Monday, May 11, 2015

Kyrsten Lampman
Ms. Gach
To Kill A Mockingbird
Blog 2.

“People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.”

Tom Robinson, the black man Atticus defended, is proven guilty for raping a white woman. This is when Scout realizes that a white man’s word will always carry more weight than a black man’s and the sad part is that the only difference is in the skin color. The people of the town follow the saying above because they will do anything to make people believe what they think they see and hear. Scout realizes she has been following this same pattern when she is saved by “the crazy man down the street.” She learns to listen hard to the things that are said and only go by the facts of life.
Kyrsten Lampman
Ms. Gach
To Kill A Mockingbird
Blog 1.

“The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience.”

In Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird, a young girl named Scout is taught about the  prejudice and injustice based around racism when she finds out that her father Atticus has to defend an African-American man in court when he is accused of raping a white woman. She always thought of herself being equal to the black people around her but is shell-shocked when she overhears that a negro’s word will never beat a white person’s accusations. She asks Atticus why he can defend a black man when everyone else is against him. He tells her that the only thing he cares about is whether or not he did the right thing in the end. The entire time she’s dealing with the judgement between the races, she believes that a sheltered man down the street is crazy. After being left little presents in a knot in an old tree, she starts to think differently.
Kyrsten Lampman
Ms. Gach
The Hate List
Blog 2.

“We’re all hurting. We’re all going to be hurting for a long time. And we, probably more than anyone else out there, will be searching for a new reality every day.”

After Valerie is threatened with being thrown back in the psych ward, she decides to start drawing how she sees the world around her. One of the most popular girls in school that was Valerie’s arch enemy prior to the shooting has confided in her to listen to stories about her and Nick.

Valerie decides to go around to all of the families impacted by the shooting and collect a momento to finally put everyone at ease. She puts together a memorial to remember the fallen victims of her ex-loves mistake and finally feels as if she can move on. Knowing that she’ll face the pain of that atrocious day for a long time, she’s ready to face it head-on, to see the light in every day without Nick.

Kyrsten Lampman
Ms. Gach
The Hate List

“Feeling like, of all the horror of what happened, this was the worst of it.”

In the book I read by Jennifer Brown, The Hate List is a flash of reality showing how disturbing today’s society is. An eighteen year old girl named Valerie falls in love with a socially awkward boy named Nick who we later find out is also suicidal. Valerie and Nick would sit up at night thinking about the people they should add to their infamous “hate list.” Of course they were the only people in the world that knew about this, so it was a wake up call to everyone on the list when they were being shot by Nick when he decides that he needs to take care of these people once and for all.

In the midst of this school shooting, Nick finds one of the popular girls that happened to be on the list many times. Right before he pulls the trigger, Valerie jumps in front of the bullet and is shot in the thigh. When she wakes up in the hospital she is blindsided by the fact that her high school sweetheart has committed suicide. The horrific news sends Valerie into depression and is placed in a psych ward until the doctors find her stable enough to go home, but still has to go to therapy. From being shot to finding out that the only person she could stand being around is now six feet under to being forced to talk about the tragedy of the whole situation, Valerie thinks, at every milestone that she has hit the worst of it.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Gunner Cornelius
DMACC comp
Ms Gach

A Strong Right Arm

“You know I want to be there with you today, honey,” she said grabbing me firm around both shoulders,” but it’s not easy changing shifts on short notice.”-64
That quotation from the second half of the book really hit home for me. The fact that Peanut’s mother couldn’t be there for her on the day of her important tryouts was really hard for me considering the fact that my mother has been to almost every single event that I participated in. However I truly believe that the reason Peanut was so tough and independent was because she was forced to be.
Being so independent was good for Peanut. Because she was so strong she was able to do things that most women at the time wouldn’t dream of. Peanut was something special. She had what it took. The best part of the story was when Peanut tried out and put the scouts in awe.
Trying out for a big team like that is incomparable to anything that I personally have done. However it slightly reminds me of my years at allstate. Allstate speech festival is pretty neat. Although it is neat it is very intimidating considering the high honor. Because of its prestigiousness it is sort of scary to go up in front of highly respected speech judges and do an improv.
For both me and Peanut in her tryouts I think that it is almost safe to say that our lives are improvs. We both have been thrown into some sticky situations and made it out for the best by being who we truly are.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Now I know blog II

