Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Those two concepts, love and commitment, seem to be inseparable. If you love someone, then you are committed to them. My dad said this so concisely when he firmly stated, "Love isn't emotion, it's commitment." My parents have now been married for over twenty-two years and just recently finished training as marriage mentors. They love each other even more now and are even more committed to each other than when they were first married. To our society, that sounds wonderful but strange. Wouldn't it be hard to maintain those loving emotions for each other for that long? My father made the observation, "Our society thinks love is all about emotions." Most seem to have this view that the love must be gone if the touchy-feelings are gone and there is no longer an emotional high. As psychologist(s), Wallerstein & ___, state in their book, The Good Marriage, "Happy marriages are not carefree. There are good times and bad times, and certainly partners may face serious crises together or separately" (12-13) But even if they have separate battles, they will always be able to depend on one another for support. (continue addressing this issue & incorporate sources)
As everyone knows and my communication teacher stated so succinctly, "Relationships take work" (Wobbe). Work is hard. Not many people like to work and toil. What makes the work and toil worth it is that pay check at the end of the month or that good feeling for helping someone in need. Marriage is rewarding. "We want to be loved and know that someone will always love us" (Leininger) Committed marriages have this guarantee. However, the reason for this relationship should not be for what you can get, but what you can give. Selfishness has nothing to do with love. Love is what you can do for someone else, not what you can get. (continue...)
"[W]e see that this unity is to encompass all of life. It is not simply a physical relationship. Nor is it simply the giving and receiving of emotional support. It is rather the total union of two lives on the intellectual, social, spiritual, emotional, physical levels" (Chapman 58). (copy thoughts already written elsewhere about this here & expound)
Thursday, November 8, 2007
When the Air Force moved my family to Germany, my parents, Alan and Barbara were having a difficult time with their marriage. They had already been married for fourteen years, but they were not communicating effectively and weren't doing anything to fix that. Even though I was nine years old at the time, I only occasionally noticed it and did not think that it was as bad as it really was. My mom said that she would yell at my dad to get a reaction from him, but my dad would close down and become reserved so that he would not get hurt by her words or tone of voice. As my dad became reserved, my mom would yell louder to try to get her anger and frustration through to him. This would cause him to become even more reserved. Thus, an endless cycle would start. My mom would yell, my dad would withdraw. My mom would yell even louder, my dad would withdraw even father. If there was ever a time when my parents would have thought about getting a divorce, it was then. "There were times when I was telling him 'I hate you,'" my mom said, "but I never thought about leaving him. Divorce never even crossed my mind." Even though she felt hatred for him, she still loved him. With his arm around my mom, my dad recalled, "There were times when we couldn't even talk to each other. However, it was during those times that we held onto each other even more." What would have been the cause for divorce for other people was embraced by my parents as a time to grow together. When they said "for better or for worse," they really meant it. With a gleam of love for my father in her eye, my mom explained, "It was in the worse times that we experienced the better, because we were completely relying on each other [so that they could get through it]." They love each other and always have. They are committed to each other and always have been. Those two concepts, love and commitment, seem to be inseparable. If you love someone, then you are committed to them. My dad said this so concisely when he firmly stated, "Love is commitment. (insert rest of quote)" My parents have now been married for over twenty-two years. They are love each other even more and are even more committed to each other.
It is not the touchy-feely love that holds a marriage together. "The tingles," as Gary Chapman, (insert qualifications), calls those feelings, are not always going to be there. Couples still have to work or go to school. During a work or school day, walking around constantly feeling the tingles of love would be tiresome. "The tingles" would get old and hard to sustain, especially when children come along. My parents said that their relationship changed a lot after they had their first child. ...
