Thursday, April 28, 2011

Secret Ambition - Michael W Smith

Nobody knew his secret ambition
Nobody knew his claim to fame
He broke the old rules steeped in tradition
He tore the holy veil away
Questioning those in powerful position
Running to those who called his name
But nobody knew his secret ambition
Was to give his life away...

Now ~ what's your secret ambition? No pressure ;-)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Whip My Hair - Willow Smith

I hate this song. It bugs me to no end, and every time it comes on the radio at work, I have to fight the urge to run screaming. I detest it to the very core of my being.

So why post a song that you can't stand, you say?
Because it still gets stuck in my head. And why is that? Presentation. It's catchy. If anyone else told me to whip my hair,  they'd be on the floor and I'd be re-loading before you could snap your fingers. And as much as I hate to say it, if Willow Smith told me to do it, it just might happen. Rhetoric is so much more than just words. It's everything. Say anything in the right way, to the right people and at the right time, and you can say whatever you want. It's that simple.
And just so you didn't have to go count it yourself (because I know you want to know), she says it seventy times. S.E.V.E.N.T.Y. T.I.M.E.S. (yeah. that's the part that bugs me.)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Audience Awareness: Stephen vs. Paul

A recent lecture in my 'Biblical Backgrounds of English Literature' class brought up an interesting topic in the form of two speeches given, both in the book of Acts, one by Stephen (who ended up being stoned to death for it) and one by the apostle Paul (here - verses 22-34). Please stop here and read those now, 'cause if you do, what I'm about to say will make a lot more sense.

In essence, both their speeches are very much alike. Both are cutting to the quick with their audiences and telling them what they needed to hear. But that's where the 'alike-ness' ends.

   Stephen's speech is rather little long-winded, but he knew what held the attention of his listeners and boy howdy, did they listen. Like I said before, he got killed for what he said. But before that happened, he held the captive the attentions of his audience - the Jews - as he gave them a rundown of their long and storied history, drawing on knowledge they had probably had since childhood, and used that assumed knowledge to drive home his point.

   Paul, on the other hand, is addressing a crowd of people who couldn't be more different from the pious Jewish elders: Gentiles, Greeks more specifically. He couldn't assume any prior knowledge of his chosen topic - salvation through Christ - with a bunch of people who had never heard of the guy. However, he took the fact that they had an altar dedicated 'to the unknown god' and used that fact as a jumping off point for introducing them to the unknown god they were so curious about.

Neither of these men were specially trained to say what they did, but both had a passion for their topic and an acute awareness of the audience they were addressing. And that's what got people to listen. What you say to whom really does matter.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Still Alive - Portal 1 Credits

To be played after playing the game...
...or, after a long and stressful week. Enjoy ~ it always cheers me up :-)

(Just listen and don't try to read it, which I guarantee will damage your sight. Sorry these videos are so tiny.)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

If you think your birthday has no significance....

... Google it. I guarantee you'll get giggles, food for thought, and maybe a little sentimental (yes, I know that last part isn't grammatically corect. but hey, work with me here). I also guarantee your ego will inflate just a tiny bit. And yes, I know you're about to open that new tab and go do it. But read this post first .... please?

April 12th is the 102nd day of the year (103rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 263 days remaining until the end of the year.

Today in history: 
467: Anthemius is elevated to Emperor of the Western Roman Empire.
1204: The Crusaders of the Fourth Crusade breach the walls of Constantinople and enter the city, which they completely occupy the following day.
1606: The Union Flag is adopted as the flag of Great Britain.
1861: The Civil War begins as Confederate forces fire on Fort Sumter in South Carolina.
1934: The strongest surface wind gust in the world at 231 mph, is measured on the summit of Mount Washington, New Hampshire.
1945: Franklin D. Roosevelt, the 32nd president of the United States, dies of a cerebral hemorrhage in Warm Springs, Georgia, at age 63. Vice President Harry S. Truman becomes president.  
1961: Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes the first man to fly in space, orbiting the Earth once before he makes a safe landing.
1975: The U.S. admits defeat in Cambodia and removes its remaining embassy personnel from the capital, Phnom Penh.
1981: The space shuttle Columbia blasts off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on its first test flight.
1983: Harold Washington is elected Chicago's first African-American mayor. 
1990: Jim Gary's "Twentieth Century Dinosaurs" exhibition opens at the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.
1997: Police in Sarajevo discover mines under a bridge just hours before the arrival of the Pope.
2009: American cargo ship captain Richard Phillips is rescued from Somali pirates by U.S. Navy snipers who shoot and kill three of the hostage-takers. 

This day is also celebrated as:
Halifax Day (North Carolina)

1777: Henry Clay, American politician; U.S. congressman and senator.
1903: Jan Tinbergen, Dutch Nobel Prize-winning economist.
1916: Beverly Clearly, author
1947: David Letterman, talk show host
          Tom Clancy, author
1956: Andy Garcia, actor
1990: Kirsten Irish, English student

Ha! so that was the ulterior motive here. And now everything becomes clear ;-)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Class Assignment: Imitation Exercise

I think the title is pretty self-explanatory. I'm imitating things. This assignment was a little difficult for me ~ probably because my creative juices are still curled up fast asleep in their warm bed in the morning kinda like the rest of me wants to be. These are some simpler sentences that I was able to imitate/complete to my satisfaction.

