Page 1

Valentine’s Day guide Great gifts that are soft on both your lover’s heart and your wallet—p. 13

Volume 40 Issue 5

Push for healthier campus HSLC suggests new Health and Wellness policy David Huck MANAGING EDITOR

in a

Thursday, February 15, 2004

Full court b-ball news NON-PROFIT ORG Two sets of U.S. Postage siblings PAID Permit #44 star in the Palo Alto, Calif. spotlight Feb. 17: Last day to register —pp. 18-19 Henry M. Gunn High School 780 Arastradero Road Palo Alto, CA 94306 Palo Alto Unified School District


Pros and cons of giving it over-the-counter status—p. 7



FDA sparks “morning after” pill controversy

to vote in March 2 primary 780 Arastradero Road Palo Alto, CA 94306

Bot ott ot ttle

PAUSD budget woes Superintendent p ropose s cuts for proje c te d $ 3 million deficit Kevin Hsu

The Healthy School Lunch Committee (HSLC) delivered its proposed Health and Wellness Policy before the school board Tuesday night in an attempt to create a set of healthier guidelines for the district food program, as well as to precipitate a search for a new food service provider. The board will vote on the policy at its next meeting on Feb. 24. Through their proposal, the HSLC aims to improve students’ food choices and education in the basics of nutrition. In addition to ■ HEALTH POLICY—p.2

Drug survey gauges use First-year Student Perspective Survey issued David Huck MANAGING EDITOR

The Student Perspective Survey, administered to students with permission slips on Monday and Tuesday this week, culminated over two years of cooperation between the school district, medical and police officials to better understand teen substance use. The survey originated when Superintendent Mary Frances Callan and former Police Chief Lynn Johnson met regarding a perceived increase in teen drug and alcohol abuse. These concerns led to the creation of the Drug and Alcohol Abuse Advisory Committee (DAAAC) two summers ago. According to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Health Education Manager Becky Beacom, what ■ DRUG SURVEY—p.3


Photo illustration by Cathy Sun

Survey: students pop various pills to help them study Cathy Sun MANAGING EDITOR

They rejuvenate your mind, hone in your focus and improve grades. Or so students think. On school campuses, these “smart drugs” are becoming increasingly popular in battling drowsiness and fatigue during 3 a.m. cram sessions and all-nighters. Yet many students consider drugs in this category, such as Ritalin or No-Doz, an overthe-counter caffeine pill, pseudo-drugs. As a result, few users are aware of the health risks and physical toll that these drugs take on the body. This week, students took a drug and alcohol survey, intended to increase district awareness of such usage, and to provide information about drug attitudes and norms. However, according to a recent Oracle stimulant drug survey, students said more attention should

be directed toward the growing trend of “smart drug” usage. This trend appears to include Gunn, according to the survey. Of the 250 respondents, 29 percent said they had taken one type of “smart drug,” such as caffeine pills—by far the most popular—Ritalin and speed, for reasons other than doctor-prescribed medication. Furthermore, 52 percent of these students took stimulants for academic reasons. Caffeine Pills The label on the bottle of No-Doz asserts it’s as “safe as coffee,” but how safe is that? Apparently, the label’s claim is enough assurance for the 46 percent of students who have tried No-Doz or its sister drug Vivran, according to The Oracle’s survey. And the percentage seems to be rising. Junior


After the teachers union declined to reopen their contract to discuss furlough days, District Superintendent Dr. Mary Frances Callan proposed alternative recommendations to bridge the Palo Alto Unified School District’s projected $3 million deficit at the Feb. 10 school board meeting. Callan’s proposals, including layoffs, amounted to $1.5 million in cuts. The board also discussed her earlier ideas Mary Frances for a Basic Aid Callan reserve policy and community fundraising. The deficit originally materialized when the latest property tax projections fell from a 3.66 percent increase to a 0.23 percent increase, a $1.9 million drop from June figures, according to school board president Cathy Kroymann.

■ BUDGET—p.3

State college admissions tightening UC, CSU systems could cut enrollment, raise tuition by 10 percent Jimmy Huang ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed siphoning 10 percent of students admitted to a University of California (UC) or California State University (CSU) school to a community college for two years and increasing the UC and CSU tuitions by 10 percent. In his Jan. 9 State of the State address, Schwarzenegger suggested the enrollment cut to save the state $46 million. In effect, about 3,200 applicants who met

UC academic eligibility standards and 3,800 who met those for CSU schools would be denied admission for the upcoming school year. Denied applicants would attend community colleges for free. Many students like Senior Ray-

mond Lam decried the cost-saving measure as a betrayal to good students. “I think that rejecting someone who’s fully qualified for a UC and even got accepted into a UC, is just ridiculous,” Lam said. In addition, many students

Costs of the Proposed Cut ■ 7,000 eligible for UC or CSU sent to community colleges ■ Average yearly UC tuition up 10% to $6,028 ■ Average yearly CSU tuition up 10% to $2,776 Source:

may not want to go to a community college. “I would go to a private college if I got rejected from a UC, because you don’t get the same type of education from a community college,” senior Albert Shau said. The other part of Schwarzenegger’s education budget cut proposal, a raise in the base UC system tuition by $498 annually, would put the average yearly UC tuition at $6,028. For CSU schools, the 10 percent increase makes for an increased average yearly tuition of $2,776.

Page 2 ◆ The Oracle

Thursday, February 12, 2004 ◆



Student Snapshot of the Month Drivers’ permit age now at 15 1/2 The new California Vehicle Code (CVC) went into effect on Jan. 1, raising the minimum age to get a drivers’ permit from 15 years to 15 years and six months. In addition to the Driver’s Education Certificate, persons between 15 ½ to 17 ½ years of age must show proof of enrollment in a driver’s training program with a signed Driver’s Training Certificate. Co-owner of the Stanford Driving School Paul Lovato is staunchly opposed to the recent changes to the CVC. He noted that the reforms cut in half the amount of time 16 year-old licensed drivers spend behind the wheel with their parents, making it more difficult for beginning drivers to get critical practice. The DMV initiated the changes to combat unsupervised teen driving. However, Lovato said the DMV has no evidence to prove this problem exists and has not yet shown how the changes would solve it.

City plans to redesign Arastradero A plan to revamp Arastradero Road and increase biker and pedestrian safety has passed, sparking controversy among city leaders. The plan reduces the current total of four lanes on Arastradero to three lanes, with a left turn lane for 1.1 miles. Lighted pedestrian crosswalks will be installed, as will “traffic adaptive” signals, which respond to traffic flow. A right turn lane will be constructed at Gunn to make it easier for students and parents to drive into campus, and the road running into Gunn will be widened to allow simultaneous right and left turns. As yet unfunded, the project has no start date, according to City Manager Frank Benest.

Students to go to NYC conference Four juniors, two seniors and a teacher will fly to New York City on March 3 for the annual United Nations International SchoolUnited Nations (UNIS-UN) Conference, a student-organized gathering of 14 to 18-year-olds from around the world. Gunn Community Service Chair senior Erica Blair is organizing the school’s first representation to this prestigious event, which takes a year to plan. Blair learned of the conference after befriending a UNIS-UN student at a leadership camp this past summer, who invited Blair to this year’s conference. The 2004 conference will be held at the United Nations General Assembly Hall, where speakers and students will share their views on “Modern Mass Media: The Influence of Information” through speeches and group sessions.

Lebensraum launches drama group The Gunn Thespian Society, a new theater guild, performed the play Lebensraum—written by Israel Horovitz—on Feb. 5-7 at the Little Theatre. Senior Alex Mallory directed the play, which starred seniors Elie Berkowitz and Caitlyn Louchard and junior Martha Keller. The plot deals with the German chancellor’s decision to invite six million Jews back to Germany to repay the six million Jews killed in Germany during the Holocaust. The three cast members each played multiple characters, constantly alternating between costumes, voice intonations and French, German, Israeli and American accents. —Compiled by Tony Liu, Misha Guttentag, Stephanie Lam and Irina Issakova

With the start of a new year, a pair of Chinese parents tried to start a new trend as well: “Two for One” education deals with schools. According to local newspapers, the two parents were recently caught scamming their local schools where they had been trying to send their twin sons for the price of one. School officials in the small province of Chongquing, China, discovered that the parents had been alternating their two four-yearold sons and trying to pass them off as one child to save money. For the past six months, one son would be sent on odd days and the other on even ones. The parents said their scheme was an attempt to eliminate “unnecessary expenditure” from their budget. —Compiled by Molly Crystal

Jon Nguyen

Sophomore Khoa Hoang imitates Bruce Lee’s famous and intimidating form to draw the Club Day crowd to the Martial Arts Club during lunch on Feb. 4. ■ HEALTH POLICY from page 1

providing healthy food items, the plan prohibits the sale of items high in sugar, salt and both saturated and trans-fats in elementary, middle and high schools. One way the HSLC hopes to improve food quality is seeking alternatives to Sodhexo, the current food contractor for the Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD). However, Gertridge does still hope that Sodhexo can provide the services outlined in the proposed policy. “If they’re willing to look at the policy and say, ‘Yeah we can do this,’ then more power to them,” Gertridge said. “It would speak volumes of them as a corporation.” Sodhexo, the largest food service provider in the world, has already started conforming to the proposal at the elementary level. “On the elementary [school] menus, there are not as many prepackaged items, and we now offer fresh salads and sandwiches everyday,” PAUSD Food Service Consultant Madeline Marquez said. Sodhexo has also been offering improved menus at Gunn recently. Despite its sweeping proposals, the health policy has not drawn too much opposition according to Gertridge. “Everyone has said this is an amazing project—it’s about time to go for it,” she said. “We’re focusing on the quality of food and getting more kids to eat on campus.” However, the improved food may not keep some upperclassmen on campus for lunch.

Senior Patrick Mark cited the low price of off-campus food as well as the fun of leaving campus during lunch as reasons for not eating here. Other students, though, both upper and lowerclassmen, were receptive to the idea of buying better food on campus. “I’d probably eat here more if the food were comparable to what you can get off campus,” senior Annelise Hagmann said. Freshman Chris Hansen had similar thoughts. “I buy every other day now, but I’d probably buy more [often] if it were better,” he said. What has yet to be decided though is the banning of sodas and other treats at the high school level, because those food items provide a significant source of student activities revenue. According to Student Activities Director Nik Kaestner, the Student Activities Center makes over $3,000 annually from candy and sodas sales along with $25,000 every seven years when Pepsi renews its contract with Gunn. Despite the financial implications of the proposal, the majority of students were not strongly against the removal of sodas. “I think removing [soda machines] is fine, [but] people should still be allowed to bring them to school,” Hagmann said. For some, it was not the sugar content of sodas that mattered as much as the awakening power they have. “I don’t think sodas should be sold, but caffeinated drinks are a necessity on campus,” senior Andrew Armenante said.

Monday Menu in September ■ Pizza and breadsticks ■ Hamburger ■ Chicken nuggets ■ Soda ■ Nachos ■ Optional Fruits and Vegetable

Health Policy Highlights Improve Nutrition ■ More healthy and nutrient-dense foods ■ Foods high in saturated fat and sugar such as soda, candy and chips will not be allowed in any school

More options ■ Include at least one vegetarian item per menu

Promote healthy environment ■ Use organically grown produce when available and affordable ■ Reduce waste, increase recycling and composting

Educate students ■ Integrate nutrition education into school curriculum Source: Healthy School Lunch Policy

Monday Menu in February ■ Hand-wrapped rice, bean and

cheese burrito ■ Avocado and cheese sandwich ■ Vegetarian chili with cheese and cornbread ■ Fresh fruits and vegetables Sources: and

Page 3 ◆ The Oracle

Thursday, February 12, 2004


■ BUDGET from page 1 “We already built our budget around the earlier numbers,” Kroymann said. “The majority of the deficit is from those taxes.” She also cited increased employee benefit costs and higher enrollment as contributing factors. Santa Clara County had warned the district of the decrease in taxes, but PAUSD was told to wait until November for a clearer picture, according to Callan. Prospective cuts The district has already Kathy trimmed $3.5 million, Kroymann mostly culled from the unrestricted reserves, to avoid mid-year cuts this year and to deal with last year’s shortfall. “The easy cuts have already been made,” Kroymann said. “What we are left with is a difficult decision.” The Palo Alto Educators Association (PAEA), Chuck the Califor nia School McDonnell Employees Association (CSEA) and the district are at odds over how to deal with the deficit. “[The situation] is the ugliest in my 24 years in the district,” CSEA president Chuck McDonnell said. “It’s not negative toward anyone, but it’s going to cause hard feelings. Everyone needs to work together and get the public’s support.”

