Government 2306 Critical Paper #2
April 17th, 2001 | View Post
Government 2306
Critical Paper #2
Committee Hearing in the House

Committee Hearing in the House
Energy Resources

As I began listening to the discussions that were taking place in the Committee Hearing, it occurred to me that these people are just that, people. They do not speak as poets or even articulate writers. If we could call these men and women anything at all (besides what they are), it seems that we could call them non-threatening lawyers. These people are simply sitting around discussing current issues that are problems or at least potential problems in regards to Texas as a whole. In this particular case, the topic of interest is energy resources, as that is the committee that I chose to listen to.

What I find so interesting about this committee meeting, or I would assume any of them is the simple fact that these men and women are simply civilly discussing issues that affect my life in one way or another. Perhaps not right now, but at some point in the future, any one of these issues could come into play for me.

The majority of this segment that I found most interesting was on the taxation or lack thereof of the dried up or forgotten oil wells in Texas. I found this topic to be interesting in the meeting because I feel that its points were argued relatively well, and my father is an oil broker, thus giving me an interest in the taxable steps involved in his business. It certainly would have helped to have known more about the bills that these men and women were discussing, but on the flipside, they argued their points well enough that the bills they spoke of were fairly simple to interpret. One of the many topics discussed on the taxation of oil wells is due to oil entrepreneurs that create an oil well, milk it until it is dry or until the oil is unobtainable (if in fact there ever was oil to take from it), and then move on.

If we look at this concept for what it is we must first look at what drilling for oil actually creates. After speaking with Howard Ludlow, my father, on the matter, I was able to get a layman version of what goes on. The actual space that is necessary for drilling these days is no larger then a one hundred foot squared area. An apparatus is setup to drill, which nowadays can be nothing more then a mobile rig on a truck. In older times humans would have to drill within 5,000 ft to obtain oil but as times have changed and we have taken more and more of our precious resource, it has become necessary to drill deeper and deeper. These days a hole of 10,000 ft or deeper is common. As the hole is drilled (about 4-6" in diameter, the drill is threaded in such a way so that the ground waste that it extracts, called the tailings, are removed at the top of the well. They are usually left in a pile nearby the drilling well. Using a little math, a 6" hole at 10,000 ft would create about 2000 cubic foot of waste that is simply thrown to the side.

Now back to the argument at hand. Most all of the large drilling manufacturers at this point will drill until they can drill no longer. Oil or not, we will assume that the drilling process is over. After they have completed their drilling, they will fill in the hole with a special mixture and then cap it off. The excess waste is plowed over and a small hill is all that is left in this area. The problem is that smaller businesses will not always do this and the House has a large problem with this, I suspect mainly for environmental reasons. Once the well is no longer commercially viable to them, they simply move on to another "hole".

The House wants to create a tax that would be imposed on all oil companies which would then set aside a fund for plugging the dry oil wells up so that they do not pose a threat to the environment or to society for that matter. This would not only impose a tax on the general public, this would also impose a somewhat unnecessary tax to the oil companies that are already doing this, Exxon for example. As we hear from Ben Siebry, a representative from the big oil businesses in Texas, we are informed of this liability that these irresponsible oil drillers create. The larger drilling companies have recently come together (as of last summer) to discuss the issue of dry wells being left as they were when the drilling was finished. They have estimated that the amount of money that is necessary for this yearly operation is about $20 million. In turn, they have taken it upon themselves to raise the capital that is necessary but are fairly only able to allocate $12 million. What they are now asking for is to be taxed the remaining $8 million that it will take to adequately clean and plug these drill holes for every drilling business in Texas.

I feel that this is the right thing to do and asking to be taxed to fix an environmental problem is a huge step for any big business to take. The problem that they now face is that there has been another proposal for taxation which would allocate some $48 million towards this project. They feel that this is completely unnecessary and that the extra $28 million will simply be wasted tax dollars that they as businesses will have to spend. I fully agree with them being against this tax as they have taken it upon themselves to remedy the problem. Obviously there are always hidden costs and such involved in the processes and it would be easy for them to simply argue that they have solved their own mess and have now created a solution because if it doesn't work as they planned, they will still benefit and save over $40 million in tax dollars. I also however feel that their tax proposal for $8 million should be taken seriously and that the ins and outs of it should be examined very closely by the House. Perhaps in doing so a compromise can be made or their tax proposal could in fact be very sound in such a case it should be put into action.

