Tuesday, February 28, 2006

First half of a story for creative writing
Pete stormed out of the house, slamming the door behind him. He started his truck, grinding gears as he distanced himself from his parent’s farm. “Damned cows,” he muttered, opening up his flask. After a shot that made him grimace, he turned down a road barely visible to someone who didn’t know it was there. After taking another pull of whiskey, he felt the tension start to leave him. The truck slowed as he neared a creek. He stopped the truck and poured some more whiskey into his flask. After changing into a pair of shorts, he trotted down a well worn path. Hearing splashing and shouts ahead, he quickened his pace.
Suddenly a stick appeared in his path. Going too fast to stop, he tried to jump over it, but it moved with him, knocking him over. With the wind knocked out of him, he watched as Thomas Walton, an All-State quarterback from his high school, strolled over and took a swig from his flask. Wiping his lips, he smiled,“Good stuff you got here Pete, ‘preciate it.” Pete saw everyone else, his buddies Tom and Rock and some of the football team, move out of the way as Thomas sauntered by and jumped off the bank. “Water feels good Pete, come on in,” he said. Pete gingerly stood up, trying to see if he was knocked up anywhere. “What the hell is he doin’ here?” he asked Tom and Rock, who had sidled over to him. “Just showed up with those other shitheads,” Rock said. “Lemme get a pull of that.” Handing him the flask, Tom motioned for them to follow him.
Back at the truck, the trio sat on the shade side and passed the flask around till it was empty. “How’d they find out about this swimmin’ hole?” Pete asked. “Followed us,” Rock grimaced, “ Fore you got here, Thomas was braggin’ bout how he was gonna bring Julie out here Friday night after the prom.” Pete’s face tightened, “he asked her yet?” “Nah, but everyone knows they’re gonna go together,” Rock said. “The hell with prom, ain’t none of us got a date anyway,” said Tom, “You ask your folks about fishin’ Saturday?” “Yeah, they said I gotta help move the damn cows to the south pasture..it’ll take all day,” Pete said.
“Well, if this ain’t gonna be a dud of a weekend,” muttered Rock, “mebbe we can get us some dates for the prom…ya’ll got any ideas?” “Rock,” said Tom, “you know there’s not a girl in school that’ll go with us after we threw that dead skunk in the girl’s locker room.” “That was funny as hell though,” Rock said. “Ya’ll shut up for a second,” Pete interjected, “I’ve got an idea. How’d ya’ll like to go fishing Saturday with Julie and her two tagalongs…after we take ‘em to prom?” “Becky and Amber?” Rock asked, nearly drooling at the mouth, “hell yeah..” “Yeah, and how about you get Thomas to eat cow crap while yer at it,” Tom said disgustedly. “Almost…he’s gonna be helpin’ Pop drive those cows to the south pasture while we’re helpin’ those broads rub on sunscreen,” said Pete. “Whoa…yer serious aren’t ya?” asked an astonished Rock, “How you gonna do that?” Hearing Thomas and company traipsing back to them, Pete whispered, “You’ll see.”
“Water too cold for you women?” Thomas laughed as he approached them. “It was kinda polluted today,” Rock quipped, moving closer to Pete. Thomas bristled, then relaxed as Pete said, “Hey Thomas, I’ve got a proposition for ya.” Curious, Thomas edged closer, “What?” “If Julie goes with me to the prom, you gotta help my pops move cows Saturday.” After a stunned silence, Thomas and his cronies cracked up. “Right on,” Thomas said, “and what about if she goes with me?” “I’ll streak around the gym three times at prom,” Pete said, serious. Now roaring with laughter, Thomas and his buddies nearly fell over. “That whiskey has gone to yer head kid,” said one of them. Thomas shook his head, grinning, and shook Pete’s hand. “Deal,” he said. As Thomas and his followers walked away, Rock and Tom turned to Pete, unable to speak.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Style Lesson 2
Writing should not be hampered by "correctness." If one spends too much time worrying about grammatical correctness, one's writing will suffer. There are three rules: real rules, the rules of Standard English, and Folklore. Real rules are ones that natural speakers don't have to think about, for example, articles never precede nouns. Rules of Standard English emphasize the Standard English dialect over other dialects. Folklore rules are invented by grammarians, and should not be strictly adhered to.
These invented rules are classified as folklore rules and elegant options. Folklore rules forbid one to use less instead of fewer or use "that" for which. The general rule one should go by is that if competent writers break these folklore rules, then it is acceptable to do so. Elegant options forbid one to split infitives or end a sentence with a preposition. These rules should only be observed when doing very formal writing. Hobgoblins are items that receive a lot of attention, like using hopefully instead of "I hope" and using like instead of as.
There are also words that are misused. For example, an injury can be aggravated, but not a person, and disinterested means neutral, not uninterested. Pronouns and their referents pose a problem with no real solution, although it is possible that in the future "they" will become correct, versus he, she, or s/he. Writers should lean the difference between folklore and real rules so that that their writing won't be limited needlessly.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

