Hilltop Views S t .
E d w a r d ’ s
U n i v e r s i t y
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Volume 26 | Issue 3
President touts successes Jennifer Schrauth St. Edward’s University is making progress in its broad goals despite the current economic conditions, university President George Martin said in his biannual President’s meeting. Martin gave his address Sept. 16 to students, faculty and staff and spoke about the progress in the university’s seven strategic priorities that are part of his 10 year master plan, which ends next year after being implemented in 1999 when Martin joined the university. “The economy is affecting recruitment at all need levels, but particularly no-need merit students,” Martin said. “We are expecting now, more
than ever, greater competition with public schools because they are perceived as costing less.” At the same time, however, the university has increased enrollment during Martin’s tenure from 368 freshmen students in 1999 to 757 students in the current freshman class. In addition, the percentage of students graduating in four to six years has increased. Despite concerns earlier this year that economic circumstances would not permit a raise for faculty, President Martin announced that faculty will be receiving a 3 percent salary increase this year. “We must continue to manage our resources prudently
President Martin addressed the campus on Sept. 16.
and work collaboratively in support of our students,” Martin said to faculty in an e-mail. “Your efforts are making it possible to continue the university’s mission even in
these uncertain times.” In the e-mail, Martin also pointed out recent National Association of College and MARTIN, 4
St. Edward’s conserves in drought Chelsea Crenshaw St. Edward’s University has taken measures to conserve water after being required by the City of Austin to curb water usage due to the current drought. Michael Peterson, director of the physical plant, said the four water fountains on campus – in Ragsdale Plaza, in the outdoor courtyard by Moody, in the central courtyard between Dujarie and Basil Moreau Halls and in Jones courtyard near the
“Students are a big factor in water conservation” -Director of Physical Plant Michael Peterson campus bookstore – were shut off a few days before the Stage Two water restrictions went into effect in Austin on Aug. 24. The sprinkler irrigation system which waters the lawns on campus was also limited to once a week, Peterson said,
Features: Read about new texting while driving laws. Page 7
UPD simplifies parking system
in compliance with the restrictions. He said the water, which is about half of what is allowed under normal conditions, has been rationed to stretch over the course of the week. Peterson said Residence Life has been passing out
fliers to students who live in the residence halls, Peterson also mentioned all the toilets in Le Mans, Hunt and Johnson Halls are equipped with plumbing that use less water with the handle is pulled up when flushing. “Students are a big factor in water conservation,” Peterson said. “It’s important to conserve more, take shorter showers, shut the water of when you shave.” Despite recent heavy rain-
Entertainment: Romantic comedies that couldn’t happen. Page 13
Students, faculty and staff are adjusting to the new parking changes on campus. After a month of implementation, the University Police Department enforced new traffic and parking regulations in hopes of making parking easier both to find and to enforce. The major change to the parking regulations was the switch to a three-color hang-tag system, said Dan Beck, a UPD lieutenant. The three new colors – red, green and tan – designate who can park where on campus: red for residents, green for commuter students and staff and tan for faculty. This replaces the broader range of colors used in previous years, which made distinctions between commuters, faculty, staff and the residents of each hall on campus. Hang tags were available on Aug. 31. UPD enforcement began shortly thereafter. Hang tags should be displayed from the rearview mirror of the vehicle. As part of the new regulations, UPD has also banned curb parking. Beck said frequent curb parking was a fire safety hazard because the streets on campus are too narrow to allow fire
trucks adequate access to buildings when vehicles are parked on the curb. Freshman Mike Mullins said that he supports the ban on curbside parking. “I completely agree with banning curbside parking because that is the law everywhere and not just on campus,” Mullins said. Senior Liz Rische agrees that the absence of curbside parking is an improvement. “It helped clean up how the university looked,” she said. But others feel that all the changes are not for the better. “I wish that they still had curbside parking,” sophomore Jayme Brooks, a commuter said. “It makes more spaces. It is such an inconvenience to park in the garage.” Junior Paul Smith said that he likes the parking system, but wants to see changes in enforcement. “I think it’s better for oncampus people,” Smith said of the system. “But they’re not enforcing curbside parking consistently, which is frustrating.” When making the changes to the parking regulations, Beck said UPD talked to every group on campus to try to gather enough facts CURB, 4
Sports: Melanie Oudin makes history at the U.S. Open. Page 10
Page 2 | NEWS
Wednesday, September 23, 2009 | Hilltop Views
Fall 2009 SGA Election Results Tristan Hallman The winners of the Student Government Association’s fall elections were announced on Friday. After the Sept. 14-Sept. 18 vote, six newly elected Freshman Senators will take office this week. Two school senators, Daryl Sedillo of the School of Management and Business and Zac Peal
of the School of Behavioral and Social Sciences, were also elected after running uncontested. The remaining eight school senate seats are currently vacant. The following results include only the winners’ vote tallies. SGA did not release numbers for the other five candidates who did not win. “Recognizing the average age of freshman candidates,
and their recent entrance into the university environment, the Student Government Association feels most comfortable releasing only the final voting tallies for the winning six freshman candidates,” said Elections Commissioner Margot Cromack in a statement written to Hilltop Views. “At this time, the Association feels little would be gained by releasing
the losing candidates vote tallies to anyone other than the candidates themselves.” Raw data for voter turnout was also unavailable as voters in the freshman elections were allowed to vote for up to six candidates. email@example.com
School of Management and Business
Freshman Senator 1. Agnew, Jane Marie
2. DeRuvo, Aaron M.
3. Mansfield, Jesse J.
4. Guerrero, Andrew C.
5. Bouree, Olivia
6. Zullinger, John
1. Sedillo, Daryl
School of Behavioral and Social Sciences 1. Peal, Zachary A.
