Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Univerisity of Phoenix Drama!!!

Oooh! Exciting developments! Developments worthy of multiple exclamation points!!!

My trials and tribulations with the University of Phoenix have been well chronicled on this forum. But there is one incident that has escalated into a fun, typing feud. For those that recall Valpo's Student Senate, I definitely compare that experience with this one. This is an incident in which I am firmly in the right, and people want to debate that fact. What follows is wordy bliss!

Let me take you back in time, dear reader. A week ago, my team had its second team paper due for our course. One of the team members - we'll call him Sean for no particular reason - decided to cut and paste 90% of his contribution to the first team paper and submit it to the group for his contribution to the second team paper. Sean hoped no one would notice, but the acute, ever proofreading eye of Mr. Wolfman noticed this incredibly obvious cut and paste. I said as much to the team.

My original post to the team:


I was hesitant yet silent when you mentioned that you wanted to research the same two companies as our first paper. What you have submitted is almost completely word-for-word what was in the first paper with a few sentences at the end throwing in a new twist. I think these sections need reworking to at least show some additional thought or research went into the paper and that we are not cutting and pasting from old documents at a master's level course.


A full day passed in which every member of the team posted a new comment to the team forum and none of whom bothered to even acknowledge my comment or the fact that a major incident had taken place. Now close to the deadline, I realized that nothing was going to happen and posted a follow-up.

If we as a team are going to ignore the issue I brought forth last night regarding cutting and pasting, so be it. I still find this to be a severe breach of any type of academic standards, but if it is going to remain in the paper as is, it should at least be cited appropriately. Using a previous paper, one must cite himself and his previous paper compliant to APA standards. At the very least, the reader, in this case the professor, has the right to know where the material was originally published.


The paper was submitted, and my name yet again was attached to a paper that would have failed Mr. Nelson's 10th grade English class. So it goes. The professor opted to give Sean a separate grade from the rest of the team, and I do not know what the grade was. I hope he failed miserably.

For the class, we are required to post to the class a final summary of what we learned, liked, disliked, or otherwise experienced. An open forum if you will.

Sean's profound class summary?

Its finally over, believe it or not it seems like we just started last week. The past 6 weeks have gone fast but been very informative. I enjoyed the class and hope to see you all again in future classes.

Getting past whatever the hell that first sentence was (part run-on, part fragment), you see that there was a whole lot of nothing in the overall message. My final summary weighed in at a cool 487 words offering pros and cons of various course features. The part relevant to Sean follows:

The group papers were again largely unnecessary. I don't know that they were so educational that they were/are worth the stresses and hassles of coordinating schedules and pain staking unification. While they do allow a glimpse into other companies that we as a team would otherwise be unexposed to, I don't know that a team paper is the best forum for this information. A discussion thread amongst the class or even the team would have been a better medium, particularly given the lazy tendencies of certain team members.

Apparently Sean's guilty conscious got the best of him - that and my nameless jab. He felt the need to reply to my class summary in the most glorious of fashions.

Once again you over analyze everything and make something out of nothing. Complain, complain, complain...that seems to be what you should have mastering in....

I was giddy when I saw that answer. Unprofessional, incorrect verb tense, and AN EMOTICON! Absolutely stunning. That simple answer was such a perfect microcosm for Sean's entire effort. Of course, I had to respond.

It's unfortunate for this outburst of unprofessional comments (though the emoticon was an especially nice touch). I never mentioned you by name, Sean, but the overwhelming discrepancy in effort between group members was tremendously egregious. In a true academic setting, cutting and pasting from one paper to another would be grounds for failure of the entire course. Truth be told, I was as concerned that the group was apathetic toward the whole event as I was the original effortless second submission.

The incident in this class was a reinforcement of previous classes which have been full of disappointing group experiences where the team setting did not produce the results, I believe, that could have been achieved through other forms of learning. I attempted to convey this fact with other positives of this class, which you clearly took as a personal attack. I will not go so far as to say it wasn't, but it was not the main point of the final summary.


