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In the beginning of the semester to be perfectly honest when we found out that we had to write blogs I was unsure how much I would enjoy this process. I thought to myself a little bit and immediately through out the idea that these blogs could help me in any way. Well now the semester is over and looking back, I was such a fool. These blogs have been nothing but beneficial to me in so many ways.

For one I had never truly written a blog, and I never knew how much went into making a blog a success. I had no idea what tags were, I didn’t know how to link websites into my stories, basically I just thought to have a successful blog all I would need to do is just write. Well I was wrong, tags, links, and pictures really make blogs stick out, and they also allow for more people to view your work. Without these tags and links no one would be able to see my work, no one would be able to leave comments, it basically would have been a journal. Now I can see in my mind what it truly means to have a productive blog, there is so much more that goes into it than just writing.

As long as were on the topic of writing, I believe that through this blog process and this class that my writing has improved. Now I am a graduating senior come this December and I thought by now that I should have had everything figured out. However, I learned that when writing blogs and feature stories that I am not just writing papers for teachers, but through this class I realized that I am writing to an audience. I never really took into consideration prior to this class that one day people would see my work. So now as I write I don’t think so much about what I would like or what my teachers would like, but what my viewers would like and what they would want to hear. My thought process about writing has really done a 180.

I wouldn’t necessarily say that my writing has gotten any better from these blogs or these feature stories, but I would say that the structure to my writing has changed for the better. I was a little narrow-minded before this class and now I feel as if I have broadened my writing horizon. I truly did enjoy this class and the process of writing these blogs. I believe I am a better writer because of the uncomfortable situations I was put in. I plan to continue my blogging after this semester, because I believe it really helps me vent on topics I may not necessarily be able to write about or talk about anywhere else. Plus I can see nothing but benefits from continuing these blogs, who knows someday someone may read my blog and a new opportunity may arise from it. Opportunities are not going to come being complacent, and I have truly learned this from class, it takes action to strike opportunity and I plan to be an active writer and blogger from here on out. It has been a great experience and I couldn’t be happier with how things turned out.

If you would like to get started on blogging, or really don’t know the first thing about blogging check out this video for tips and come join me in the blogging community.


The Final Salute a feature story in the Rocky Mountain News is a story that is hard to get through. I can not imagine having to go to the door of a fallen Marine and inform the family of their son or daughter’s tragic death. When one thinks of the U.S. military they think of hard noised, poised for anything type of people, but this story proves otherwise. This is a story about the men whose job it is to inform the families of their fallen soldier. We all see it in movies and T.V. shows, but something about this article doesn’t just show what happens when these men knock at the door, this article makes us feel the emotions as if we were giving the sad news.

It would be very tough going into work every morning just waiting for the reports on tragedies and then having to spring into action and deliver bad news. I found it very interesting and compassionate to find out that after these Marines had delivered the bad news that they stayed with the families to console them and comfort them. Not just for an hour or two, but in some situations they are with them for months or years helping the families grieve and get over their losses.

The part of the story that got me the most, or really hit home, was when the young widow,23, spent her last night in the church or resting grounds for her husband’s body before he was buried. She said she had one of the best nights sleep, but she felt that she had taken it for granted. It is hard to let someone go forever, especially if you never got to say goodbye to them, but I think the hardest thing of all would be to spend one last night next to my significant other, knowing that nothing can be done to change the outcome. Not to mention she was carrying her husbands baby, whom he had not go to see, nor ever will.

Honestly this was a tragic read and it was very depressing to be frank. I appreciate reads like these however, because stories like these are a big reality check, it is so easy to get caught up in our own daily activities and life styles that we often forget about the bigger picture. We often forget about the men and women serving our country so we can live a life of freedom. This article is a good refresher on what is truly important in life. Dying for your country and for the betterment of other generations has to be the highest honor, but when that day comes it is really hard to accept for the family as their loved one died for something greater. Is it worth it?… Like Beck said, it is not up to him, but it is up to the families and the loved ones to decide. It is never an easy topic, but in my opinion, although tragic, it should be a great honor to die for one’s country.

