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Published on August 3 2006

Got this in my email from class early this evening.....
"Hi, If you are receiving this email, it is because if you take the B- option, you will receive an A in the class. I will be recording your final grade on the web site as an A. If you submit the examination, I will grade it on its merits—with the guaranteed B-."
A guaranteed "A"--all I have to do is either ask for a B- on my final exam, or turn in that exam essay and still get at least a B- on it, with an "A" for the class. This is tough. Crazy as it sounds, I wanna write the thing!!!! Somebody slap me, please. WHAT am I thinking?? :-)) UPDATE: Um. It just hit me. Do you know what this makes me? A "graduate". Well, an Associate of Arts and Sciences, anyway. I did it, didn't I? I really did it.

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Published on July 28 2006

I have decided that I am no longer even mildly flattered by plagiarism. In fact, I am downright pissed, to the point of steam coming out my ears this morning when I signed into class!! My first paragraph in discussion in class, turned in last night:
Malcolm X and his family were typical African-Americans in their experience of racism and poverty in early to mid- twentieth century America. Malcolm X’ first experiences of racism came about as a result of the work of his father, the Reverend Earl Little, on behalf of Marcus Garvey and the black separatist movement. X states that the reason his father believed in this movement was that he had seen “four of his six brothers die by violence, three of them killed by white men, one by lynching” (Malcolm X, pge 4) Lynchings were far too common in the years after World War 1, 78 lynchings recorded in 1919 alone. (Divine, 710)
and then we have my alter ego's first sentence for her discussion, turned in about 5 hours after mine.
Malcolm X and his family were typical African-Americans in their experience of racism and poverty in early to mid-twentieth century America.
Look familiar? Later, in her third paragraph we find this statement:
One of Malcolm X' first experiences of racism was because of his father, the Reverend Earl Little, on behalf of Marcus Garvey and the black separatist movement. Malcolm X states that the reason his father believed in this movement was that he had seen "four of his six brothers die by violence, three of them killed by white men, one by lynching" (Malcolm X, pg 4).
At least with her third paragraph, she changed a few words to make it not quite so obvious. She directly lifted a three sentence paragraph from another student's discussion answer, misspellings and all, but I won't post that here. Citations and permissions and all. You understand. How in the hell does this chick sleep at night? How does she justify paying $650 for a class only to turn in someone else' work? Why waste the time and money? I get nervous, wondering if there might be a plagiarism issue, when I simply read something somebody else has written and think "Hey, that makes sense to me! I'm going to explore that idea and maybe write about it as part of my answer." Phrases and comments tend to stick in my mind, and I have to work very hard to not use those phrases as my own. I can't even fathom copying and pasting and turning something in as my work--especially going to the work of changing a few words here and there.

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Published on July 8 2006

Hans Grapje was raised in a Catholic school in The Hague and, as a young man, aspired to become a priest, but was drafted into the Army during WWII and spent two years co-piloting B17s until his aircraft was shot down in 1943 and he lost his left arm. Captain Grapje spent the rest of the war as a chaplain, giving spiritual aid to soldiers, both Allied and enemy. After the war, he became a priest, serving as a missionary in Africa, piloting his own plane (in spite of his handicap) to villages across the continent. In 1997, Father Grapje was serving in Zimbabwe when an explosion in a silver mine caused a cave-in. Archbishop Grapje went down into the mine to administer last rights to those too severely injured to move. Another shaft collapsed, and he was buried for three days, suffering multiple injuries, including the loss of his right eye. The high silver content in the mine's air gave him purpura, a life-long condition characterized by purplish skin blotches. Although Cardinal Grapje devoted his life to the service of God as a scholar, mentor, and holy man, church leaders agree: he will never ascend to the Papacy. No one wants a one-eyed, one-armed, flying purple Papal leader.

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Published on June 24 2006

Josiah Strong from "Our Country" in 1885, on the subject of American Expansionism and Imperialism...
Then this race of unequaled energy, with all the majesty of numbers and the might of wealth behind it--the representative, let us hope, of the largest liberty, the purest Christianity, the highest civilization--having developed peculiarly aggressive traits calculated to impress its institutions upon mankind, will spread itself over the earth. If I read not amiss, this powerful race will move down upon Mexico, down upon Central and South America, out upon the islands of the sea, over upon Africa and beyond. And can any one doubt that the result of this competition of races will be the "survival of the fittest"?
Well, I guess if you're going to get it wrong, you might as well get it really REALLY wrong.

