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English Composition I
Your Sensei's Blog
I know this is old news, but a great writer died last week.  If you haven't read anything by Kurt Vonnegut, then you owe it to yourself to honor him by reading one of his books.  I'd start with Slaughterhouse Five, and then move on to Cat's Cradle and Breakfast of Champions.  He, along with writers like Tom Robbins and Salman Rushdie kept the novel alive in our language over the past few decades.  Now he's gone.  So it goes.

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Current Music: Philip Glass, Satyagraha

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Here's what I did over the weekend. . . 
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Since there have been several questions about what makes a good thesis statement, I might give a few pointers.

There is a good guideline on the questions you should pose when doing research in the <i>Writer's Reference</i> 295 - 8.  Read through that, but here are some more things I'm looking for:

Narrow your thesis:  Think of groups within the group your are thinking of writing.  (For example, instead of writing about the Veteran's Administration in general, you might focus specifically on Walter Reed Hospital.  Also, in addition to writing about a specific institution, focus on a specific population within that institution (for example, you might want to write about those at Walter Reed with a specific injury (PTSD).

Be sure your thesis is arguable:  This isn't a report, it's an argumentative paper.  Don't write, "NASA is the space agency of the United States," because that is a fact and no one can deny that.  Give it an opinion.  "The stress of training for a shuttle mission at NASA can cause severe emotional strain in many of its astronauts."  There may be some that believe that this is not true.  This is a good thesis because now the writer gets to prove they are wrong with support from research.

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Now, in addition to the 4 computers in the back of the LRC, there are 4 computers in the English Lab that have access to livejournal.  Also, don't forget there are also 6 - 8 computers in the "Cyber Cafe" (show me the coffee!).

Current Music: Xena soundtrack (aiee!)

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. . . you are probably not in the LRC or the English Lab.  I just received word that LiveJournal is blocked both in the LRC and in The English Lab.  The LRC PC's are strictly research stations, so "leisure sites" have been blocked.  

There are, however, four eMail / catalog / leisure PCs set up in the back of the LRC, but the 16 research stations are strictly for research only.

Also, please, PLEASE, P-L-E-A-S-E note that the "wiki" site's URL is  
http://stephens101.wik.us  If you try the old address, you will have no luck. 
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I know everyone is thinking about the Research Paper.  

Remember that once you have a good idea of what you want to write about, you should start by going to Calhoun's library site.  It's actually very easy to use: http://lib.calhoun.edu/lib/

All the following links are on that page, but here they are here too

For ebooks go here: http://www.netlibrary.com/

Calhoun's Alabama Virtual Library (AVL) links are here:  http://lib.calhoun.edu/Lib/elecdata.html  (It would be a good idea to try to log on to the AVL at home - if you have any problems with your USERNAME and PASSWORD, let me know, and I'll do my best to help you.

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Don't forget to bring your "words".

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Bring A Writer's Reference.

Current Music: Philip Glass and Allen Ginsberg

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Bierce wrote a fantastic short story called "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge" that you can read here.

The story was also a famous Twilight Zone episode, which (like just about everything else) is on YouTube. If you've got about a half hour, you might want to watch it.  (The version I posted has been rescored by Jethro Tull, so it is not only good, it's quite trippy).


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I find it funny that whoever edited the Bierce for our book stopped at "G."  

If anyone is interested, the complete text of Ambrose Bierce's Devil's Definitions can be found on the Gutenberg project right here:
http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext97/dvldc10.txt 

Here are a few more definitions (that go past "G"):

JUSTICE, n.  A commodity which is a more or less adulterated condition the State sells to the citizen as a reward for his allegiance, taxes and personal service.

KINDNESS, n.  A brief preface to ten volumes of exaction.

LAWYER, n.  One skilled in circumvention of the law.

MARRIAGE, n.  The state or condition of a community consisting of a master, a mistress and two slaves, making in all, two.

ONCE, adv.  Enough.

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Current Music: Randy Newman

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