Write for Hilltop Views! This semester has only begun, and the paper needs more writers for Fall 2009. Join us at our story meetings Wednesdays at 5 p.m. in Trustee 118.
Senate unanimously approves SGA budget Alex Lamb This past week, the student senate approved the proposal of the 2009-2010 Student Government Association budget, bearing two amendments, and a member issued an apology for errors he made in the process of selecting a nominee to fill a vacancy on the senior bench. Chief of Staff Nicholette Maiers introduced the budget, which totals $11,100 and is provided for by the university administration, as well as some fundraising. Maiers credited Vice President of Intergovernmental Affairs Chris Duke with much of the budget’s development. In addition, Maiers also mentioned SGA would be receiving approximately $1,000
to $1,500 as a cut of the total profits from the poster sale, which made almost $10,000. The two amendments added to the budget before its unanimous approval were one to decrease the funds available to the chief justice of the student court of appeals, from $400 to $390, although the cut was originally slated to be down to $300, and to cut the amount of funding available to the organization’s involvement director from $2,000 to $1,000. When asked by Soto why the two funds should be cut, Duke said the cuts would allow SGA to maximize the amount of money in the budget to be able to give more to students, in the form of services such as the student court of appeals, which will
SGA is also working on passing its first resolution of the year be adding three new justices and thus needs new supplies. In addition, Soto said that he would have a nominee for the vacant senior senator spot ready for approval in two weeks, and explained the absences of two senior senators. Soto said Sen. Matt Cahill was in an undisclosed “really important” meeting, and senator Adam Semien could not make it because of soccer club commitments. Duke also said SGA is no longer in charge of coordinating homecoming, as it has been in the past. He pointed
out that the homecoming committee, made up of members of various Student Life organizations, has at least $5,000 at its disposal to coordinate that event. In light of recent developments, Duke argued, the monetary needs of SGA’s involvement director have shrunk in scope, and the spread should be placed in the association’s general reserve. SGA is also working on passing its first resolution of the year. Vice President of Legislative Initiatives Hannah Kurtzweil reported
that there has been a lot of outside participation in discussion during her weekly committee meetings over SR 101, the “Truth in Grading” proposal which would seek to include the usage of pluses (and possibly minuses) in the 2011-2012 grading system. She encouraged the public to “come and sit in” on those meetings, held at 7 p.m. in the Lucas Room in the Ragsdale Center. Vice President of Student Representation Alexis Konevich said her committee is going over committee hierarchy in order to have a fast turnaround after the university committees happen. This way, Konevich said, SGA can disseminate information and keep every student at the university informed about what
is going on in these administrative committees that make decisions that affect people’s lives as students. Konevich also invited the public to attend her committee’s meetings, held at 6 p.m., also in the Lucas Room. firstname.lastname@example.org
Hilltop Views | Wednesday, September 23, 2009
NEWS | Page 3
St. Edward’s mourns loss of Medina-Pape Daniel Garza Retired St. Edward’s University theater professor Sara Medina-Pape died Sept. 18 at the age of 56. Medina-Pape had been battling pancreatic cancer for many years. She passed away in California, where she had been to receiving treatment. Having taught at St. Edward’s for more than 20 years, Medina-Pape was a well- respected member of the campus faculty and community. She was an associate professor of Theater Arts, focusing in makeup and cos-
tume design. Medina-Pape attended graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin, where she earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in theater and costume design. While studying at UT, Medina-Pape had the opportunity to spend a year in Africa. Her experiences there led her to eventually become a moving force behind the SEUganda Project. This project transports hand-made crafts from local women in Uganda to the St. Edward’s campus to be sold. The profits are then sent back to the women
in Uganda to provide extra income for their families and help them to become more self-sufficient. She was involved in countless projects while at St. Edward’s, and was warmly remembered for her enthusiasm and optimism. “She was very proud of the students she mentored,” said Ev Lunning, associate professor of Theater Arts. “Many of her students have gone on to professional careers with theaters or ballet companies. She was full of encouragement.” Among other accomplish-
Campus limits water use Continued from page 1
storms, which dumped more than a foot of rain in Texas, Austin is still categorized as being in an extreme or severe drought, according to the U.S. Department of Christina Villareal Agriculture. The fountains on campus are shut off due to the drought. According to the City of Austin Water Conservation ited to designated days and out water unless it is reFAQ, the following guide- times. quested. lines also apply: •No automatic fill valves Those in violation of the •Watering by hand or with are allowed for pools or city ordinance are subject to a bucket is allowed anytime. ponds. a charge of a Class C mis•Golf fairway irrigation •Washing sidewalks, demeanors, with each violais limited to assigned days driveways, parking areas or tion punishable by a fine of before 10 a.m. and after 7 other paved surfaces is pro- up to $500. p.m. hibited. •Vehicle washing is lim•Restaurants cannot give email@example.com
ments, Medina-Pape had the distinction of being the costume designer for the Coen brothers 1984 film “Blood Simple.” She also initiated the makeup design program at St. Edward’s. Her colleagues described her as being full of life. Michael Massey, associate professor of Theater Arts worked with Medina-Pape for many years, including earlier in her St. Edward’s career when the theater program was not as well funded as it is today. “She worked and did a lot through pure energy,” Massey said.
