Pause for Thought: Fantasy Football

By Joshua Thiering Everyone keeps asking me, what are you going to do when you graduate this month? Well I’ve made up my mind to pursue a career as a professional football player. Never mind that I only have two years of playing backup safety on the Grisham Middle School A-Team under my belt. I’ve seen Rudy. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. Skeptics will tell me, “Josh, you are 6-foot-2, 170 pounds and always seem to be awkwardly bumping into door frames instead of moving through them.” Well, prepare to be baffled, all you armchair critics, who claim they don’t even make shoulder pads small enough to fit me. I will wear as many T-shirts as it takes to fill out the pads. And for the record, whenever I accidentally collide with the door frame, I always get a better piece of it than it does of me. To all of you who still remain unconvinced of my athletic potential and make allegations that I move slower than FEMA — stop treading on the egg shells of my dreams! I’ve got things going for me. Things like inspirational quotes and motivational posters. I’ve spent thousands of hours watching football on TV, and I’m open to criminal activity. To be a professional athlete, you need to have a big ego. Well, my ego belongs in the hall of fame right next to Muhammad Ali, and Chad, I-can-swim-faster-than-Michael- Phelps Johnson. Furthermore, if I were ever interviewed, I could say politically incorrect things, and string together sporting cliché after cliché, by calling my own number when the going gets tough in this game of inches. I’ve spent many late nights sprinting through my living room carrying the pigskin, juking the coffee table, hurdling the remote and breaking imaginary tackles. I’ve even played pickup football with real people a couple of times since eighth grade, but the results have been mixed. Often times I’ve wondered if I’m getting slower or if fat people are getting faster. According to my astute roommate, who always tells the truth, it’s the latter. So, naturally, I will just eat myself into top-playing condition. I will use the local church flag football league as a spring board to the pros, by racking up bloated statistics and putting forth every possible effort to win each game so that pro scouts will have to take notice. I expect nothing less than to become an overnight YouTube...

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Music of the heart
Dec09

Music of the heart

Jimmy Needham and Downhere entertained Crusaders, Preview students during weekend concert

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Madagascar, successful Escape 2 Africa
Nov18

Madagascar, successful Escape 2 Africa

“I like to move it, move it.” “He likes to move, move it.” “She likes to move it, move it.” “We like to … move it!” The catchy opening song to Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa is the most recognizable part of the first movie, in which four New York zoo animals find themselves on a ship headed to the island of Madagascar. In the second movie, however, the animals, in their attempt to make it back to New York, crash land in mainland Africa. The collision forces Alex, Marty, Gloria and Melman to learn what their own species do in the wild, and Alex has an improbable encounter with a family member, Zuba, voiced by the late Bernie Mac. The animals’ development in the story is fun to watch, and the humor in the film, although intended for children, can adapt even to the most mature sense of humor. The cross-species love story in the sequel provides backbone to the two characters involved and also shifts the focus away from the dominant nature of Alex’s story. The film does justice to each character, embracing its unique traits, while still showing that it is the same as its ancestors “back home.” The story gives the “cookie-cutter” zoo animals more depth, but reminds them of their love for the zoo they left. The all-star voicing in the sequel is led by Ben Stiller (Alex), Chris Rock (Marty), Jada Pinkett Smith (Gloria) and David Schwimmer (Melman). The cast also includes big names like Sacha Baron Cohen, Cedric the Entertainer and Alec Baldwin. The performance by Bernie Mac was one of his last on film. The late actor appears in Soul Men and this sequel to Madagascar. His career began in 1992 in Mo’ Money, as a doorman, but blossomed into a rich portfolio of blockbusters including Transformers, Ocean’s Thirteen and Guess Who, along with his own show. The recognizable voices in the movie, however, are not a distraction from the story. All performers do a great job of encompassing their roles, shedding the stereotypical acting that goes along with their voices. The only downside to the film is the lack of continuity between the minor characters from the first and second movie. The lemur king is silly, but his part in the movie is almost overplayed, and his circumstantial appearances in the stories of the four zoo animals in this movie are seemingly spastic. The plotting penguins are done an injustice in the film. They are underplayed and underutilized in the development of the story. An encounter between the wild animals and the out-of-place penguins would have definitely been interesting to watch....

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Texas Java serves Cru treats
Nov18

Texas Java serves Cru treats

Texas Java is the highly anticipated coffee house that opened its doors in Belton this past July. It’s about a mile from campus, and for many, it has been a godsend. Temple used to be the nearest place to find a coffee house, but now that has changed. Junior Christi Williams said, “I love it because it’s more convenient than driving all the way to Temple for Starbucks.” It’s suitably placed in the Oak Ridge shopping center on Main street, next to a popular sandwich shop. People from the surrounding businesses are always stopping in for a quick cup of coffee. Java is in full operation, and the community has welcomed it with open arms. It is, however, more than a coffee shop. Not only does it have a wide variety of coffee, but they also sell fruit smoothies, soft drinks, an assortment of cakes and pastries and even Blue Bell ice cream. Java is also a good place for students to study and do homework. Charles Rayburn McRae, an alum of the university, said,  “It’s very peaceful, and the staff is learned in their trade.” The mood is laid back, and the urge to get classroom assignments accomplished is strong with the help of an affordable caffeine rush. The shop also offers free wireless Internet for people who bring in their laptops, iPhones or other wireless devices; and with more than 10 tables and a few comfortable couches, there is plenty of space to go around. The atmosphere seems to be a common reason why students enjoy the place. Williams said, “The staff is very friendly and personal. They’re not like (others), who just want to get you in and get you out.” A good reason for that is most of the staff are current students of the university. Senior Asa Crow, an employee said, “all but one” of Java’s employees are UMHB students. The staff is made up of 10 workers. A few of the popular drinks they offer are the Chi Tea Smoothie, White Mocha frap, and flavored pecan coffee. Another feature is that the java can be made hot or chilled. They even have a special cold blend that keeps the frozen coffee from melting too quickly. Customers even have the option of the color straw they would like to drink their coffee or smoothie with. It’s the little things that makes this spot so inviting to college students. Before Texas Java came along, the university had its very own coffee house called The Daily Grind. It was equipped with coffee, treats, various soft drinks and games. Unfortunately, the hours of operation were limited, and...

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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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