Over the past several years, I have made it a point of observing married couples and engaged couples. (continue observations made as well as point & support for observations)
... "Divorce is not an option." For most people, that would be too forward and blunt, especially so early on in the planning stage. It would seem too narrow and confining. People do not like to be confined. They do not like for the choices or options to be limited. America is the land of opportunity. It is also the land of diversity. Not only are there numerous different nationalities that are immersed in our culture and our heritage, but there are also numerous different options available to Americans. When going to the grocery story, there is usually a whole aisle dedicated to chips. There are so many different flavors, brands, textures, colors, styles, and tastes of chips available for the person who is not sure what mood they are in to stand there and let their head spin. Coming from Germany, where there were only about four to six options, I was overwhelmed when I saw that enormous aisle full of poofy bags of chips. It was so difficult for me to chose the one that I wanted, to evaluate them all and finally decided to buy it. These days, Americans seem to look at marriage in a similar way as they look at their favorite bag of chips. When they don't love the taste of that chip anymore and no longer enjoy it, they move on to a different bag. After all, there are so many good chips to chose from, why just stick with one? In marriage, a lot of Americans seem to think that after they stop loving the person and enjoying them, then they should divorce and move on to a new relationship. After all, there are so many good people out there to chose from, why just stick with one?
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Marriage commitments are so easy to break these days. It really is just a "simple trip to the nearest courthouse." The reasons for divorce do not have to be complicated or even significant. There might not even need to be reason. Divorce is seen as a fact of life these days. However, it is not the fault of our government for making it so easy to obtain. It is the common lack of commitment in marriages. Why else would a German politician propose that marriages have expiration dates? Where is the commitment in that? If your marriage is going to expire in a certain number of years, commitment is not necessary. However, in order for marriage to unite two people, there must be a willing commitment.
Divorce & Marriage. Those things actually have several things in common. Both must be witnessed. Both are legally binding. Both involve two people. Both involve the consent of those two people. Both require the signatures of those people. Both affect the future of those people. Both involve a life adjustment. Both involve a commitment to the decision being made.
Although they have these aspects in common, there is a significant difference. Marriage is unifying. Divorce is dividing. One binds two people together and the other breaks that bond. One testifies to the union of two people and the other declares the separation of them. These important details cause their stark contrast to be exceedingly evident.
Tears glisten on the cheeks of a mother as she watches her daughter, dressed in white, walk down the aisle. Beneath her veil, the bride's cheeks are flushed and her face glows as she smiles and tries to walk at an even pace. The groom stands at the altar, waiting patiently for his beautiful bride. The numerous friends and family in the audience are joyfully awaiting the moment, in a few minutes, when the two shall pledge their love to each other by simply saying, "I do."
But how long will that "I do" last? It is said that "one in two American marriages ends in divorce" (Wallerstein). That is sad. How can that be? That means that every other wedding that you attend will end in divorce. The tears shed by a brides mother will become tears of sadness instead of tears of joy. How can that happen? If that man and woman who married truly loved each other and really meant it when they said, "I do," why would the get a divorce instead of working out their problems? If you truly love someone, you will try to understand them and resolve your differences. Perhaps they did not love each other as much as they thought. Perhaps they did not have the same understanding of the word love when they pledged their undying love to each other forever. Love is more than a feeling, it is a commitment.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Properties of Marriage
stopped at #33
Marriage is commitment. When you get up in front of a room full of people and declare that you will love someone until death, that is a commitment. If you didn't mean it, you should say it. If you are not committed to your spouse, you can't expect your spouse to be committed to you. Then you will never fully trust each other. I don't think it is wise to live your life with someone who you do not trust.
How is commitment established in a marriage?
I already mentioned that trust was important. Trust in marriage is a major factor involved in commitment. When you trust someone, you are more open and honest with them. My research uncovered the importance of being open and honest in ones marriage. Effective communication in marriage is important so that you can be open and honest and understand each other better. There were several counseling sites that I encountered that stressed this issue.
How do you allay fears that a marriage may end in divorce?
It all seems to come back to commitment. If the two are committed to each other "'til death do us part," then the fear of divorce should not even be an issue. If two people are not necessarily committed or have not thought about it, the threat is there. However, it all depends on how strong the marriage is as it faces the tests of time. Strong marriages involve strong commitments which should not be bothered by fears of divorce since they have no grounds to be.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Sections from Text
"In the past twenty years, marriage in America has undergone a profound, irrevocable transformation, driven by changes in women's roles and the heightened expectations of both men and women. Without realizing it, we have crossed a marital Rubicon. For the first time in our history, the decision to stay married is purely voluntary. Anyone can choose to leave at any time—and everyone knows it, including the children. There used to be only two legal routes out of marriage —adultery and abandonment. Today one partner simply has to say,
for whatever reason, I want out." Divorce is as simple as a trip to the nearest courthouse.
