Friday. September 18, 2009
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Opinions, page 5
Non-peak dining to save students money KELSEY HEITER news reporter An SGA pilot program offering a dining incentive will give students a 10 percent discount at dining halls between the hours of 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., beginning next week. The pilot program, put together by SGA Vice President Shane McCarty, will run Sept. 21-Sept. 25. Students will only get the discount if they present a coupon, a measure taken to judge interest in the incentive. If the program is implemented as an everyday measure, no coupon will be required. “We spent Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 14 and 15, on the Drillfield passing out 10 percent off coupons for students to be used Monday, Sept. 21 until Friday, Sept. 25,” McCarty said. “Dining and SGA saw an opportunity to reduce con-
gestion during the peak hours of 11: 30 a.m. to about 2 p.m. and we want to give incentives to students for changing their eating schedules.” McCarty hopes students are going to try the program. “We really hope that students do (take advantage) because there have been lots of complaints and concerns about having to wait in line so long,” McCarty said. “We hope that this is kind of a plan that really makes the change that the students are looking for.” Brandon Carroll, SGA president, said that he hopes the program will relieve stress that the dining employees experience during peak hours. “Students are in line longer and employees are more rushed,” Carol said, “so if we can spread out some of that congestion from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. when the dining halls are not making as much money, we can
actually increase revenue, decrease congestion, make employees happier, make students get their food faster, save some extra money all around by starting this dining incentive program.” Carroll said the program is designed to see how the dining incentive program is affecting the university. A successful program could lead to the permanent installation of the incentives. “With this economy, 10 percent is enough to get students to change their eating habits from the regular hours of noon to 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. instead,” Carroll said. “If the program works, it is something we can implement in the school, and if not, we are still testing it out to see how effective it is.” Steve Garnett, unit manager of West End, said that the program has see DINING / page three
Tailback or wideout, Roberts still makes plays HATTIE FRANCIS sports staff writer Virginia Tech’s sophomore wide receiver Dyrell Roberts received a football makeover upon arriving on campus before his freshman season in 2008. This makeover did not have anything to do with getting bigger physically or receiving a haircut, it was entirely mental as he switched from playing running back at Smithfield High School to playing wide receiver for Tech. Not only did Roberts have to adjust to the world of high-intensity, fastpaced college football, but he also had to learn the multiple jobs of his new position. “When we recruited him out of high school, I think he kind of knew that he was going to be a receiver,” wide receivers coach Kevin Sherman said. “We told him up front we were going to recruit him as a receiver because we wanted to use his athletic ability out in space. “Coming in as a freshman, we knew he was going to play early,” Sherman said, “but we didn’t think he was going to play as much as he did with all the things that happened last year.” Even though Roberts knew he was in for a position change that did not mean it was easy. “When I first got here, it was a big transition because I was just used to getting the ball handed to me and just running,” Roberts said. “When I got here, I had to switch and learn the running routes, learn the coverages, what routes to run, how to run them, leverage and remembering all
Sophomore Dyrell Roberts rushes in last year’s ACC title game. the plays.” “Last year was a very humbling and learning experience for him,” Sherman said. “He learned from watching himself all year long and learning how to play the position.” Sherman feels that Roberts has progressed from beginning to end, from the start of last season to the Orange Bowl. “Now this summer, early preseason and two ball games, I think he has gotten better and his play is showing,” Sherman said, “but he still understands he has a long way to go.” “Going through the season last year and as the season went on, of
course I got better but still, at the end of the season, I still wasn’t where I wanted to be,” Roberts said. “So I had to come to spring practice, and I had to still work on the little things to get the position down pat. I still haven’t learned everything, but I would say I pretty much got the foundation of the receiver position.” “He progresses every day,” fellow wide receiver Danny Coale said. “He really embraced the position. I know last year it was new to him. He was trying to learn the basics of it, and now he’s really trying to improve and go the extra mile to fine-tune the little things about being a receiver.” see ROBERTS / page three
Classifieds, page 8
Sudoku, page 8
State of the Union
UUSA seeks advice on budget cuts BY ZACH CRIZER | nrv news editor University Unions and Student Activities was assessed by outside consultants this week as the group fights to hold operations steady in the face of budget cuts. Three consultants from the Association of College Unions International spent three days evaluating UUSA, which operates Squires Student Center, Johnston Student Center, the Graduate Life Center and War Memorial Chapel. The consultants were asked to visit Virginia Tech after UUSA was forced to cut student employment and reduce programs for student activities. Ed Spencer, vice president for student affairs, arranged for consultants to visit Blacksburg through ACUI’s College Union and Student Activities Evaluation Program. The three consultants’ three-day visit cost the university between $7,500 and $9,500. “In the case of UUSA, they’ve had in recent years some real difficult times with facilities and budget issues,” Spencer said. “In all of my years here, looking back, I had a number of questions about structure, organizations, facilities, services, programs, staffing — the whole gamut.” Julie Walters-Steele, director of UUSA, hopes to use the study to lobby for an increased budget. “One of the things they will look at and be able to help us with is assessing our level of resources compared with peer organizations,” Walters-Steele said. “We feel like we need extra resources, but an independent assessment carries more weight.”
Spencer hopes the consultants identify ways to shift money within UUSA. “They may say ‘you’re over-invested in this area, and you should shift resources to this area,’” Spencer said. The consultants were student union professionals from other peer universities. Bob Mindrum, director of Purdue University’s student union, was the team leader. “Essentially, these are external reviews,” Mindrum said. “It’s pretty commonplace. There is any number of reasons why people do an external review. In general, they just see the merit in having experienced outside professionals come in and give them a different perspective on their organization. That’s what we were hired to do.” Spencer identified four areas of focus for the consultants: facilities, staffing, programs and services. During their visit, the consultants met with students and faculty deemed stakeholders in UUSA operations, particularly those with offices and activities in Squires. “While I wouldn’t characterize it as a bunch of people with glowing praise for UUSA and the facilities,” Mindrum said, “I think that the very fact that many students chose to come shows a lot of ownership and shows that Squires, for example, is very important to them, and that’s a good sign. One group of stakeholders is
UUSA employees. Ashley Brooks, one of the Squires building managers and a senior industrial design major, has worked for UUSA for three-and-a-half years. She said she had enjoyed working for UUSA, originally as an operations assistant and then operations lead, before being promoted to business manager. “I liked the idea of working in a student center that was actually run mostly by students,” Brooks said. “There were a lot of student employees, and they were really involved.” Brooks said UUSA initially offered advantages that other campus jobs could not provide. “And for the longest time when I was here, everything was great,” Brooks said. “I met a lot of cool people, and they had a lot of great programs to help out their student employees, like leadership development programs. It was a really great opportunity to work on campus while still getting something back from your job besides money.” However, the past year has brought changes at UUSA in the
“Clean Energy, Bright Futures” drew students clad in green to the Graduate Life Center Thursday to hear from Environment Virginia’s J.R. Tolbert and Blacksburg town councilman Don Langrehr.
see UUSA / page two
Two appointed graduate deans KELSEY HEITER
Looking for green
Sports, page 9
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY JOSH SON AND LUKE MASON/COLLEGIATE TIMES, SPPS
106th year, issue 87
The quest for a new chief at the Virginia Tech Graduate School has come to a close with the selection of two accomplished university veterans. Janet Rankin, professor in the Department of Human Nutrition Foods and Exercise, and Rosemary Blieszner, professor in the Department of Human Development, have been named the new associate deans. Blieszner and Rankin have a combined total of 55 years of experience at Virginia Tech. The positions allow both Rankin and Blieszner to continue their teaching and research, while dividing their time equally between their new positions. “It is a 50 percent position in the graduate school and a 50 percent position within my department,” Rankin said. “I am able to continue teaching and conducting research in my department, but it is simply reduced obligations so I have time to also work in the graduate school half-time.” Bleiszner said that it was an open search process for new associate deans when she applied last March. “There was a process of screening and interviewing,” Bleiszner said. “We found out at the end of the semester, around commencement.”
