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The Maurin Blog






So, the end of the semester is just about here and people are rushing around to get things done. I find it to be completely ridiculous that Penn State seems to fall apart at this time in the semester. First off, if anyone is trying to complete some work in the engineering department, good luck, because the damn CEDE server is down every other five minutes. Also, the machine that allows you to add funds to your meal points is also broken, leaving a guy like me who hates electronic money, like debit or credit, in a bad situation. Hopefully it will be fixed in the near future. Lastly, the convenience store in East Halls, Good To Go, is nearly out of everything. The only items remaining are overpriced cereal boxes and the gross stuff that no one likes. Summer, here I come.

Supplemental housing is a blessing and a curse. On the up side you have 5 more roommates, which can come in handy at times. But, the large down side is that everyone is getting sick of each other. Whoever thought of putting 7 dudes in a room is a damn fool, they obviously didn’t have to live there. But, like I was saying there are advantages. Recently, I was extremely bored and Joe had a ton of work to do. Me, being an idiot, volunteered to do a project for him. It was a design project for Solidworks that ended up taking over 6, nearly 7 hours. In return, he designed a website for me that I was having trouble with (Microsoft Frontpage is a terrible program so Joe had to use classic HTML tags).

One thing I’ve realized from my first year of college is that sleep is essential to everyone. I have completed a few all-nighters and if I may say so myself, they suck. Staying up all night is one thing; the bad part is the next day when you feel terrible and start falling asleep in your classes. Also, stupid energy drinks like Red Bull and Amp do absolutely nothing. I’m nearly positive that they are just placebo drinks with extra sugar and a terrible taste. Oh yeah, I forgot, they are extremely overpriced too. People that drink those things are getting scammed. Well, it’s now nearly 6:30 a.m. and Joe is calling me for a game of baseball on XBOX, so goodbye for now.


Going through graduate school is the best way to learn how to pull the "all-nighter" successfully. Basically, a tried and true way is to lie down for four hours of sleep and rely on lots of coffee! TheKemBlog


After a long, cold winter, the temperature has finally come up enough to play sports outside. A few days ago, my roommate, Joe, and I got a ball and our gloves and threw a ball around for a while. After playing catch with Joe, I finally realized he was lying all along about his superior throwing skills. Joe claimed that he could throw a baseball around eighty miles per hour, but when we were throwing the ball, the only one throwing eighty was me. Joe has a few off-speed pitches, but I must say, my curveball is a step above any of Joe’s pitches. Hopefully the weather stays nice for a few days so we can throw a few more times. Maybe we could get a few more people together and get an actual game together next time instead of just playing catch. Then I could showcase my phenomenal hitting abilities

AZ, former protégé of rap legend, Nas, put together a great album in 2005. Recently, I have been listening to AZ’s latest and possibly last album, A.W.O.L. Some of my favorite tracks on the album are: “Never Change”, “New York”, and “AZ’s Chillin”. In addition to this album, AZ’s debut album is also great. Drawing comparisons to Nas’ debut, Illmatic, AZ’s Doe or Die is filled with several classic tracks. In fact, Nas actually makes an appearance on Doe or Die where the duo creates a cinematic tale recounting the murder of a powerful crime kingpin. I’m also a big fan of “Uncut Raw”, “Rather Unique”, and “Gimme Your’s”. Well, I’m going to go listen to some AZ and play a bit of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Peace.

It’s finally baseball season. I am a big fan of baseball, and I very happy the sport is back in action for another season. Coming from southwest Pennsylvania, I grew up being a Pittsburgh Pirates fan. For several years now, the Pirates have been a sub-par team. I’ve watched several quality players come up with the Pirates only to leave the team right when they were beginning to show signs of great talent. It seems the only really good player remaining on the team is Oliver Perez. Perez is a power-pitcher with a lot of talent, but he tries to hard to strike out every batter leaving him with a high pitch count and he rarely gets past the sixth inning in the game. To begin the season, even “Ollie” is doing poorly; I guess it’s going to be another painful season for us Pittsburgh fans. Hey, at least we won the Superbowl.

