Marcus's Mumblings

My Not so Quiet Opinions on the News

Category: Uncategorized (page 2 of 2)

Chapter 3: What’s Your Problem?

I have faced barriers before. I started doing individual speech events my freshman year of high school. Many of my friends were able to win at the district level and move on to state, but I struggled to get close to going. I tried and tried, but was unable to get the rating I needed to move on.

I got so frustrated that I wanted to quit, but I just kept going. My sophomore year I ended up messing up my performance. I had to much written down to get it read in the amount of time given. With thirty seconds left, I had five paragraphs to read, and I had to make last a last minute edit. I finished just as the timer went off, and bowed by head. Afterwards I felt like I could get it, but again, fell just short of the rating I needed.

Junior year I went to a classic author, instead of a newer one, and chose to preform Edgar Allen Poe’s The Sphinx. The Wednesday before districts we went to our conference tournament. I preformed extremely well, and won the category. I just knew after that that I would get it that year. We went to districts and I again preformed well, but again, fell just short of going to state. I was devastated. I’d worked so hard to get there, and it just slipped through my fingers once more.

Finally, in my senior year, I decided that no matter what, I was going to go to state. I practiced much longer than anyone else did, and started before I even needed to. We hosted conference tournament that year, and I ended up getting third in the category, so I became a little wary. But all of the hours of hard work that I put in paid off, because at districts, I blew the judge away with my performance. And you know what? I finally got to go to state competition.

Chapter 2: The Three Hardest Words

I was in tenth grade when my world history teacher asked the class a question. We were going over the Roman Empire, which I liked studying about, so I knew the answer. The question was, “What did the Roman motto SPQR stand for?” A few people made guesses that were wrong, and after that it got quiet. After a minute or two I realized that we weren’t moving on until someone answered the question correctly, and that I was the only one who knew what the answer was. So I raised my hand, and the teacher asked me if I knew what it was. I told him, “SPQR was Latin for Senatus Populusque Romanus, and it meant The Senate and People of Rome.” He said that I was correct, and then we went on with class.

I remember my classmates just looking at me and I swore I could hear them all thinking the same two things. First, “How did he know that?” And, “Of course he would know that.” At first I felt embarrassed because I had shown everyone up, including the other two of the three smartest people in class. But then I realized I had nothing to be embarrassed about. I had answered the question correctly, and helped get the class going smoothly once again so that we could continue to learn. Thinking back on it, I realize that what I did was the right thing, because we needed to hurry the class up so that we could get through the subject and work on the next topic.

Blog #5: Practice Argument

Greed. What is greed? According to the New Oxford English Dictionary, “Greed is the intense desire for something, especially wealth, power, or food.” Greed is also one of the seven deadly sins.

Greed is a major problem in today’s world. It is visible in many places, like in the home, at work, in the government, in the banking system, and in the big corporations that make up much of our economy. I’m going to talk about how greed is prevalent in the big corporations though.

According to the Fortune 500 Company, in 1965, Eaton Corporation was ranked 111th in the nation for highest profit, with 559.4 million dollars in revenue, and 32.3 million dollars in profit. Coca-Cola was ranked 68th, with 833.6 million dollars in revenue, and 65.3 million dollars in profit. General motors was ranked 1st, with 16.997 billion dollars in revenue, and 1.7348 billion dollars in profit.  Also according to the Fortune 500 Company, in 2005 Eaton Corporation was ranked 227th, but had 9.817 billion dollars in revenue, and a profit of 648 million dollars. Coca-Cola was ranked 92nd, with 21.886 billion dollars in revenue, and 4.847 billion dollars in profit. And General Motors was ranked 3rd, with 193.517 billion dollars in revenue, and 2.805 billion dollars in profit.

You may be saying, “But they all dropped in rank. If they were greedy they all would have climbed, right?” Well, that is true. But you also have to look at how much money they were making in 2005 compared to what they were making in 1965. Eaton increased revenue by seventeen times, and profit by twenty times. Coca-Cola increased revenue by twenty-six times, and profit by seventy-four times. And General Motors increased revenue by eleven times, and doubled profit.

Based on this, you’d think that working men and women would be able to make a decent wage to live off of right? Well you’d be wrong thinking that way. According to, the increase in real value of the minimum wage since 1990 has been 21%. The increase for cost of living since 1990? Did you guess 67%? Because that’s how much it is. The average yearly income for someone working on minimum wage is $15,080. The average cost of living? It’s thirty-thousand dollars.




How to Pick and Preform a Prose Piece

When you do prose for individual speech events, there are several things that you need to do. First you need to look for a piece that you find interesting. You can use material from recent authors, or authors from the past. Once you find a piece, you must cut it down to something that will get as close to six minutes as possible, without going over the six minute mark. To do so, you can cut out parts of the piece that won’t change the overall story.

Once you have finally gotten the piece to the required time limit, you need to make a paragraph long summary to use before you start reading off the material you’ve chosen. Once you have made this summary, you need to check if you are still within the time limit. If you are, then you are fine. If you aren’t, you need to cut a few more things out to get it back within the limit. Once you have the piece within that time limit, you need to practice it several times.

After practicing the piece many times, you must get ready to perform at competition. When performing at competition, you need to dress up. It doesn’t have to be anything to fancy, a shirt and tie will do if you’re a guy. If you’re a girl, either a dress, or a blouse and slacks will work out fine. You must then get to the place where the competition is being held, and usually you’ll ride on a bus with the rest of the students from your school that are competing.

Once you are finally at the competition, you’ll find out when you are to perform. Once you know when you need to perform, you wait until that time. Once it’s your turn, you will stand in the front of the room where you will perform. The  room will be filled with spectators, and there will also be a judge and a timer. The judge will score your performance based on several things, while the timer times your performance. The timer has flip cards that tell you how much time you have left, starting at six minutes, and working its way down by one minute intervals, and then at the thirty second mark.

When preforming, you must have a clear, strong voice. You must stand straight, and look around the room. If you only look at your papers with the piece written or typed on them, you will lose points. You must also be able to pronounce your words clearly. When you have finally finished your performance, you bow your head. The judge will give complements and constructive criticism when you are done, and when they have finished, you can leave the room.

Results are posted in a gathering spot. You will check this spot often after your performance, hoping to see what your score was. Once all of the scores for the people who have performed from your school have been posted, you and your friends will leave, and go back home.

Freshman Year Thrill Ride: Mside Edition

1. If you play sports, you will almost never be able to eat when the cafe is open.

2. Work studies can make you miss lunch.

3. Three hour labs are fun… depending on which professor you have.

4. Futons are a gift from God.

5. If you have Netflix, you will spend more time on it than actually doing your homework.

6. E-mails are amazing–especially when you need help with an assignment.

7. Procrastination is very real, and happens all the time.

8. Sports aren’t an activity, they’re a lifestyle.

9. Your roommate will either become your best friend, or your worst enemy.

10. R.A.’s are great people, as long as you don’t piss them off.

Drew MaGary and The Postmortal

I wasn’t able to make the Drew MaGary event on Wednesday, but I looked up a video of a speech he gave in Dallas, TX. From what I’ve heard about the event here, it was pretty much the same speech. He talks about his past, and how it kind of ties into the book. He uses examples of how he acted, and tied it into how young adults like us see the world. He told how he wrote the book to try and change the way that people saw things the way they did, because nobody wanted to blame themselves, and instead, blame everybody else. I think that MaGary did a wonderful job of presenting, even if he didn’t talk about the book that much.

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