What’s in Reserve? 1,038,000

Unrestricted fund balance

6,711,000 1,500,000 Used as collateral 3,138,000

Basic Aid Reserve

Of the district’s $10.9 million in mended only a $1.5 million reduction, even State law requires the district to inform reserves—of which $1 million is unrestricted though there was a $3 million ongoing struc- of layoffs by March 15, but the PAEA felt and another $6.7 make up the Basic Aid tural deficit,” Callan said. “We are hoping the furlough proposal was rushed. “In the reserves—might have been a possible source that the additional $1.5 million gap can be short time frame, it was impossible to have of funds. “We could have gotten through this made up through private fundraising.” The an agreement“ Davis said. “There shouldn’t year by using some of the reserves,” McDon- Palo Alto Foundation for Education (PAFE) be an oppressive time constraint. Negotianell said. “That would have been preferable and All-Schools Fund will collude for tions usually take up to two months.” Citing to layoffs.” this purpose. In these concerns, the PAEA executive board However, the board the meantime, unanimously voted not to reopen the contract has been reluctant to the distr ict is before the successor contract in June. [The situation] is the ugliest dip into the reserve putting up pa r t in my 24 years in the district.” of the Basic Aid Classified reaction again to balance the budget and has taken it reserves as collatClassified employees are the other group off the table. “We have eral. McDonnell affected by Callan’s proposals. CSEA polls already used reserves called it a “war- show 82 percent favored furloughs, according for two years—last year and this year—to ranted gamble.” to McDonnell. cover operating costs, but [the reserve] is Callan included a proposal to establish a “We voted for the furloughs because we really for one-time expenses,” Kroymann Basic Aid reserve policy for future budgets, didn’t want to see people laid off,” said Thesaid. “It would be irresponsible for us to do it including a maximum amount, a floor, a resa Poon, a foreign language department for a third time. We need an ongoing revenue mechanism to replenish the reserve and a secretary and a classified employee. stream to pay for ongoing costs.” stipulation that the reserve would be used Classified employees were already laid That analysis does not satisfy all parties. only to preserve current programs. off last year, according to McDonnell. “We “What it boils down to is $700,000,” said Ro don’t have the same contractual protections Davis, head of the teachers union, referring Reaction to furlough proposal teachers have,” he said. “We can be laid off to the amount the furloughs were expected After meeting with teacher and classified any time and must leave in 45 days.” to save. “Why are we having layoffs over employee union leaders, Callan asked the The two unions are not in conflict, that amount? The district should utilize the board to authorize discussion on furloughs though. “We are striving for the same goal reserves and allow all stakeholders to intel- at the Jan. 27 school [as PAEA], but we ligently examine ways to make it up. No one board meeting to have different ways should lose a job over this.” help balance next of getting there It would especially be hard The district’s unrestricted reserve is down year’s budget. because we have on younger teachers who live to $1 million from more than $3 million last Teachers quickly to follow different June. “We have spent our reserves, and we raised concerns rules,” McDonnell month to month. $450 buys a cannot go any deeper,” Callan said. “Since about the proposal. said. lot of groceries.” the teachers declined to discuss furloughs, we Each day after the will respect that. We will not include those proposed cuts would Uncertainties [furlough] days.” have amounted to a The school board Following the furlough proposal and the 1.08 percent pay cut or about $450 for a start- votes on the new recommendations at their looming specter of layoffs, the PAEA and ing teacher’s salary, according to Davis. “It Feb. 24 meeting, yet many uncertainties CSEA have questioned the district’s spending would especially be hard on younger teachers remain, according to Kroymann. priorities. Other expenditures cited by both who live month to month,” he said. “$450 The district lost its state Basic Aid funding groups include $66,000 in car allowances, buys a lot of groceries.” of $120 per student and will not likely see bonuses for administrators and interest-free In another point of contention, the fur- it restored, she said. Only some categorical loans. Callan received one lough was scheduled for days immediately funding, such as for textbooks and lunch such loan for $500,000 to before and after school. “It would be one programs, is still in place. help buy a house. “We’d thing if it were a real vacation, but it was no Projections are contingent on the state’s like to see a multi-faceted such trade-off,” Gunn math teacher David $15 billion bond measure, passing on March approach [to budget cuts], Deggeller said. “We would be working those 2. If Proposition 57 does not pass, the district not just furloughs or lay- days anyhow.” could face further cuts. More cuts would also offs,” Davis said. Many teachers felt they faced a be made if property tax projections were to The PAUSD also dilemma—take furlough days or face layoffs. fall again. hopes that the community “It was basically a rock and a hard place,” Ro Davis will pitch in. “We recom- Davis said.

Growth of the Budget Crisis

$3.5 million in ongoing cuts for 2003-04 school year

13 May State mandated reserve for all school districts (cannot be used) Total reserve Source: PAUSD website

County warns of tax projection drop to 1.29%


Property tax projections fall to .23% ($1.9 million loss) PAUSD has $3 million deficit $2.3 million of unrestricted reserve used to prevent mid-year cuts

2004 PAUSD makes $608,000 in mid-year cuts due to $35 billion state deficit

June Santa Clara County projects 3.66% property tax growth

Increased costs: ■ Higher enrollment ■ Added $1.1 million employee benefits

PAUSD budget balanced


■ DRUG SURVEY from page 1 followed was a year of “soul-searching” to determine how best to serve Palo Alto teens. According to the DAAAC, until it has accurate data, it cannot effectively help teens deal with substance abuse problems. “I feel kids are being pulled down by misperceptions,” Beacom said. “We need good data to know what those preceptions are,” Additionally, according to Carmen Giedt, Director of Educational Support Services, understanding what norms actually exist in PAUSD is critical to further help encourage specific behaviors. “If we can educate students about their positive behavior—which is the normal behavior—then we will succeed in losing those false preceptions,” Giedt said.



2003 4 March

1/26 – CSEA polls members on furlough 1/27 – Board authorizes furlough discussions, superintendent proposes Basic Aid reserve policy, $1.5 million in cuts 1/28 – Teachers decline to reopen contracts until June

February 2/10–Superintendent recommends layoffs at board meeting 2/24–School Board votes on cuts


March 3/2 – Vote on bond measure Prop. 57 3/15 – Certificated employees require layoff notice

Page 4 ◆ The Oracle

Thursday, February 12, 2004 ◆



Art of focusing, pulling all-nighters Zehara Levin has seen more people use them, while one junior, “Suzie,” who wished to remain anonymous, feels that everyone takes them. The reasons vary, but most Gunn students take caffeine pills for academic purposes, harnessing the focusing power of the pills. “Some crush it or take it to get a pseudo-amphetamine high,” substance abuse counselor Donna Lera said. “People at the college level are usually those who are abusing it to try to study. Girls oftentimes use caffeine pills to lose weight…I think at times, more in college, people use caffeine to enhance athletic performance.” Part of the appeal of caffeine pills is the presumed harmlessness of caffeine in general. “I think that our society as a whole has a huge problem with caffeine.” Lera said. “Caffeine is so over abused, with a Starbucks or Peet’s at every corner. There’s a physical dependency there…a lot of the times, kids don’t have to be using the pill. They can be chugging Red Bull or Jolt.” Nevertheless, if caffeine intake is limited to a safe amount of approximately two cups of coffee per day, it can be beneficial for some. But when abused, it can be dangerous—even deadly, as shown by the death of Jason Allen, a community college student in North Carolina who swallowed almost 90 caffeine pills, the equivalent of about 250 cups of coffee. Death from caffeine overdose is rare, but it shows how students often forget that caffeine in high doses is a potent drug. Most warning labels on caffeine pills warn of restlessness, nervousness, gastrointestinal disturbances and other problems, not to mention physical dependency. Withdrawal usually starts within 24 hours in the form of mild to severe headaches. Well-known among coffee drinkers, they usually last one to five days and can be alleviated with analgesics such as aspirin or further caffeine intake.

Suzie is one of the growing number of students who takes Ritalin for academic enhancement. It began a few months ago when a friend gave her his prescription of Ritalin, a medication for those with a high level of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). “I’ve never been prescribed [Ritalin] by a doctor,” Suzie said. “But I take it when I have a lot of homework and out-of-school work or when I don’t feel motivated. I’ve taken [Ritalin] to study and it works really, really well.” Stanford neuroscientists agree that Ritalin improves attention and focus for everybody. In the Nov. 24, 1998 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they revealed findings on Ritalin’s effect on the brains of people with and without attention deficit disorder (ADD). “Both the normal kids and the ADD kids got better in their impulse control when they had taken the drug,” Research Associ-

ate Chandan Vaidya of Stanford’s tite suppression for both users and Department of Psychology said in abusers, sleep difficulty, nervousa Stanford online report. “Ritalin ness and high blood pressure for improved everyone’s performance, abusers, according to Lera. but how it actually did it differed Yet students often fall for the in the brains.” myth that Ritalin is safer than Ritalin’s seemingly beneficial other amphetamines because it is effects for abusers belie its true nature. It is actually believed to be so addictive that the Drug Caffeine is so over- abused, Enforcement Administration calls it a “Stage 2” drug, meanwith a Starbucks or Peet’s at ing it is in the same category every corner.” as cocaine. Though Suzie thinks she is only mentally, not physically, addicted to Ritalin, she said that her dosage has increased over the months. a prescribed drug, Lera said. “[I] started with one pill,” Suzie The nationwide doubling of Ritsaid. “After a while, you build up alin prescriptions from 1.2 million a resistance. [So] I took two pills, in 1995 to about 2 million in 2000 which is really bad, I know. Now it’s indicates that it is more vulnerable hard for me to concentrate [without than ever for abuse. them].” “It’s easy to obtain if you know Other side effects include appe- somebody who has [a prescrip-

tion],” Suzie said. An alarming 28 percent of Gunn students who had used stimulants obtained them from a friend, according to The Oracle survey, and seven percent took a family member’s prescription. Senior Adrian Fine, who has had a Ritalin prescription since third grade to treat his ADHD has been pressured to share some with his peers. However, he said that “some Gunn students abuse [Ritalin], but it’s not as common as it is made out to be.” Similarly, Dr. George Green, a school psychologist for 27 years, has only heard of Ritalin abuse happening once or twice on campus. “It’s pretty unusual since it is a prescription drug,” Green said. “[It] shouldn’t be easy to obtain. It is conceivable that it happens.” So far, the biggest warning of

Ritalin’s risks is the Sept. 2002 Antelope Valley case, in which a dozen kids overdosed on Ritalin at Antelope Valley High School when a student brought over 150 pills to school. One student told NBC4 news that “some people took only one or ten...some kids took up to 45 of them.”

The question concerning both drugs is whether their benefits exceed their risks. Suzie thinks they have worked for her, citing her report card as evidence. “I got a couple of A’s that I wasn’t expecting,” she said. The majority of student stimulant users seem to agree. The drug helped 65 percent of them to achieve the desired effect, according to The Oracle survey. But the counter argument can be found right on the Ritalin and No-Doz warning labels.

Amount of caffeine in daily substances*

250 students surveyed

Other notable findings

*Each cup of coffee has approximately 100mg of caffeine ^Increment too small to show

Something bugging you? Express yourself at the first ever Gunn Open Forum Wednesday February 18 Lunch in the SAC

Submit topics of concern now (clip and return to the SAC)

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Thursday, February 12, 2004


Meridian to increase traffic

I wish I had biked...

Plan will prove ineffective


alo Alto rightly wants to halving of the number of travel promote cycling as an lanes, will substantially worsen alternative to driving. Its most the traffic problem. By reducing the number of lanes recent proposal, to change available to car traffic, the plan will the Arastradero-Charleston greatly decrease the Corridor’s trafCorridor, will not only make fic capacity. It includes a provision room for to implement traffic-adapbicycles, but tive signal will slow technology to cars to slower A reduction in road “add traffic than bicycles’ capacity would mean capacity and speeds. reduce stopped substantially longer

The city offidelay on the morning travel times. cially adopted Corridor,” in a plan to calm an attempt to traffic and improve safety along mitigate traffic slowdown caused the Arastradero-Charleston Cor- by lane reduction. However, traffic ridor, which stretches from Inter- adaptive lights will not make up for state 280 to Highway 101. The the loss of two travel lanes. plan includes widening bike lanes, The Arastradero-Charleston reducing traffic speeds, and install- Corridor is a major thoroughfare ing a meridian island in the center for automotive traffic in south Palo of the road to facilitate left turns. Alto, serving thousands of residents This island would halve the number and businesses. In addition, the vast of travel lanes along half of the Cor- majority of car traffic to and from ridor. And although this, and other Gunn and Terman comes from the aspects of the plan are flawed, the Corridor; a reduction in road capacproposal does have many redeem- ity would mean substantially longer ing aspects. morning travel times. The plan will improve safety Currently, parts of the Corridor and traffic conditions, by extending represent a danger to non-car traffic, bicycle lanes along the length of the most notably to younger students at entire Corridor, the installation of Juana Briones, Hoover and Terman. lighted crosswalks at key intersec- Indeed, traffic along the Corridor tions and more is 10 miles an electronic speed hour over the advisory signs posted limit over to warn drivers 85 percent of the not to speed. time accordThe planning ing to a recent The Oracle com m ission study done by also evidently the city. knows about the traffic problems If the city goes ahead with the that Gunn faces on school morn- proposed traffic plan, expect lane ings, and has included elements in reductions, in addition to other its plan, such as the right turn lane, accommodations for bikes. Howto ease this problem. ever, if you drive to Gunn, you just However, other elements of the might want to sell your car and get commission’s plan, notably the a nice bike, instead.

