On the humanities, espresso and prairie dogs

Rabbit Hole

A couple questions I had before going down this “Rabbit Hole.”

  • Can a human really fit into a rabbit hole? How big does this bunny have to be?
  • Why would you choose to climb down? What’s wrong with getting a drill to find whatever is at the bottom?
  • Why does it have to be a rabbit? Why can’t we chase after a groundhog? Or a prairie dog? Let’s chase after one of those.

Anyway. I went through with the exercise after looking up rabbit holes and began by diving into the humanities portion. I figured it would be most similar to the work in communication studies or journalism, but it’s also because I had no interest in the other topics.

The humanities are broad and they provide a great deal of opportunities for research. Which is why now feels like a great time to get some of these clichés out of the way before I continue.

  • Boy, there sure are a lot of resources at the library.
  • My mind is opened up to new areas.
  • I’m disappointed I didn’t use this more.

I took humanities path, scrolled down until I saw the Espresso Book Machine. It’s completely unrelated, but I enjoy books and coffee so I had to check it out. Unfortunately, it doesn’t make coffee. But it does create books to read in print, which is pretty sweet. But surely there must be an explanation for why it’s named after Espresso. So I followed a link to an article from Independent Publisher on the machine. The article says it gets its name from EspressNet, which was a bit of a letdown as I searched for the name. But I did find a quote, likening the machine to an Espresso, so I was satisfied.

“The machine is a high speed printer with a finishing unit that prints, trims, and binds a book in minutes. It truly operates like an espresso: producing quantities of one at a very low cost and with almost no human intermediary.”

I didn’t really come away any more confident about my subject idea or where I’ll head with this capstone project. Which is why I decided to look up Prairie dogs.

LIVE BLOG: Writing 220 on 4/16; Raymond’s Section

Live Blogging today’s class taught by Raymond. Hopefully, this doesn’t backfire. (Ray, if you’re reading, I count this as a blog post with merit.)

Ray walks in with a pencil today to sign off on the laptop cart. One day, however, he will celebrate when he only needs his Iphone to sign documents.

He first informs us that we are all ahead of the curve, and in (typical?) fashion, he takes credit for it. I suspect that this live blog could send mine downhill.

The class begins with another uncommon question: “You no longer have your name. What name do you now go by?”

Best responses inclue Christine’s response “Paige”, Andrew’s response “Cornelius”, and Benji’s “Pablo” because he apparently has ties to his fictional video game character Pablo Sanchez.Interesting to note that Carly wanted to be named Ryan, but couldn’t pull it off “because I’m not blonde). Raymond states that he would like to be named “Doctor”. imagine children with the names — Doctor McDaniel — “Doctor McDaniel, please report to the main office.”

He then asks if our parents have “vintage” names. What does a vintage name entail? Worth noting my dad’s name is Raymond and he’s close to 60. Does this mean that Ray is vintage?

Quick note: Matt points out that he saw Nikki with 30 other kids. Neither I, nor Sean, have any idea why, but it sounds like it’s going downhill. Raymond even put out his hands and yelled “STOP!” Weirdest tangent we may have ever been on.

As we check CTools, Raymond declares that one quarter of all mammals are bats. Quote “That is fantastic! Batacular!” He’s correct http://www.endangeredspecieshandbook.org/projects_bats.php

Worth sharing that Raymond has a Twitter @RaymondMdDaniel. It’s been four days since his last tweet, but if you catch him on a day when he’s active, your feed will blow up. Highlights include his rant on Chia Pig.

We’ve been discussing grades while I blog. We are all doing alright, actually. Elizabeth asks about submitting our expected grades in the drop box. Raymond says that he would rather we write our grades on a sheet of paper, fold it into and origami crane and send it down the river to the “Gods of Grading.”

EVERYBODY: Raymond is teaching a digital magazine course next winter. DON’T TAKE IT SO I CAN GET IN IT.

Fun fact about the class: everyone has their computer up and on. A quick scan shows that most of us are on CTOOLS in fact. We’re like angels.

I’ve used the colon quite a bit. Anyone have thoughts on whether the colon should be used more or less?