"Each year two million adults and a million children in this country are newly affected by divorce. One in two American marriages ends in divorce, and one in three children can expect to experience their parents' divorce. This situation has powerful ripple effects that touch us all. The sense that relationships are unstable affects the family next door, the people down the block, the other children in the classroom. Feelings of intense anxiety about marriage permeate the consciousness of all young men and women on the threshold of adulthood. At every wedding the guests wonder, privately, will this marriage last? The bride and groom themselves may question why they should marry, since it's likely to break up.
"To understand how our social fabric has been transformed, think of marriage as an institution acted upon by centripetal forces pulling inward and centrifugal forces pulling outward. In times past the centripetal forces—law, tradition, religion, parental influence—exceeded those that could pull a marriage apart, such as infidelity, abuse, financial disaster, failed expectations, or the lure of the frontier. Nowadays the balance has changed. The weakened centripetal forces no longer exceed those that tug marriages apart."
The realities of divorce are very real. It is almost impossible to not know someone who has a direct connection to the divorce of their parents or has been divorced themselves. It is very sad that so many marriages are ended today over issues or problems that couples have dealt with and overcome for years. Divorce is just so easy. Not only do children fear the divorce of their parents, but young men and women fear that they, themselves, will one day experience the pain of a divorce. The strong ties that influenced couples to remain married are not as strong as they once were. Marriage difficulties have a stronger influence to pull couples apart than the strong ties which unite them.
"Each year two million adults and a million children in this country are newly affected by divorce. One in two American marriages ends in divorce, and one in three children can expect to experience their parents' divorce. "
This is an important statistic for my paper. I like the way that it is stated, it is very concise and effective.
"For the first time in our history, the decision to stay married is purely voluntary. Anyone can choose to leave at any time. ... There used to be only two legal routes out of marriage —adultery and abandonment. Today one partner simply has to say, for whatever reason, 'I want out.' Divorce is as simple as a trip to the nearest courthouse."
This is, again, so concise and straightforward. It is such such an abrupt, simple example of how simple it really is nowadays.
"In times past the centripetal forces—law, tradition, religion, parental influence—exceeded those that could pull a marriage apart, such as infidelity, abuse, financial disaster, failed expectations, or the lure of the frontier. Nowadays the balance has changed. The weakened centripetal forces no longer exceed those that tug marriages apart."
A long time ago, marriage used to be held together by tradition, religion, parental influence, and the law. Today, marriages are easily dissolved by "infidelity, abuse, financial [problems], failed expectations," or the desire to explore on their own. They are not based on the ideals held so strongly by our ancestors.
"The sense that relationships are unstable affects the family next door, the people down the block, the other children in the classroom. Feelings of intense anxiety about marriage permeate the consciousness of all young men and women on the threshold of adulthood. At every wedding the guests wonder, privately, will this marriage last? The bride and groom themselves may question why they should marry, since it's likely to break up."
Divorce has long reaching affects, not only on those immediately involved, but also those indirectly involved. Everyone has been or is affected by divorce to some degree. It is a fear with which young men and women struggle, especially those who are contemplating marriage.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Source: Wallerstein, Judith and Sandra Blakeslee. "Chapter 1: Happy Marriages, Do They Exist?" The Good Marriage. © 1995 by Judith S. Wallerstein and Sandra Blakeslee. Reprinted by permission of Ticknor & Fields/Houghton Mifflin Co. 16 & 18 Oct. 2007 <http://www.hachettebookgroupusa.com/books/32/0446672483/chapter_excerpt10952.html>
Layer 1: Story the Source
This first chapter in a book is about the writer's findings about divorce and also marriage principles. It talks about studies and observations which were conducted about marriages. There is intersting information about how second marriages compare to first marriages. "Happiness" in marriage is also an issue discussed about what it means to have a happy marriage and to be happy in ones marriage. She conducted several interviews with couples to find out more information on a personal level and she includes some of these conversations in this chapter. She made the observation that marriages have changed over the years and talks about those changes. Explaining that this book is not a "how-to" book, she tells her readers that it is about her observations from which she thinks and hopes people can learn and understand for fully. She has several interesting historical notes about the changes in marriage over the years. Her purpose is stated in the last paragraph. She wants to help people see how it is possible to develop "good marriages in a culture of divorce."
