes in the students, he or she will know that something is wrong. This is the first step that the teacher should go to the student and ask them for help. Although teachers may approach their students from that view, whether the student wants the help or not is up to them.

Something simple to do is to listen to the voices of the students. I think students should be able to solve problems through a non-violence way. Violence is not the way to solve problems. This is all I really have to say about school shootings. I do not know what else to say. I hope this is a moment time where we all are to be dared to think of a change and actually stick with the plan.
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Reflection

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Today is Friday, finally! I will say that it has been a long week. As usual, I enjoyed blogging. I know I did a good job this week, so I had to go back and reread what was written and the comments that were left. I enjoy getting comments and responding to them. I know yesterday's post was about the longest I have written thus far. The word count came out to be 1020 words. I enjoyed the debate that we had in Government class this morning. My Algebra class was a bit boring and I was ready to leave. Math is boring and it’s my least favorite subject. , I decided to go to the campus library and find a book to do a book review. I was all up and down the third and fourth floor. However, I did not want to do a book review because I could not really find anything interesting so I'm deciding to watch two movies and review them. I have read the feedback from Wendy not once, but three times. So, I'll be working on part one and making it strong and meaningful.

I usually comment on other blogs inside and outside of the class. I believe that the comments I leave on other blogs are expressive. I leave comments that indulge others to think and letting them know that someone out there is listening to them as well as reading what they have to say. Reading comments that others are leaving on my blog is really exciting because I know that someone is reading what I have to say and write. I find it interesting to communicate among other people through blogs. Leaving comments here and there because it is a requirement is reasonable, but leaving a structured comment is better. I have gotten good comments, but I'll be on my toes for the bad ones that may come in the future.

I planned on sharing with you my research that I have find within the education system here in Memphis and through the country. I think that will post that a bit later. Through my findings, I have spotted some good information. I believe that have some good information. One thing I have discovered is the State Board of Education is getting through with future high school graduation requirements. Students will have to not have to graduate with 21 credits, but with 22 credits. I am glad graduated last year. From an article I read, they have dropped the Gateway test and they will be hitting the students hard with the new standards and polices for the 2009 school year and current students in a certain grade level. Interesting enough for you to want to hear, know, and learn more? Stay tune because I will share more in details.
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Ramblings Of a Writer: Slate Magazine, Valentine's Day, Book Club

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Since I have been sticking to the topic of writing about Memphis blogs and the topic of improving schools and education, I would like to just free write and express what is on my mind and how I feel. No one really knows what I am thinking or anything that could be bouncing around in my head, but now is the time for me to share with you - the public, the reader, and audience.

Sometimes when I run out of ideas or something to write about, I tend to have writer's block. I learned something new in English today. I learned to write with meaning. It can be somewhat hard, but we read other people's essays, articles, novels, and they write with meaning. It is like reading between the lines and using context clues. Personally, I never thought about my writing having meaning. I'm always thinking and getting those mental headaches. I have to stop thinking too much. I consider myself a good writer and I like writing at times. When I write, I usually rewrite a paragraph or a sentences a thousands times replacing word after word until I feel satisfied with the revisions until there is a hole in the paper or the keys get stuck on the computer. I don't think that will really happen. I think I am ready for the weekend and just need a break, but it may not happen because I will be doing homework over the weeknd. Terrible! I still have to work on my paper and I think I may rewrite part one and add bits and pieces of information from sources somewhere in the paper. I just hope we do not have a list of banned words that we can't use in our paper. That would be insane, but yet, it could work.

To help with writing, I find reading as a good supplement. As I thought about what to blog about, not one particular subject or topic came to mind. Ideas were just bouncing around like a ping pong ball. I happened to read the Slate magazine online and read the "Dear Prudence" letters. It is an advice column for people to write letters to writer and she will write advice on what she thinks of the situation. Most of them (the letters) were pretty interesting. Some of them were funny like the nephew bit the uncle and he slapped the child. The dad did not appreciate the child getting hit. He wrote to the lady of the column and asked for advice on what he should do next time it happens. Another letter was written by a mother of a teenager boy who is 18. He has pictures of his girlfriend that is younger than him. She writes a letter seek advice on what is the best way to break the two up and not allow him to seek the girl any longer. Then there is the letter about a wife who husband hardly bathes and he smells. The wife is running out of suggestions and what to say to her husband. Prudie tells her that he may have a phobia because when in the stores he does not purchase soap or anything. The wife mentions that there are stains on his side of the bed. That has to be nasty for a woman to have a husband like that. I would be shamed to lay in bed with a young lady and she has to sleep with me in that condition. I think the wife should take Prudie's advice.

Speaking of husband and wife, Valentine's Day is coming in some days from now. Not only is it for married couples it is for every one of all ages. Like every year, I will not have a special valentine. Well, I have not been looking so that could help out the lost of not having one. February 14 is the day for love and celebration for those who may be in a relationship with a significant other. For me, I just see it as another day. For instance I'm like the Grinch who stole Christmas, but this time it will be on Valentine's Day. I find it a depressing day each year. For others it is a happy, glorious day. Maybe this year will be a different day. I can only wait and see what happens.