Wow, I’m surprised how quickly the year has gone. Finals Week is suddenly upon us. I have four finals this week and I’m really not looking forward to any of them. So far, I have studied exactly zero hours for my finals so I guess I should probably begin today. Good thing I have Monday to study because my first test is Tuesday morning. On Tuesday, I have two tests, Linear Algebra and Econ 2. I know most of the material for Linear (commonly referred to as, “Matrices”) and the final for Econ 2 isn’t even cumulative, so Tuesday shouldn’t be that bad. One final exam I’m a bit worried about is Calc 3. I am confident I know most of the material that was covered in the class, but I can see the test having the possibility of being quite difficult. Hopefully the test isn’t too bad, I just want to get these finals done with and relax for four months.

In a previous blog, I mentioned the fact that I was waiting to hear some quality new music. Miraculously, the same day T.I.’s album came out, another great rap album was released by former Wu-Tang Clan member, Ghostface Killah. Hailing from Staten Island, Ghostface has been around the hip-hop game for a while. Ghost’s newest release, Fishscale, has many great tracks on it, but it’s an entirely different experience compared to King. Some of favorites tracks on this album include: “The Champ”, “Back Like That”, and “Jellyfish”. After listening to this album a few times through, I can honestly say I enjoy T.I.’s album more than this one. Maybe it’s because I can relate more to the southern style of rap or maybe it’s because Fishscale has way too many skits on it. Regardless, this album is still very good and I’m happy I have some new music to listen to.



On Wednesday, I attended a performance at the Crowbar by rapper, Ghostface Killah. I was psyched to see Ghost; I’ve been a fan of his since he was a member of the Wu-Tang Clan. Overall, I was a bit displeased with Ghost’s performance. I was expecting a lot of his new work since he was on tour promoting his Fishscale album that was released earlier this month. However, he did many older songs including some tracks from when he was a member of Wu-Tang. On a brighter note, rapper Ill Bill was also there with Ghostface doing his thing. Ill Bill is a great lyricist and he performed very well, a notch above Ghost’s performance. Overall, I had a fun night at the Crowbar. It was much better than doing all of the work I have due in the next few days for all of my classes.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is probably the best game and also the worst game ever. The game is ever so innovative and creative, giving the player complete control over what he does. Players can beat the crap out of any pedestrian, fly around the massive world in a helicopter, complete missions, or do a host of other things at any time. The major downfall comes when the player does not want to complete the missions and decides to freely roam throughout the city. Player’s find themselves involved in epic battles with police forces that can last several minutes long, but in the end, the police almost always win and the player is respawned at the local hospital (if the cops killed the main character, C.J.) or at the police station (if the police simply arrested C.J. for the crimes the player had committed). After screwing around for awhile and not completing any missions, one frequently realizes that he is achieving very little in playing this video game and soon shuts off the system in disgust. GTA is a great game that is crippled by too much (if that can be) freedom.

Many people hate on Lil’ Wayne. I don’t know if it’s his voice, his arrogance, or what, but some people just don’t like the New Orleans rapper. A few months ago, Wayne released Tha Carter II. I’ve always been a fan of Lil’ Wayne and I really enjoyed Tha Carter, so I couldn’t wait to hear some of his new music. Although some self-proclaimed real hip-hop fans continue to bust on Wayne, I think Tha Carter II is a great album. I find myself frequently listening through the whole album, but some of my favorite tracks on the album are: “Fly In”, “Best Rapper Alive”, and “Fireman”. I heard around March a chopped and screwed version of this album will be released, can’t wait to hear it. People can hate, but I’ll always enjoy Lil’ Wayne’s music.

I recently scheduled for Fall 2006 classes. Although I’ll have many credits next semester, I don’t the classes will be too bad. The classes I’ll be taking are: Differential Equations (MATH 251), E MECH 011, Electricity and Magnetism (PHYS 212), BIO 141, and CHEM 014. Looking ahead, I have heard many of these classes aren’t all that bad. My roommate Joe always talks about how easy MATH 250 is, so I can’t imagine MATH 251 being that much worse. In addition, I’ve heard that PHYS 212, CHEM 014, and BIO 141 are pretty easy too, so that’s all good. I don’t know much about E MECH 011, but if it’s hard, whatever, I’ll just do my best. Before the Fall, I’ll more than likely take one class in computer programming. I have signed up a class called CMPSC 201F (FORTRAN computer language) at my local community college. Learning FORTRAN over the summer will be good because I’ll just have less work to do during the regular school year.

