Friday, April 30, 2010

NCCA Football: BCS vs. Playoff system

One topic that has generated a lot of discussion lately is over the current college football championship system. Some people believe that the current way (BCS) is the best way to decide a national champ. However, many people also think that there should be a playoff system, similar to the NFL.

In the article A College Football Playoff that Works, Chris Suellentrop argues in favor of a new playoff system. He argues that fans, coaches, and the media are demanding a new playoff system. He proposes an 8 team playoff that would consist of the champion of each of the 6 major conferences in college football as well as two at-large teams from mid-majors. He goes on to say that the basis of this playoff is that if you aren't good enough to win your conference you can't win a national championship.

On the opposite side of the argument, in an article titled BCS Chief: A College Football Playoff Would Increase Problems, the author, Bill Hancock, argues against a change to a playoff system. Hancock argues that the current BCS system has given smaller schools a chance to play in big-time bowl games. He uses the example of the TCU football team from last season to prove this point. He also argues that the BCS system is too good of a way to make a large amount of money that helps the NCAA and each individual school.

Bill Hancock's article against implementing a playoff was the more convincing argument. This is because he used quotes and opinions from current coaches to back up his views. Whereas, Suellentrop did not use any evidence or quotations from experts to back up his argument.

After reading these articles my opinion has not changed about this topic. I still believe that a new playoff system needs to be put into place. I believe this solely for entertainment purposes. It happens too many times that the BCS games are complete blowouts. These games are supposed to be the best of the best playing each other. Instead, it often times turns into a very lopsided game that is not fun to watch.

Peer Response to Daniel's Post on Drinking Age

In Daniel Lester's blog, he talks about the debated topic of the drinking age in Australia. Many people believe that the drinking age should be raised from 18-21 in Australia in order to help limit alcohol abuse and drinking related problems in Australia.

Daniel uses to two different articles to represent both sides of this argument. In his first article, the author is in favor or raising the drinking age. Daniel discusses how the author thinks that the government should raise the price of alcohol as well as the legal drinking age in order to stop violence due to alcohol.

In the next article that he used, the author was opposed raising the drinking age. The author claims that the drinking age should remain at 18 and he uses ethical evidence to back up this claim. One main argument that is used is that if one can serve and fight for their country in the armed forces, then they should be able to drink alcohol if they want to.

Daniel thinks that the first article, by Bibby, in favor of raising the drinking age was the most convincing. I agree with Daniel's opinion on the articles. Bibby's article used much better facts and research evidence than the second article by Terri. Terri uses an ethical appeal and not much evidence to back up his claims.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Peer Response: Darius' "fake" vs. "real" peaches

In Darius' blog, he talks about how when he was younger his mom used to bring home fresh peaches from the market. But, since he is now living on his own, he has switched to "fake," or canned peaches. He compares the two types of peaches to each other. Darius says that the canned peaches have a sweeter taste than the fresh peaches his mother brought home. He compares the scents of the two types and concludes that they smell very similar. Darius goes on to say that the canned peaches have a much slimier texture than the fuzzy skin of a fresh peach. The main difference between the two forms is that the canned peaches have much less nutritional value than a real, fresh peach. This means that real peaches are healthier for people. Darius believes that the canned peaches are more consistently sweeter than real peaches. This is due to the corn syrup and added sugars that also contribute the the canned peaches being less healthy than fresh ones.

I agree with Darius' comparisons to canned versus fresh peaches. Canned peaches are more convenient and easier to find than good, fresh peaches. But, like many other processed foods, they are not as healthy. Darius does an excellent job of explaining why he eats canned peaches more, and he does a great job comparing the two products as well. Darius linked to a cite that explains that canned fruits are not nearly as healthy as fresh fruits. This article further compares "real" and "fake" foods.

"Real" Potatoes vs. "Fake" Potatoes

One food that I frequently now eat in its "fake" form is mashed potatoes. This is a very easy food to make in its fake form compared to its real form. For the most part, all you have to do is add a few ingredients and heat it up. This fake version is a pretty close substitute for the real thing. The food looks very similar. That is, white, fluffy, and soft. The taste and smell are also very comparable to the real thing. The fake food does not provide any extra nutritional benefits. However, it is a very close equivalent in nutritional value to the real foods. This can be rare for packaged and processed foods, but potatoes are an exception to some extent. The fake version claims to be better than real potatoes because it is much easier and quicker to prepare than going through the whole process of making real mashed potatoes.

I switched to the fake version when I started cooking in college. I did this because it is much more convenient and easier than making real mashed potatoes. Instead of peeling the potatoes, then boiling them, then mashing them all together, and adding milk, butter, etc..., just heating and adding a few ingredients is much easier. I do believe that I will return to eating the real food in the near future. This is because there is no replacing good, "real" mashed potatoes. I would like to go back to the real version eventually.