Raymond goes off on a tangent. He visited Ann Arbor Greenhills The students are “Creepy” because they smile at him. My thought is that he left us all for middle schoolers. I thought that I was supposed to be cooler as I got older. Where can I buy coolness at?

The long speculated Class Triumvirate does in fact exist. Matt, Paige and Melania. Apparently, they don’t want to switch peer review groups because we are all beneath them I guess. Raymond has been able to break it up, though. So that would make him the reincarnation of Caesar, who rules over the current Roman Empire? I’m so confused. I need a history lesson.

OH NO. The smell of a skunk has intruded the room and it’s just miserable. Why in North Quad of all places? It’s already taken a hit from the flood? But we persevere.

Apparently God gave Michigan the Skunk when assigning animals to the states. I’m not sure that makes any sense because God is mentioned in the 1500’s but the United States was founded in the 1700’s. But don’t kill his vibe. He’s already killing us. Here’s Kendrick’s version if you thought of it when you read that.

Momentary break at 12:26. This is when we all finally open Facebook? Quick, when was the last time someone posted a status update on Facebook before Twitter in this class. I think I did once in February 2012. #Technology

By the way, what’s the appeal to putting stickers on your computer?

He’s finally assigned us new groups. The Triumvirate was in fact destroyed. Waiting for the new Triumvirate to take over. My bets are that Maat, Paige and Melania form their own triumvirates.

Predicted Charts:










He’s left the room now for 5 minutes. He was serious about leaving us?

There is talk of a party on the final day of class. I hear there might be Subs. CRAZY! (that’s a reference to Michigan basketball coach John Beilein). I hope there is

The merciful Raymond is back, now. There are 15 minutes left.

Ugh. I can’t get into my English course because Christine took it. I’ll live, I suppose.

Now we’re talking about Ray’s Rate My Professor. He’s been called a “Genius” and others say that “Everyone should take a class with him just to experience how amazing he is.” Speculation is already flowing that he wrote these himself. He notes that he wouldn’t, though. He did mention that he would give himself a rd chili pepper for hotness.

I’m wrapping up the blog. I’m still not sure how the question at the beginning relates. Thanks for reading all the way to the end.

The American News Media is at its strongest. Is that good news?


Quick question: have you ever heard something similar to “The News industry is dying,” “There’s no money in writing” or any of the ramblings from this guy on his blog? (Try saying the first two in a voice like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NelBNtNm8l0).

Well, it’s wrong.

Despite the Pew Research Center’s State of the Media report released recently, news production and distribution is at an all-time high. The report, which indicates that the number of news reporting resources is eroding since its peak in 2000, notes that these industries have reached an all-time low in full-time reporters that hasn’t been seen since 1978. This information, the “stuff” that people are referencing when they say that a career in news reporting isn’t going to be optimal, has been reported heavily since the recession of 2008.

But as Slate.com’s article suggests, the report doesn’t stress the growing number of resources producing information. While it’s true there are fewer paid reporters since the late 20th century, there has never been a time with more information being produced. I don’t need to badger you about how easy it is to record something, post it on a website and Tweet about it to anyone who wants to read it. Hell, I don’t even have to leave my couch to purchase information, when I can sit on a computer reading an article from the New York Times on the Supreme Court’s decision on Proposal 8 while watching coverage of it on CNN at the same time. The rise of blogging and YouTube into profitable businesses means that anyone can be paid for distributing the news now.

Yet if that’s the case, why isn’t the industry as profitable? Well, consider the way these resources make money.

As is the case for both print and online mediums, money from advertisers is the primary method for funding. Some have a subscriber base (most notably print magazines ro newspapers), but the bulk are those annoying advertisements on the side of your screen. But before an advertiser throws money as these resources, they first consider how big of an audience they will reach — who is reading the news on this website regularly?

There are so many places to get your news that its nearly saturating the market for it. Granted, there are plenty of advertisers willing to shell out the dough, but they can’t all keep up. News resources must continue to push for new readers to draw in these advertisers, stand out to attract these new readers and advertise their own product, otherwise they’re working for next to nothing.