When some one comes in second place, would you say they are the runner up or the first loser? Your answer probably determines whether you personally are a winner or a loser. Today I watched a match play golf tournament. One of the finalists was a man named Davis Love III. This man possesses one of the best golf swings in the world and has been one of the best players in the world for over fifteen years. However, he has not won nearly as much as he should have, and has faltered coming down the stretch many times. Tiger Woods beat Davis in a playoff for his first PGA Tour win, and Davis' overall playoff record is 0-7. Davis doesn't have a "killer instinct." Michael Jordan had it, Tiger Woods has it, Ali had it. Jack Nicklaus, the best golfer ever (until Tiger proves otherwise), was known for being a very gracious loser. However, he was also known for his killer instict. He wanted to beat his competitors brains out on the course, and after he had done it he would buy them a drink. Tiger absolutely loathes losing, and he has an attitude on the golf course. Some rip into Tiger for being like that, but I think there is no way he would be as good as he is if he didn't want to demolish people. Without a competitive spark, being dominant is very difficult. Some have the talent to be dominant without a killer instinct, but they would be even better if they possessed it. Personally, I won more wrestling matches in high school than I should have because I hated to lose (because it's really embarrassing to lose a wrestling match, it's basically like getting your ass kicked in a fight). Even though hating to lose isn't politically correct, it's a necessary evil if you want to be a winner.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Drunk people
Drinking has very different effects for different people. Some people become very happy and sociable when they drink, others become very nasty. There are also those people who shift moods between being very happy and being very nasty, often within the span of a few minutes. Emotions become heightened and inhibitions are lowered -- and people know this happens when they drink. Hangovers are a bitch. Drinking and driving is stupid. However, millions (probably billions) of people still get "hammered" on a regular basis. Why? Drinking is fun. People can relax, and shy people can interact better in a social environment when they drink. And while alcohol is a depressant, there is a time when it lifts one's spirits. This seems to make drinking worthwhile for people. I drink, and I have experienced all of the things I have described above.....yet I still enjoy it. Maybe it's the stories of the things you did while you were hammered, maybe it's because it's easier to talk to the opposite sex, maybe it's because...who knows. People drink, and they will keep drinking for the shits and giggles.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