A few weeks ago, I decided to skips all of my classes and go to New York City to skateboard. Both my brother (who also attends Penn State and accompanied me on the road trip) and I didn’t have any schoolwork due on Thursday or Friday, so we decided to start the weekend early and go to New York. I had a pretty good time in New York, but I wish we would have stayed a bit longer. There are far less places in NYC to skate than we had imagined; we ended up skating around Central Park most of the time. Sadly, we ended up only skating for the day and returned to Penn State by nightfall. The ride was pretty long, but we drove fast, so it wasn’t that bad. Also, when we returned, the whole weekend remained and I could chill for another few days before attending classes again.

One week from now, I will be chilling and basically doing nothing. Other than sleeping and taking one online course over the four month summer, I will be lifeguarding at Bellevue Memorial Pool in my hometown. Although I get paid dirt, I don’t mind lifeguarding because even though I don’t make too much money, I get paid for doing virtually nothing. This will be my fourth year lifeguarding at the pool and I love every minute of it. It is very soothing to just relax by a pool and have no worries because very rarely does anyone need me to save them or anything of the sort. So, if I can make it through my four finals this week, I’ll be relaxing by the pool in no time.

I really can’t wait for summer. There are plenty of things for me to do during the summer, but the thing I’m most looking forward to doing is sleeping. Living with six other guys and being a major procrastinator, I tend to stay incredibly late almost every day. Frequently, days end with me doing work until roughly five in the morning. Luckily, my schedule contains many late classes, so I normally get around six hours of sleep each night. Some college students can live with six hours, but I can’t. I frequently nap immediately after returning from class and one time I actually went to take a nap around seven in the evening and woke up twelve hours later as the sun was rising. My sleeping schedule is really messed up, I can’t wait to get home and sleep until I can sleep no more.

Recently, I have found myself listening to the same old music over and over. I was beginning to get really tired of the music I was listening to; I needed to hear something fresh. This month, I finally got some new music to listen to when T.I. released his latest album, King. I’m a big fan of southern rap, so it was good to see T.I. put together a great album. King has some real bangers on it including the first single, “What You Know”. I especially enjoy “King Back” and “I’m Talkin’ to You”, but all in all, I can play through the whole album with the exception of one song. That fact alone makes this album, to me, a classic.


4-12-06 - Final Paper Proposal - For my final project, I would like to create a pamphlet about nuclear energy as well as writing a proposal letter to Congress about converting to nuclear power. Nuclear power is the science of using nuclear fission to create thermal energy, which is then captured in the state of steam before being sent to a turbine to become electricity. Nuclear energy is far superior to standard methods of converting and cultivating energy.


Nuclear power has many advantages, ranging from environmental to economical. Its environmental advantages include using less fossil fuels and saving the atmosphere. Contrary to popular belief, nuclear power is more cost-efficient than our customary methods of converting energy and creating electricity.


Another surprising aspect of fission power is how safe and reliable it is. Nuclear energy has been around for decades and has become one of the safest industries. Every new nuclear power plant has a foolproof, five-tier umbrella of safety, starting with the design of the fuel pellets all the way to the distance from a reactor to the general public.


The purpose of creating a pamphlet is to inform the general public about the advantages and endless possibilities of nuclear energy. Part of the current problem with starting the nuclear revolution is the public ignorance to how beneficial nuclear energy can be. Another vital part of the problem is unknowing the urgency of this problem. At America’s current rate of fossil fuel consumption, we will run out within 50 years. It will take at least 20 years to make a complete switch to nuclear power. A proposal letter to Congress is necessary in getting legislation passed to start the American conversion to nuclear power.