Rankin added that after being here 27 years, she was ready to broaden her involvement with Tech. “I had years of making various accomplishments within my department, and I liked the idea of having a broader involvement and impact on the larger university with people beyond my department level,” Rankin said. “I can still keep my foot within the department because of the 50 percent position, so I think it is just that attraction that you can have a broader impact on the university.” Bleiszner said she applied for the position of associate dean because she hopes to spend her entire career at this university. “I applied for the position of associate dean because I have been at Virginia Tech for 28 years and I am very loyal to the university,” Bleiszner said. “I thought it would be a good opportunity to become involved in a new and very interesting aspect of working here at the university.” One of the main duties that Rankin will have as a new associate dean is
working with the graduate teaching assistants in the program. “I am taking over the graduate teaching assistant workshop,” Rankin said. “This is a workshop for all new graduate teaching assistants that will help them in becoming better teachers, and how to handle difficult situations or learning new technology for use in the classroom.” Rankin said that the program was already organized prior to her stepping in, but she will look out for what can be improved upon. “I am going to see what we might be able to add to make the program better to help students be more successful,” Rankin said. Bleiszner said she would like to add both efficiency and smooth functioning to the graduate school. “I would like to work on developing some new programs that would benefit the graduate students and also benefit the university as a whole,” Bleiszner said. “I am looking forward to getting to know more faculty and graduate students across the university, outside of my own department and college.” The position of associate dean of the graduate school is a three to five year appointment, Rankin said. “I hope to stay at least three years with the program to see where it eventually leads to,” Rankin said. “It is a great opportunity to get to ready to try something new.”
new river valley news editor: zach crizer university editor: philipp kotlaba firstname.lastname@example.org/ 540.231.9865
september 18, 2009
UUSA: Some jobs lost, consultants’ report upcoming from page one
form of budget constraints and personnel changes. “Everybody had the best intentions with the changes, but because of the budget cuts, combined with how they wanted to make the changes, it hasn’t really panned out,” Brooks said. Walters-Steele said many positions had to be cut, and others have been left vacant, including the director of student activities position. “There have been realignments of duties. Our hope is that we won’t have to let go any of our staff employees,” Walters-Steele said. “We actually have some of our full-time staff filling in places where we used to have student wage workers.” She said UUSA is not filling any currently vacant positions. Spencer said the university is waiting on the results of the consultants’ study before hiring a director of student activities. Others will be eliminated. “In this economy and with the budget reductions we are facing, there’s no way
we could go and fill all the positions, so some will remain unfilled,” Spencer said. Operations assistants and leads, positions that previously aided in preparing meeting rooms and closing Squires each night, no longer exist. Brooks said the staff cuts have changed the course of everyday operations. “They completely cut those people this summer,” Brooks said. “Some of those people had just been hired a week or two before they decided to make the cut because they thought they were going to be here for the year. That eliminated about 10 to 12 students’ jobs.” In previous years, one employee in each position typically aided the building manager in closing Squires each night, giving the building four guaranteed employees to close. This year, only two people are guaranteed to be closing Squires each night, plus any members of the event staff that may be in the building. “When you completely cut out the
two staff that used to be there every day, you are left with having to cover all of their stuff as well,” Brooks said. “They’re basically tripling our workload.” Brooks said the information specialist who typically runs the front desk called in sick Wednesday night, and she closed the building by herself. It was not the first instance of a personnel shortage. “When you have a couple hundred people coming through a building in a night, a lot of stuff can happen,” Brooks said. “They kind of had an eye-opening experience this past weekend because they had an emergency situation come up and I was the only person here besides Brian James with production services and his two people. And if they hadn’t been here, I probably wouldn’t have been able to handle the situation as well as we did.” Brooks said instability in the UUSA administration’s dealing with the financial constraints has limited employees. “It’s been a week-to-week thing. My
boss has been trying very hard to keep all of our positions and keep those hours because he knows it’s necessary to have more than one person running the facility in the evening,” Brooks said. “But unfortunately a lot of the people up in (Room) 225, from what I understand, are just interested in crunching numbers, and they see a bottom line where we need to meet it.” Walters-Steele said UUSA has tried many methods to improve the organization’s financial situation, including reducing the air condition in Squires. “We’re looking at a variety of measures where we can save money, and we’re also looking at ways we can increase revenue,” Walters-Steele said. She pointed to the new Subway in Johnston Student Center as an attempt to increase revenue. Brooks said there has been an increased level of consistency in recent weeks. “It’s getting better. For a while when they first made the huge cut, it was really rough,” Brooks said. “I had to go
to the people up in 225 and say, ‘Look, there’s no way I can run this building by myself at night,’ and so a lot of people are starting to realize we need to look at this as a safety issue and customer service issue.” UUSA addressed some staffing issues by hiring students, but only those who qualified for work-study. Community service workers are also working in Squires at night. However, budget cuts have made it impossible to set time aside to train workers. “They are starting to look at alternate ways to get people in here,” Brooks said. “Any new students that get hired are required to be work-study, whereas before, Squires was one of the only places on campus you didn’t have to be.” Spencer said that while many changes have been made, the results are not yet clear. “I’m not sure we have all the feedback on whether it’s making a difference,” he said. The consultants’ report, required by ACUI’s contract with Tech to be filed within 30 days, will offer suggestions
aimed at increasing efficiency. “We’re going to be interested in what they have to say in terms of overall observations,” Spencer said. “We’re really looking to them to give us a sense, as professionals in the field yet outsiders to Virginia Tech, what do they see in the organizational culture, what do they see in the staffing arrangement.” Mindrum said UUSA is a rare student union that provides more than one facility for its campus. “UUSA is four different facilities, so that is a little bit different from some,” Mindrum said. “The fact that UUSA is responsible for Squires and the GLC and the Chapel is good. That’s interesting. It probably makes their lives more complicated, having four areas of focus, but I think it serves the campus well.” He also emphasized that UUSA is one of many organizations being affected negatively by budget reductions. “This is a tight economy,” Mindrum said. “I think most every university I’m aware of is experiencing budget issues. This is a state university, and state support of the university is decreasing. I think those things are always going to have an impact on everyone.” The UUSA staff was praised by stakeholders who met with Mindrum. “But I’ll be honest, one of the impressions I got from stakeholders, not just students, is that they think the staff here is trying very hard,” Mindrum said. “So, the feedback we got on the staff has been very positive.” Walters-Steele also complimented her employees for showing resilience. “I would commend the staff of UUSA because you have such a dedicated group of individuals,” Walters-Steele said. “Much of the staff is working above and beyond what they would usually have to do.” UUSA hosts student activities, as well as academic classes and departments. Spencer said the consultants’ report would help bring the multiple constituencies to the table. “Probably a common thread is that we all wish there was more money to do what needs to be done,” Spencer said. “Somehow we have to bring those perspectives to the table and set priorities for what we have to do.” Brooks said operations were becoming less stressful as more measures have been taken to shore up UUSA’s staffing. “It’s on a week-by-week basis even still,” Brooks said. “It’s starting to stabilize a little, but for the past two months, we didn’t know what was going to be happening each week.” Walters-Steele said the organization is trying to offer the campus community a similar product with fewer resources for the time being. However, she said UUSA might formally request extra budgetary resources. “We’re still struggling because it’s very important to us to provide customer service,” Walters-Steele said. “As we have to reduce staff, you have to look at what you have to do to maintain critical elements of the organization’s mission.” Spencer hopes to find a healthy medium for UUSA, between balancing the budget and offering a quality student union. “In terms of an ultimate vision, I’d say we would like to take a good department and make them even stronger and even better, and we’re looking for a way to do that at a time when budgets are tight,” Spencer said. “What are the best ways to ensure quality when the financial pressures are so strong?”
Corrections -In yesterday’s edition of the Collegiate Times, the caption for the photo to the article “Flagship engineering site to replace Randolph Hall” incorrectly stated the building is set to open in spring of 2011; however, the building’s groundbreaking will occur at that time, as noted in the article. The Collegiate Times regrets these errors.
september 18, 2009
Dining: Program will test plan to spread out business from page one
been advertised with table cards and distribution of the coupons throughout the week. “In my eyes, what SGA is working to accomplish, is to more evenly distribute the flow of traffic through the dining halls by incentivizing the students and general public to come in during slow times, and to alleviate the pressure off of the noon to 2 p.m. rush that the dining halls typically get,” Garnett said. “I hope that overall customer satisfaction is increased and that the flow of traffic is more evenly distributed.” McCarty said that the dining centers are losing money when students are not accessing the dining halls during the hours of 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. “From 3 to 5 p.m. it is nearly empty in the dining halls, so what we found is that there are all of these fixed costs that dining has to pay, which is the
staff, who gets paid hourly wages whether people show up or not,” McCarty said. “The lighting is a fixed cost, the grills, food, all of that stuff is all fixed costs, and the only thing that changes is the food for sale so what we want to do is to help lessen the stress for the dining staff.” Another big issue, McCarty added, is that a lot of the dining staff are students, and they have expressed concern about how bad traffic is during those peak hours. “We saw this as an opportunity to meet the students needs by hopefully reducing congestion and then reducing that feeling of stress during those two hours that are non-stop work for them,” McCarty said. “We really see this as being a huge winwin opportunity and hopefully this is something that will continue based on the feedback that is provided during that week.” McCarty said that SGA is fortunate
to work with Housing and Dining Services on the incentive. “They realize that the student is who we are all serving, and if students want something open later, then that is what they are going to do,” McCarty said. “They care so much.” Coupons are available in the SGA office in 321 Squires, and tickets are located in selected dining facilities around campus. “Honestly, the goal with the program is to meet the concerns of the students, which have been that during peak dining hours students are not having the best dining experience that they can have,” McCarty said. “Dining services has worked with us because they see that the student is who they are serving, that is their customer and that is who they care about so, I think we see great potential and hopefully this becoming something bigger than the pilot.”
