What could top this year?
Feb18

What could top this year?

By Jayten Ames   For the past 12 years, the university has hosted the McLane Lecture for students and staff to hear from speakers who have been in positions of influence.   This year, the lecture received more attention from students than usual when it was announced that the speaker would be George W. Bush.   The prestigious guest caused students to seek access to this event with quite a bit of interest. Due to limited seating in the Mayborn Campus Center, attendance for the event required tickets for entrance. The day that tickets for the lecture became available, the turnout was large.   As one walked into the building, all he or she could see were lining the walls of the Bawcom Student Union so they could claim tickets to the event. The line stretched from the Campus Activities Center, down the wall past Starbucks and all the way out the door to the football stadium.   Interest in the event didn’t just end with students. Although numerous alumni and community members inquired about purchasing tickets, they were reserved only for students, faculty and staff in addition to special guests of the university such as trustees and donors.   The event was well received. The turnout was almost unprecedented, as there was a point that there was standing room only in the cram-packed arena. The president received a total of four standing ovations, and there was a private luncheon in his honor after he spoke at the lecture.   This was a moment on campus that many students will not soon forget. As students endeavor to live by the inspirational words of the former president, one must wonder what can be done to top this year’s...

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“Better Call Saul,” y’all
Feb18

“Better Call Saul,” y’all

Breaking Bad fans went crazy last year when it was said that a spin-off of the popular AMC show was coming in 2015. The two-episode premiere of Better Call Saul ran at 9 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 8 and the following Monday.   The show delves into the life of the conniving criminal lawyer, Saul Goodman, portrayed by Bob Odenkirk, on the former show before he was successful and was helping out Walter White and Jesse Pinkman. His tagline for his cheesy and poorly produced commercials was “Better Call Saul,” hence shot the spin-off show got its name.   The first episode starts off with the events after Breaking Bad ended. He is working at a Cinnabon, just as he said in his final scene. He is a depressed alcoholic, and it’s actually kind of sad.   Then the show jumps back to 2002 and his not-so-successful career as a lawyer representing small cases and involving himself in scams to earn money.   He is having major money problems, he can’t pay his bills and he gets involved in some sketchy predicaments that will probably be elaborated later on in the series.   Fans get more of an idea of who Saul was before he was the goofball lawyer on the previous hit television series. He was born James McGill, but came up with his alias on a play of words “S’all good, man!” Clever, but nothing we didn’t already know coming out of Breaking Bad.   Saul has a brother, who is also a lawyer and after a mental breakdown, is getting ripped off by his law firm.   While it was hard to catch on at first, and a tad bit confusing, people will be glad to know that some key points in the show also clicked with Breaking Bad. This was good news, considering the writers of the shows, Vince Gilligan and Pete Gould, said if any ties to the show were going to be made, it would be starting in season two.   Of course, if you’re a true Breaking Bad fanatic, you’ll see all of those hidden gems in a heartbeat, even if they weren’t making direct references.   The episode ends with the audience on the edge of their seats, so thankfully they didn’t have to wait an entire week to see what happened next.   The show did pretty well as far as ratings go. The first night Better Call Saul aired, it had 6.9 million viewers, the highest-rated debut of a series in history.   Monday night, the viewers dropped by half, but a big part of that reason was that...

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Hunger gets canned by Helping Hands
Feb18

Hunger gets canned by Helping Hands

Helping Hands’ Warehouse added 40,000 pounds of food to its shelves after Canstruction 2015.   “The previous highs were during last year’s Canstruction event: 35,000 pounds of food and 1,400 guests,” Executive Director Rucker Preston said.   They served 4,000 guests this year.   Canstruction is a worldwide charity event crafted from good hearts, cans and art.   As canstruction.org states, the event “showcases colossal structures made entirely out of full cans of food.”   After structures reach completion, they are organized for the public as a giant art exhibition. All the food is donated to local hunger relief organizations.   The charity has raised more than 25 million pounds of food since its founding in 1992. Canstruction events are held annually in more than 150 cities around the world on five continents.   Helping Hands brought the charity to Central Texas five years ago. This year, the art displays were as masterful as ever.   “Who isn’t impressed by carousel horses with beef jerky manes? Or a ship sailing on a river of tuna? Or Mr. T on a Wheaties box?” BSM director Shawn Shannon asked rhetorically.   She’s gathered students each year to help with the de-canstruction process.   Shannon has witnessed Canstruction become an established community experience.   “The structures themselves are always amazing, and the items for the silent auction will surely bless those who purchase them to bless others,” Shannon said. “Yet, I really like how well Helping Hands tells the story of needs seen and met through the mediums of pictures, pamphlets, video and testimonies. It is an amazing on-going story of goodness in action,” she said.   And what might Jesus canstruct if He participated?   “Whatever he would make, it would be good, true and lovely,” Shannon said. “Whose to say he wasn’t there?” She added.   “For an event like this to go as well as it did, I believe that God’s hand was at work well before and all during the event,” he said.   Central Texas houses many underprivileged families and individuals with great needs. Often, the need can seem too much to meet.   “Part of what I love about the work of Helping Hands is that they approach situations that most of us find overwhelming and move with Christ into these hard, otherwise impossible places for the good of people and the glory of God,” Shannon said.   She has seen how the Canstruction event brings the community closer: “There is something crucial about gathering together around the purpose of caring for those in need. Here we learn together about needs and opportunities,” she said.  ...