"Economic Benefits." NEI. 13 Mar. 2006 <http://www.nei.org/index.asp?catnum=2&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;catid=282>.

"Electricity." NS&T. 14 Mar. 2006 <http://www.aboutnuclear.org/view.cgi?fC=Electricity,Benefits_^_Effects>.

Hochreiter, Dr. L. E. Lecture. Breazeale Nuclear Reactor, State College. 28 Feb. 2006. 13 Mar. 2006 <https://cms.psu.edu/section/default.asp?WCU=CRSCNT&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;id=200506SPUP+++RNUC+E001S001>.

"Nuclear Energy & Society." University of Michigan. 13 Mar. 2006 <http://www.umich.edu/~gs265/society/nuclear.htm>.

"Nuclear Power." Common Dreams. 13 Mar. 2006 <http://healthandenergy.com/nuclear_dangers.htm>.

"Nuclear Power Plant." Wikipedia. 14 Mar. 2006 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_plant#Advantages_and_disadvantages>.


3-20-06 TheMaurinBlogCausal

3-20-06 – Response to Karl Marx’s “Communist Manifesto” – After skimming Karl Marx’s “Communist Manifesto” I am rather interested in the communist way of life. I have researched this concept before and I find it to be a reasonable government on paper. The problem is that there is no motivation for one to have a harder job, when there are no benefits from it. Also, when no one is above anyone else, who is in charge when things go wrong? I found the ten principles of communism to be interesting, but I took it with a grain of salt because I know that it has never worked in practice. But, I must give credit when it is deserved. Karl Marx is a very smart fellow for creating this foolproof government on paper. From talking to a former German teacher, I hear that this writing is quite verbose and lengthy in German.

3-3-2006 - Causal Proposal - For many years, there has been a huge weight placed upon the shoulders of national and global leaders. This dark burden has been a hot topic in debate for many decades now and is coming close to boiling over. With fossil fuels dwindling and environmental advocates ranting, the $64,000 question has become, “What type of energy source can we implement in lieu of petroleum-based energy?” The answer to this huge question is something that can’t even be seen without magnification. Despite being a relatively new technology, nuclear energy is one of the most intensely studied fields currently. From the way the world has been using oil, it is certain that it will run out and we will have to use another energy source. Nuclear power is the future for energy and it will lead to a better world. Its new-age technology provides countless advantages over current oil technology in many different senses. This clean energy is helping to end the greenhouse effect problem as well as acid rain. The smaller amount of mining is helping to keep the Earth as it is now, and how it always should be. A change in the near future would prevent us from using up the fossil fuel petroleum. Equally important is the fact that this cleaner technology is also more cost-effective in terms of creating electricity. Over time and through advancements, nuclear energy will come out on top as a new means for energy for an improved world.


"Economic Benefits." NEI. 13 Mar. 2006 <http://www.nei.org/index.asp?catnum=2&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;catid=282>.

"Electricity." NS&T. 14 Mar. 2006 <http://www.aboutnuclear.org/view.cgi?fC=Electricity,Benefits_^_Effects>.

Hochreiter, Dr. L. E. Lecture. Breazeale Nuclear Reactor, State College. 28 Feb. 2006. 13 Mar. 2006 <https://cms.psu.edu/section/default.asp?WCU=CRSCNT&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;id=200506SPUP+++RNUC+E001S001>.

"Nuclear Energy & Society." University of Michigan. 13 Mar. 2006 <http://www.umich.edu/~gs265/society/nuclear.htm>.

"Nuclear Power." Common Dreams. 13 Mar. 2006 <http://healthandenergy.com/nuclear_dangers.htm>.

"Nuclear Power Plant." Wikipedia. 14 Mar. 2006 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_power_plant#Advantages_and_disadvantages>.


3-1-06 – I found the article of political leanings to be quite interesting as I am someone that enjoys politics. I am from a Roman Catholic family that is surprisingly rather liberal. They are active supporters of the Democratic Party and often attend speeches and rallies. My younger sister makes me laugh because I think she is blindly following my parents’ leanings, as she rarely knows much about a subject but is highly opinionated. I find myself to also be somewhat liberal, but a moderate in the eyes of my extreme family. I am constantly confused about how Republican women vote again and again for Pro-Life, not Pro-Choice which is something I find to represent Women’s Rights. I enjoy watching Fox News every once in a while because it’s funny to see how far they lean to the right.

