My Dad seemed always to have stories to tell about
when he was a child, and he told my sister and me about the stories that
Nana had told him, too. One story seemed to intrigue us, but my Dad always
built up the suspense by telling us how he found out about the story. My
grandmother, Catherine Carey, was twenty-three years old when came over to
America from County Mayo in Ireland in 1927. She arrived in the city of
She worked as a domestic before marrying Martin (Mattie) Cunniffe at
the age of thirty-eight. They had two children named Mary, my aunt, and
Martin (Marty), my dad. They moved to West Street in Hyde Park from Hyde
Park Ave.. Nana and grandfather made sure that my father and aunt knew
their cultural roots from Ireland. To make sure of this, Nana told my
father about her adventures as a spy in Mayo and told him about the
hardships she endured during her lifetime. When Nana was about sixteen,
the Irish were going through a period called “The Troubles”, which are
still going on today.
During this time, the Irish were fighting against the English to get
their freedom. Many people joined the Irish Republican Army, which was
formed to rebel against the English. Nana joined the IRA when she was only
sixteen in order to help them. Her job was to carry messages to the IRA
soldiers. Nana would pretend she was delivering lunches to the IRA
soldiers, but she was really giving them messages that she had hidden in
her bike handles. The English tried to get back at the Irish for fighting.
Nana told my dad about how the English would come into their house during
the night and stir things up. The English would sneak into their thatched
house, and wake up all six sisters and their brother. They did this just
to do routine checks on the houses, but Nana seemed to be extremely
startled by these rude awakenings.
This story of Nana is one of many that the Cunniffe family has been
circulating among us. My cousins’ ages go from being just born to around
eighty years old. At sometime in our lives, we are told of these stories
of our family like this story. My family is well aware of their heritage
and roots. My mother and father have made sure that I am aware of my
grandmother’s life and my other grandparents’ lives. They have made sure
that I know my Korean heritage and my Irish heritage by telling me stories
like this, and they made sure that I know the story of my arrival to
The Cunniffe family heritage is something you can never forget. My
name is a tradition in our family. Just about five people are named
“Martin” in my family. Those five people named “Martin” are only including
those who are alive at this time. At family reunions, it is not unusual to
see four or more heads pop up when the name “Marty” or “Martin” is called.
I never really got to know Nana well because she died when I was only
about four or five. These stories help me know Nana better, and the
stories help keep our tradition thriving. Yet, my Nana’s old age and my
cousins’ old ages allow me and my other cousins to be told of stories from
when they were young and stories that go back generations and decades.
This keeps the Cunniffe family heritage alive to this day.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said in his essay
“Nature”, “In the tranquil landscape, and especially in the distant line
of the horizon, man beholds somewhat as beautiful as his own nature”. My
“tranquil landscape” happens to be at the base of a mountain. To the few
who walk by this “landscape”, it is just a pile of rocks that are among
the rolling, green fields of Ireland. Although the spot is in Ireland, it
holds the keystone characteristic of the American society, freedom. I saw
how a land, a vast ocean away, is a mirror image of the American society.
The smell of sweet, pleasurable grass filled the air as I approached
the pile of rocks. My intent was to climb the mountain where the pile
sits, not to waste time relaxing upon on the stones. Just as many have
done before me, I passed the cold, gray, and firm pile. As my journey up
the mountain continued, I became tired and wanted to go back to my
cousins’ house, but the house was down the road and past the rocks. The
thought of the pile of rocks became more and more comforting as a place of
I sat upon the rocks, weary and tired. I gazed at my surroundings.
Surrounding me was some grass, which looked more like a bunch of weeds;
the adjacent mountain, Nephin, and the picture perfect blue sky, which
made a picturesque landscape. There was a slight breeze which ever so
slightly moved the grass that encircled the rocks. The slight breeze and
the cool, crisp air seemed to refresh my weary spirit.
