Archive for the 'Angus Dunk' Category

“I am a Ranger!”

Hockey Fan at the Acorn


                    Elon University students usually manage to make it out to at least one sports event and cheer for their “Phoenix.” However, the students don’t manage to make it out that often to cheer for their club roller hockey team. No, the source of hockey enthusiasm doesn’t come from the students. For that, one needs to go to the Acorn Coffee Shop. Amongst the employees there is James Tykwinski, a die-hard and passionate fan of the New York Rangers hockey club.

            Tykwinski, 39, is a full-time employee at the “Acorn.” He works 40 hours per week and his only real break comes on the weekends. What keeps him going? Hockey. Moreover, watching the New York Rangers play is one of his favorite things to do. Anything somebody needs to know about the New York Rangers, should go to see Mr. Tykwinski.

            Mr. Tykwinski has been a fan of the New York Rangers since he was 10 years old, which was in 1979, the year the New York Rangers went to the Stanley Cup Finals after beating their cross-town rivals, the New York Islanders. Mr. Tykwinski, or “Jimmy” as his friends call him, knows that off the top of his head. The Rangers are that important to him. He is one of their biggest fans.

            After enjoying hockey on the weekends, Jimmy’s work week begins Monday morning at 7 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are when the Acorn gets its food delivered from its vendors, Sysco and Fresh Point. He spends the day checking in and stocking the food in the coffee shop until his shift ends at 3 p.m. Delivery days can be unpleasant for him. “I dislike cold or rainy days. Because of the lack of space, most of our 100 piece order is outside,” said Jimmy.

             Despite this he still finds ways to make his days more enjoyable. “I like working with my fellow Acorn workers. We have a good time kidding around.”

James “Jimmy” Tykwinski. Before having his photo taken, Jimmy said, “I’m a star.”

James “Jimmy” Tykwinski. Before having his photo taken, Jimmy said, “I’m a star.”



            A supervisor at the Acorn on the weekend, calls Jimmy “a very reliable, outspoken person.” The supervisor, a resident of Burlington, continued, “He always asks how you’re doing. He makes you smile every time you speak to him.”

            Tuesdays and Thursdays are a little more hectic for Jimmy. He works from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, he enjoys starting these days a couple of hours later. On these days he checks the inventory of the coffee shop, takes a count of the amount of food orders needed for delivery and enters it online, and then spends the rest of the day helping to serve lunch to customers.

            After work, he heads home to watch the Rangers game. If the Rangers aren’t playing, he’ll usually watch another hockey game. He doesn’t watch the games on TV though. Tykwinski used to watch games on NHL Center Ice, but prefers to go online now where he can watch games on websites, such as and, in nearly as good quality for free.

            Why is Jimmy such a big fan of the Rangers? The answer seems to be closely tied to his long history with the team. Most importantly, the New York Rangers were the first professional sports team Jimmy saw play live. He is also a fan of the Rangers for many other reasons including that they play at Madison Square Garden, wear classic and traditional uniforms and are one of the “Original Six” hockey clubs, who were the only six teams (Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Rangers) to play in the National Hockey League from 1942-1967.

              Jimmy’s favorite moment in New York Rangers history was when the team won the 1994 Stanley Cup and beat out the Vancouver Canucks for the championship. Prior to that date, the last time the Rangers won a Stanley Cup was in 1940.

             “The 1994 Stanley Cup is [my] number one [moment]. [The] first one in [fifty-four] years. No more Islanders chants of fifty years,” commented Tykwinski gleefully. Fans from rival hockey clubs, such as the New York Islanders, would often taunt Rangers players and fans about their Stanley Cup drought until they won in 1994.

                Brian Leetch, who was named the most valuable player of the 1994 playoffs when the Rangers won the Stanley Cup, is Jimmy’s all-time favorite New York Ranger. Tykwinski notes that Leetch was extremely talented in registering points as a defenseman, notching 981 points in just 1,129 games as a Ranger.

               Jimmy once met Leetch and two other Ranger greats, Adam Graves and Mark Messier. He recounted the story:

              “I was in New York by [Madison Square] Garden picking up a watch that I had bought. I came out walking towards the Garden [headed toward his train stop home]. Coming out of a coffee shop were these three New York Rangers. I was [wondering] should I bother them, or should I play it cool? I decided on the former. I waited until we had to stop for the streetlight to change and said, ‘Hey New York Rangers.’ Messier put his finger to his lip and said, ‘Schuse.’ Graves said, ‘Just kidding.’ They said they liked walking around New York without people knowing them. I did not ask for an autograph. [As] I said I was trying to be cool.”

