Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.

Are movie remakes worth watching?

Published in the December 7, 2016 issue of The Bells Recently there has been an addition to the Harry Potter universe with the film, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. This movie is considered a prequel to the Harry Potter films and honestly, when the movie was announced, I let out a great sigh of annoyance. I feel my frustration is valid because this is the age of prequels, reboots, and remakes. Let’s all come to the agreement that not much mainstream entertainment is original. Who asked for another Independence Day? Do you truly believe Jurassic World was a good idea? And a Blair Witch Project sequel was not needed in the least bit. I truly believe that not a single person wanted to see the characters from Monsters Inc. go to college. It’s understood that these companies are just cashing in on our nostalgia. So, yes, as a die hard Harry Potter fan I was very frustrated when this film hit theaters. What is wrong with leaving something in the past, especially when it ended so well? Are these remakes truly the worst things ever or are they just done in bad taste? Even though Harry Potter ended well, there is so much to expand on in that universe. This is why the recent movie focusing on the wolrd of Harry Potter did really well in theaters. When it comes to remakes, it can be done in a different way and become more modern with the times. Honestly, when a modern spin is put onto an old film, it can actually be a really entertaining film. For instance, last year’s Rocky reboot, Creed. It was a wonderful film and possibly one of my favorite movies of the year. The year before, Robocop was remade and it was done really well in my opinion. The entertainment world is something that can continuously be expanded on. These movies become our escape and sometimes we are left wondering, what’s next? As an audience we fall in love with the characters and the story. Whether the story is magic, sci-fi, or simply a film about everyday life, we like knowing what is going to happen next, and entertainment companies realize what we as an audience want to see. So, next time a reboot or remake is announced, attempt to not roll your eyes. Give the film a chance because it is being told from a different perspective and in a different time period. And whether or not these films are Oscar-worthy, in the end they are a chance to escape reality for a short period of time and be entertained by...

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No more faith, trust, and pixie dust for Disney

Published in the December 7, 2016 issue of The Bells Many images come to mind when you hear the word “Disney.” Some images include the classic animated films such as Cinderella and Pinocchio or the live action movies like Pirates of the Caribbean and Star Wars. What mostly comes to mind is the numerous theme parks across the globe that bring the corporation billions in revenue. The Walt Disney company has certainly built an empire in the world of business and media. As much as I love Disney movies and the theme parks in California and Florida, I feel that Disney is taking over too much and is losing its originality. Disney has slowly transformed from the creative company it once was when Walt Disney oversaw it to a mega corporation with one sole intention–to make money. Walt Disney’s vision to “keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things” and the concept of “not making movies to make money” but “making money to make more movies” have seemed to disappear as the company has bought out so many other businesses. It feels like they bought these companies just so they can slap their famous name on another brand and claim ownership of other ideas. One example of this is Lucasfilm, which made six Star Wars movies without the help of Disney. Ever since Disney bought the company in 2012, they have produced several new Star Wars films. With Rogue One coming up this month, and two other movies that are rumored to be about the backstory of Han Solo and Boba Fett soon to follow, Disney can’t stop making movies that have been dealt with before and beaten to death. Another company Disney acquired recently is Marvel. What’s really frustrating about this is all the remakes. There have been three different versions of the Spider-Man films produced over the past fourteen years. The first set starred Tobey Maguire, the second Andrew Garfield, and the third set will feature Tom Holland in the newest installment Spider-Man: Homecoming in 2017. Sadly, the company’s lust for money and power is showing in their amusement parks as well. Next year, guests will be unable to ride the popular attraction Tower of Terror because a Guardians of the Galaxy ride will take its place. In addition, Disneyland and Disney World are both set to include Star Wars Land. Unfortunately, that means that Big Thunder Ranch, which opened in 1986 and was an area of the park that had a BBQ restaurant and a nearby petting zoo, would have to be demolished in order to create this newer attraction. I understand that...