Medina-Pape enjoyed riding horses with her family in San Antonio. Part of her therapy had her returning to the family’s ranch to spend time with her family, including her daughter Natalie, an accomplished horse rider, as well as her horse “Old Chester.” Throughout her illness, she never lost her optimism or zest for life. Dean of Humanities Fr. Lou Brusatti worked with Medina-Pape for many years, and was one of many colleagues who witnessed her exuberant spirit and optimism.
“She was nothing but optimistic about beating it, and enthusiastic about living,” Brusatti said. Services will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. in the St. Edward’s chapel. Medina-Pape is survived by her husband, Brian, her children Ian and Natalie, and her parents in San Antonio. firstname.lastname@example.org
Uloop struggles after debut Morgen Brown Students at St. Edward’s University received several e-mails this summer advertising a new online classifieds service. Uloop, a Web site that began in 2007, created a version specifically for St. Edward’s students this summer. Thus far, very few St. Edward’s students have used the Web site. Sophomore Bailey Bounds, for instance, was completely unaware of what the service is. “What the heck is a Uloop?” Bounds said. Co-founder Ryan MacCarthy described his Web site as a classifieds site directed at college students to meet their unique needs. There are categories for job postings, available scholarships, housing, various services, travel opportunities, events and for sale listings. Uloop’s other applications include an area for conversations similar to forum threads, a section with updates straight from St. Edward’s Twitter account, a list of popular search terms on the Web site and a link
to “Become a Fan” on Facebook. This online marketplace for college students first launched at University of C alifornia Santa Barbara in spring 2007 and, as of January 2008, has expanded availability to more than 50 colleges nationwide. Users with a valid “.edu” email can log in and can buy, sell, or trade anything from class notes to concert tickets. Sophomore Blake Berry used Uloop last semester to sell her bicycle and said it was easy and wishes more students would get involved so the website will prosper. While Uloop provides a local channel for a wide range of exchanges, the relatively small amount of St. Edward’s users can make it hard to meet the supply or demand for purchases. Only a small number of students at the university have logged in to buy or sell items. Students at the University of Texas at Austin also have access to Uloop and, despite numerous flyers and advertis-
ing on campus last year, the marketplace had still reached less than 8 percent of UT’s students, according to The Daily Texan. “If more people start using it, I see it becoming a great networking tool,” sophomore Evan Parsons said. “I personally don’t plan on using it very extensively, as all my needs are met by Facebook networking and Craigslist.” The built-in advantages of the Uloop include free membership because funds are supplied by employers who post jobs nationwide on the site, providing the advantage of local hiring opportunities. Another advantage touted by Uloop is the potential for cheaper prices of goods compared to the price of textbooks in campus bookstores. Uloop can be found at http://stedwards.uloop.com. email@example.com
Page 4 | NEWS
Wednesday, September 23, 2009 | Hilltop Views
Campus bookstore hosts first reading Katy Johnson The St. Edward’s University campus bookstore launched its first official book reading and signing, featuring Lori Swick, on Friday. Lori Swick, an adjunct New College professor at St. Edward’s, read from her most recent novel, “Comfort and Mirth.” Released in April, the fiction novel is set in the early 1900s in Austin, and depicts a woman’s struggle to discover her own feminist philosophy during the second wave of feminism and when women gained the right to vote. “I wrote it to elevate and celebrate women’s way of philosophizing based on my own motherly intuition and wisdom,” she said. Swick began writing the book 14 years ago, when she was an English writing and
Lori Swick reads from her novel, “Comfort and Mirth,” at the St. Edward’s University bookstore.
religious studies undergraduate at St. Edward’s and finished the novel as a professor. She said her desire to write the book came from personal experience. “I went through a hard time and just wanted to write,” she said. “It had a lot to do with what I was learning here. I opened up my mind to wom-
en’s issues, philosophy and religious issues.” Swick said she heavily researched Austin’s past, visiting old historic sites like the Driskill Hotel and reading through archives of old newspapers. Her first draft of “Comfort and Mirth” gained her support from Tim Green, an-
other New College professor at St. Edward’s, who helped Swick refine her point of view and improve her characterization. After many edits, Texas Christian University Press finally published the novel, she said. Swick said it felt great to present her novel at her alma mater, where she graduated
from in 1999. “The book is very much couched in the St. Edward’s community,” Swick said. “And a lot of people who work here helped me shape it. It was a real privilege being able to share it.” Pat Perry, a history professor at St. Edward’s, praised Swick’s book. “It’s marvelous, a great read,” Perry said. “She did a good job researching early Austin and a magnificent job weaving early Austin into her story. The characters were well developed and engaging. Reading the book transported me to the scenes, I was there.” Swick is currently working toward her Ph.D. in Philosophy and Religion through the California Institute of Integral Studies. She is also writing another novel, based on the life of Saint Cecelia.
