Thursday, December 20, 2012

Advanced Math Classes

Why do students take advanced math classes?  They are very difficult and push the mental capacity of students.  We are forced to think critically and pay attention every day.  Their grades average a B to B-.  They struggle all trimester for the hope of an A.  Meanwhile, those same students could be in the regular math class (same level) and ride an easy A.  Hell, they might even get an A+.  There is no incentive but bettering your math skills.  Our G.P.A.’s suffer and we have to really concentrate.
I believe those students who take on the stress of taking advanced math classes should be rewarded with a waited grade scale.  I’m not asking for a 5.0 grading scale, but a 4.5 would be nice.  This makes taking advanced math worth it because we would get the same grade point if we were in advanced or regular.  When smart kids are given the option to further their skills without a damper on their G.P.A., most take the opportunity.  Think how many people would take A.P. classes if they weren’t weighted.  Just a thought for today.



      Americans eat about 3,400 mg of sodium a day—more than the suggested 2,300 milligrams and double the 1,500 milligrams for people who are over 50, African American, or who have hypertension, diabetes, or kidney disease.  Here are some of the top fast food items you should avoid so you don’t have to take blood pressure medication when you reach 50. Hope this helps!
       This 2-patty monstrosity is a beef-lover’s dietary downfall. With three slices of American cheese and four bacon strips, it has 1,300 calories, 93 grams of fat and 2,860 mg of sodium. With a large fry, you can add 600 calories and 350 mg of sodium.  Totaling 1900 calories and 3210 mg of sodium!
       Here is an odd one. Panera Bread’s Full Bacon Turkey Bravo.  This 800-calorie combination of smoked turkey, Applewood-smoked bacon, and smoked Gouda with lettuce and tomato on a tomato basil loaf tips the sodium scale at 2,800 mg. Cured bacon and processed meats are typically high in sodium. Ouch
       Taco Bell’s Volcano Nachos. These molten nachos with spicy ground beef, pinto beans, and jalapeƱos break the nutrition bank with 970 calories and 58 grams of fat—more calories and fat than any other single item on the menu—plus 1,670 mg of sodium.
       Yes, a salad made the list.  Wendy’s Baja Salad. This Southwest-inspired salad delivers salt in the chili, pico de gallo, guacamole, cheese, tortilla strips, and Creamy Red JalapeƱo Dressing topping. It has 1,975 mg of sodium and 720 calories. The 100-calorie dressing packet alone accounts for 270 mg of salt. No dressing for me I guess.
       KFC provides nutritional information for individual items. I figure this meal—a drumstick, a Crispy Strip, an individual box of Popcorn Chicken, two Home-style sides (I chose mashed potatoes with gravy and cole slaw), a biscuit and a 32-oz. drink (Pepsi)—blasts the daily sodium maximum, with more than 3,000 mg of salt and more than 1,400 calories.  Pretty much avoid KFC altogether.  It has a lot of sodium and calories.
       There are big dangers in consistently eating fast food.  There is just too much sodium and calories to have a healthy lifestyle.  If you do choose fast food, look at their nutrition facts and choose a low sodium option. Have an awesome day Bloggers!.


A week in the life of a Happiness member.

