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October, 2013

  1. Penn State Class of 2014 Gift

    October 31, 2013 by Melissa Shallcross

    Many of us students at Penn State received several emails over the past few weeks asking for suggestions for what the Penn State Class of 2014 should give as their senior class gift. From October 14-18, seniors, classified as anybody graduating in May, August, or December of 2014, had their chance to vote from three out of over 150 suggestions that students, as well as faculty and staff, suggested. Chosen by the 2014 Senior Class Gift Committee as the top three were The Heritage Tree Endowment, a contribution to Penn State’s Center for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), and a donation to the HUB Green Roof Terrace. This information, and descriptions of each of these choices, are found here.

    The article I first found that discusses the result of the senior class voting can be found here. This article, written for the Daily Collegian, the local Penn State newspaper, has a strong opinion that the class’s decision did not live up to its potential. The winner of the vote was the donation to the HUB Green Roof Terrace. The author of this article is not explicitly named, but he supports his opinion throughout the article.


    HUB Green Roof Terrace
    “HUB Expansion’s Photos.” 6 May 2013. Web. 29 Oct. 2013.

    The author starts his use of rhetoric with the title, “Senior Class Gift Misses Chance to Leave a Legacy.” First, this title sounds confident, putting out his opinion loud and clear. By beginning with this strong, opinionated statement, he catches the attention of the readers, either because they are curious about to hear his opinion or because they disagree with it in some way. He then begins his article with an interesting line: “The sunlight in our eyes, streaming onto a beautiful rooftop terrace has blinded us to what is truly important — the well-being of our fellow students.” Besides being a creative sentence with an obvious message he builds ethos, showing that he’s a fellow student.

    CAPS Show You CARE

    CAPS Show You CARE
    “Show You Care.” Web. 29 Oct. 2013.

    Next, he utilizes logos as he asks the reader how much they have truly stopped to appreciate all the past senior class gifts that have contributed to the campus that most people seem to take for granted. He then supports his opinion about the gift, continuing his use of logos and some pathos, as he explains how much contributing to CAPS would have truly helped students who need the support instead of donating money to help the construction of the terrace, which he mentioned was already in the blueprint. So, instead of making a difference in the well-being of the students here, the class has donated that money toward “another place on campus to sit alone with headphones on and drown out your surroundings while you kill time before your next class.”

    Overall, through the effective use of rhetoric, this article represents civic engagement. The author uses his opinions and supporting examples to argue that the class of 2014 could have chosen a more beneficial gift for the Penn State community. By arguing this, he is effectively asking future classes not to do something similar, but to choose a more serviceable gift that will better help future Penn Staters for generations to come.



  2. Psych

    October 31, 2013 by Melissa Shallcross

    This one jumped up to my top ten on the first season…….

    #2 Psych


    Clark, Miss. “Psych (Or Find the Pineapple).” The Blue Castle., 26 Aug. 2009. Web. 31 Oct. 2013.

    Well, I feel like since the first episode, this show has been destined to become a classic. And I think anyone who has never heard of the show must not have a TV. It’s so hilarious! Just like how I described Monk and Castle, Psych is a comedic crime drama with a twist. Instead of having OCD or being an author, Shawn Spencer, played by James Roday, is a psychic. Ok, so he’s not really a psychic, but he fakes it. He can observe obscure details that most people miss because of the sort of every day training his father, an ex-cop, gave him as he grew up. So, after using his “psychic abilities” to help catch a murderer in a case with the Santa Barbara Police Department, Shawn decides to open up a consulting business called “Psych” with his best friend Burton Guster (Gus), played by Dule Hill.

    So, this show is just downright amusing at every level! Between the ridiculous mannerisms of both Shawn and Gus, the hilariously fitting references to classic literature and history in general, the way all the characters interact, and the plots of each episode, I can’t think of any show more amusing to so wide a variety of people. And now, they’re even coming out with Psych the Musical, a two-hour special episode in December where the characters actually sing and perform the episode as a musical. The trailer looks so funny! Check it out here!