British Literature 2322 Extra Credit
April 12th, 2001 | View Post
British Literature I English 2322 T-TH
April 12th, 2001
The Reality of Shakespeare's World
Extra Credit Paper

Shakespeare in Love

I found that Shakespeare in Love was a fantastic interpretation of sixteenth century London as we have studied in class. In addition to the movie representing the time period quite well, I feel that the script and especially the actors did a wonderful job of telling the story of Mr. Shakespeare.

In order to analyze this movie, I think it must be stated that the movie touches on more subjects than just Shakespeare's life and playwriting career. It depicts very emotionally the idea that women were not part of the theatre, and were certainly not to dress up as men as Viola does (played by Gwyneth Paltrow). Of course, I say that this is emotional because it depicts how a person, especially of this time, could be so fascinated with the idea of acting that they could risk not only embarrassment to themselves but even punishment. As we progress into the movie, we learn that Viola is to marry a Lord under the blessing of the Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth. As we discussed in class, regarding Anne of the Thousand Days, when you are to be married under consent of the King or Queen, you are married. It is not necessarily a topic up for discussion. It is in this regard that movie strongly depicts how powerful love can be, and perhaps should be. While Viola is already engaged in breaking the law acting under the name of Thomas Kent, she has an affair with Shakespeare which despite a previous ruler, Henry VIII, was not a pleasantly looked upon event at this time, especially regarding the woman. They did an exquisite job depicting the severity of these actions in the play and make the thoughts of the consequences between the characters seem very real.

I reviewed parts of the movie on the DVD and also with some friends of mine who had seen the movie before to try and find errors in it. Not so much errors of speech, but rather anachronisms, something that I always try to look for in movies not set in this time period. In a two-hour movie I was only able to find two of these with the help of my girlfriend. I have studied Shakespeare before in my day both independently to an extent, and more so in classes. As trivial as it may seem, I have been told that Shakespeare did not write his plays with regards to scenes and much less acts yet in the movie this is used. I checked up on this and it seems to be a solid fact. After doing some research, I also discovered that another anachranous part of this movie was the discussion of tobacco plantations, which did not get going until the early to mid 1600s. Fortunately enough this information coincided with my History class and since the movie takes place in the very late sixteenth century, I find it difficult to believe that tobacco plantations in the new land would have been a discussion.

The Paintball Gun
Story circa April 4th, 2001 | View Post
This was an absolutely ridiculous idea from the get-go, but somehow Dave G and I thought it would be fun. Since we were both making pretty good salaries and really not having much to pay for other than rent and bills, we were buying all sorts of random toys for around the house.

One afternoon we took off to Academy and came across some paintball guns. Thinking paintballing might be something we could get into, we each bought a gun, an over-sized hopper, and a box of paint. Of course the problem with having a paintball gun is that you inevitably want to shoot it. And once you shoot it, you inevitably want to shoot it at something. And after that milestone, you inevitably want to shoot at someone.

Dave and I got the idea that we would each get to shoot the other person one time. Dayna happened to come over and was more than happy to bear witness to this. We drew to see who went first and Dave lost. He marched over to a tree in our backyard, probably about 20 yards away and turned his back to me. I calked the gun, told him I was going to fire, and shot him square in the back. He got a huge welt as we expected, but was otherwise fine seeing on how he knew he was about to return the favor.

I marched over to the same tree and turned my back to Dave. He fired, but his first shot missed me! This actually only made my situation far worse as I could literally hear the air from the paintball whizzing by my head. The apprehensiveness of being shot from such a close distance was terrible. Finally Dave took aim again and fired. He hit me square in corner of my right ear. It stung terribly and the entirety of my head and ear were covered in water-based paint.

I have no idea what Dayna thought of all of this, but she happily watched on.
British Literature I - Short Assignment 3
February 26th, 2001 | View Post
British Literature I English 2322 T-TH
February 27th, 2001
My Newly Lost (Iambic Pentameter)
Short Assignment #3

I hope you've been well for the last few days
I do not want you to feel you should cry,
So here I will write nothing more to you
Just short of a hello and a goodbye;

I want you to know that I'd love write more
I would spend hours and hours on end,
But not to have my own heart's meaning lost
And wind up as an old forgotten friend;

These words I write for your beautiful blues
And for your mind I will write them to dream,
I hope them the same dreams I have for you
I dream only of my dreams to be seen.

