Friday, October 30, 2009


As the recession has begun to take a turn for the better, things are still not as great as we would like. Even though the stock market has climbed up almost to its previous glory, the market is still under its effects. The most notable symptom, I think, are colleges. College in general is going up. The price is going up, the attendance is going up, everything. College has just suddenly become a huge deal. Not that people didn't already know how important it was, but with the recession and the job market being so poor, everybody is looking to expand their horizons so they may be exempt from the growing group of people without a job. Attendance at Community Colleges has gone up forty percent in the last year, while state College attendance has stayed flat. This is incredible, just for the record. It has been just recently that college has become practically mandatory for student leaving high school. Now if you don't, your chances for a job are extremely slim. For employers, this is an incredible opportunity. They have the chance for talented quality workers. They have the best opportunity to take their time deciding to who to pick - who has the best education, who has the most experience, etc... It's best time for them. However, this is not so great a time for the employee, those of us who don't just get to pick and choose, at this point we take what we can get. Anyway, back to colleges. Tuition has been climbing recently. Not enough to really make people worry, but enough to raise awareness that things will get worse before they are better. The important thing to remember is that college is important to everyone concerned. It helps the new graduated get a job, it helps the employer find quality workers, and it helps society grow to have the most profitable community.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

grandmothers house

Well here's another off topic blog, but I'm just so excited for this that I just need to let it out. Thanksgiving is just a measly twenty-nine days away, and for us educated people, Thanksgiving break is even sooner, a mere twenty-five days away. Now to some of you, this may still seem rather long, but let me make it more understandable- we have three weeks until Thanksgiving break. After Thanksgiving break, we have three more weeks (well maybe closer to four) until Christmas break. Now that seems feasible! For those of you who don’t remember waiting for this most wonderful time of the year, only so because there’s no school, let me give you a refresher course: 1) school gets really boring and kind of hard after about the third week so your pretty much counting down from there. 2) When in school, you have little memory of what is often called “free time”. 3) If you don’t count down until your holiday breaks, you get bored, and you feel like you’re going to die if school doesn’t end anytime soon.

Because I’m in such a holiday spirit, I wrote you a poem, one I know you’ll love once you hear it.

(Just kidding its actually pretty bad I just felt like rhyming)

Of course there are the Scrooges that still say bah-humbug,

and grandma still tries for that big’ol bear hug

There are aunts and some uncles with cousins galore

That gallop and wrestle all over the floor

But the stories of old

The ones that have always been told

Still make us believe that the holiday spirit

Makes us always want to hear it

That Thanksgiving and Christmas

Will always want to wish us

Special time with our loved ones

And still some not so much

Weather they live in a shoe

Or live in a hutch.

Anyway, that’s that, just a little tid-bit of some facts about Thanksgiving/Christmas break

Sunday, October 25, 2009


IOWA.... The Iowa-Michigan state game last night was quite the cardio exercise for some people. When it looked like all was lost for the Hawkeyes perfect record in the fourth quarter, the Hawkeye spirit prevailed. Hawks scored a last minute touchdown the end the game 15 -13. At the end of the game I almost felt sorry for MSU. Being a Hawkeye fan, my heart was pounding in those last few seconds when it looked like we would lose, but the relief that flooded me when we won...? that was spectacular. As the camera roved over the MSU fans, to see their face, it was pretty close to heart breaking. They looked like they didn't even know what had hit them. It was practically for sure that they were going to win and when the hawks just slid one in there, they were totally bereft. Maybe it was because what they were experiencing was exactly what we Hawkeye fans were just going through that I was able to sympathize with them. I felt really sorry that they were just so… lost. . When the camera stayed on a young man for five minutes it just showed him standing there, his hands on his head, totally shocked that they had lost. I almost felt really, really sorry for him. But I didn’t. I with held. I was ecstatic that our team was now eight and O, on its way to a bowl, hopefully the Rose Bowl. I really don’t know what more to say. I am overjoyed. Ricki Stanzi totally just let it rip last night. Although it seemed like he hadn’t contributed that much, In the end he found just the right opportunity to bring it home. If I was a Hawkeye football player right now, I don’t have a clue about what I would be thinking right now, all I’d know was that we had won… something like OH MY GOSH, OH MY GOSH, OH MY GOSH….. just playing over and over again in my head.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