       This week was a pretty stressful week as Happiness had 4 practices combining for 20.5 hrs.  You work tirelessly to clean the show and give constant effort throughout practice.  I would like to run through my particular week to show teachers and other students how much work Happiness really does.
        Day1, 2, and 3:  I wake up at 5 a.m. to go to swimming practice.  I precede to my zero hour A.P. Chemistry class and try an soak in all the information.  We are notified about our six page lab reports being due Wednesday.  Class ends and I go to United States History.  This class talks for 30 minutes about stories and personal experiences then spends the last 20 minutes on actual history.  Such a waste. I proceed through the monotony of my day and get out of school at 2:45.  I proceed to the auditorium and change into shorts.  Those will no closed toed shoes, a happiness shirt, and shorts on will be yelled at by Damon.  Damon is our wonderful choreographer.  He is brilliant when it comes to designing moves and putting a show together.  His down side?  Mean and off topic.  He expects total silence because talking wastes time.  We start practice at 3 p.m.  From 3-6, we worked on the second song.  He told his own little stories for 30 minutes out of the 3 hours.  It is a huge time waster that slows practice to a screeching halt.  The changes we make are so small.  Move your hand like this; don’t bob your head; don’t flex here; make sure your head is always out.  It is necessary but extremely boring.  Worst yet, you are sweating so much because you have to give 100 percent effort the whole time.  Every move.  If you don’t, he stops and calls you out on it.  When 6p.m. rolls around, he breaks for 30 minutes to eat.  The food is caloric and heavy.  When we return at 6:30, nobody wants to dance.  We are exhausted and full.  Muscles ache as we put good effort into the songs.  By the time 9 p.m. comes along, most of us our drenched in sweat and just want to sleep.  He gives us a lecture and lets us go home.  Most of us have two hours of homework to do.  About 60 percent of Happiness doesn’t do it and just take the zero.  I decided to do my homework.  I finish around 11 p.m.   I am in bed by 11:30.  The next morning I am up at 5 a.m. to do the whole thing all over again.
       Day 4:  The same process except the end.  He brings us together after three days and tells us we are cocky and we suck.  He sees greatness in us but we aren’t reaching for it.  He says our effort is bad and we are banking off of last year.  I am in a little shock.  We worked so hard and we leave with a bitter taste in our mouth.  We all want him gone.  Half of us are sick because we are sleep deprived and overworked.  This is only the beginning I am told.  The week after Christmas is much worse.  Lovely.
Day 5: I didn’t get any of my homework done and I take two tests I am not ready for.  I have had no study time because of Happiness.  I proceed to sleep in half my classes as I too, am getting sick.  The weekend is full of activities, makeup work, and swimming.  I try and recoup as I head in another week full of swimming and Happiness.
       We aren’t some little dance group.  We spend hundreds of hours working in sweat, trying to perfect the art of performing.  Singing, dancing and acting.   We have to connect to our show so the audience can connect to it.  We overcome the negatives and push forward.  Happiness is more than a show choir, it’s a varsity sport.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Crayons vs. Markers vs. Colored Pencils

       Hi Bloggers! I would like to finish this week’s blogging with a compare and contrast: Crayons vs. Markers vs. Colored Pencils. *final countdown music plays*
       Crayons: Crayons come in a huge variety of colors, from aqua to brick red. The tip flattens out with use. A crayon can look very waxy on paper.  It is very hard to stay inside the lines with a crayon. One of the best things about a crayon is that if you tear all the paper off the crayon and color it on its side with something under the paper, (like a leaf or coin) you can see an imprint of that object.
       Markers: Markers have rich, deep, colors and can also come in a big variety. They are my favorite of the three.  Generic markers can dry up very quickly. When coloring with a marker, you have to put something under your drawing or risk having the ink bleed through. Markers are good at bringing life to a picture. One of the best things about markers is that if their washable, after you have colored your drawing a bit, using a paintbrush and water you can go over the marker and make it look like watercolor paint.  This is unique to markers.
       Colored Pencils: Colored pencils are good at producing light colors, but do not have a lot of dark, rich colors. You need to keep them sharp or they will flatten out like crayons.  If you have another piece of paper under your drawing the line of the underneath paper will show up if you’re coloring something. One of the best things about colored pencils is that much like a crayon, if you put an object like a coin under your paper and color, an imprint will show up of the object.
       Which is your favorite and why? Leave a comment