    So, I think it’s pretty obvious that I love this show, so no wonder it’s ranked number two on my top ten! Any Psych-O’s out there?

  3. Robin Hood

    October 24, 2013 by Melissa Shallcross

    Let’s see what made it to the top 3!…….

    #3 Robin Hood

    TV Show Review: BBC’s Robin Hood Episode 1.1 “Will You Tolerate This?”

    “TV Show Review: BBC’s Robin Hood Episode 1.1 ‘Will You Tolerate This?'” The Warden’s Walk., 30 Jun. 2011. Web. 24 Oct. 2013.

    Now, out of all of my top 10 favorite shows, I would expect this one to be the most unheard of. Robin Hood is a BBC television series that only lasted 3 seasons, but I never understood why since it was so good!! Everybody knows the legend of Robin Hood. Well, in this series, it follows Robin and his “merry men” (as they are always called in the old tales), a band of outcasts, as they live in Sherwood Forest and help out the townspeople being oppressed by the Sheriff of Nottingham. As you can imagine, there’s tons of action, whether that’s Robin’s gang fighting their way out of a tricky situation in Nottingham or flashbacks of Robin fighting in the Holy Land, where he came back from after years of fighting alongside the King of England.

    There’s also the classic love story intertwined within the plot, mainly between Robin and Marian, the former sheriff’s daughter. The struggle they go through to hide their love from the current sheriff keeps the plot even more interesting. Not only does she love Robin, but she also lives in the castle and keeps him and his gang informed on the goings on in the castle.

    Between the action, love story, clever plots, and amusing characters in each episode, Robin Hood kept me addicted to Netflix for a whole summer! There’s just something about the story of Robin Hood that I’ve always loved, so finding this series years ago put me in heaven. I even got my friend addicted to it, and later on we crossed off “Watch the final episode of Robin Hood together” off our bucket list, which was a very sad day… It was easy to tell that they were trying to wrap up the series quickly, so the end wasn’t my favorite, but I won’t give that away!

    Is there a TV series that you discovered out of the blue and was relatively unknown but ended up loving?

  4. Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations

    October 18, 2013 by Melissa Shallcross

    Oh wow, only four left on the list!……

    #4 Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations

    Glick, Danielle. "Best Quotes from 'No Reservations' Crew with Anthony Bourdain at SXSW."

    Glick, Danielle. “Best Quotes from ‘No Reservations’ Crew with Anthony Bourdain at SXSW.” DGdesign. 13 Mar. 2012. Web. 18 Oct. 2013.

    I guess you can say that this show speaks to the travel bug in me! As a Travel Channel show, No Reservations goes a lot farther than just filming at the classic vacation destinations like Paris and Rome, etc. Anthony Bourdain, the host of the show, truly gets himself immersed in the culture of different places, from the food to traditions and recreation. The show plays out like a sort of journal; Bourdain logs everything with his video crew in some unique place every episode.

    From night life bar scenes to pig roasts, lobster bakes, and sushi bars, Bourdain either introduces to the audience some authentic or creative dish typical of the region he is in, or goes through a new experience as his guide around the area introduces him to something he’s never stumbled upon before. As I previously mentioned, this show isn’t just about food and travel. Bourdain navigates through the culture as he meets up with bands and old friends from past jobs and travels. And what makes the show even more interesting is when he and his film crew travel to countries a little more off the map. Many times, these places are military-occupied regions, which means viewers can get glimpses of the life you usually hear about in the news.

    But No Reservations is an overall entertaining show. It’s not necessarily family-oriented, but definitely entertaining in different aspects, from the host’s amusing and well-spoken narrations to the scenes of cities, surfing, dancing, eating, etc.. This show has definitely helped me add some places to my bucket list!

    Just to put No Reservations into perspective for those who have not seen it, here’s an episode description from the show’s website for the episode “Off the Charts”, a sort of “sampler” of the series: “In this special episode, Tony experiences a Haitian cemetery on the Day of the Dead, has a humorously horrific Halloween party in Transylvania with Zamir, and heads to Iraq covered in body armor, prepped for minefields & death.”

