Pause for Thought: Bucket list before kicking the can

By Joshua Thiering December graduation is quickly approaching. This collegiate exodus of seniors into the land of new opportunities is a source of terror for some, and for others it is like being a dog that is finally let off his chain. But before the fast-approaching big romp in the world, a final run around the UMHB backyard is in order. Here is a bucket list of things to do before your college career kicks the bucket. Attend a Civil War re-enactment Some things in history are best not to recreate, like the Hindenburg blimp explosion. Others like civil wars and Renaissance festivals are just great opportunities to get dressed up in period garb and use antiquated language. Take lots of photos — they make interesting Christmas cards. Experiment with facial hair College is about experimentation. Call it a social experiment. Why buy a turtle neck, when you can grow your own? Why not grow a throat beard like Henry David Thoreau for the Civil War re-enactment. Speaking of Thoreau… Live in a tent beside the pond “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived,” Thoreau wrote in Walden, a great American classic. And so, taking a page from Walden we will go to UMHB pond, because we wish to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of college, and see if we could learn what it had to teach, and not, when we came to graduate, discover that we had not received a real education. I want to suck the sweet nectar from the fruits of the simple life, to jostle the juice around in my mouth and to feel its sticky dribble on my chin. Speaking of simple pleasures…. Go to a drive-in with your honey Kanoodle the night away together. Sometimes it’s nice to enjoy the simple pleasures in life like a good movie, snuggling and hand-holding. Drive-ins used to be called “passion pits,” but that hardly is demeaning ever since The Passion of the Christ came...

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George ‘W’ Bush story told by Hollywood screen
Nov04

George ‘W’ Bush story told by Hollywood screen

Although many speculated that the film directed by well-known liberal Oliver Stone on the life  of the current president, George W. Bush, would be a cheap jab at the president in his last few months as commander in chief, they could not have been more wrong. Stone himself admitted during an interview on the popular television program The Colbert Report, his motives for making the movie were not entirely pure. However, during the making of the film, Stone said that he had a change of heart. During the televised interview Stone said, “Making the movie really kind of opened my eyes to this guy Bush. I really started to like him. He’s a great man, and I believe he’s on his way to being a great president.” The film stars Josh Brolin (No Country for Old Men, American Gangster) portraying “W” from his childhood to the Iraq war. The star- studded cast includes, Elizabeth Banks as Laura Bush, Richard Dreyfuss as Dick Cheney, James Cromwell as George Herbert Walker Bush, Ellen Burstyn as Barbara Bush, Scott Glenn as Donald Rumsfeld and Toby Jones as Karl Rove. While Brolin comes away with an astounding performance as the film’s protagonist, it is perhaps the rest of the cast that truly brings the story to life, particularly the performances of both Jeffrey Wright, who portrays Gen. Colin Powell, and Thandie Newton as Condoleezza Rice. “W” chronicles the life of Bush, traveling back and forth between flashbacks of young Bush attempting to escape from his father’s shadow to behind closed doors in the cabinet of the President of the United States. The film is designed to give audiences a new perspective on the current administration from the viewpoint of the presidency. It has both lighthearted moments and those of high drama and should be considered one of the best films of the year. The film runs for 129 minutes and is rated PG-13 for language, including sexual references, some alcohol abuse, smoking and brief disturbing war images. The film is a must see, if not simply for the breathtaking performances — for the even-handed glance at the highest office in the United States. Its message of hope and redemption speaks to the lost American dream. For those who hate Bush, this is a chance to understand him. For those who love him, this is a chance to see him for the man he truly...

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Students take stage, publish works
Nov04

Students take stage, publish works

Even though it’s not the typical coffee house setting, a hushed audience and a list of performers packed the SUB for a night filled with creativity and student participation. The first Open Mic Nite of the semester was preceded by the unveiling of the university’s annual publication, the Baylorian. “It’s great that we’re getting to see a lot more of the arts publicized around campus,” assistant campus activities director, Jeff Sutton, said. “And the best part is that students are showing up and wanting more.” In October, the 2008-09 edition of the Baylorian was made available for purchase. That evening, a small group of students gathered at the amphitheater to read aloud some of the recently published work. Immediately after, Open Mic Nite commenced. Last semester Open Mic Nite was introduced to the students as a venue allowing musicians, writers and storytellers to showcase their talents in front of an audience. Now, the event is returning with the same vision. “It’s cool because we’re not affiliated with anything — with any organization. Open Mic Nite is totally student-led and relies on us to participate for it to be a success. I think it has been,” senior philosophy and theology major, Andy Wayland, said. Almost in the same vein, the Baylorian is a published collection of short stories, poetry, artwork and literary criticism that can only be possible through the submissions of faculty, alumni and students. “There are so many great voices from people at our school, and without those voices, we wouldn’t have our publication,” senior managing editor, Russel Dotson said. “We thoroughly evaluate every submission and try our best to give the authors and artists a chance to see their work in print.” Last year’s editor, senior English major Kaylynn Bishop, hosted the Baylorian unveiling and also performed in Open Mic. “I feel like Open Mic Nite and the Baylorian are two visions that cohabitate very well,” Bishop said. “Both involve artistic endeavors going public, and I think it’s great that our school body is taking more involvement in those areas.” Next year’s publication of the Baylorian is already accepting submissions. Students or alumni interested should send their work as an attached document to baylorian2009@yahoo.com. The deadline is Jan....