The Opinion of

Plan low in salt, logic The current Health and Wellness proposal, on which the school board will vote on Feb. Noah 24, needs a dash of realism. The plan, which aims to provide an array of healthy, environmentally-friendly food alternatives, has its strong points. A successful prototype already exists at Ohlone Elementary School, where salads and other meal ideas improve upon greasy cheeseburgers and ribs. However, the plan oversteps the bounds of providing a well-rounded health and food policy by calling for the use of only local, organic foods, as well as banning the sale of foods high in sugar, salt, saturated fat and trans-fat. The proposal aims to prohibit the sale of donuts, pizza sticks, chips, sodas and candy—most of

what the Gunn cafeteria currently sells. While this may work well in elementary Metz school, where students must learn how to make good food choices, it is ridiculous at the high school level. High school students are almost adults and should be trusted to manage their own diet. Additionally, the proposal does not take into account the high costs of fresh, organic foods. The current prices for school lunch are already ridiculous, while the budget-pressed district is in no position to further subsidize food services. Although the Health and Wellness proposal addresses many important ideas, some of its concepts are impractical at best, while others dash high school students’ ability to choose.

healthy food

Mars too far, moon too soon When one closely examines President Bush’s plan and regardless of any future Bush rhetoric, al-Qaida to send manned missions to the moon and Mars, one does not have its headquarters on Mars. cannot help but laugh. Bush has followed a wild to-do Bush stated that his plan only needs a billion-dollar list so far: 1. Maintain multi-billion dollar occupations increase to NASA’s budget. This modest upward in Afghanistan and Iraq—check; 2. Rack up a $500 adjustment only lasts five years, for the initial planbillion budget deficit—check; 3. Distract election ning stages. The actual costs, which will hit after Bush year voters from said items with a starry-eyed space returns to his ranch, are still unclear—but a similar plan—ditto. And why not? After all, we have enough plan by the elder Bush had a price tag of $400 billion. problems here on Earth; let’s create some more in In this election year, Bush wants the political payoff. outer space! A reinvigorated space program Humor aside, one must admit would benefit Florida, home to Bush’s plan has some merits. SetCape Canaveral, and California, ting up a base on the moon, one home to aerospace. These states phase of the plan, may lead to the will be pivotal in the presidential development of helium-3 isotope election this November. Michael Jin as a clean, efficient fuel to use in Bringing back rocks from Mars fusion reactors. According to the will not save soldiers’ lives abroad Fusion Technology Institute, one space shuttle load of or ensure respectable retirements for Baby Boomers. the isotope, or 25 tons, could power the United States Bush’s plan does not even promote scientific progress for a year. enough to warrant the cash. Basic nanotechnology and But now is not the right time. The United States artificial intelligence research deserve the dollars more; faces a crumbling Social Security system that is still their progress would even benefit spaceflight. expected to be the primary source of income for milIf we follow Bush’s vision, this solar system will lions of seniors. It also needs to find Osama bin Laden, have two Red Planets.

space cadet

Set a single standard Thumbs Stressed instructional supervisors hide under desks and run from approaching students, while annoyed teachers waste precious class time to help new students catch up. This mad dash to change classes could be easily avoided by streamlining courses. Streamlining means that courses with the same titles should also cover the same major topics in class, have the same homework, grading policies and tests, and grade on the same curve. Streamlining ensures Karen that students in a course have the same opportunities as other students in the same course, regardless of the teacher. It is the perfect solution because it prevents students from trying to change their schedules because of different grading policies, leaving time for more legitimate requests. Students become upset when teachers teaching the same course have different grading policies because it seems easier to get

a better grade with one teacher than with another. This was the case in AP Psychology, in which both teachers administered the same tests, but one teacher had a curve and no homework while the other had homework and no curve. Streamlining would solve this problem. The model of a streamlined course at Gunn is AB Calculus AP. Because both teachers run their classes parallel to each other, students have no reason to transfer between one Gamon or the other, for grademotivated reasons. This is much fairer for students because all are held to the same standard. Using this system, teachers avoid student complaints and unnecessary transfers due to non-uniform grading throughout the course. Streamlining would greatly reduce schedule changing because schedule changes would only be requested for actual scheduling problems.

fairer classes


■ Only 73 days of school are left until summer vacation. ■ Presidents’ Day weekend starts Saturday; four days of freedom! ■ We can now walk freely on all previously fenced-in grass.

Down: ■ 73 more days of school are left in the year. ■ The new science buildings are far, far away from the center of campus. ■ The Oracle is terrible at writing remotely funny Thumbs.

Page 7 ◆ The Oracle

Thursday, February 12, 2004


The Oracle 780 Arastradero Rd Palo Alto, CA 94306 (650) 354-8238


Morning after pill should be RX-free

Editorial Board

Editor-in-Chief Stephanie Zou Managing Karen Gamon, Kevin Hsu, David Huck, Michael Jin, Noah Metz, Cathy Sun News Irina Issakova, Mark Stefanski, Anna Tong Forum Tiffany Chang, Charles Kang, Cindy Wu Features Jon Nguyen, Andrea Wong Centerfold Stephanie Lam, Laura Lee Entertainment Jimmy Huang, Natalie Kim, Ping Wang Sports Julia Erlandson, David Lai Photography Annie Chang Graphics Andrew Kim Technical Charles Kang, David Lai Staff

Advertising: Malery Lassen, Pam Noble Circulation: Heather Dalton, Katye Seifert Associate Editors: Molly Crystal (Features), Emily Wang (Centerfold) Reporters: Anna Bank, Elissa Brown, Howard Chen, Jonathan Cheung, Misha Guttentag, Andy Gyr, Jane Huang, Ritika Khilnani, Kate Kosco, Lauren Krensky, Janice Kwang, Tony Liu, Ross Raffin, Martin Sanchez, Valerie Wang, Seale Wong, Stephanie Wu, Lisa Zhang Graphic Artists: Maggie Kozak, Jenn Lee, Kevin Won Photographers: Michael Belkin, Courtney Cooke, Jane Lee, Colin Van Hare Webmaster: Rajeev Sharma Adviser: Carol Kuiper The Oracle is published by and for the students of Henry M. Gunn Senior High School. Unsigned editorials that appear in this publication represent the majority opinion of the editorial staff and The Oracle's commitment to promoting students' rights. The Oracle strongly encourages and prints signed Letters to the Editor. Letters may be edited to meet space requirements and the writer is solely responsible for the accuracy of the content. The Oracle mailbox is located in the Student Activities Office. If you are interested in writing for The Oracle, contact an editor. Letters may be sent also to We also welcome ideas for coverage. Idea sheets are available in the Main Office. The Oracle publishes 10 issues annually. Subscriptions are $30/year.

Graphics by Jenn Lee


‘Plan B’ another form of safe, legal contraception

it prevents a fertilized egg from adhering to the uterus. According to the official definition of pregThe Food and Drug Adminis- nancy, they are wrong. Therefore, tration’s recent recommendation the pill is nothing but another form to sell the brand, “Plan B,” emer- of contraception—emergency congency contraception, also known traception, but contraception noneas the “morning after” pill, over- theless—and should be supplied to the-counter (OTC) has sparked the public without a prescription as much debate and controversy. other forms of contraception, such Many groups, such as the Chris- as condoms. tian Medical Association and the Another reason for the pill to GOP House members oppose the be sold OTC is that it eliminates decision for difan often expenferent reasons. sive visit to However, the the doctor for Selling the pill “morning after” a prescription. pill should defiSuch visits cost OTC will offer fast nitely be sold approximately access to emergency OTC. $100, a price The main that many contraception. Many reason the pill women cannot times, doctors are should be sold afford. However, OTC is that it birth control very hard to reach, is just another must be univerespecially on short form of contrasally affordable. ception that preMaking Plan notice, such as “the vents unwanted B available in morning after.” pregnancies. any drug store The pill conwithout a presists of a high scription will dose of hormones and works by greatly increase the chance that inhibiting ovulation or fertilization these women will buy the drug, and, if the egg is already fertilized, which normally costs between $20 hindering its implantation into the and $30. uterus, which is the medical definiSelling the pill OTC will offer tion of pregnancy. Thus, it is not fast access to emergency contracepcausing an abortion of the fertilized tion. Many times, doctors are hard egg, but merely preventing it from to reach in time to make emergency attaching to the uterus and turning contraception effective. into an actual pregnancy. Certain If Plan B is allowed to be sold opponents argue that the pill is OTC, all women who need the drug equivalent to abortion because will be able to get it in time. Irina Issakova NEWS EDITOR


have been available for fifteen years. Studies show men are the most frequent buyers, according No matter how much the propo- to the Bangkok Post. According nents of Plan B long for it to be true, to Dr. Niyada Kiatying-Angsulee it has not been proven that Plan B at Chulalongkorn University, men is, “as safe as aspirin.” give the pills to their partners to For one thing, although the drug avoid wearing condoms. “Some passed all FDA tests for prescription women I’ve spoken to said that they drugs, no studies on the effects of didn’t even know what they were prolonged exposure to Plan B or on taking; that the guy just said it was teenagers’ reactions to it, yet exist, a health supplement,” Dr. Niyada according to Concerned Women for said, as reported in the article. America. The With Plan absence of studB’s availabilies on the latter ity, American It leaves women is worrisome, women could because teenagbe open to such vulnerable to ers are unlikely exploitation. exploitation by their to inform their Easy access partners. In short, parents or to Plan B may physicians that also encourage women lose the very they are using people to stop control that Plan B contraceptives, using condoms, is supposed to grant. and they may increasing the conceal any prevalence of Plan B should only complications sexually transbe available with a that arise. mitted diseases. doctor’s prescription. Plan B, Plan B may which prevents seem like it conception by offers a safe stopping a fertilized egg’s implan- way for women to control their tation, does not avoid moral issues own bodies, but it does not. Its either. Because women do not need effects for long-term usage and on to see a doctor to take the drug, they teenagers are unknown; it opens up may not learn how it works. Those the possibility of women accidenthat believe human life begins at tally committing murder; it leaves conception may take Plan B and women vulnerable to exploitation unwittingly commit what they by their partners. In short, women believe is murder. lose the very control that Plan B is Also, the United States may supposed to grant. Plan B should see a repeat of what has occured only be available with a doctor’s in Thailand, where similar pills prescription, not with aspirin. Jane Huang REPORTER

Fundraisers in the black club cash Many Gunn clubs have held successful fundraisers in recent months for charity, trips and other activities. Encouraged by Anna these results, clubs organized more fundraisers after the second club day on Feb. 4. While some students criticize such events, like bake sales, by saying that students spend as much money on wares as they make, several fundraisers this semester have been very effective. Fundraisers should be encouraged because they not only make money but also generate publicity. Gunn’s Interact Club organized a piethrowing contest to raise money during the Charity Day on Dec. 5. Although the event stirred up some controversy, all of the pies were sold and the contest managed to raise $101.20 for the Wheelchair Foundation. Although the total amount of money the club received was relatively small, it far

Drug dangerous to users, promotes risky practices

exceeded club members’ initial expectations, created a significant amount of publicity for the Interact Club and benefited a Bank good cause. On a larger scale, the Close Up Club held a Trivia Night fund raiser on Jan. 10 to raise money for an upcoming trip to Washington, D.C. Tickets were sold for $10 and money was also raised from raffle ticket sales. Over 100 people attended the event, and the club raised around $1100. First semester fundraisers proved that Gunn students support clubs’ efforts to raise money. The Future Business Leaders of America club already had a book sale on Feb. 2-3. Indeed, clubs reinvigorate themselves with new members after the second club day, and begin to plan activities for the second semester, they should continue to hold fundraisers and not dismiss them as ineffective.

Political Cartoon

Kevin Won

Police on guard at the Scott Peterson trial.