As i was writing the summary on chapter 1 of the style book, I couldn't help but think of Ernest Hemingway. Why? Hemingway's writing style was short and direct, and has been copied by many writers. He was a major reason for the change from long flowery sentences to terse prose. I recently read The Sun Also Rises for a class, and was impressed with his style of writing. He started his career as a journalist, and carried the journalist style of direct writing into his novels.
Another thing I find interesting about Hemingway is his view on women. The women in his works are often portrayed very badly, and one only has to look at Hemingway's own life to understand why he writes about women in this way. He was married four times, and had adulterous affairs throughout his life. He had two views of women: They were either weak and submissive, or they were bitches. With a view like that, how could he ever keep a wife. Hemingway had to have the upper hand in relationships, and was constantly trying to break his lady of the hour. One of my professors has a Freudian-like theory that Hemingway's mother, who was very domineering, shaped his views on women later in life. Hemingway also fell in love with a nurse when he was wounded in WWI who ended up rejecting him. He was nineteen, she was twenty-six -- his first real love. His heartbreak from that affair probably caused a great deal of his bitterness towards women. It is always interesting to read an author's works and then their biography, because their works then take on much more meaning.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Do you lie to avoid hurting someone's feelings? Do you tell your significant other that you are really breaking up with them because you can't stand how they snort when they laugh? How do you feel about defense lawyers trying to cut repeat sex offenders a deal?
Ethics or morals can be tough to deal with. There are many grey areas in life, and there are many situations that have no right or wrong solutions. There are pros and cons to everything, and while we try to pit them against each other to try to figure out the "right" thing to do, there is no real formula. Telling a friend that they really do need to lose weight might help them become healthier and more attractive, but the emotional toll they will suffer may hurt them more than a few extra pounds. In the case of the sex offender, he may have changed his ways and be genuinely sorry for his crimes, but the lawyer trying to arrange a deal doesn't know and doesn't care. Lawyers try to get guilty people acquited all the time, even knowing their client is guilty. How moral is that? Sure, everyone is entitled to a fair trial...but we all know that there are those cases when a lawyer knows for sure that his client deserves to be punished but still does his best to defend him. Along those lines, how moral is the death penalty?
Unfortunately, these questions can't be answered. Philosophers have tried for ages to define what is good and what is bad, but it's impossible. Wait a second, you are thinking, murder is bad, rape is bad. Why are these things bad? What does "bad" mean? Hurtful, wicked, wrong? What do these things mean? Sure, you can look in the dictionary and find the definitions, but those definitions are just what society has labeled these things. Why is grass green? Because someone once said it was green and not blue, and people adopted that idea. I started out talking about ethics, and while it may seem that I have veered from that path, I haven't. The point I am trying to make is that ethics are impossible to define because nothing is absolute. Ethics can only be had by people who agree to have the same values, values that are defined by their idea of what "is." I'm going to end with a cliche..but it's relevent. The only things in life that are certain are death and taxes.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Finished short story from earlier
Start of "skeleton" creative writing storyThere was once a young man who wanted to win the State Amateur. He was from a little backwoods town in the northwestern part of Tennessee. He played his golf at the town's only golf course, a little beaten up track that could barely stay in business. His job allowed him to play a good amount, and he was good. Very good.However, he never played with anyone. On rare occasions he would play with his closest friend, another young man who was a decent golfer. He stopped playing with this friend because the man told everyone how superb his game was, and people began to pester him to play with them.The young man liked solitude, and often played early in the mornings or late at night. Once a group of about ten men showed up and started following him. After hitting two more shots, he briskly walked off of the course. No one saw him for a month afterwards.
When he came back, it was on a busy Saturday morning. He casually asked the starter if there were any groups he could join, and was told he could join a threesome. Word spread from the pro shop to town, and soon there were two dozen people following his group around the golf course.
They couldn’t believe what they saw. The young man was struggling mightily. The swing that was rumored to be so flawless, so powerful, was spraying shots all over the course. The crowd murmured after every poor shot, and the young man’s jaw tightened. The crowd eventually dissipated, sure that the young man was vastly overrated.
Before the young man left the course, he picked up a piece of paper lying on the desk inside the pro shop. He stared at it for a moment, considering, and then filled it out. “Joe,” he said, “Can you send this off for me? And keep it quiet…at least for now.”
The young man kept showing up every Saturday and playing with any group he was assigned to. People, curious about him, kept showing up to watch. He played better than the first time he let people watch, but still seemed unable to find his rhythm. “He’s a decent player,” people said, “but he could never keep up with the big boys down there in Memphis and Nashville.”
The young man kept up this routine for another few weeks, until one Saturday he failed to show up. “I guess he likes telling people he shot 4 under par by himself more than he likes shooting eighty while he’s playing with somebody,” one man remarked, forgetting that the young man never talked to anyone.
One hundred miles to the east, just outside of Nashville, the young man stood on the 13th tee of one of the state’s most prestigious golf courses. He was playing his first match of the State Amateur. He had made it into the match play portion of the tournament by squeaking into the last spot in the stroke play qualifying round. As he stepped up to his ball on the thirteenth tee, already 2 holes down to his opponent, he felt the tension drain from his body. He looked down the fairway, making a note to avoid the bunkers on the left side. The people watching became a blur to him, and he didn’t seem to hear the roar that went up after he drove his tee ball nearly to the green on the 365 yard hole.
Three days later, the sports page of the Memphis Times read, “Jim Reed, who suffers from diagnosed Social Anxiety Disorder, defeated Bob Hurley on the 34th green yesterday in the State Amateur final….