In Sandy Swarc's blog she writes about processed foods and how they are not real. She says that they are manufactured version of food and lack essential nutritional benefits that real foods contain. She compares food processing procedures from the past to what we now know as "food processing" which contains chemicals and other unhealthy things.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Self-Evaluation of Demo Speech

When I reviewed my Demonstration speech I found a number of things I did well, and many things that I need to work on. First, I felt that I did a good job of explaining the relevance of ironing a shirt. It is important for adults to dress nicely and look good for interviews etc.... Next, I did a good job of explaining the steps at the beginning of the speech. However, I did not go over the steps again at the end of the speech to wrap it up. That would have helped people remember the process.

The physical aspect of the presentation is also very important. Looking at the video, I could have had more energy and enthusiasm, even though I was ironing a shirt. That would help me deliver a better overall speech. As far as volume and visibilty go, I feel that I did a good job in that area. I spoke loudly and was visibile to everyone in the room. My eye contact at times was very good, but at other time when i was demonstrating, I kept my head down for long periods of time. That needs to be improved. My body language seemed to be good and confident. Lastly, I feel that I did a good job actually demonstrating the task to my audience. I walked through each step and showed how to do it.

I feel that my visual aid was my strength. I used an iron, ironing board, and a wrinkled shirt. This really helped me clearly demonstrate how to iron a shirt. I was able to perform the task while people watched me. This really helped me keep their attention. It was a very effective use of a visual aid.

All in all, I feel that I chose a good topic to demonstrate. I would make changes in my speech, but not major changes to the structure or delivery. I would just improve my speaking and presenting skills.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Tiger's Gatorade Endorsement

Prior to any claims about an affair, Tiger Woods was one of the most decorated athletes in the world. He has made millions in endorsements from many different companies. He even has his own line of Gatorade, the most popular sports drink in the world. Tiger endorses Gatorade's line called "Tiger." This product says it is made for athletes that word hard and need to focus. Here is a picture of one of the ads.

Since Tiger is among the world's best and most successful athletes gatorade jumped at the chance to use him to endorse their product and even make a product with his face on it. This makes sense because he has proven that he is an example of a hard working athlete. This gives him perfect credentials to endorse their products that are targeted towards people like Tiger. This was an excellent choice for gatorade. However, the product itself did not do as well as Gatorade had hoped it would. But, Tiger Woods benefited greatly from this endorsement. That is until his recent scandal when Gatorade dropped him from the campaign. So, all in all this was not a successful endorsement by either parties.

This article from 2007 discusses some of the details of the deal with Gatorade. Tiger benefited greatly in terms of money from this deal. This article says that he was also considering Vitamin Water at the time the deal was made. Gatorade was just another brand on Tiger's long list of sponsors.

Peer Response 2: Tom Butusov

In Tom's blog he talks about how Ozzy Osbourne endorses a product. The product that Ozzy endorses seems to be very surprising to Tom. He says that he expected Ozzy to endorse a dark, satanic, or crude product. However, the product turns out to be I Can't Believe It's Not Butter. Tom found this endorsement, that aired in the UK in 2006, to be funny and entertaining, although it was not what he expected. Tom linked to another opinion of this commercial. This person agrees with Tom's view and says the commercials are funny and brilliant.

After watching the commercial I also agree. There is an Ozzy impersonator and Ozzy himself. This is clearly made to show the comparison of Butter to I Can't Believe It's Not Butter and to other butter spreads. Ozzy is always a funny, entertaining, and weird person. This ad campaign was very creative and useful.

Tom does a good job of picking a creative and funny ad. This is not a mainstream ad, at least in the US. I agree with Tom that it is unexpected and funny.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Response to Pat's Real vs. Fake Food

In Pat's post , he compares good, homemade beef jerky with the stuff that he now has to settle for at Carson's. First of all, I definitely agree with him on his opinion of beef jerky. It is a simple food that can serve many purposes. It is healthy, convenient, readily available, and very tast. My mom and I used to make it when i was younger and it was delicious. Recently, I was ice fishing in Madison and my friend's dad had picked up 2 pounds of fresh, real beef jerky from a butcher in Chicago. The stuff that is found in the stores around here does not even compare.

However, beef jerky is not the only food that can be made in a fake version. Unfortunately, almost any type of food these days can be made in a cheaper, more convenient processed version. This can be a good thing, but it can also be bad for our society. Processed foods are stripped of their nutrients and other nutritional value. Hopefully, this trend in American eating will start to change back to real, nutritious food. And, hopefully Pat will be able to find his source of good, cheap, and real beef jerky.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Planning a Good, Healthy Meal to Savor

The meal that I have chosen to plan is a very simple and easy meal that is also healthy. This meal is pasta with a red sauce, steamed green beans, and chicken breast. The first step is to go shopping for all the ingredients. First, we are going to need pasta. Any kind of pasta will do really, but lets say thin spaghetti for this meal. A half pound should be enough for two people. Choose your favorite red sauce to go on the pasta. The next thing is the side dish. For this we simply need fresh green beans. And finally, we will need fresh boneless, skinless chicken breast.