heck-no techno

I know this does not have much to do with my general blog theme, but I can’t help writing about something I’m so excited about: Barnes & Noble came out with the nook® on Tuesday, October 20, 2009. If you have ever heard of the Kindle® by Amazon it’s pretty much the same thing, although it does have its advantages. In my opinion the nook is way cooler just because it uses touch technology instead of conventional buttons, as well as it has a color screen with cover flow for you to browse books by their cover. Other advantages are that is has a memory SD card slot for you to store over 17,500 extra books, which the kindle does not have. Barnes & Noble also has a much larger selection of e-books( 1 million) compared to Amazon (350,000), and some of them are free, depending on the book. The one thing that gives Amazon’s Kindle an advantage is its text to speech technology allowing it to turn any book into an audio book. The nook is capable of storing audio books, and is compatible as an mp3 player; it just can not convert books to audio.
Overall I think the nook has a much more sleek design than the Kindle and it can connect to Wi-Fi in the Barnes and Noble store where you can read any e-book for free, just like you could if you were looking at a real book. It takes seconds to download any book and they are relatively cheap- much cheaper than a printed book. The nook’s tag price is also cheaper than the Kindle, not much but it is cheaper. Amazon’s Kindle is currently selling at $279, while the nook is going for about $259. Over all I think the nook® has its advantages over the Kindle®, but the Kindler® also has some features that put the nook® to shame.

music to my ears

In America nothing is sweeter than the sound of a melody floating through the air, or in some cases the sound of some hard core screamo. In the land of the free, music is probably one of the most unified things we can identify with. Everybody listens to music. Now that is pretty much where it ends. After that people will argue on the genre, the artist, the musicians, the lyrics, the song itself, all the way down to which radio station, or what type of headphones provide the best sound, or even what brand of mp3 player. All the time its music, music, music.
Music in America really is a great thing. As a nation we all enjoy listening to music- country or rock, pop or screamo, oldies or techno, we all have our preferences. Music is a great unifier. Something that allows us to express ourselves as individuals, yet connect with each other as a whole. We idolize music artists. We stand in line for them to sign our heads, or pay hundreds of dollars to get standing room at one of their concerts. We have some of the best music schools in the world and orchestras and artists to match. Some of the most universally renowned musicians come from America. Maybe it’s not all a good thing (think Brittany Spears) but everybody does know who she is. Or Michael Jackson, all over the world his albums are some of the most popular ever for his creative lyrics and sound effects.
Music is probably also one of our greatest downfalls. Teachers can’t keep kids from using them in class and kids often have them blaring loud enough to blow out their eardrums in three uses. i-pods are one of the most commonly stolen items in schools and locker rooms. As a nation we adore music. We have songs about our country and songs about religion. We have songs to represent ourselves individually and as a unit. Music is America.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

bringin' home the bacon

As jobs become scarcer, people are getting a little anxious. The stock market reached 10,000 points this past week. This is about where it was before it dropped. I heard reported on the news this week that reaching 10,000 on the way up was a lot more fun than when we hit it on the way down. Now just looking at a picture this feels great. We have recovered. We reached where we were pre-stock crash. The only problem is we are here post-crash. We may have recovered financially but I think it will be a while until we really start feeling the effects. I think just as the affects of the crash were late in coming, I think the relief and the affects of the recovery will be just as late if not much later. This however is no comfort, as many people continue to feel the effects. Jobs are basically obsolete, houses are not selling, and loans are a practical luxury. To some of us the crash has not really affected us. You might even think that is already over. You don’t really feel like it has hit you. I know I feel like that sometimes. Then I have to remember to look around. I bet every single person can think of at least one person who has been affected. I know I can. Think of someone who has either lost their job, taken a pay cut, lost most of their hours, or who have been moved to part time. People are searching frantically for jobs. Unemployment benefits are reduced and finding money to take care of expenses is a hassle. This is an especially difficult time with the swine flu going around. If you don’t have an income it is hard to pay medical bills, especially if you need some sort of anti-viral medication. Another major factor is that the holiday season is coming up and if you don’t see a future income I can understand how it would be easy not to see a happy future holiday season.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