Jacob Kelly
Book Blog II
Comp II

In the second half of Now I Know, it talks about animals as delicacies, how board/card games saved POW’s, and how Cairo’s garbage created their local economy. This book is full of wonderful facts, and wonderful knowledge for the curious human mind. Did you know that in October 2006, the United States passed the “Secure Fence Act of 2006”, which allowed the United States to build a fence along its southern border with Mexico? But there was a small problem. Because of a treaty between the United States and Mexico, the U.S. wasn’t allowed to build a fence along the Rio Grande river, so they had to build the fence in Texas, which caused some Texans to be on the “Mexican side” of the fence.
A funny story is that in February of 2013 in Union County, Illinois, a family called the police on their neighbors and accused them of having a methamphetamine lab in their house, but the police found no meth lab. The police found a running maple syrup lab where the family was making their own maple syrup and gladly shared the syrup with the police. Or another cool fact is that “Chicago” comes from a Native American word which means either wild garlic or wild onions. The word is Shikaakwa(say it out loud) and it’s because wild garlic and wild onions were plentiful in that area. So this book is just chock-full of random knowledge and facts and can be helpful if you need an interesting topic to talk about, or to write a paper on. I definitely recommend it to anyone who is a fact-aholic.


In the book that I am reading, it talks about random facts that most people don’t know and 
also overlook. My book is called Now I Know, The Revealing Stores Behind the World’s 
Most Interesting Facts. The book tells about history, and some interesting facts that help you understand important parts of history. Did you know that people in the United Kingdom, starting in 2005, couldn’t donate to sperm banks anonymously? Or that the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima was approximately seven times stronger than the explosion of the Halifax? Another interesting fact is that there was a man in Japan who survived both atomic bombs! He was on his way to work in Hiroshima when the bomb dropped, and then he went to Nagasaki and also survived the atomic bomb that was dropped there! He is considered one of the luckiest people in the world. Another cool fact is that the ampersand(or &) was considered the twenty-seventh letter of the alphabet. In Old English, the ampersand was in the alphabet, but a few letters were not, such as J, U, and W. The letters J and U were represented by the letters I and V. The letter W became seperate of the letter U soon after. So the first half of this book is really interesting and talks about a lot of facts that I have never known before, so if you’re into learning new knowledge, then this book is a good read for people who want a better understanding of the world.

Screwball - David Ferrell pt2

Screwball - David Ferrell

““My buddy’s a cop,” Harkwood said. “Boston PD. He told me don’t be surprised if four guys get busted on statutory rape. That it happened during the last home stand.”

Sharkey’s voice rose. “Damn it! You want a quote?” He yanked off his cap and gesticulated wildly. “Here’s a quote: We’re two friggin’ games out of first. Anything else, I don’t know. Jesus, how many headaches do I need?”” (44)

This quote describes the second half of this book fairly well. The Boston Red Sox are doing well for the first time in a long time. They actually have a chance at winning the championship and there are issues. From the quote, you can tell that the main character, Augie “Big Fish” Sharky, doesn’t know what to do with his team when if he does, the entire Red Sox fan base will be against him.

In the second half of the book, Screwball, by David Ferrell, the Red Sox are in even more trouble. More dead bodies show up and it is obvious to the team manager, Augie “Big Fish” Sharky, that something needs to be done. He sets out on his own to find the member of his team that has been murdering people at home and away games.
While Sharky is searching for the killer, higher management than him is satisfied with just winning. At this point in time, Red Sox fans are going insane for their local team. It has been a little over eighty years since these fans have experienced a World Series championship. One part of the book starts talking about how today’s sports fans don’t care what kind of a person their favorite player is. As long as they are helping to win games, it is just brushed under the table.
Now, relating to that part is easy. However, I relate to it in the opposite way. When I watch sports and pick my favorite players, I take into account what kind of person I think they are. If they have a bad attitude, I am most likely not going to like them as a player because that is not how I play the game. I am not like a lot of the fans of professional fans in this way. Obviously, this book is a little bit of an exaggeration as it is fiction, but it is a good representation of today’s sports.

In looking for a suspenseful book, I accomplished my goal. The ending is expected yet unexpected at the same time. I am not going to give away the ending because what kind of reviewer would I be if I gave it away. This book was a very good total read and I recommend it to all.

