Crusaders channel their inner pranksters
Apr15

Crusaders channel their inner pranksters

Certain people in this world like to shake things up. They like to keep life interesting. April 1 is their day. “It’s the perfect day to pull pranks,” junior criminal justice major Chase Covington said. Indeed.  It’s a day to pull out all the stops. Covington is known as a prankster, and as the head resident assistant of McLane Hall, no one in the dorm is far from his schemes. His first victim, this April Fools’ Day, was freshman multimedia information and technology major Michael Mann. One joke is known by a lot of different names, but this noisy prank is a classic. All you need to pull it off is an air horn and duct tape. Find a door, preferably one that has a stopper on the other side, and duct tape the air horn so that when the door opens, it hits the air horn. The hardest part of the prank is “getting the air horn to stay in place to where the door hits it just right,” Covington said. The prankee will be startled, if not soiled, at the conclusion of the prank. That is, if they open the door all the way. Mann walked away clean. He said he didn’t expect to be pranked this April Fools’ Day, but that he “should’ve, knowing Chase.” Although this attempt failed, Covington had one more to go. Another simple, yet hilarious, prank is wrapping a friend’s car with plastic kitchen wrap. It’s a two-person job. One person holds one end of the wrap firmly in position while the other runs (or walks, your call) around the vehicle with the other end. The wrap won’t damage the vehicle, but it may impede the plans of the victim. Covington said that the key to pulling pranks is this: “Don’t get caught,” but he also added, “and don’t take it too far.” Senior Christian ministry major Jesse Malina was the victim of the plastic-wrapped car. “Word on the street was that my car had been Saran wrapped,” he said. But he didn’t suspect Covington. Rather, he disclosed that he believed the prankster to be freshman multimedia information and technology major Bella Gall. Malina believed it to be her because he saw Gall pranking someone else. This time the victim was Covington. She and freshman finance major Daniel Garcia beautified Covington’s car. They decorated it with colored tape and flowers. It was almost the perfect prank. “Almost,” Gall emphasized, “if he didn’t come out.” Covington caught Gall and Garcia in the act as they were putting on the final touches. It’s no secret that pranks can be duds, but junior Christian studies...

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Electromagnetic Pulse Attack: hit from above
Apr02

Electromagnetic Pulse Attack: hit from above

THE BELLS — It’s a military situation that sends shivers down the spine of any commander. A nuclear blast high up the atmosphere creates an electromagnetic pulse that renders electronic equipment obsolete. The playing field is now evened. But picture this same attack on a civilian population: transit systems become stagnant, communication methods become silenced, food and water infrastructures run dry. Chaos ensues. An electromagnetic pulse, or EMP attack seems more science fiction than anything, but it’s not. Newt Gingrich, who was active in pursuing EMP legislation, in an interview with Politico magazine said, “This creates such a collapse of our fundamental productive capacity that you could literally see a civilization crash and tear itself apart fighting … internally.” An EMP attack on America may not happen soon, but it seems to be nearing. And if our nation’s enemies don’t get us, a solar storm just might. John Holdren, the Obama administration’s leading science and technology adviser, told the New York Times in 2011 that a large EMP event “could be big on the order of $2 trillion during the first year in the United States alone, with a recovery period of four to 10 years.” The cost to strengthen our system, according to the EMP Commission: $2 billion. It’s better to pay now than later. Congress doesn’t seem to think so. They have failed to pass the Secure High-voltage Infrastructure for Electricity from Lethal Damage Act, or SHIELD Act. The clock continues to tick. Russia and China have experimented with EMP weapons, and nations like Iran and North Korea hope to do the same. Many believe that the solution to the problem lies in the hands of those like the Missile Defense Agency. If an enemy nation were to send a warhead to detonate above the United States, a ground-based interceptor would be prepared to smash it before it got in range. Richard Lehner, an agency spokesman, told The New York Times, “It doesn’t matter if the target is Chicago or 100 miles over Nebraska. For the interceptor, it’s the same thing.” He went on to call the potential damage from the EMP attack as “pretty theoretical.” While that system is capable to defend our nation against warheads and other weapons, what are we to do about solar storms? The only long-lasting solution is to follow the advice of the EMP Commission. As they’ve said before, our nation’s backbone lies in our transformers, and we must harden what they can take. This isn’t a wait-and-see situation. It’s time to strengthen America from the inside...

