Heartbreaker ends Cru’s season
Mar04

Heartbreaker ends Cru’s season

Led by senior Jerard Graham, the UMHB men’s basketball team made a late-season push to lock up the No. 5 seed in the American Southwest Conference tournament. The Cru’s run came to an end, however, as the team suffered a 72-64 defeat at the hands of Howard Payne University in Thursday’s first-round matchup.   The Cru gained control early and built a 10-point lead early in the second half, but an 11-0 run by the Yellow Jackets put HPU up 44-43 five minutes into the second half.   The Yellow Jackets would build a 54-47 lead, but the Cru fought back to tie the game at 59.   With 4:23 left in the contest, sophomore guard Avery Polchinski drained a bucket that gave UMHB a 63-62 advantage.   It would be the final field goal the Cru would make on the evening as HPU was able to ice the game from the free throw line.   Sophomore Daniel Mills led the Cru with 24 points on the game. The Belton High product averaged 18.8 points over the Cru’s final five games. Mills said his success down the stretch can be accredited to the bonds he built with his teammates throughout the season.   “I think I just got used to having new teammates and my confidence went up a lot,” he said. “I think it has to do with my teammates and coach having trust in me and I’ve just been more consistent with my effort and it has helped me.”   Graham was the team’s leading scorer on the season, averaging 18.9 points per game as he started every game for the Cru. The senior not only led his team in scoring, but became a more vocal leader as well.   “I have felt myself get more vocal in practice and in games. At the beginning of the season I was a tad quiet but now I’m constantly communicating with my teammates,” Graham said.   The team loses Graham and fellow senior Kevin Waller, but will bring back a core next season that includes Mills and point guard Layton Zinsmeister among others.   Zinsmeister said the players became more comfortable with each other as the season wore on, which they hopefully will be able to carry into next season.   “Throughout the season I have noticed our team improving in almost every way. We are starting to make the big shots and play together better,” he said. “We had a few new guys this year and it took some time to get the chemistry going but as of late we really have been playing well together.”   The...

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Annual writer’s festival a success
Mar04

Annual writer’s festival a success

In February, the university’s English department hosted its annual writer’s festival. This is a three-day event devoted to creativity and learning where students, staff, faculty and guest authors can learn about and share writing.   “I think that it’s important for the campus community and the broader community to be exposed to the literature that’s being created in the here and now. The festival is a place where both writing and faith are taken seriously,” Professor of English Dr. Nathaniel Hansen said of the event, which he has now directed for three years.   Although the event takes place over a span of three days, many months of prior preparation are necessary.   “The planning process begins about a year ahead of the festival when I start contacting potential featured writers,” Hansen said.   Once I line up the featured writers, I create a general call for papers for local, regional, state, and national writers to read as part of a panel. It’s a process that I very much enjoy.”   Hansen likes the interaction between writers of diverse places and walks of life.   “It’s a pleasure to watch writers of varying levels and differing backgrounds interact with one another. It’s also a great opportunity for our students, not just English majors, to hear from talented writers.”   Hansen was pleased with this year’s turnout and looks forward to the coming year.   “Events were well attended this year, and we had more festival participants than in prior years. Some participants traveled from Ohio, Nebraska, Michigan and Oklahoma,” he said.   Kelsey Belcher, a senior English major and president of Sigma Tau Delta said, “I was a student volunteer. I worked the book and check-in tables, and helped Dr. Hansen, who runs the Writers’ Festival, with other miscellaneous tasks in order to keep the festival running smoothly.”   Belcher believes it’s necessary to expose the campus to various writing forms with events like the writer’s festival.   “Writing is important, because it provides an outlet for self-expression and fosters creative and academic interaction with others,” she said.   Grace Lindig, a senior English major who also worked a table at the festival said, “It was truly an awesome experience and I’m sad I won’t be here next...

