Texas, gun culture go hand in hand

The Lone Star State: where guns are a way of life and even the governor can shoot a coyote on a jog through the woods. While many people in other states might find this action inappropriate and irresponsible, Texas culture accepts Gov. Rick Perry’s behavior as normal, even in the heated gun-control debates. Though not all Texans wield pistols and gallivant around on thoroughbreds, the culture of the state is one founded on the freedom of owning a weapon. UMHB sophomore business major Charlie Rod has grown up around guns on the ranches his family owns. He and his siblings see firearms not only as a means of defense, but as sport. Charlie’s 5-year-old brother shot his first animal last Christmas with a small caliber rifle. “My older brother and dad were with him. My dad taught him how to be safe with a gun and walked through every single step meticulously before allowing him to even pull a trigger. This is what all of my siblings have been through, including myself. It’s a safe process that requires repetition and a wise, responsible adult,” he said. The Rods take necessary precautions with their weapons because guns are a big part of their traditions as a family. “My father has done a fantastic job raising me to be responsible with firearms, and he is doing the exact same with the rest of my siblings,” Rod said. Student at Lonestar Community College Lexi Barnhill sat in a deer stand before she could balance a gun. She feels more comfortable there than anywhere else. Like many Texans, it’s how she was raised. “I started shooting guns when I was probably 6 or 7,  BB guns of course. The ranch has always been a good get-away for us, like a safe haven where we can relax and enjoy the sights of the hill country from the stand,” she said. Such is the culture of the Lone Star state. In fact, native Texans who haven’t done this  often seem odd and out of place in a society where shooting for recreation is so common. In fact, Barnhill’s holiday traditions incorporate this same sport. “On Thanksgiving, we go to our ranch every year and hunt. That’s just what we do, and what we will keep doing for years to come.… It’s a great Texas experience,” she said. Not only do Texans use guns recreationally, but they also use them for unconventional purposes as well. UMHB sophomore nursing major Allyssa Bradburn can shoot a gun or bow better than most boys. But what sets her apart is how she incorporates this hobby into her life. Combining...

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New Girl means new drama
Mar06

New Girl means new drama

After a literally show-stopping kiss, season two of New Girl has found its awkward niche that viewers can’t get enough of. Zooey Dechannel and Jake Johnson’s characters, Jess and Nick, finally lock lips after more than a season of tension. While everyone else notes the chemistry between these two, the characters themselves continue denying it. For now, the clumsiness must continue. We move on to the latest episode, “Parking Spot.” Welcome to the decision, where four roommates vie for one of the newest additions to the apartment: a freshly painted parking spot. All the characters believe they deserve the coveted position and must prove to the others why the slot should belong to them. Though Schmidt does, indeed, pay for the “wiffy,” Nick’s term for the wireless Internet, Winston believes he too has worthy qualifications. But with a vague twist that no one really understands, Nick must choose between Schmidt and Jess. Awkward. Given that he just smooched his lady friend, Nick’s rare soft side yields to Jess. “You can’t escape destiny. She comes for us all. That’s right. Destiny is a lady,” Jess says. Obviously, this causes even more chaos in the already confusing household. “Let the decider decide. I am not the suggester. I am not having fun with this game,” Nick says before he relinquishes his power of choice. Meanwhile, Jess barely escapes an elderly man in a station wagon, Nick positions himself in a lawn chair to save the parking space and Schmidt runs him over, naturally. The three end up camping out in the parking garage, where conversation returns to that kiss. Oh, that kiss. Jess admits that life in the house feels different when she says, “I thought we could go back to the way things were, but we can’t.” Insensitive and rueful as always, Nick ruins the honest moment, saying, “That kiss was the dumbest mistake I’ve ever made…dumber than law school…dumber than when I thought his name was Brack Obama.” With her feelings hurt, Jess storms out and decides that fish sticks are the answer to life’s problems . Wait, what? What on earth is going on? No one is really sure. Back to the roommate drama. Schmidt, in all his logical glory, insists that Nick has breached rules of the apartment, and the only way to make things right is for Schmidt to commit the same crime as Nick. Problem solved? Not quite. Next week promises more uncomfortable situations and unfortunate catastrophes that make New Girl the most simplistic and creative comedy on...

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Student turns professional contest winner
Feb15

Student turns professional contest winner

After sitting in her car for more than nine hours, Jessica Pitcaithly waited not so patiently for “You and Tequila” by Kenny Chesney to play over the airwaves, cueing the beginning of a radio competition. Her call into the station that day began a winning streak that sparked a contest addiction. The freshman marketing major has entered hundreds of radio contests since she began in May 2012. In only 10 months, she has won eight major contests to a variety of well-known country concerts. Pitcaithly has seen Rascal Flatts, Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith and more than 10 other musicians, all completely free. “We listened to the radio a lot. After many times of trying, my sister and I were calling in… and the prize was ZiegenBock music festival. I got through, and we won…. When we heard our voices on air, we wanted to keep doing it,” Jessica said. The competitive spirit runs in the family. Jessica’s mom, Jennifer Pitcaithly, also entered similar contests when she was 16, though she never won. Now, it’s something the family discusses frequently. Jessica said, “My mom is supportive of it. She doesn’t have to buy me tickets anymore. One time, I got my whole family to play…. I’ve basically won every contest I wanted by doing the same things.” This success comes with a strategy. Jessica has developed a method for each challenge, depending on whether callers or texters receive the prize. First, she recommends doing research on the radio station before attempting to enter any sweepstakes. “By knowing what times to play, what song is the cue, what word you need to text or how often you can enter, you can be prepared and have the best chances,” she said. Secondly, she recommends using different phones, depending on the radio’s guidelines. “iPhones and smartphones are best for texting. You can copy and paste the winning word more quickly for a greater probability of winning… but don’t use more than one device. When you do that, you are basically playing against yourself.” When the lines are busy, Jessica encourages people to keep trying. “The more simple your phone is for calling, the better chances you have. You can just call and redial multiple times. If you don’t get through the first time, it doesn’t mean they have chosen someone already. For the most part, there are just a lot of callers, and no one has gotten through yet,” she said. On one occasion, she received a special surprise. “On Waco100, they were doing a $50,000 giveaway with a Ford F-150 truck…. It was sort of like...

