Tuesday, April 19, 2011

my life in song

"Mighty to Save" - Hillsong
This is one of my favorite Christian songs.  I like the beat and the lyrics.  This song reminds me about God's love and just how amazing and loving He is.  My belief in Christianity is a big part of my life and so this song reflects that aspect.

"Dare You to Move" - Switchfoot
I first heard this song in the movie, "A Walk to Remember".  After listening to it a few more times, I noticed the lyrics more. A lot of times, I'm too afraid to speak up so I just keep quiet.  And this song encourages people to get out and do stuff.  I feel like I can learn from this.

"Live it Up" - Group 1 Crew
I like the beat of this song and after getting it free on iTunes I feel like I listen to it a lot now.  It's just one of those songs that's catchy.  I like to have fun (when there's no work to be done) and enjoy everything in the moment.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

library book

I had a hard time searching for a book online that was related to my topic.  I typed in laughter and health, laughter, and laughter benefits.  Nothing seemed to be related after reading the online descriptions.  I finally found something under "laughter health".  It said the book could be found at both College Library and Memorial Library but it was only available at Memorial.  This was my second time in Memorial Library, but the first time doesn’t really count because I didn’t stay to study.  So, because I had no idea where to find the book, I asked a librarian who showed me a map of the call numbers.  She told me that my book was in the North stacks of the 6th floor.  The shelving units were too close for comfort and the lighting was dim.  Everything looked old and untouched.  There were even maintenance men working to fix a leak.  It took me about 10-15 minutes to find the book.  The books next to it were also about laughter and humor-related topics.  The books on the shelf above had “jealousy” and “intimacy” in the titles.    

Provine, Robert R. Laughter A Scientific Investigation. New York: Viking Penguin, 2000. 

Call number:  BF575 L3 P76 2000

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


The Dove chocolate TV commercial begins with a woman sitting by the window in a ray of sunlight.  She is dressed elegantly and her hair is fancy.  Then the actual chocolate candy is revealed, as a close up, in her hand.  The camera zooms in when the chocolate enters her mouth so only the bottom half of her face is shown.  This is followed by her look of satisfaction and happiness after eating it.  In the next scene, chocolate is being poured, but only the ribbons and layers are shown that form.  Then, the same woman appears but this time in a long, brown dress, which imitates the previous scene in which chocolate was poured.  Now, the camera is above the woman to show the movement of her dress which is similar to the chocolate.  Then, a piece of the candy appears from the bottom up as it is being coated in chocolate.  The “Dove” label is on top.  The commercial ends with a bag of Dove chocolates in a background of silky brown drapes.  Also, there is the slogan, “My Moment. My Dove.”  The background song talks about “sweet dreams” and “wishes”. 
The appeals in this ad are the needs for aesthetic sensations, physiological needs, and to escape.   It is obvious that the images of the Dove chocolate are made to be “visually pleasing”.  This attracts people to want one.  When the chocolate is shown up close, the physiological need is taken into account because the photography is so advanced.  I think this ad appeals women more than men because the person in the ad is a woman.  Therefore, it is easier to relate to how she feels.  I only noticed the need to escape at the end when she says, “My moment. My Dove”, meaning that some time should be taken to focus on the self.  I think this ad is effective in that it shows the worth of the smoothness and satisfaction of eating this brand of chocolate.  After the woman eats the chocolate, she experiences the freedom that it promises.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Roberts/research topic

My research question is:  What are the health benefits of laughter?  Is it really the best medicine?

My mom is always telling me to laugh a little and it makes me wonder if it indeed does anything.  Even though the second part to my question is considered to be a cliché, I think that this question is an interesting enough topic to write about.  It interests me in that it is a common phrase, but its correctness is not something that you would just know.  The approach I will take is to first acknowledge the physical and mental effects of laughter.  I will explore the areas of how laughter affects the body and how laughing can be exercise.  I will also consider if laughter can heal the sick more quickly.  Then I will talk about the mental side in which laughing can reduce stress and create positive emotions.  Right now I am not sure about the organization of my essay, but I think I will start off with the physical effects followed by the mental effects.  I will conclude with an overall analysis of laughter and answer if it is the best medicine.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


In Something Borrowed, Malcolm Gladwell asks whether a line should be drawn between plagiarism and borrowing for a purpose.  He explores two kinds of plagiarism:  “borrowing that’s transformative” and “borrowing that’s merely derivative” (70).  The difference is borrowing for the sake of copying and borrowing to enhance your work.  In the case between Lavery and Lewis, Lavery uses ideas from Lewis’ life story, in an article written by Gladwell, to create another story for a play.  It is clear that Lavery plagiarized for not asking permission from Gladwell, but it was meant as a part of her work.  Because she changed parts of Lewis’ life in the play, this shows that she borrowed the ideas to transform them.  In the cases with music and plagiarism, it seems that we wouldn’t have the music today if the musicians hadn’t looked to others for inspiration.  Even though it is okay to seek ideas from others, it is equally important to ask for their permission.
I liked this piece even though there were a lot of different situations to keep up with.  I found it interesting that Gladwell did not feel as angry as Lewis was over the plagiarism because Gladwell felt as though he became part of something big. I think Lavery has the right to be creative to write a play, but the only questionable thing what her means of writing it.  I also found it interesting how there is an emotional aspect to plagiarism.  Lavery used words and ideas from both Gladwell and Lewis, but the two reacted differently to the plagiarism.  Lewis felt completely robbed after reading the play script:  “[…] it was as if someone had stolen my essence” (63).  Both Lewis’ and Lavery’s lives were affected. So not only does plagiarism hurt the plagiarist but it also hurts the one being plagiarized.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Rand summary