Here is my dilemma, I am an airline company, and I am competing in a market that has been surrounded by troubles since the tragic day of September 11, 2001. My problem is that I am trying to break through all the troubles and issues surrounding my field of business, so what I decided to do was to spend a lot of money on advertising during national televised sporting events, claiming that the only place you can buy my tickets is online through my website. Is this a smart idea?

My name is Southwest Airlines, and the airplane business has seen some struggles lately. Other companies are charging extra amounts of dollars for carry on luggage, additional charges for bags weighing over a certain amount, food has been taken off the in-flight menus, and just recently the new airport security has been called into question. Well, my company decided that we wanted to take our marketing strategy into a different direction, to break out from this heaping mess our competitors have put us in. So we decided to say that the only place to buy our tickets is through our Southwest website. Here you can get great low price tickets to anywhere our airlines fly, but only this exclusive site . This is basically the strategy for Southwest Airlines.

Now after seeing these commercials a couple times and discussing this issue with friends, I came to the conclusion that this was just another gimmick and a stupid one at that. Why would an airline company boast about only having their tickets available through their website? I mean this is 2010, don’t people want options, don’t people want freedom to choose wherever they want. The logic behind the campaign just didn’t make sense to me. Why would an airline company of all places want to “ground” people to only one option on how to get their airline tickets?

It wasn’t until last night that I started to change my opinion towards this campaign. To give you a little background, I love sports and I love watching sports, so any game that is on you can bet I will be watching. Like I said earlier, Southwest tends to run this ad during commercial breaks of nationally televised games, so you can imagine I have seen my fair share of these commercials. Every time I saw one of these ads I just was pretty much dumbfounded that they kept running. Well I figured out my problem, I wasn’t giving the ad any thought or credit where credit was due.

Last night I was thinking, well the airport business has been in a little bit of a rut, and people feel that the airline business is just trying to make money and cause hassles for those wanting to fly. Well Southwest offers an exclusive site where you can only buy their tickets for no hassle and as cheap as $59 dollars a flight. Okay, so Southwest already has two things going for them already:1) they offer easy access and no hassle to get tickets and 2) the tickets are cheap, $59 a ticket that is practically a tank of gas, potato chips and a soft drink. I was talking with a classmate this afternoon and for Thanksgiving break she would have had to pay $400 for a round trip ticket to get home to Minnesota, that is if she were to buy a ticket on another airline that I won’t mention. So for price you can’t beat Southwest, oh ya and if you were wondering if they lower the prices on tickets and hike up the baggage price, the answer is no. They even offer bags flying free, check it out So not only do they have great ticket prices, but bags fly free there is no hassle with how to get tickets, and they are advertising on a national stage where the ad reaches millions every time it airs.

An idea I once thought was plain stupid, turned out to be one of the more strategically planned marketing campaigns that I have seen in a while. An airline is trying to break free of the image cast on the airline business, and I think they have made a step in the right direction. Southwest ads make me feel like they are trying to help, in a society where most people feel like they are getting taken by airline companies. This is only my opinion and it will be interesting to see if this strategy pays off for Southwest Airlines.

The much-anticipated Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1 premiered this last friday, and it did not disappoint. Fan or no fan, one has to appreciate the success the book series has done in the box office and on the book shelfs. I hate to admit it, but this post is my revealing of my obsession with the Harry Potter series.

I have been a fan of the Potter books since I was around 12 years old. I have waited 10 long years for the movies to be complete and I am about seven months away from seeing this marathon of a story come to an end. The books started off as a trend, quickly becomes a craze, next step was a cult following for these stories, and now the Potter series has become legendary and has produced almost a yearly movie release over the last decade.