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We can help prevent coral bleaching

Published in the November 16, 2016 issue of The Bells We’ve all heard the statistics before – the ocean covers over 70 percent of the earth and carries 97 percent of its total water. But did you know that coral reefs carry 25 percent of all aquatic life?  Coral reefs are very important to the vitality of the ocean. Not only are coral reefs valuable for many marine specimens, but they are beneficial to humanity. Organisms inhabiting coral reefs have been found to contain certain properties that help combat against numerous diseases such as cancer and HIV. In addition, coral reefs act as barriers when storms strike across the seas. Sadly, many corals are dying. If there is a change in the environment, such as a rise in temperature, the corals will release algae, which causes the coral to turn white. This process is known as coral bleaching. According to World Wide Fund for Nature, other reasons for coral bleaching are overfishing and pollution. In addition, WWF states that 25 percent of coral reefs around the globe are completely ruined and two-thirds of coral reefs are threatened with extinction. Without coral reefs, many sea creatures will not have a safe haven and will be exposed to the cruel, open waters. Biodiversity in the seas will become a thing of the past. Also, we will lose a resource that helps aid in eliminating certain illnesses. There will be no more research on other possible benefits from organisms that come from coral reefs. Many times, we as a society overlook how important nature is and take it for granted. We throw trash on the ground and in the waters without any regards to how it impacts the world around us. We need to open our eyes and see how we treat this place we call home. As Christians, it is especially important that we take care of not only our oceans, but the earth as a whole. God made this planet for us to watch over. In Genesis 1:26, God says that He has given us authority over the animals in the ocean and on land. What does that say of us as children of God when we neglect God’s creations? So, what are some ways to reduce coral bleaching? The first thing is to be aware of your energy usage. By being conscientious of this, you can help eliminate the effects of climate change on the ocean. You can also use less plastic items. For instance, you can use a reusable water bottle and put food in non-disposable containers. If you have plastic products, remember to recycle to reduce waste....

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Surviving the holidays with stressful family members

Published in the November 16, 2016 issue of The Bells For many of us, Belton has become home. From Frosti Cones to Arusha’s to the creek that runs through campus, we can say we’ve built memories here that will last a lifetime. But despite making Belton home, many of us have aching hearts for those we left behind in our hometowns. As a San Antonio native, I miss good Mexican food and my church the most (along with my family). However, some of us at UMHB don’t have the privilege of a heart that beats for two places at once. For some, Belton is our one and only home. But what happens when winter break comes and we have to go home to people that don’t feel like family? There are a couple of options for those who are unwilling to go home, and the first of which is to stay in Belton. If you live off campus or in the apartments, this isn’t a problem. Apartments on campus stay open throughout all breaks and holidays, so no alternative housing is needed. If you live in the dorms, however, staying on campus is a little harder. The Residence Life office does have an option for those wanting to stay on campus, but the process is selective and requires a need. Those who want to apply can email residencelife@umhb.edu to receive the form that will allow requesting students the chance to choose specific dates to be on campus and why they’re requesting housing. If you must go home, there are some things to remember when your family gets you down over the holidays: your worth is not determined by what they think of you or your decisions. Your worth is given to you by the everlasting God, who sent His son to be tortured and killed so that you can sit at the right hand of God. If your earthly father isn’t ideal, you have a heavenly father that provides you with the desires of your heart. If your home is for some reason unsafe, please see if there are friends and family who will take you in for the holidays.  You don’t have to tell on your family to receive the help you need. In addition, free longterm counseling is offered by the university who can help prepare you for the long winter break. Appointments can be made in the counseling office (Mabee 3rd floor) or at (254) 295-4696. Often, others act out because they never resolved issues that haunt their past. This could be anything from school bullies to abusive parents. But whatever they have to say, it’s...

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Black Friday: Great sales, but at what price?