Sentence: London was hideous, vicious, cruel, and above all overwhelming. ~ Henry James
Me: The wizard was malicious, vengeful, evil, and above all power hungry.

Sentence: He remembered much of his stay in the womb. While there, he began to be aware of sounds and tastes... Yet he was not afraid. The changes were right. It was time for them. His body was ready. ~ Octavia Butler
Me: He remembered what it was like to live in fear. It was what had shaped him into the man he was, wary and alert and always at the ready... yet he knew there was something more. Rebellion was in the air. The city was ripe for it. His time had come.

Sentence: Writing, reading, thinking, imagining, speculating. These are luxury activities, so I am reminded, permitted to a privileged few, whose idle hours of the day can be viewed otherwise than as a bowl of rice or a loaf of bread less to share with the family. ~ Trinh T. Ninh-ha
Me: Laughing, eating, cooing, sleeping, wriggling. What kind of life is there like that of a baby, who spends two-thirds of his day sleeping and the rest in seemingly deep contemplation of his tiny universe, completely oblivious to common concerns like where the next rent payment is coming from or wondering how many boxes of ramen noodles it would take to mummify your insides.

Friday, April 8, 2011

[Textbook] Ancient Rhetorics chapter on "Style, Memory and Delivery" - Notes Pt. 1

Yes, this is only the first part. I haven't had the courage to type out several more pages of notes quite yet.

Style - persuasive or extraordinary use of language, and the 3rd canon of rhetoric
Sentence composition - use of balanced phrases
      Antithesis - contrary or contradictory ideas expressed in phrases that are grammatically alike.
     Stylistic ornaments: Simile
      Schemes/figures {Greek "schemata"; Latin "figura"}
      Manifested in a good style are: correctness

Correctness - {Greek "hellenismos"; Latin "latinitas"; also translated 'purity'}
                     - use of words that are current and adhere to grammatical rules
Clarity - {Greek "sapheneia"; Latin "lucere" (to shine) and "perspicere" (to see through)}
            - circumlocution ~ avoiding clarity, in most cases to be polite {Greek "periphrasis" (speaking around)}
            - clarity can also be obscured by the use of obsolete, technical, new, or colloquial words
Appropriateness - {Greek "to prepon" (to say or do whatever is fitting in a given situation)}
                             - when a rhetor supplements an awareness of the audience with "a knowledge of the times for speaking and for keeping silence, and has also distinguished the favorable occasions for brief speech or pitiful speech or intensity and all the classes of speech which he has learned, then, and not till then, will his art be fully and completely finished." ~ Plato
                             - hyperbole - exaggeration of a case
                             - 3 general levels of style: grand
                             - rhetorical questions
                             - antistrophe - "turning about"; repetition of the same or similar words in successive clauses
                            - isocolon - balanced clauses
                            - apostrophe - "turning away"
                            - loose vs. periodic sentences = straightforward narrative vs. roundabout
Ornament - 3 categories:
                figures of speech {Latin "figurae verborum"}
               figures of thought {Latin "figurae sententiarum"}
               tropes {Greek "tropi" (turn)}
                 - figure - any form of expression in which "we give our language a conformation other than the obvious and ordinary"
               - trope - substitution of one word or phrase for another

Sentence Composition
period {Greek "periodos" (a way around)}
colon {Latin "membrum" (part; limb)} - any expression rhythmically complete but meaningless if detached from the rest of the sentence
comma {Latin "articulus" (part joined on)} - any set of words set apart by pauses
Four types of sentences: Period (simplest)

Paratactic and Periodic Styles
Paratactic {Greek "parataxis" (placed alongside)}
                  - "running" / "strung on" / "continuous"
                  - having "no natural stopping places"
                  - "comes to a stop only because there is no more to say of that subject"
Periodic - "a portion of speech that has in itself a beginning and end, being at the same time not too big to be taken in at a glance."

Figurative Language
 - Figures that interrupt natural word order -
{Latin "interposito"; Greek "parenthesis" (a statement alongside another)}
hyperbaton - "a sudden turn"
apposito - "putting off from" = apposition
metabasis - a summarizing transition
asyndeton -  no connectors (between colons)
polysendeton - many connectors (between colons)
- Figures of repetition - 
synonymy - "the same name"
puns - "attract the ear of the audience and excite their attention by some resemblance, equality, or contrast of words"
antanaclasis - "bending back" - using a word in two different senses
homoioteleuton - "same ending" - repetition of words with similar endings
anaphora/epanaphora - repetition of words at the beginning of phrases
epiphora - repetition of the last word in successive phrases
chiasmus - "arranged crosswise" - "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."
antimetabole - "thrown over against" - "When the going gets tough, the tough get going"