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Speech Cru sets its sights on nationals
Feb18

Speech Cru sets its sights on nationals

Speech Cru brought home two third place sweepstakes awards at the Cowtown Swing Tournaments hosted by Tarrant County Community College and West Texas A&M Jan. 23-25.   University sponsor Kathy Owens praises the participants on their accomplishments as the team’s year-long run approaches an end.   “We’ve done so much with the little we have,” Owens said. “I am proud that our team can hold its own against the big schools with large teams and even larger budgets.”   Students prepare for their final tournament later this month on the road to nationals. Qualifiers so far include senior political science and history double major Zach Craig, junior speech communication and political science double major Kelzye Isham and senior public relations major Jasmine Simmons.   With each competition, Speech Cru members never seem to disappoint. Junior history and political science double major Stephen Bedwell set a precedent for the team’s future debaters.   “I am happy especially about the Top Novice in Lincoln-Douglas debate award for Stephen Bedwell,” Owens said. “Our program just took up debate in October, so it’s nice to be recognized.”   Owens, assisted by her husband, Dr. Kerry Owens, has led the university speech team for the last decade seeing tremendous strides in the program, none of which could have been done without the dedication and enthusiasm of the students.   “What I love is that the students aren’t here out of requirement, but because of the passion they have for it,” Isham said.   “Even if you don’t have any past experience with speech, it’s a really good thing to take a risk on,” she said. “It’s very conducive to learning and very conducive to growing your confidence in all of life, not just public speaking.”   Owens encourages any student who is interested in becoming part of the team to email her at...

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Ballplayer gets second chance
Feb18

Ballplayer gets second chance

By Michael Crosson   To most collegiate baseball players, the big prize is a shot at the major leagues. For one Crusader, it is about playing the game he loves and making the team better.   Emery Atkisson is one of 30 members of the UMHB baseball team. He plays second base and shortstop. Atkisson is grateful for his position on a team. For a time, he wondered if he would ever be a college athlete again.   “The game finds a way to humble you. Although my shoulder injury was unfortunate, I have found a new love for the game and gained a greater understanding of life as well as the importance of a good work ethic,” says Atkisson.   Before the ballplayer’s injury, major league scouts from the Colorado Rockies and the Atlanta Braves franchises were following Atkisson.   “I had a set rehabilitation program at Stephen F. Austin, but I tried to push myself too hard, which ultimately prolonged my recuperation process. However, it has been two years since my surgery and my arm is feeling better than ever and I am ready for the 2015 season,” he said.   The idea of an athlete going from NCAA Division I to Division III means Atkisson has to work harder to prove he is still an elite player.   “The biggest difference between Division I and Division III is the lack of athletic perks in terms of scholarship opportunities. We are encouraged to play for the love of the game. The passion we have for this game will ultimately lead us to becoming a better team and better individuals in the long run. We play because we love it and we learn life lessons through the games of baseball,” Atkisson said.   Atkisson believes his work ethic and positive attitude toward the game of baseball is the most valuable attribute he brings to the team.   “My work ethic was compared to Robert Griffin III in high school, I feel like that is what I bring most to this team,” he said.   Atkisson is excited for the opportunity to be a more vocal leader for the team.   “When baseball is good, Emery is good and I plan on having a very good spring,” Atkisson said.   If this team can push itself not only in beating Concordia or LeTourneau Universities, but in getting to the Division III College Baseball World Series in Wisconsin, then this team can become one of the elite Division III programs in the nation.   Chase Burrow, is also a member of the baseball team and plays left field. He said...

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Taking a shot at critics
Feb04

Taking a shot at critics

American Sniper, the gut-wrenching film that depicts the life of former U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle has become an instant, box office sensation. The accomplished sniper has been lauded as a hero by many, but there are some who don’t think Kyle’s actions were so noble.   In a tweet, actor Seth Rogen compared American Sniper to a Nazi propaganda film. Hollywood producer Michael Moore tweeted similar sentiments saying, “We were taught snipers were cowards” who will “shoot you in the back.”   While it’s true that snipers don’t engage in hand-to-hand combat, calling Chris Kyle a coward and comparing the film to Nazi propaganda shows ignorance in regard to what the film is truly about.   Nazi propaganda showed that it was an honor to kill others. They killed because they didn’t think certain people had the right to be alive and they took pride in doing so. Anyone who sees this in American Sniper is drastically missing the point.   Kyle didn’t shoot because he thought his targets were unworthy of living, he shot because his targets were a threat to his fellow soldiers and a threat to liberty in the Middle East. He didn’t take pride in the fact that someone died by his hand, but he did it because he felt it was necessary to protect the greater good.   While some in Hollywood may not view Kyle as an American hero, his native state of Texas does. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott recently declared Feb. 2 Chris Kyle Day.   Former Gov. Rick Perry described Kyle’s legacy best during a memorial service in Feb. 2013.   “Chris Kyle was the public face of an anonymous breed of American warrior who are handed the hardest missions and assume the largest risks,” Perry said. “Chris was among the very best at what he did, and he saved countless American lives in the process.”   We don’t honor Kyle for those he killed, because that would be patriotic propaganda. Instead, we honor him for the lives he saved and for his desire to protect the freedom of those who can’t protect...

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