In Ayn Rand’s piece called Racism, the claim she makes is that it is the individual, as opposed to the group, that matters.  In the first portion, she explains how racists are insecure:  “The overwhelming majority of racists are men who have earned no sense of personal identity, who can claim no individual achievement or distinction […]” (128).  She does not agree with collectivism and how racism has become more developed because of it.  She is not saying that white people are always the racists.  In the last portion, she disapproves of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.  Because the bill is protecting the blacks, the whites are losing their private property rights.  She does not think that this is fair because now, the blacks “are now in the vanguard of the destruction of these rights” (134).  The roles have basically changed between the black and white races.  In the last quote from The N.Y. Times, it seems that Rand believes that if all the rights of the individuals are addressed and protected by the law, then there is nothing else to worry about.
For me, this piece was difficult to read and hard to understand.  I do not agree with her opposition to the civil rights bill because blacks deserve to have their rights after so much mistreatment.  I do not think it is right to say that the whites are now the ones being targeted after being stripped of their private property rights.  I was surprised when I read about the Soviet ideology.  It doesn’t seem credible that “men can be conditioned to communism genetically […]” (128).  The idea is just insane. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sedaris summary

In David Sedaris’ Solution to Saturday’s Puzzle, humor is used through Sedaris’ thoughts while he’s figuring out the crossword puzzle.  The joke is that even though Sedaris thinks that sitting with a crossword puzzle in front your face makes you look smart and composed, he himself is not.  He tries to solve it but instead, reasons with himself:  “‘I am not an asshole,’ [he] wrote, and it fit” (129).  Also, he is not as calm as he seems to be because he cannot stop thinking about the fight with Becky.  I think this piece is funny in the way in which his thoughts are presented.  Reading the clue and then his answer made it funny.  Also, I find it funny that Sedaris thinks he’s in a competition with Becky.  On page 131, he creates a scenario in which Becky would be chosen as the sacrifice.  Even though at first she doesn’t want to be the one to fall off, after Sedaris offers to fall off himself, she realizes that he’s not so mean after all and finally lets go.  It doesn’t seem believable that Becky would just let go because Sedaris isn’t what she thought him to be, but it was funny anyway.  The humor in this piece works because the dislike between the two of them is mutual and only the reader knows Sedaris’ thoughts.    
My joke is:  What do you call a cheese that’s not yours?


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ronson summary

In Ronson’s piece, The Klansman Who Won’t Use the N-Word, there is a correlation between names and their meanings.  The names define the characteristics of certain groups through which their identities are created.  In this case, “many Klanspeople [feel] that without hatred there [is] no point in even having a Ku Klux Klan” (184).  This shows that hatred defines the Klan because their goal is to exert a sense of “white power”.  Without this essential characteristic, the Klan can’t be same.  Because Thom Robb, the new leader of the Klan, wants to put forth a more positive image, members have left because of disagreement.  Furthermore when Ronson asks Thom about changing the name of the Klan, Thom doesn’t think it would make a difference because “they’re going to call you Klansmen, they’re going to call you Nazis, they’re going to call you pigs” (183).  Changing names doesn’t work because the identity of the group is still the same.  So, once a purpose has been established through a certain label, it can’t be changed because then the whole image is tainted.  

I liked reading this because I found it interesting how Thom is trying to completely change his Klansmen.  But it was a bit weird because for me, the Klan takes on a bad image.  It seems contradictory that they want to impose their power by being nice.  I don’t think the incarnation of the new Klan makes sense and it isn’t successful because people have left.  Also, Thom’s perspective seems to demean the goals of the Klan.  I don’t think using inoffensive language would work in this case because just the name of the Klan gives off fear.  I found it interesting when Thom mentions the difference between “cross burning” and “cross lighting” (95).  The word “burning” gives a harmful image while the word “lighting” makes it seem like the act is okay.  So it takes one word to change the meaning of the phrase.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Gross summary

In Beverly Gross’ “Bitch”, the word is presented in different scenarios in which the meaning differs.  The word has changed from being used in sexual contexts to situations that display the power of women.  Also, there are two responses in which women can react when they are called one.  The common definition according to various dictionaries is “a malicious or treacherous woman” (77).  In today’s society, the word is used when a woman is complaining or annoying.  If it is used on the streets, the meaning of the word is the same as when used in the past:  “a female breeder” (83).  Black females are not offended, but feel honored by the attention.  If a regular schoolboy called a girl one, she would get offended.  The feeling is more of hurt than of appreciation.  Madonna does not care when she is called one, but instead, she embraces the power.  In another instance, men call women bitches when they feel threatened.  This comes from the “male-female nexus” which indicates that a woman should be submissive (80).  This word can either signify a woman’s power or describe her annoyance.  In any case, different women consider the word in different ways.
I do not like how profanity has become to be used in regular conversation.  Because I do not curse, I feel like cursing someone off is the biggest insult.  Even though I did not like reading this, I thought it was interesting how Gross mentioned that men use the word in a fearful way because I always see profanity as insults.  Although this piece is dated 1938, I think that the meanings are still true today.