HIS1301 - The American Crisis
February 24th, 2001 | View Post
Luther Elmore
History 1301
Assignment #2
The American Crisis

As I read through the article Paine wrote two hundred and twenty-five years ago, I found that imagining myself in that time period is impossible. When I read the way that Paine described other countries (mainly England), and the way that he and certainly others felt about groups of people, a sense that we have it really easy came over me.

As Paine gets not halfway into the article, he begins describing his feelings towards the Tories with very expressive adjectives. The simplest of all these adjectives is that they are cowards – plain and simple. One might not be overly offended these days when called a coward, however, I imagine that in 1776 when courage and love were the only two things a man really owned, taking one away from him meant a lot. Paine goes on to describe Toryism as nothing but ‘servile, slavish, and interested fear’. I feel it is safe to say that he was not fond of the Tories.

As I got more and more into Paine’s article, I especially enjoyed his style of rhetoric in regards to encouraging the Americans of the time. In a nutshell, I felt that he wrote a very good English paper (as school would have lead me to believe). Paine describes advances that the militia has taken and will take upon the land and tells the Americans that losses are possible, no doubt about it. Upon doing so, he also assures them that hope should not be lost with these losses. He tells them as the British do one thing and furthermore succeed, they have the following options, and he then proceeds to list them. As an example, he describes that Howe may advance to Philadelphia, and upon doing so may take it over. He tells his readers that if he does not take it over, then they have been victorious and he is ‘ruined’. On the other hand, if he is successful the American armies can split into two and join forces – making it impossible for them both to be conquered (at the same time at least). In my mind, it is of course understood that his predictions and solutions were completely hypothetical. We must remind ourselves, however, that while they may have been hypothetical, they were still predictions and solutions to those predictions – and people in general rely on such things to remain happy and hopeful.

In a completely honest opinion of this text, I found it somewhat difficult to read. As mentioned above, I found impossible or near impossible at least to put myself in the shoes of someone reading this article in December of 1776. Nonetheless, I still found the article to be incredibly insightful to the time period, and very interesting reading because it has such historical content. I found the even more historical value in it through several paragraphs referencing Amboy. As it is, I spent the first seven years of my life in New Jersey and my father was born and raised in what is today South Amboy, thus making me very aware of the described area (200 years progressed of course). On a final note, I did bookmark the site of philosopher’s texts and would like to go back and read over some of Paine’s other articles. I often find myself scribing small philosophies of my own, and am rarely dissatisfied reading the philosophies of others, regardless of their opinions.
The Spaghetti Blender
Story circa February 18th, 2001 | View Post

Taken about 10 minutes before Dayna flew over the handlebars and smashed her face
In the late winter of 2001, Dayna and I took a trip up to visit her parents in Irving, Texas. Her family wanted to go over to the park and so they got her and I a pair of mountain bikes that we could ride around on. Probably not more than an hour or so into our riding around, Dayna somehow managed to slam on the front breaks causing the bike to flip forward. She landed square on her face on the sidewalk below and to say the least was screaming in pain.

Her mom and I took her to the emergency room in Dallas and after a number of x-rays and what I assume was a rather painful examination, they concluded that she had broken her jaw and would need to have some wiring done.

It should be pretty obvious, but there are lots of things you can't do when you have a broken jaw. Some of them are worse than others, but near the top of that list is eat solid foods. Since you can't really apply any pressure to your jaw, it's near impossible to chew.

Fast forward a week or two.

Dayna and I were back in Austin and she was really getting tired of not being able to eat anything. Incidentally she had been living off of Broccoli Cheese Soup from Jason's Deli and was desperate for a change. I felt awful for her and so one night invited her over to my house as somewhat of a dinner date night. She was hanging out on the couch while I cooked a full meal of spaghetti and meat sauce. I prepared it just as anyone would, boiling the pasta, cooking the meat, simmering the sauce, and mixing it all together. Finally I was done. Dayna was a bit confused as to why I would have gone through this effort seeing on how she couldn't eat it. But I had a plan.

I took the entire meal and tossed it into my blender, still piping hot. I hit puree and let the blender do its thing. What was left was this steaming hot pile of mush with little chunks of meat in it. The excess starch in the pasta gave the meal a really interesting consistency. We both sat down to have our mush meals only to find that they were about the worst-tasting things we had ever tried. Unfortunately, and despite my best effort to give Dayna a good meal, we couldn't eat them.

I still got credit for the nice gesture, but for future reference, blended spaghetti is NOT a good meal.
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