Roberts: Plays all-offense, all the time from page one
“Everything is slowed down for me now, and I know what I’m doing,” Roberts said. For Roberts, his time as a former running back does not really show itself until he has caught the ball. “When I get the ball in my hands, the running back kicks in, and I know what to do and what not to do,” Roberts said. “It really kicks in for the kick return and things like that. Once I get the ball in my hands, I see the holes, and I know what to do, where to go, and when to switch the ball. Running back is still
helping me as my football career goes on.” Sherman feels that Roberts has had a smooth transition from one position to the other. The coach also feels that the sophomore no longer views himself in the backfield and instead considers himself to be a wide receiver. “He is getting better every week,” Sherman said. “He is learning more and more every week because he is seeing different defenses every week. I think he sees it as a challenge, and he’s pushing himself.” “Next year, coming into it, I’m pretty
much going to have a great foundation as far as a receiver,” Roberts said. “I know coming into this year I’m playing a lot faster, and I’m doing things a lot better than I did last year, but next year there’s no telling where I can be.” Roberts looks forward to this season allowing him to learn the position more fully. “I really want to progress through this season and next year know all the ins and outs,” he said. “That’s really my goal, and who knows if I’m going to reach that, but I’m going to try my hardest.”
[news in brief] Man arrested for sexually soliciting 16-year-old victim The Blacksburg Police have arrested and charged a local resident for Indecent Liberties with a Child in a Supervisory Relationship. Following a complaint received by the department from a 16-year-old on Sept. 5, the police took William Lewis Powell, Jr., 39, of Blacksburg into custody. The complaint included allegations that a work
supervisor was soliciting sexual favors from the alleged victim. Powell was taken before a Montgomery County magistrate and released on $5,000 bond. A court date remains to be set. No further information regarding the alleged victim has been released. by philipp kotlaba
Saturday to host second “Green Effect” game Send the answers to these questions to email@example.com before Sunday at midnight. Ten correct entries will be drawn at random and the lucky reader will win a free DVD, CD or book of his choice from our prize drawer.
1) The School of Engineering received a grant to revive which program? 2) The men’s rugby team’s next match is against which nationallyranked college? 3) What is the diversity awareness program called that the Graduate Life Center sponsors?
A sea of green instead of maroon or orange just might characterize this Saturday’s football match between Virginia Tech and Nebraska. Building on top of last year’s efforts, the “Green Effect” game is part of a major recycling program kick-off, which SGA organizers hope to exceed last year’s effort in size and scale. The SGA Sustainability and Green Initiatives
Committee hopes to encourage recycling of materials before and after the games, particularly during tailgates. Over 200 button-clad volunteers will be walking through tailgates tomorrow to pass out green trash bags, and spread awareness about various “green initiatives” on campus this year. by philipp kotlaba
Flu shots to be offered in three upcoming clinics Vaccines for the seasonal flu and H1N1 flu will be available through Virginia Tech beginning Oct. 27. Three vaccine clinics are scheduled for Oct. 27, Nov. 16 and Dec. 2. Seasonal flu shots will cost $25, but no cost has been set for the H1N1 vaccine. A university press release said the H1N1 vaccine has not yet been made available.
All clinics begin at 11 a.m. The first two clinics last until 7 p.m., but the third clinic ends at 6 p.m. The October clinic will be held in Commonwealth Ballroom in Squires Student Center. The November clinic will be in McComas Hall. The December clinic will be in Old Dominion Ballroom in Squires Student Center. by zach crizer
4Bluegrass features and ‘Granny’s Rules’ play at Floyd County Store editors: topher forhecz, teresa tobat firstname.lastname@example.org/ 540.231.9865 COLLEGIATETIMES
DAN WAIDELICH features reporter On Friday afternoons, the people of Floyd linger in the streets. Local musicians tune up their instruments and begin to jam. Banjos and guitars twang melodies in the air as harmonicas and large double basses answer back. The tiny, isolated town where oldtime country and bluegrass appears spontaneously in the streets is an important cultural fixture of the Blue Ridge Mountains. “There is an unknown mysterious quality here,” said Woody Crenshaw, owner of the famous Floyd Country Store. “It’s a high plateau, and for generations people have come here to get out of the mainstream.” At the center of Floyd’s artistic heritage is the Friday Night Jamboree, a musical celebration of the history and spirit of the region. The Floyd Country Store, which hosts the Jamboree each week, sits in the middle of downtown Floyd. The large, white, nearly century-old building specializes in selling items
DAN WAIDELICH/COLLEGIATE TIMES
Bill Richardson, ﬁddler for local country act the Jugbusters, is a regular visitor of the Floyd County Store. that are necessary for simple country living. It carries everything from house wares and clothing to musical instruments and candy. The normally quiet building
transforms on Friday nights when the Jamboree takes over and offers a line-up of musicians who celebrate the traditional music of the Blue Ridge region.
The evening begins with a gospel group performing classic spirituals and hymns for the mostly seated audience. After the first act finishes, things move into full swing with stripped-
down country and bluegrass music. The lively tunes quickly get many to leave their seats for some old-fashioned, flatfoot dancing. The floor fills with dancers of all ages who stomp and clog their way around the hall. Even the non-dancers find it difficult to keep from tapping their feat to the rhythm. Flatfoot dancing, which is a folk ancestor of tap, has been a part of Appalachian tradition for hundreds of years, so it is no surprise to see it appear during the jamboree. “The flatfooting and two-stepping format — we really settled on it from playing in Floyd,” said Bill Richardson, fiddler for the Jugbusters. “The music has been here a long time, as long as the people have been here.” The Jugbusters, an old-time country and folk band immersed in the area’s musical heritage, are regular participants in the Jamboree. “We play for dancers,” Richardson said. “Having an opportunity to play here gives us a chance to develop. It allows us to take that same beat and develop our own songs.”
The old-fashioned allure of the jamboree draws crowds, from local citizens to travelers from abroad. The Country Store has hosted guests from 76 different countries. Occasionally, Virginia Tech students can also be found on the dance floor. Anthony Piselli, a junior horticulture major, attended the jamboree for the first time on Friday, Sept. 11. “I like it here,” the Virginia Beach native said in between trips to and from the dance floor. ‘’It’s a lot of fun, and it’s a great little town. There’s nothing quite like it back home.” The jamboree provides an opportunity for visitors and locals alike to immerse themselves in the dancing and music that originated in the isolated area. Crenshaw, who purchased the Country Store in 2005, understands the appeal of a small, artistic town like Floyd. “Floyd has attracted a creative, individualistic type of person,” Crenshaw said. “Floyd is a place of creativity. It has to do with the geography and a see FLOYD / page seven
editor: debra houchins email@example.com/ 540.231.9861 COLLEGIATETIMES
september 18, 2009
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Your Views [letters to the editor]
Prove Pelini wrong An article from the Associated Press has been floating around Hokie e-mail boxes, Facebook, and campus today featuring a series of quotes from one Bo Pelini, head coach of the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The article is entitled “Nebraska’s Pelini not worried about Va. Tech crowd.” And I quote: “... Pelini said after Monday’s practice that the crowd noise is ‘not something that affects us very much.’” He said the Huskers would work with a crowd-noise simulator later in the week. Pelini said it doesn’t matter whether the Huskers are playing at home or on the road. He says, “The fans aren’t playing. It’s 11 on 11. It’s between the lines, and you have to execute.” A crowd-noise simulator? Really... 11 on 11? Interesting ... To steal a quote from one of our favorite personalities — NOT SO FAST, MY FRIEND! I would like to remind coach Pelini and — more importantly — the entire Hokie Nation of a game a few years ago involving Virginia Tech and Miami. Perhaps some people remember this contest. After a tough loss the week before, the Tech faithful came out to stand shoulder to shoulder with their football team to let them know they were there for them. The numbers have been thrown around, but I would say 10,000 plus seems reasonable for that pregame walk. Countless people and news organizations have ranked and accounted for Blacksburg being one of the toughest places to play in the entire country. I’m not so sure Mr. Pelini knows what he’s about to step into. While this is not a Blacksburg night-game, I’d submit to all the Hokies that there has not been a better time than now to recall those images and sounds that came from Lane Stadium on that night back in 2003 against Miami. If you don’t know, just ask your friendly neighborhood Hokie. I’d encourage every Hokie to be in that stadium 30 minutes before kick-off. I’d encourage every Hokie to make more noise than they’ve ever made at a game before. I’d encourage every Hokie to be ready for “Enter Sandman,” pound Pelini’s eardrums, and show Nebraska what Lane Stadium (and the Hokie Nation) is all about.