Bye, bye Sean. Bye, bye. :)

Photo from SunnyValeChristianSchool First Grade Page

Joe Blows (Save): Part II

I normally am limited to a review of Cleveland's box score, but with the Indians featured on ESPN's Monday Night Baseball game of the week, I had an opportunity to see the final few innings. With a 4-3 lead heading into the bottom of the 9th, I had a first hand look at the man, the myth, the legend: Joe Borowski. I watched as his blazing 83mph fast ball danced down the middle of the plate to Manny Ramirez who socked it for a game winning home run. I also watched as Jon Papelbon came on and threw change ups at 89mph past Cleveland's hitters. Yes, his slow pitch is 6mph faster than the fastest pitch Joe can throw.

A review of last night's Joe Borowski appearance:

2/3 of an inning; 4 hits; 3 earned runs; 1 HR allowed; and (gasp!) a blown save.

Taking a look at his season statistics:

18.00 ERA and a WHIP of 2.75. Oh yeah, blown save #2.

I realize that my dislike of Joe Borowski is overwhelming, but at what point do the Indians HAVE to make a change. He isn't good, he wasn't good, and something (anything) has to change in the 9th inning.

Photo from ESPN.com

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Idol Gives Back

I enjoy American Idol. This fact is no secret to you, dear readers. Last night, however, was a departure from the normal format of sing and sling someone. Last night was the now annual charity show where a parade of superstars plead for funds to help the individuals in a pretaped video displaying human beings somewhere in the 6th rung of hell.

I have really mixed feelings on the show. I watched most of it while typing another extraordinarily awesome University of Phoenix paper, and I came away without that heart tugging, please take all my money guilty feeling that a show of this stature is supposed to invoke.

For starters, the benefiting party was scattered among all walks of life. While everyone featured needed a helping hand, some needed it much more so than others. I have way more sympathy for the plight of a starving child in Uganda who was born into a horrible situation, will forever be stuck into that horrible situation due to lack of resources, and will likely die a very young death because of an uncontrollable plight of life. These individuals I feel for and would donate for.

On the other hand, a significant amount of footage featured those in the United States that could use a little boost. Hanna Montana took us on a tour of Clay County and Brad Pitt and Reese Witherspoon (a picture of course necessary) pleaded for funds to rebuild New Orleans. The video then showed a single father of three and in a separate story a single mother of four having a difficult go of it. I realize that I have been incredibly blessed in life to have the resources and situation that I have, but I have a difficult time comparing a poor person in the United States with a poor person in "insert any one of the many third world countries" Africa.

They are completely different ballgames. Those in the United States have food, shelter, education, and an opportunity to advance to a better place. I understand that they will have to overcome obstacles and the deck is stacked against them, but as compared to third world countries, even the poorest Americans are rich. As such, I find it difficult to donate to a lump cause. I want my funds to go to those in the most dire of situations, and I just don't feel that those in the United States compare to those in Africa.

My second issue with last night's program came with the way and the persons asking for contributions. Rob Schneider is apparently still alive and relevant enough to land a place on the star studded charity show. In his brief appearance he threw in a joke that Bono has enough money to fix half of Africa, but we the audience were needed for the other half.

It was somewhat funny but somewhat true. I don't mean to pick on Bono as he has done plenty - like him or not - to advance the cause of those in horrible situations. But, the man can do way more with his pen and his checkbook than 100,000 of us offering $10 or $20 increments. If all the stars on the show wanted to get serious about it, they could be making donations that would put the rest of us to shame.

Miley Cyrus spent time talking to some school children about how much she likes computers, which was an indirect appeal to the children that adore her to contribute whatever they can to this good cause. Teaching children the value of charity and sharing money is an incredibly valuable concept, but each kid watching the show could empty their piggy bank with less an effect than Cyrus buying a computer for every school kid in Kentucky without so much as a dent on her earnings. Again, I struggle with the concept because it passes the buck onto the most fortunate, alleviating the responsibility of all people to help those in need. That notwithstanding, seeing someone with so much beg and plead with those less than they to give money does provide a hollow sense of urgency.

