Have a Little Faith inspires readers

After the riveting story Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Albom has managed to do it again with the inspiring story of three different men. Have a Little Faith is a easy 24-hour read. Albom’s 82-year-old rabbi from his hometown, Albert Lewis, asks him to do his eulogy. What starts as a simple question turns into an eightyear journey. Along the way Albom discovers the true character of his singing rabbi and meets an unusual African American pastor with a rap sheet. Albom sets out to discover his rabbi, but in the end discovers himself and his faith. As a boy, Albom did what was expected of a Jewish boy while regularly dodging his intimidating “man of God.” Life has taken over with its demanding schedule and his religion has been pushed to the side. In an effort to get to know the rabbi as a man, Albom travels to regular meetings with Lewis. At the same time, he encounters an impoverished pastor from his current city, Detroit, who ministers to the homeless. Albom gains insight from both men, but not in an overly preachy kind of way. The book is written in conversational style with excerpts from Lewis’ sermons. The unique part of the novel is how a bestselling author is riveted by both a Jewish rabbi and a born-again Christian. One of the main points in the novel is acceptance, not just of one’s own religion, but of other’s beliefs. Other topics are forgiveness, doubt and the significance of faith. Although the men come from different spiritual worlds, Albom sees that all beliefs are united in faith. Lewis holds this especially dear to his heart, relaying how he and a Catholic priest once walked arm in arm in the playground of a Catholic school, despite stares. Albom finds himself clinging to his singing rabbi, the eulogy an almost distant thought in his mind. Winter brings trying times for all men as death and harsh weather threaten their lives. The time comes for Albom to write the eulogy and by then he knows so much of Lewis he has no need for notes. What is amazing about the novel is that it doesn’t lead to a certain way of thinking. It leads to thinking. Why not be comforted by the belief that something is bigger than...

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Celebrities prepare for Grammy Awards
Jan26

Celebrities prepare for Grammy Awards

By Emily Keahey Music’s biggest night is around the corner, as artists prepare to come together and make magic at the 52nd annual Grammy Awards. Set for Jan. 31 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, it has a lineup of stars as far reaching as its influence on the music industry. In a live concert hosted by LL Cool J on Dec. 2, nominations for the ceremony were announced, which range from genre-specific awards like best country song to the all-inclusive ones like record and song of the year. Beyoncé led the list for the most nominations with 10, including album of the year for her CD, I Am … Sasha Fierce, song of the year for, “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)” and record of the year for “Halo,” as well as many other awards. Taylor Swift follows closely in second place with eight nominations which includes “White Horse” for best country song and her CD Fearless for best album . Coincidentally, Beyoncé and Swift are nominated in four of the same categories; hopefully, there will not be a repeat of the VMA scandal. Other nominees include The Black Eyed Peas, Maxwell and Kanye West, each with six nominations. All five album of the year nominees are scheduled to perform, which includes 10-time Grammy winner Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, The Black Eyed Peas, Lady Gaga and The Dave Matthews Band. Along with those headliners, The Zac Brown Band, Lady Antebellum and Green Day announced they would perform as well. A special show is planned by Bon Jovi; he is letting fans decide which song his band will perform. To vote in the “You Pick It, They Play It” special, log onto www.cbs.com/grammys. The Grammys are the only awards based solely on artistic achievement and presented by their peers. Not only do the majority of performers present as well, but other icons such as actress Miley Cyrus, The Jonas Brothers, Ke$ha, actor Josh Duhamel and new pop/R&B sensation Justin Bieber will be presenting. The Recording Academy, which puts on the Grammys, revealed a new innovative advertising campaign entitled “We’re All Fans.” It shows the unparalleled impact that fans have had on music in the digital age. The portraits of the Grammy nominees are made exclusively of real-time, fan generated YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr posts, which make a “live” portrait of the artist. To see who goes home with the gold, tune in to watch the live broadcast from CBS at 7 p.m. Central Standard...

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American Idol gears up for ninth season

Couch potato or not, the beginning of season nine of American Idol has reality TV fanatics across campus in a frenzy. In the premiere of this latest season, guest star Victoria Beckham joined with the series trio Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Kara Dio-Guardi at Idol’s first stop in Boston, Mass. Contenders on the show are after a golden ticket to Hollywood. Whether performers can hold musical notes or not, enthusiasts watch the show because Idol keeps them entertained. “Pat Ford is the funniest, worst contestant so far,” said senior sports management major Doak Fleming. “He kept saying ‘holla’ and it just seemed like a joke.” But the laughs don’t end at the hollering 17-year-old boy singing Britney Spears’ hit “Womanizer.” In Atlanta, Ga., 62-year-old Larry Platt entertained viewers, judges and R&B star Mary J. Blige by singing one of his own songs titled “Pants on the Ground.” Freshman sociology major Taylor Holleyman heard about the “Pants” song through one of his friends, so he searched YouTube to see for himself. The video site keeps Idol amusement going with Platt’s clip, which has over a million hits. “He was a very interesting man,” Holleyman said. “A little bit scattered, though, and talked pretty fast.” The different auditions are what draw people to watch the show. Throughout evening episodes, Idol focuses on specific contestants to give the fans some insight into their lives. “I do like the cool stories,” said junior elementary education major Brianna Maciel, “especially the one about the 16-year-old girl who has the mentally disabled siblings.” Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson have been on the show since the first episode. Cowell is known for his frank comments, while Jackson is more of an encourager. “I’m always surprised with whom Simon likes,” Maciel said. “Sometimes I agree with him, and other times I wonder why he chose that person.” Judges will continue to keep viewers guessing until Idol goes to Hollywood. With only three more auditions left, stay tuned, as Ryan Seacrest says, “To see who will become the next American...