Published in the November 16, 2016 issue of The Bells Ninety percent off. 50 percent off. Signs everywhere are already advertising the lowest prices of the year. Soon people will be pushing others out of the way and fighting to get the last item on the shelf, all in the name of saving a buck. On Thursday we spend time talking about what we are thankful for and eating turkey with our families. Then Friday comes and once-thankful people are fighting over electronics, home décor, and other material goods, pushing and shoving to get the best deal. Now don’t get me wrong, I love Black Friday just as much as the next person. Black Friday has become an integral part of the American Thanksgiving weekend. It’s just as much a part of Thanksgiving as turkey and football. It’s the day that officially begins the Christmas shopping season. I usually get up early every year and seek out bargains myself. However, I think that Black Friday’s gotten out of hand. According to moneycrashers.com, Black Friday didn’t become the busiest shopping day of the year until 2002. In fact, from 1993 until 2001, it ranked between the fifth and 10th busiest shopping days of the year. Why the sudden increase of shoppers? Stores began to open their doors on Thanksgiving day.Patrons no longer had to wait until the early hours of Friday to go shopping. Stores such as Best Buy, Macy’s, and Target began to offer “early bird” shopping while grandpa was still passed out in his recliner. Despite the savings these stores offer, the stores should remain closed until after Thanksgiving. This is a time for being thankful for the blessings God has bestowed on His people, for laughing with family, and enjoying delicious food—not bundling up and scratching and clawing for the last big screen TV. According to a recent article by USA Today, CBL & Associates, which oversees many malls nationwide including Mall of America, will not be opening their doors on Thanksgiving Day. Their reason for closing? CEO Stephen Lebovitz stated that they decided to close, so their employees could spend time with their families. The fights and stampedes that have broken out over Black Friday are excessive as well. Car accidents, stabbings, shootings, and even death have occurred because of Black Friday shopping. According the New York Daily News, a Walmart employee was trampled to death in 2013 by bargain-crazed shoppers. In the same store, a pregnant woman was trampled on, which resulted in the miscarriage of her child. Other shoppers go to such methods as pepper spraying fellow customers to get the deal they want,...

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Do you have early-on set Christmas spirit?

Published in the October 26, 2017 issue of The Bells ‘Tis the season… except that no, it’s not. One of the worst transitions that happens all year generally occurs around this time: early-onset Christmas. Halloween has yet to happen, and Thanksgiving is still weeks away, so there should be no appearance of Christmas music. Somehow the phenomenon occurs in the same way each year. It starts with one or two mentions of Christmas in a commercial or a magazine, and suddenly despite two other holidays between now and then, everyone is in the throes of festive cheer. It seems like an innocent mistake to make, but what real ramifications does it have to start playing “Holly Jolly Christmas” and Michael Bublé’s Christmas album too early? For me personally, it causes a good deal of resentment toward the music. It would be fine if it were simply for the month or so between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but it never stays within that constraint. It goes from a novelty thing, something fun and cheery, to something that simply comes off as obnoxious and overdone. It creates stress that doesn’t need to occur. The easiest fix to this problem is to just keep “Jingle Bells” put away until AFTER Thanksgiving. A month’s worth of the holiday spirit is plenty. The majority of Christmas music is not about the birth of Jesus Christ anyway. If that were the goal, it would be so much easier to support it. There is plenty of other gospel music to enjoy leading up to the actual Christmas season. When the majority of the music is about presents and candy and coming up with all of the hokey traditional ways of cuddling up to someone, it becomes nearly impossible to support more than a month of the endless drivel that is contemporary Christmas music. Even Rudolph and his red nose become annoying when the song gets overplayed. So just calm down, everyone. “Frosty the Snowman” will still be waiting for you come late November. The temperature is more likely to be at the right place for “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” and “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Clause” will be slightly less horrifying since it’s actually being played during the right season. There is a time and a place for everything, and since place is up to the discretion of the people, please keep the Christmas music in the right time...

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