2-27-06 TheMaurinBlogEvaluation (This "disappeared." I put it back. TheKemBlog)

2-27-06 – Reading about the Sudanese and Rwandan conflicts evokes many feelings, none of which are “good” feelings. The fact that such atrocities like these go basically unnoticed to most Americans is a huge problem with our society. We are far too ethnocentric because we’d rather read about “Bennifer” of “Brangelina” than learn about these African countries. If one American were to be killed by machete as thousands of Rwandan people were, it would be on every single television channel. I highly recommend the movie “Hotel Rwanda” to anyone that is remotely interested in this situation or if you would like to learn about how other countries live. The Sudanese problem strikes home with me because at my high school many Sudanese children were brought over by Christian organizations. I eventually became friends with some of these people, and they told me of their struggles in their native country.

2-22-06 – “My America” by Andrew Sullivan – I have just recently read “My America” by Andrew Sullivan, and I have some mixed feelings about it. It seems that Andrew has a very interesting point of view on America and its culture. I don’t really agree on how he says that Americans are obsessed with the present. What is that supposed to mean anyways? I enjoyed the paragraph about our talent for contradiction. He really made some good points with our slavery and racial equality. A questionable paragraph was how America is a country of primary colors. As an American I don’t really see us with our “arrogance and crudeness” from our questioning characteristic. Overall, I found this to be an interesting piece that was worth reading.

2-17-06 – Evaluation Proposal - With legendary studio musicians, lengthy ballads, and optimal recording conditions, Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks (italicize or underline albums, songs go in quotation marks) is the best folk album of all time (Rolling Stone). The genre-combining album features eight songs spanning over 45 minutes or pure musical ecstasy. This cult-classic album is thought to be his best work by many, while many others like his more pop genre album Moondance. In its year of release, 1968, Astral Weeks barely created much of a ripple in the music scene. This was due in part to its less popular style, and the fact that other classic albums were released such as the Beatles’ White Album, Jimi Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland, and the album that is oft compared to Astral Weeks – the Velvet Underground’s White Light/White Heat (Wikipedia). This classic album boasts a beautiful medley of strings and instruments on the marquee song “Madame George” that is nearly 10 minutes in length and has a meaning that has been argued for years (it seems to portray a transvestite in the lyrics but Van Morrison claims that it is not about one) (Wikipedia). Another gem off of the album is “Cyprus Avenue”, a song that Van Morrison closed his shows with for years (Rolling Stone). Many bands have tried to reinvent the magic of this album with different covers such as the Secret Machines’ version of the album opener “Astral Weeks”.

Okay. You have a genre: folk album. And I take it you'll be defending the Rolling Stone's assessment, or will you be moving somewhere else (e.g., pure musical ecstasy)? I ask b/c it's also genre-combining. Make sure you're clear on that in the final product. Elsewise, use the criteria of the genre(s) and show us how it fits. TheKemBlog


"1968 in Music." Wikipedia. Wikipedia. 17 Feb. 2006 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1968_in_music>.


"Astral Weeks." Rolling Stone. 2 Apr. 2001. 17 Feb. 2006 <http://www.rollingstone.com/reviews/album/_/id/111839>.


"Astral Weeks." Wikipedia. Wikipedia. 17 Feb. 2006 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astral_Weeks>.


Bangs, Lester. "Lester Bangs on "Astral Weeks"" 17 Feb. 2006 <http://www.harbour.sfu.ca/~hayward/van/reviews/astral.html>.


Heil, Nick. "Editorial Reviews." 17 Feb. 2006 <http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000002KAT/002-9507174-0396846?v=glance&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;n=5174>.


Van Morrison. Astral Weeks. Rec. 1968. Lewis Merenstein, 1968.