Layer 2: Rapid Summary
Almost all of the information contained in this chapter sounds important for my paper. The points about how marriages have become so easily disolved seems to be a theme and the reason for her research. She talks a lot about the coomplexity of relationships involved in a marriage and all the emotions and factors that contribute to its success or its downfall.
Layer 3: Narrative of Thought
When I was reading this chapter, I realised that we share a lot of the same veiws and she brought up points that support my views of which I had not thought. I already knew that "happy marriages are not carefree. There are good times and bad times, and certainly partners may face serious crises together or separately." It has been good to see that reiterated over and over again throughout my research. It is an important point and something I think is taken forgrated. Just because one is married does not mean life will be easier. If it did, the divorce rate would not be so high. "One very important goal of the study was to find out what people in these marriages meant by 'happy.'" This is something that I have been trying to answer myself. Her notes about this are insightful and I am sure I will be using them in my paper. "In the past twenty years, marriage in America has undergone a profound, irrevocable transformation, driven by changes in women's roles and the heightened expectations of both men and women. Without realizing it, we have crossed a marital Rubicon. For the first time in our history, the decision to stay married is purely voluntary. Anyone can choose to leave at any time... Divorce is as simple as a trip to the nearest courthouse." This bothers me, even though I know it to be true. This clearly addresses the fact that there is such a lack of commitment to marriages today. How did we slip so low? When will people realize how damaging this issue is not only to themselves, but all of the family members and friends involved?
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
I have been influenced by observing the marriages of other people. I have seen both postiive and negative elements. I think I know what consitutes a strong marriage. Good communication is key. I cannot quite identify with my subject because I am not yet married. However, I am betrothed which has the same commitment that marriage has; it ends in death or marriage. The elements of a strong marriage are hard for me to describe. You have to be committed to each other and share most (if not all) of the same values and morals. I have seen marriages get shaky because of spiritual issues and lack of good communication. I have heard of marriages that ended because of those same issues. I want to have a stronger marriage with more open communication than those I have observed.
2. This article contains nine elements that are important for maintaining a strong, healthy marriage. Some of them involve communication - with family members and each other. It is important to have a safe haven and maintain a level of privacy for the couple and the family they are building together. They need to share friends, interests, and experiences so they do not get bored with or loose interest in each other.
3. "nine critical psychological tasks that take place in a healthy marriage... separate emotionally from the family of one’s childhood in order to invest fully in the marriage,... build togetherness,... embrace the daunting role of parenthood ... while the couple works to protect their privacy,... confront and master the inevitable crises of life, maintaining the strength of the bond in the face of adversity, ... create a safe haven for the expression of differences, ... use laughter and humor to keep things in perspective, and to avoid boredom by sharing fun, interests and friends, ... provide nurturance and comfort to each other, satisfying each partner’s needs for dependency and offering continuing encouragement and support, ... keep alive the early romantic, idealized images of falling in love while facing the sober realities of the changes wrought by time." (passage was short and in a list format)
Student-activities are great for allowing students to get together and do something fun. Those who participate make new friends with whom they can relate. College is a place of discovery and one of the things that need to be discovered are new friendships. A lot of students will not know many (if any) people who are going to school with them. This can make the college experience very lonely and unbearable. In my communications class, we have learned that human contact and connection is important for humans to be able to survive.
The things you mentioned getting rid of are important for helping college students to make it through college and not dread everyday of it. Relationships are important and the small activities provide fun, non-threatening ways to get to know people in ones school.
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Focusing Question: What makes a strong marriage? How verbal communication is important in building lasting, committed marriages?