I am writing this post, because when I watched the new Harry Potter movie on friday afternoon I realized how much really Harry Potter has been a solid figure in my growing up. It truly has been the only book/movie series that I can think of in the last couple of decades to truly stick and grab the publics interest for so long. Of course I know Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings, but Harry Potter is different. It starts as a children’s book, but soon turns into an all ages read, and mass popularity erupts. As the characters on the big screen have grown up, so has this economy and society grown. However, through all the growing pains, economic drops, depressions, and disasters Harry Potter has been there.

This could mean one of two things: 1) that Harry Potter is extremely good in all aspects, or 2) people just don’t have anything better to do, I think it is a combination of both, but I think it is safe to say that Harry Potter is pretty good.

The Potter series allows you to get away from everyday problems, set aside nagging economic issues and escape for just a couple of hours into the fairy-tale world where Butter Beer is served, love potions work, and dreams can come true with the flick of the wand. Enrolling in Hogwarts is unlikely for me in the near future, but when I need a break, or a stress reliever I just turn to my Harry Potter books and stacks of DVD’s and turn on my “Expecto Patronum” spell to societies baring issues and relax.

Check out how well Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1 did this weekend, and learn just how successful Harry has been…

Technology has grown over the last decade and thus so have our laws. There had to be change, we could not just keep old laws in tact with our society growing and striving. Over the last several years new laws have been implemented to allow for safety will putting our new technology to use.

Today, I am talking about texting, and more importantly texting while driving. I remember about four years back, I was up in up state New York playing summer baseball. Here in my town (Watertown, NY) of around 5,000 people, using or talking on a cell phone while driving was illegal. I found this to be very strange and odd. I did not like this law, and I thought it was a foolish law that by no means could really be enforced. For example, it is a law to buckle your seat belt, but it is almost impossible for a police officer to know whether or not everyone is driving safely. At that time I compared the no cell phone law to that of getting a ticket for no seat belt.

Well, jump four years from then to now and times and my opinions have changed. Texting has grown to be known as the new, fast, and easy way to communicate with family, friends, and co-workers. With this new craze comes new rules, and these rules should be enforced and they should be known by all. Not to long ago, texting while driving was being compared to driving while drunk. I found this to be ridiculous, I had driven while texting and in my mind I thought I was causing no harm. It wasn’t until I stepped foot in a friend’s car one day that I realized how much of a risk of driving while texting is. I honestly became worried for my safety while he was texting. The process goes… look at text, look at road and then type a text, which causes for a little more concentration on the screen than the road than I would care for. It is a constant look up, look down process.

One may think they are driving okay, but every time the eyes go off of the road anything could happen. It is not safe for the driver, and it is not safe for the passengers. Also, with our technology today, phones have drastically changed from single pad and screen phones to flip phones, touch phones, slide phone and etc. Texting while driving is worse than drunk driving not only because of the distraction aspect, but because let’s be honest almost everyone today texts or is capable of texting. Millions of texts are sent out each hour, but drunk driving occurs out of stupidity and negligence of individuals present state. My point is fewer people drunk drive, then they do text. This will continue to be a problem unless people fully understand the true consequences of texting while driving. Here is proof of the danger you are in if you decide to text while driving…

My last couple of posting I guess could be viewed as negative venting towards the media/technology in our society. Well, I am here today to contradict my latest posts. I was reflecting this afternoon, and realized that not everything in the media is negative, there has to be positives. Through these reflections, it came to me, that there are a lot of positives in our media today.

Again, I am going to further contradict myself, by saying that celebrities who take time out to help, and promote a cause or a tragedy should be applauded. In my last post I was criticizing celebrities and the media for promoting their opinions, when really their opinions are no different than ours, but it turns out some stars choose to use the media platform for overall good.

Take for instance the latest tragedies on our soil. 9/11 many celebrities came out and told our nation that it was time to stand up and be what “America” is truly about. Helping our country in anyway possible, through donations, fighting back, helping a neighbor or whatever it may be. Celebrities help promote these good morals, not only because they believe in these issues, but because they know that people listen and that they are already contributing by speaking out.