       Hi Bloggers.  I had an amazing swim meet last Saturday.  I swam personal bests in all three events.  1:11:87 in my 100 yard breast stroke,  24.7 for my 50 yard freestyle, and 57.3 in my 100 freestyle.  I was very proud of myself.  I began to look at my routine for that morning because I hadn’t swum that well this year.  I learned that it is really important to keep your body hydrated and alert.
       I started the day buying two Gatorades and gummy candy.  I wanted to try something new.  I thought the candy would give me energy before the race.  The Gatorades fueled me up and hydrated me.  It is a great drink to have right before you perform.
       Most people don’t know (including me until now) that you are not supposed to drink it if you are not going to work out.  It gives your body an overload of sugar and electrolytes.  Your body doesn’t use the electrolytes and the sugar turns to fat.
       The gummy candy didn’t help that much.  It provided me with a little sugar, but the Gatorade had already done that job.  I considered it a wash.
       The second aspect to the great performance was the mental aspect.  I came into each and every race saying “I will win.”  While I didn’t win every race, I kicked the crap out of my old times and swam amazingly.
       If you are trying to find ways to improve on a sport or academics, make sure to try new things and something is bound to prevail.


        Hi Bloggers! I thought I would start of the blogging week with a look on how manipulated elections are as well as the politicians.  Everything has bias in politics.  When bias is spoken, it is called spin.  Politics also uses card stacking to get their point of view across.  These tactics are used by politicians, political parties, and special interest groups to convey their message in attractive way.  Their goal is to get you to agree with them.  
        Spin is defined as a propaganda technique to sway or influence your opinion by manipulating the facts.  They often bring up a bunch of excuses or say something should get done but don’t do it.  Sometimes, they will try and redefine a simple word like “where is he” or “it is” or “relations” so they can manipulate what they or a candidate said. Here are some examples.

You! You can't lie. So tell me
puppet... Where is Shrek?!
Pinocchio thinks.
Well, I don't know where he's not.
Prince Charming gets in Pinocchio's face.
You're telling me you don't know
where Shrek is?
Pinocchio is still a little nervous.
It wouldn't be inaccurate to assume
that I couldn't exactly not say
that is or isn't almost partially
Pinocchio thinks he has the upper hand.
So you do know where he is!
On the contrary, I'm possibly more
or less, not definitely rejecting
the idea, that in no way, with any
amount of uncertainty that...
Stop it.
...I undeniably do or do not know
where he shouldn't probably be.

        You see that Pinocchio isn’t lying to Prince Charming.  He is manipulating the clause “where is Shrek.”  It is something that politicians use all the time to get out of trouble.  Probably the most famous of all is Bill Clinton.  He “mislead” the people of the United States by saying he didn’t have relations with that woman and he didn’t have sex with her.  What are relations? What is sex?  When he was caught with evidence, he squirmed his way out by taking a broad approach and telling the people to focus on the real issues.  By downplaying it and not directly apologizing for lying, he effectively used spin to avert a bigger crisis.  Sarah Palin did the same thing when she was caught saying Africa was a country.  She down played it and said she was taken out of context.  Instead of apologizing to the media about her mess up, she denied it and gave a “non apologizing, apology.”  Barack Obama is guilty! Yes, our current President said the famous “You didn’t build that!” sentence that shook the campaign.  Romney used that for a month, saying that Obama said businesses didn’t build themselves.  The government had built it for them.  It was taken out of context, but it swung a lot of votes because Mitt Romney effectively used spin to influence the voter.
         Card Stacking is the more familiar and more common way that politicians and interest groups get their messages across to people.  Card Stacking is defined as putting up all the positives of your idea or philosophy and mentioning all the negatives of the opposing idea or philosophy.  Basically, in a simplistic form, the Democrats will praise their ideologies and criticize the Republican Party.
Interest groups are the best at card stacking.  Pro Life Association puts up all of these facts and statistics for being pro-life and mentions all the negatives of having abortions.  This interest group gives subjective speeches and drives to make you believe abortions are wrong.  That’s their goal.  Practically every interest group works the same way.  One sided information to try and get you, the voter, to side with them.
         All media is bias.  All elections are bias.  When you are watching the news or listening to political debates, try really hard to listen for the bias and sort in your mind what is and what isn’t true.  You should have information from both sides before you make a judgment and a decision on the news or who you should vote for.   Just a thought for the 2016 elections.  


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Homemade vs. Store Bought Gifts

       What gifts are better: homemade or store bought?  This is the age old question of man during the holidays.  I am going to compare and contrast the advantages and disadvantages of homemade and store bought gifts.