    So, if you’re looking for a unique show that will pique your interest in every corner of culture, you should definitely check out Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations! This show speaks to everyone from chefs to travel bugs and people looking for exciting new recreation, like when Bourdain went skiing indoors in Dubai! Can you classify yourself under any of these categories of watchers?

  5. Castle

    October 10, 2013 by Melissa Shallcross

    Half way through! And #5 is…………

    #5 Castle

    "Tricia Halloran, Castle Music Supervisor Blog."

    “Tricia Halloran, Castle Music Supervisor Blog.” ABC Music Lounge. 18 Jan. 2013. Web. 10 Oct. 2013.

    Castle is the most recent show that I’ve started watching that made it to my top ten, and relatively high at that! This ABC show is another comedic crime drama, much on the same terms as shows like The Mentalist and NCIS, where the main conflict, action, and plot to each episode is focused on solving some type of crime. In Castle’s case, these crimes are detective cases given to the New York Police Department (NYPD).

    Every crime show has some sort of difference that makes it unique and stand out among the rest, whether that be Patrick Jane’s ability to analyze people and behavior’s in The Mentalist or the unique setting of NCIS as it deals specifically with naval crimes. Castle‘s uniqueness revolves around Richard Castle’s profession of a murder mystery novelist who invests his time in the NYPD, donating his ability to think like a murderer.

    Castle is full of humor, from the occasional wacky crimes, the way Richard Castle acts around different people, and his home life with his daughter and mother. And what’s a TV show without a love interest? The way funny ways Castle acts on his feelings towards Kate Beckett, the NYPD detective he initially shadowed for inspiration for his books, is the main side-story throughout the seasons.

    I personally love this show because of the unique character of Castle, writing books and solving crimes. Who hasn’t wondered at the sanity of people who make up the story lines for horror books or crime shows? Castle puts a spin on that idea, though, as Castle saves lives with his somewhat twisted, criminal, and somewhat wacky thoughts.

    The side story with his daughter and mother at home is also one of my favorite parts of the show. Maybe it’s just because his daughter is around the same age, but I find her easy to relate to. Her normal life and reactions to her dad’s adventures makes the show much more believable than those that just leave out the main characters’ personal lives.

    And of course, the cases are always dramatic and keep your attention!

    So, even though I only discovered Castle about a year ago, it’s made it pretty high in my top ten!

    Are there any shows you’ve recently started watching that you would say would make your top ten?

  6. Ted Cruz

    October 4, 2013 by Melissa Shallcross

    Most likely, those of you who are taking some type of economics course or have read a national newspaper lately have heard something about the government shutdown that began this Tuesday, October 1st. A government shutdown involves temporarily stopping the funding and workings of all services deemed to be unnecessary, or “non-excepted”, until Congress passes a bill to help re-establish how to fund the government (Plumer).

    Beginning Tuesday, September 24th,  and going into Wednesday, Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas performed a 21 plus – hour filibuster-type appeal in the effort of gaining support against a proposed government spending bill that would continue funding for ObamaCare.

    I would like to state that I am not giving my opinion on these proceedings and about any political actions connected to the government shutdown or ObamaCare, I am merely analyzing the rhetorical devices Cruz used in his marathon speech.

    Saenz, Arlette. "Ted Cruz's Obamacare All-Nighter Ends After 21 Hours." 25 Sept. 2013. Web. 26 Sept. 2013.

    Saenz, Arlette. “Ted Cruz’s Obamacare All-Nighter Ends After 21 Hours.” 25 Sept. 2013. Web. 26 Sept. 2013.

    To begin, Cruz opened his speech stating the cause of his action: to rise up against    ObamaCare for people across the U.S. who are suffering from the effects of the    health care program. Here and throughout his whole speech, Cruz uses the appeal    of ethos. He is a man of position within the government, prompting respect from    many of his listeners. He also portrays the impression that he truly cares about the    American public, further prompting them and other officials to hear him out  because he comes across as a man with a good character who means well. He  further connects with the American people as he reads off tweets from people in  support of his effort, having utilized the hashtag #MakeDCListen.

