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Today, my dad went under the knife. Over Christmas vacation, he somehow pinched a nerve that runs down the back of his arm. It has been hurting him and weakening him ever since. He couldn’t even raise a can of peas over his head because his muscles were weakening so badly from this nerve. I found out just last week how bad this has been for him and how bad it has gotten since I was last home in January. What they did today was shave off some arthritis from his vertebrae and create a new channel for the nerve to go through. They said he’ll be aloud to walk by this weekend and that he’ll be out of work for the next three weeks. Fortunately, all went well today. At first when my mom called me in the middle of class I thought something had gone wrong, but I texted her back and found out that she was just calling to tell me everything as all right. It has been a stressful day.


Glad your father is doing well. TheKemBlog



Today I came to the realization. After stepping back and looking at the classes that I have actually enjoyed and done well in, I have realized that these have all been classes that have been relatively small and ones where I have built some what of a personal relationship with the teacher. Then I realized that I go to school with some 40,000 plus students. It’s a little difficult for me to be in the kind of classes that I like. Most of my classes have 100 plus students in them. So am I questioning whether or not it was a good choice to go to Penn State? Yes, just a little. But I’m hoping that as I go further and further into my academic career here at Penn State, my class sizes will get smaller and smaller. I could never leave this place anyway.


The good news is that the classes should get smaller as you get further along in your major. Or, of course, you could pick something less popular like philosophy! (Philosophers are notorious for being poor.) TheKemBlog



I have two favorite times in the year. The first is a week where absolutely nothing seems to happen. Every year, this week might as well not even exist. Nothing matters on these days and rarely does anything happen. This is the week between Christmas and New Years. Ever since I was little, I’ve loved this time. I don’t really know why, I just do. The second time period is one that is speedily approaching. It is the time when, at least from k-12, the afternoons became incredibly long and you could go out and have almost a full day of playing after school got out. It’s not like summer because it is never too hot and people value the time more than the infinite amounts of time kids have from June until September. Now that it is almost April, something about the angle of the sun triggers something in my brain and it is starting to get into a warmer mind frame. I can’t wait.



So I was waiting in line for brunch and this kid in front of me is trying to pay for it with cash. After much fumbling with the register, the cashier finally figures out the total: $10.50. I speak up and tell the kid, “Dude, you’re not paying that much for brunch. I’ll swipe you.” He thanks me and goes and gets his try and silverware while I swipe for the both of us. When I’m getting my utensils, he puts the $11 in my hand. I tell him I can’t take this and he just says “Kindness and generosity,” and then he disappears.


Interesting, and neither of you know one another. Nice. TheKemBlog



This morning, there was crew practice. Bad enough to have practice the day after St. Patrick’s day, but we had to meet at the white building at 9 and drive 20 minutes to the nearest row-able body of water. What made this outing even more exciting was the fact that it was thirty degrees outside, and the water was most likely only being kept from being frozen by the winds that sloshed it around. The icing on the cake was that we do not have any docks with witch to help put our boats into the water; therefore, we had to wade, knee deep, into this freezing water, then row for an hour and a half, then get out and take it out. When I un-strapped my feet from the boat and took off my 2 layers of socks, my toes were literally frozen together. Needless to say, none of us on the crew team were happy campers. Hopefully we won’t have another practice as extreme as that ever again.



Today is St. Patrick’s day. This is my first time seeing what this “holiday” is like on a college campus, and I must admit that I’m a little shocked. But eight o’clock this morning, there were intoxicated people loudly roaming the halls shouting various profanities and incoherent phrases. I never knew that people started drinking so early on St. Patrick’s day. I, being Conor Thomas O’Brien, just hope that I live to see tomorrow.



So spring break was a blast. Even though getting up at 6a.m. every day and rowing for 4 and a half hours (almost) daily sounds a little rough, it was worth it. I learned so much about rowing that it amazes me. My boat mates and I went from being barely able to keep the boat steady to being able to hold our own in a race. I just wish we had more time to practice in the water, because we sure aren’t getting beautiful days here in State College, PA like we had in Summerton, SC. Oh well, I’ll just have to tough it out.






I find it interesting that the political parties are no longer “republican” or “democrat” but rather “conservative” and “liberal.” Using these terms makes it more than just a political affiliation, it turns it into a lifestyle.

As suggested, I watched an hour of evening news. “The Daily Show,” as near as I can tell, leans towards the left, or “liberal,” side. With it’s constant mocking of the current party in power, I found it to be quite easy to discern this.



It is amazing to me to see what news is put out by American media, and what news isn’t. After reading the BBC articles o the situation, it is shocking to find out how bad things are over there. The fact that this is the second time something similar to this has happened in an African nation with very little help from the outside world is just stunning. Why wouldn’t this get a lot more airtime on the news? Don’t people care about the slaughtering of innocents anymore? Or is it that it just doesn’t “sell well” with the viewers so the corporations that own the media outlets don’t want to report on it. Whatever the case is, the events are horrible and much more action needs to be taking place as soon as possible.