- Hector, Peter. Love is No Guarantee! What you Need to Know before You fall in Love. Crunchbird Publishing, 10 Jan. 2003. Excerpted on eNotAlone. 9 Oct. 2007 <http://www.enotalone.com/article/2649.html> Several chapters all are a good source for facts about how many marriages last in view of how many do not. It included information about the physical ties and communication ties that are involved in lasting marriages. (Christian source, this is really a book, but there are sections available on the Internet.)
- Perry, Peary. "50-50 VS 110%" 28 April 2004. Texas Escapes.com. 9 Oct. 2007 This article has a good example of how relationships have changed, commitment is not as important to people. "We hear the words... 'for better or for worse' when people stand up to get married. That takes communication. For a marriage to survive, both parties must be honest and truthful with one another. ... Relationships have to have a strong sense of communication to weather the storms of life if they are going to survive. You can't have flowers without the rain. The final word is commitment. In the marriage vows the phrase is expressed as 'till death do we part.' That's commitment. That's long term commitment, not just for week, month or a year, but for life. To look someone in the eye and verbally express in front of other witnesses that you will love and honor this person till death do you part takes a lot of willingness to commit to making a marriage work. ... Marriage is not all wine and roses, sometimes its vinegar and weeds, ... we must enter into relationships with one another for the long haul and an eye on the goal, years, and years away, not just for tomorrow."
- Reeves, Patsilu. Keys to Building a Strong Marriage: Commitment. 2006. Mississippi State University Extension Service. 9 Oct. 2007 Good basic descriptions of "Many loving couples go into marriage thinking they will have a wonderful life, and if it does not work out, they can get a divorce. This is not a commitment." (author had Ph.D.)
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Men, women and relationships : making peace with the opposite sex /
by Gray, John, 1951-
Beyond Words Pub., c1990.
Communication in marriage.
Dating (Social customs).
Description: 306 p. ; 26 cm.
ISBN: 0941831507 (pbk.)
Call #: BF 692.2 .G73 1990
Married people : staying together in the age of divorce /
by Klagsbrun, Francine.
Bantam Books, 1986, c1985.
Communication in marriage.
Description: xvi, 366 p. ; 18 cm.
Notes: Includes index.
ISBN: 055325684X (pbk.) :
Call #: HQ 734 .K57 1986
You just don't understand : women and men in conversation /
by Tannen, Deborah.
Ballantine, 1991, c1990.
Communication in marriage.
Sex differences (Psychology).
Edition: 1st Ballantine Books ed.
Description: 330 p. ; 21 cm.
Call #: HQ 734 .T24 1991
Love is never enough : how couples can overcome misunderstandings, resolve conflicts, and solve relationship problems through cognitive therapy /
by Beck, Aaron T.
Harper & Row, c1988.
Marriage -- Psychological aspects.
Communication in marriage.
Edition: 1st ed.
Description: xii, 323 p. ; 25 cm.
Notes: Includes index.
Call #: HQ 734 .B47 1988
Women can't hear what men don't say : destroying myths, creating love /
by Farrell, Warren.
Jeremy Tarcher, c1999.
Communication in marriage.
Description: 372 p. : ill. ; 24 m.
Notes: Includes index.
Call #: HQ 801 .F355 1999
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Participating in the Google Project, helped me realize how much of a perfectionist I am and reinforced the fact that you cannot always rely on other people for your research, you have to do some yourself, even if it is just to make sure that they got their facts correct. Sometimes, it is easier to do a job by yourself than in a group of people who all have different methods of research. However, I realized that my method is not the only method. I look over a source and take notes on it, then move on to another one. Some people look at several sources and mix them all together in their mind so that the information comes out in a very original way. Both methods are helpful for different things and I am glad that I was able to learn this method so I can use it along with my own as I write my personal research paper.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
to take good notes, analyze the exert and read to understand.
Trapper's Last Shot
This opening seems to foreshadow the fact that people need to be more careful and consider what they are doing before they actually do it. The idea of a beautiful community was present in the beginning, but then the boy was struggling on his own in a lake that was anything but peaceful. "He got to the bank before he fell, and thought they wanted to help him, they couldn't keep from backing away." Things are not always as they appear. "The surface all around, even the farthest edge, roiled when he hit as if the pool were alive, but they didn't see the snakes at first." There seems to be a wildlife problem here (because the pool was full of snakes) as well as a lack of enough water for the humans and snakes.