Reading is something I enjoy in my leisure time. Though it has been awhile since I read a good book, I think it is important to probably read maybe a book a semester or something like that. Books sometimes tend to encourage us or to teach a lesson that can be used in life. I know that when I become a teacher, I will be reading plenty of materials. Reading and English (not just the language) goes together. You can not have one without the other. The last book I have read that I still need to finish from the summer is The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain. In high school, I have read a few good plays which I enjoyed. I also read a couple of good books that I have in my book collection and I like to share with others. Animal Farm by George Orwell is a good book. I read that in the ninth grade and wrote my twelfth grade term paper on that book. I do plan on seeing the play on campus this spring. There are other novels I have read. I will have to say that it is difficult to find someone with the same interest of reading; someone who is probably passionate with reading as me. Passionate is not the word I want, but engage sounds better. I think there should be a registered student organization book club on campus for people (readers) like me. For a while I have been pondering about starting one, but I would not know how many people would join or how long it will last or anything like that. If there is writing club, why not have a book club? Maybe I keep thinking about the idea.
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Understanding Another View - Writing Prompt

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“Before you contradict an old man, my fair friend, you should endeavor to understand him.” - George Santayana

In my own translation, I think that the quote above means that we should listen and understand another person's ideas, thoughts, beliefs, or other explanations that they may have for life or another issue that they support because we shoot down anything that the person may say that we may not want to hear. Sometimes I contradict myself when I am standing up for an issue I agree on and then I turn around and go against it. I really have not understood fully the concept of not contradicting yourself. The word contradict means deny directly, to speak or declare against one's view. When I noticed Monday on the class blog that there was writing prompt, but I did not straight off respond to it because I wanted to read and fully understand what my response would be. I know there is no wrong or right answer in responding to the prompt.

I know for myself that I usually always listen to what people have to say and think to myself either I agree with them or should I state the fact that I do not agree with them and have the urge to state what I believe. I think it is a defensive move in the way of a quick reaction. Someone may say what they think of a certain situation and we react by disagreeing with them by declaring a statement that knocks out what he or she is trying to point out to us. I think it is fair enough to listen to a person who is trying to make an important speech or do something for a good change. I have not heard one speech the presidential candidates have made thus far. I should be listening to them because one of them will be our next president. I have come to the terms with the questions: Do I really care? What does this have to do with me?

Now that I am in college and progressing through the second semester at U of M, I'm starting improve myself at having an open mind. Not everyone think alive nor do they have the courage to step up and say something whether someone cares or not. Knowing is one thing, but understanding what you know is another concept. When I secure what I know and stand for, later in life, I find myself contradicting myself. What I mean is that sometimes what you believe in and stands for needs a bit of adjustment or update. In other words, if I go back and read my manifesto and I end up not going by that as a plan of leadership or what I believe, then I oppose what I have written, then I would have to go and revision new goals or something of the like. I can use the "although however" statement. Although I may agree with what a writer says in an article, however, I disagree because I may want to state what I think about what the writer is talking about.

This response is what I believe is what and how I feel on the concept of contradicting someone's view and how it affects me in what I stand for and believe.
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English 1020

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This morning, I dreaded to get up and start my day. Today in English, Wendy had the class to do a bit of thinking and writing. The first thing we had to write about was to evaluate our accountability groups and what think of being in groups. I wrote my paragraph, but I forgot what I had on paper word for word. Basically, I started my reaction once she told us we were going to be in groups and then I wrote something about once we got into our groups and exchange contact information. I ended off with what I thought about the meeting we had yesterday. I thought it went smooth with us meeting in the library and discussing our papers, what we found, and asking each other questions. Before our meeting ended, Yasir asked me a question about the Northern schools having better education than the South or something like that. I forgot exactly what he asked. That led me to ponder a bit more. I think once I get done researching and writing this paper, I probably would have the answer to his question.

Later in class we talked about the commercials during the Super Bowl. However, I did not watch the game. Afterwards, she mentioned how everyone is doing their blogging at the last minute during last curial hours that they are due. She told us that she thought about cutting the blog post number down to three, but having a higher word count. I don't think that would be a good idea. I kind of like doing the five post a day with a two hundred word count. So far I have written over two hundred words. I make sure that I do not get behind blogging because it is apart of my grade and I want my blogging grade to be a nice passing numerical and alphabet letter grade.

This week for (according to Wendy) I have a bit more researching to do in order for me to find and analyze propaganda, find a book to write a review (or two movie reviews), find someone to interview, and start working on parts of the BIG paper. I'm doing my best that I will not get behind on any work, tests, quizzes, papers for any class that I have this semester.
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Entertainment

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Entertainment can come in different forms. Whether it is something good or bad, we just need it our lives. Let me take that back. Some people do not watch television at all either because they made it their own choice or they are too busy to sit down and relax.

