September 16, 2004
An Excerpt from "The Autobiography of a Rakish Wit"
| September 16, 2004
The Autobiography of A Rakish Wit of the State Trust Lands of Orleans (as told to the manager of our state trust lands)
My life is a history of woe, and I pray that future generations will learn from my disconsolate heart. I was born in 1911, or as the Orleans Telegram put it, “the Year of Ole Sordide Misfor-Tune.” The way my grandmother tells it, I came out of my mother’s womb smoking Georgian flue-cured tobaccos. It was the only time I ever got to meet my mother, and her cheerful attitude was much diminished by the fact that my enormous head was protruding from her bloody loins. A month later, she died of tuberculosis in a cotton field. I know because a soldier from The Great War came to my raft one day and related to me, by way of a rather long anecdote, that he had stolen the teeth out of a dead woman soon after the Third Battle of Ypres. He later realized the dead woman resembled the picture of the pretty girl I had placed in a tin locket round my neck. I informed him that the girl was my mother. He apologized and left me to my coon-trapping. Only later did I find out that he had gone on to my pa’s shack. He killed my father and stole all my possessions.
As a result of this disheartening news, I tried to bear my own children in my parents’ names in order to carry on their legacies. For an entire year, I set up enormous spikes on the banks of the Sabine River, with the hope that a wayward child would impale himself upon my trap, and I could take him home and father and nurse him. One day, an officer of the law saw me trying to extract infants from Honey Island swamp and put me in the town slammer. I was the only four-year-old in the Orleans City Jail. Eventually, a reverend who preached to Indians bought my emancipation. To punish me, he removed my fingers. It is difficult to describe the sensation you get when you see one of God’s messengers throwing all your fingers in a deep well. It is like watching Heaven die.
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September 17, 2004
Everyone knows that senior quarterback DJ Busch can launch the long ball, and that starting running back, junior Josh Johnston, tears up the turf, but who will Cornell call upon this season to cut routes and make diving catches? A year ago, after the Red finished last among Ivy League teams in passing offense, that question went unanswered. This year, a corps of talented receivers hopes to leave its mark, ensuring that opposing defenses remember their names. With a revamped offense under head coach Jim Knowles “87, they should have no problem achieving that goal. Leading the pack, fifth-year senior Chad Nice returns for his final year of eligibility at Cornell. Hobbled by a hamstring injury since the first game of last year, Nice has something to prove. In 2002, he finished third on the team in receptions (15) and yards (164), and, as a sophomore, he saw action in all nine games, hauling in 12 balls for a total of 134 yards. Assuming his injury heals, the Morrison, Ill., native should make big plays this time around. ‘When he plays, he can do some very nice things,’ Knowles said. ‘He runs savvy routes, and he”s got some explosiveness.’ While Nice”s status remains questionable, junior Brian Romney”s abilities are certain. Romney, a transfer from Snow Junior College in Utah, joins the team this year after a remarkable breakout season. After taking time off to complete a Mormon mission, Romney joined the Snow football program and, astonishingly, led the nation in receptions-per-game his freshman year, earning first-team All-America honors. He followed that with the team”s MVP award his sophomore campaign and also made the scholar-athlete All-America list. ‘He”s really our true find,’ Knowles said. ‘He”s older, more mature, because he took some time off. He”s really a scat-back kind of guy, who can catch the ball outside on some short screens and just go.’ Adding speed and acrobatics to this list are three other wideouts — seniors Trent Carvoth and Carlos Hill, and sophomore Tony Jackson — who are sure to dazzle fans and score points this season. Carvoth joined the squad in 2002 after transferring from UC-Berkeley. In his first year, he saw action in all 10 games, catching 13 passes for 168 yards. He worked hard in the offseason and was a top performer in spring practice. Hill, a four-year veteran of the program, has the height (6-3) to jump for balls and make big catches. Last season, he hauled in a 56-yard touchdown reception in the Red”s lone win against Bucknell and finished with 36 receptions for 419 yards — an average of 11.6 per catch. Jackson played in seven contests as a rookie, nabbing 14 catches for 116 yards, including a touchdown versus Colgate. This year, the Red hopes to increase his role and take advantage of his speed. ‘Carvoth is a solid performer who adds a lot of depth to the corps, and Tony Jackson is really quick, one of the fastest guys on the team,’ Knowles said. ‘Carlos Hill doesn”t have Jackson”s speed, but he”s a big, tall guy who makes those unbelievable circus catches.’ Augmenting the deep threat, Cornell”s tight ends and H-back will look to make their mark in the box, picking up yards — and more importantly — crucial first downs. Junior tight ends Chris Eckstein and Troy Follmar proved they can block solidly but did not get the ball much last year. Knowles plans to utilize them frequently for that purpose this season. ‘They”re as strong as anyone in the league and will be critical to the offense,’ Knowles said. ‘They”re physical blockers and can make the 10-to-15-yard catches you need.’ Last, but certainly not least, sophomore fullback Todd Rusinkovich will step up to fill the role of H-back in Knowles” offense. A converted defensive end, Rusinkovich has transitioned well into his new role, and Knowles will likely utilize him for blocking and receiving duties. ‘He”s a converted defensive lineman, who”s sort of like a fullback,’ Knowles said. ‘But he”s really found his niche at H-back.’ This season, whether the play calls for a game-saving Hail Mary or a drive-saving first down, Cornell”s receivers will move the ball downfield, open up defenses, and get the job done. With any luck, their contribution will take the Red from cellar dweller to Ivy League championship contender. Archived article by Everett HullversonSun Assistant Sports Editor