Then, I began to think how burdened and empty the grass looked. It only
moved when the wind allowed it to move. It was cut down when it got too
tall or long for our liking. It had to go with the grain, or be destroyed
if it didn’t. The grass became what most people are in our, American,
society. Am I afraid of going against the grain or do I like my life how
it is? People tend to do what the majority of our culture is doing. They
wear the trendy clothes, drive the best cars, and become a group of weeds
that are cut down by society if they don’t go by the social constructions.
I am part and have fell into this grass-like American society.
Emerson said, “To be great is to by misunderstood”.
Misunderstood, is how this pile of rocks must feel. Are the best things
in life hidden? This pile of rocks became a pile of understanding to me. I
realized the pile of rocks has been passed by so many people just like I
did. They don’t even think twice about these gray rocks. The hustle and
bustle that goes on in this society doesn’t allow us to see the things in
special things in life. The reason why these rocks are so cold, gray, and
unyielding is because so many people have given the cold shoulder to them.
They don’t see that this pile of rocks is a representation of how we make
assumptions before we actually experience something.
As I got up after getting my energy back, I walked down the
side of the mountain. I recognized that I had just gained some knowledge,
which had been locked away in a treasure chest. The rocks are what we pass
by everyday and never appreciate. I saw how one feels when we turn are
shoulder on them. They become the rocks, and we become the grass. I left
the spot not as a new human like some newly baptized Christian, but I left
with a better understanding of how society is changing. The few people
who walk by this “tranquil landscape” are just passing an opportunity to
become an individual spirit. The surroundings of the pile of rocks may
change, but the pile of rocks never changes.
The “Borrowing” Dilemma
“Hey, how are you doin’ Jim?” said Tim
“Not too bad, yourself?” replied Jim
“Pretty good. Could I borrow a dollar? I have no money, and I want a
How can you borrow a dollar? By my definition, when you borrow
something you use that thing for a short period of time and return it in
the same condition to the person. I do not think Tim is going to ask the
store clerk, “I need that dollar back, so I can give it back to my
It is the same concept as borrowing a cup of sugar. You use that cup
of sugar for baking or some other use, but you cannot get the same sugar
you borrowed out of your mix to give back to the person. You could
purchase another thing of sugar to reimburse the person, but you do not
have to return the sugar because they lent it to you. If you don not pay
the person back, they will bother you constantly.
A week later…
“Hey Jim, you owe me a buck buddy.”
“Oh, um……. Right. Yea, sorry I don’t got one right now. I’ll give you
a buck when I have one.”
This is a usual answer for those who have borrowed. You are giving
the person the false idea you will pay them back, but who knows if you
will pay them back. Most likely, you will keep responding with the same
usual answers, “I don’t have one right now, but I’ll have one tomorrow.”,
“Um… I don’t have any money.”, or “I’ll pay ya back later”.
The person will become extremely sick of hearing your false
answers. The end result of them becoming so sick is they do not care
anymore that they lent you a dollar, and they forget about the whole
borrowing of that dollar because they are tired of asking you for it back.
When you borrow, you are really taking, and you do not plan to pay them
back anytime soon. Instead of borrowing being a temporary gift, it is a
financial gain for you, and a financial lost for the person who lent it to
"Could I borrow a dollar?” should be replaced with the more logical
and truthful reason, “Could I have dollar?”
Edgar Allen Poe was burdened with hardships and
sorrow all through his short life. Death seemed to be intricately wound in
his life. Poe’s mother died at an early age of four. He married his cousin
Lenore, who died shortly after their marriage. Poe died at the age of
thirty-four years old, but his literary works shared a common theme. The
common theme of Edgar Allen Poe’s literary works was darkness and death.