Roe V Wade: The Fight Over Life and Liberty Comp. Blog

Roe V. Wade: The Fight Over Life And Liberty    Millicent Cameron
Nancy Tompkins
Composition 2
A Division of Grolier Publishing
146 pages

“Pregnancy to a woman completely disrupts her life. It disrupts her body, it disrupts her education, it disrupts her employment, and it often disrupts her entire family life. And we feel that because of the impact on the woman, this [if] … there are any rights which are fundamental, is of such fundamental and basic concern to the woman involved that she should be allowed to make the choice as to whether to continue or to terminate her pregnancy.”
“rested upon the Ninth Amendment… I do feel that it is … an appropriate place for the freedom to rest. I think the Fourteenth Amendment is an equally appropriate place, under the rights of persons to life [and] liberty. I think inasfar as liberty is meaningful, that liberty to these women would mean liberty from being forced to continue the unwanted pregnancy.”
(page 87)

These quotations explain the whole book. The whole controversy of this book is whether women got the choice to choose or not whether they kept a baby. This is what the court case, Roe V. Wade, was all about. These quotations are some examples of what was said during the trial or that were included to make points on how to rule this case.
In the end, it was ruled that women got the freedom to choose. Although this ruling was made, this topic is still a big controversy. Whether women should be able to choose if they can terminate their pregnancy or not. Points were made that it would be taking away a woman’s freedom to choose and that some just can’t handle this situation in their lives. Other points were made that this is killing and terminating a human being, a baby, is completely wrong and they shouldn’t get that choice.
Although we are supposed to add personal thought, I will disregard them for controversial reasons. But, from reading this book I believe that this topic has good points on either side and that this can be argued continuously for a long time. The points pull the ruling of this case back and forth. It takes away a woman’s freedom, but it is also killing a baby.
I liked this book for the fact that it gave a great detail on the court case and the topic of the court case. The book also gave personal thoughts and stories dealing with the matter. Some questions I would consider are: Did they make the right ruling?, Is it taking away freedom or is it just killing a human being?, and What do others think about this topic?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Kim Jong Il's North Korea: Part II

Austin Stoelk
Comp. II
Kim Jong Il's North Korea                                                                                           
Alison Behnke                                                                                                                      
Lerner Publishing Group, Inc.
Part 2: 68

“North Korea’s system initially spurred economic growth and other improvements. But the nation’s rapid progress soon faltered.”

This quotation seems to tie in well with the beginning of the second part of this book. How many people actually have a legacy like Kim Il Sung has, especially in places like North Korea? When looking at the ratio of people compared to leaders worldwide, not many leave a legacy like Kim Il Sung leaves. The country still follows his tradition of family being of great importance and including absolute royalty. The country is at economic growth and has other accomplishments as Kim Il Sung is still the leader, but they soon face many problems (as the quotation expresses), and these problems occur in a wide variety, very quickly. I find an interesting fact to be that North Korea’s government had a tendency to blame other countries for anything that went wrong in their country. I truly feel this is a major reason that the country’s conditions are worsening in the aspects of food, their economy, and much more.
As time goes by in North Korea, they continue to be isolated and are a country of communism. As a country of communism, they do have some ties with China and the Soviet Union, but cannot have many. If they are having issues, they should change from having a communist country to a country that has more interacting than just trade with China and the Soviet Union. By the 1980s, Kim Il Sung is in his 70s and looking for someone to take over North Korea. Someone who will next effect North Korea in many aspects is his son, Kim Jong Il, which relates back to the quotation: Will the nation’s progress stay steady instead of falter like the progress did at times of Kim Il Sung’s rule? The different economic issues in the country are calling for a new leader, and throughout the second half of the book I hope that Kim Jong Il is more steady. As leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Il is an opponent to many people. Some North Koreans feel he does not have enough military experience, where others feel he is simply not talented enough and doesn’t possess enough skills of his father. These issues tie into the quotation as well because North Korea does not appear to be spurring in any type of growth, as “bad talk” goes around about the new leader.
At the beginning of his time as leader, Kim Jong Il is making treaties with other regions, including nuclear treaties with the Soviet Union. After this, the Soviet Union ends up going down collapsing which I feel is not only bad because they are the closest allies to North Korea, but also they are the biggest Communist nation! I feel this may scare North Korea in both of the aspects, but Kim Jong Il later has success. On top of this, Kim Il Sung passes away, but Kim Jong Il has the opportunity to be a dictator. As time goes on, the country suffers more deeply. Food shortage is present, many kids are dying, and floods and other catastrophes are occurring throughout the country. These signs are agreeing with the quotation I used, saying that the country seems to be continuing to get worse in many aspects. However, with all these unfortunate events, Kim and his government are known for revealing false information that keeps enemy countries on their toes. This is one great factor for Kim, but many issues are still present.
These many issues that are present tie well with the way North Korea was for the last 60 years, and my quotation remains true about the nation’s growth faltering, and staying down. With years passing as Kim Jong Il being leader, problems grow, and people have more need for safety and stability; the problem is that Kim Jong Il’s dictatorship is not working. The next step is very understandable and makes much sense to me. Many feel the next step is to get rid of Kim’s dictatorship, and if I were in the shoes of North Koreans who are struggling so badly, I would revolt and feel the same way, saying freedom is not present if nothing is changed from past years.