September 17, 2004
A study examining the socioeconomic status of the U.S. population recently concluded that more than half of all Americans between the ages of 20 and 65 will use food stamps at least once in their lives. One of the researchers, Cornell Prof. Thomas Hirschl, development sociology, described reactions to this study, “Many people don’t believe its results. People have accused me, ‘You’ve made this up!'” The other researcher, Washington University professor of social work Mark Rank, said, “The typical image has been that the use of a welfare program, such as food stamps, occurs to someone else. It turns out, it will occur to over fifty percent of Americans.” Rank is also the author of a recent book titled One Nation, Underprivileged: Why American Poverty Affects Us All. “My book presents the argument that we really need to think differently about the issue of poverty in America,” Rank said. “Rather than poverty affecting someone else, it affects all of society.” The study indicates that food stamp use has a significant link to factors such as race and education. According to its conclusions, over 85 percent of African Americans will use food stamps between the ages of 20 and 65, in comparison to 37 percent of white Americans. Sixty-four percent of adults with less than 12 years of education will use food stamps, in comparison to 38 percent of adults with 12 or more years of education. The researchers also found that about 25 percent of white males with 12 or more years of education will use food stamps, while more than 90 percent of African American females with less than 12 years of education will use food stamps some time between ages 20 and 65. “The study itself is really important because it shows for the first time the fact that a majority of Americans will turn to the food stamp program for emergency assistance, and that at least 42 percent of adult Americans will experience food insecurity,” Rank said. “This includes things like hunger, reducing the size of meals, not being able to afford three meals a day, and so on.” When asked what the study’s findings indicated, Hirschl said, “Food is cheap. It says a lot when that many people need financial assistance at some point in their lives. This issue is about the ability of the US economy to provide the basics such as water, food, shelter, and medical care.” How can this situation be improved? Hirschl answered, “This is off the radar of the federal government. They’re not going to move on it. There needs to be change to the economic structure of America to directly address this issue. There needs to be more discussion about restructuring society to fulfill its basic needs.” When asked the same question, Rank referred to his book, suggesting that we “creat[e] jobs that pay a living wage, provid[e] essential public and social goods, hav[e] policies that build individual and community assets, and hav[e] a reasonable safety net in place.” Half of those Americans eligible for food stamps actually get them. Studies suggest that those eligible do not participate because they are unfamiliar with the application process. Others, Rank and Hirschl said, are reluctant to participate because of the “sense of stigma attached to participating in a means-tested welfare program.” In fiscal year 2003, government statistics show, about 21 million Americans received food stamps at a program cost of about $21 billion. “While the use of food stamps is often brief, of those who have used food stamps once, about three-quarters will use them again in a different year,” said Hirschl. “These findings are in sharp contrast to the belief that the use of the nation’s food nutrition safety net is something that happens to someone else and is atypical of the American experience.” The study’s results may also have a broader impact on the health of Americans today. Rank said, “The patterns that emerged from our analysis are particularly troubling in light of the fact that food insecurity has been shown to be closely related to various health problems, including an increased risk in the development of chronic diseases, impairment of psychological and cognitive functioning among children and a greater likelihood of self-reporting health status as poor.” In order to conduct the study, the researchers used thirty waves from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics data set, in particular looking at data for the years 1968 to 1997. 4,800 families have participated in this data collection since 1968. The method of conducting this study is different from what has typically been used to study socioeconomic patterns. The study states, “Rather than focusing on cross-sectional participation rates, or the modeling of spell dynamics, we utilize a procedure that allows us to estimate the life course probabilities and patterns of food stamp use for the United states population … Our analytical strategy is to use the household and demographic information on individuals throughout this 30-year period in order to construct a series of life tables that estimate the risk of food stamp use across the life course. The life table examines the extent to which specific events occur across intervals of time.” The study’s findings were presented at the annual meeting for the Society for Nutrition Education in Philadelphia in last summer. This study will be published in the December 2004 issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. Archived article by Julie Geng Sun Staff Writer