Matt Bolling Computer Engineering, Alumnus, 2006 Mechanicsville, VA
Show respect to Huskers Last year I had the privilege (yes, privilege) of road tripping from Denver, Colo., to Lincoln, Neb. I’ll admit, I slept for the entire drive through nothing but fields and corn, and I was as pumped as any other Hokie there to pummel the Cornhuskers. However, the morning of the game was a bit different from any other road game that I’ve ever attended. Our group of Hokies was talking it up for sure, but we noticed that the Cornhuskers were able to shrug it off. Fierce competition and trash talking came with the game, and this is what we were used to. So we continued. On our way to different Hokie tailgates, we were pleasantly surprised at how many Nebraska fans were inviting us to have a beer with them and taste some of their fantastic barbeque. We thought it very odd, but how could we not take them up on this offer? They had a lot to say about their team, their town and how they love to have guests from other schools come to Lincoln. This made me think, “Did we ever welcome out-of-town guests this way?” We should, considering they’re helping our economy with their money spent on hotels, food and liquor sales. After we won, we went out for a few celebratory drinks in Lincoln and were amazed yet again how cordial and friendly they were. I’ll never forget the Nebraska fan that came up to me and my friends and said, “Hey, great game. Thanks for coming out — we really appreciate it.” I thought this was sarcastic, and I was waiting for a typical Michael or Marcus Vick jab, but he outstretched his hand, and we shook on it. I would hate for my alma mater to treat these nice people with the standard way we typically treat our out-of-town competitors. I thought the Hokie Nation should know that these fans (for the most part) are happy to cheer on their team, share their food and drink with fans of the opposing team and meet new faces. I would love nothing more than to know that the current students and Hokie fans at the game in Blacksburg this weekend represented the Hokie Nation with the respect that these fans have given us.
Casey Siewert MTM, Alumnus, 2006 Denver, CO
look for our opinions page on tuesday to read entries from the ﬁrst amendment week essay contest.
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Alternative medicine can be dangerous for children E
very so often, a story appears about a family whose child has passed away. These stories are obviously tragic, and one would keep the child and the family in his thoughts. At times, these stories involve extreme neglect from the parents, who hope that through faith and prayer, their child will be healed. They choose to put their child’s life “in God’s hands” when perfectly viable and tested treatments are available. Children die because of refused appendectomies, blood transfusions, leukemia treatments, antibiotics and even insulin shots. According to a 1993 article from independent.co.uk a nine-year-old girl died very slowly from being refused insulin shots, losing “1/3 of her body weight,” and the parents “ignored advice to return her to the hospital and sought homeopathic remedies instead.” There may only be a small group of people doing this, but it has affected even public policy. Blogtalkradio.com released a post at the end of August 2009 urging people to look into the state laws in Florida for exemptions for getting vaccinations for religious reasons. It would be one thing to have a parent refuse treatment for themselves based on religious reasons, but to refuse your child treatment for a simple illness, which causes them death, is murder — or at the very least severe neglect. A child is no more a believer in a religion than a Republican or Democrat. Until a child has the ability to question what his parents say he will simply mimic and follow his parents’ example and opinions. The child does not have independence in thought or in the right to speak up for himself. A parent’s upbringing will almost certainly convince the child that faith will save them, which is perhaps the only positive side of this train of thought. At least the child will not knowingly die from neglect. According to secularhumanism.org, “of 172 U.S. children who died between 1975 and 1995 after their parents withheld medical care on religious grounds, 140 fatalities were from conditions for
which survival rates with medical care would have exceeded 90 percent.” The Web site also notes that “in more than 50 cases, the state either did not bother to determine the cause of the children’s deaths or the records have been lost,” and “the prosecutor, however, declined to file charges, claiming that the parents had a constitutional right to withhold lifesaving care from their children.” A child, in these cases, could be shot and have lost too much blood, have their parents refuse a blood transfusion because of religious reasons, and the parents may not be prosecuted for neglect. Worse still is that these exemptions, specifically from vaccines, and the growing fear about vaccinations causing autism, has lead to an increase in infectious diseases. According to vaccineethics.org, “in 2003, about 38,000 children received exemptions from state vaccination requirements. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that children exempted from immunization were 35 times more likely to contract measles.” According to the Web site, another study showed “that a community with lower rates of immunization had higher rates of infection among vaccinated children than those with higher community-wide vaccination rades. A similar correlation between exemption rates and incidence of vaccine-preventable disease has been found in both the United Kingdom and Japan.” I have never known a person to have gotten the measles except in stories my parents have told me. The measles is something you hear about in “Leave It to Beaver” and should not be heard from a school notice in the 21st century when every resource is cheaply available. It is but fear, superstition and lies that are causing disease in and the deaths of children, and it is completely legal. “While all 50 U.S. states have school-entry requirements for vaccines, 48 allow exemptions for religious reasons (West Virginia and
Mississippi are the only exceptions) and 20 allow for philosophical objections. All states also include exemptions for medical reasons, such as an allergy to a vaccine component,” according to vaccineethics.org. There are reasonable cases in which vaccinations can be exempted, and on a small scale this is perfectly fine since it is not likely to have cases spread when a vast majority of people are vaccinated, but if this balance tips too far, then all children are at much higher risks and people end up needlessly dead. Alternative medicine has always struck me as a silly name, and I am doubtfully the first person to say that if it worked it would be called medicine. Homeopathy, the anti-vaccination movement, herbal remedies and faith healing have no evidence for success. For every case that someone comes out for the better, there are many others that did not. One cannot cherry-pick these instances and call them miracles. A miracle is not when a person survives a terrible car crash while as many as 40,000 people die each year in accidents and many more come out with severe to no injuries; it is a statistic without its context. Modern medicine has rid us almost completely of polio and smallpox, increased survival rates for cancer greatly, and according to a Time article, “fully vaccinating all U.S. children born in a given year from birth to adolescence saves an estimated 33,000 lives and prevents an estimated 14 million infections.” Faith is a strong thing in many people’s lives, and in many cases helps them through difficult times with family or with their job, but it is no substitute for modern medicine based on research.
BRIAN ROPER -senior physics major, astronomy minor
Be considerate of bus schedules when walking in crosswalks I
’m normally a pretty quiet person. I keep to myself, and when something bothers me I tend to let it go and keep my mouth shut. But this time, I just can’t help myself; I feel I need to confront the apparent lack of consideration students give to the vehicle traffic on campus, especially the buses. Sometime within the first few weeks of the semester, we all usually share a similar experience. You’re sitting in a classroom, getting accustomed to your new professor’s lecturing style and wondering which of your classroom neighbors you’ll be hanging out with by the end of the semester. Then suddenly someone comes tiptoeing through the squeaky classroom door, interrupting the lecture and drawing the attention of everyone in the room. “Sorry,” they say, “my bus was late.” Why is that? It’s a pretty good bet that the cause can be traced to that bus being delayed at some point on its route, most likely on campus, by having the bad luck to get caught in that 15-minute window between class times and having to sit and wait for the thousands of students hurrying from one classroom to the next. “Now, wait just a minute,” you might say. “Who are you to say that’s wrong? I have the right to be in a crosswalk any time I want, and the cars and buses have to stop for me!” That’s absolutely true, but it is my humble opinion, that rights can be abused just like privileges can. Now, the law of pedestrian rightof-way means, of course, that any vehicle has to stop for any pedestrian who has stepped into a crosswalk. This makes the streets safer for walking, especially downtown where streets are narrow and traffic can be heavy, or when crossing four lanes of Main Street traffic. The Town of Blacksburg
has even produced a public safety video, “Yield: It’s Worth the Wait” (you can find it on YouTube), in order to make sure that both drivers and pedestrians understand their responsibilities when they’re on the roads. My point is that while it’s not much of a problem for any one vehicle to yield to any one (or few) pedestrians, those pedestrians should still be aware of the situation around them and practice some basic courtesies. Although I realize some students do stop and yield to the bus, in my experience they then run the risk of being trampled by the multitude of oblivious pedestrians behind them who don’t even take a cursory glance in either direction when they step into the street. Didn’t our parents teach us better than that? When a steady stream of students cross the Drillfield or Alumni Mall because each person doesn’t want to give up 10 seconds of walking time between classes, it potentially puts a whole busload of students 15 minutes or more behind schedule. This in turn makes many of them late for their classes. Does that seem fair? Not to me, and I’ll bet not to those students, either. I’m belaboring the point with respect to the buses, but in reality this also includes vehicular traffic. I’ve spoken to several bus drivers who say that, even though some students will yield to the bus, they don’t yield to cars nearly as often. Guess what happens then? The buses end up stuck behind the cars, and the situation is no better off. Speaking of cars, for those students who happen to own one and actually use it to get around town, you should remember that it’s against the law to block an intersection or any other entranceway that leads onto the road. For example, if that light at Main Street
and College Avenue is red, any vehicle coming out of Alumni Mall has the right to enter the line of traffic ahead of you if you don’t have enough room to stop past the entrance. I feel like I shouldn’t need to say this, but of all the cars I see that block that particular street (and I ride the Main Street bus every day), they are almost always driven by younger drivers sporting VT stickers on their car. I’m sure at this point I’ve most likely alienated a ton of my readers but, if you’ve stuck with me this far, allow me to offer you something to consider. We are all part of the same community. Even though many students spend summers and breaks back home with their families, Blacksburg is your home away from home for the next four years or so. A well-functioning community is one where everyone looks out for each other and considers their individual impact on their fellows and the community at large. It’s also important to remember that, as large as Virginia Tech is, there are thousands of people in Blacksburg who live here year-round, raise their families here, shop and dine here, and many of them ride the bus to do so. So the next time you’re walking (or driving) to class and you see a bus coming your way, maybe you could stop and think about what a good thing you’re doing for others by waiting just long enough for that bus to get by.
