Blog from February 2001

There are 5 blog entries from February 2001

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.
British Literature 2322 Pilgrimage
February 8th, 2001 | View Post
British Literature I English 2322 T-TH
February 8th, 2001
Towards the Lights

When sickness lures and boredom looms
A scenery change seems in the making
As the path is laid to the ending gloom
And a journey towards the city seems worth taking

As the wagon* is loaded with pound upon pound [Pickup Truck]
And the springs, they slowly give way
As the switch is then kicked* and makes roaring sound [Key is turned]
Should begin the journey of the day.

Towards the morning sun* on the first few days [to the east]
Along the beautiful southern coast I ride
Then passing through our capital ways* [Washington, D.C.]
With the morning sun now by my side* [to the north]

As the ticker* is chased from her resting point [Speedometer]
Counting higher and higher on her friend below* [Odometer]
Half past four-hundred becomes a stopping anointment
Yet loosing only ten minutes, and proceeding to go

And still more stops will be made, but only whenst of
There are people worth seeing through the way
And in near two thousand miles, five stops of love* [Relatives]
Shalt be taken from day upon day

And so finally it nears, brown sky and all
As the roads turned to bridges and then tunnels
With two giant rivers etched around her for walls
All traffic and people become funneled* [trapped within]

And then as I pay my five dollar toll
And proceed through the belly of the snake* [The Lincoln Tunnel]
I have found three months of my life to be stolen
As in Manhattan I find myself finally awake.

HIS1301 - The Conquest of Columbus
February 3rd, 2001 | View Post
Luther Elmore
History 1301
Assignment #1
The Conquest of Columbus
"A journal worth exploring"

As noted in the first journal entries Columbus kept of their voyage, he kept two separate accounts of the distances that had been traveled. Looking back in history, this obviously proved favorable to him on the voyage, but one must ask – why? Similar to the time period that we are living in today, there were definite classes of people, whether we choose to acknowledge that today or not. Sailors of the time were certainly of the class of people we would know as ‘blue-collar’ workers, if not a shade below. It was only the admirals of the fleet (and a few select others chosen of the King and Queen) that possessed the intelligence to understand the latitude of this journey. Morals were certainly of importance on this voyage and what better way to keep the projected distance to the ‘Indies’ close to track then to throw out white lies to the crew. As most any modern text, book, or production will parody, our government certainly does not tell us everything that goes on throughout our continued exploration of space for example. They give us projected figures and this is all that we concern ourselves with, because it is what we are told. It gives us the clichéd parental expression that ‘we’re almost there’. Furthermore, it usually keeps us happy and anxiously waiting. I speculate that Columbus was using the same psychology on his crew. Curiously enough, I find it surprising that such information ever went past the King and Queen of Spain and that it is such a tale we can read about today.

Another interesting factor of this story was the way that Columbus described everything that he encountered, and even better, how he had an explanation for most all of it. It was most apparent as they sailed on the voyage and encountered mostly birds, but also crabs, whales, and even drift. Similar to a more modern explorer we know a great deal of, it seems that Columbus was almost acting like Darwin someday would in his classifications. He seemed to have an explanation for every creature that was seen whether it was one known to the Spaniards or not. Humorously enough, every creature that was encountered was believed to be only encountered x-leagues away from land, thus land must have always been nearby. These statements may have been a bit pretentious of Columbus to declare, especially to a man who would challenge a theory as bizarre as say: ‘The Earth if flat’. Nonetheless, it was another tactic to keep the moral of the men up (and most likely of Columbus himself). While Columbus was probably more willing to trade fairly with the natives then his men were, I think it is evident that he was happy to better-deal them. Still, one could argue that the natives, who had been accustomed to such commodities, found it favorable to possess a piece of glass, or a stain colored flag. Unfortunately like most, if not all other conquistadors of the time (if Columbus meets that status), the only thing that the natives lacked was Christian status. I think its safe to say that if we look back in time, problem after problem could have been avoided (especially with native tribes) had the explorers simply left religion alone.

If there was one thing that any one man of this time period wanted to possess, it was power and riches. As noted earlier, the blue-collar status of the sailors most likely led them to believe that they would never be powerful rulers, but this also led them to believe that with riches, they could live similar lifestyles. There’s no disputing the cause of most of the conquistadors of this time period – riches. Riches for them, riches for the country, and almost more importantly, riches for the King and Queen of the era. I am sure that in many of the sailor’s hearts, thoughts of gold and silver were the only things keeping them alive across the Atlantic. Gold led to the later conquering of the Incas, Aztecs, Mayans and most every other tribe of Central and South America. From a different perspective, it only made sense for Columbus to seek such wealth as an explorer. If he was to return to the islands, or seek new land in other places, he would have to return wealth. The America’s would have been of no use to the Spaniards had the commodities available not well exceeded the cost and dangers of the trip.

I found this extract to be very interesting in an overall sense. In the middle of the journal I felt that I was reading a monotonous story, but I suppose that my reading of it was nothing compared to the actual monotony of the voyage. Society enjoys asking the question (youths especially) that if you could go back into time, what time period would you like to live in. To this day I have honestly always answered around the 1450’s. I only wish that I could proposition our President to fund me on such an adventurous journey and to discover lands never found by the world as we know it. Fortunately the King and Queen did not take a republican stance upon this request (as I would now receive) and allowed such a wonderful history to be uncovered. I would love to have seen this article published in Spanish so that I could read it pre-translated. I simply feel that the non-translated details I would notice would add to the visualization of the story. Coincidentally, I feel that visualizing history is what makes it interesting to read.