"...Identity is the most important goal of adolescence," was suggested in this article. The theorist examined several different methods that "adolescence" use to determine their identity. He concluded that most of them form their identity based on events in which they are forced to make critical decisions. Any conflicting decisions are examined and the individual then comes to a conclusion about what they think and that becomes part of what defines them.
In both approaches to the exerts, I analyzed the contents and looked for themes. However, I looked at the first one as I would a piece of literature, while the second seemed more philosophical. Usually when I am reading, I look for themes and specific examples that support that theme (or contradict it). I also look at the tone being used - formal or informal? I usually reread or skim the numerous different things that I read so I can better understand them and their context and I know where the article is going at the very beginning (having already read the whole thing through). I am also a note taker. Organized notes help me to think through my thoughts so I can see them on paper and develop my ideas more constructively. I believe that I did a good job at following my own reading for writing rules. Key difference: the first was quite informal, the second one was quite formal. I had problems trying to figure out where the writer was going with the exert. To fix this, I just analysed from where they were coming so I could somewhat predict where they were going.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
- How does the government view/define marriage?
- What is/are the religious aspect(s) of marriage?
- How do most Americans view marriage these days?
- What are the reasons why people marry?
- How does a person's past affect their view of marriage?
- What is the divorce rate verses the marriage rate?
- What constitutes a healthy marriage?
Argue: Marriage is a special, emotional bond between a man and a woman that should not be broken.
Analyze: I think that Americans generally view marriage too lightly these days and do not take is seriously. I want to find out if this is true and how often it is true. Because there are so many divorces, I think that my theory is correct, but I may be surprised when I start researching and interviewing people.
Assumptions, Beliefs, Preconceptions, Ideas, &/or Prejudices:
I assume that not many people share my view of marriage. I believe that marriage is the sacred union between one man and one woman. I believe that it is more than a legal contract. It is a special, unique emotional bond between one man and one woman. I believe that divorce is not an option. I do not agree with the way that gay men and lesbian women behave and live. I find it rather disgusting and offensive. I do not think it is natural or the way marriage was intended. I do not see the point since it is impossible to naturally reproduce. If men and women were supposed to have intimate relationships with their own sex, why don't animals do this, too?
- How does the government view marriage?
- What are the different views about marriage?
- Is a legal marriage important? Why?
- What are the different types of marriages allowed in the US?
- How do the majority of Americans view marriage? Is there a majority one way or the other?
- Is there a religious aspect of marriage? How many? What does it include?
- How does co-habitation look in comparison to marriage?
- Is marriage taken too lightly these days?
- How do people view marriage? A contract? A promise?
- Why do people marry?
- How does eloping relate to marriage, legally?
- Who should be allowed to marry?
- What is the age limit on persons aloud to marry?
- How much of a role do parents play in marriage in America?
- Does the way you are raised affect the way you view marriage?
- What makes a marriage last?
- Should there be a time limit on marriages?
- What is the marriage rate verses the divorce rate?
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Focus Question: How do you decide what job?
- Does work study get you a good job? Is it worth it?
- How do you narrow down the job lists?
- How can you figure out what skills you have that would make the best job?
- Can you find a job that is enjoyable, but also pays the bills?
- Are there jobs that are only available to certain people? Is there one that requires your skills?
- Are there good jobs that are specifically geared for college students?
- Are there jobs that you do not want? Can you eliminate some options?
- How do you sort through all of the good jobs for the "best" one?
- What are your chances of getting your dream job? Is it worth fighting for?
- Do the job tests out there really help you decide what job you should have or would enjoy?
- Is it best to find a job through someone you know or by seeking one among strangers?
- Do employers look for students who stood out in college (perfect student) or the most rounded even if the student did not do wonderfully?
- Should the job pay be the deciding factor in finding a job?
- Is it healthier to work at a job that pays well or at a job for half that, but enjoyable?
- Are there overall guidelines for finding a job?
Thursday, September 13, 2007
How does it effect the way we walk?
What types are health hazards?
What does it say about who we are?
Why do we put such an emphasis on shoes?
Why should we care?