HEATHER TAYLOR -senior CSES, philsophy major
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6 features he she
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He said: Be careful of what your tattoo says about being you A
s a child, you might have sent Christmas lists to the North Pole. Upon sealing the envelope, you suffered a wicked paper cut. In agony, you’d hope for a Rudolph-747 collision. Learning the ways of the kitchen, your parents likely entrusted you with dicing veggies. When the blade nicked your finger, you’d wish locusts upon the evil farmer’s crops. Just recently you might have set up dorm room bunk beds, and when the large posts pinched your hand mid-stack, it took all your restraint not to uppercut your new MacBook. Throughout our youths, our bodies have clearly told us they aren’t fans of isolated pain (or any pain for that matter). It’s curious, then, that our generation has taken such a liking to the often torturous process of obtaining body art. A metal rod is plunged through cartilage to make room for, well, a slightly larger metal rod. A tattoo machine sends five needles jackhammering at 100 stabs per second. It’s violence, really, and enduring those things willingly seems pretty counter-intuitive. And it’s always intriguing when ladies shrug off the discomfort for self-decoration. Guys might like to think their pain tolerances are superior; we lift heavy things, play football and fight in octagonal cages. But let’s not forget women are built to emit babies — human beings. Still, a little ink peering from their tank top or the shimmer of steel offers a level of instant toughness, mystery. Vince Vaughn thinks differently in “Wedding Crashers.” “Tattoo on the lower back,” he tells Owen Wilson. “Might as well be a bull’s eye.” I’ve found such assumptions about tattoos to be risky; a “stamp” doesn’t necessarily denote a “tramp.” For sake of example, consider a basic illustration of a sun on a girl’s lower back. Sure, the thought could be as empty as, “I love tanning so much, I gave myself a colorful scar about it.” But give her the benefit of the doubt. You won’t feel like crap when she explains it actually honors a relative who had aggressive melanoma at the base of their spine. Don’t bank on taking her home from the bar. The stories behind pigment aren’t always wrapped with deep meaning, though. I remember eating at a breakfast diner in Denver two years ago, and my waitress was covered
with art. I asked if she could explain some of it, and eventually she exposed her stomach. Marching in a little parade above her belly button were caricatures of her favorite foods — a cupcake, an ice cream cone and more — waving back at me. Silly? Maybe. But it suggested she was lighthearted and fun. And who cares if the ice cream cone looks like it’s melted when she’s old? By then no one will be particularly salivating over her torso, let’s be honest. The same waitress also had piercings. There’s usually little narrative logic behind something like a nose ring. Most people get holes because they think it’s generally cool and it provides visual distinction; that’s why I did it. I think a lot of guys are drawn to girls when their jewelry is strategically placed. An eyebrow bar is a magnet to those baby blues. A lip stud highlights a vibrant smile. A “Monroe” brings to mind, you know, Marilyn Monroe, and she was pretty stunning so use her to your advantage. It’s when the locations start traveling awry that the attraction is inverted. Surface piercings have grown in popularity, and I’m not quite on board yet. I wince when I see horizontal rods matching the vertebrae on a woman’s neck. I can’t help but imagine there are silver larvae emerging from eggs within. That or they make her look bionic. When she turns her head, I expect to hear hydraulics. Regardless, I find both forms of expression enjoyable. When you hear that it’s addicting, believe it. The next chance I get, I’ll be back in the chair, feeling the needles buzz, clenching my buttocks until my hamstrings sweat. Hey, at least I’m not passing an infant. And there are obviously other body alterations worthy of discussion — like implants. But I sense that’s on a different level. Tattoos and piercines are at, say, a “B” right now; it’s up there at a “D.”
RYAN ARNOLD -features reporter -has two musicallyinspired tattoos
MINA NOORBAKHSH/COLLEGIATE TIMES
She said: Ink doesn’t always mean ‘bad boy’ E
very good girl wants a bad boy. This is common knowledge. In fact, one of my biggest middle school crushes happened to be A.J. McLean, the “bad” one from the Backstreet Boys (don’t laugh). To the annoying know-it-all future She Said, A.J. was the one. Pierced ears, tattoos, weird facial hair and an air of cockiness; he looked like he’d go directly to jail. And I loved him for it. But it’s not just A.J. — it’s a phenomenon. If a girl sees a guy more inked than an octopus with multiple piercings and a sharp wardrobe, chances are that she’s going to take a second glance. Especially if he’s in a band. And he rides a motorcycle. And especially if her parents would disown her if they dated. For a long time, I flocked to the bad boys. If a guy’s arm was encrusted with a skull motif and he had some metal in his face, I became a giggly sack of jelly around him. But then I had an epiphany. While strolling around the Duck Pond, I saw a nice example of a bad boy. Stocky with a clean-shaven head, he was wearing a sleeveless leather jacket, leather chaps and studded motorcycle boots. His big muscles bulged with art too awesome for me to recognize as he struggled with what I realized was the leash of a 10-pound, fluffy, white Pomeranian. I was taken aback. Surely, no man of such ... manliness would ever have such a fluffy, tiny dog. This event
absolutely destroyed my image of what it takes to be a bad boy, and it made me wonder. Though tattoos and piercings are a surefire way to evoke the “bad boy” image in women’s minds, are they really that “bad?” Since even getting most people near a needle takes some guts, a tattoo is an almost generic symbol of a dude that’s trouble. Think about it. Popeye’s giant arms emblazoned with anchors could kill a man after spinach consumption. And the disagreeable Hefty Smurf who hated everything? He had heart tattoos on both arms. (When younger, I was convinced Hefty and Smurfette were the Smurf couple because of his tough-guy image.) Even Petunia, the red-haired lady tat in “Pete & Pete,” made little Pete seem a lot cooler than his older brother. If a man has even one tattoo, he has historical precedent for getting some bad boy credibility. But there is also the matter of the tattoo. Ms. Pac-Man? Unless packing pellets is your idea of a good time, not so much. The dreamy, intricate work of Salvador Dali? The guy is either a sexy art enthusiast or a total basket case. Now, piercings — that’s another story. A stranger shoving a huge needle through the skin definitely endows a person with bad boy points. But piercings are also a delicate balancing act of deciding whether the guy is truly dangerous or if he’s just a little too
outrageous. Chances are if he has a few studs on his face, you know it’s likely he has some piercings you can’t see. And though maybe that might be your bag, you have to ask yourself: Why was he OK with having a stranger put a needle there? But these bad boy accoutrements aren’t just about guys looking hot to drive the ladies crazy. Body modification is a passion and a dedication, and not to mention a form of very personal art. Even tattoos that you might knock now may have a special, in-depth meaning. (Yes, even that fuzzy political map of Italy inlaid with roses that you were convinced was the worst tattoo of all time. Maybe it has significance?) A man’s body can be his canvas, expressing his id, ego and superego. If you can’t handle the glinting metal and the swirling ink, then you can’t appreciate the man himself. Of course, for many good girls, there’s always more to appreciate about a bad boy. Always.