2-15-06 - Last night when I was randomly reading news articles off of my home page at 2:30 in the morning, I came across an article about Vice President Dick Cheney. It was about how he shot a friend of his accidentally while quail hunting. The fact that they were quail hunting reminded me of a good movie – Wedding Crashers. If you haven’t seen Wedding Crashers yet, I highly recommend it. Will Ferrell’s small part in the movie is reason enough to rent the movie. It is a much better movie that Joe’s personal favorite, “I Spit On Your Grave”.

2-15-06 - After attending a few home basketball games this school year and watching others on television, I still cannot fathom how terrible the Penn State basketball team is at finishing games. Penn State is a fine educational institution with excellent sports teams for the most part, but the basketball team is unusually sub-par. Although the team is young, I don’t understand how they can’t carry a half time lead into the second half. They seem to come out completely flat every time after the half, even when they go in with a lead and momentum. The thing that blows my mind the most is how they beat sixth-ranked Illinois.

2-15-06 - When I’m not playing Call of Duty 2 (or studying hours on end for English 15), I’m learning the ways of a great arcade-type game for X-BOX 360 called Geometry Wars. It’s a very simple game that consists of only 3 different buttons: maneuvering, shooting, and the special button. I’m quite the novice compared to my roommate Joe who claims to be in the top 250 of the world with a high score of over 2 million (but I think it’s getting to his head). My next goal is to reach 500,000 points, with a long-term goal of a million points.

2-15-06 - For the past month and a half, I have lived and died with the game Call of Duty 2 for Microsoft X-BOX 360. My roommates and I waste far too much time on the multiplayer part of the game, even though it is phenomenal. My personal weapon of choice is the trench gun. It is supposed to be a short-range shotgun, but for some odd reason it has an unbelievable range and most times it is a one-hit kill. I’d love to talk about this game more, but I have a game calling my name.

2-15-06 – Declaration of Independence – After reading the “Declaration of Independence” I felt like I was back in 18th century America. This is a very empowering document that tells of the equality of all people. Reading over all of the different taxes and laws imposed on us by the British reminds me of ninth and tenth history classes. This is a very well written piece of work that holds an important place in our American history. My favorite part of the declaration is “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…”, “…That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government.”

2-13-06 TheMaurinBlogDefinition

2-8-06 - I responded to the SudokuLegend's definition proposal.

2-8-06 - TheTarzanBlog's response to your definition proposal: You have a very well stated and clear claim, that religion is often thought of as a tangible thing with clear boundaries but instead it is more of a free flowing idea. While you have reasons they are not clearly stated and it might be better if you explicitly write them. Your reasons for this claim are that people are not clearing defining religion but still giving it boundaries that it must fit in. You warrants for this could be to help people reach spiritual enlightenment in their own way or “religion” and to let people explore other religions because they are such an important role in people’s lives and help to make daily decisions. Some counter arguments could come from religious leaders that feel their religion would be left out if the term is given a definition and then they could lose followers. Also some spiritual leaders will be against defining religion because they feel that it is indeed an intangible reference to a way of thinking. As long as you include these counterarguments in your essay you should be ok with gaining support and showing your pathos and ethos. It doesn’t seem as though your moving towards an evaluation, just a discovery of the meaning of the word. To avoid making an evaluation stay away from words like good, bad, fair, best, right, or wrong these words steer people towards one specific direction and don’t let them make the decision for their own.


2-6-06 - What do you believe in? What God do you worship? I have decided to define “religion” for this paper because I find it to have universal and personal meanings. The Oxford English Dictionary, definition 3a) states “Action or conduct indicating a belief in, reverence for, and desire to please, a divine ruling power; the exercise or practice of rites or observances implying this”. But, The Oxford English Dictionary also states this as “A state of life bound by monastic vows; the condition of one who is a member of a religious order, esp. in the Roman Catholic Church”. From these two definitions, one is left to determine what religion really is: an organized group of people who believe in a common higher power, or a person’s lone belief of a higher power that rules over all. I claim that religion is too often thought of in terms of organized religions such as Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, or Buddhism. I hope to reach an audience of many people including followers of all religions, religious scholars, non-religious people, and the common man. I intend on creating a globally accepted definition of the word religion. I will use research to create my argument and to find reasons and warrants. Thus far, I have found 6 sources that I will use for my argument. I will keep in mind how the term has changed over the years as well as how it is conceived in different parts of the world and in different groups.