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Published on June 23 2006

Is it a good thing to sign into my class email and read this?
Please note important message: Just as a note: You already have 132 points on Examination One. This is sufficient for an A grade. I am exempting you from taking Examination One and I am giving you an A for the examination.
I don't even get to take the exam?????? :-((

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Published on June 20 2006

I *think* I have just been plagiarized for the first time!!! I'm not sure whether to be flattered or pissed, lol. Compare my original 4th paragraph in a short essay for a question in American History class:
"Another factor at play during this time was voting rights. The Fourteenth Amendment guarantees the previously mentioned protections to all citizens, but specific guarantees to the right to vote only came with the passage of the Fifteenth amendment in 1870. Indians, of course, did not benefit from this amendment. Women as well did not gain suffrage (Item 2), although they made strides in other areas, gaining entrance to education previously denied (Item 6)."
To this one:
"The right to vote came with the passage of the fifteenth amendment in 1870, which specifically guarantees the right to vote. Indians did not benefit from the fifteenth amendment and neither did the women. The woman did not gain suffrage but they gained access to education in which was previously denied. "
There were other similarities, but that paragraph was about as ballsy as it gets, considering we can all see everyone else' essays. The only reason I even caught this was because in re-reading my own essay after I posted, I had decided I really hated my last sentence. I thought I had made it sound like the Fourteenth Amendment was the reason women were able to go to college, when that wasn't the case. And here it was, the same badly worded thought in somebody else's essay. I can't decide whether I should whine someplace other than just here, or maybe just mention in the class comments thread that I reallyreallyREALLY liked how she phrased her fourth paragraph. Such emotion! Such drama!! Such incredible ecstasy to read!! Or would that be too smartass???? Heh....

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Published on May 19 2006

And I'm still holding that FOUR POINT OH!!!!!!!!!!! Yippeee Now, it's just waiting until Monday for the Lit grade......I'm never going to make it till Monday. [Update: Well, I survived till Monday. The 4.0 was nice while it lasted, though. :-)) Only managed an A-, so the old GPA dropped to 3.89-something. Do you know how exciting that is for an old bag who was a "mostly B's and C's and the occasional A" student back in the old days?]

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Published on May 14 2006

Help with Homework!!! I spent the afternoon cleaning up the last of this @#($)% essay (Toni Morrison, I'm hoping that one day I will again be able to read your work without screaming), and decided on a whim to send it off to kid#1 the English geek/ college daughter. Just wanted to see how much of a giggle she'd get out of Old Mom's babbling. Just wanted to see if anybody else could understand wth I was trying to say--I could no longer step back far enough to see if I made any sense. I was trying to cram my size ten feet into size six shoes. Ten minutes later, the phone rang. "Mom, happy Mother's Day. Your citations are no good." Apparently in the centuries since I was last in school, colleges have switched over to something called MLA style citations. No more roman numerals, footnotes, endnotes, or ibids. None of the stuff I SPENT TWO HOURS on yesterday! x-( Thankfully, it didn't take too long to convert my incorrectly-done citations to the new format. I still can't get over the idea that the MLA format looks weird, though. The essay is DONE, though. Turned in. Out of my hands. Thank God I have a smart, ex-writing lab kid willing to take a bit out of her day to put her mom on the road to (maybe--keep fingers crossed) a "B"!!! I think this means I buy the next sushi dinner.