Screwball by David Ferrell

Screwball by David Ferrell

“Domato watched another fastball scorch the outside corner at 98 mph. “Kane ever got himself in any real trouble? Anything serious? Jail or anything?”

“Not that I know of.” Conway scowled, thinking.

Lightning raked the sky. Kane’s next blistering bullet sent the red digital gauge on the gun to a gaudy 101.

“No, believe me,” Domato said assuredly. “A lot of these kids nowadays, they need guidance. We give it to ‘em. They help us, and we help them.”” (9)

In the book, Screwball, David Ferrell writes about a 2003 Boston Red Sox team that is still struggling with ‘The Curse of the Great Bambino’. This curse is thought by a lot of Red Sox fans to be the reason for their World Series drought. In this suspenseful book, the team is not well behaved and is in a lot of trouble.

Towards the beginning of the book, one of the players for the Red Sox is involved in a murder of a fan. The manager of the team is let known of this information and wonders why is any of his concern. It is of his concern because there is a possibility that it was one of his players. This is obviously very bad news for the organization. It would be very untimely due to the fact that the Boston Red Sox had an actual shot at the world series title that year. The organization along with the fans think that this may be the year that the Curse of the Great Bambino is lifted. Sharkey, the manager of the team, doesn’t want to jeopardize that fact so he tries to keep it quiet.

In many ways, I can’t relate to this book very much. However, in others, I can relate to it very well. Obviously, there is the fact that the book is about baseball and how I play baseball. Also, I know a lot about how the Chicago Cubs are on a World Series drought and have been for even a longer time than the Red Sox were. Some of the fans of these teams are near insane and would do almost anything if it meant that it would result in a World Series championship for their favorite team. I know this because there are a ton of Chicago Cubs fans around the Carroll area.

If you are looking for a detailed, suspenseful book to read, Screwball would be a very good choice. Lovers of mystery and sports can both get a kick out of this book as it is very versatile. All in all, a good read.
“We have to work extra hard, because we in America are very ethnocentric--we think our culture is superior. Why's that? It's because we've got moon rocks, and nobody else has moon rocks.” p. 86
At the time of when this book was written (2007) The United States was at it’s most active point in the War on Terror. “The Surge” was just starting to happen and men and women were practically standing in line to get in on a piece of the action. The Green Berets would have to wait over two years to finally deploy.
The first section of training that is prescribed to these would be Green Berets is simply called “selection”. There is nothing learned here, just designed to weed out the weak and simple-minded. If you manage to pass the first phase of training. You still  must be expected to perform at the peak of physical performance. Unlike any other sort of special operations training, the entirety of Special Forces selection requires you to use your mind to problem solve and work your way through real world situations.

After over a year of specialized training, whether it be medical, communications, or weapons specialist, you then must complete an extreme role play scenario called “Robin Sage”. They put 12 candidates into a team and their objective is to train and fight with a group of people to overthrow a common enemy. For over 3 months the team has to live in the woods, training, and fighting against a group of actors portraying the enemy. This is one of the most real world training exercises in the world.

Nick Reetz Book 2 Blog 2

Nick Reetz
Comp. 106
Ms. Gach

Getting Into Guinness
Larry Olmsted
HarperCollins Publisher
pages 109-220

"'. . .his object was not suicide but money and imperishable fame'" (110).