Monday, February 20, 2006

Chapter 1 Style Summary

Chapter one talks about writing clear sentences as opposed to wordy or unclear sentences. This is an area that should be addressed when one is in the later stages of a piece of writing, as the first objective is to get the idea down. However, in the revision stage one should consider simplifying sentences for clarity. Unclear writing has different names for different disciplines -- bureaucratese for writing government regulations, legalese in legal documents, and academese in academic writing. These types of writing are undesirable because the reader and sometimes even the writer can't determine the meaning of the writing. Why write something if no one can understand it?
Politicians, doctors, and the like write wordy, unclear sentences to show their "intelligence." People mistakenly believe that simple, concise writing doesn't reflect intelligence. There has been a long past history of writers who write vague, long sentences with good ideas that are almost incomprehensible to the reader. A reader shouldn't have to strain his intellectual capacities to understand writing.
Some writers believe that "plumping up their prose" impresses readers, who think that this type of writing means that the writer is a deep thinker. Other writers become too concerned with gramma, which constricts good flow in a piece of writing. Dense writing can also be a sign that the writer's subject material is unfamiliar to him, which means that he can't explain it without using a multitude of words and sentences. Writers also tend to forget that their readers don't see their writing as clearly as they do, so they don't simplify it enough for it to be easily comprehensible.
Rare occasions, such as writing a presidental inaguaral address, call for wordy, complicated writing. However, it is generally better to write in a way that is easy to understand for the reader by editing out the "fluff."