Thursday, February 12, 2004



Switched! : Reality at Gunn

Coast-to-coast flip flop provides new perspectives for TV show participants Laura Lee and Molly Crystal CENTERFOLD AND A SSOCIATE EDITORS

The life of Florida high school sophomore Adam Mack is soon to be exposed on national television, but he will not be the star of his own story. Instead, junior Courtney Cox from Gunn will be living his life as they switch places. On Feb. 26, the ABC Family channel will air an episode of its hit reality TV show Switched! on which Cox was recently featured. As Cox spent four days trying to live Mack’s life in Naples, Florida, Cox was constantly filmed as she walked in Mike’s shoes: attending his classes, playing his sports, socializing with his friends and living with his family. In early November, Cox applied to be featured on the show. In December, she got a call from the ABC Family studio which informed her that she had been selected. “During the summer, I watched Switched! a lot, and I thought it would be interesting to be on it,” Cox said. “I didn’t actually plan to apply until I met someone in Los Altos who was on the show. When you see people so close to you get to do something like that, it makes you realize you can do it too.” On the morning of Jan. 15, Cox woke up to a crowd of bright lights and camera crews in her bedroom. The cameras were something she had anticipated, but their presence was still hard to get used to. Cox was immediately flown to Florida, where she arrived around midnight to her new home and family. Mack’s Florida lifestyle greatly differed from what Cox is used to. “The first thing you notice is the temperature,” Cox said. “It’s a lot warmer and I was in shorts the whole time.” Mack also lives with three younger brothers in a gated community. “It’s really different from Palo Alto because only people who

live there can come in,” Cox said. After Cox returned, she finally The next day at school posed a met Mack. “I got to know him number of surprises and obstacles pretty well through living his life for Cox. When she arrived, she dis- and he was the person I expected to covered that she had to present the meet,” Cox said. “Our families are school announcements in Mack’s amazingly similar and his family is place. At his advanced German really sweet.” class, she was expected to present Cox and Mack were given a project in front of his entire class. interviews and Although Cox does not know German, she was able to present an acceptable project after given assistance. A f t e r school, Cox had to run hurdles as a part of Mack’s varsity hurdle team practice. She raced his friend Spencer and later played twotouch football with the guys. When she returned to Mack’s house, a large Courtesy of Courtney Cox family dinner was awaiting her. Junior Courtney Cox struggles over a hurdle Cox spent during track practice at Barron Collier High Saturday School in Naples, Florida. As a participant in ABC hanging Family’s TV show Switched!, Cox experienced life out on the on our nation’s other coast. nearby beach with Mack’s friends. She was introduced to new time to get acquainted with each activities like parasailing. “It was other before parting. basically like a two-day vacation Cox replied enthusiastically for me,” Cox said. when asked if she would do Sunday morning brought sad another switch. “I would take the farewells to her newfound friends opportunity again in a heartbeat,” and hosting family. After breakfast, Cox said. Cox headed back home.

Mark Stefanski NEWS EDITOR

At Barron Collier High School in Naples, Florida, sophomore Adam Mack’s legs gave him a spot on the football and track teams. Here at Gunn’s pool, they gave him cramps. The rigor of water polo is one of the many tough lessons Mack learned during his daylong experience at Gunn as a part of the ABC Family Channel’s program Switched! From his arrival in Palo Alto late on Jan. 15 until his departure on Jan. 19, a Annie Chang camera crew Floridian do cu ment e d sophomore Mack going Adam Mack through junior gets a quick Courtney Cox’s pep talk from daily routine. “Basically, Switched! teenagers TV crew switch lives for member during water four days and experience life polo practice. in each other’s shoes,” the show’s director Steve Daly said. “It allows teenagers to broaden their respective horizons and experience a life outside of their own.” While Mack played Cox’s trombone and practiced with the girls’ water polo team, Cox went through Mack’s daily schedule of activities at Barron Collier High School. And in keeping with the show’s theme of taking a walk in someone else’s shoes, Cox and Mack switched families for the four days as well.

Custodian packs broom after 21 years Tony Liu REPORTER

Many do not know him, but those who do know him praise his kindness, diligence and professionalism. For the past 21 years, Ly Chi has been part of the custodial staff—he retired on Dec. 19, due to health reasons and age. Originally from Cambodia, Chi was torn apart from his wife and two children during the Vietnam War. “After the Communist broke down and Vietnam took over Cambodia, we had to get away,” Chi said. He escaped to a refugee camp in Thailand for 17 months before being sent to the United States, on Dec. 17, 1979. After living off welfare for two years, Chi found a job at Gunn. “That’s the first time I get job,” Chi said. “Before I retire, I’m still very sad—it’s like my home, I didn’t get any trouble.” In 1991, Chi brought his family over to the United States. Then in 1996, Chi underwent surgery to remove a tumor on one of his kidneys. Even though the dis-

trict subsidized the operation, it left Chi weaker as he can no longer do heavy-duty work. “When you get weak, you can’t do good job no more,” Chi said. “I have to work more and more harder.” Even after surgery, Ly maintained his tireless work ethic. “I’m used to do good,” Chi said. “More work, more job. Still I want to be better, don’t want to be worser and get complaint.” But work became Ly Chi more strenuous after the state budget cuts, as no substitutes were available when custodians were on leave. “They cut the sub and people take one or two days more work,” Chi said. “Before, we worked very good, very comfortable. Before, we had 10 custodians, they cut two and we still have eight. This year, they cut one more and we still have seven.” As a night time custodian, Chi worked

from 3 to 11 p.m. to clean various buildings, set up for athletic events and clean the theater. According to Chi, the worst period for the custodial staff is between Thanksgiving and the end of the basketball season. “There’s mud and food in the classrooms,” Chi said. “When rain’s coming, everybody almost cried. We all afraid too messy, maybe get the complaint.” Besides not providing substitutes, the district also eliminated a night-time custodian. Also, Chi’s former position may not be replaced, pending on further budget adjustments in July. “They added the new library, all these portables for six custodians to do,” Head Custodian Larry Hughes said. “You only got 13 minutes per room, not including setup [for school events]. It’s too much.” After retirement, Ly plans to settle down with his family and return home to Cambodia to visit his relatives. “I’ve been working with Ly for 22 years,” Hughes said. “Ly has never missed a graduation.”

Despite all of his reporting as sports anchor for Barron Collier’s telecast, Mack was not prepared for what seemed to be his most shocking and exhausting learning experience: water polo practice. The practice was the setting for one of his several designated challenges. This time, a cell phone text message from Cox challenged him to block 25 out of 50 of the water polo team’s shots on goal. “You’re on, Courtney,” Mack said upon reading the message, and he headed off to the pool. After chatting with the team, Mack energetically dove into the water and madly swam a few laps— well short of the standard 10 lap warm-up. His difficulty completing the warm-up foreshadowed his performance in the challenge, the highlights of which were a single blocked shot and leg cramps. “If there’s one thing I have to say, it’s that [water polo] is really hard,” Mack said. “I give only props and respect to [water] polo players.” Despite his cramp-ridden experience, Mack said he felt great and was even eager to return the favor to the water polo team by teaching them how to play football. However, nightfall and teasing demands that he wear a Speedo doomed the football lesson, and Mack left with the film crew. Although they only spent part of a day on campus, Mack and Daly had some striking impressions of Gunn. Mack—surprised by the friendliness of students—managed to make some friends. Daly marveled at Gunn’s relaxed yet academically-oriented atmosphere. This type of reflection is what Daly says is the best part of the show. “Every teenager I’ve worked with has taken a pretty big life lesson away from it,” he said. It might not count as a big life lesson, but Mack has probably decided to rule out a career in water polo and stick to other sports.

Quilted Wonders

Photos by Michael Belkin

Senior Chrissy Filipp poses with the quilt she made in Fiber Arts. Her quilt (above), among others, was displayed in the main office for three weeks.

Page 9 ◆ The Oracle

Thursday, February 12, 2004 ◆


Expanding horizons with articulate speech ing Berkeley Invitational from Feb. 13-15, the coaches do their best to prepare the team. “We spend a meeting or two just brainstorming f you think the National arguments for each side,” Taylor Forensic League has said. “Then each debater writes a anything to do with CSI, think case for both sides, and I do my again. Rather, it is a debate best to guide them in writing and league in which the Gunn [editing] their stuff.” According to Taylor, though, the debate team participates. technical component of the debate is minor, especially in LD debates. Senior Isaac Belfer has been a “People pick up on the rules and member of the team since his freshman year. “I got to be pretty good David Huck basics pretty quickly,” he said. “Whether someone wins or loses friends with the president, who was Senior Isaac Belfer (second from right) directs is about a lot more than knowing a senior at the time,” Belfer said. a Friday debate meeting in V-4. the rules.” Jacobs knows firsthand “He was really supportive, which how quickly the system becomes was probably a big part of why I of evidence,” Jacobs said. “You have to stayed in.” make it very clear to the judges why your second nature. “You’re in an environment with a lot of well-spoken people,” Belfer specializes in a type of debate evidence destroys the other side’s.” known as Lincoln-Douglas (LD)—one Debaters, in teams of two, prepare he said. “Speaking is kind of involuntarily of the two major types of debate the club only the fi rst of about eight speeches, acquired.” Though the team is small compared participates in. “In LD, you apply philoso- and the entire debate may last more than to many schools, its members are loyal. phy and theory to an issue,” Belfer said. 90 minutes. Despite its sometimes grueling nature, “We have a pretty stable membership,” “Evidence is not the center.” The team’s LD coach, Greg Taylor, also policy debate appeals to Jacobs. “In LD, Belfer said, and Jacobs noted that the stressed the philosophical nature of LD you can win just by saying the right thing, team has five or six committed policy debates. “LD is based primarily on issues a buzzword,” he said. “In policy, a legiti- debaters. According to Belfer, debate has of morality, philosophy and justice, so mate source has to say something before a wide appeal. “People like to argue,” often there is no objective right answer,” you can, and then you have to prove that he said. “We have a lot of fun getting prepared—we just sit and brainstorm and he said. “A lot of times, it all comes down he is a legitimate source.” Belfer and Jacobs both agree that throw around ideas…the more people that to which person can persuade the judge that they’re right or wrong.” debate can be challenging. “Responding come and stay, the happier I’ll be.” In hopes for people to improve oratoriBut the more factually-oriented have on the fly is really difficult,” Belfer said. a place in debate as well. Senior Henry “You have to quickly come up with a line cal acuity, Taylor remains involved with Jacobs specializes in policy debates, the of reasoning, and questions for the other debate. “I would hope that [people] come more structured of the two types. The side,” Jacobs said. “I pretty much bombed to debate to help develop their own anadebate centers around a fictional proposed my first tournament. The first couple of lytical and public speaking skills,” he said. “That’s really the greatest value debate federal policy that participants must argue months are tough.” Before a tournament, like the upcom- has for anyone.” for or against. “You have literally a bin full Julia Erlandson SPORTS EDITOR


F ce n ? the Crowd Name: Matt Auerbach Grade: 10 Hobbies: Playing with his dogs, playing piano

Q: What is something unique about you? A: I have extremely long hair for a boy. I stopped caring in eighth grade and I grew it out. It used to be straight but all of a sudden, it became really curly. I use Pantene Pro-V shampoo twice a week. Q: Are you ever going to cut your hair? A: Probably when I finish college so I can donate it to Locks for Love. Q: How do you compare your hair to your dog’s hair? A: My hair is a bit longer, but it is the same color. Q: Who do you want to win the election? A: I want Howard Dean to win, because he is the craziest with his screeches and his Hulk impersonations. Q: Which candidate for presidency has the best hair? A: Definitely Al Sharpton. He has the best ebonic speech as well. Q: What kind of hair would your ideal girlfriend have? A: Afro mullet. It’s a big afro all around the front. When you look at the back, it is straight and curly and it runs to about the mid back. —Lisa Zhang


Successfully preparing Gunn students for the SAT I through 1-on-1 instruction by experienced Stanford-educated tutors. (650) 630-0341

Page 10 ◆ The Oracle

Virginity: Why wait? Teen abstinence on the rise


our years ago, junior Patrick Tsai formed a group at his church called True Love Waits, in which he and other male students promised to save sex until after marriage. Tsai sealed his promise by writing a letter to his future wife, explaining his reasons for remaining chaste. “Writing the letter is like a promise to yourself,” Tsai said. “I pull out the letter and read it, and it helps me pull through. It really does make me think somebody is out there who I’m waiting for.” Tsai confided that he keeps the letter under a rock, symbolizing “a covenant, a promise” to his future wife.