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Published on May 3 2006

Ya know, I'll take whatever little pats on the back I can get. This was the "final" posting in discussion in the Lit class I'm taking. There's lots of boring analysis of two works; one a short story, the other a poem. And this was the professor who scared the dickens out of me and made me want to work even harder, just so I wouldn't be too embarassed when our discussions were critiqued. You know the type. I'm doing a little--very little--happy dance. I still have the big paper due for this class. And I still don't want to be embarassed, lol.
Hi Laurie, From your in-depth comments and the eloquence of your interpretation of the two works, I think the "old dog" sure leaned how to analyze literature effectively. You really captured the human and emotional level of the works; it is a good picture of trivialized, impotent, and broken Native American men with few options to express the anger except through violence, alcohol, isolation, and self-destructive gestures. Your addition of the current statistics and the historical references does attest to the reasons for the situations. . I find these works incredibly sad in the portrayals of broken people and families. "Spitting" in tourist hamburgers is such a trivial and impotent gesture to gain some fragment of identity and power. As Smith concluded, "the trail of tears goes on". Good conclusion to your participation in the course. M < << Replied to message below >>> Subject: Last lesson! "Red Deer" and "Red Anger" Part One: The theme of these two pieces is anger submerged until explosion. There is such anger shown in these two works, anger at society and anger of a more personal level, culminating in a lashing out at the perceived sources of this anger. In Red Deer's case, the direct source anger seems to be a result of family problems. Although not completely explained, there is guilt over Osada's (Red Deer's father) role in the death of Litani, who was the younger brother of Red Deer's step-father. Was the family history that Joe Big Otter "stole" Osada's wife first? Did this happen before or after Litani's death? We are not sure from the story. The result of the convoluted family dynamic is that Joe Big Otter in some ways "steals" not only Red Deer's relationship with his mother, but also the relationship with a beloved younger stepbrother, Bear, in retaliation for Litani's loss at the hands of Red Deer's father. For Red Deer, anger at this loss is only exacerbated by the discrimination he faces when he leaves the reservation life to play minor league baseball. The anger and guilt that simmers in him finally boils over at the racism he encounters during a game in which he has finally "hit the big time", pitching an exhibition game against a major league team, a game at which his entire extended family and other men from the reservation are present. I don't think it is a coincidence that he becomes violent in a situation where he is facing his anger at both the society level and the family level at the same time. Red Deer has spent years burying his rage, using it as a tool to improve his pitching, or releasing it in alcohol use. Buried anger and hurt will not just "go away", however; it will eventually overpower all the controls a person uses on it, coming out in the inward violence of addictions or an outward violence in some form. This is also the case with Smith's narrator, although his anger manifests itself in contamination of the food of those he believes oppress him, instead of the more violent expression of Red Deer's hurled ball. One thing both violent actions had in common was that they were not directly aimed at the sources of the anger. Red Deer did not take out his anger at his family on them, nor did he attack the drunken fans who were taunting him; he aimed his imagined "rock" of a ball at a batter instead. Smith's narrator does not express his anger at the teachers in the Indian school or his alcoholic father; he takes it out on tourists stopping at the food stand where he works. Both works speak of anger "nursed like a seed", or in Red Deer's case: "He got to love it, and it was precious. He found it had all kinds of uses." The image of Red Deer hurling a ball at a batter brings to mind countless images of young men, powerless and hopeless, with no weapon other than the rocks they throw at the symbols of their oppression. Stereotypes present in both works are those of the reservation. These include poverty, young men working in low-paying jobs, broken families, violent death, and alcoholism. Red Deer's friend Freddie leaves the team to take a low-pay job in a grocery store, Red Deer himself works the off-season in a meatpacking plant butchering pigs, and Smith's narrator works at a tourist food stand. Most of us would consider these jobs to be somewhat of a dead end, but they are all that is available to these young men. According to this site: "According to the 2000 Census, the average unemployment rate for Indians and Native Americans was 12.4%, compared to 5.8% for the general population." There is also the stereotype of the family broken by violent death; Litani's shooting in the Red Deer story, and the suicide of the narrator's sister in "Red Anger". Both stories describe the image of failure in, and of, schools. Smith's narrator describes the dirty, neglected reservation school where "the stink of stale piss haunts the walls". Red Deer's school may not have been a reservation school, since he speaks of the "boys who didn't like losing to an Indian". After the incident of Osada and the shooting, Red Deer was encouraged to leave school to play baseball; arrangements made by the principal to end Red Deer's education. In many ways, school failed both of these young men. According to some studies I've read, the Native American school dropout rate rises as high as 76% in some areas. According to the same site as above, the percentage of American Indians and Alaskan Natives ages 16 to 19 that had not received a high school diploma was 16.1%, compared to 9.8% for the general population; and 24.4% of the general population age 25 and over had a bachelor's or higher degree, compared to only 11.5% for Native American and Alaskan Natives." This failure in school can only feed the cycle of low-paying jobs or unemployment, and the despair of a lack of choice. One thing I found very striking was the contrast between these works and the essay from last week written by Leonard Begay. In "Red Anger", the narrator lists the names of three tribes, the Tuscarora, Choctaw, and the Cherokee. All three tribes were uprooted from their original homelands, the Tuscarora from the Carolinas to New York; the Choctaw from Louisiana and the Cherokee from Georgia to the "Indian Territories" of Oklahoma. Begay's Navajo people were able to maintain their hold on their ancestral lands, while the three tribes mentioned above were forced from theirs by the westward movement of whites. This forced exodus haunts these tribes even today, as the narrator says "the trail of tears never ends". I wonder if there isn't a correlation between the forced removal of a people from their homeland and a subsequent loss of their culture as a result. Part Two: Truthfully, in looking at the influences I wrote about in the beginning of the course, I am not sure that much has changed. I will always, to a certain point, be defined by those influences of race, gender, and class. After 45 years, I am who I am because of, and in spite of, those definitions. This is not to say old dogs can't learn new tricks, though. If we didn't want to learn new perspectives, none of us would be in this class. I maintain a weblog as a hobby, and I have noticed that many more of the articles I clip for further reading involve issues of immigration and race in America. I hope the readings from this class have given me a better understanding of the background of some of these issues. Professor W*****, you said last week "… our FIRST OBLIGATION as readers is to listen to the writer's voice and to see what the writer is saying....to offer the experiences and ideas he or she wants to convey to us. AFTER THAT, we can relate it to our own experiences and add out knowledge to make an interpretation." I hope that, after this class, I'm better able to do just that.