I do enjoy watching some of the shows on the Discovery Channel. I probably spend time watching television than doing any other activity. Myth Busters is a good show and Dirty Jobs is just a mess to watch, and Cash Cabs is game to earn money. I'm somewhat of a couch potato, but I have those days where I just want to lay in bed or on the couch and just watch television. That is being lazy, but sometimes it just a time to relax and forget about everything that is going on in life. Sometimes I watch too much television. Four to six hours a day is spent watching television. I know TV is not good at times depending on the shows and whatever else can mess up the mind. Usually I watch something that seems interesting after watching the movie or show for ten minutes, and then I may keep watching it. I can recall the classic cartoons that use to come on television and now they are all gone and being replaced. I'm sure you all know the cartoons that were out and popular. Now cartoons are involving into more crazy crap and nonsense, but a good laugh is good for everyone. I enjoy watching a good movie. Sometimes I can watch a good horror movie which is just a mind game mixed with suspense in my opinion.

When it comes down to music genre, I normally listen to the radio. I don't listen to everything because I find that there are some music and songs that I do not like. For example, I do not listen to all rap music because of the explicit language and all the other negative elements of that genre. I'll probably find myself turning on the radio listening to FM 100. I am not a fan of country music. I do like to listen to smooth jazz (one person in particular Kenny G). I'm pretty much opened to listening to music and songs that are good and tend to calm me down. I tend to not play music too loud because everyone does not like loud music, so I play it at a minimum volume level which is what I prefer at times. I find it good to have music playing while I'm doing homework or writing.

I do not listen to anybody's music or something that just does not make sense. Some people do have talent and others can not sing. Sometimes I may watch American Idol whenever I think to flip to the channel. I mostly like the part when they start voting, but it is funnier to see them audition and get turned around. Why would you travel miles away just to see Randy to tell a person that he or she can not go to Hollywood although the person says they can sing when they actually can't sing. If you can sing, you can sing, but if you know you can not hit a high note and not wreck a song, then you should not waste money to travel to another city just to get rejected. That does not make any sense at all. Entertainment is nice I guess because it keeps everyone from being bored and it gives us something to laugh about.
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Memphis Blogs Reflection

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After reading the blogs about Memphis, most tend to be interesting whereas only a few do not appeal to my taste. There are some articles or topics that will get my full effort of being a writer while others I do not seem to turn out as I planned. Although I want to be a teacher, I believe this blog will help me become a better writer and appreciate what life offers. It is a new month - February! I have a birthday in one week - yay me!

I have decided to write a reflection of what I have read this week about Shelby County. No, I'm not talking about Memphis as one part and then the county as a separate area, but Shelby County, Tennessee. This week I read several, or skimmed mostly, different blogs about Memphis. Some of them were personal others were about the city. While I glance back at the blogs and the comments I left, the writers of the blogs are apart of this city. They are stating the facts and their beliefs about this city whether its about pictures that reveals the beauty of the city, whether they are flaming the government, or just writing to release angry on paper. I did enjoy reading a few posts this week. Some of them were interesting while others were about politics. I can't wait till they elect a new president so they can get this crap over. I don't mean this in a bad way, but there is negative in the election. I would think that we are trying to see who will do their job best and who is a good leader. No, that is not the case at this moment. Some of the posts I read helped me with research on my topic, which I feel that something is missing or going in the wrong direction.

I'm glad that I have read blogs about this city because opportunity to hear what Memphians really think about their community and the local and national government. Reading something about the major issues from a different view is very interesting. I find it interesting because I do not know what everyone is thinking about. Sometimes I wonder what people think about the issues that we have going on in Memphis, besides the newsreporter doing their job. Let's see the real side of things, a different viewpoint of what is happening. What do our students around the community think about the issues?

As I conclude my reflection, this is a moment in time that not stays the same forever. There are people that may be deciding what changes to make with the Pyramid, how to react to poverty within Memphis, or someone may plan to stakeout to do another robbery. This is the time for us to take action for our future and the future of Memphis.

Dare to Dream. Think. Do.
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The Pyramind.... and Pro Bass

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We all have heard about the situation with the Pyramid and what they should do with it and what they should not do with it. I read this post on at home she feels like a tourist. The lady has made an entry on her thoughts about having a Pro Bass in this arena. She does not seem too excited about the signing of the contract of having this business in the Pyramid. I think that should they find another good use for this building. They can always build Pro Bass in a different area. I believe they are in it just for the money or the building is a good place for Memphis to have this store downtown. I know what she means when states that people are saying negative things about our city.

There was another contract with the city to have a shopping area, hotels, an indoor amusement in the Pyramid, and to just upgrade Mud Island. That idea does not sound so bad. Libertyland, one of our landmarks, is not here anymore. Where is the fun at in Memphis? Where do we offer for fun for everyone? I'm not talking about clubs, and adult rated activities, and bars, etc., but we need a better view of Memphis. Let's try to bring more culture and a little bit of this and that to Memphis. I show no interest in fishing, so that makes me not really interested in a Pro Bass shop. I can only imagine that people who fish will go to Pro Bass to get their fishing gear, but that is about it. No one else will benefit from the business. I'm not for Pro Bass in the Pyramid; they should build it in one of these giant, emptied buildings that we have here that is just going to waste.
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