The First Amendment. U.S. Constitution, First Amendment, 1791.

,Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Thomson Gale. 06 February 2006



"Karl Marx." Activists, Rebels, and Reformers. 3 vols. U*X*L, 2001.

Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Thomson Gale. 06 February 2006



"Major Religions of the World." Major Religions Ranked By Size. 28 Aug. 2005. Adherents. 05 Feb. 2006 <http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html>.


Pals, Daniel L. Eight Theories of Religion. Oxford UP, 2006.


"Religion." Def. 1,4a. Oxford English Dictionary. 05 Feb. 2006 <http://dictionary.oed.com/cgi/entry/50202047?query_type=word&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;queryword=religion&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;first=1&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;max_to_show=10&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;sort_type=alpha&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;result_place=2&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;search_id=v9cR-OAqPUt-13539&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;hilite=50202047>.


"Religion, Role of." Current Issues. 4 vols. Macmillan Reference USA, 2003.

Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Thomson Gale. 06 February 2006




2-1-06 - I recently read an article about the Pittsburgh Steelers running back Willie Parker in the USA Today. The article tells of the tremendous trials and tribulations of his journey to the National Football League. Willie was a standout running back in high school, and then attended the University of North Carolina to continue his dream. But, he was never the first-string running back for the Tar Heels and rarely saw any playing time. His career rushing yards at UNC was under 1,200 – a mark many good running backs get each year. The lowest point in the article and in Willie’s life was his Senior Day at UNC. On Senior Day, the seniors who don’t play often get a chance to play, but this was not to be for Willie Parker. He didn’t even get one carry over the course of the whole game. Luckily for himself and the Steelers, Willie never gave up. He just worked harder than ever and eventually was picked up by the Pittsburgh Steelers as a free agent. He learned the trade from one of the greatest running backs ever – Jerome Bettis. This year, “Fast Willie” as he’s called in Pittsburgh, rushed for over 1,200 yards in a single season. He is the first Pittsburgh running back since 1992, other than Jerome Bettis, to rush for over 1,000 yards. I walked away from reading this article with a good feeling and a new motto, Willie Parker’s personal saying, “I’m gonna make it.”

1-30-06 - Over the years, terrorism has been defined as many things, but I think that no other definitions fit quite as well as Walter Laqueur’s. Walter interprets terrorism to mean, “Terrorism constitutes the illegitimate use of force to achieve a political objective when innocent people are targeted.” I like how Walter mentions the political objective and how innocent people are targeted. I feel that this way of defining terrorism is the most modern and developed sense of the word. It fits the terrorism that Americans are used to the best. But, it also makes the word appear to always be bad, which is not always true. According to this definition, would a political uprising against a tyrant not be terrorism, even if the uprising is for the will of the people? In such a case, I may suggest a different meaning of the word, such as the U.S. Department of Defense’s definition, “calculated use of unlawful violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or intimidate governments or societies in pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological.” Whatever the case may be, I find it important to accept many different meanings of the word “terrorism” so you never become narrow-minded.

1-27-06 - In response to President Bush’s 2001 Address to Congress, I feel that it was a bittersweet speech. It was written to show the unity and heart of the United States in such a rough time, as well as the power of our great nation. The more upbeat part of the speech is when President Bush sends our thanks to foreign nations who were keeping the victims in their prayers and thoughts. Also, George Bush gives out thanks to members of government, firemen, the heroes of Flight 93. The dark side of the speech is when the terrorists or any country harboring terrorists are addressed. I found this paragraph to show immense power,

“And tonight, the United States of America makes the following demands on the Taliban: Deliver to United States authorities all the leaders of al Qaeda who hide in your land. Release all foreign nationals, including American citizens, you have unjustly imprisoned. Protect foreign journalists, diplomats, and aid workers in your country. Close immediately and permanently every terrorist training camp in Afghanistan, and hand over every terrorist, and every person in their support structure, to appropriate authorities. Give the United States full access to terrorist training camps, so we can make sure they are no longer operating. These demands are not open to negotiation or discussion. The Taliban must act, and act immediately. They will hand over the terrorists, or they will share in their fate.”