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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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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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Artist ready to dish out new music in 2015
Feb04

Artist ready to dish out new music in 2015

Music plays a huge role in society today. New songs are always finding their way to the radio and iTunes, surprising people, or giving them something to look forward to.   It is only a little more than a month into 2015 and some groundbreaking music has already been released, leaving many people with high hopes for the upcoming new music for the rest of the year.   In the middle of January, Kanye West teamed up with Rihanna and Paul McCartney to record the song “Four Five Seconds.” It’s a little different sounding than any of these artists are really known for, but they work it.   While one of her songs, “All About That Bass,” became incredibly popular at the end of 2014, Meghan Trainor has let the world know she won’t be just a one-hit wonder. Her album, “Title,” also was released in January, shooting her newest single “Lips Are Movin’” to numbers three and four on the Billboard Hot 100.   Of course, it being so early in the year, there is more music from old and new artists that should peak just about everyone’s interest.   The new Imagine Dragons album “Smoke + Mirrors” is coming out later this month, finally feeding their fans new music since their last album was released in 2013.   Female rapper Iggy Azalea, who became popular in the middle of last year, is releasing her untitled album. The date is currently still pending, but she has been promoting it on her Twitter for several months.   Many artists who haven’t put out new music in several years are planning on making their debut this year. In March, Madonna and Ludacris are both releasing their albums, giving music lovers something to look forward to since both of these artists ran the music industry at some point in their careers.   Rock music junkies will be happy to know that Guns N’ Roses, Metallica and Muse are bringing new music in this year. Though the dates haven’t been announced, they have done a good job of promoting it on their websites.   Plenty of hip-hop and rap music will be making its way into the year with artists such as Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Kid Cudi and 50 Cent.   The women in the music industry are about to start reigning. Britney Spears, Gwen Stefani as a solo artist and her band No Doubt, Ellie Goulding and Lorde have also let it be known that they are releasing albums in this year.   The music industry is giving music lovers a lot to anticipate this year. With all the variety...

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Professor turns class into campus film fest
Feb04

Professor turns class into campus film fest

The theater lights dim and Charlie Chaplin’s iconic character appears on the screen, complete with his cane, bowler hat and unmistakable moustache. His slapstick antics have the audience’s attention as they watch to see how he’s going to get out of a sticky situation. No, this isn’t a flashback to a 1920s movie theater, but rather a scene from Brindley Auditorium as part of a semester-long film series put on by the communication and media studies department.   The series was born from a class, Film History and Criticism, in which students view and discuss iconic films. The professor who teaches the course, Dr. Joseph Tabarlet, has opened his class to the public so that others can view the historic films that are seldom shown in theater-like settings.   Tabarlet belonged to the Central Texas Film Society, which hosted a similar series.   “We did that for a little over two years at the CAC in Temple. It was a lot of fun. I got to see films that I had never seen before and I was able to introduce people to films that I loved that they had never seen before,” he said.   He wanted to bring something similar to UMHB and saw that his Film History and Criticism class would be the perfect opportunity to do so. Films are shown every Monday at 2 p.m. in York 102. Each film in the series either has an important historical significance or has had a lasting impact on the film industry itself.   The first few weeks focus on the early stages of the motion picture industry.   “In this series, we’re seeing a lot of silent films, and the reason for that is that’s such an important part of film history,” Tabarlet said. “You can’t understand how the film industry developed unless you see those films made before 1930 that in many cases are ignored.”   Modern moviegoers may not think silent era films are appealing, but senior general studies major Robert Edwards said they’re more entertaining than one might think.   “I don’t think I ever watched too many silent films, but now that I have, me and my wife watch them together for entertainment,” Edwards said.   Tabarlet said those who avoid silent films are avoiding a major part of cinematic history.   “If they don’t see the silent films because they’re silent, then they’re missing out on a lot. Silent film is an art form ….,” he said.   Even though most people think comedy when thinking of silent films, Tabarlet said they can have a powerful impact as well.   “I remember the...

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