    He then appeals to pathos, similarly, by stating that by performing his long speech, he hopes to portray the voice and reasoning of the American public who have been affected negatively by ObamaCare and persuade Congress against refunding the health care initiative. The audience, the American public especially, are able to connect with Cruz, as they see how determined and passionate he is on defending them even though he does not know them personally. As he states in the beginning of his speech, he intended to speak against the bill for as long as he could stand, very openly showing his passion and sacrifice he is willing to give to his effort.

    Cruz also uses logos within his speech, using examples to support his reasoning that ObamaCare is harming people and businesses around the country. One example he uses is the restaurant White Castle. He states statistics of White Castle’s decreasing rate of opening new locations each year because of ObamaCare. Facts like these help give evidence to support his argument and get his listeners to consider his, businesses’, and the general public’s view of the health care program.

    All in all, Cruz’s speech, although not a true filibuster as it did not delay the proceedings of the bill, was a symbolic speech that was encompassed by civic engagement. Cruz felt a civic responsibility to voice his, and many Americans’, opinions on the bill. He saw an issue that he felt needed to be addressed and brought it to more people’s attention in order to try to better his country. I believe he was successful at this. By performing one of the longest speeches on the Senate floor, he received attention for his cause not only from fellow Senators, but also from news reporters and fellow Americans, getting the chance to get his argument out into the world. It worked. His speech, full of everything from examples for fighting for his cause to reading bedtime stories to his daughters, worked its way to one of the top news stories on the web.

    I consider Cruz’s filibuster-type speech a good example of civic engagement. You can follow the link at the bottom of this post to see videos of his speech (pieces of course). Even though his speech did not delay the proceedings of the bill, do you think his filibuster-type speech directly impacted the government shutdown?

    Washington Post: “The Best of Ted Cruz’s Marathon Speech”

    Works Cited:

    Plumer, Brad. “Everything You Need to Know About How a Government Shutdown Works.” The Washington Post. 24 Sept. 2013. Web. 26 Sept. 2013.

  7. Mythbusters

    October 4, 2013 by Melissa Shallcross

    Here comes my nerdy side…………

    #6 Mythbusters


    “Denver Museum of Nature and Science.” Mythbusters: The Explosive Exhibition. Discovery Channel. Web. 04 Oct. 2013. 

    I’m pretty sure most people have at least heard of Mythbusters. It’s that Discovery Channel show where the hosts tend to blow things up in the name of science. Well, to be specific, they research tons of different myths, anywhere from slipping on banana peels to dropping coins off the empire state building and even rolling giant LEGO balls found on popular internet videos, then they test them to see if they would be confirmed or busted. Then, one of my personal favorite parts of the show, if they bust a myth, they go back and try to edit the procedure and materials in their own ways to try to replicate the result they were looking for.

    This is another long-running TV show that I’ve grown up with. It started back in 2003 and had its 10-year anniversary episode earlier this year. As a little kid, I never quite understood all of the scientific aspects of the show, and I honestly don’t understand them all now either! I remember episodes where Adam and Jamie, two of the hosts, did things like trying to break the surface of the water with a hammer before someone plummeted into it to decrease the force of impact. They’d explain what they predicted, how they made those predictions, and why. A lot of scientific jargon for a little kid. However, the show always had, and still has, a humorous touch in it that kept me from getting too bored or confused. Silly animations and the funny interactions between Adam and Jamie, and themed episodes like the Christmas and pirates specials, were all always entertaining to me. So, as I got older and the scientific information started making more sense, I really began to appreciate and engage in the show more.

    Nowadays, with more experience in science and design, I’m able to enjoy the show so much more. I’m always so interested in what the end result will turn out to be in the experiments and I better understand the process they use to research and design their tests. Plus, it’s always really entertaining to see the hosts get really involved in the myths and competitions between each other!

    I know there’s a brand new zombie special with a character from The Walking Dead in it in case any of you are fans of that show!

    Have you ever seen Mythbusters or can think of a myth they should test out on their show?

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