The preparation for this meal begins with marinading the chicken breast. Again, this is preference. I personally prefer a garlic herb marinade. The first thing you need to do is take your chicken breast and stab it with a fork on both sides, this helps tenderize the meat. Then you simply put the chicken breast(s) in a gallon ziplock bag and pour in the desired amount of marinade, enough to cover the chicken should be used. Shake the bag so that the chicken is covered all over. This should be done a minimum of one hour before cooking, the longer the better. Be sure to wash your hands after dealing with raw chicken.

After the chicken has marinated it is time to start the whole meal. Begin by boiling some water for the pasta. Put a little olive oil in the water to prevent the noodles from sticking. Once the water begins to boil, break the noodles in half and put the desired amount into the pot. Stir occasionally. Try a noodle when you think they may be finished to see if they are soft enough. Once they are to your liking, strain the water out and let sit for a couple minutes.

For the sauce, unless you are making it from scratch, all we need to do is put it in a pot and heat is up.

Meanwhile, while the water is waiting to boil, we need to clean the green beans. Rinse them with water and crack off the stems at the top (optional). Place the green beans in a pot and add some water, olive oil, minced garlic, and whatever spices you prefer. Turn to medium and cover. The only way to know when they are done is to taste one and see.

If you are cooking your chicken on the grill, the only real way to cook a fresh piece of meat, then you will need to heat up the grill. Once the grill is hot, place the marinaded chicken on the grill. Wash your hands if you touched the chicken. Chicken does not take too long to cook so be careful not to over cook it or it will become dry and rubbery. After about 5-6 minutes flip the chicken breasts. Return to the grill and cut open one chicken breast to see if it is done. The middle should be white, but still juicy. If there is any pink in the middle it needs to cook longer. Be sure to cook all the way through because bacteria from raw chicken will make you sick. Once they are finished remove and turn the grill off.

The meal is now finished and ready to eat. Each one of these steps is done simultaneously for the most part. This is the hardest part of cooking. It is important the get the timing right on all aspects or you may be waiting on one thing to finish and the food can get cold. Enjoy they meal!

After eating comes the worst part of cooking: doing the dishes and cleaning up. Wash all pots, pans, plates, and utensils used during cooking and eating. Be sure to sanitize all areas the chicken came in contact with.

After eating this meal I feel content. This is a well rounded meal that fills you up, but does not make you feel like you over-ate. It reminds me of Sunday dinners growing up. The smells and the fresh food that came from our kitchen when my mom used to cook are always refreshing.

In the book In Defense of Food, Michael Pollen argues that American eating has become scientific. He says that Americans always want to eat and run, instead of dine and savor. I agree with his claims. I know in my own experience that I am always on the go and have a million things going on in my life. This makes it very easy to want to get a quick meal and get on with life. However, that is not always the healthiest. Eating on the go usually leads to unhealthy processed foods that have been stripped of their nutrients and other nutritional value. But, it is very hard to find time every day/night to make a fresh meal like previously described. However, Pollen is right. We need to find time to eat "real"food. This meal that I previously described proves this. I felt much better, both mentally and physically, after cooking this meal for myself than when I get fast-food or make something from the freezer.

Sandy Szwarc agrees with Pollen. She says that processed foods are bad for us and need to be removed from school cafeterias. Szwarc is right on when she says that they are fake foods that are made in factories. This article relates to Pollen's arguments about eating on the go because that usually means resorting to some form of processed food. I agree with both Pollen and Szwarc that we need to find an alternative to eating processed foods when we are rushed for a good, quick meal.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

In Defense of Pollan

In the first part of Pollan’s book In Defense of Food, he begins to develop many arguments against our current diet and the way American’s view food. One of his core arguments is that for humans food is more than eating. He contrasts human consumption of food to that of animals. He says that animals merely “feed” while humans eat. Pollan remises about his childhood and how haw family would bond around food. I agree strongly with Pollan’s argument here. For humans, food can be pleasurable; such as tasting good or the enjoyment one gets from cooking, among many other things. It can also be part of identity. Pollan talks about culture and how food has a lot to do with the identity of different cultures. Food is almost as big a part of culture as anything else. Finally, food and eating is social. It is what brings so many families together at holidays, or old friends who want to catch up. It is what unites people. Think of all the joy that you have experienced over Thanksgiving or Christmas. A lot of that joy probably centers around cocktails and appetizers, followed by a great meal with the ones you love.

Pollan also argues that the Americans are becoming increasingly worried about nutrition, but are mysteriously becoming more and more unhealthy. He believes that nutrients are not the same as food. Pollan goes as far as calling this concern “orthorexia,” and saying it is a disease. I agree with Pollan again on this topic. If people were to just eat whole fresh foods in moderation we would all be healthier. However, I have two things to add to this argument. First, is that exercise also plays a huge role in health and obesity. There will some “wiggle room” in your diet if you work out daily as recommended. Also, it is not always easy to eat fresh foods when we are so busy; especially for college students who may or may not have access to a kitchen. The Hunt For Healthy Food is often very difficult for people in this day and age.

Friday, February 5, 2010

New Followings

I am now following an English Premier League Blog since I am a big soccer fan. Here is the link . I am also following an organic food blog.