In all, American Idol did a great thing. They used their power and influence to raise funds for those who are in desperate situation. They provided a medium for those who wanted to and who were moved to, to improve the lives of other people in tremendous need. However, the wide brush of need causes me to feel as if the charitable focus is lacking, and the rich asking for money from middle class America rubbed me as questionable. The overall pull thus was lacking and perhaps not what it could otherwise have been.

Oh, and The Office is back tonight.

Photo from etonline.com

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Early season Joe watch

Perhaps you, the astute baseball fan, noticed that Torri Hunter's rally-monkey pleasing walk-off grand slam, propelling the Anaheim Angels to victory was slugged off of the mighty Joe Borowski.

A quick look of the statistics:
19.29 ERA, runs allowed in two of three outings, 4 walks in 2.1 IP, and 2 HRs allowed

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Opening Day 2008

The gloriousness of Opening Day! A day when hope fills baseball stadiums and fans' hearts everywhere. An opportunity to forget ALCS disasters and think of redemption. A chance for the Kansas City Royals to lay claim to first place. A wonderful, glorious day.

Yes, the wonderfulness of Opening Day spread to Minneapolis where I attended my very first live and in person season starter. The bright sunshine, the freshly cut grass. Ahhh. Heavenly.

Those would have been great, but there was a blizzard in Minneapolis yesterday. A suburb just south of here received eight inches of snow, and the wind blowing at 20 miles per hour made it a pleasant stroll into the Metrodome. People came into the dome drenched from the big wet flakes, rosy cheeked from the gusts between skyscrapers, and shoes soaked from the slop just to get inside. Ah yes, Opening Day in Minnesota. Only 161 more home games until we do this outdoors in the new stadium.

But alas, the game! The excitement! Having commuted straight from work at 30 mph through a sea of red break lights, I was eager to discover the outcome of the Indians' first game. The Metrodome's scoreboard revealed a 10-8 victory over the White Sox. A fine start to the baseball evening.

The Twins took the field to a rousing ovation. An ovation of 45,000+ who said weather be damned it's time to play ball. It was the biggest Twins crowd in nearly a decade and they warmly welcomed back former favorite son Torri Hunter who was greeted to a standing ovation both during staring line-up announcements and his first at bat. Perhaps best of all was the left field banner spanning an entire row that said "Welcome home Torri" to which Hunter, the Angels new center fielder, tipped his hat and smiled. Naturally, the fans booed loudly when Torri made his first catch, retiring a Twins batter in the early innings, and then cheered a little extra loudly when Joe Nathan struck him out in the 9th. Easy come, easy go.

I saw a ball hit the PA speaker high above the Metrodome. Having read about just such a scenario in one of those baseball teasers, I was thrilled to have seen it happen in person and on the first batter of the Twins' season no less. Chris Gomez popped it high above home plate and Jered Weaver ran around, flailing about in a failed attempt to make the grab. I love seeing something new at every game.

Gomez and other new outfielder new comer Delmon Young looked really sharp. Gomez in particular lit up the stadium with his impressive speed (2 stolen bases and 1 bunt single) with Young driving in a few runs in the middle of the Twinkies' line-up. Heck, even Livan Hernandez looked good, even though it's still amazing he's an opening day starter.

In all, a glorious wonderful day that could and would not be ruined by Mother Nature. The Twins took care of business with a 3-2 victory, bringing them into a first place tie with your AL Central leading Cleveland Indians. Projections now have the Twins and Tribe finishing 162-0, which has to be some type of record or something.

Photos from WCCO.com that also features a lovely weather related story and additional pictures from the snow storm and Kare11.com