LAKEN RENICK -features staff writer -has two archaeologicallybased tattoos
september 18, 2009
Simpson’s writer brings Springﬁeld to Tech Floyd: Rich musical heritage in a quiet town RYAN ARNOLD
Writer Mike Reiss saw two of his scripts hit the big screen this past summer. The first film, “My Life in Ruins,” was a flop, according to Reiss. It earned a meager $8 million. “Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs,” however, loaded the vault with $800 million. “Am I an idiot or a genius?” Reiss pondered, who felt that both films were of the same quality. The latter rings loudly though, considering Reiss’ contributions to “The Simpsons,” which has celebrated two decades of airtime. It has received worldwide acclaim and the highest praises aren’t just stateside. Reiss said that “The Simpsons” fandom in South America dwarfs that of the United States, even with half the jokes getting lost in translation. Inherent in such achievement is work ethic. When Reiss was full-time with “The Simpsons” in the ’90s, he regularly logged 100 hours per week. He has since whittled his studio visits to just Wednesdays allowing time for, among other things, an ongoing collegiate lecture series. Reiss will visit Virginia Tech on Monday to open the Fox doors and share the inner workings of “The Simpsons.” Recently, the Collegiate Times talked with Reiss over the phone on a rather special occasion. COLLEGIATE TIMES: Unless Wikipedia is wrong, can the CT wish you a happy birthday? MIKE REISS: Wow. Good work; good research. Yes, this is one time Wikipedia is not wrong. Yes, I am 50 years old today. CT: How old do you really feel? REISS: I feel 31. And it’s pathetic, I know, to someone young to have someone old feel like they’re young. You’ll see — you never feel like you’re as old as you are. But when you meet me you’ll see I don’t look my age either. I mean I’m going to look plenty old to you, but I look like I’m about 40, and I’m 50. You know — I’ve got a lot of energy and that kind of thing. CT: Do you think Harvard University ever regrets giving you a degree? REISS: They might. The funny thing is, I’ve used my lecture series as a pulpit to encourage people not to go to Harvard. And every once in a while they’ll have me speak at Harvard, and I’ll say to young undergraduates, “Don’t give money to Harvard when you graduate. Almost anything is a better
When: Monday, 7 p.m. Where: Squires Haymarket Theater
COURTESY OF MIKE REISS
Writer Mike Reiss before and after being “Simpsonized.” use of your money than this place.” I really hated the place. I can’t say enough bad things about Harvard. And again, having spoken, having gone on this lecture circuit, I’ve gotten to visit again hundreds of colleges, and I go, “Gee, I wish I’d gone to any one of these places instead of Harvard.” CT: How has your lecture changed over the years? REISS: You know, all I do is make it a little funnier. ... The way the speech worked always was I would speak for 45 minutes and then do Q and A for 20 minutes. And if something bombed in the speech, I would cut it out. And if something got a big laugh in Q and A, I would move it into the speech. And after a few years of that, it really became a bullet-proof speech; it became very solid. So I don’t change it that much except sometimes I have to change things just because they go out of fashion. I used to have jokes about ’N Sync in the speech. And you know ’N Sync was on (“The Simpsons”). The jokes really got big laughs, bigger than they deserved. I think those people hated ’N Sync so much. And I can’t in good faith go out and make fun of ’N Sync anymore — that’s just pathetic. I used to open with about five or six George Bush jokes, and this is actually my first speech I’ve given since I had to cut those loose. I’m really going to miss them. CT: In addition to “The Simpsons,” you were involved with other shows such as “The Critic” and “Queer Duck,” all of which pushed comedic boundaries. Where did your humor develop? REISS: I think it came from just sort of soaking in stuff when I was a kid ... like “Rocky and Bullwinkle.” It was a cartoon show, and it was very much like “The Simpsons.” “Rocky and Bullwinkle,” which I just loved to death and studied, you know, obsessively. That was a kids’ cartoon definitely written for adults. And a lot of it, like “The Simpsons,” was written for very smart adults. So I like things like “Rocky and Bullwinkle,” and I like Woody Allen movies and “Monty Python.” And even “Mad Magazine,” which again you know they never wrote down to kids. It wasn’t the greatest humor, but you would read it and go,
“Wow, they’re parodying R-rated movies that they know I can’t get in to see, so they’re giving me a little respect here.” CT: You’ve tried your hand at a TGIF teen sitcom on ABC and published a handful of children’s books. Which audience is most difficult to write for? REISS: The “TGIF” thing was a disaster. ... That’s the experience that drove me out of television. I worked in TV for 20 years, 25 years maybe, and that was such a bad experience that I said: I quit. I’m not working in TV anymore. And I left, and I didn’t do anything for years — I literally just stopped working for a couple of years. ... “TGIF,” that was impossible. I felt like writing for TGIF was like a planet with super-strong gravity where any time you would try to soar a little higher or be a little better, you were pulled back to the planet “Crap.” And that was it: I did this “TGIF” show called “Teen Angel” — written by Mike Reiss, produced by Mike Reiss, created by Mike Reiss. And I couldn’t stand it. I couldn’t stand to watch my own show. How can we expect anyone else to watch this thing? And this is how network TV operates. This is why most of network TV is so terrible. Except for “The Simpsons,” every show on television has a bunch of executives, creative executives, telling you how to write your show and what jokes to tell and who to cast and what everyone should wear, and they ruin it. ... They’re called creative executives, which is kind of an oxymoron. These guys just water down and rack and decide by committee how TV is done. And on “The Simpsons,” when the series started up, (executive producer) James L. Brooks told Fox, “Our one rule is no executives are allowed anywhere near this show.” And to this day, if you work at Fox, the president of Fox cannot come and watch us record “The Simpsons.” A bum off the street, you know, anybody can bring their friend, bring their kids to watch us record “The Simpsons,” watch us read the scripts out loud with our cast. But the president of Fox is not allowed in the building. CT: Alongside your writing credits are many producing credits. Which responsibilities do you enjoy more? REISS: I just like to write. Again, this is sort of the problem with TV. When you work in TV, the longer you write, you keep getting promoted. And the more they promote you, the less writing you get to do. They say, “We like
your writing so much you’re going to produce now.” You know, as a producer again on like “TGIF,” there were budget meetings and wardrobe people were coming to me saying, “What should the kids wear?” And it’s like, well look at me. I dress terribly. I’m the last person you should be asking about this. So I just like to write. ... I stopped working 12 years ago when I was 38, and I thought: I’m just not going to write anymore. I just kept writing things. I mean this is how I started writing children’s books, how I started doing “Queer Duck.” All these projects were for little money — writing kids’ books — or zero money. “Queer Duck” was something I worked on for five or six years, never got a penny for it. But I did it because I like to write. ... I don’t even like to write, I just like to get shit out of my head.
CT: Do you find any animated shows funny today? REISS: Yes. I get in trouble at “The Simpsons” for saying I love “Family Guy.” I love it inside-out. I think it’s hilarious. You know there’s a little bit of rivalry between the two shows. A lot of “The Simpsons” guys don’t like “Family Guy.” I think it’s hilarious. And I love “Robot Chicken.” Those are the two I really like. That’s it. Those are the two I go out of my way to watch. CT: Do you think these shows will have the longevity of “The Simpsons?” REISS: No. Well, I don’t want to say nothing’s going to last as long as “The Simpsons” because it’s such a fluke. I think it must have come along at just the right time. But who knows, maybe “Family Guy.” That certainly is not slowing down. I think they’re seven years into it. You have to remember, “The Simpsons” is the longest running thing ever; it’s the longest running series in TV history. You know, it may be 50 or 60 years before something comes along that’s as successful as “The Simpsons” was. CT: How has “The Simpsons” even accomplished 20 years? REISS: Nobody likes this theory because everyone wishes there was one reason “The Simpsons” succeeds. “The Simpsons” succeeds because it has many small audiences; it doesn’t have one big audience. You know, America watches “American Idol.”... Whether you’re 8 or 80, you get the same thing out of “American Idol.” People watch “The Simpsons” for all different reasons. Like kids obviously are half our audience, and they’re not getting 80 percent of the jokes. And I think that college students like it because it’s smart, and you know it’s sort of outrageous. And I think parents like it because it’s funny and because it’s one of the few shows they can bear to watch with their kids.