What is a monopoly? A monopoly is a company that has the entire control over a certain product, brand, market, area, or even another company. Like one of our favorite games- Monopoly, where the whole idea of the game is to gain control of ALL the other properties.
Monopolies are the basis of America. We live off monopolies. Think about it. We have McDonalds, Wal-Mart, Pepsico®, and Mars®. We think we get all sorts of different brands. We think we are drinking Gatorade, but did you know Gatorade is owned by Quaker Oats? and did you know that Quaker oats is owned by Pepsico? Bet not. The charts at the bottom of the post are helpful in understanding a few of the huge companies in our nation. Now so far I've only stated a fact: that our country has a lot of monopolies. To elaborate on that point I have to say that it can be a good or a bad thing. A good thing is that it is better for the economy, in I some ways. Its great that we can have a huge multi billion dollar company that can help employ people and enable people to have a huge source of money flowing through the economy. The bad thing for the economy is that it monopolizes all the business. It is much harder for an upstart company to gain a market and clientele when it is all going to the monopoly. It is also bad for the consumer because this means that the product is totally controlled by the company, meaning the consumer has to pay pretty much whatever the company charges. They might also not get the kind a service or quality they want if all they get is what's available. As Americans you would think that there would be less monopolies. More monopolies = less choice. That is something that Americans hate. To us, the more choice the better.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

oink oink!

As the swine flu vaccinations begin to arrive, the seasonal flu vaccines are becoming scarce. Because the companies that usually manufacture the seasonal flu vaccines have switched to making swine flu vaccines. Now of course this is great, the swine flu vaccine has arrived in several states, but the amount is so minimal that states are limiting it to health care providers and pregnant women.
Schools are getting emptied out by the bucket load. The Obama administration has requested that schools stay open except for three reasons. One, most of the kids affected are special needs. Two, large numbers of kids and staff are absent or sick. And three, Kids are still coming to school when they are sick causing the bug to travel faster. However, this does not make the number of kids out any fewer. Some schools are already up to 20 percent absent due to H1N1 and some rates are much higher. Teachers are concerned about the flu spreading, but don't want to interrupt their lesson plans. Students however, will take any days off they can get, but I believe they are still cautious about having to make them up in the summer time.
Health advisors are saying to stay home if you are feeling a little under the weather at all. They are trying to keep the spreading of H1N1 to a minimum. Some symptoms of swine flu include a fever of 100.4F or higher and two or more of the following-
  • unusual tiredness,
  • headache,
  • runny nose,
  • sore throat,
  • shortness of breath or cough,
  • loss of appetite,
  • aching muscles,
  • diarrhoea or vomiting.
Most cases of Swine flu have been mild, although it is the serious cases that have health officials worried.

I am even getting surprised at how quickly it has spread. It doesn't even seem like it is supposed to be where I live. I remember before it even got here and I was thinking it would really only be in the big cities and states. I was wrong. It has spread all over and almost every state is affected by it.

Friday, October 9, 2009

I'll take a a 'peace' of that prize...

President Obama received the Nobel Peace prize today. Many say that the prize has been awarded to soon, and the Nobel committee even agrees! They are hoping that this award is more of an encouragement in the direction of peace, rather than to award something he has already done.

I personally think it was a very poor decision, I don't think he has done anything that he deserves it for. It is actually worse for the president I think. It sets the standard extremely high, and it sets the president up for failure. I also think he should not be awarded because he is the president. It is the job of the president to create peace. This president has not done much more than many others to set the tone for peace. It seems nonsensical to reward the very person we expect to set a peaceful tone.

Thorbjoern Jagland, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, does agree that the war in Iraq and Afghanistan was great concern when considering Obama for the award, but was reassured when the Obama administration immediately reassessed the situation, and changed their strategy. Many world leaders commended Obama for his achievement, while others think its premature and much too early to predict how things will go. In his speech, Obama said that he was humbled to be apart of this great community of people, made up of the previous winners. He plans to travel Oslo to accept the prize.

I think that we should be careful of how much we expect of this- I don't think we will know what kind of problem we've got ourselves into. We have put all our faith into one man and one administration. We can't expect everything to change in one term. It will take time. And time, I'm afraid, is running out almost as fast as our money.