Hurricane Katrina, is another great example where people were asking for help and stars helped push the issue for this help. Even though I have said celebrities take advantage of their stardom they also can give back and promote a better country through their economic status.

Also, it doesn’t have to be a major tragedy for celebrities to speak out for help. Many issues such as unemployment, hunger and animal abuse are issues in our country today, and many of these and other issues need our help. Examples,,, Celebrities rise up and give voice to the need for help and to promote these relief projects and foundations, because they believe in them and these issues they promote. It is a fact, we listen to stars and celebrities, so for all the criticism that I have given the stars, I applaud them for also using their status to promote a better and healthier America.

Blogs are meant for opinions and for others who are interested to read and reflect on the opinions presented. I have no other way than to start this out by saying that this is a pure opinion. Lets be honest, it is more of a rant with opinion based ideas sprinkled throughout.

It is something that has been bothering me for a while. If I had to pin point when this idea came to mind, it was about two years ago during the presidential elections. Here during this time I noticed something… THE MEDIA. The media seemed to be taking over the elections, backing a candidate and running with it. Now, I know it was the elections and realistically what should I have expected right? Well, it is not only elections that get me going, it is the everyday news of celebrities and the people of public interest voicing their opinions. People are hanging on to every breath that they speak.

I have noticed over the last several years that whenever an issue arises in our society a celebrity is close by with his or her thoughts. This is fine, and I believe that everybody is entitled to their own opinion, but I also believe a line must be drawn.

I feel that this day in age, we are really run by an entertainment filled society. Many hang on the words of celebrities, trust what they say to be true, and follow the words of their idols. Personally, it makes me sick that people can be swayed by someone no different, no better than the average Joe when it comes to political or moral issues. I feel that people have granted stars the podium to the United States of America. The media covers events and political issues, and often times on these networks we see celebrities brought into the program so they can voice their opinion on the certain issue or a particular candidate. Well…. SO WHAT!!

Why should their opinion be any greater than mine, what qualifications do they have over me, or what I am trying to say is why do people listen to them when they are just like you and me. Sure their job description might be a little more glamorous than mine, and their economic intake might be slightly higher than mine, but when it comes down to opinions mine or yours are no different. The only difference between these individuals is they have a sugar plated platform to voice their opinions.

Some opinions and some speakers might be justified by their up bringing or background, but for the most part the media fuels the fire for these “Celebs” to preach what they want and when they want.

Like I said this is a rant, and my only media pedestal to preach through, but it is really an issue that bugs me. Celebrities in a sense have always been figures to look up to, but as we have found out through scandals, such as Tiger Woods, numerous politicians, and even the President (Bill Clinton), that they may have the media outlets to promote their image and character, but everything they say or do isn’t gold and in the end they are no different from you or I when it comes down to the core. My message is opinions are important, just don’t be swayed by the person voicing these opinions, because everyone’s opinion, no matter who they are, are no greater or worse than others.

I was staying in one night last week, I believe it was a Thursday night. I was sitting on my couch just getting ready to watch a football game, you know the typical guy thing to do after a long day at work/school. I had received a couple of text messages from friends asking if I was doing anything that evening, nothing out of the normal. However, ten minutes after the football game had started I got a rather unusual phone call from a friend.

I say it was unusual, because my friends don’t call me anymore. It is very rare that in order to find out information my friends actually pick up the phone and call. The usual way about my typical conversations with friends is a series of messages sent back and forth with no personal contact with the other individual. While speaking to my friend on the phone I found it to be very strange… odd even. What used to be the norm, talking on the phone for minutes, or even hours has become endangered and for many cases extinct.