                Jimmy also likes to talk about other sports. This approach helps him get along well with his co-workers. A co-worker atthe Acorn, complimented him, “He’s a funny guy who’s easy to get along with. He creates a more laid back atmosphere, at least for guys.” The co-worker, who did not wish to release his name, also is originally from the New York area. The two of them are able to easily talk about football or hockey.

              On July 10, 1969, Jimmy was born in Jersey City, N.J. He remembers his birth year because that was the year that both the New York Mets and New York Jets won championships. He came to Elon upon a recommendation from his sister, who married someone in the nearby community. He visited and was soon convinced that the atmosphere would suit him better than the “hustle and bustle” of New York City and New Jersey. Since then, he has been working at the Acorn.

           Jimmy goes through a tough, daily grind of work at the Acorn, but has a big heart to keep him going. He has many good qualities and attributes. He’s an easygoing guy to talk and converse with, whether that involves talking about the weather or joking about how a co-worker is secretly part of the witness protection program. The one specific thing that stands out about Jimmy, though, is his passion for the Rangers. Of all Rangers fans, Jimmy truly defines the fan expression, “I am a Ranger!”   


Remarkable Writing: Life of the Legionnaire

This article written by Simon Romero about the French Foreign Legion was particularly interesting to me. It was very well-written and gave me a clear sense or glimpse into what it is like to be a legionnaire. I think the success of the article is partly due in tact to what type of articles the New York Times likes to write. The Times audience  generally covers a cultured and high-educated crowd which isn’t always interested in mainstream news or necessarily the late breaking stories. The Times generally likes to write stories that are detailed and focus on something from an angle that captures “culture.” Romero does this exactly in his article by not only describing the life of the group of legionnaires he observes, but by capturing the mood and background of the setting around him.

This is an excerpt from Romero’s article: “One of the most action-packed scenes in Kourou can be glimpsed nightly at the Bar des Sports on the Avenue des Freres Kennedy. Legionnaires with aigullettes, or braids, dangling from their starched uniforms pack bar stools next to scantily clad women from cities like Macapa or Belem.”

Romero goes more in depth on training of the soldiers as well as the conditions in their camp, but the passage above hints at things the NY Times audience wants to hear about.

Also, interesting in Romero’s article is how portrays to the public that Americans may not be as tough as we perceive ourselves. The legionnaires have to endure some of the most challenging training, learn to adapt to the wild, and undergo extreme conditions (intense heat). For the group in French Guiana that Romero has seen, the jungle warfare course includes swimming in crocodile infested waters, a series of rope leaping courses, jogs in the rainforest, drinking unsanitary water, and eating unusual things as well. The percent of Americans that makeup the legionnaires totals to only about 1%. Romero’s point about the toughness of American soldiers is clear in his lede (well-written): “There was no other way to put it: Stiven Baird, an American in the French Foreign Legion, looked terrible.”

Another strength of Romero’s articles includes the widely used number collection of quotes from various soldiers in the French Foreign Legion. These direct quotations help to paint an accurate picture of what its like to be a legionnaire.

A hardworking and intuitive effort was put into this article.

Vadim Isakov

On Monday, Vadim Isakov opened the eyes of many Elon students to the dangers and realities of other parts of the world. Isakov visted the McEwen School of Communications to speak to students about the luxury and power of freedom of speech.

Isakov is originally from Uzbekistan and emigrated to the United States for his collegiate studies. In 2002, he graduated from UNC and then went back to Uzbekistan to work as a reporter for Agence France-Presse, one of the world’s largest news organizations, upon being accredited by the government in 2004. As a reporter in Uzbekistan, Vadim persevered through some of the most challenging times in his life including disagreements with an oppressive government regime, struggling to find the right story or how to publish it, and protecting his family, or moreover the lives of others. If Isakov was not careful, the stories he wrote could cause problems for other people given the nature of the government of Uzbekistan. Sensing the dangers and problems within his nation, Isakov and his wife, Lumilla, returned to the United States. Isakov said of his move, “The worst thing to do as a journalist in Uzbekistan is to have a family or personal attachments.” Currently, Isakov is a professor teaching journalism classes at Ithaca College in upstate New York.

Listening to Isakov talk about his country and himself was very interesting. One striking point was how he identified himself. He commented that he was a citizen of Uzbekistan, but also an ethnic Russian from Uzbekistan. Isakov went on to credit the process of American citizenship and naturalization for not making such social divisions. “That’s what makes the Unite States so special, you can call yourself American without any confusion.”

Most interesting in my opinion was his response to one question I asked. I put in context for him that I visited Russia in 2007 and heard people there say freedom of speech was becoming more liberal. Then, I asked, “How do you feel freedom of speech and freedom of press have progressed in Uzbekistan since the fall of the Soviet Union?”