Furthermore, this forces many sources to specify their audiences, rather than diversifying it and reporting for a large body of people. Interested in the latest news on European Urology? Apparently there’s a magazine for that. Now, we risk making large profits for the off chance someone wants to read our product.

Media industries have always adapted. Newspapers survived the rise of radio, and radio survived the rise of TV, and TV is surviving the rise of the internet. So no, the news content is not dying, but quite the contrary, it’s thriving. And no, not all news companies are losing money, there are still plenty of them willing to pay for advertising — check something as small as The Daily and see for yourself.

There are still plenty of companies profiting off of the news and the people who dedicate their lives to it (Journalists, like myself, rejoice).

The problem is that there are just so many of us.

Insert wince here

I wrote the following paragraph for a Literary Studies class that I soon dropped afterwards. After this paragraph, I clearly made the the right decisin. It’s repetitive, short and confusing. The idea was to explain why Literary Studies are important and what value they have as an introductory paper into the course. However, my computer notes that I saved the document at 2:13 so that may attribute to its painful layout.

-Literature’s value is much like history’s, though, in that it captures what happened or writes down ideas and thoughts from a time period. When we study literature, we uncover more about beliefs from a certain time period, or what was common. The value far outweighs the purpose, though, as studying literature can open up new thoughts on topics we ignored. I believe literature serves the purpose to keep our perspectives open when we think of science or of politics, for example. Although, I believe expanding one’s belief system is the main purpose for which literary studies are useful to the public, I recognize that the goal of classes is to analyze texts. For example, we may have disregarded what psychological effects battling cancer has on someone, but reading text from a survivor allows us to help others differently that do have the disease. Literature studies do not aim to help those fighting cancer, but it is valuable enough to do so.


The best blog comes from the best paper

It almost seems unfair to post a blog from the New York Times, but I am according to this list of notable wordpress users. Wordpress not only powers the New York Times, but also giants like CNN and Forbes.

So here is the New York Times blog “The Quad”, dedicated to all things related to college athletics from some of the strongest writers journalism has to offer.

It’s clean and easy to follow, with content on the left side of the screen, links to the rest of the website at the top (without redundancy). It has a simple black and white format with a font that resembles that of it’s print edition. It is updated regularly, includes pictures with its concise writing, has an archive and links to its other sports blogs and Twitter updates from its writers.

The downfall may be the advertisements found on the right hand side, however given its industry I’m willing to let it slide.

“Ghost Tweeting” might just be all the rage for writers

Ever wondered, “Gee, I wish I could Tweet for a living,” as you daydream in Raymond’s class? Better question, have you used the word “Gee” since the 1990’s?

Well, consider this. As companies grow their brand into new media they need someone in charge to represent them on spaces like Twitter. With only 140 characters, one person is responsible for promoting contests and events, reaching customers, increasing exposure and representing the image and mission of a company can be difficult and requires conciseness. Furthermore, it requires someone to represent the faces of up to hundreds of employees in limited space.

Perhaps you have a Twitter and follow President Obama, Oprah or Justin Timberlake. They too also have someone tweeting for them.

If you’re curious as to who runs these pages, I would direct you towards this page, which has forty of world’s biggest companies and the people that run their Twitter.

Now, Ghost Tweeting or working as a Twitter Butler have taken professional writing to a new level.

Now, emerging writers  like us can act as the voice for someone else through social media for a living. The reality is that constructing an organized thought still takes time an energy that some celebrities may not have or companies may have allocated elsewhere. But how do you write in someone else’s voice?

Whoever is in charge of the Los Angeles Kings (NHL team in L.A.!?!?) twitter page  made a name for him or herself over the summer when they made their Stanley Cup run. Now they maintain a voice as one of the ost humorous pages in the professional sports world.

And how much schooling is required to become a “Twitter Butler” in the first place? What constitues a strong Tweet?

The “Higher Education Bubble” isn’t the fun type of bubble, is it?

The first, and most informative piece of writing on the higher education bubble is actually a blog. Although it provides some extraneous details, the article does explain why it is referred to as a “bubble” and not something else.


The second article, directed to students, is done by the Harvard Crimson with heavy emphasis on student experiences. It lacks some of the basic information we might want, but it does have a student-directed feel to it. Using perspectives of students and using their voices to tell the story helps me identify with the piece because it feels more direct than other pieces.