Sunday, February 19, 2006

My controversial community problem

I am a member of the "hunting" community, as I am an avid duck hunter who also hunts other species of animals. I am also a member of Ducks Unlimited, an organization that works for conservation and restoration of migratory bird habitat. I would like to explore the issues that hunters and non-hunters disagree on. These issues range from whether hunters should be allowed to hunt to the number of animals that should compose a bag limit.
As of right now, I only know the pro-hunting side of the argument. However, I feel that I can openly look at this issue. I feel that I am a fair person because I can always see both sides of an argument, and I also disagree with the practices that many hunters use. For example, while I do hunt deer, I disagree with allowing dogs to run deer to the hunters. I walk/wait in the woods, and if I am fortunate enough to get a shot, fine. If not, I'll try again. I feel that running deer with dogs is unfair and shows little sportsmanship. About ten years ago there was a requirement for waterfowl hunters to start using steel shot versus traditional lead shot. The lead shot was causing ducks and geese who ate it to die of lead poisoning. I was a young boy, but I wholeheartedly agreed with the change, even though steel shot made it much harder to bag ducks. The whole lead versus steel was and still is a huge controversy between waterfowlers and the government biologists.
I plan on focusing on basic rights -- both those of animals and of hunters. I will read some of the philosophy principles by people like Aldo Leopald and Kant (?), and I will read some pieces by pro-hunters.
I still have to do some research to figure out which topics I want to cover exactly, because I would like to take two or three issues that are relevent and research them.
Here is an interesting take on a possible issue-sorry, it's pro-hunting, but it's an example of the way I would set up my paper.
There are more deer in American now than when Columbus came. Natural predators have been basically wiped out. With the loss of forests and the growth of agriculture, there are more fields and pasture land, which also boosts the deer population. Hunting is, in some people's eyes, necessary to keep the deer population at a level that the environment can support. That is why there are now many either-sex hunting days during deer season, instead of the traditional buck only season.
Here I would reply with a counterargument from an anti-hunting source.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Start of "skeleton" creative writing story
There was once a young man who wanted to win the State Amateur. He was from a little backwoods town in the northwester part of Tennessee. He played his golf at the town's only golf course, a little beaten up track that could barely stay in business. His job allowed him to play a good amount, and he was good. Very good.
However, he never played with anyone. On rare occasions he would play with his closest friend, another young man who was a decent golfer. He stopped playing with this friend because the man told everyone how superb his game was, and people began to pester him to play with them.
The young man liked solitude, and often played early in the mornings or late at night. Once a group of about ten men showed up and started following him. After hitting two more shots, he briskly walked off of the course. No one saw him for a month afterwards.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Since I have gone to college, I have changed communities and changed my role in communities that I have stayed in. For example, I am still a golfer and I still consider myself a part of the golfing community. However, while in my home town of Tappahannock I was on the high school golf team and I played on the junior golf circuit. I also played numerous money matches with golfers in the area. Since I have been in college, I have not been around to play as much. I am too old to play in junior tournaments now, and I don't play in the amount of tournaments that I used to when I was at home. Things have also changed because I am now an "adult," meaning I have been asked to play by adults much more than when I was in high school. I now play more with grown men than I do with kids, which is a logical change.
I have left my high school community because I am in college. I rarely see my high school friends, and wondering whether I will win my next high school wrestling match is no longer on my mind. I would like to think that I am more mature than I was in high school. College has provided me with an education in the real world, which I did not live in when I was in high school.
I am no longer a real member of the church community now. Growing up, I went to church to please my mother, and I did the typical church youth group thing. I haven't totally abandoned this community, but I no longer regularly attend church. It is a community that I may get back into as I grow older, but for now I am in the outskirts of that community.
I am still a member of the hunting community, but like with golf, my role has changed. I now hunt less since I am in school, and I tend to hunt with my father and brother versus hunting with friends. I no longer religiously read "Ducks Unlimited" or "Field and Stream." I have actually become more of an intellectual hunter..ha ha, in that I read about the game populations in Virginia, why the season and bag limits are what they are, conservation efforts, etc.
I am no longer a member of a team now that I am in college. I was a member of the varsity golf and wrestling teams in high school, but I have obviously left those years behind. I considered wrestling in college, but the sport becomes very grueling at the college level and I didn't feel that committed.
I am now in a fraternity, which would be a new house on my street. We argue, bitch, and moan a lot, but overall it is a positive experience. Through the fraternity I have done philanthropy and community service. I have been a member of the RMC Dance Marathon community the past two years because of the fraternity.
The Writing Center has become another house on my street. It would be the house that always turns its lights out early and has the yard mowed twice a week, but it's still on my street. I joined this community because I was an English major and a professor recommended me as a possible consultant.
Of course, the big house on my street would be RMC. This house would have many stories with many different people living in it. This house has outbuildings, which would be the communities that I am in that are a part of the larger Randolph-Macon community.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Jrnl/My Communities

My basic community would be the town/county where I grew up. I grew up in a small Virgnia town called Tappahannock. It is located in Essex County on the Rappahannock River. This is your basic small town community, with a few prominent families at the forefront of everything that goes on. Favoritism plays a large part in a lot of things that go on, and if you are in the wrong family things can be tough for you. There are the typical rednecks and the "snobs." I have the pleasure of mixing with both classes because I hunt and play golf.