Although religion plays a major role in Tsai’s decision to remain chaste, it is not his main reason. “[Sex] is something very beautiful, and knowing that, I want the best,” Tsai said. “Purity is the best; it’s not corrupted by anything. It’s just like how everyone wants 100 percent organic food, or 100 percent orange juice, and I want 100 percent purity.” His promise is not hard to keep. Tsai said he feels no peer pressure to have sex, having never dated before. “I’m sure that when you’re dating you get very close and intimate, but I’ve never been in that situation before.” According to a Center for Disease Control study in 2002, the number of high school students who say they are virgins is 54 percent, up from 45 percent in 1990. These findings do not mirror teenage sexuality portrayed in popular culture. Influential teenage movies such as American Pie portray virginity as a shameful thing, something that has to be gotten over during high school, along with a face full of acne. “From what I’ve seen and from what people say to me, I’m glad I was a teenager when I was a teenager,” social studies teacher Debra Sanderson said. She believes that the media and our current culture in general put huge pressures on teenagers to become sexually involved. There is also the fact that some teenagers are emotionally ready to have sex, especially if they have been in a relationship for a significant amount of time. “Sex reinforces emotions, but you can’t rely on it to improve relationships,”

senior Adrian Fine said. of sex help. Couples who stronger now.” Social studies teacher thinks that teenage sex is believes it is due to bio rather than the media. “Wh school, pretty much every he said. “People have been millions of years. It’s biol think it’s in any way con cultural influences of TV o always try to blame it on t but that’s just not true.” English teacher Mark like Lyons, refrains fro teenage sex entirely on “A lot of the stuff you see in media doesn’t have a direct translation,” Her nandez said. “It’s what you see in your home, and the lesson you see in your home rat not like somebody who h life who happens to see a something down.” But why are more hig having sex? Too ambitious to think a Senior Kevin Choong four APs and is actively tennis team. He says th until marriage, not for mo sons, but because he wou having a child. “Students at Gunn have days,” he said. “They don now by getting pregnant.” see sexual activity being m environments where expec are not as high. Senior Ire and said that “we’re in different time [priorities] have changed. There are so many more opportunities nowadays.” She admitted that it is “kind of strange” that sex is being put on the back burner, and that teenagers at Gunn are too busy to consider children. “[Students] aren’t going ately settle down, so they don’t go bopping out children.” No active social pressure While Lyons said that when h high school in the ‘80s, there was a amount of pressure to have sex, Gunn students report the opposite. “Everybody thinks teenagers are sex-crazed bags of hormones actively seeking sex, but that’s not true at all,” Chang said. “In my group of friends, I don’t see any pressure at all.” Similarly, Senior Sara Kriehbiel said that she has stayed a virgin in high school was not for moral reasons, but because she had “never really had a serious enough boyfriend” and had never been pressured enough. Awareness of the consequences Sophomore Matt Prior’s parents alerted him to the perils of engaging in sexual relationships, and he was raised accordingly. “It’s what my parents believe and they’ve influenced me a lot,” Prior sai Along with parents educating their a

The Oracle surveyed Gunn students on their attitudes of virginity and the results are as follows. 1 Strongly Agree 2 Agree 3 Disagree 4 Strongly Disagree 5 No Opinion

“Guys prefer to marry Seniio Juniors Sophomores

girls who are virgin.”

35 30 25

Freshmen 20

Male Female

122 males 116 females

15 10 5 0

as been a reported rise in the general public’s awareness of sexually transmitted diseases, especially AIDS. “AIDS hit the scene when I was in high school, and it really started to affect people’s behavior,” att Struckmeyer said. “There of public activism that got ople’s minds. They learned there were a lot of serious associated with [sex], that ple could die.” st virgins who were interviewed attributed their virginity to their environment and to the lack of opportunity, but did not take a strong moral position on sex in high school. Teachers such as Hernandez, however, were quick to take a strong emotional viewpoint. “The more I work with young people, the more I feel that young people have no idea how significant the act of sexual intercourse is before they get into it,” Hernandez said. “I think, if possible, I would have them not do it at all. It’s too big of a mess for people to get into. To be fair, I used to think it was cool in high school, but when you leave high ke ‘Man these people

dditional reporting Mark Stefanski



Famous figures of purity





Jessica Simpson After the release of her first album, Jessica Simpson became pop music’s ambassador for abstinence. Simpson openly expressed her belief in saving sex for marriage, even after she started dating singer Nick Lachey in 1999. After the two were married in 2002, Simpson was happy to share her wedding night experience with the media, noting her readiness and that holding off on sex was worth it.

Thursday, February 12, 2004 ◆ Page

selfcontrol Michael Jin

Less sex, more love



















“I want it to be special” 30





















important for a guy to be virgin.” 35



“A girl ought to be a virgin, but it’s not



“I’m saving myself for marriage”

What young men need instead is a deep under-

L ee

“I’m saving myself for marriage”



In rejecting Victorian values, we banished the good with the bad. Our current society may be free of the double standard and sexual repression, but it is also deficient in tenderness and marital stability. Divorce rates are high and sexual cynicism is the new wisdom. For some teenagers, virginity is as obsolete as chastity belts. I blame my fellow young men for this situation, but also see them as potential saviors. They just need to stop having sex. But the answer does not lie in blindly repressing testosterone. President Bush’s liberal prescription of abstinence appeals neither to the rational nor the irrational. If one rationally uses precautions and does not subscribe to strict religious doctrines, then Bush’s reasons for declaring teenage sex sinful have little deterrent effect. If you are irrational about sex, stop reading. Having lost most readers, I assert that the war on sex, like the war on drugs, is a demand-side problem. That means young men are the prob-






Andrew Kim

The British queen used her virginity to maintain her political power. If she married, she would lose her the throne to her husband. However, Elizabeth I did extract political favors by teasing important men, taunting them with her virgin status, which she maintained until her death, earning her the title of The Virgin Queen.

At the beginning of her career, Britney Spears claimed she would remain a virgin until marriage, becoming a role model for many fans. She even became a celebrity advocate of the True Love Waits, an international campaign that challenges teenagers to abstain from sex until marriage. However, Spears told W magazine in August 2003 that she had lost her virginity to former boyfriend Justin Timberlake. “I thought he was the one,” Spears said. “I was wrong.”

Sir Isaac Newton The famous physicist was rigidly puritanical and is known to have never had a romantic relationship of any kind. He was a religious zealot and is believed he died a virgin. Historians say that his life-long abstinence was the partial cause of his acute insomnia.

A.C. Green Former Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers forward A.C. Green established The A.C. Green Youth Foundation to promote abstinence education for adolescents. Green tours and speaks at high schools, stressing love and mutual respect despite differences, as well as mental, physical and emotional readiness before sex. —Compiled by Natalie Kim

determinants. For example, men should know that they tend to classify women along what some evolutionary psychologists term a Madonna-whore spectrum. (The word “whore” indicates sexual activity level here, not moral degeneration.) If a woman submits easily to carnal advances, she is whorish: fit for passionate, casual sex but less so for marriage. A man cannot trust her children to be his own. On the other hand, if the woman is Madonnaish, alluring and choosy, the desire for marriage is higher, for the same reasons. All these reactions are largely subconscious, so one needs to actively study his motivations to transcend them. Although the above argument is abstract, it has a simple conclusion: men should remain virgins until they find “the one.” Casual sex subverts relationships because the women who submit to such acts become less trustworthy in male eyes. Most men dislike promiscuousness. Soon, the whole concept of love degrades; these men begin to see all women as sex objects. Take, for instance, the contemporary Don Juan—a man with a succession of partners, who soon is only able to enjoy the seduction and betrayal of women. A Don Juan cannot love in any profound sense. He is too busy pursuing the physical component of a relationship and loses his ability to cultivate the intellectual and emotional bonding. It seems that the universe has a sense of irony: men wish to seduce the women they desire, and yet desire not the women they seduce. To rise above his psychology, a man must realize that the desires of his body do not reflect his interests, but those of his genes. Evolution only needs to sustain that giddy feeling of mesmeric attraction up until mating is achieved. Like alcohol, premature sex may be pleasurable in the shortterm, but it does not promote long-term happiness. Instead, young men should regard young women as goddesses reigning on virginal white clouds. They should worship and cuddle and kiss and love their female companions, but not attempt anything more intimate. After all, fine wine does not ferment overnight.

Page 12 ◆ The Oracle

Thursday, February 12, 2004 ◆



Seeing from the other side of the window

Lunch lady makes student, staff friends through years of hard work Mark Stefanski NEWS EDITOR


or someone who interacts with staff and students just long enough to take an order, grab two cookies or a pizza and a drink, and move along to an adjacent w i nd ow, Takako Rohch Takako has drawn Rohch a surprising amount of fame and adoration on campus.

Affectionately known as “Taco” or simply “the lunch lady,” Rohch

Teacher Top Ten Math teacher Stacy Reid makes learning fun and enjoyable in her three classes using these 10 methods: 10. Koosh: A math review game. “It’s better than doing problems over and over again.” 9. Vertical angle theorem. “I call it your best friend because it’s a way for students to remember it.” 8. CPCTC theorem. “The way it sounds is just cool.” 7. Sign pattern testing. “It’s a different way of solving problems.” 6. Trigonometry. “Personally, it makes sense to me now but it didn’t in high school.” 5. Factoring. “There’s a better way than guess and check.”

has served food at Gunn since year. “Ryan and I, for the last three 1980, when she started work at years, have been able to borrow the old salad bar. Her daughter’s [from her] if we needed money,” expensive ice skating lessons and Ross said. “She’s been very lenient her husband’s death forced her to and we wanted to pay her back in become a lunch lady, but she said any way we could.” After a hectic day of serving her fondness of students is what has kept her working at the same throngs of voracious students, place for 23 years. “I like children Rohch retreats to a peaceful and very much… everybody is a very private life in Sunnyvale. She good, nice student,” Rohch said. watches Japanese news, walks for “I get to talk to kids—that’s why I about one mile, and often prepares work [here].” sushi, among other things, for It seems dinner. Aside from Christmas the fondness “I get to talk to kids— is mutual. reunions, when Juniors Ryan that’s why I work [here].” friends and McDermott —Takako Rohch family from all and Zack over the world Ross, for come to her exa mple, house, Rohch gave Rohch an expensive box of lives only with her daughter Teresa chocolates as a Christmas gift last Rohch, a 1986 Gunn graduate.

Ms. Reid helps sophomore Yana Sorokors

She can expect plenty of heartfelt good-byes and perhaps another box or two of chocolates.

Velasquez plans to pioneer social studies journal David Huck

—Emily Wang

After manning the lunch line for decades, Rohch expects to retire after one more year of work.

Teacher finds outlet for papers MANAGING EDITOR

4. Circles. “It’s my favorite part of trig.” 3. Proofs. “I like them because students don’t like them, and because once you get it, you feel successful.” 2. The end behavior dance. “It gives you a reason to dance during a test.” 1. Song to the quadratic formula. “You’ll remember the quadratic formula.”

Michael Belkin

Takako Rohch’s friendly smile greets a student as she makes an order at the snack bar during a break.

After an exciting year of World History, many students choose to throw their old papers in the dust bin. However, at the end of last year, history teacher Colleen Velasquez’s students came up with another use for their old research papers, by publishing them in a professional journal. Velasquez encouraged the students to start the journal because she wanted to see their work used for something beyond a grade. Her own experiences in publishing a small journal at UCSB also influenced her decision. The journal, called Herstory, was primarily focused on women’s history,

Velasquez said. “It was a chance to see my work in print as well as hear voices not normally heard.” Junior Sara McDermott and sophomores Aaron Rosengaus and Sina Kimiagar are working on selecting articles for the journal. The focus will be on current events. According to Velasquez, one of the biggest concerns for the journal will be deciding on how much free speech to allow. “We want to promote it to the largest audience,” Velasquez said. “Achieving balance in the first year will be a big challenge.” Topics could range from the current Mideast conflict to an analysis of a sociology study.

Courtney Cooke

Social Studies teacher Colleen Velasquez works with junior Sara McDermott reading submissions. The group will meet again Wednesday, Feb. 18.

Writing GotYou Reeling? I can help.

Driver: Sarah Story (11) Model: 1972 Volkswagon Beetle Color: Orange Defects: Unreliable battery, cannot cope with extreme temperatures

Writing for SAT essay, high school, college—life! Planning & refining college application essays

Cute orange bug kept in family despite accidents and quirks It was no surprise for junior Sarah Story to end up driving her ‘72 Volkswagon Beetle—she knew she was next in line after her sister passed the keys. The Beetle has been in her family longer than she has—the marks on her car tell the stories of her family’s driving history. “There are dents in the fender from various family members trying to park,” Story said. “Plus a dent in the front bumper because my dad drove into a pole.” Story grew from barely reach-

ing the gas pedal to sitting on the driver’s side with the radio at her finger’s reach. However, the car’s defective functions make these memories harder to appreciate. For example, take the battery. “If I have the headlights, windshield wipers and radio on and I turn on the turn signal, the radio turns off because there’s too much load on my battery,” Story said. But even when the music abruptly turns off, Story remains optimistic about her car. “I defi-

nitely love [my car],” Story said. “It has a lot more personality than any modern car, and it just looks cute.” Story loves driving her car, except during extremely hot and cold days. “When it’s cold, it leaks gas fumes and when it’s too hot, [the car] turns off on its own,” Story said. —Jane Lee

Anne Knight 2 degrees, English, Harvard 7 yrs. teaching, 5 at Harvard 16 yrs. marketing communications 2 yrs. magazine journalist (Horizon, Look) 2 sons in college

Reasonable Rates

• Flexible Hours

(650) 852-0810


Thursday, February 12, 2004


...however, a creative gift can’t hurt. This month, The Oracle takes a look at Valentine’s goodies that will fit everyone’s budget.

Gifts For Her

Gifts For Him

Under $10

Under $10

Stuffed Animals ($7.99)

Unique Sexy Valentine Gifts

Stuck on a gift idea? You can never go wrong with stuffed animals. These cute little animals, priced at only $7.99, are sure to bring a warm fuzzy feeling to anyone’s heart. Buy your Valentine the traditional teddy bear, cute Valentine dogs or a fierce ape. Available at any Walgreens store.