DAN WAIDELICH/COLLEGIATE TIMES
A common sight in Floyd, local musicians jam on the streets before spending their evenings at the Fright Night Jamboree. from page four
kind of spirit to the place.” The state recognizes Floyd’s musical heartbeat as well. The Country Store is one of the featured venues along the Crooked Road, a trail that traces Virginia’s musical heritage through 250 miles of Appalachia. While visiting the Country Store, guests are expected to behave on “Granny’s rules” — no smoking, drinking or swearing. The Jamboree is the Floyd’s flagship event, but the Country Store also hosts acoustic jam sessions on Sundays for musicians of any skill level. On Saturday, Sept. 19, the Country Store will host an Old Time Country Dance featuring the Slate Mountain Ramblers. Crenshaw feels that the town
always has something to offer visitors. “The initial impulse was to do something interesting and creative with this little town in the Blue Ridge Mountains,” Crenshaw said. “Floyd can be a destination for something unique and special.”
[ ] Floyd Country Store
Friday Night Jamboree: 6:30 - 10:30 p.m. Sunday Jam: 2 - 5 p.m. Regular Hours: Thursday to Saturday: 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m., Sunday: Noon - 5:30 p.m. Phone: 540.745.4563
september 18, 2009
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sports 9 september 18, 2009
Waldron, kicking unit simply going through the motions RAY NIMMO ct sports reporter Snap. Hold. Kick. It might be the most overlooked routine in football, but in certain situations, it becomes the most scrutinized. With the game on the line and a field goal needed to win or tie, the kicking team feels every fan’s hopes and prayers on its shoulders. But for snapper Collin Carroll, holder Brent Bowden and kicker Matt Waldron, it’s no big deal. “We were in the Georgia Dome last week,” Waldron said, “and it would get loud here and there, but you don’t really pay any attention to it. You just go out and see the same guys every day that are holding and snapping, and we just kind of do our thing.” Waldron, a redshirt senior from Oakfield, N.Y., receives most of the recognition for his kicks. He converted his first two attempts this season, but Bowden and Carroll deserve the same credit for those points. Snapping and holding are not as easy as fans think. “I think its one of those things where it just comes naturally to you or it doesn’t,” Carroll said. “Fortunately, I’ve been blessed.” Carroll, a redshirt sophomore from Hopkins, Minn., didn’t think he would be able to play for such a well-known special teams unit like Virginia Tech’s. “I always respected coach (Frank) Beamer’s program and the special teams here,” Carroll said. “I wanted to get a chance to snap somewhere at a big program, and I knew Virginia Tech had great special teams, so I sent a tape here. When coach Beamer called me and told me he wanted to bring me down here, I almost dropped the phone ’cause I was so surprised.” Bowden, a redshirt senior from Centreville, Va., handles punting for Tech but picked up holding duties last year. “It’s not as easy (as people say),” Bowden said. “Holding takes a lot of practice. When you think about it, you’re sitting down on your knee, you got a weird angle like that, you got to catch it and spin it, all within pretty much the snap of a finger. If you don’t spin it the right way, and if you give them laces, you can mess up their kick. It definitely takes a lot of reps.” Over the last four years there have been four different kickers. Each year, the field goal percentage has
gone down. In 2006, Brandon Pace hit 94.7 percent of his kicks. In 2007, Jud Dunlevy hit 80.8 percent, and in 2008 Dustin Keys hit 79.3 percent. With Bowden and Carroll in their second season holding and snapping, and having a talented kicker in Waldron, those statistics may increase. Statistics don’t mean everything to the guys, though. “Stats are stats, but we want to win football games,” Waldron said. “We can make or break the games. We love to have that on our shoulders. We put in so many more hours than people would think. You’re kicking, you’re doing drills at home, you’re stretching and doing a bunch of different things that people don’t see.” Waldron’s kicking career can be traced back to his childhood. “When I was little, I was always kicking footballs around and stuff,” Waldron said. “But when I was in elementary school, a kid on the bus lifted me up and hit my head on the roof of the bus and injured my neck. So, I wore a neck brace for half the year in kindergarten. “I had neck aches here and there, and my mom and dad never let me play peewee football because every time I had contact I would have bad headaches. So, I decided to pursue the kicking a little bit further. I saved up my lawn mowing money when I was in eighth grade and bought some tapes and started to take it serious. I’ve kicked every year since then.” Waldron enrolled at Penn State and engaged in a kicking battle with another freshman, and the other kicker got the job. Not wanting to sit on the bench for four years, Waldron sent his tape to Beamer who told him to come to Tech. It wasn’t hard for Waldron to settle in — he and Bowden knew each other before college. “We’ve known each other since kicking camps in high school,” Bowden said. “When he came to Tech, he called me up and was like, ‘Hey, I need a place to live,’ and I was like, ‘Hey, I’m actually looking for a roommate.’ So that worked out great.” Through the years, the three guys have developed their own strategies and techniques to get better at converting field goals and extra points. Bowden holds the ball straight up and down for Waldron, who simply kicks it straight. “I find a target that’s up past the
uprights when I’m kicking here,” Waldron said. “(I look) up at the scoreboard, pick a letter or something like that (to aim at). Other than that, I don’t really think too much.” During the course of a game, kickers must practice kicking into a net, leaving that strategy useless. Waldron found another. “It’s a mental thing,” Waldron said. “You can’t let something like the net psyche you out. You just pretend the net is not there. When I’m in Lane Stadium I pick out that one NC State flag, and I keep looking up there. That’s my target, and I kick towards that in the net. If you kick enough times, you can feel if you’re doing something wrong.” Performing the same routine over and over again might sound dull, but the guys call themselves jokesters that like to have fun. “We’re serious for 20 seconds on the field, then we’re just (crazy),” Waldron HANNA TEACHEY/SPPS said. “You got to be goofy to be a specialist.” Redshirt senior kicker Matt Waldron winds up a kick in Tech’s 52-10 victory over Marshall Saturday. “We definitely joke around a lot,” Bowden said. “We just have a good time. We have jobs that are really pressure-filled. It’s kind of stressful sometimes, so we just keep it light.” Waldron and Bowden showed that as they couldn’t contain themselves when Carroll talked about his practice routine. “I start snapping for field goals to warm up and work on the accuracy,” Carroll said. “Then I start torquing out some punt snaps to stay loose, and stretch out the hammies, the glutes and lower back,” Carroll continued as Waldron laughed. “Then I start firing back some BBs.” Waldron and Bowden cracked up. “(When snapping to Bowden) I try to aim at his numbers,” Carroll said, “because coach Beamer wants me to put the ball right between the eight and the seven. Oh, excuse me — the nine and seven.” “He always says the eight and seven,” Bowden said laughing, “but it’s nineseven. It’s an inside joke.” The field goal unit has its routine down and its sense of humor. Is there anything else to know about it? “We’re just average dudes out here doing something we love, and we don’t take it for granted,” Waldron said. “(Bowden) and I are seniors so we don’t have much time left. We’re just trying to enjoy it and do well.”