I guess I chose to write about this because I was really surprised how much technology has taken over communications.( Here’s proof… I remember when I was about 10 years old and living with my parents and hoping that phone would ring and it would be for me. I remember when I first learned about three-way calling, and I thought it was the coolest thing since sliced bread. After three-way calling came AOL and instant messaging. Nothing could top this, I would sit at the computer for hours talking with friends, but it got better. At 16, I received my own personal cell phone, and AOL kept upgrading. Well, at 18 everything came together, I received what is now considered a normal phone in that of which is a phone with text messaging and the internet. Jackpot!!

That was my thinking, there were no limitations on what I could do, except for of course my family plan minutes that I would sometimes go over. But, none the less I thought life couldn’t get any sweeter. I was right, it didn’t. At the time I thought this phone was the future and I was right, but I also didn’t take into account what would happen when technology like this came out. It caused change. The old is becoming non-existent, land lines are almost extinct, and so is basic verbal communication through the phone.

My parents will text me to see if I want to come to dinner. They will text me if they have questions on an issue that they can not resolve. My friends will text to hang out. My grandparents even text my parents!! A dial of the number and a simple hello has been thrown out the door with the invasion of cell phones and text messaging. Sure it is easier to “shoot” a text, but sometimes the warmth of a refreshing voice is much better, and sadly I feel this is slowly dying off.

Society has changed to a fast paced stop for nothing society. The question comes up as to whether people would too change with this fast paced world. Would people recognize greatness or would they conform to society and just keep walking through life.

The simple answer is yes, people have conformed to the life of point a to point b with no stop in between. The Washington Post tried an experiment with famous violinist Joshua Bell, on the side walk of a very busy Washington metro station. Bell is a violinist who was recognized as a prodigy as a youth. He lived up to expectations, he sells out venues, earns praise from every critic and fan for his musical works. He even makes $1000 per minute, so to make it clear this musician is well known and well respected. However, the experiment by the Washington Post was one that had Bell intrigued. The idea behind this experiment would be to see if people would stop to recognize beauty, or would they just pass by and go about their day.

Well one would think that if a master violinist stopped in a metro station, people would surely recognize his talent, and gather around to witness this free show.

Not the case, Bell played for just under an hour and came out with around $32 dollars and about a half dozen people out of a thousand who stopped to pay respect to the musician. Check out the footage…

The only people who did seem to have the intention of making an attempt to stop were children. In the article, I learned something fascinating, and something I have no problem believing. It said that children are born with the understanding of Iambic pentameter, because in the womb the mothers’ heart beats in this meter. It is only after time and after societies effects does this poetry leave children. Bell’s music is played with such passion and such emotion it is easy to see how children would want to stop and listen to beauty. If it weren’t for their “busy” parents these children would have listened to Bell all day.

Personally, I was shocked to find out that the outcome was that no one seemed to pay attention to Bell out of the thousands who walked by. In a sense it is sad that people have become too consumed by work and the grind that they are so schedule oriented that they can not take time out for true beauty. I would like to think, and I am pretty sure, that if I were in that metro station I would have stopped. I have a more creative mind set than others or I am more structured that way, so I believe I would not have hesitated to stay and listen.

This article also proved a point to me that the simpler times have passed and are gone for good. In my opinion everything now has a label on it or has a set of requirements to it. What I am trying to say, and what this article has taught me, is that people have become so caught up in work, schedules, documents, meetings, papers and other things of the sort that the child in people has been lost. We only live once and I believe people have often forgot this. To take two minutes out of a day to stop and listen to music…music should not be nuisance, but unfortunately with our structured society it has become just that.

I am by no means promoting laziness, or a carefree attitude about life, but I am promoting taking time out in life to enjoy the little things. I believe if people made this more of a priority life would be a lot sweeter!

The Weasel, 12 monkeys and the Shrub, is a very powerful article with angles and views touching on all aspects of politics and political campaigns.  It used to be that candidates running for President were the one’s that could relate to the common public.  A real person for the people by the people.  However, times have changed, and not anymore does the homegrown American candidate come out victorious.