This was the bookstore’s first book reading and signing, that will continue in a series throughout the year. Melanie Foster, the bookstore manager, said the bookstore is trying to start an ongoing schedule for the series. “We want to give the staff and faculty an opportunity to share with the community,” Foster said. “I am happy with the success of this book signing and would like to grow and offer more to the community.” On Oct. 14, the bookstore will present a reading from Sherri Defesche, a recruiting assistant faculty member and the author of “Reunion at Rainbow Bridge” from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. firstname.lastname@example.org
Martin speaks of growth Curb parking banned Continued from page 1
University Business Officers statistics which show that 67 percent of employees at other universities have had their salaries frozen and 9 percent have seen a pay cut. The university is also expanding its overseas presence and has a Memoranda of Understanding with three new higher education institutions in France. In the Instructional Technology department, the university has tripled its bandwidth, optimized internet speed and increased security. The new school website is scheduled to launch in December 2010. Martin also noted that there is considerably less construction going on this year, as scheduled renovations are finishing up. Doyle Hall has been transformed
from a residence hall to offices and classrooms, sporting a Texenza coffee bar, additions to make the building more sustainable and a shaded outdoor seating area under the oak tree. Martin said that students and faculty have repeatedly expressed how happy they are with these changes. Martin also touted the bookstore renovations that occurred over the summer and the new residential village that was completed last spring and won the Golden Trowel Award for its creative design. Another of Martin’s goals was to turn the university into one of the best private colleges in the nation. This year, the university was named among the top 5 up-and-coming universities in the Western Region by academic peers in a U.S. News and World Report
survey. It was also ranked 21st in the Western Region by the same publication, included for the first time in the Princeton Review’s 2010 Best Colleges edition, and ranked 318th on the Forbes list of America’s Best Colleges. Martin will discuss the university’s standing when he is featured in an interview with Hilltop Views Co-Editor-in-Chief Bryce Bencivengo when the newspaper goes online in October. email@example.com
Continued from page 1
about what changes were wanted. In March, a committee comprised of UPD, the Student Government Association, faculty, staff and administration met to discuss the old parking system and improvements to be made to the new system. “The most common complaint was that [the old system] was too complicated,” he said. Beck said he has not received any complaints about the new regulations, but there were some early misunderstandings, in particular about the visitor parking lot. Beck said students, faculty and staff cannot park in, or remove their permits in order to park in, visitor parking spaces, and UPD will check license plate numbers to determine if the car does belong to a visitor.
New parking regulations issued by UPD ban curbside parking.
Mullins thinks students should be able to park in the visitor lot, located between Moody Hall and the bookstore, at least overnight. “Having guest parking hours would be a great improvement,” Mullins said. Rische received a ticket for parking in visitor parking and said she had parked there because she had yet to pick up her permit, and she did not want to get a ticket for parking in one of the other parking lots without a permit. Rische said that she dis-
agrees with situations in which UPD punishes students who are trying to avoid punishment. “I have no problems with the regulations, just with the way they deal with situations like mine,” Rische said. Despite the changes, according to Mullins and Rische, parking is still an inconvenience on campus. Both said the parking garage would be a good option, if it was not so far away. firstname.lastname@example.org
Hilltop Views | Wednesday, September 23, 2009
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GAMES | Page 5
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6 Wednesday, September 23, 2009 | Hilltop Views
Poet speaks of political imprisonment Alex Lamb Alicia Partnoy remembers being a university student in Argentina when all of Latin America was experiencing the push for social change. However, she didn’t know that her participation in student activism would place her in jail–an experience that would forever shape her future. Since her arrival in the United States, Partnoy has shared her story with organizations like the United Nations, Amnesty International and Organization of American States. Partnoy addressed the St. Edward’s University community in Jones Auditorium on Sep. 8. This marked one of the final events that Margaret E. Crahan, the recently retired head of St. Edward’s Kozmetsky Center, organized for the campus. The speech, titled “Creativity Behind Bars,” was in conjunction with an exhibit that ran in the Fine Arts Gallery the first two weeks of fall semester, titled “Art of the Incarcerated.” The exhibit featured art from adult and child prisoners across Texas. Both events focused on the experience of prisoners. One child prisoner in Houston painted a rendition of her mother as the Virgin de Guadalupe, who was one of Argentina’s disappeared during the so-called “Dirty War” that lasted from 1976-1983. It was not just leftists or activist that were imprisoned, tortured and never heard from again. Estimates of the number of disappeared persons during this time range from between 12,000 and about 30,000 people, all of whom the government suspected of subversion. Especially targeted were
Contact the Kozmetsky Center Phone:
Web site: stedwards.edu/kozmetsky/
Courtesy of the Kozmetsky Center
Alicia Partnoy is a survivor from the secret detention camps where about 30,000 people “disappeared” in Argentina.