These communities are inside of the larger community. The redneck community consists of guys with old trucks, shotguns, and cases of Natty Light. I have friends who are a large part of this community, and I hunt, during which I interact with them. Problems are simple in this community, consisting of lost hunting dogs and run-ins with game wardens.
The golf community is a bit more complex. There are two golf courses in Tappahannock, and since my grandfather owns one, I am obviously more partial to it. I play golf at both places, but there is definately tension between the two, as they each compete to attract the most players. I play golf with guys who are terrible at the game and I play with guys who kick my butt. There are always good times, even when the golf is bad.
Since I have come to school, I have become involved in more communities. I am obviously a student at Randolph-Macon, and I am in several communities inside of the RMC community.
I am in a fraternity, which means hanging out with guys, arguing with each other, and of course a bit of socializing. Lots of conflicts come up between this community and the school.
I am an English major, and I am a part of that community at Macon as well.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Good Writing Can't Be Taught
Audience -- Dr. Malesh

Think of your special talents. Perhaps you can paint, sing, or play an instrument very well. Did you find that you were exceptional in those areas soon after you started them? The first time Tiger Woods swung a golf club at the age of 18 months, his father said that it looked like a mini replica of a professional golfer. Now think of those areas that you struggle with. For example, I am bad at math. No matter how hard I worked, I wasn't able to become "good" at it. Do you think that someone can be taught how to drive a race car? Writing is the same way -- you either have the ability or you don't. Think of your own special area of expertise. Do you believe someon who is not gifted in that area could be taught to be as good as you are (providing that you are applying yourself diligently)?
How many people have you seen take piano lessons for years, yet never get any better at playing? I know I have seen people take golf lessons for over ten years, yet they haven't improved at all. Writing is not as extreme as golf, but natural golfers and natural writers can not be made -- they just "are." Everyone in America today is required to learn how to read, spell, and write. Every kid is given more or less the same education, and yet we see great writers emerge from classes in which everyone else was an average writer. Many great writers had little formal schooling, yet wrote great books. If one good writing could be taught, wouldn't there be many good writers since there are plenty of opportunities to learn the nuances of writing?
I am an English major, and I have written and read many pieces of writing. I am also a writing tutor who has seen all kinds of writing. In my own personal experience, people can improve their writing. If they diligently try to learn how to write, the quality of their writing will improve. However, they are still not good writers. They are merely better than they were before. There is a certain flair for writing that can not be taught. I can help someone with their thought processes and writing methods, but I can't teach them how to write pieces that "glow." Two ice skaters may do the same routine perfectly, but there is that "something" in one of the skaters performance that makes it good, while the other is merely average. As a writing tutor, I see students who have that "something" and I see those who don't. I can help those gifted students improve enough to be "great", but I would need to be God to teach an average writer to be great.
This one will be tough, Dr. Malesh, because since you are the Writing Center director, you most likely believe that people can be taught to be good writers. However, think about your favorite authors. Do you believe that someone taught them how to capture your entertainment? Since I am sure you have tutored many people, I would like you to think about how many of them were good writers. Have you ever turned someone into a truly good writer when they weren't before? Sure, some kids have their rough edges, and you can help them smooth them out.

Truly good writers are rare. While there are many degrees of excellence, I am defining a good writer in this piece as one who is better than 85 percent of other people who write. Talent is required for writing, just as it is basketball. You are either born with it or you are born without it. Michael Jordan was coached, but he had the basic tools inside of him. I am a decent writer, but even if Shakespeare came back from the dead to personally tutor me, I would never be a great writer. Good writing comes from within one's self.

Monday, February 13, 2006

My methods for writing persuasive pieces

I like to write persuasive pieces of writing on topics I am very familiar with, because I use a lot of facts to make my points. If I am forced to write a persuasive paper on a subject that I’m not familiar with, I research that topic thoroughly so that I will become familiar with it. It is very important to have strong facts in an argument. If facts are incorrect, what does that say about an argument? It says that the person arguing is not qualified to pass judgment on an issue because they don’t know the facts. People who read an argument with incorrect facts also tend to think that the person who wrote the argument may be an idiot, which will probably turn them to the opposing side of the argument.
I think that humor and sarcasm are invaluable when writing persuasive pieces. The level of sarcasm depends on the audience. For example, if I am writing a persuasive piece for a stuffy old professor, I am not going to be nearly as sarcastic as if I was writing it for a magazine that catered to young people. Sarcasm and humor are not appropriate for more serious issues. Making jokes about abortion will not convince anyone and will most likely make people very mad.
As I mentioned, I think about my audience when writing a persuasive piece. If you are trying to convince street kids not to join gangs or do drugs, you aren’t going to use formal language. You will say something like that “That ain’t cool bro, cuz…..” It’s very important to speak in language that your audience can understand and relate to. It would obviously be foolish to use casual language when trying to persuade Congress to pass a bill.
Another thing I like to do when writing persuasive pieces is open with a scenario. For example, in one of my blog entries I opened with an imaginary scenario between a boy and a girl in an attempt to illustrate the argument I was going to make. By opening with a scenario, you can show how your argument is relevant in a real life situation. People will be able to relate to a realistic situation and better understand the argument you are making.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Kezer Addresses Economic Problems, Seeks Town Support in Inaugural Address (journalism article)