President Bush’s speech reaches many different audiences over the course of the speech, including victims, Americans, foreigners, and terrorists.

1-25-06 - I found the preamble of the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” to be full of emotions. It evoked the feelings of anger, guilt, pride, and hope. The part “whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind” made me feel anger towards acts of tyrants in the past. This also made me feel guilt from the fact that we live in a world in which some people are treated in an inferior manner. I took pride in the part “promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom” because it shows how we can all work together to create a better world. The hope emotion comes from the overall message of working towards a new world, full of freedom, peace, and goodwill towards all. This is shown from the part “the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms.” The articles clearly set out the rules and laws to achieve this future world. This was mainly written with the rhetoric tool of pathos – the usage of emotions and character to persuade the audience.

1-23-06 - President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “The Four Freedoms” speech was highly motivating. His speech started out by building a very informative background of the recent history of the United States and war. It was written to show how the United States stayed out of war if and when possible. But, in an attempt to grab our emotions, he then tells of an evil tyrant that is waging war with countries, “great and small”. Next, FDR shows his strong character by telling his audience that he will not let this happen, and he will certainly not appease the evil powers by giving in. He then builds up our national pride by describing these “four freedoms” including: speech and expression, worshipping any God, want, and fear. With this powerful declaration he then inspires every American to be part of the war cause, to do their part, to pitch in. President Roosevelt ends the speech with a bright vision of what tomorrow could be with the American public’s help. I found this piece to be extremely well written. It has excellent dynamics, with its use of emotions and visions. He uses every different type of appeal, from emotions of hatred, his strong character, facts about war, and even the American value of freedom. This speech is just one example of how FDR is a master speaker and writer. His ability to captivate an audience from such intelligence and power like this State of the Union address to his “fireside” chats with the general public shows that his skills are nearly unparalleled, at least in my humble opinion.

1-20-06 - Consumers say getting good value for their money is the most important factor for shoppers during the holiday season. 76% of shoppers say that value is the most important factor. From the USA Today snapshot, the majority of holiday shoppers said that quality was the most important factor. Six out of 10 shoppers said that selection was the most important factor.

1-18-06 – Rewrite Of Joe Knittel’s Personal Narrative - My name is Frank Nedwidek and I am a freshman here at Penn State. I was born in Pittsburgh, PA and have lived there all of my life. I very much fit the role of a stereotypical engineering student; I have always excelled in the field of mathematics and I have never really enjoyed reading or writing. I sincerely hope that English 15 will improve my composition skills.

1-16-06 - I'm writing this blog in response to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail". I found this letter to be a very convincing argument, for many reasons. First, he covers every point of view in which the argument could be seen through, from the oppressed African Americans to the segregationist white southerners. Second, he provides many well-known examples for all of his arguments. Dr. King’s letter does not come off as overly aggressive, he simply presents his argument and backs it up, and he doesn’t force it. He uses his many reasons to win the argument. Martin Luther King’s reasoning is so convincing with his original ideas that it seems nearly impossible for one to disagree with him. He paints such a clear picture that anyone with any morality must understand his argument.

P.S. How many points did the Colts win by?

Well, though Vanderjagt should have made the field goal, the Colts loss can't be blamed on him. TheKemBlog

1-12-06 - My name is Frank Nedwidek and I'm a freshman mechanical engineering major here at Penn State. I’m from Bellevue, which is right outside of Pittsburgh, PA. I attended Northgate High School, a small school with graduating classes rarely larger than 120 students. I live in 520 Pinchot Hall, a supplemental room that I share with 6 other roommates including Joe Knittel (SudokuLegend) and Jim Scannell (TheTarzanBlog). I’ve never been a very good compositional writer but I’m hoping this class will help me.



Bummer. No Napster=No Music. TheKemBlog

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