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Concert Choir gains momentum
Feb25

Concert Choir gains momentum

THE BELLS — Three words: UMHB Concert Choir. Chances are you’ve heard of them, but you might not quite know why. Well, you should.  In their first year of eligibility, the UMHB concert choir has been invited to sing at an American Choral Directors convention in March. “To be eligible to compete for an American Choral Directors convention, choirs must submit three years of recordings,” music professor Dr. Michelle Roueché said. “The fact that UMHB was invited to a convention in our first year of eligibility is really remarkable.” Roueché has been a professor here for four years and she is the director of choral studies. She related the success of the choir to sports: “It’s like a basketball team making it to the Sweet Sixteen,” she said. And the concert choir seemed to be this year’s Cinderella team.  They were up against the big dogs. 35 university choirs from Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arkansas and Louisiana, which makes up the Southwestern Division, competed for the chance to to attend the conference. UMHB was one of five selected, and “we were competing against the Baylor’s, the Texas Tech’s, and other powerhouse schools,” senior church music major Cameron Roucloux said. He was slightly surprised  they were selected, but not too surprised “because we know we’re good.” Maybe they aren’t the Cinderella team at all. Hard work, talented singers and a gifted director is a formula for success. In his fourth year of choir concert, senior music education major Samuel Davis understands why they have been successful. He said the choir’s diversity of singing technique really gives them a boost. “We sing different styles with the appropriate choral technique, which also adds variety to our programs,” Davis said. So, you’ve got to be a music major to join the choir, right? Wrong. “Membership is determined by audition, so all UMHB students are eligible,” Roueché said. Maybe it’s not exactly March Madness, but when the choir travels to Little Rock, Ark. March 19, you better believe they’re going to put on a...

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Mineo raps, breaks the mold
Feb11

Mineo raps, breaks the mold

It wasn’t too long ago that Andy Mineo was rapping on the stage of Walton Chapel. He was coming off of the release of his album Heroes for Sale in April 2013. That night, UMHB was filled with as much bass as it was with Baptists. Mineo went off. And he never seems to stop. A lot of people were surprised when he independently sold 28,000 copies of Heroes for Sale, and that was in the first week. A Christian rapper listed on the Billboard 200? That’s a miracle, right? Sure, it is. Mineo wouldn’t argue that. Yet the release of his new EP Never Land proves that his music is here to move past the stereotypes of Christian rap being awful. 26,000 copies of Never Land sold in its debut week. Oh, and the EP can only be bought digitally.  It landed Mineo number 2 on the Billboard rap charts behind Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ Grammy award-winning album, The Heist. Mineo, in an interview with MTV said, “Number two on the hip-hop charts? I’ll sit behind Macklemore after the Grammy performance and take #2; that’s cool.” Nothing, not even the ceiling, can hold Mineo down, though. That’s because he’s got bigger goals than topping charts, he told MTV. “… Numbers aren’t what we live for,” he said. “Numbers at the end of the day and charting is not what we’re here to do only. They just help tell the story.” Never Land is Mineo’s way of telling how success is unfulfilling. Lyrics to the song “Never Land ft. Marz” tell all: You know the rich and famous, kill they self to stay rich and famous. Very same thing they they built they name with, be the same thing they they be enslaved with. It’s a thought-provoking EP. At the same time, Never Land is unlike anything the secular or Christian world has seen from a rapper. It’s a coherent mix of Mineo’s NYC style of hip-hop, his Italian roots (check out the songs “Paisano’s Wylin” and “Paganini”), his progressive mindset toward Christian rap and his biblically based lyrics. Add to it that fact that Mineo collaborated with top-notch producers and artists, and it’s safe to say Never Land will be hot for a while. Mineo won’t settle, though. It’s like he proclaims on track three, “You can’t stop...

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From ‘Most Wanted’ to peaceful manifesto

Dead: nearly 3,000 Americans. The attacks on 9/11 stole more than a handful of father-daughter dances, more than a few family outings, more than several grandmothers being able to embrace their first grandchildren. And now the wretch responsible has published a 36-page document inviting you and me to “happiness.” I don’t think so. In America, actions speak louder than words. His name is Khalid Shaik Mohammed (aka KSM). Here are his words: “Do not believe those who claim mujahedeen fight infidels to turn them to Islam or that we are fighting you because you practice democracy, freedom, or claim that you uphold human rights. Islam prohibits us to force our religion on any human being …” Yet, his actions prove differently. He is the accused mastermind behind 9/11 and several other terrrorist plots. He came to the attention of the FBI and CIA in 1995 because of his invvolvement in a failed plot to blow up as many as a dozen U.S. commercial airliners over the Pacific. Perhaps KSM’s seclusion led him to spiritual renewal–leading him to renounce violence. Fat chance. He doesn’t seem too secluded at all, and that’s the real problem. He was given a laptop that allowed him to write his manifesto in his defense. It was originally intended for each member of the military court overseeing his case at Guantanamo Naval Base. Now a military judge’s ruling has deemed these documents unclassified, rendering them available to anyone.  The Huffington Post became a platform, along with Great Britain’s Channel 4 News, for the first installment of KSM’s three-part manifesto. He is now afforded another weapon: propaganda. Some believe secret messages are hidden within the manifestos for the consumption of KSM’s radical colleagues. Others say that allowing him to publish these documents is a necessary step forward after years of torture to prisoners, mainly by waterboarding. But when did America become so soft? Certainly, torture is not the answer, but neither is allowing a mass murderer to spit on the graves of the ones he killed with the words of a poorly written manifesto. The second part of KSM’s manifesto will tell why the World Trade Center attacks happened, and in part three he will explain what he believes about the war on terror. Well, as my mother always told me, “The proof is in the pudding.” All I can hear are the cries of the American families who lost their loved...

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