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Crusader Knight ’97 in band
Nov04

Crusader Knight ’97 in band

Jason Baird, Mr. Crusader Knight of 1997, used to wear the sought-after crown. Representing Burt Hall, he entertained students with a two-minute video that was voted students’ and judges’ choice for favorite video his sophomore year in college. Now Baird stands on stage for a different crowd. He is a singer and bass player for Austin’s Bridge, an up-and-coming band known for its bluegrass, country feel. According to Christianity Today, their sound can be likened to that of Little Big Town, Rascal Flatts and 33Miles. “Hands down, they’re the best new ‘guy group’ in faith-based country-pop,” Christianity Today’s music review said. Baird met Justin Rivers, the lead singer and guitarist, in Austin, Texas. They wanted to use music to “bridge the gap between   a sinful man and a holy God,” Baird said. The group has been together since 2006 and recently enjoyed the spotlight for receiving the 2008 Dove Award for Bluegrass Recorded Song of the Year, “He’s in Control.” They were nominationed for three awards. Rivers said, “We were shocked because they’re so many people who don’t know who we (are).” The threesome, made of worship pastors Rivers, Baird and Toby Hitchcock, have been involved in music in some form since  childhood. “I knew music was the only thing I was going to do,” Rivers said. “I tried to play football in high school, and I tried to pursue other avenues of interest, but none that I liked as well as music. It just consumed me.” Hitchcock’s parents were musicians, so he grew up travelling. “I remember being on the road and being like 4 years old and singing all their songs in the back seat,” Hitchcock said. For Baird, ministry has been his resounding calling. He was a youth pastor before he became a music minister. “In my worship leading area, I was like ‘This is fun, but I don’t want to stand up and conduct music.’ I want to work with a band,” Baird said. “So I started working with bands. That’s where my passion for music developed.” Each member has traveled a long road to get to the place where he is now. Rivers said he got a kid guitar for Christmas when he was 3 years old. He and the six-stringed instrument were inseparable. “I don’t really recall this,” Rivers said, “but (my mom) said that I would carry it around … day and night, like it was my security blanket.” As a child, he entertained church members nearly every Sunday, trying to play along during worship. Rivers said, “People would be on stage singing, and I would be the little kid on fourth...

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Pause for thought: Roommate Woes
Nov04

Pause for thought: Roommate Woes

By Joshua Thiering The door opens, and in walks old bad news herself. It’s that roommate who always gets on your nerves. She plops down on the sofa, groaning, making a point to let everyone know how miserable her life is. Soon the groans will be drowned out by Lauryn Hill, whining over her laptop speakers. “Killing me softly, with his song, killing me softly,” she sings along with the chorus. Ironically, however, it’s really you she is killing softly. Perhaps you have a roommate like this one. Like a badger, their tracks can be spotted a couple of ways. They usually live in your living room and never leave. They only speak to you negatively, and ask you a lot of questions when you’re walking out the door like: “Where you are going? And why do you never make time for me?” With the housing process quickly approaching, switching roommates can be as difficult and terrifying as undertaking surgery. For those thinking about cutting ties, here are a few quick tips to numb the long-term pain of your roommate woes. Avoidance “The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it,” said best-selling author Dale Carnegie. The best way to avoid conflicts at your apartment is not to be there. Make a schedule of when your roommate is home. Now take a permanent marker, and black out those blocks, and write over them with red ink: study in library, dinner with friends, long walk around campus or dig a hole to China. Be dirty The dirtier you are, the less likely they will want to live with you. Try eating meals in their bed. Leave your dirty dishes on their night stand. If you ever do have to wash any dishes, do it in the toilet bowl. Once the mess piles up, blame them. Take your friends on guided tours through their messy rooms. Be sure to use metaphorical language comparing the room to a pigsty or a tsunami refugee camp. Redecorate the living room Print up bad photos of your roommate and hang them all over your living room walls. You know the one, with the double chin, and the one black and white photo where they tried to be artsy, but just ended up looking like a whitewashed bloated Jabba The Hut with heartburn. Tack it up. These tactics may make matters worse temporarily, but in the long run, they will not put up a fight to move...

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Civil rights, football fuel ‘The Express’
Oct21

Civil rights, football fuel ‘The Express’

The Express is not just a name. It is history. The film is a story of an athlete who overcomes social discrimination and provokes black athletes across the nation to stand out from the crowd. This production is not a football film. It is more than that. Ernie Davis’ story begins in Uniontown, Penn., in a transitional era  when segregation in schools was normal and when civil rights to every American, regardless of race, was added to the Constitution. The young Ernie Davis has a poster of Jackie Robinson, a role model who inspired many black athletes to pursue their dreams and break through social oppression, on his wall. Davis’ grandfather, Pops, is his guardian throughout his childhood who instills in him at a young age that he can do anything and to follow Corinthians 15:10, which says, “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed on me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” This verse gives Davis’ character a meaning larger than just football. In his high school years, the now older Ernie Davis played by Rob Brown, impresses college scouts, breaking through would-be tacklers and running circles around players, much like his favorite player, Jim Brown, played by Darrin Dewitt Henson. Needless to say, Davis is a beast on the gridiron. The Syracuse head coach, Ben Schwartzwalder, played by Dennis Quaid, recruits Davis to play for the Orangemen. He provides helpful advice and stands up for his players despite his own possible persecution as an “n-word lover.” The movie has more racial slurs than most would appreciate, but it shows how hard it was being a black American during that time. The racially-charged storyline builds into climax when Davis and the Orangemen face off against the University of Texas Longhorns in the Cotton Bowl. The unforgiving fans and brutal players from UT make a victory in Dallas seem impossible. Coach Schwartzwalder says about the national championship, “This is more than a game now. I can see that just as plain as any of you.” The visual appeal in the film is impeccable. Old film clips mixed with fast-paced action makes watching the games extremely pleasing. The cinematography used in the film is by far the best of the fall season. The camera angles are unique. The production makes use of several different techniques, each enhancing the film into a superfluous retelling of Ernie Davis’ story. This inspirational film is a treat in a rather unimpressive fall movie season. The Express...

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