       Homemade gifts can be incredible.  They show personal and emotional connections that store bought gifts don’t.  They are thought of as taking more time and can be personalized.  These gifts are great for close family and the special someone because these gifts have a personal meaning.  If you give them to the wrong type of person however, they can come off as cheap and lazy.  Bosses, brothers, and sometimes, friends, can take a homemade gift as cheap an inconsiderate of what they want.  Fi they made it clear to you that they wanted a special store bought item, don’t go against their wish.

       Store bought gifts can be the best kind of gift.  The can show that you made an investment in their happiness.  These gifts, especially expensive gifts, show that you made the time and effort to buy them it.  Sons and daughters love these gifts as well as friends and distant relatives.  It is a  “I was thinking about you and I spent money on you” factor.  People like to be bought things, even if they don’t need them.  It was the thought of buying something for them that counts.  Everyone likes store bought gifts because they are usually better quality and cost more resources (money etc.).  Some Moms and Dads would rather have a homemade gift because they like the closeness of the gift. 

       Make sure you know what kind of gift to get people this holiday season to avoid their shit list.  It isn’t just the holiday of giving; it is the holiday of giving people what they want.



       Hi Bloggers! I have yet to do a Pod of Process Analysis, so I thought I would give it a try. I would like to show you how to make pralines, a southern treat.  They are a classic in the south and can be made in hundreds of different ways.  I will stick with the traditional method which consists of butter, white and brown sugar, milk, and pecans. 

        First mix a cup of white sugar and a cup of brown sugar together in a bowl.  Melt ¾ a cup of butter into a pot on low heat.  Add in ½ cup milk and stir until it is hot.  Take this time to grab a ½ cup (or more if you would like) of pecans and dice them.   Put them in a bowl and place it near the stove.  Return the stove and add the mixed sugar to the pot.  Make sure that none of the sugar hits the side of the pot.  If it does, the sugar will harden and taste bad.  Slowly mix the sugar in the pot until you have a homogenous liquid.  Increase the heat to high and add your pecans.  When the mixture starts bubbling, stop stirring, and boil for three minutes.   Take a wooden spoon and stir the mixture.  If you hear a crackle sound as you scrape the edges of the pot, you know the sugar has crystalized and it is ready to place. 

        Quickly turn off the heat and set up wax paper sheets.  Create the choice size you want and quickly place them down.  You don’t want the pralines to cool in the pot.  You must place them quickly.  Once placed, wait ten minutes to cool and enjoy.   I hope you fill your bellies with this incredible, rich dessert.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