"I intend to leave after my death a large fund for the promotion of the peace idea, but I am skeptical as to its results."
Alfred Nobel

Thursday, October 8, 2009

as the world turns...

I decided it was time for a short update of the world today. Whats happening, whats going to happen, what could happen. So, here we go:

War In Afghanistan-
President Obama and his war councilPresident Obama met with his cabinet to discuss the direction we are taking in the War in Afghanistan on Oct. 7. This was the 8th anniversary of the war. He received a request for more troops, up to 40,000, from Gen. McChrystal and is seriously considering sending then, but is concerned about the effects. The war is becoming a growing concern as it drains US resources and kills US soldiers (over 800). It has lasted longer than anyone has imagined.

War in Iraq-
Obama has announced that the war in Iraq will be over by Labor day of next year. This is still unsure however, as even supporters of this are skeptical of the success. I'm not sure if we can effectively leave like this. We don't know when the people will be able to effectively protect themselves and their borders- as mentioned by Lt. Col. Robert Maginnis. There is no way we can just leave them. We worked so hard to free them, we couldn't just get up and walk away.

Swine Flu-
The swine flu pandemic has been sweeping through the nation at an alarming pace. Doctors and Health Officials are scared that people will be too frightened of the unknown to get the vaccination. We have already met the average deaths for a normal flu season, and we it is only October! The flu is targeting children and pregnant women- people don't really know what to do. So many people are unsure of whether or not the drug is safe. Many would rather just take their chances. This really concerns health care providers because they believe by the end of the season so many deaths could have beeen prevented.

Monday, October 5, 2009

so its war....

President Obama is not doing so great with the war.

Just thought I would state the obvious there. It seems that the Pres. is not doing what he promised. He can't really make up his mind on whether or not he should remove the troops. I give him credit though... This is a really hard decision. There is a lot more involved in this than we know. Most people said- "Vote for Obama! He's going to get all the troops home! he will end this silly war!" WRONG! President Obama might have said those things, the people may have believed him, he may even have believed it, but there were some that knew. Naive Obama would get into office and see that there was a little more to this that he knew. Think about it: the president has so much more top secret information than the public, now who do you think is in the best position to make a well informed decision? it may not be the right one, but it definitely is the best he could do with the information that he was given.

Thats one thing that really frustrates me about people. They always think there way is the best. I'm not saying I don't think like that sometimes, but we need to remember that we are not the final expert on everything! we are not always the most informed or the most educated. The people in government, no matter how much we disagree with their decisions, have more education and information than us. That combination is the key to making the best decisions.
Don't get me wrong, I think its important that people regulate the government and keep track of whats going on. Its also important that they question decisions that they make, but its just as important to remember we are not the final authority on the subject.

Its definitely something to think about.


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Re: Chicago, 2016

And the winner is...... Rio de Janeiro! The decision was made in Denmark this week that the Summer Olympics will be held in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Its disappointing in some ways and a little exciting in others. The exciting part is that the Olympics have never been held in South America and the city is very beautiful and perfect for the season. The disappointing part is that it would have been so fun to have it in Midwest America. To bring people from all around the world to the heart of America and let them see it.

President Obama and Michelle went to Copenhagen themselves to promote their hometowns bid for the 2016 olympic host. They, along with the entire city of chicago were very disappointed that they did not win.

My personal opinion is that there may have been some anti-America sentiment. It seems like other countries gang up on us. The fact that Chicago was so low in the scores says a lot I think. Its like the other countries represented on the Olympic Committee were against the idea of having the Olympics in America. Of course it is only fair that other countries get to host the olypics too, Its just that, well, I don't know. It seems especially worse for some reason. Like the other countries just don't like us having an advantage, or having something they don't. America isn't very popular right now in other countries. It seems best for us just to lay low for a while.

Although I'm disappointed I'm still excited that the Olympics will be held in beautiful Rio, and I'm excited that other countries will have th opportunity to host the games. I can't wait to see how everyone does. And in the mean time, the first Youth Olympics are going to be held in Singapore, 2010. (for ages 14-18)

Well, now I'm really excited. Guess I'll just have to wait with everyone else.