Newly Elected Amesbury Mayor Thatcher W. Kezer III delivered his inaugural address on Tuesday, January 3 at Town Hall. He spoke about the town’s economic challenges and asked for the support of those who voted against him.
Kezer thanked his supporters and commended his predecessor, David Hildt, on a job well done during his four year term. Amesbury voted to adopt a city government in 1996.
Kezer, Amesbury’s third mayor, spoke about the economic challenges facing Amesbury, a town of 1200 people. He commented that the challenges facing the town required the town to come together, forgetting past differences.
“I know there is anger, and frustration and distrust on many sides, but if we are going to succeed as a community, all of us, collectively, have to let that anger, and frustration and distrust go . . . let it go.”
Amesbury’s biggest challenge is that government services are using more money than is brought in by revenue. Specifically, fixed costs like health care and insurance are rising while state aid to cities and towns are being reduced.
Kezer plans to improve the fundamental structures of local government, reducing spending. Investing in projects that lower operating costs and using technology to improve efficiency are keys to reducing government spending.
Kezer also cited economic growth as the key to meeting Amesbury’s challenges. Amesville’s median household is currently 50,000 a year.

Expanding commercial and industrial segments of the tax base takes pressure off of Amesbury’s residential tax base. It will also provide additional revenues to meet town needs additional revenues to meet our needs.
Kezer stressed that this new growth should improve the quality of life in Amesbury.
Kezer intends to implement a program called Amestat to provide information crucial to making economically sound decisions. Amestat will hold all levels of local government accountable and improve the ability to measure progress.
Kezer also spoke about the necessity of having school systems capable of educating Amesbury’s children to compete with the world.
Kezer suggested that veterans and seniors be honored for their contributions to Amesbury by naming streets or parks after them.
Kezer closed his address by urging the community to come together to solve the town’s problems. He promised open and honest communication, fairness, and compassion from his administration.

Kezer Addresses Economic Problems, Town Support in Inaugural Address (3 sentence version for online news site)

Mayor Thatcher W. Kezer III asked for town unity in working out local government economic problems in his inaugural address. He plans to implement a program called Amestat to identify ways to improve efficiency.Kezer urged the town to forget past differences and focus on the future of Amesbury, and promised open communication, fairness, and compassion from his administration.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Let's talk about moderation tonight (or this morning). Moderation dominates our world today -- look at politicians. Moderation is a cop out. I am guilty of being a "moderate" myself, because I would describe my political views as moderate. Moderate is defined as "not being excessive or extreme." Society today seems to be so politically correct that moderation is the norm. Those who have extreme views are viewed as crazy or branded as unstable. Moderation is as prominent as it is because people are afraid of making other people angry. Politicians are afraid to take a stance on birth control or gay rights because they will lose votes, so they dick around the issue, not answering anything outright. Moderation is also prominent because it is a form of compromise. When there is a disagreement between countries, countries usually "modify" their views or stances to form a "compromise." Then there is your average joe, who doesn't want to piss off his gun slinging neighbor across the street or his lesbian lover neighbors next door, so he takes a neutral stance when it comes to issues like gun control or gay rights. Moderation is good in some cases, like with drinking (and by moderate drinking I mean not going to the hospital or drinking alone), gambling, etc. However, I think people should care less about what others think or whether others like them. If a rich man feels that he is paying taxes that are too high, he should honestly state his case to his poor cousin (once again, don't take offense at my stereotypes). Let's be honest, let's be truthful, let's not try to please everybody.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Random thoughts on "love" triggered by witnessing a friend's issues