september 18, 2009
Nebraska up to the challenge of Lane Stadium ED LUPIEN sports reporter In what will arguably be the most publicized home game in recent years, the No. 13 Hokies will host Big 12-representative No.19 Nebraska on Saturday. Nebraska comes into the game with a 2-0 record after easily earning wins over two members of the Sun Belt Conference, Florida Atlantic and Arkansas State, with a combined score of 87-12. Rebounding from their 5-7 season in 2007, the Cornhuskers went 8-4 last season, and one of their four losses
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came at the hands of the Hokies, who escaped Lincoln with a 35-30 victory in late September. Nebraska’s other three losses were to Top 10 in-conference opponents. It’s hot start this season, combined with their success in the second half of last season, leading up to a hard-fought victory over Clemson in the Gator Bowl, has led many to believe that the Cornhuskers have returned to the form in which they had so much success in the 1990s and early 2000s. “I think Nebraska is back and that they’re going to be competing very strongly in the Big 12,” Tech head coach Frank Beamer said. “They can play good defense. Offensively, their quarterback has completed 74 percent of his passes, and several of their backs and receivers are impressive. This is a tough, well-coached football team coming in, and they’re going to be quite a challenge for our football team.” The quarterback Beamer is referring to is junior Zac Lee, who took the reins of the Nebraska offense after much-heralded quarterback Joe Ganz graduated in the spring. Lee enters Lane Stadium ranked seventh in the country in passing efficiency and having already thrown for 553 yards and six touchdowns. “Yeah, it’s after two games though, so a lot of things can change and a lot of things can happen,” Lee said of his success. “I’m definitely happy about how I’ve performed, but I think there are things I can definitely improve on and do better. I think that’s something to look at more at the end of the year and judge it from there.” Lee and the rest of the offense will operate with a silent snap count for this weekend’s game — something that Pelini installed earlier this week specifically for the expected noise level at Lane Stadium. Defensively, the Huskers are experienced. Their entire starting secondary is comprised of upperclassmen with each of the four starters boasting multiple letters. Senior safety Larry Asante, a native of Alexandria, Va., leads the team with 15 tackles on the season. “Their secondary brings strength and size,” Tech sophomore wide receiver Dyrell Roberts said. “By having the privilege of playing against them last season, I know a few things about what they’re going to do, but I still don’t know their ins and outs because I was a freshman last season, and
I didn’t have a clue what was going on in many situations.” Despite the experienced secondary, Nebraska is strongest at the line with 6-foot-4-inch, 300-pound senior defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who already has 1.5 sacks and four tackles for loss this season, leading the way. “Outstanding,” Pelini said of Suh. “He leads by example. He was defensive player of the game this last week. I thought he played well.” “The first week was kind of a strange team for a defensive lineman to play against, but I think he is playing good football,” Pelini said. “At the same time, he’d be the first one to tell you he’s never satisfied, as are the rest of the guys. You look at it, you evaluate it, you work to get better, and I think that’s the attitude he takes.” “Nebraska’s front four are strong, big and powerful,” Beamer said. “It’s going to take some excellent blocking to give (tailbacks redshirt freshman Ryan Williams and freshman David Wilson) a crack this week.” The Cornhusker defense is well aware of the recent success of Wilson and Williams, who combined for 336 rushing yards and four touchdowns last weekend against Marshall. Nebraska has made the pair one of its main focuses this week. “Very potent,” Suh said of Tech’s run game. “There’s times where they definitely got some good yardage against (Marshall) and were very physical and a running-downhill team. Just like last week’s game (against Arkansas State), they wanted to come in here and run that ball. Virginia Tech is going to want to do that on their home field, so it’s going to be another challenge of going out there and trying to stop them.” The Hokies’ running backs are just one aspect, however, of a mobile quarterback-led offense that is different from that of either of the two teams Nebraska has seen thus far this season. Pelini has coached against junior quarterback Tyrod Taylor twice in his career — last season and in 2007 as an assistant coach for Louisiana State University. “He’s a good football player,” Pelini said. “I think the biggest key for him now is it’s his offense. It pretty much was last year, but they still had a little bit of a rotation going, but now I’m sure that helps him with a little bit of a comfort level.” Pelini emphasized Taylor’s increased time on the field has enabled him to grow as a quarterback. “To be out there all the time and knowing that he’s going to get all the snaps — that would help anybody,
Pelini said. “I think he is more comfortable. I think he has grown. Just like anybody else who has played this game, the more reps you get, the more experience you get, the better you get. I think that’s the case with Tyrod.” Despite being familiar with much of the Tech team, Pelini does not possess a first-hand account of the atmosphere of Lane Stadium. He does not seem that worried about it either, maintaining his focus strictly on what occurs on the field and not in the stands. “I played a lot of football games on the road and all that other stuff, all those outside influences; we’ve played well on the road around here with the exception of one game and that was just one of those nights,” Pelini said. “It’s about executing,” he said. “When you’re at home, sometimes you have more distractions at home than you do on the road. You have to create your own energy a little bit, but our guys will feed off that atmosphere and hopefully have even more energy, and that feeling of ‘us against the world’ mentality. All that stuff means nothing. It’s about performing. It’s about executing your techniques and focusing in.” Needless to say, many people — players, coaches and media personnel alike — are treating this as a marquee game. Both teams are aware of how big of a win it would be for each of their respective seasons. “It’s a great opportunity, especially a team like Virginia Tech that has had such long-term success,” Lee said. “I think it’s an opportunity that we are really looking forward to. I said after the game on Saturday, that’s what college (football) is all about. Going into places like that, a great atmosphere and competing. “Last year’s game was a close game. Really we had to come back a little bit. We had some missed opportunities, and they took advantage of some opportunities, so give them all the credit. They played a great game last year. They won,” Lee said “It’d be a huge win,” Tech redshirt sophomore wide receiver Danny Coale said. “They’re a nationally ranked team and a storied program that’s on the rise again. They’re probably looking for a little revenge after last year, so they’re going to come out fighting. It’s imperative that we come out on all cylinders.” As of Thursday evening, the Atlantic Coast Conference injury report lists starting tight end Greg Boone as probable with a sternoclavicular joint sprain and starting boundary corner Stephan Virgil as questionable with a knee injury. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. at Lane Stadium, and the game will be televised on ABC.
For Hokies to reach full potential, Taylor and company need wins, not numbers After its apparent warm-up game against Alabama two weeks ago, Virginia Tech’s offense put five touchdowns on the board last week against Marshall. While the Hokies put up 444 yards of rushing, 605 yards of total offense, and the improvement to 1-1 on the year with a win against the Thundering Herd, fans shouldn’t expect similar numbers for the offense when the Hokies face No. 19 Nebraska on Saturday. Nebraska is a much tougher opponent than Marshall, but any true Hokie fan should know that. The Cornhuskers have the rank, record (2-0) and tradition to prove it. That’s why when the Hokies square up with the Associated Press’ 19th-best Division I college football team, they’ll need to bring their A-game. What exactly that A-game is, however, has yet to be determined. Without Darren Evans, are the Hokies still a run-first, pass-last offense? Last week’s performances by true freshman tailback David Wilson
and redshirt freshman tailback Ryan Williams say so. Each back carried the ball less than 20 times against Marshall, gained over 160 yards on the ground and scored at least a touchdown. Wilson had one score, while Williams put it in for six on three occasions. When Tech faced Alabama, however, the Hokies ground game gained just 64 net yards on 31 carries. One might ask, is Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor ever going to reach his full potential? Can Taylor be “the man” with two minutes left in the fourth quarter while the Hokies are down six? Like its ground game, Tech’s passing game improved from Taylor’s less-thanstellar performance against Alabama last week when it hosted Marshall. Up against the Thundering Herd, Taylor went 9-for-16 for 161 yards, scored two touchdowns with his arm and then one with his feet. He gained 72 yards rushing on the day. Taylor was 9-of-20 for 91 yards and didn’t score once on the ground or
through the air against the Crimson Tide. This week, in a nationally televised competition with Nebraska, the Hokies will need to control the clock. Tech won the time of possession battle against Marshall, 31:28-28:32. Against Alabama, Tech was trampled in the same battle, 37:02-22:58. Last season, when the Hokies defeated the Cornhuskers 35-30, they did so by controlling the clock. Tech held possession for 34 minutes and 44 seconds in the win and did so by pounding the ball into a weak Nebraska defensive line over and over again. The Hokies eventually wore their opponent out with their monotonous, yet successful strategy. In the game’s final minutes, Taylor capped off an 11-play, 80-yard drive that spanned five minutes and 24 seconds by rushing from 2 yards out to put Tech up 12 and seal the game. Chances are head coach Frank Beamer will have to look Taylor’s way this week and next against ranked
opponents, late in the game, in need of a similar drive. If the Tech football program wants a national championship, it needs to understand that trophy requires a productive offense, and even more important, a clutch season from Taylor. When Taylor made his announcement to commit to Tech over Florida years ago, Hokie fans may have expected an offensive powerhouse on the way. Those hopes, while nice, maybe weren’t the most realistic. In recent years, the Hokies have moved on from the Vick years and established a defense-first attitude around Blacksburg. While NFL talent like Eddie Royal and Josh Morgan played for the Hokies recently and were underutilized at Tech, the players who have been expected to reach the next level and succeed have come from defensive coordinator Bud Foster’s defense. Players like Victor Harris, Brandon Flowers, Xavier Adibi, Darryl Tapp
and even Aaron Rouse highlight Tech’s starting lineups of the past five years and indicate a program built on defense. So, while expecting Taylor to rise to NFL-stardom while he was young in the wake of the Vick saga was a nice hope; now it seems unrealistic — or is it? If Taylor does prove himself this season, it probably won’t be with Heisman-like numbers and more than one 52-point game. It will more likely be through performances that prove he’s “the man” when it counts. Like the other notable, low-scoring quarterbacks of our time, Taylor must excel with ball management, controlling the clock and executing drives that hit the opposing defense where it hurts. Taylor must win the time of possession battle, and he must not turn the ball over. With young talent like Williams, Wilson and redshirt sophomore tailback Josh Oglesby behind him, the touchdowns and big scores will come
for Taylor. What he must do now is make sure that those scores don’t come from the other team, at least while he’s on the field. If the Hokies are to prove capable national championship contenders, theyneed leaders, and they need to be smart. Bud Foster and offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring should be thankful for the talent they are allowed utilize on a day-to-day basis. Now, over a month since the team hit the practice fields to begin its 2009 campaign, the coaches and players must prove they’re worthy of the respect they receive.
ALEX JACKSON -sports editor -senior -communication major, psci minor