How has footwear progressed/evolved through the years?
Are Greek or Roman sandals healthier than flip-flops?
How does footwear vary among different regions of the world?
Are the variations practical for that region?
Do we choose shoes mainly by what they look like instead of how they feel?
Why are shoes so expensive?
How do Dutch shoes figure into all this?
Black Forest in Germany
Trunbellbac (sp) Falls in Switzerland
Young Frau getting smaller
Train system in Europe
"Tube" system in England
Human Cloning (ethical?)
What causes eyes to twitch
Trends & Things
Water skiing vs. Snow skiing
Yellow "Caution" tape
Healthfulness of raw vegetables & fruit today vs. a century ago
College students and weight gain
Statements made by clothes
Industrial Revolution effect on Global Warming
War in Iraq
Presidential election 2008
Unequal separation of powers in US Gov. right now?
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
I have used Wikipedia to find articles that supported my points, but I never knew that it was possible to edit them. This causes me to rethink my decision. Somehow, I did not know that it was a collaborative source and not just an online encyclopedia. I have mixed feelings. I want to say it is unreliable because anyone can edit it, yet that can make it more reliable because it is updated by knowledgeable people. The organization says that it can be updated on current events within hours as apposed to years for hard copy encyclopedias. Also, anyone can look and see the page history to find out when, who and how it was last changed or updated. This information should make it more reputable, however I still am unsure how I feel about the fact that anyone has the ability to edit the articles contained in this database.
Because numerous people visit the site to edit, share or create knowledge, the odds are quite high that most edits are legitimate and correct. This seems good. Yet, I still do not know how I feel about using Wikipedia articles in my research. The information is overwhelmingly in favor of using it, but the fact that anyone can edit it might outweigh all of their precautions. From now on, if I use Wikipedia (about which I am still unsure), I will thoroughly review the page history to decide whether I think the information given is logical and accurate. I think it will all depend on the subject that I am researching.
Monday, September 10, 2007
"Wikipedia (IPA: /ˌwikiˈpiːdi.ə/ or /ˌwɪkiˈpiːdi.ə/) is a multilingual, web-based, free content encyclopedia project. Wikipedia is written collaboratively by volunteers from all around the world. With rare exceptions, its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the Internet, simply by clicking the edit this page link. The name Wikipedia is a portmanteau of the words wiki (a type of collaborative website) and encyclopedia. Since its creation in 2001, Wikipedia has grown rapidly into one of the largest reference Web sites."
"Because Wikipedia is a going work to which, in principle, anybody can contribute, it differs from a paper-based reference source in important ways. ... However, unlike a paper reference source, Wikipedia is continually updated, with the creation or updating of articles on topical events within minutes or hours, rather than months or years for printed encyclopedias."
"Tens of thousands of regular editors — from expert scholars to casual readers — can edit Wikipedia, an openness that encourages inclusion of a tremendous amount of content.
Several mechanisms are in place to help Wikipedia members carry out the important work of crafting a high-quality resource while maintaining civility. Editors can watch pages and techies can write editing programs to keep track of or rectify bad edits. Over 1,000 administrators with special powers ensure that behavior conforms to Wikipedia guidelines and policies."
"Many visitors come to this site to acquire knowledge, others to share knowledge. In fact, at this very instant, dozens of articles are being improved, and new articles are also being created. "
"Wikipedia articles are all linked, or cross-referenced. Wherever you see highlighted text like this, it means there is a link to some relevant article or Wikipedia page with further in-depth information elsewhere if you need it."
"As a wiki, articles are never complete. They are continually edited and improved over time, and in general this results in an upward trend of quality, and a growing consensus over a fair and balanced representation of information.
Users should be aware that not all articles are of encyclopedic quality from the start, and may contain false or debatable information. Indeed, many articles start their lives as partisan, and it is after a long process of discussion, debate and argument, that they gradually take on a neutral point of view reached through consensus. Others may for a while become caught up in a heavily unbalanced viewpoint which can take some time — months perhaps — to extricate themselves and regain a better balanced consensus."