Approach your Valentine’s Day gift differently. Give him a personal secret message in a bottle, sexy “I love you” coupons or soap in the shape of a pink heart—all $5.95. Buy your Valentine the “Candy Heart: a love letter” book full of surprises ($5.95) or a box of soap in the shape of roses ($9.95). Both gifts are sure to melt the heart of anyone into romantic mush. It’s available at Sweet Things at the Stanford Shopping Center.

Valentine Boxers (2 for $5) A great gift for a Valentine with a sense of humor. Or for anyone who wants to see their Valentine in their boxers. These boxers come in all sorts of different designs, from red hearts to candy hearts to cupid pictures, and includes a free Valentine’s Day gift bag. Available at any Walgreens store.

Frames ($1.99-9.99) Buy your Valentine special heart decorated frames. Find your favorite picture and put it in the perfect frame. Frames can range from heart shaped frames to metal frames with dangle heart charms. Frames pictured: small frame ($1.99), two medium sized frames ($7.99), two larger ones and the heart ($9.99). Available at any Target store.

Under $40

Victoria’s Secret Gift Sets

Under $60

Who doesn’t love to be pampered with Victoria’s Secret merchandise? Buy your Valentine the best perfume out there, which smells like…well it’s indescribable. The Pink Gift Box comes with a bottle of Pink perfume and Pink lotion. Available at any Victoria’s Secret store and online at

Delivered Flowers ($39.99) Surprise your Valentine by steering away from the traditional bouquet of roses. This time, have the flowers delivered to her home early Valentine’s Day morning or to one of her classes during school on Friday. Flower delivery orders can be made at

Name a Star ($54) Choose a star, buy that star and then name the star after your special Valentine. Call 1-800-282-333 or visit

Swatch Enigmatic Love ($50) Swatch’s 2004 Valentine’s special watch is its “Enigmatic Love” watch. A perfect accessory for any girl.

Under $60

Under $40

Mobile Drives ($59)

Sweetheart Chocolate Box

Has your guy complained about losing files on unreliable floppy disks? Get him a mobile drive, a memory disk that can be directly plugged into any USB port on a computer. These are especially convenient for students who print logs and essays at the last minute.

What’s better than sending your sweetheart a box of fine chocolate? Chocolates in a box made of chocolate. A Valentine’s Day gift must for chocolate lovers. This unique and delicious gift is available exclusively through Harry and David. For a chocolate box of chocolates and other great edible gifts visit

Scrolling LED Message Center with Caller ID ($49.95) The perfect gift for a Valentine into high tech gadgets. Watch your personalized LED messages float around the bright www. blue info globe. A truly unique twist on reminder notes and caller ID. Available at any Sharper Image store.

Bookworm Valentine ($15) Find books such as Eat Chocolate Naked and The Seven Lively Sins, that will definitely turn this Valentine’s Day into a holiday to remember. Eat Chocolate Naked is composed of 143 naughty and nice things to do on Valentine’s Day. The perfect gift for anyone who’s in a relationship that just needs to liven up. Available at Sweet Things. —Compiled by Valerie Wang

Prepare for a magic carpet ride Ritika Khilnani REPORTER

Annie Chang

Mr. Nik rehearses for the annual staff choir musical Billy Bubba and the Forty Thieves , which opened last night and will continue tonight.

This staff choir musical, due for its final showing tonight, has a little bit of something for everyone: jokes, spoofs, talent and political satire in an Arabian nights setting, with a dash of country in the mix. The script is original, written by choir director Bill Liberatore and Liberatore’s old friend and Hollywood screenwriter Nancy Hersage. Junior Matt Mclelland and senior Kirsten Wehrenberg-Klee hold leading roles in the production alongside student activities director Nik Kaestner and Eng-

lish teacher Tim Farrell. Rehearsals for the musical started the second week after winter break. “It was put together in a rush.” senior Elie Berkowitz said. According to senior Daniella Cartun, the musical not only showcases singing talent, but also dancing and acrobatics, including gymnastic stunts performed by senior Alex Villanueva. “It is a model that [Liberatore] has polished and perfected over the years,” Berkowitz said. According to Wehrenberg-Klee, the musical is a spoof on Aladdin. “I don’t want to give too much away,” Wehrenberg-Klee said. “Everyone should really come see it.”

The show will follow the same format as the musicals of the last couple of years with a base plot incorporating a string of small singing and dancing groups in a mini talent showcase. “[This format] creates a chance for all of choir to participate,” Kaestner said. “It’s going to be a hoot and a holler.”

Billy Bubba and the Forty Thieves Tonight 8 p.m. at Spangenberg Tickets: $8 in SAC or at the door Director: Bill Liberatore

Page 14 ◆ The Oracle

Thursday, February 12, 2004



Indulging in The Cheesecake Factory

New downtown chain serves American fare and creamy dessert fingers in order to gather every last drop. It is impossible for cheesecake fans to try one of the Factory’s specialities and not fall in love. The Hot Fudge Sundae did not quite reach the same culinary heights as the cheesecake, but was still very good. The fudge itself was warm and gooey without overwhelming the excellent ice cream. The price of our meal was lower than we expected. The Cheese Cake Factory, with its elegant decor and delectable food, is a prime selection for students who are ready to indulge themselves.

Andy Gyr & Martin Sanchez REPORTERS


meal at The Cheesecake Factory, the newest addition to downtown Palo Alto’s dining scene, is an indulgent culinary experience that will blow you away.

Upon entering the foyer, diners are greeted by lavish wall coverings, crimson Roman pillars and a generous display of various cheesecakes. The background music in the dining hall, ranging from big band jazz ballads to Hawaiian slack-key guitar songs, provides a nice ambience. The waiting staff is friendly, courteous and knowledgeable about the dishes. They helped us decide what to order and frequently checked our table to see that everything was satisfactory. The Cheesecake Factory’s variety of dishes is mind-boggling to the first-time diner. The menu has traditional American fare such as soups, salads, hamburgers, pizzas and steaks, and includes a large selection of pastas, chicken and seafood. Our appetizer was the Nacho Plate ($6.50). This massive pile of nachos comes with guacamole, salsa, chives and sour cream. The salsa was especially good because the tomatoes used were very sweet. Diners should be careful not to finish an entire plate of these irresistible nachos, as they are very filling. The main courses were even more enjoyable than the appetizer. We ordered the pep-

Jane Lee

Treat yourself to flavor-packed dishes and desserts at The Cheesecake Factory. peroni pizza ($8.95) and the Thai Chicken Noodle bowl ($13.95). The pizza was custom made, but not runny or roasting hot like other fresh pizzas. The Thai Chicken Noodle bowl, with its thin noodles, chicken breast, leeks, lychee nuts and a sauce that tasted like bread, was delicious. One might expect these ingredients to combine strangely, but they were mixed in the right proportions to create a taste that is

crisp, rich and filling all at the same time. A trip to The Cheesecake Factory would not be complete without dessert. Our party tried the Fresh Strawberry Cheesecake ($6.95) and the Hot Fudge Sundae ($5.95). The cheesecake was the best that our party had ever tasted. The fresh strawberries provided a tart contrast to the sweet creaminess of the cake. The cake filling was so rich and tasty that we found ourselves licking our

Upscale meal worth the price Anna Tong & Laura Lee NEWS AND CENTERFOLD EDITORS

The most memorable quality about the Left Bank restaurant in Menlo Park are the noise and the food. On Saturday nights, the place is jam-packed and the background noise so loud that orders have to be shouted. The food was, nevertheless, excellent and beautifully prepared, contributing to an authentic French bistro experience. The restaurant fills an impressive room with skyhigh windows and huge vintage French posters. Our waiter was friendly but harried and clearly not used to seeing teenagers—he gave us crayons for drawing. We started our meal with three types of fresh bread and had to restrain ourselves from over-indulging. For appetizers, we ordered the Calamari Frits ($7.75) and the Tarte Lyonnaise pastry ($7.25) with leek, onion, bacon and goat cheese. The calamari was gorgeous, stacked high and garnished with alfalfa sprouts. The mustard vinaigrette sauce was perfectly tart and lemony. Though fried, the squid was still light and fresh. The Tarte Lyonnaise, resembling quiche, had a wonderfully crisp crust, but the tart’s overall taste was too cloyingly sweet for a starting appetizer. Although the entree portions are relatively small, their quality made up for it. Our favorite was the Penne Gratin ($11.75), a pasta with chicken, spinach, parmesan and garlic. The rolled pasta, served in a small dish, was reminiscent of homemade macaroni and cheese. The outer layer of cheese was crispy and the inside sauce rich and flavorful. The Duck a l’Orange ($17.50) was mediocre. Although it had the right amount of fat, the breast parts were too chewy and the red meat disappointing. We were nearly too stuffed to continue with the desserts. The Fondant au Chocolat ($6.25) was a round dome-shaped serving of chocolate bread. Inside, warm chocolate filling oozed out and mixed with a dollop of expresso ice cream. In the Tarte au Pomme ($6.00), an apple tart, the cinnamon apples were thinly sliced and soggily sweet, but the crust had a strange foreign taste. Finishing the meal off was the crunchy, sugary, caramel topped Crème Brulee ($5.50). As we cracked the top layer, creamy custard spilled slowly onto the spoon. This popular French dessert did not disappoint—its

Jane Lee

Left Bank offers a classy French dining experience well worth the extra few dollars. richness closely melted in our mouths. Left Bank’s class and its delicious, fast cuisine mean more expense than your average restaurant, but, in contrast to usual French meals, it was a très bon deal.

Left Bank

578 Santa Cruz Ave Menlo Park (650) 473-6543 French Cuisine

Overall Service Food Atmosphere Price $15-20

University Ave Cheese 375 Palo Alto 473-9622 Cake (650) International Factory

Overall ★★★★✩ Service Food Atmosphere Price $15-30

Page 15 ◆ The Oracle

Thursday, February 12, 2004


Say goodbye to average Joes Hip, humorous style guide for the metrosexual male David Huck MANAGING EDITOR

According to the Metrosexual Guide to Style the top five things not to do while naked are carpentry, paperwork, building a fire, cooking bacon and anything involving Krazy Glue. From the geeky, poorly dressed archetypes portrayed From... on television, such The Guide as Saved by the Bell’s Screech character, to the sensitive and stylish urbanites on the Friends series, Metrosexuality has come a long way. Indeed, newer shows Do keep a that offer men fashion respectful disand interior design tips tance from the like Queer Eye for the paintings. Straight Guy have further propelled the idea of Metrosexuality as a social movement. Coined by writer Mark Simpson in the early ‘90s, Metrosexuality—despite Don’t get the obvious etymoltoo close and ogy—does not refer to never touch sexual orientation. anything. On the subject, Simpson wrote in 2002, “he might be officially gay, straight or bisexual, but this is utterly immaterial because he has clearly taken himself as his own love object.” In The Metrosexual Guide to Style, author Michael Flocker writes with clarity and humor in an attempt to codify the rules of style as well as to give those less

aware of the world of style and ettiquite a heads up. While the tips can become specific and even confrontational at times, Flocker’s laid-back writing style carries the reader through the 11 chapters with ease. One of the most informative and interesting chapters is the Fashion and Personal Style section. Flocker gives straightforward advice for developing a personal style, while finding clothes with specific designer labels. Fortunately, the lists in this section are humorous, addressing unacceptable styles, such as wearing boots with shorts, anything mesh, tatty underwear or cowboy hats. Of course, The Metrosexual Guide also includes a list of clothes one should include in his wardrobe. Essentials include flattering jeans, a leather or suede coat and quality sunglasses. Flocker also aids the fashionably inept with a guide to colors and the messages they send. The book also informs the reader as to the difference between black tie and white tie dinners. However, no how-to guide would be complete without a section on dating and romance. Flocker’s tips range from an opinionated view of chivalry, to a lengthy but inclusive list of dating Dos and Don’ts. Unlike other sections, the dating chapter does not attempt to dictate rules but merely gives suggestions.