But regardless of which one you may read, the overarching idea is that students like us are in a very delicate spot to be on the wrong end of this bubble.


This bio will impress you

Greg Garno, seated on top of the horse, rides away form the massive crowds following him.

GROWING INTO THE SPOTLIGHT: The inconceivable rise of Greg Garno
By Gregory Garno

ANN ARBOR — Inside the 420 Maynard building, home of the student publications the tables are filled with papers, books, laptops and a broken hockey stick. There sits a young man, somewhere near the middle, with his head buried in the bright lights from a Macbook air.

Hunched over, a pen resting on his ear, it’s difficult to notice the glow that rises off of the skinny, sophomore writer originally from Adrian, MI. His presence couldn’t be any bigger, though.

Born in the golden age of 1992, the communication studies major has been on the rise in fame ever since his birth. Raised in the home tucked away in the farm land of Lenawee County, Greg worked tirelessly at consuming sports television, spending endless hours glued to Sportscenter, or sneaking down to the basement to watch the last half of a unimportant game.

“He was a real pain in the ass,” said Greg’s dad and promoter of newspapers, Raymond. “All I wanted was a kid who would be easy to handle. Instead I was stuck with this angel, who’s greatness was too much.”

Added his mother and the most superior cook, Grace: “If he was so great, why does it feel like he is still mooching off of us today. I swear if the twerp (the first use of the word since 1987) doesn’t make me money I’m going to punish him with more mindless hours of HGTV.”

Greg’s sports career began with the ass-whoopings delivered to his younger sister, who unenthusiastically played along at his persistence. From soccer to basketball the possibilities seemed endless — that is until football, in which Greg had no strength to tackle another 12-year old boy.

Greg developed a love for running near the end of middle school, deciding that distance running actually had some joy to it. The 135 lb. frame of skin and bone soon became successful in the sport, running year round to train for the Olympics.

“I figured the Olympics would take away from sitting on the lake in summer,” Garno said of his decision to tone down his tremendous talent. “You ever been to the lake? It’s not really special or sensational, it just feels good when the temperature is over 100 degrees.”

After finishing his senior year, Garno took his talents and love of athletics to the University of Michigan, choosing not to further his competitive running career. It was in January 2012 when he opted to swing by The Michigan Daily, deciding to write about the sports he read about day after day.

Garno quickly rose in the ranks, where he was chosen as a softball beat member. Greg’s love of Taylor Swift was also a hit at The Daily, one of the few places where tone-deaf men serenade the musician that wrote “I Knew You Were Trouble.”

“She’s terrible live, and honestly I still love Carly Rae Jepsen,” Garno said. “Actually, I would say the Backstreet Boys are still better, but she’s got catchy stuff.”

Greg didn’t slow down, taking an opportunity to write for his hometown paper The Daily Telegram in the sports section during the summer. It was after his summer, trapped writing about high school sports and a NASCAR race, that Greg returned to cover both the volleyball and women’s basketball teams for The Daily.

“I wouldn’t say he was the hero The Daily needed,” Batman said. “But he is definitely the one it deserves.”

“He loves cats a lot, which is cool cause I have eight,” said Managing Sports Editor of the Michigan Daily, Zach Helfand. “Sometimes I’ll catch him licking his hands and it makes me smile.”

Now a hockey beat writer, sacrificing his weekends to cover a losing team and an assistant sports editor, Greg continues his pursuit of a career in sports journalism where he undoubtedly will not make as much money had he just stuck with the Olympics plan.

The War on Men? Untrustworthy writing from Fox News


When I first read this article, I think I was more confused before I felt it was untrustworthy. Suzanne Veneker, the author and a female, questions whether femininity has been too effective and now emasculates men. I find this piece untrustworthy, not because I doubt she is explaining what she actually feels, nor because I doubt her character is questionable after writing this piece. No, I don’t trust it because her evidence to support her claim is lacking. It is my belief that an article is not trustworthy if it does not support its claim with sufficient evidence, and using a few questions from a personal study, and her experience as an author hardly passes as a competent study in my opinion.