those who reported on human rights abuses, as Partnoy had done until her imprisonment in the spring of 1977. She spent two and a half years in different jails until her expulsion from Argentina in December of 1979, when she came to the U.S. “In all Latin America in those years there was a movement for social change, with a lot of participation of college students,” said Partnoy. “Imagine, the coup had taken place already in Chile [on Sept. 11, 1973]. So a lot of those people who had fled, who were supportive of [Salvador] Allende, were professors of ours in our school.” Born in the south of Buenos Aires, in the city of Bahia Blanca, Partnoy is the daughter of a painter and a city administrator, professor and accountant. She entered college in 1974, the year following what she described as the first free elections in her country since the moment had been born
in 1955. In 1973, the military allowed Juan Perón, an Argentine general and politician, to
wing armed militias, but personal gratification was shortlived. Perón died a year into office. Perón’s third wife and vicepresident, Isabella, then became president. She was seen by those around her as weak and ineffectual, and the military was soon back in control again. It seized power on March 24, 1976. During this time, Partnoy became involved in student activism. “We were debating the reality. We were challenging our classes,” she said. “We were studying the variation of how the poor pronounce the letter
Estimates of the number of disappeared persons during this time range from between 12,000 and about 30,000 people, all of whom the government suspected of subversion.
return from his 20-year exile in fascist Spain to run once more for president. He had made a deal with the military ruling the country in the early 1970s to help eliminate the rising tide of socialist-style politics in exchange for a chance at power one more time. With his win, the foundations for the coming Dirty War were laid with right-
‘s’, but we were not looking at how these entire populations were illiterate!” In those days, she said, the students had a clear analysis of the development of Argentina’s history—what was embellished, what was glossed over. Furthermore, they had ideas for where the country needed to move for social justice. According to Partnoy, stu-
dents and others calling for a more egalitarian society evidently underestimated what they were up against. “We had had military coups, but never as bloody as this one,” she said. “Certain sectors of the society were getting very nervous about the direction of the economy. They were asking the military to step in as they had done, over and over, in the history of the country.” But no one, except allegedly the military, expected the genocide that would ensue. “They still talk about, ‘How? Argentina? This so civilized country? How could this have happened?’” Today, Partnoy and her husband, who was also imprisoned and tortured during those years, are still asking the same question—only this time it concerns the U.S. In Argentina, she said, the military had a messianic discourse of power. “These people [political dissidents] are terrorists. We are going to save you,” said Partnoy. Speaking on the countless reports of torture being utilized as a primary strategic tool for the U.S. in the “War on Terror,” Partnoy said, “A lot of the language was like déjà vu. It was echoing the language that was used during the dictatorship.” What is relatively new for Partnoy and her husband is the way the public has discussed the subject of torture over the past few years. “It was very disturbing for
me, for my husband, who was severely tortured, [to hear everyday support for government-sponsored torture]. For people who had been submerged in dirty water, all these things that they say, ‘Oh, it’s not torture,’—they get very disturbed by this discussion here,” she said. “Now that the position in the government is stronger against torture, you can see eyes are starting to get opened,” she said. But she asked why the media and public didn’t address the subject when it came up. According to Partnoy, a discourse of solidarity is what might be needed. This is a discourse amongst the public not based on hierarchical relationships, one that doesn’t automatically interpret information from the top down, as far as power structures are concerned, but rather from the bottom up. “[There should be a discourse] at a level in which the dignity of the person who is giving you that story is considered, and you are not in a position of superiority.” Since surviving and testifying, Partnoy has published several collections of poetry, such as “Little Low Flying/ Volando bajito,” “Revenge of the Apple/Venganza de la manzana,” all of which have been translated into several languages. email@example.com
Hilltop Views | Wednesday,September 23, 2009
FEATURES | Page 7
Students discuss engagement, marriage Zachary Miranda Look around. Know anyone who is engaged? Chances are you do. Statistics aren’t easy to find, but it seems like more college-age students have the itch to get hitched. According to the United States government, only 42 percent of adults over the age of 18 are single. While this statistic includes
older adults as well, the fact that the average age to become married is 25 cannot be ignored. While studying abroad in Italy this past summer, Ashley Lahr, 21 year old senior, became engaged to her boyfriend of several years. “We knew that we wanted to marry each other soon after we started dating. It was really soon—earlier than ‘normal’— but we just knew
that we were each other’s soul mate and best friend,” said Lahr. “It sounds cheesy, but it’s true. He helps me be the best person I can be, and I feel as if I can say the same for him. The right time [to marry] is completely subjective to who you are as a couple.” Lahr said she feels judged at times for being engaged while still in school. “It’s hard when I am the only one out of all
“We knew that we wanted to marry each other soon after we started dating.” —Ashley Lahr Courtesy of Ashley Lahr
Senior Ashley Lahr and her fiance became engaged over the summer.