John McCain was a POW or prisoner of war.  He was shot down on a bombing mission, sustained broken bones and limbs, and taken to a prisoner camp. ( A reenactment of the mission gone bad, ) Here he was held in solitude, boxes the size of coffins and punishment rooms.  He was allowed his release once his captors discovered that his father was a high-ranking official, but McCain refused his release on the premise of a code that he must abide by that states: POW’s are released in the order of capture.  Due to this refusal McCain suffered more broken limbs and a four more years in his prison camp.

Seems like a hero right?  Well, yes, but it could also be conceived as just plain dumb.  Nonetheless, it allowed Americans to feel for this Senator running for President.  His message is that he wants to target the youth, to give them something to believe in, to fight for.  My generation was his target, the generation that has been dropping like flies in the voting polls.  Why? Because we simply don’t care, we have heard it all before, it doesn’t matter from which candidate, the message is still the same cliché pitch.  We are tired of being lied to!  However, McCain set out to change that showing the he was going to share the truth, that we could trust him and that he was a good ole’ American.

The problem is the politics involved with this process.  There is no way around it, McCain could preach all he wanted that he was trustworthy and that he was going to provide the truth and reach out to the youth, but it is still politics.  Like the article said, my generation has been accustomed to seeing politicians as great salesman, and it is tough to really distinguish a great leader from a great politician.  There have been a very few great leaders in our time, and the others who we have looked to for leadership have ultimately let us down, whether morally, ethically or politics wise.

McCain was here to set the issue straight that his campaign was not to promote himself, or his purpose for running had nothing to do with self promotion, but to help the youth and help the American community.  If McCain was selfish he would have got the first ticket out of POW camp when he had the chance, but yet he suffered for four years.  However, issues along his campaign trail cause issues for concern.

His counterpart, Bush, decided to strike with negative campaigns, which put McCain in a tough position.  If he did not respond he looked weak, but if he did respond he would be going against his word of being a calm, cool collected American with his head on straight and that would not attack others to receive votes.  Ultimately, he had to respond, but his response did not go over well, it made him out to be attacking others and this hurt him.(The idea behind Bush’s attack, was to have people get so disinterested with these hate campaigns that people would basically not give a care and would not vote, only leaving the die-hard voters, which would ultimately vote for him.)  This seemed like it would work until one town hall meeting.

Mrs. Donna Duren  stood up at the South Carolina town hall meeting/ questionnaire and told a very disturbing story of how her son Chris Duren(14) was looking for hope, truth, and a leader in society he could look up to.  He was struggling with this issue and Mr. and Mrs. Duren were struggling to help their son find an outlet he could look to.  Chris stumbled upon McCain’s website and found what he was looking for, a truthful, honest individual who wanted to lead this nation’s youth into the feature with goals to achieve and fight for.  One of Bush’s workers called the Duren’s household one night explaining to young Chris that McCain was a liar and not the man he claimed to be.  This hurt Chris very deeply, and crushed his spirits.  Mrs. Duren wanted to know if McCain was going to be able to do anything about this type of campaigning and what he was going to do about the youths problems.  McCain was in disbelief, even close to shedding a tear, he apologized and said he would call Chris personally and apologize himself.

What a stand up guy that McCain is, he truly does care about the people and what he preaches.  Initially, this is the thought, but then again what a great campaign strategy for McCain, having this true middle-class American family being heartbroken by McCain’s political foe.  McCain was right there ready to ease the pain and hurt, without having to run an ad, or compete in a debate against Bush.  It was the perfect ploy to get McCain back on his political campaign feet that had been swept away by his negative campaign ads.  It seems odd that this women out of a random 300 would ask such a question that would put Bush in a bad light, that gave McCain an out looking like a hero, not to mention her son is 14 why would anyone call to talk to him about this up coming election.  Whether McCain knew about this question or somehow hired this women to plug this question is unknown, but to me and my generation it comes away looking too good to be real.

The question is are there any true leaders out there that truly care about the overall good, or are there just salesmen that pitch greatness only to receive personal gain?