They represented the suffering Poe went through during his life. In “The
Raven”, Poe made it apparent the narrator of the poem was himself, and the
raven was the answer to the troubles in his life. “The Raven” allowed us
to have a look into the dark, dreary, and murky life of Edgar Allen Poe
The mood of “The Raven” allowed us to peer into the confused world of
death. It was about a young man who was in grief over the recent death of
his wife, Lenore. Poe experienced two heartbreaking deaths, the death of
his mother, and the death of his wife Lenore. The line, “Once upon a
midnight dreary, / while I pondered weak and weary.”(Line 1), set the tone
for the entire poem. It exhibited to the reader a disturbing scenario of
longing on a cold, damp night. It was possible for us to recognize the
narrator was in sorrow and exhausted along with the atmosphere of the poem
was gloomy. Poe reinforced the fact of the gloomy night by saying, “Ah,
distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December; / And each separate
dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.”( Lines 7-). The shadowy
language used by Poe revealed to us the narrator was recalling an event
that left a mark of grief on his life. The reader started to see the
narrator was in eminence mourning because the narrator had been in
bereavement for hours due to the fire had gone out. The narrator was still
thinking about his lose. Poe allowed the reader to feel the “bleak
December” in their bones, and he was able to have the reader feel the true
mourning of the narrator, himself.
Edgar Allen Poe lived with the track of death at an early age, which
continued for his whole life. With the use of his life experiences in his
writings, Poe allowed the reader to read intently at his depressed life.
“The Raven” displayed itself as a testament of Poe’s feelings and thoughts
that occurred all through in his life. He went through various thoughts
and approaches of dealing with the death of Lenore. Poe established
himself as the narrator in “The Raven”. When the narrator said, “From my
books surcease of sorrow-sorrow for the lost Lenore” (Line 10). We know
the Poe had married a young, beautiful girl named Lenore who died shortly
after their marriage. Poe wrote numerous poems about Lenore’s ghost. The
narrator was saying that the only joy he found in life was reading
literature that he had written about Lenore. The books were the only
joyous memories he had at this point in his life, but the books turned on
him by only bring back the fact Lenore was dead. Poe disclosed to us that
he was the narrator. The reader was able to see how Poe was able to deal
with a tremendous lost.
The raven indicated the narrator would never be able to live the life he
did before the death of Lenore. The narrator of “The Raven” became
psychotic by the end of the poem. He encountered a raven that only spoke
one word, “Nevermore”. The word “nevermore” made the man realize he would
never be able to experience the warmth and joy that he underwent when his
wife was alive. Poe allowed us to see how the narrator dealt with his
mourning. We were able to see that Poe “nevermore” was able to experience
joy in his life. The literally works of Poe all had the same starkness
and appeal of death in them. “The Raven” seemed to remind the narrator
that he would never be able to live a joyous life.
“The Raven” served as a window to Edgar Allen Poe’s cold life that
was plagued with death. The poem possessed the common theme that Poe’s
poems and literally works encompass. It presented to us a testament of
Poe’s gloomy, dim life and how one event could drive a human to insanity.
Edgar Allen Poe used the poem as a way to communicate to his audience, and
the poem was a way Poe showed his true feelings to his public.
In a dimly lit, smoke filled room; you
circle a felt covered, rectangle like a lion approaching its prey. In the
background, the chiming of the beer glasses creates a euphonic symphony.
The spectators are babbling about their days as they keep an eye on you.
Finally, you pick your prey. You aim. You pull back your pool stick.
Crack! You send the rack of balls scattering about the table. This scene
is what most people imagine when they think about billiards. Billiards, or
pool as it is more commonly known as in America, has become the leisure
sport of the United States, and billiard has found its way into the hearts
of many teenagers and adults everywhere.
Billiards is a sport, but many fail to recognize it as one. When
someone thinks of a sport, they usually think of two teams or people going
head to head in a battle to the end. Although there is no contact in
billiards, billiards is a sport because it has a competitive spirit, two
people facing off against each other, and a required ability of critical
thinking. Billiards is not just shooting a white cue ball at a cluster of
balls, but it is a sport that many fail to recognize.
