English 10: Writing Portfolio
Catholic Memorial High School
|The blunt - featured tailor
chomping on his blunt held the blunt edged dagger in his hand as he
lunged at the blunt - headed fool who dared to steal his blunt that he earned by sewing the
fool's new leather vest with his handy blunts. This could be a scene from a Shakespearean play.
Over time, words change spellings and definitions while others become obsolete by disuse. Still
other words are added as they become popular in the culture. The word "blunt", according
to The Barnhart Dictionary of Etymology records the definitions as they changed through time. Blunt
actually has a popular definition in the drug culture that may yet appear in the dictionaries of the
twenty first century.
According to The Barnhart Dictionary of the Etymology, blunt may have derived from the Old
Icelandic word "blunda" which means “to shut the eyes” or “to doze”. In The Ormulum,
“blunt” meant "dull or obtuse". In 1285, it was used as a surname - Blundspure Bluntspur
from a] Scandinavian source. (Hoaevo 102) The Random House Dictionary of the English Language says
that blunt comes from Middle English related to "blind" (103) The OED references “blunt”
to Old Norse or Old English before 1100 or Old Teutonic. The American Heritage Dictionary of the
English Language, however, says that “blunt” is defined as “to dull the edge of” as arising from
Middle English between 1100-1500.
The obsolete definitions in the OED referred to "blunt” in the slang as "ready
money". Charles Dickens ,an English writer in 1883, used “blunt” in his novel, Oliver Twist :
"I must have some blunt from you tonight " (204). A less well known definition of “blunt”
refers to a size of a needle used in sewing. On packages of needles, the word is still used to refer
to short thick needles used for making shoes, bedding, quilting and on heavy materials. The most
common use of “blunt” describes a manner of speaking. "Blunt" means "abrupt speech or
manner, plain spoken, curt without delicacy" in the OED. This word could be used to describe
many teachers at school. William Shakesperare used “blunt” in this definition in his play Henery V:
"by his blunt bearing he will keep his word" Alexander Pope in his Essay on Criticism
written in 1204 states: “Blunt truths more mischief than nice falsehoods do.” (77)
To translate my first sentence in more common words, it would
read: "The rough, unpolished featured tailor chomping on his short cigar held a thick unsharp
dagger in his hand as he lunged at the stupid, obtuse fool who dared to steal his money that he
earned by sewing the fool's new vest with his handy short needles." Today a blunt in the
drug culture refers to a thick short marijuana cigarette similar to the short cigar definition.
|The Boston marathon like the London
marathon is an elite event that attracts millions of people each
April to our town. Runners from around the world all heard of our famous or infamous Heartbreak
Hill. The London Marathon is also a world marathon, but it is fairly new though growing. According
to the OED, the word "marathon" is 130 years. The sport, however, goes back to ancient
times when Phidipides was sent as a messenger to Athens from Marathon to announce the defeat of the
Persians in the Battle of Marathon in 490BC. According to the Encyclopedia Americana, it seems
appropriate that in the first Olympics of 1896, the marathon winner was Spiros Louis, a Greek
(Encyclopedia Britannica 814). Legend has it that the runner died after his arrival. By learning
about marathon running, we learn that the British people want to elevate their London Marathon to
become a world race in the international world or running and become as well known as the Boston
According to Steven Cram who wrote in an article on The Sport Blog for The Guardian, the
London Marathon was founded by Chris Brasher, a renowned journalist and Olympic champion who used
the Boston Marathon as a model. The London Marathon website stated that 36,396 people began the
London Marathon in 2007, the largest to date. In the book, The World of Marathons by Sandy
Treadwel,l many runners in the London marathon run in "silly costumes, to make fools of
themselves for the sake of the charities." They raise a great deal of money dressed as Goofy,
Gandhi, and Prince Charles to name a few, but it is all in good fun for good causes.
The marathon, in part, was organized by Chris Brasher to improve the standard of the
British marathon. However, according to Steven Cram's article in The Sports Blog of The
Guardian, "the standard of the men's event in the country has fallen over the past 10
years…" Cram asserts that runners need to have a stronger competitive environment to produce
fine home bred runners that can find sponsors to compete in the Olympics, however, it is not clear
if there isn't a bit of prejudice when discussing this issue. In England as well as other
countries including the US, the winners are from countries such as Italy, Japan, and Kenya. Cram
also says that the British do not provide enough funding for training, travel and medical expenses
to attract people to the sport.
The BBC Gloustershire reporter, Ian Randall, interviewed Dan Robinson, a British
marathon runner in 2006. He finished in 12th place of the World Championships which contributed to
winning the BBC West Individual Achievement Award of 2005. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to run
in the London Marathon of that year because of several illnesses that sidetracked his training. His
winning time for the World Championship 12th place was 2 hours 14 minutes. He hoped that this win
would help him achieve team membership in the All England Championship team. His training includes
running a 10k half marathon before Christmas. He is willing to take some risks but doesn't want
to overdue it and suffer an injury that would prevent him from competing. Unlike other runners, he
trains more than he competes. He realizes that stamina and strength is the key to long distance
running. Dan Robinson acknowledges that his competitors include " the Kenyans, Tanzanians,
South Africans, Australians, and the Brits." In 2007 he placed 11th in Japan improving on his
Running in England was captured by AE Housman who wrote "To an Athlete Dying Young" in
1896 which is made up of stanzas that have the tone of a folk song. The poem praises a young runner
in his physical prime.
The time you won your town the race
We chaired you through the market place;
Man and boy stood cheering by,
And home we brought you shoulder high. (LL1-4)
However, the young man dies suddenly and is returned to his home town once again held "shoulder
high" but in a coffin. Housman points out that fame is fleeting
Smart lad, to slip betimes away
From fields where glory does not stay
And early through the laurel grows
It withers quicker than the rose. (LL9-12)
The only way to be remembered, therefore, is to die young after achieving success. Unfortunately,
according to the BBC News a marathon runner did die in 2000 after running the London Marathon.
Steven Bettany, 24, suffered a brain hemorrhage after running the 26 mile race and died at the ST.
Marathon running in England is attracting more world competitors which will raise its rating.
According to The Sports Blog, "British Marathon running suffers from exactly the same problems
as British Athletics generally –lack of a pool of youngsters". Lottery funding needs to
include marathon training for all potential qualified runners not just for Olympic competitors.
Without it, "…athletics can be nothing more than a hobby." By providing a living wage,
young men and women can concentrate all their efforts in becoming world class marathon runners.
Dear Mr. President