I thought this little story was really good, although I thought I generalized the American people a little too much, but then again, that was the point of the piece. While reading this, I actually swelled up a little with pride. I liked how he made Americans sound. I didn’t agree that Americans don’t care about peoples’ past. At least in college, we always seem to want to know where people came from. But that topic fades quickly and I can see where Sullivan was coming from when he made that generalization.



I’ve never actually read the Declaration of Independence, and I found it to be rather interesting. I remember studying it when I was a little kid and reading books about revolutionary times, and reading the declaration brings it all back. I had forgotten that the British used to house their soldiers in the houses of people of the colonies without paying them or giving anything in return to them in any way. The people were also put to trial if they didn’t house them and the soldiers basically ran the house. With things like that going on (along with all the unfair trials and lack of free trade) it’s no wonder that the colonies decided to break free.



An amazingly humorous story has come to my attention today. The vice president shot a friend of his while hunting for quails in Texas. I consider myself to be liberal, so every time I hear a story that makes the current people in office look bad or just makes fun of them in general, I get amused. What is even more amusing is that this story is straight out of the movie “Wedding Crashers” where Vince Vaughn gets shot in the rear end while quail hunting as well. Sadly, the real story isn’t quite as funny considering the man was shot in the side and partially the face.



This weekend, I discovered the most amazing website. It is http://pandora.com. It is simply amazing. What the website does it asks you to type in a song or music artist’s name, then from that, it will create a “station” based on that group. The station consists of songs by the artist you entered and plays songs by other artists that it thinks you will enjoy listening to. You can also enter multiple groups in on one station and create an interesting mix of music. The best part about it is that it’s completely free. Unfortunately, you can’t download the songs, but since Penn State provides everyone with free Napster, this is not a problem. Needless to say, I spent several hours on this site this weekend.



I’m really excited today because in my seminar, we learned how to use our webspaces and how to make cool and useful webpages. But this evening I am quite frustrated. After all, my teacher made it look so quick and easy, why can’t I do the same? The first step which makes the entire process incredibly easy is mapping the drive network. And, of course, this does not work. I had looked forward to a fun evening of playing around with my webpage and emailing it to my friends and family, but alas, I cannot do this. Oh well. I’m sure I’ll get it all straightened out tomorrow.


My name is Conor O’Brien, but ever since coming to Penn State, I have been called Conan. Most people are overjoyed to find the connection between my name and the popular late night talk show host’s. Friends of some of my friends actually think my real name is Conan because that was how I was introduced. Most of the time, I’m the person in class who breaks the deafening silence when everyone refuses to answer a question just because I can’t stand it and I find it kind of disrespectful. Go Nittany Lions!



I don’t know why, but I didn’t feel that this letter was too powerful or moving. I think it might have been the fact that it was written in such a courteous and gentle way that all the passion seemed to be sucked out for formalities sake. The most powerful parts were the emotional ones. When he was talking about how it feels to tell you child why they can’t go to Funland and why whites are so mean to coloreds. I think if I heard MLKJr read it, it would have been much more powerful, but just reading it in my room by myself, it seems to be lacking something.



(from jenesaisquoi)

I had a successful four years in high school with great friends, good grades, and a played on the varsity football and lacrosse teams. Upon graduation I decided to attend Penn State University with an intended major of advertising.

While my friends were attending graduation parties and preparing to go to college, I spend three weeks traveling in France, Switzerland, and Germany. When I returned home I began to prepare for college life. I cannot imagine myself anywhere else but Happy Valley and I look forward to the next three years.



I chose the snapshot that said "what we do when we're sick." One could argue that more than 6 out of 10 people sleep when they are sick is because they want to get better. One could also argue that it is the illness that makes them tired, and that is why they sleep. And a third argument? Oh.... i don't know... that they're so bored that the only thing they can think to do is to sleep to pass the time. I don't really see how you could look at this data and come up with opposite arguments unless you said the data collected was a lie.



I found the speech to be incredibly powerful. Never before have I heard a speech by the former president Roosevelt, but it is said that he was an incredible public speaker. It is very true. The message of the speech was much more powerful being herd through audio instead of reading it. He spoke so eloquently and with great timing. It was fantastic. There is no wonder as to why he was elected for three terms and why the United States went to war after that address to the nation was given.



I thought that this declaration was very powerful and I appreciated the simplistic language that it used. This makes it much easier for all people of the world to understand. One part I found particularly interesting was Article 26 (1). It basically said that everyone has the right to a free education up through the elementary level, but higher than that you have to pay for (or earn). If they are talking about what I think of as “elementary” (k-6), then that is not much education. It is just interesting to realize how much education Americans get than many people of the world. We are extremely lucky in that respect. Other than that, I just thought the article said everything that needs to be said about basic human rights. The tough part is getting the world to follow that.