"Several studies suggest that the science entries of Wikipedia are of a similar order of accuracy and similar rates of both serious and minor errors to Encyclopedia Britannica, that it provides a good starting point for research, and that articles are in general reasonably sound. However, it does suffer from omissions and inaccuracies and sometimes these can be serious."
"Wikipedia's greatest strengths, weaknesses and differences arise because it is open to anyone, has a large contributor base, and articles are written by consensus according to editorial guidelines and policies. The MediaWiki software which runs Wikipedia retains a history of all edits and changes, thus information added to Wikipedia never 'vanishes', and is never 'lost' or deleted."
Thursday, August 30, 2007
My assignments have varied extensively in terms of the audiences for which I write, from children to adults, students to teachers, and/or friends to strangers. I always take the time to consider my audience because I believe that it is one of the most important factors that determine the success or effectiveness of my paper.
When I write, I can usually just sit down and write the first draft in one sitting. However, if I get stuck, I leave it alone for at least an hour to give my mind a chance to think about it and then get back to it.
I am not the best decision maker, so the hardest part of writing for me is deciding on a topic. Sometimes it worries me, but if I talk it out with someone or think about it for a while, I can usually come up with at least a vague direction if not a specific topic. Then, I research my topic by looking at things on the computer, writing about what I already know and talking about it with other people.
My favorite part about the writing process is the revision. It is so much fun to play with my paper to make it better. I think this is also my strongest area besides being such a good organizer. I am a perfectionist and also greatly enjoy using the English language to the best of it's ability.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Facts are things with which no one can argue. Dictionaries and encyclopedias are full of facts. If you ever wonder what a "bug" is, you can look it up in the dictionary and it will give you the facts about "bugs." However, there are several different kinds of bugs. People can have their own opinions about which kind of "bug" is really a bug.
Opinions are things that we form based on the information we receive. They are things that we can (and frequently do) argue about. I think that a bug is something small that can be squished under ones foot. The key phrase is "I think." You may think that a bug is an annoying sickness that you can catch from someone else. We both have our opinions, but the facts say that we are both right.
I think that is possible to confuse facts and opinions, which is why it is so important to be careful how we analyze our information. Frequently, people like to state their opinions as facts because it makes it sound more authoritative and convincing. However, it is misleading. The facts are "just the facts" and what we add to them are our own opinions.
Sometimes, our beliefs determine what we believe are the facts. Here it is often difficult to separate facts and opinions. So, my opinion has now changed. I believe that the fact is as follows: Some facts and opinions are easily identified, but others are harder to separate and discern.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Originality. It is something I strive for in my papers, because it is what makes it mine and my idea. I am not sure that you can use another person's ideas as the theme of your paper because it is not something that you have developed yourself. It is not something that you are trying to find out because usually if it is not original, then someone else has already found an answer. i think it is perfectly possible to ask the same question and come up with a different answer. There are a lot of things that have more than one right answer.
I believe that I am not sure if I agree that the word "I" can be used in a paper. I have heard that it shouldn't be, but my last English class made me toss that idea out and accept the "I" because it is what makes my work more personal. I think that it sounds more professional not to use it, but I am rather undecided whether I like it in my writing or not.
Having heard so many outlandish (to me, anyway) things about writing papers has caused me to develop my own ideas. I am the queen of revision. I revise and revise and cut, paste, reorganize and revise some more. I believe that I am not just writing a paper for my instructor so I can get an "A" (though, I wouldn't mind that) I think that when we write, it helps us to define ourselves because, usually, we have to make a decision about where we stand on an issue, how something makes us feel, or what we think should be done to solve a problem. As I research more about my topic, I start to see things from different perspectives which may change how I see my topic or support what I originally thought. In order to use my new found information and beliefs about my topic, I will be doing quite a bit of revising to my paper and thesis, maybe even shifting gears and taking my paper in a completely different direction. Usually, an instructor does not care one way or the other which way you approach a topic, but it will matter to you, as it should.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Welcome to my English 102 blog spot. I hope you enjoy the numerous writing assignments that will soon fill this space. May they fascinate and entertain you as the semester progresses! (Yes, I know that is a fragment; it is intentional! ;-)
Hope you all have a wonderful semester! I will be researching and writing until I can no more. Here's to an exciting semester! =D