Matthew Webb became the first person to swim the English Channel without a lifejacket in 1875. He became a celebrity, in reveled in his fame. A fame that doesn't entirely make sense. He was definitely not the first to cross the Channel, nor even the first to swim it; just the first to swim it unaided. Yet his feat created many other "firsts," like the first woman to swim the Channel, the first to swim it round trip, or the first to swim it with a particular swimming stroke. People became obsessed with these basically pointless firsts. I find it ridiculous how badly people want to be the first to do something. This continues today. Whether it be the first to swim the English Channel unaided, or the first to comment on a new Youtube video, for some reason people love being the first- no matter how pointless that accolade is. In trying to hold onto his fame Matthew Webb attempted to swim through the whirlpools and rapids of Niagara Falls. He succeeded in gaining more fame when the newspapers published stories of his death by drowning. Many people want to become famous, and this can lead them to do incredible, sometimes stupid, things.

The second half Getting Into Guinness by Larry Olmsted is very much like the first; the book tells incredible stories about what people have done to get into the Guinness Book of World Records. This half focuses less on the history of the book itself, and more on the history within it's pages. History that involves swimming the English Channel, holding a dozen live, venomous scorpions in one's mouth, or a group of football fans staying up 72 hours watching TV to win a trip to the Pro Bowl in Hawaii. Almost everyone in the Guinness Book of World Records has an incredible drive to win and to be successful, and this really makes for some incredible, awesome stories.

Getting Into Guinness is an amazing book. At no point in reading the book did I get bored or really want to stop. Olmsted kept my attention the whole time through gripping stories like Matthew Webb's. His background as a journalist really shines through, both in his ability to tell a great story, and prevent facts. He presents facts, but doesn't bog the reader down in them, and actively works them into the story where necessary. I really recommend this book to anyone.

Chosen Soldier #2

“We are an impatient culture and an impatient electorate.” p. 43   
Chosen Soldier by Dick Couch is a story about the Army Special Forces, better known as Green Berets. Over the course of the book. Couch follows a class of Green Beret hopefuls through the rigorous training the Green Berets simply call “selection”. This arduous process continues for over 2 years. Testing not only how strong or fast a man is, but how smart and adaptive he is. The second part of this book detailed how the Green Berets have affected the battlefield of past and present engagements.
When John F. Kennedy first commissioned the Green Berets, they were seen as the “red headed stepchild” of the military. They were first tested in the jungles of Vietnam. Their job was to train and help fight against the Vietcong. They did quite well, but as we all know the United States pulled out of Vietnam before their mission could be completed.
The Green Berets have also played a pivotal part in the war on terror in the Middle East. Their jobs in Iraq and Afghanistan are nearly the same as they were in the jungles of Vietnam. To train, arm, and aide the host nation in countering the insurgency in the Middle East. The Green Berets have proven to be extremely successful with their battle-proven tactics. They have successfully pushed back both Al-Qaeda and the Taliban faster than most other units could.

Cooper LaRue, The Mick Book Blog #2

Cooper LaRue
Ms. Gach
p. 121-248
The Mick by Mickey Mantle

Still, there are some who will say, “What a racket. Baseball’s a snap.” They see us playing a two-hour game and figure that’s it. But behind the scenes we arrive at the park three hours before the game. If it didn’t go into extra innings, we’d finish about six in the evening. For a night game, we were suited up by five and home around midnight. (154)