The Metrosexual Guide, while lively and witty in some sections, slows in delivering the more basic material. Endless lists, designed to “educate” the reader, become boring and uninteresting. These lists include French food names, classic movies and cultural icons—all according to Flocker. While some information might be new to the complete “Screech,” most readers have probably already formed opinions about their tastes and preferences. Indeed, Flocker’s advice, especially in the areas of physical fitness, art, music and home décor, also borders on condescension when he enumerates these as though the world were black and white. While part of Metrosexuality is about achieving a certain urbanite ideal, it is also about feeling free to break out of social norms and doing what feels best. Contrary to this, however, The Metrosexual Guide tends toward formulaic at times. Nonetheless, The Metrosexual Guide to Style, despite its condescending attitude in some chapters and commonplace advice in others, is an interesting view of the Metrosexual movement. While not everything Flocker has to say should be taken as absolute, his guide still holds enough tips and suggestions to keep most readers entertained. —Additional reporting by Noah Metz

Top 10 “LOVE SUCKS” moments 10. You realize that “Love Potion #9” is just a bad ‘50s song. 9. Valentine’s Day without a valentine. 8. Your dog gets more action than you do. 7. Your significant other decides to “swing the other way.” 6. Finding out that double-dating doesn’t work . . . the hard way. 5. Your girlfriend dumps you for your younger, sexier, more talented brother. 4. Your good-night kiss becomes awkwardly long when the two of you get your braces stuck together. 3. You’re “just a friend.” 2. Your date ends with typing in the words “g2g, ttyl,” and then closing the window. 1. She decides to save herself for marriage after reading The Oracle centerfold. — Compiled by Entertainment Editors

Phantom Planet Phantom Planet

★✩✩✩✩ Ani Difranco

Ani Difranco’s most recent folk release, Educated Guess, contains tracks, filled with peaceful acoustic guitar melodies and interesting syncopated rhythms. Unfortunately, scattered throughout the CD are four spoken poems, which jump out aggressively at the listener the first time the CD is played. The poems are an irritating diversion from the music, rife with pretentious, self-righteous witticisms, like, “Life knocked me off my platforms/So I pulled out my first pair of boots/Bought on the street at Astor Place/Before New York was run by suits.” Once you skip these annoying distractions, the actual songs on the album are very good, with pleasant, melancholy melodies and jumpy beats to keep the music moving. The tracks fuse, and at first, it is hard to distinguish individual songs. “Bliss Like This” is jazzy and relaxing, while the more upbeat “Bubble” has choppier chords, a stronger rhythm and a little bit of a rock vibe. One of the best songs on the CD is the title track, “Educated Guess,” which has a smooth and catchy chorus. Difranco sings, “Use your education/And take an educated guess/About me.” Fans of mellow folk music should follow her advice, take an educated guess and buy this album.

There is no easy way to say this: Phantom Planet’s latest release god-awful. The other two releases by Phantom Planet, 1998’s Phantom Planet is Missing and their 2003 release, The Guest, were stylistic and original, and seemed to ready the public for their next, self-titled release. On Jan 6, this CD hit the public and Phantom Planet’s fan base may never be the same. Perhaps it was a bit too rushed. Releasing a CD in November and then another in January could have put too much stress on the band, forcing them to come out with sub-par tracks. The album starts with “The Happy Ending,” and with an annoying guitar riff and softly wailed lyrics. The song quickly becomes the album’s most ignominious. That is, it may be the hardest to suppress. The following track, “Badd Business,” shows some resemblance to Phantom Planet’s previous well-written songs, with lines like “You think you’re worth your weight in gold when everyone’s looking like the color of money.” The CD deteriorates from there, and one is relieved to discover that the torture is only eleven tracks long. The final song, “The Meantime,” has a chorus so muddled and without direction that one would prefer 3:44 of silence. Maybe Phantom Planet let the fame get to their heads, or maybe they simply forgot how to write good music. Whatever the reason, this album is terrible. Unless you are a die-hard fan of the band, do not buy it. Check out their last two releases, but don’t waste your money on this piece of junk.

— Anna Bank

—Misha Guttentag

Educated Guess


Page 16 ◆ The Oracle

Thursday, February 12, 2004



Fox’s new hit: The O.C. versus no see

Heartfelt plot evokes real emotion Sappy teen soap overdramatized Stephanie Zou EDITOR - IN - CHIEF

Orange County: a wealthy, harbor front community in southern California where everything and everyone appears to be picture perfect. This is the setting of Fox’s hottest new drama, The O.C., where the actors resemble models and the ambiance is paradise. At first glance, viewers see a teenage posse that does nothing but party, drink, smoke and hook-up. However, beneath the surface lies a deeper story of love, death and friendship. It is no wonder this show, which premiered Aug. 5, 2003, has become one of the most-watched shows in America. Some argue that The O.C. characters are based on over-exaggerated stereotypes of teens and one-dimensional characters. What these viewers miss is the truth behind the struggles the characters in the show face— obstacles that are familiar to real people. The O.C. is unlike other teenage dramas where social issues are touched upon lightly; the show digs deep into the thoughts and emotions of real people who understand the pain of facing adversity. The show revolves around Ryan Atwood (Benjamin McKenzie), adopted by Sandy and Kirsten Cohen (Peter Gallagher and Kelly Rowan). His adoptive brother Sety Cohen (Adam Brody), ostracized at school, befriends Ryan, also considered an outsider.

Cindy Wu Ryan’s love interest, Marissa Cooper (Mischa FORUM EDITOR Barton), deals with divorced parents, cheating boyfriends and an unstable relationship Watching rich people complain, fight and with Ryan. Marissa’s best friend, Summer Robert (Rachel Bilson) struggles with her attempt suicide is not as feelings for social outcast Seth, while Seth fun as it sounds, at least is divided between his childhood love for not if one is watching Summer and current girlfriend Anna Stern Fox’s new drama, The O.C. But what makes this (Samaire Armstrong). show more annoying The story twists and turns from one passionate l from one co daunting ba From stea fights, The aracters. received its ample, the share of t sentence criticism. that proHowtagonist ever, n R y a n successful s Atwood comes with (Benjamin controversy Kenzie) HBO’s Sex s is, “I read the City an modern Sopranos or icine is own Survivo ancing to Althou point where seemingly average troversial, se ife span is violence, a hundred drama an years, but drug abus Social Source: define dept Secur ity truth and r ill run out Benjamin MacKenzie and Mischa 2025, so ity. It is wha Barton have become TV’s hottest viewers com will have to new stars in Fox’s The O.C. more. work until they’re 80; I don’t

want to commit to anything too soon,” which, judging from how the character is portrayed in later episodes, is supposed to show his profound side. However, this statement comes off not so much as a clever comment but more like a failed attempt to sound sophisticatedly cynical. Clumsy efforts trying to show that Ryan is untainted by Orange County decadence instead turn him into a nitwit. In two separate examples, Ryan’s adopted brother, Seth, must teach him how to eat properly and how to put on a tie. With a child from a Third World country, one can blame this lack of basic knowledge on cultural differences, but it comes off as ridiculous for Ryan, no matter how white-trash he supposedly is. Crude characterization is not exclusive to Ryan. Supporting characters Sandy, Kirsten, Seth and Marissa are written into a corner as well. Sandy, Ryan’s adopted father, borders on cartoonish while Kirsten, Sandy’s wife, could pass for a Stepford wife—robotic, doting, perfect and unconvincing as a character. Seth would be a lot funnier if the show was not forcing his funniness down its viewers‘ throats. Ryan’s angsty love interest Marissa pretends to have problems but she really does not. Marissa’s father Jimmy, Sandy’s father Caleb and Marissa’s ex-boyfriend Luke are promising, but do not get enough screen time. In its television and internet promotions, The O.C. calls itself the hottest drama on TV. But the show’s one-dimensional characters make it little more than a puppet act, and a badly performed one at that.


Thursday, February 12, 2004


Coach gives referees F’s

Titan boys’ soccer protests controversial game calls Mark Stefanski NEWS EDITOR



or three games in a row, boys’ soccer (12-2-3) supporters departed with hoarse voices after adamantly giving referees a vocal piece of their minds.

As if the uproar were not a strong enough indicator, coach David Burgee filed highly negative referee evaluations to league authorities in early January. The team’s successive losses to Live Oak (12-5-2) and Paly (12-41) combined with a tie to Fremont (6-7-5), all of which hinged on controversial calls, prompted Burgee to submit the evaluation. “[These three games] really stand out in my mind,” Burgee said. “It was really frustrating because many of the calls were simply unnecessary… They really hurt us.” In the games against Live Oak on Dec. 13 and Fremont on Jan. 8, the referees awarded the opposing teams penalty kicks that proved to be the difference in Live Oak’s win and Fremont’s tie. However, the most crucial calls came in the well-attended game against Paly on Dec. 18. Referees called back two goals that would have given Gunn a victory, one the retraction of junior forward Alex Guzinski’s free kick goal. “Alex hit a perfect deadball, but the other team claimed it had asked for ten yards, which would delay the kick,” Burgee said. “But we have a video showing that nobody ever asked for ten yards.” Guzinski said he was just as displeased and shocked. “It made me angry because the team worked


hard to get so far, and to get a loss is ridiculous,” he said. “To this day we think it was a goal.” Some cite passionate student supporters, who regularly taunt and irritate the referees, as the source of the unfavorable calls. “They are very vocal and [rowdy], and I like that,” Burgee said. “We appreciate those kinds of fans, but there is a possibility [that they influenced the referee’s actions].” These games took their toll not only on the Titans’ record but also on team morale. “[We were] completely demoralized,” Guzin-

ski said. “We had the feeling that players had some influence but the refs really decided the game.” However, Guzinski said the team became stronger in the wake of the losses. “[They] made us stronger because we knew we could not get any sympathy from the refs and had to play harder and score more goals,” he said. Since the Fremont game, Burgee said he saw referee quality improve. Still, he has long-term concerns about the ability of the referees in the league. “Overall, [the referees are] inconsistent and inaccurate,”

Back in the winning circle Wrestling stages comeback from 28-year drought Valerie Wang REPORTER

In 1976, Titan wrestling won leagues, an award they have not seen since. As interest and dedication declined, the team weakened. Finally, the Titans moved a division down from cross-town rival Paly. But this year, there’s finally hope that the Titans (9-0) will be able to rekindle old glory. The undefeated team has turned heads, being one of the stronger winter sport teams with steady improvement and strong coaches. Rival schools are not the only ones shocked at how well the Titans have done this year. “I expected little from our first match, maybe a tiny trophy if we were lucky,” junior co-captain Adam Juratovac said. “We ended up winning all four rounds and placing first in the match. That’s when I knew we had a chance to win the league title.” If wrestling continues to win upcoming dual meets, it will move back into Paly’s division. The team’s lineup has expanded from

he said. “Their work rate is not high—they stay on one half of the field and away from the play. We might be getting guys who take a class or two and don’t play [soccer]. Those kinds of people can really dictate [the outcome] of a match.” Referees, however, have a completely different perspective on the matter. Ken Thompson, a soccer official for 15 years, said referees are fully capable of calling games accurately. “I don’t know any referee who isn’t doing the best job he can do,” he said. “Most know the rules very well [and are] generally in good physical shape.” Referees must pass 100-question Jenn Lee exams yearly to renew their eligibility. Thompson said uninformed coaches may be at the root of referee criticism. “[There are] a number of coaches who don’t know the rules and keep complaining about calls that are correct,” he said. “They need some training themselves.” However, Thompson said he agrees with Burgee’s concerns about referees’ conditioning because no fitness test accompanies the written test. For himself, he said experience allows him to position himself so he can make accurate calls.

two participants at the beginning of the season to a full complement of fourteen as a result of its continued improvement. One notable wrestler is freshman Kiyoshi Kawano. “[This season, he] is showing a lot of talent; he pinned a team captain from Lynbrook and is turning a lot of heads,” senior co-captain Will Keller said. Sophomore AJ Giaccia and freshman Chris Gumbrect also have shown great potential. Junior Ashley Stevenson has also shown dramatic improvement. “[She] is an amazing worker; she tries hard as hell, [and] she shows up at every practice,” Keller said. First-year-coach and former alternate for the U.S. Olympic team Chris Horpel helped provide the impetus to the Titan’s surprising season with strong leadership. With 30 years of experience coaching at Stanford, his experience and personality make him an important asset to the Titans. “I see myself as a student to him as a coach,” fellow wrestling coach Matt Struckmeyer said. “[Horpel]

is an incredibly approachable guy. You’d never guess he was a former Olympian wrestler. He completely violates the stereotype of thug wrestlers.” Three wrestlers, including one rookie, will go to Independence High School on Feb. 21 for CCS— more than Gunn has seen in a long time. However, as many of the wrestlers are still underclassmen, the team expects to send more wrestlers to CCS in the future. “Most of our wrestlers are a year away from making a great impact,” Struckmeyer said. Struckmeyer also hopes that the team’s success will attract more fans. “Hopefully, [our matches] will have a turnout better than football games, better than basketball games,” Struckmeyer said. “It’s not like football where the players are far away. Wrestling’s in your face.” With strong key players, increased interest and dedication and coaches with a vision to bring wrestling back, this Titan team may even exceed that of the ‘70s.


Titans win close one Ritika Khilnani REPORTER

The bleak sky mirrored the moods of girls’ soccer (7-7-1) following their game versus Cupertino (0-13-0) on Jan. 29. Although the Titans won 1-0, they did not play as well as they had hoped. According to senior midfielder Pamela Jue, the problem was mainly in the shots on goal. “We played a good game, but our shots were bad,” Jue said. Junior co-captain Morgan Holland also noted the inability to make the final shot. “We had so many more opportunities to score, but couldn’t get it in,” Holland said. Still, there were positives to savor. Gunn had considerably more shooting opportunities than in their earlier 3-1 victory this season, versus Cupertino. According to Holland, the increase comes from working more on crossgoal passes, an effective offensive technique. The Titans’ game-winning goal, scored by sophomore forward Katja Davis, was impressive, executed off of a string of assists. Also, the Titans maintained a solid defense throughout the game, shutting down Cupertino’s offense. The season’s end may be near, but the Titans must still face Los Altos (9-6-3) and cross-town rivals, Paly (11-2-2).