New ordinance bans text messaging while driving Yenifes Trochez If you are thinking about sending a text message while driving, you should probably think again. Austin City Council members Mike Martinez, Chris Riley and Mayor Lee Leffingwell proposed an ordinance, which was passed on August 27, that will ban text messaging while driving. Now that the policy has been conceded, City Council will decide on the specifics of the regulations. The voting process will most likely last until the end of October. Under the new ordinance,
an individual is not only in violation of the law if caught sending a text message while driving, but also if caught reading text messages, instant messages, or e-mails as well. Though the ban seems to be aimed towards those driving motor vehicles, cyclists will also be penalized for violating the new law. Violators of the new law can look forward to a Class C misdemeanor, which includes a $500 fine and a potential court appearance. However, the new regulation may have its flaws. Despite officials’ hopes, enforceability of the new ordinance
may be difficult. Officers would have to catch a driver in the midst of text messaging to prosecute. Or, in the case of an accident, there would have to be a witness. In recent years, there have been several studies conducted to understand the effects of communicating on a cell phone while driving. It was shown in a study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute that, after examining the behavior of truck drivers each traveling half a dozen miles on the road, that it is people who send text messages while driving that are
The main concern regarding texting and driving is the driver’s distraction from the road.
23 times more likely to be in a crash (or what reearchers called a “near-crash event”) than non-distracted drivers. The study showed that text messaging does have an impact on a driver, regardless of his or her experience. The main concern regarding text messaging and driving is the driver’s distraction from the road. As reported by CNET, a study found that text messaging took a driver’s focus away from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds—enough time to travel the length of a football field at 55 mph. Text messaging while driving is often considered reckless and, in a survey conducted by the Harris Interactive Co., it was found that four out of five adults would somewhat or strongly support a law banning text messaging while driving. Despite the law being difficult to enforce, there is evident hope that citizens would obey the law to avoid being prosecuted. “Among those who do admit to using cell phones while driving, 82 percent say they would change if laws were passed, while 18 percent say they’ll continue using their phones,” said researchers from the Austin Business Journal. There is still a minor loop-
Text Messaging Statistics • Text messaging while driving leads the list as the biggest distraction while driving, according to SADD (StudentsAgainst Destructive Decisions) and Liberty Mutual Insurance Group. • A study released in July of 2007 and conducted with more than 900 teens from 26 different high schools nationwide, revealed that text messaging while driving is becoming as dangerous as drinking and driving, in terms of inhibiting a person’s driving abilities. • Thirty-seven percent of teenagers rated text messaging while driving as “extremely” or “very” distracting, but that they continue to send and receive text messaging in their vehicles regardless. • Distracted drivers account for almost 80% of all crashes and 65% of near-crashes in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. hole in the system. The law states that one cannot send or read messages; however, there are devices that will allow people to communicate while driving. For instance, while the Ford Motor Company approves of the banning text messaging while driving on a federal level, the company also provides a communication system known as the Ford Sync. This system allows drivers to operate their cell phones without the use of their hands. The device also allows
you to make or answer phone calls, and it will even read text messages aloud to you. So when you are on the roads, think twice before reading that quick text message—it may cost you a Class C misdemeanor. firstname.lastname@example.org
Page 8 | FEATURES
Wednesday, September 23, 2009 | Hilltop Views
Students discuss engagement, marriage Continued from page 7
of my friends in this position. Some people may think we are too young, but I think it’s perfect,” explained Lahr. “We are good for each other, and we are the only ones who can be the judge of that.” Lahr believes that talking about long term goals and plans is important before a couple considers marriage. “If we didn’t have good communication, or if we felt like we couldn’t talk to each other about anything, then we wouldn’t be where we are today.” Senior Amanda Contreras, maiden name Nevarez, was engaged at the young age of 19 years old. After a two-year engagement, the couple recently married in Mexico this past June. Contreras’ husband, who is a year older than her, was already employed by the time the two were engaged. “Since we had our own income, and I was going to graduate soon, we thought
realistic going into both the engagement and marriage. “We both understood that it is a big decision and went into marriage knowing that,” explained Contreras. “We had also already lived together for a year and knew enough about each other to know that marriage was something we wanted, and it would work.” To prepare for the longterm commitment, the couple went through marriage preparation with Father Rick Wilkinson at St. Edward’s University. “We also did the Diocese of Austin marriage preparation class,” added Contreras. Despite a long engagement and marriage preparation classes, Contreras said her marriage got a lot of criticism. “Everyone had an opinion and shared it with us whether we wanted to hear it or not. Every time we said we were engaged, we got funny looks or people told us we were too young
Courtesy of Sarah Flohr
Sarah Hohr, and her boyfriend have been dating for nearly five years.
it was a good time,” said Contreras. “We wanted to wait to get married until at least one of us was out of school.” However, Contreras was
or stupid,” said Contreras. “My favorite was, ‘Why are you getting married? You haven’t even lived life yet.’ I always thought that I was living my life—just not the
way other people thought I should,” said Contreras. She further explained that she thinks that people associate age with maturity, and that marriage at such a young age seems reckless. “I just think that if two mature, responsible adults want to share their lives together, they should, regardless of their age,” said Contreras. “I know plenty of people older than me that are more immature and reckless than [my husband] and I are. I think what it really comes down to is your maturity and level of commitment to your partner.”
Courtesy of Amanda Contreras
Senior Amanda Contreras and her husband share a kiss at their wedding in Mexico.