BCS Bowl Selection

       Hi Bloggers!  I usually exclusively cover Iowa football, but the bowl system has pissed me off so much that I feel people need to know.  I have two major problems with the bowl system.  First, there is too much fighting over money to conferences and “saved” BCS spots.  Secondly, the non-automatic qualifying teams get too many undeserved BCS spots.  It really impacts the game.  Instead of bowl games people want to see, the BCS is creating games based on money.
Usually I don’t mind giving automatic bids to the winners of the big conferences.  One of them usually does very well and deserves to be a BCS bowl game.  However, sometimes a conference champion doesn’t deserve to be in a BCS bowl because their competition was weak and they had less than 9 wins.  This year, the perfect example is Wisconsin and Louisville.  Wisconsin for starters lost five games in a mediocre Big Ten.  They barely deserve the Outback Bowl.  I mean common.  You lose to a bad Michigan State team and then can’t post a single big win game until the championship.  There should be a rule that the conference can lose its guaranteed bid if the winner has less than 9 wins.
Louisville upsets me more than Wisconsin.  Wisconsin actually had to verse good teams every week.  Louisville didn’t play anyone hard and they still lose two games.  The Big East is the biggest joke of a conference and still gets an automatic bid.  They lost to a bad Syracuse team and Connecticut.  That conference doesn’t deserve a bid because everyone in the conference is mediocre.  They rank below the MAC, WAC, and all the other small conferences.  If Louisville goes to the BCS this year, you might as well throw in Iowa.  This conference has no good teams left and should be stripped of its automatic BCS status.  Leave the automatics for the SEC, Big Ten, Big Twelve, and PAC Twelve.  They (for the most part) deserve them.
There is an undeserved non-automatic qualifying team this year.  They finished outside the top 14 and still made it into the BCS.  I am talking about NIU, the same NIU that lost to the 4-8 Hawkeyes.  This is so stupid!  NIU does have an awesome QB, but they haven’t recorded any big wins and have a horrendous loss.  If you are not in an A.Q. conference, you need to be spotless.  NIU was not.  Close wins and a loss to Iowa is way to spotty to give them a BCS bid, especially when you consider the teams left out.  Those teams include Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, South Carolina, LSU, and Clemson.  These are all teams that deserve a BCS spots.  They all have big wins, the biggest of which was when the 10-2 Aggies beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa.  How do you give an 8-5 Wisconsin team, a 10-2 Louisville team, or a NIU team a BCS bid when the Aggies have a 10-2 record with a much harder schedule?  The answer is simple.  MONEY!  That is it!  We could see the good games we all want to see, but that would give too much money to the Big Twelve and SEC (for this year).  The conferences are all about the money and they will do anything they can to protect it.  This is why we have an 8-5 Wisconsin team playing the Rose Bowl.
I am so happy that we are moving away from this BCS system but I fear the four team playoff will not be better.  With ten deserving teams a year, conference champions will get first dibs and maybe the occasional non-AQ team.  The fifth team will always complain, and they have a right to.  Should Florida be denied a playoff spot because they didn’t win the SEC?  I don’t think this system will iron out until we have a ten team playoff.  That will never happen because it takes too much away from college education.  We are stuck in a subjective picks for the playoffs and bowl games base on money.  At least the NFL has it right.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Offense

       The offense. Oh god.  Someone give me the play calls.  We had a QB who threw for 25 TD’s his junior year.  We have multiple running backs and a decent offensive line.  Receivers struggled some, but they aren’t the reasons Iowa finished 102nd in passing.  Iowa also finished 105th in rushing yards per game.  The blame goes to one man named Greg Davis.  There hasn’t been an Iowa offense this bad in 12 years when Iowa went 2-10.  He had a senior QB and a lot of talent.  He chose to run 2-3 yard plays and call the most predictable calls.  I could tell 99 percent of the time whether it was going to be a pass or a run.  You can’t win games if a fan can call your plays.  Besides one pass, he didn’t throw over 25 yards.  If you run those short routes all season, the defense will not play deep.  They will inch up and intercept him.  James Vandenberg was a good quarterback with an awful coach.
Worst news of the season is that in a recent press conference, Ferentz said he was going to keep Davis and that he is more confident with him now than when he hired him.  Really, worst offensive production in your career and you like him?  It was infuriating to see Ferentz back up Davis.  Nobody is going to buy season tickets next year because Iowa will suck.  Until Ferentz and Davis leave, this program is doomed.  Maybe if we are lucky, we can get to the Alamo Bowl next year. Wooo.


The Defense

       The Hawks went 4-8 this season.  Wow. There hasn’t been a season like this sense Ferentz’s first year taking over.  We lost to Central Michigan, Indiana, Purdue, Michigan, Nebraska, Northwestern, Iowa State, and Penn St.  Not to mention, losing our last six games.  This season was pathetic.  My prediction before the Penn St. game was 7-5; Boy was I wrong.  Let’s rewind to see where we shot ourselves. This post will be about the defense.  Later today, I will post one on the offense.
The defense was the only highlight of the Hawkeye season, if there was a highlight.  They averaged 35 minutes per game of playing time.  If your defense is out there more than you offense, that is a big problem.  They finished 34th in the country.  They only allowed 22.4 points per game.  That isn’t great by Iowa and Big Ten standards, but still.  Corner back Micah Hyde and linebacker James Morris lead the defense.  Their big plays kept Iowa in a lot of the ball games.  The only bad performances were Penn St.  and Michigan.  I commend the defense for being put in crappy situations and making the plays.  Tip of the hat to the defense.