Page 18 ◆ The Oracle

Thursday, February 12, 2004



Sibling rivalry forces...

Perricones’ intuition valuable addition to team Molly Crystal A SSOCIATE FEATURES EDITOR


or many siblings, high school is a time filled with comp etition. It’s hard enough to try and “find yourself” on your own, without a sibling who goes to the same high school as you. Having a sibling means that you need to be able to define yourself without the sibling, that is, to separate your lives and interests. For this reason, many siblings try to distance themselves from each other. However, this route was unchosen by junior guard Jessica and sophomore forward Leanne Perricone, who found that playing on the same varsity basketball team is not only entertaining but also advantageous. For the Perricone sisters, playing on the same team is nothing unusual. The two started in kindergarten and first grade, with their father as coach. “We’ve played on the same team forever,” Jessica said.

Indeed, Leanne said it feels natural to play with her sister. Both sisters admit that there is definite competition between them. “When I was little, I had no clue what competition was,” Leanne said. “I got more competitive as I got older, probably about sixth grade. It’s hard not to be, because when we come home, our parents will say something like, ‘We saw you make that point!’ so you think that you have to work for that,” she said. Jessica agrees that there is competition between them, although she also said it helps them play better. “There’s competition most of the time,” she said. “But it’s not that bad because we know what each other plays like. We know what each others’ strengths and weaknesses are.” Knowing each other so well has given the sisters a leg up on the competition. “It’s fun, because we know where the other person is going to be,” Leanne said. This intuition helps when they are on the same team. However, the girls’ extra intuition only increases com-

petition during scrimmages, when a team drills against itself during a practice. “They can read each other’s body and eye contact so they can be on the same page,” Head Coach Sebastian Poitier said. Both sisters also feel that they get along equally well with their teammates, avoiding the pitfall that one sister is more “a part” of the team than the other. “We’re all just friends with everyone,” Jessica said. “She may be better friends with some sophomores, but I don’t think it’s really that divided.” Jessica and Leanne said they enjoy playing together and have a great time on the team, a fact that Poitier also noted. ”They have a great relationship on the court, “ Poitier said. “I see a conflict once in a blue moon.” Despite the competition, neither sister sounded as though it gets in the way of their game or their relationship. Although many siblings would prefer to avoid each other at school, the Perricone sisters have found the basketball court to be an unlikely source of similar attraction.

Perricone photos by Annie Chang

Titan defense ekes 11th-hour win Laura Lee CENTERFOLD EDITOR

Junior guard Jessica Perricone’s birthday was a good one, as Titan girls’ basketball (4-4) cruised to a 47-37 win at Los Altos (6-3) on Feb. 3. The win launched the Titans into third place in the El Camino Division, the lower of the two divisions. The Titans lost to Los Altos 4137 at home earlier this season, but this time they brought home the win. “Last time we played them at home, we got slaughtered,” sophomore point guard Patty Fung said. “So it was important to win this one.” The game began with delays due to technical difficulties with the shot clock. Both teams had a slow start and the first quarter closed out with Gunn up 7-6. However, the game picked up in the second quarter as both teams played aggressively, with wild score fluctuations as the teams exchanged the lead multiple times. Sophomore forward LeAnn Perricone scored most of her 12 points in this quarter. At half-time, the Titans led by

Jane Lee

Senior guard Claire Cruz posts up against her defender to get into scoring distance. just three points, but they started the third quarter with a five point run and maintained their lead for the rest of the game. Strong Titan defense in the third quarter limited Los Altos to just six points. The

quarter ended with the Titans holding a commanding 36-25 lead. But Los Altos made one last run, cutting the lead down to four points with 1:08 left on the clock. “We got really nervous but our coach kept telling us that we just needed to calm down and slow it down,” senior point guard A.J. Stephenson said. However, that was as close as the Eagles got to a win. After Gunn took their second timeout for the quarter, senior guard Clair Cruz scored a crucial three-point shot, sealing the win. She finished with a team-high of 14 points. Kaja Martin finished with 10 points, the amount by which the Titans won. Martin also finished with seven rebounds and three blocks. However, Head Coach Sebastian Poitier said the game’s outcome was a result of strong defense—not offense. “The team did great and their offense worked, but it was their defense that won them the game,” Poitier said. “They have been working really well as a team for the past games and they’re going to work on continuing to play with the defense that makes other teams struggle.”

Page 19 ◆ The Oracle

Thursday, February 12, 2004



...on courts everywhere

Jordan brothers semi-friendly sparring partners Ritika Khilnani REPORTER


any siblings that play on the same sports team are quick to downplay any hint of rivalry between them. However, this is not the case for senior and freshman forwards, David and Peter Jordan. Indeed, although assistant coach Tom Saults said there is no clear rivalry between the two, David and Peter said their sports rivalry as it always has been, is alive and well. Indeed, it is not hard to compare the two. They both start as forwards for varsity basketball, are both over six feet tall and share an indisputable love for the game. However, despite the striking similarities, Saults insisted that he never compares one brother to the other. “[David and Peter] are more a camaraderie than a rivalry, “ Saults said. “David is supportive and Peter values that.” According to Saults, having David on the team also makes

it easier for Peter to be the only freshman, although Peter said he does not feel intimidated by the older teammates. Teammates agree with Saults’ view. “They don’t try and outplay each other,” senior forward Chris Mugler said. But according to the brothers, nothing could be farther from the truth. The boys were competing against each other long before practices at Gunn brought them together. “We have a hoop at home and we’ve been busting out one-on-ones for a while now,” David said. “I always win, though.” Peter attests to the long-standing rivalry. “We’ve been playing for as long as I can remember,” Peter said. “[David] is pretty competitive; he has always been.” However, some are torn as to who is the better player. Peter joined varsity as a freshman, while David joined as a junior. “[Peter] is a very strong offensive player with good physical skills,” Saults said. “He is very gifted.” Peter is one

Fouls, absences plague Titan boys Jimmy Huang ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR

Despite an encouraging pregame speech from boys’ basketball coach Jeff Klenow, Titan basketball (4-4) fell to the more aggressive Milpitas (7-1) squad 55-43 on Feb. 4. In the Titans’ 64-50 win against Wilcox on Jan. 30, sophomore guard Nicki La Fleur was ejected from the game for a flagrant foul, called when he pushed a Wilcox player. The catch however, was that this also kept La Fleur out for the Milpitas game, as well. Junior forward Jason Griffith was also out of the game for academic reasons. Losing two members from their usual eight-man rotation dealt an early blow to the Titans, forcing them to dig deeper into their bench early on. The Titans found themselves back in familiar territory as the fouls piled up on the team. Senior center Tom Blake drew two personal fouls in the first three minutes of the second quarter, and senior forward Chris Mugler drew two technical fouls for making unsportsmanlike comment and disputing another foul.

Jane Lee

After receiving a pass, junior guard Brennen Blair prepares to drive past a Milpitas defender. Consequently, Mugler was ejected from the game with 5:11 left in the third quarter and is suspended from the boys’ next game against Los Gatos. “We just didn’t play to our ability and got frustrated early,” junior

guard Brennen Blair said. Despite a 9-0 run at the end of the third quarter, the Titans could not catch up to the lead Milpitas established. The Titans must hold their .500 record to guarantee themselves a CCS play-off seed.

of the top scorers for the team and holds one of the season scoring highs with 32 points in a game versus Homestead. Still, David maintains that his victories at the hoop emerged in spite of more difficult challenges. “ T her e was more competition for varsity my freshman and sophomore years,” David said. David also played on the CCS team his sophomore year. Indeed, as scoring a lot of points is not the only thing in basketball, David leads in assists. However, David said, “Peter leads the team in points, that’s just the way it is.” Despite their competitive relationship, David and Peter maintain a solid friendship. “Although he doesn’t admit it, I know he looks up to me,” David joked. “And he knows he started playing because I did first.” Peter did not respond to David’s claim, but he rolled his eyes and let out a little smile.

Jordan photos by Valerie Wang

Page 20 ◆ The Oracle

Thursday, February 12, 2004



Into the sport fan’s head and heart Die-hard fans reveal the highs and lows of loyally supporting one team Andy Gyr REPORTER


ith no professional sports team in Palo Alto, where do the Titan sports fans’ loyalties lie? For senior Danny Mitchell and junior Ashwin Agarwal, local teams are the way to go. Mitchell, a die-hard San Francisco Giants fan regularly attends games and cheers his team on. He cites the fact that he was born and raised here as his original reason for following the Giants when he was young, and he has not stopped. The worst part about being a Giants fan, he said, was losing Game Six and eventually the 2003 World Series. “[The Giants] were so close to winning it all and they let it slip away,” he said. Mitchell’s pet peeve is fair-weather fans who jump onto the bandwagon when a team is doing exceptionally well. According to Mitchell, that

made the World Series loss even worse because there were never any real Angels fans—just Dodgers fans who switched sides once the Rally Monkey began working his magic. “Yankees and Lakers fans are the worst,” Mitchell said. “People who don’t live in those cities only like them because they traditionally do well.” But the Giants are only one side of the Bay Area’s baseball tandem. Agarwal is a self-professed Oakland A’s freak. He said he loves them because they are close to home and are a “truly talented team” that harvests local players like St. Francis alum Eric Byrnes. Even so, Agarwal has been frustrated by the team’s horrific luck in the postseason. “The hardest part is seeing [the A’s] lose in the playoffs and watching good players get traded away,” he said. But the A’s have still not done enough to shake this persistent fan. Then again, there are students like junior Zack Ross who are devoted to teams in the faroff reaches of the East Coast. Ross has been a New York Jets fan since 2000, when the Jets had four first round draft picks. He consciously decided at that point that

The 'Average Titan' Fan Do you follow professional sports?

No 48%

Rate yourself as a fan from 1-5 (1 being no interest, 5 being high interest)

4 17%

3 30% What is your favorite professional sport to watch?

14% 16% 8% 12%

28% 22%

Baseball Football Basketball Soccer Hockey Other

Is your favorite professional sports team local? (Greater Bay Area) Don't Have 28%

Locations to acquire fan gear WEBMASTER

2 24%

Yes 38%

No 34% 221 students surveyed

Did you know that...

The percentage of guys (60.8%) is greater than the percentage for girls, although nearly 50% of girls do follow (46.0%). Sports TV is the most popular non-word-of-mouth way to get sports info. An overwhelming majority prefer San Francisco teams over Oakland teams (126-32 for the Giants/A's, 104-44 for the '49ers/Raiders) Only 3.85% of girls claimed to be highly interested in sports (a 5 from a scale of 1-5), compared to 27.8% for guys. The "Average Titan" guy follows sports, rates himself as a fan at 3.5 out of 5, enjoys football and hates soccer, has a local favorite team and gets sports news from other people, Sports TV and the Internet in that order. The "Average Titan" girl may follow sports, would rate herself as a fan at 3 out of 5, enjoys basketball and hates baseball, does not have a local favorite team and gets sports news from other people, News TV and Sports TV in that order.

Julia Erlandson

Becoming Tom Brady Rajeev Sharma

1 5 15% 14%

Yes 52%

he was meant to be a Jets fan. “There’s nothing bad about being a Jets fan,” he said. “This was a rebuilding season and there were some key injuries...I have no regrets,” he said, despite the Jets’ 6-10 record in 20032004. “They’re the best team in the game.” He boasts his team pride by sporting numerous hats, beanies, shirts, pennants and even socks. These three fans would undoubtedly argue about the merits of the teams they follow ardently. But regardless of individual team loyalties, they are held together by the love of the game.

The sports industry makes hundreds of millions from ticket sales, but is substantially influenced by the sale of team apparel. To take advantage of such a profitable sector of the sports industry, many retail stores and websites sell a wide variety of jerseys, caps, sweatshirts and assorted equipment. Several locations nearby Gunn are available to help get one decked out in fan gear. Big 5 Sporting Goods in Menlo Park is known not only for its wide selection in equipment, but also a separate clothing section. However, it sells mainly Bay Area team star apparel and jerseys. Sport Mart in Sunnyvale is very similar to Big 5, with a similar bias toward local teams. The Giants dugout store in Stanford Shopping Center should be a dear place in any devoted Giant fan’s heart. From the standard Barry Bonds T-shirt to a J.T. Snow autographed baseball card, the store holds the memora-

bilia and clothing to meet any Giant fan’s birthday wants. For the difficult-to-find jersey, the online shops of the official team sites offer all the gear and memorabilia from each individual team, making them an option for fans searching for outof-town teams. Several legitimate websites such as and sell equipment for all teams. Less effort is necessary, though prices are usually higher. has an excellent selection with product visuals, but it also only sells popular jerseys. Additionally, the site sells team caps and jackets, but does not sell collectibles. It also has a price buster, so if you want something cheaper than listed, you should check that feature out. Fo gd o g .c o m makes up for that with a huge archive of fan memorabilia for every team. The tradeoff? Prices are slightly higher than Fanwear.

The Oracle (Feb. 2004)  

February 2004