“Pressuring marriage on
“I just think that if two mature, responsible adults want to share their lives together, they should, regardless of their age.” —Amanda Contreras
Another couple that chose a longer engagement was Maggie Hernandez, senior, and her husband. The couple became engaged when Hernandez was 19 years old and were married when she was 22 years old. Hernandez, who married at the courthouse downtown with immediate family and close friends attending, said that after so many years, the couple decided to go ahead and proceed with the wedding. “We had been trying to plan a big wedding, but just decided we could spend that money on our kids,” said Hernandez. In regards to her two children, Hernandez said that all children are a blessing, but pregnancy should not automatically mean marriage.
a couple who is expecting will not solve everything. It may just cause problems between the couple and leave the child to witness the hostility between [its] parents,” said Hernandez. “People should get married when they feel they have reached that level of maturity and understanding in their relationship, not because of what has been implemented by society.” Hernandez recommends that other couples consider whether or not they are ready for the commitment. “[Marriage] is a life-changing experience that will affect every part of your life,” explained Hernandez. “You have to adjust to and balance out each other’s cultural traditions, and even your circle of friends can change.” On the other hand, some couples in long-term rela-
tionships have made the choice to put an engagement on hold until after graduation. Senior Sarah Flohr and her boyfriend of nearly five years made the decision early in their relationship to wait until after school to become engaged. “An engagement to us is not when ‘two people commit to each other for the rest of their lives,’ like often said. We have already done that,” Flohr said. “We see the engagement period as a time to plan our wedding day. I don’t want to have a full load of classes, be applying to medical school and planning my wedding.” Flohr and her boyfriend
have been in a long-distance relationship for the last three years, as they attend universities in different states. Flohr says being apart has been challenging at times, but the experience has made the two a stronger couple. “In addition to having good times together, [couples] also need to have experienced more difficult times as well so that they know they can handle any bumps in the road ahead,” said Flohr. Before a couple can consider marriage, Flohr said she believes the two individuals need to know how to make sacrifices and must be prepared for all of the responsibilities that come with the decision, especially the financial ones. “It is just a combination of the right time and finances. It is important for us to be financially independent from our parents prior to getting married in order to support one another, buy our first house, and so on,” said Flohr. “[Couples] need to share the same values in life and have no reservations about the future.” email@example.com
Courtesy of Maggie Hernandez
Senior Maggie Hernandez and her husband had a threeyear engagement before their wedding.
9 Wednesday, September 23, 2009 | Hilltop Views
University hires women’s tennis coach Kelli O’Donnell St. Edward’s University recently named Brenda Niemeyer as the new women’s head tennis coach. Niemeyer joins St. Edward’s from the University of Texas San Antonio Division I tennis program where she was the women’s head tennis coach for eight years. From 1999-2006, Niemeyer led her UTSA team to an overall record of 90-59 and 54-16 in the Southland Conference. In 2002, her team won the Southland
Conference for the first time in UTSA school history. In 2003, Niemeyer coached her team to an undefeated 10-0 Southland Conference season, and achieved a school record of 21 season wins. “Coach Niemeyer has a lot of experience at the Division I level as a head coach,” said Associate Athletic Director Melinda Terry. Apart from coaching at UTSA, Niemeyer is a member of the United States Tennis Association and has directed programs for the San Antonio Tennis Association.
Fuentes wins Austin 5K race Kayla Meyer St. Edward’s University alumnus David Fuentes won the Keep Austin Weird 5K on Sept. 15, 2009. The 22-year-old former cross-country runner was described as a newcomer in the race, beating many Austin favorites. He snatched the lead early with a five-minute opening mile through heavy rain. The race started downtown at the Buford Bell Tower on Cesar Chavez and ended on Congress Avenue Bridge. Fuentes finished the race in 15:45, which is a 5:03per-mile pace. Finishing close behind him was Pedro Suarez (17:00), Jorge Gomez (17:16), and Jack Rogan (17:17). “I felt good today,” said Fuentes. “I train on the hills over in Westlake, so going up South First wasn’t too bad. This is my first race back since spring training. I’m ready to get into road racing now.”
Fuentes, who runs 60-70 miles a week, said he hasn’t ran any half- or full marathons yet, but is transitioning to that. Fuentes plans on putting a team together for the Silicon Lab Austin Marathon Relay on Sept. 27 and running the Rock ‘N Roll Half Marathon in San Antonio on Nov. 15.
“I’m very excited and honored to be coaching at St. Edward’s University.” From 1989-1991, Niemeyer was the appointed State of Texas Tennis Director for the Special Olympics. “I’m very excited and honored to be coaching at St. Edward’s University,” said Niemeyer. “I have received a lot of support from administration and fellow coaches here.” Previously, Russell Sterns coached the men’s and women’s tennis teams, however, Sterns will continue only as head coach of the men’s ten-
nis team this year. “I have been playing tennis at St. Edward’s for a year now, and playing for Coach Sterns has been a privilege,” said sophomore Mary Bain. “I’m fortunate to have gotten the chance to have him as a head coach.” Sterns took over as coach of the women’s tennis team in 1989, and has been named women’s tennis conference coach of the year four times. The women’s team has achieved continuous success under Sterns, qualifying for the national tournament each year from 2001-2007. “I loved playing for Coach Sterns,” said sophomore Audrey Tompkins. “He was a fun coach to travel and practice with, and I learned a lot from him throughout the past year.” Terry said the department thought it was a really good time to put emphasis on the women’s program by hiring a
separate head coach. “Coach Sterns has done a wonderful job with both teams in the past year,” said Terry. “This was a good opportunity for us to help him have his own team to work with.” Niemeyer comes to St. Edward’s with experience and very clear-cut goals, and her biggest area of concern for her student athletes is academics. “Coach Niemeyer definitely understands that our student athletes are students first,” Terry said. “Her emphasis on academics is greatly appreciated.” Niemeyer wants to make sure that all of her student athletes are academically secure. “Academics are important to me, and I want to make sure that my athletes are okay academically,” said Niemeyer. “I want to make sure they graduate...”