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Published on April 1 2006

On this day in history:
Iran-IR Day Today, Farvardin 12 (April 1), the Islamic Republic of Iran marks another milestone. IRNA congratulates the entire nation on this auspicious day. On April 1, 1979 Iran became an Islamic Republic through a plebiscite in which voters overwhelmingly (98.2 percent) voted for this form of government.
I remember thinking back then that 98% was a pretty good majority. 8-| I've been surfing around the April Fool's Day jokes today--I think some people have been waiting WEEKS to post some of these--especially new "softwares" like this one. And yes, I fell for that link hook, line, and sinker. This site was probably my favorite, though. I loved the description of the site:
Pin All Your Romantic Hopes on Google When you think about it, love is just another search problem. And we’ve thought about it. A lot. Google Romance™ is our solution. Google Romance is a place where you can post all types of romantic information and, using our Soulmate Search™, get back search results that could, in theory, include the love of your life. Then we'll send you both on a Contextual DateTM, which we'll pay for while delivering to you relevant ads that we and our advertising partners think will help produce the dating results you're looking for. With Google Romance, you can: * Upload your profile – tell the world who you are, or, more to the point, who you’d like to think you are, or, even more to the point, who you want others to think you are. * Search for love in all (or at least a statistically significant majority of) the right places with Soulmate Search, our eerily effective psychographic matchmaking software. * Endure, via our Contextual Dating option, thematically appropriate multimedia advertising throughout the entirety of your free date.
Sounds great, eh? Make sure you take the tour! And then I looked at the link for posting profiles:
Post multiple profiles with a bulk upload file, you sleaze.
/snort Happy April Fool's, everyone!! I'm thinking that I should go into work this afternoon and announce that I am quitting and going here. And considering I was filling out the application this morning....... I only hope they don't consider my application as the best April Fool's joke of the day. My best April Fool's joke came back in 1992. I already knew I was pregnant with #2 at that time, but I hadn't told anyone yet, since I didn't want to get booted off my job for the duration the way I had with #1 a few years before--I couldn't afford to take the pay cut again just because somebody didn't like a pregnant woman on the job. Anyway, somehow, word got out that day that I was "in the family way". (Don't ask me how :-" ) Amazing how fast news like that travels, too!! I just grinned a lot until somebody noticed the date....so...they thought I was...then they thought I wasn't....but I really was, lol. Sometimes I crack myself up. ;-)

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