The second part of the book is mostly about his professional career. The first part was about his young life and it went into his minor league play but this is when he becomes famous. My quote is about how much time he had to put into baseball. He talks about the dedication you must have to be a professional athlete and this is not easy. It takes a lot more work than it appears to become a professional player. I play high school baseball and I think I spend a lot of time playing baseball. I have spent countless weekends and nights playing baseball throughout the years and that is just for a high school player. Currently I am on a spring league team to get ready for the high school season and that is a major commitment. I am also currently in track so having two sports going on at one time is a major commitment. Many weekends we play two games on both Saturday and Sunday. So playing four entire games a weekend requires a lot of time. To become a professional player Mickey played this many games almost year around once he got out of high school. He did not go to college because he was drafted into the minor leagues right away.
He was brought up to the real Yankees team in 1951 and stayed there for the rest of his career. He was a great player who had great arm strength, he was a strong power hitter and he was lightning fast. Some teammates joked about how they could hit .500 if they were as fast at Mickey. He was clocked at running from home plate to first base in 3.1 seconds and this record still holds today. I think that I can run to first base fast but 3.1 seconds is unreal. That little time would make it nearly impossible to throw him out if he had a slow grounder to shortstop or third base. In 1953 he hit the farthest home run in baseball history. He hit the ball 565 feet. This is about 200 feet over the fence. I have seen a lot of home runs in baseball but rarely do they go more than 20 feet over the fence. Mickey’s hit is knows as the “tape measured home run” because it went so far past the fence they had to measure it out.
From here on he started hitting boomed and he hit a total of 536 home runs in his 18 year career. Surprisingly this number does not even put him in the top three on the all time homerun list but is is still a great accomplishment. I have nearly hit 3 home runs in my life and I think that is a lot. None of them even went over but I think they were close enough. I would be happy if I hit one home run this year and in some seasons Mickey hit 52. He also played in 12 world series game, and 7 of them he won. This would be like me winning the state tournament every year of my high school career. I just want to make it to the state tournament this year and that would be a big accomplishment. Mickey mantle is known as one of the greatest players ever to live because of his long and successful career. He holds numerous records and he will not be forgotten in baseball history.

Caleb Horsley Training A Tiger Book blog part 2

Caleb Horsley
Training A Tiger
Earl Woods and Pete McDaniel
HarperCollins Publisher

    “You get out of golf what you put into it. There are no shortcuts.” (129)
    In the second half of Training A Tiger, Earl Woods finishes up talking about how to make a proper full swing. A golfer should always stand behind the ball to start and observe the target. This is referred to as the “think box” because a golfer thinks about hazards, wind, and where they want to hit the ball. Waggling the club can also help loosen tension in the body before a swing. When someone is swinging, the club should never go past parallel to the ground. When the club is going down toward the ball, a person’s hand should be in front of the ball on impact so that the club hits the ball squarely and goes straight. In order for the ball to go straight, there must be a lot of practice.
    Practice is the most important part of the game of golf because it takes endless hours to become good. Golf, like anything else in life, take time to perfect. Lots of time. Thousands of hours can be spent on the game of golf, and someone still might not be good enough to play professionally. If a golfer want to improve their game, practicing will surely help. I can relate to this because I am in golf right now. I am not the best golfer in the world, but I enjoy to play the game. It is frustrating to hits poor shots and have high scores, so I have been practicing more lately. I have already seen my average score drop from 56 to a 50. I have already taken six strokes off my game, and I still have more areas to improve on. It could be as simple as moving a few inches farther away from the ball to a more complex thing like twisting your hips as the club is swinging. No matter how good a golfer is, there is always room for improvement.
    Along with being a game to enjoy, golf is very much a proper sport. There is a golf etiquette that golfers are expected to follow while on the course. Golf etiquette rules are all unwritten rules that golfers are still expected to follow. The book mentions about 25 rules that are considered good golf etiquette. They include a wide variety of things like never run on the putting green, take one or two practice swings only, replace all divots, rake the bunkers, never throw a club, and many others. One pet peeve that I have while on the golf course is when a player take five years to take a shot. They take five or six practice swings, readjust their glove, and recheck the target. It makes for a very slow round of golf, and most golfers, including myself, like to play faster.
    I have really enjoyed reading Training A Tiger because I like to play the game of golf and the book interested me. I am an average golfer, so a lot of the tips in the book could be applied to my game so I can improve. I have taken some of the tips and tried them out of the golf course, and the tips proved to improve my game. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is trying to get better at golf or any parent who is trying to teach their kid/s how to play golf. I would also recommend it to any person who is an avid fan of golf and just wants to learn more about the game. I was pleasantly surprised by this book because I expected a book more about Tiger Wood’s accomplishments, but it was more about the fundamentals and it really helped out my game.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Lindsey Smith Breaking the Chains By William Loren Katz Part 2