What many fail to see are the needed skills to play billiards. Billiards
is comparable to chess. In order to be a successful player, every shot you
take has to be carefully thought out and placed if you want to win. “Each
and every shot, you've got to guess what's going to happen with the object
ball and cue ball. Then, you must pay attention and see if your results
matched your hypothesis.” (Figueroa) It seems as though pool is a game of
chance. Billiards is not all chance or luck, but it is about fifty-fifty
in terms of luck versus skill. If you are able to use various skills such
as mathematics and physics, you will become an accomplished pool player.
Not only is careful planning a factor or guessing for that matter, there
is the mathematical aspect of billiards. Billiards is a game of angles,
percents, shapes, and speed. A billiards player has to be able to use the
sidewalls of the table to their advantage in order to get the right shot.
The proper angle can result in your favor, but the vicious cycle is that
angle can result in your opponent’s favor, too. Besides the geometric
approach to the game, you have to be able to use physics to win. The
correct speed and force are needed to control the cue ball. Despite what
many think, billiards can be a game of leisure, but involves immense skill
in other areas.
Billiard cannot only be found in the backroom of a bar, but
it can be found in mainstream America. Many billiards players can be found
all over the world. There seems to be different kinds of billiards
players. There are the snooker, eight ball, trick shooter, straight pool,
and your average-Joe billiards player. Along with findings different kinds
of billiard players in the world, you can find billiard tables in bars,
basements, and at many game rooms. Billiards has been known as a sport in
which one can kick back and relax while playing the game.
Billiards is known and played mainly as an amateur sport. You can see many
billiard halls crowded on the weekends with teenagers and adults who just
want to relax and socialize over a game of pool. It is easy to create your
own billiards league. Billiards Congress of America is the governing body
for billiards in the United States. The BCA makes it easy for one to
create a league. The BCA allows amateurs to get a chance to display their
talents outside of the local billiards hall (The Billiards Congress of
America). The U.S. Amateur Championship is an annual even where amateurs
can show case their talents and compete against other amateurs. Amateurs
can compete in snooker, 8-ball, 9-ball, and other types of pool. The 1999
amateur champion, Dan LaVoie, said, "I'd rather be playing competitive
pool than anything else, and getting the opportunity to play in a field
like this makes the game that much more fun,” (American Poolplayers
Association). Many Americans across the country experience the feeling
that LaVoie feels. Americans want love competition in a sport. The
competitiveness in a sport is what gets it national recognition and gains
peoples’ interest in the sport. Countless amateur billiard players want to
be able to compete against the best in their classes. Billiards natural
competitive environment will allow it to become a more prominent sport in
On the professional level, the American Poolplayers Association (APA)
is a group of the elite pros that display their talents on the
professional circuit. One of these players is the trick-shooter Mike
Massey. This fast-talking Texan has recently won the Worlds Artistic Pool
Champion and the North American Artistic Pool Champion titles. Massey
seems to defy physics and make the balls dance with his spectacular shots.
When asked to describe his style of play when he first started, Massey
said, “I was a ‘Barnum and Bailey’ type player.” (Mike Massey) Every shot
he takes in competition comes with a story of how he made up the shot or
whom he got the shot from. He has established himself as the premier
entertainer in billiards because the audience has just as much fun as he
has when he is at the table. Massey thinks if the money was good enough
for pool players and billiards received more mainstream attention there
would be an influx of professional pool players (Mike Massey). The big
multi-million dollar salaries of some professional athletes is what gets
more young children’s’ attention, and the children want to earn the big
bucks playing the sport. Money seems to be the last thing on a billiards
players’ mind. The professional players know playing pool does not bring
in nearly as much as other professional athletes earn, but they play, just
like any athlete does, because they enjoy playing billiards and are having
fun while they are doing it. Even though money seems to attract people to
the sport, it has not repelled the interests of many Americans because a
pool table is found in every town, basement, or backyard.
Billiards is a sport that is known worldwide. A pool hall
or pool table can be found in almost any town, basement, bar, or house.
Billiards has become a past time for many countries, and it has been found
to be a social gathering for many. It has become a common language
worldwide just like baseball. Just like bowling, billiards is making a
second coming even though it never went away.