I am no love doctor and have no qualifications whatsoever for what I am about to write. The following is just my interpretation of "love" in the twisted form we, as college students, can identify with.
A guy meets a hot girl in his bio class and is fortunate enough to be paired with her for a project. The two do the necessary work, meeting outside of class. Boy is courteous, polite, and helpful. He agrees to do the legwork for the project and meet whenever is best for the girl. At the end of the project, he summons up the nerve to ask the girl out on a date. She agrees, he takes her out to dinner, pays, and is politically correct during the course of the date. The date ends at her dorm door with a hug and exchange of good nights.
Boy IMs girl when he gets back to his place to tell her he had a great time and gets no response.
The next night the guy is at a fraternity party and sees the girl. She gives him a polite greeting and moves away as soon as possible. Later that night the guy sees the girl all over a chain-smoking fraternity brother with a tattoo. He constantly makes fun of her, slaps her on the ass, and makes her go get his beer.
After half a dozen attempts to talk to the girl over the next week, bio boy gives up. He sees the girl hanging out with the fraternity guy and hears that they are dating. Later he hears that fraternity guy has cheated on bio girl, but she still wants him back. He wonders --What the hell?
Now ladies reading this, don't take offense, because this is a generalization of what I consider typical college interaction between the sexes.
As a senior, I have seen scenarios like this for almost four years. I have concluded that what women really want .....wait for it.....is a "sensitive bastard."
A sensitive bastard allows a woman to have her cake and eat it too. A woman will still have the excitement provided by a jerk or bad boy with a sensitive bastard, but she will still have the romanticism provided by a nice guy. I define a sensitive bastard as a guy who does what he wants when he wants and does not base his actions on what he thinks the girl wants him to do. He is not always politically correct. However, he differs from a jerk or asshole because he doesn't cheat or abuse women. He is romantic when the time is suitable for romance. He treats a woman with respect, but he is not afraid to make her meet him halfway (sorry for the cliche).
While I have found that girls respond to the jerk I described above, they are not happy with a character like that. They are usually miserable because of the abuse the guy doles out. Nor are they happy with the nice guy -- there is no challenge or excitement. The sensitive bastard would make a woman happy on every level.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


Don't read this blog if you hate reading about people bitch, however, since you all go to Macon, I believe everyone can relate to this entry.
Ok, complaint number one is the parking on this campus. I am a senior and I live in Conrad. The parking lot between Conrad and Crenshaw has somewhere between 40 and 60 spaces....yet I rarely find a parking spot there. Remember senior parking in high school? It sort of gave u respect, like when you could cut in front of freshman and sophomores in the lunch line. Well, I have struggled to find parking spots for three years and this year is no different. If I cared enough I would submit a proposal to the school to allow seniors and seniors only to park in a set number of lots. Our parking stickers could have a little symbol on them that identified our cars as "senior cars." Campus safety would then impose hefty fines on those underclassmen who dared park in a "senior spot." I have gotten a couple of tickets for parking in faculty parking...and I don't park there anymore. Kids would learn to let the seniors have their spots as well.
The food at Macon is another issue. After 11 at night, our only option for food on campus is shittly little Southside express, where damp wraps and mouldy sandwiches are available until 1 am. Why am I paying thirty grand to eat a sandwich, chips, and a soda whenever I get hungry late at night? Estes, our cafeteria, is a queasy bowel delight. Enough said on that issue. Our "fast food joint", Macon Coffee, is greasier than an auto repair shop. The situation is ridiculous...how can we learn when our stomachs are rumbling from the Estes slop we ate an hour ago? Prison food is probably better. But hey, there are positives to the shitty food and scant hours. The infamous "freshman fifteen" pounds is not nearly as prevalent on this campus, because everyone eats only enough to survive, and hey, let's not forget the sweet little old lunch ladies who know your name.
My persuasive Essay on Why you can't teach writing


Wednesday, February 01, 2006