“There were scholars, such as historian W.E. Woodward, who argued that African Americans “were the only people in the history of the world who became free without any effort of their own” (184).
This statement, while partially true thanks to the work of Abraham Lincoln and others in positions of power during the time of slavery, seems wildly inaccurate after reading the second half of this book. Katz gives a multitude of examples showing how hard the slaves worked to try and obtain their freedom every step of the way. In this half of the book, Katz went into detail on several new topics involving revolution, including specific revolts, slave rebels, abolitionists, the slave’s point of view during the Civil War, and the eventual liberation of slaves.
From the very beginning, African American slaves were resistant to their capture and forced servitude. From the early 1700s, slaves were doing all they could to gain freedom, even if they were small scale revolts. Slaves greatly outnumbered the whites who claimed ownership over them, all it took to revolt was timing and planning. As revolts increased and slaves tried to side with Native Americans, Americans living in the North began to sympathize and tried to create antislavery campaigns. The South however, couldn’t even begin to imagine a world without slavery and tried to ramp up even more efforts to contain the growing slave revolt problem. Other countries only made the problem worse for white slave owners when they rebelled against French control. Those black slaves succeeded and created their own government, encouraging other oppressed peoples in other countries to do the same. As pamphlets and stories came from these newly liberated countries, the resolve of the African American slaves only grew stronger.
Because there were so many revolts going on throughout a short period of time, there was a growing need for rebel leaders. The repercussions of those caught planning a rebellion were severe. Once a rebellion started to grow in size, it became susceptible to betrayal, which happened more often than not. Once the government was made aware of the situation, they would capture the leaders, often killing them and their fellow conspirators without a fair trial. To devote yourself to a revolt was to open yourself up to the possibility of death. Things weren’t any easier for abolitionists.
To be an abolitionist at this time in history was almost as dangerous as being a revolt leader. Many abolitionists wrote pamphlets and propaganda showcasing their ideas. Because of the increased number of revolts, these writings were seen as a threat and had to be immediately destroyed. The Southern government and even some leaders in the North made it their mission to stop these abolitionists from spreading their ideas to more slaves and these abolitionists were as much in danger of death as any revolt leader. Abolitionists also helped many slaves escape to freedom by smuggling them out of the country and out of trials they were forced into going to because of the Fugitive Slave Act. It seemed like the slaves were starting to make headway.
The Civil War was a kind of stepping stone for slaves. At first, slave owners tried to press their slaves into continued servitude in helping with simple wartime duties, but it proved a frivolous plan. Slaves weren’t having it and sabotaged any Confederate attempts to fight. The slaves also took this opportunity to escape, fleeing by river and on foot to the North as well as Mexico. Mexico actually became a kind of safe haven for thousands of African American slaves, and most were welcomed with open arms. The North became aware of the slaves’ lack of cooperation and decided to take advantage of it to get a hold over the South. The Northern army was now offering any slave a spot in the Union Army to fight against those who had oppressed them. The first black regiments were some of the bravest and most desperate fighters around, fighting back battalions twice their size. Even though they fought harder than a lot of white soldiers, freed black men still had a rough time adjusting.
Black soldiers were often ridiculed by the white soldiers and given inferior equipment as well as less training time. There was an obvious lack of respect even with the success they had over a few short years. As the soldiers continued to fight, the homefront wasn’t getting any better. Slaves who had run away to join the army were hearing stories of their wives and children being beaten or treated unfairly because of their husband/father running away. The wives who had escaped often lived in the same camps as their husband and received little respect and unfair treatment by white soldiers. Black soldiers, empowered with their newfound freedom, appealed to the government and even the president himself to make slaveholders release their family members still in bondage and help them gain some respect among the army men. While many of these pleas went unanswered, it was a giant step for freed slaves. Eventually all slaves would be freed through the Emancipation Proclamation, leading to a rise in protests by newly freed African Americans who wanted to get all the freedoms they were promised.
This book was very interesting to me personally, as I had never really known much about slaves in this time period beyond what was taught in class. I had no idea that slaves had many revolts and several successes against their oppressive leaders. If I had been alive during this time period, I don’t know if I would have had the courage to become an abolitionist or an engineer on the Underground Railroad. The Civil War time period was truly a remarkable time and Katz does a good job describing all of the events in chronological order, but in a way that isn’t boring. He introduces new people and uses pictures to outline his points without being oppressive. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in history, especially this time period because it is a completely different take on slaves and their role in American history.