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Single on Valentine’s

Roses are red, violets are blue. You hate Valentine’s day? I do too. Lock your doors and close your windows because a storm of lovey dovey Facebook posts and tweets will soon barrage social media. Frankly, few people actually care how much you “heart” your boo, or your shawty or whatever culturally acceptable term of endearment you use for the love of your life. The fourteenth of February, or as I like to call it, Singles’ Awareness Day, brings doom and gloom to a good percentage of the loveless population. This horrific holiday is the only time it’s socially acceptable for single ladies across the globe to shovel embarrassing amounts of chocolate ice cream into their mouths while watching an overemotional Channing Tatum film. This fact alone almost makes the day bearable. In the past, we offered Valentine’s advice for couples. But for those of you who can’t seem to get shot by Cupid, this one is for you. Here are just a few suggestions to cure your loneliness, at least temporarily. First option: ignorance  is bliss. If you want to avoid the occasion altogether, just pretend it isn’t happening. Those are not roses on your coworker’s desk. Those are not balloons in your roommate’s room. The chocolate everywhere? That’s for you, just for being awesome. In fact, all of the festivities make up a terrible dream that will soon vanish. Ignore the happiness, and it will not overtake you. I promise. For those who can’t carry on this fantastic facade, embrace your singleness. As a second solution, you can find some other sad souls. Misery loves company, and I guarantee you will feel better by the end of the night. If Cupid hasn’t struck yet, maybe he can’t see your target. Work your single swag. Option three: fake it until you make it. If love can’t seem to find you, find it. Friend dates on Valentine’s Day can be fun for both people. Even if there is no romantic chemistry, find a buddy and make the best of the day. With a friend sitting across from you, the holiday will pass with almost no pressure and far fewer tears. And the two of you can discuss your failed relationships. You obviously have that in common. So instead of dwelling on the fact that you still don’t have a ring on your finger, let that be a conversation-starter. If all of these things fail, do not lose hope. When you’re sitting on your couch, rocking back and forth and thinking happy thoughts, remember one thing. There’s always the dating site  farmersonly.com....

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Crusaders display ‘Passion’ for Christ
Jan29

Crusaders display ‘Passion’ for Christ

More than 25 Crusaders joined 60,000 other college students and gathered at the Dome in Atlanta, Ga.. to worship a sovereign God with one voice. Louie Giglio started Choice Ministries in 1985, designed for students at Baylor University. After serving there for several years, he and his wife relocated to Atlanta, where the Passion Conference was born with the goal of awakening people in the nation “to the reality of a glorious God,” as Giglio described it. Now this humble effort has spread across the globe and climaxed with a world tour. Crusaders traveled from Belton to the peach state to attend Passion 2013 this year Jan. 1-4. Sophomore education major Sarah Payne has been to Passion three times, but continues to learn new lessons from each experience. “God teaches me something different every year.… That’s why I go. The last two years, the conference has been about human trafficking,” she said. Along with Giglio, other speakers included John Piper, Francis Chan and Judah Smith. Christian rapper, Lecrae; singer, Beth Moore; and band, Jesus Culture provided worship for the huge crowd. Together, these influential people spoke out against sexual slavery and inspired audiences to join the movement. Sophomore nursing major Ali Dennis found one girl’s story especially impacting. “On the second night, they showed a video about a girl who had been sold into the sex trade in her early teens and told the story of her rescue and recovery,” she said. Little did they know, the same young woman was in the Dome that night. “The interviewer made a comment about how big and beautiful the girl’s smile was, and the girl told him it hasn’t always been that way. That was such a breathtaking moment. I looked around and saw people in tears…. It makes the goal of Passion beautiful and real.” Each day, students attended three large group sessions with worship, two small group collaborations and one break for lunch. Sophomore psychology major Andrew Alvarez felt the strain of the rigorous schedule but was spiritually renewed by the end of the week. “My favorite part was when Louie Giglio talked about how God can do immeasurably more through us. That really hit home for me because I sometimes doubt what I can do, and what God’s purpose is for me,” he said. Alvarez also discovered the reality of a sovereign God. “I feel like I’m not gifted to do it. But it’s a reminder to me that God put me here to do immeasurably more. When I doubt myself, God doesn’t doubt me.” Payne enjoyed the worship that preceded the sermons. “Jesus Culture was definitely my...

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