He responded, “I don’t think its progressed at all. I don’t think people of the former Soviet Union are comfortable with democracy.”

His response left me to contemplate, “Have the former provinces and territories of Russia become more heavily right-wing politically today than Russia itself?”

From him, I learned really how powerful the press is, and moreover how in another country it can decide who lives and who dies.

Quantum of Solace Faces Worldwide Competition




The new James Bond film, Quantum of Solace, was released recently bringing in a vast crowd of viewers across the United States. The film should be even bigger than its predecessor, “Casino Royal,” and finished the week at No. 2 in the box office, behind “Twilight.”

But will the film be a hit in Europe? Critics seem to think so. But other films are expected to do equally well on the continent, specifically the UK and Spain. There seems to be speculation that James Bond may not be enough to satisfy the attention spans of audiences. “Quantum of Solace” will face off against 3-D animated films “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa” and Disney’s “Bolt.” The films ranked No. 4 and 3, respectively, this week in the U.S. behind solace.

An interesting question arises from all of this, “Are movie audiences slowly getting tired of the serious action films and more interested in the light-hearted animated comedies?”

Fox News: slow updates

I went to Fox News‘s website to see how they were keeping track of the election and noticed that they were progressing at a slow rate. The first thing I noticed when I checked in is that they had highlighted neither red or blue states for Obama and McCain respectively. The election map just showed the states, but nothing shaded in. Perhaps because Fox News is conservative and republican, they were not anxious to get the results up immediately. However, at the same time they were showing the popular vote percentage figures for both candidates in each state based on the percent of the precinct that had voted. They were displaying the results, but not very effectively to the naked eye. I had to run my mouse over the various states to see the results.

They updated and started shading the map in a little while ago, but their other inaccuracies. While they have totaled the popular number of votes and the popular vote percentages for each candidate, they have not tallied the total number of electoral votes for each candidate. Additionally, Fox is showing no sign of displaying the results for the senate and house of representatives race. It seems because the Republican party is losing in the election at the moment, Fox does not feel compelled to display the results. On the other hand, one could argue they simply do not wish to project winners in any part of the general election until all votes are in.

The election map is also ineffective because while it allows you to see all the counties of each state, it has not shaded these areas in as Republican or Democrat; making it hard for one to grasp any idea of what the political breakdown in each state is.

Fox’s website is giving very limited coverage of the election in my opinion.

The sports world in the general election

“Yahoo sports” kept its audience pulled in today with numerous blog entries linking sports and the general election. The blog article, “Whap: the vote: Madden-Favre and more presidential tickets,” by David Brown takes a fun approach to voting, asking readers who would they vote for given a choice of sports figures running on this year’s presidential ticket.

Brown’s approach to his blog entry is a creative attempt to entice more people to pay attention to the presidential election. In my opinion, there is a good number of people who are tired of hearing about the presidential election and would be content with just hearing about regular, straightforward news again, which includes sports. By combining sports and politics, Brown keeps the attention of the readers by giving them their daily dose of sports, but at the same time parodying and mentioning the bigger issue, the 2008 political election.

He even goes as far to outline sub-categories for the sports figures on the presidential ticket which include campaign slogans, political issues/stances, political backgrounds, and analysis by critics. Some of the prominent candidates include Joe Torre and Derek Jeter, John Madden and Brett Favre, and Barry Melrose and Don Cherry of the NHL.

The two most popular candidates of the sports world for president: John Madden and Brett Favre:

John Madden and Brett Favre

NBC News…. Christian Science Monitor: now a weekly publication

The Christian Science monitor has now officially announced that it will now only be published on a weekly basis after being a daily newspaper over the course over of a century. With the disappearance of traditional forms of media, the publication has decided to focus its efforts on its website and the Internet. Apparently the news paper business and print media is becoming less and less profitable as time progresses. About a 1% drop in readership amongst major news publications is occurring every month. Amongst struggling papers include the LA Times and the Newark Star Leger, which cut 40% of its employees.

I enjoyed this particular video. I think it demonstrates a good example of broadcast media. It’s key virtue is that it follows point 2, in Inside Reporting, which is that it keeps the story short and simple. The video is only 34 seconds, but that’s only that’s needed for a story like this. Also, most people in the morning aren’t going to have time to follow everything in a story because they’re in a rush to get to work. They want to know what has happened! Details are secondary! This video’s length is ideal for a person on the go in the morning. Newscaster, Brian Williams, does a good at using the present tense in addition and also uses the 1st point in our text, “a friendly/conversational tone.” He opens the broadcast with “We learned today of…” Using the first person plural reaches out to the audience more in my opinion. In my opinion, this broadcast is more effective than many of the other broadcasts on NBC news’s website which focus on more complex topics, but are longer and more drawn out.

May 2018
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