Wellendorf Blog #10

Ben Wellendorf
Composition 106

Derek Jeter- The Life You Imagine
Derek Jeter & Jack Curry
Crown Publishers
279 Pages

“I love when people doubt me.  It makes me work harder to prove them wrong.” (pg. 200)

The reason I chose this quote is because this quote has always been one of the quotes I’ve lived my life off.  This quote is especially close to home for me in football.  Football has always been my favorite sport easily.  In 8th grade, I broke my wrist and never played.  I seriously considered quitting because I thought that I got so screwed over, which made me not even want to play.  After a little talk with my parents, I ended up trying my hardest to prove my 8th grade coaches wrong that they should have played me.  I was a 5’10 starting inside linebacker at 190 pounds, which is very small.  I started two years in a row, earning multiple honors both years and even all-state honors my senior year.  I’m very proud of how I worked and how I proved them wrong.  

The second half of this book was fantastic.  I know throughout the book, I kept relating to myself.  For example, the quote above.  I could have went into a lot more depth about the proving wrong situation, but I won’t bore you with that.  Derek Jeter was always a very motivated person.  Like I said last book blog, he said he wanted to be a New York Yankee shortstop, and he ended up being the best shortstop to ever play for the Yankees.  Another tip Jeter had was having a great support system.  I think that is huge in having success.  Your parents have to be on board with everything you do, and have to be cheering for you to be successful for yourself to be successful.  If you have parents who tell you that you won’t be able to do that, or that you won’t amount to anything, that’s obviously not going to help you in the long run.  You would get unmotivated.  Luckily, Jeter’s parents supported him extremely which helped him so much.

Overall, I loved this book.  One of my favorite books that I have ever read.  It gave me so many good life pointers that I won’t forget.  This book was one of the books that I could not put down.  I think I finished this book a long time before our deadline, which is very rare for me.  I would recommend this book to anyone who appreciates the game of baseball, Derek Jeter, or even if you just want to get good pointers from someone who knows what they’re talking about.  Multiple times, I could relate to Jeter, and that made this book extra special to me.  I wrote down a lot of the tips on a piece of paper and have it hanging up in my room so I see that everyday to keep motivated to not only be the best person I can be, but also be able to finish out the school year strong.  

Camille Book Blog The Hidden Reality part 2

The Hidden Reality                  Camille Mumm
Brian Greene        Comp II
Alfred A. Knopf
p 161-322
“Whoever was running a given simulation would decide whether the simulated beings knew that they existed within a computer; simulated humans who surmised that their world was an elaborate computer program might find themselves taken away be simulated technicians in white coats and confined to simulated locked wards. But probably the vast majority of the simulated being would consider the possibility that they’re in a computer simulation too silly to warrant attention.”
This quotation comes from a portion of the book that took off on a bit of a tangent from the rest of the information that the book presented. While all of the first half and several parts of the second half were devoted to explaining the different multiverse theories; in this section author Brian Greene starts to discuss the possibility that the universe as we know it is a giant computer simulation. This simulation is controlled by either a “Master Programmer” or some superior race. To me this idea seems a little bit too far fetched and unrealistic, but as Greene suggests in the quotation I choose, that is exactly what the “programmer” would want us to think.
Before and after Greenes jaunt off into the idea of simulated universe the book continues as it did in the first half, except since the theories were already introduced, Greene spends a lot of time discussing what these theories could mean for math and science. He also spends a couple of sections on black holes. Being a professor of physics with his background in string theory he spends a lot of time on what the principles and practice of string theory are. Greene continues his use of analogies like in the first half to explain the topic to the reader. One example is using the probability of seeing a certain type of dog while on a walk to the probability of other universes having the same of similar cosmological constants and other particle constants.
The biggest thing that I found interesting was that this book wasn’t some sci-fi fantasy disguised as a nonfiction book, this book presented the information that is/was currently known. Greene did not suggest that because of the high probability that multiple/infinite universes exist, humans will be able to contact these other universes or that the proving of one of these theories would alter life as we know it. Instead Greene spends a large section discussing whether or not studying this theoretical physics would even be worthwhile. Because in most, if not all of the different ideas, the parallel universes are completely separate and mathematically impossible to ever contact, prove, let alone visit; so why is this field even considered.
I felt as if this half of the book was even more over my head than the first half. Learning the theories was one thing but having to apply them to reality and understand the meaning of the math behind them was nearly impossible. Despite the subject matter being difficult to understand, it was still very interesting. I would recommend this book to anyone who has any interest in theoretical physics but would advise them to be prepared for a lot of information.