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Vampire, werewolf love triangle heats up
Nov24

Vampire, werewolf love triangle heats up

By Emily Keahey In the supernatural world that Bella (Kristen Stewart) desperately wants to become a part of, she finds herself in more danger than ever. In a race against time, Bella must fight for all she loves, as she tries to escape past enemies Based on the second book in Stephanie Meyers’ series The Twilight Saga: New Moon, which was released Nov. 20, exceeds expectations as an exciting romantic thriller. Taylor Lautner, who plays Jacob, said, “I think the wonderful thing about this movie is that it has a little bit of everything. It has romance, it has a lot more action, it has suspense and it is a thriller. I think this movie is for everyone and everyone would enjoy it.” After Edward (Robert Pattinson) saves Bella from the crazed vampire James in the last movie, the forbidden love between the vampire and human couple continues in this sequel. The two share a perfect summer together and seem completely infatuated with one another, but after her disastrous 18th birthday party Edward deserts her, claiming to no longer love her. Brokenhearted and depressed, Bella numbly trudges through her senior year of high school, finding solace in the reckless behavior she promised Edward she’d stay away from. With the help of her childhood friend Jacob, small glimpses of happiness return to her life. A sudden change in Jacob’s behavior leads Bella to learn the Edward’s family aren’t the only ones keeping secrets. The Quileute legends about werewolves are actually true, and Jacob is one of them Director Chris Weitz said, “The teen-romance aspect of the first movie grows up a bit. There is the break-up, and it becomes a bit more adult. There are more difficulties to deal with, and in comes Taylor (Jacob) who is Bella’s best friend but wants to be more, so there is intrigue.” Bella is caught in the middle of this love triangle. She must choose whether to stay with her best friend, who promised never to hurt her or save the one she loves from committing suicide. Twi-hard fans have quickly chosen sides, either team Edward or team Jacob. It is actually hard for the normal moviegoer not to do the same, when swept up in the movie. Sophomore nursing major, Anna Maniscalco said, “I am team Edward. He is the one Bella cannot live without. They complete each other and can barely survive without the other. On the other hand, Jacob is a great guy. He is sweet and always there, but it isn’t the same kind of love that Bella and Edward share. If Edward wasn’t there I would say OK,...

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Christmas classic comes to life in 3D

In this modern retelling of the book A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, director Robert Zemeckis doesn’t quite hit a home run, but does enough to make the debut a solid base-hit. The movie doesn’t really add or take anything away from the story itself. Actor Jim Carrey voices “Mr. Bah-humbug” along with the spirits of Christmas past, present and future, and he does a good job delving into the personality of Ebenezer Scrooge, making the character believable. Scrooge is an interesting character to watch as the movie progresses. We see him grow as he revisits his painful past and the future that contains the products of his actions. His interaction with family and those closest to him proves to be endearing as his anti-Christmas spirit evolves. The film jumps into Christmas past without much more background on Scrooge than the fact that he is cheap, grumpy and pushes everyone away. Really, this is all you need to know about the man to begin the journey, but a little more setting would have been nice. Christmas past is absolutely brilliant. A candle-like spirit lights up his past, and it hits home with both the viewers and Scrooge. We see a softer, lighthearted Ebenezer in his childhood, who became more and more protected and hardened as he was left out by classmates. The loss of his wife also is a telling moment in his story. She remains as the last tie he has to a sympathetic way of life, and he ends up pushing her away just like everyone else. That being said, Christmas present and Christmas future were dismal. The scenes in both are over the top and seem like they are intended for rabid monkeys that are hyped up on Red Bull. God represents the spirit of Christmas present, and flies around in his deckedout holiday room with a transparent floor, showing the struggles of those who are less fortunate. The concept is timeless, but the scenes themselves were intended for low attention- span society. In Christmas future, Scrooge is followed by a Grim Reaper-like figure, and viewers get lost in the symbolism and (again) over the top presentation and execution of a crucial part of this story. Scrooge is the only bearable thing to watch during these two acts. There are several Christian themes that run the course of the movie, including forgiveness, grace, humility and love, which are woven subtly, yet effectively, into the persona of Scrooge. The movie was not necessarily bad. It starts off doing some great things but trails off in its own flashy displays of super-symbolism and loses much of the effectiveness...

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Christ at center of lyrics
Nov24

Christ at center of lyrics

“When the first light brightened the dark/before the breaking of the human heart/there was You and there was me.” These powerful lyrics bring immediate attention to a listener’s heart. Christian artist Phil Wickham visited UMHB in August and held a worship concert at Luther Memorial, which helped students spiritually prepare for a great start to a new semester. Wickham was still in the process of working on his third album titled Heaven & Earth. In the album, Wickham keeps his signature pop vocal vibe, playing up the CD with a little rock edge by using different electronics and programmed beats. Wickham’s musical talents helped him reach a whole new level of creativity for this album — as it turns out, it’s a hit. The album was released in stores Nov. 17. It includes top hits: “The Time Is Now,” “Eden” and “Safe.” Each track has its own musical style. No two songs sound the same, and all are about worshiping the Lord, whether it’s the rocker brought out of him in the upbeat track “Hold On,” which is formulated with a quiet beginning and rings into tones of a crashing conclusion, or the familiar, soft, melodious Wickham in “All Because Of Your Love.” He didn’t lose sight of keeping Christ as the center of his lyrics. The music beautifully comes together in Heaven & Earth to create one of the best albums of 2009 for the contemporary Christian music genre. And it’s because of artists like Wickham that more people are coming to know Christ through listening to the lyrics of Christian music. Not only does Wickham’s originality shine through in this album, listeners also can feel his passion for the Lord in every song, leaving many breathless. Heaven & Earth receives 5 out of 5 stars for its inspirational spin on worship...

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