In reading this, I, of course, flashed back to the moments that stand out in my mind about September the 11th, and the days that followed it. I remember where I was. It was my freshman year of high school and my class was sitting in the computer lab. I remember one of the ladies who was in charge of the lab came in the room, crying, and said that the twin towers had been hit by planes. I don’t remember the exact words, but there was definitely talk of terrorism. I immediately turn to my half Moroccan friend and said, jokingly, “Adam, was it you?” We both chuckled and he admitted it was him and I was so clever for figuring it out so quickly.

One extremely moving event from that day was when I saw the national anthem being played at Buckingham palace. Even though I was young and “too cool” to get overly emotional about anything at the time, something about seeing that moved me deep inside. It made me so proud and made me so grateful towards the British. When I saw it mentioned in the address, it brought me back. That address was full of powerful memories.




One thing that really struck me was the closing line of the Oxford Concise Dictionary of Politics (2nd edition) “In short, one person's terrorist is another person's freedom fighter.” This short, quirky sentence packs a big punch. When you stop and think about how over three thousand people died from the September 11th terrorists attacks, there is no doubt in your mind that it was a horrible travesty and that it should always be remembered. But I’ve heard that more civilians have died in Iraq from our military than all the people of September 11th. Where are the moments of silence around the world for them? Why doesn’t their national anthem get played at Buckingham palace?

Also, I recently found out from an avid Economist reader that the United States essentially bombed Iraq every day for about 10 years during the 90’s. The US military took out anything that could be used to house weapons manufacturing. It was really only the American people who were completely oblivious to this. Does that make us terrorists? When you read statements like the one from the Oxford Concise Dictionary of Politics, it really makes you stop and think about what is really going on in the world.




I read the state of the union address, and I found it to be pretty bland. It just seemed like the same stuff that has been beaten into our heads over and over again. What I did find quite refreshing was when Bush talked about energy. He said America was “addicted” to oil and that we needed to beat this addiction. He actually made some very interesting and hope-bringing points, which came as a welcomed shock to me. It brings a lot of hope for the future, especially since this is coming from a man who said it was a god given right for Americans to use as much gas as they want. I hope we can actually reach all the energy goals that bush as set and that he didn’t just say these things to keep the American people happy.



The word “friend” can, and is often, thrown around a lot. In today’s world, it has lost much of its meaning. It has become something to call anyone you know and do not dislike. This is not what a friend is. An actual, true friend is someone that you are so close with, they are practically your family. They are not the random kid you met at a party and had a 5 minute conversation with. A friend is not someone you sat next to on an airplane and talked with just to pass the time. A real friend you would lay down in traffic for.

It seems to me that people are afraid of not being liked, so they will call everyone they know their “friend,” when in actuality, they barely know the person. A friend is someone you really truly know. A person who you can always go to for whatever reason with no questions asked.

Sure, you don’t want to offend the kid who lives two doors down from you, but in all honesty, if you only talk to this person a few times a week and the conversation consists of “Sup?” then can you actually call this person a friend? Lots of people do, but this is just wrong.

So, I would like to argue and persuade people to believe that the term “friend” is something that needs to be earned and that it is not a god given right. It truly is a much more sacred term and should be considered thusly.


Works Cited

Cocking, Dean, and Jeanette Kennett. "Friendship and Moral Danger." The Journal of Philosophy 97 (2000): 278-296. 5 Feb. 2006 <http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0022-362X%28200005%2997%3A5%3C278%3AFAMD%3E2.0.CO%3B2-X>.

"Friend." Def. N. Oxford English Dictionary. 5 Feb. 2006 <http://dictionary.oed.com/cgi/entry/50089947?query_type=word&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;queryword=Friend&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;first=1&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;max_to_show=10&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;sort_type=alpha&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;result_place=1&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;search_id=vtx4-odvcon-11677&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;hilite=50089947>.

Minot, Walter S. "Friendship." College Composition and COmmunication 25 (1974): 154. 5 Feb. 2006 <http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0010-096X%28197405%2925%3A2%3C154%3AF%3E2.0.CO%3B2-J>.

Parsons, Elsie C. "Friendship, A Social Category." The American Journal of Sociology 21 (1915): 230-233. 5 Feb. 2006 <http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0002-9602%28191509%2921%3A2%3C230%3AFASC%3E2.0.CO%3B2-A>.

Plato, David Bolotin, and David B. Robinson. "Plato's Dialogue on Friendship." The Classical Review 32 (1982): 42-44. 5 Feb. 2006 <http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0009-840X%281982%292%3A32%3A1%3C42%3APDOF%3E2.0.CO%3B2-%23>.



By JeNeSaiQuoi

I love your idea for this paper. I do think that there are many different meanings to the term "friend" so I am interested to see how you define it. You do need to establish a Thesis statement for your paper. A possible thesis statement is

Statement/Claim: A friend is a person you have come so close to emotionally that they become a part of your family.

You do a good job of providing examples of people who are not friends. Why shouldn't these people be considered friends? In your paper, I feel that a good way to support your argument is to provide more examples of things that friends do as well as stating inadequacies of a friend. First hand accounts or quotes of people talking about their friends may also support your argument.

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