Niemeyer has already taken the time to get to know all of her player’s names. “It will be different having a new head coach, but I am optimistic about coach Niemeyer, and I look forward to playing for her this upcoming year,” said Bain. firstname.lastname@example.org
Men’s club soccer wins first match Kayla Meyer The St. Edward’s University men’s club soccer team won their first home game 21 against Sam Houston University this past Saturday. The team’s first three games of the season were canceled due to rain, so this was their first game of the season. The Hilltoppers’ next three games will be at home on the lower fields. They will face the University of Texas-Arlington on Sept. 26 at 3 p.m, Texas A&M University Kingsville on Oct. 4 at 1 p.m., and Lamar University on Oct. 10 at 3 p.m.
Courtesy of the Austin American-Statesmen
Alumnus David Fuentes wins Keep Austin Weird 5K.
Courtesy of SEU Athletics
Brenda Niemeyer has been named the new head coach of the women’s tennis team.
Senior Chris Groff scores the second goal against Sam Houston University
Page 10| SPORTS
Wednesday, September 23, 2009 | Hilltop Views
Five Minute Major
‘Money’ Mayweather cashes in again
Oudin becomes young tennis star for U.S.
The popularity of boxing and the sophistication of its fans are diminishing at a rapid rate. But don’t blame Floyd Sports Commentary Mayweather Jr. He is the last remaining American icon in a sport that is far from its prime, fighting for an audience that understands less about the sport than ever before. With the rise of mixed martial arts, offering skillful yet aggressive contests with often quick and brutal results, boxing is simmering on the back burner. The world’s best boxer, Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather Jr., dominated Juan Manuel Marquez on Saturday night, increasing his unbeaten record to 400, 25 KOs. It did seem somewhat quiet for boxing fans over the past two years while Mayweather was retired. Now back in the spotlight, Mayweather’s mouth made plenty of guarantees and proclamations of greatness with his typical godly confidence. And, as usual, Associated Press he backed up every word. Mayweather’s artistic display once again proved that he is comparable to the best boxers ever, despite fighting for an unappreciative sports audience. “I’ve been off for two years,” Mayweather said. “But I can get better.” Mayweather picked apart Marquez from afar, utilizing superior speed and precision against a smaller and weaker opponent. Marquez is arguably one of the top two best pound for pound fighters in the world, and the best Mexico has to offer. But Mayweather toyed with him like he did his previous 39 opponents, never letting him get close enough to be effective by punishing him with a straight left jab and a brutal right hook. Mayweather landed 59 percent of his punches to only 12 percent by Marquez. In his last fight in December 2007, Mayweather faced Ricky Hatton, whom he dispatched with a brutal knock out. While his fight with Marquez was not for a title, Mayweather has earned world championships in an astonishing five different weight classes. While his defensively dominant style takes much criticism for lacking excitement, Mayweather proves repeatedly that his skills around the ring are second to none. He is the best pound for pound fighter of this generation, and deserves credit despite his seemingly boring style. Mayweather should not be faulted for his less exciting style just because the audience doesn’t watch enough to appreciate it. To those who follow the sport, Money Mayweather’s fights are a spectacle of precision and skill that compares with the best boxers ever. Sure, the sport’s popularity is dying. And yes, Mayweather’s fights at times can be painfully boring. But his legacy should not be diminished because he fought during the sport’s decline in front of an unappreciative sporting audience.
Melanie Oudin became an overnight star in the tennis world. The 17-year-old Georgia native, formerly the second ranked junior player, turned pro in August 2008 at the age of 16. That same year she received a wild card into the United States Open where she lost in her first match. As 2009 came around, Oudin qualified for both the Australian Open and Wimbeldon, but never made it past the fourth round. As the 2009 U.S. Open rolled around, Oudin secured a main draw position, her first match against the 18-year-old Russian, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. The young Georgian won her first U.S. Open match in dominating fashion: 6-2, 6-1. Her post-match interview was understated and classy. Oudin’s age became apparent only after she left the court, as she had a difficult time answering questions from reporters. Match two for Oudin was her first time playing in Arthur Ashe stadium, and her
first time playing past the first round of the Open. Her opponent, the fourth seeded Elena Dementieva was the obvious favorite, and quickly took the first set 7-5. Oudin then fought back and stunned the Russian, winning the next two sets 6-4, 6-3. The entire crowd at Arthur Ashe stadium was on its feet as this young unknown American triumphed over one of the top seeded players in the tournament. Media coverage increased as Oudin went into her third match against none other than Maria Sharapova. The media was now infatuated with this young American and her pink and yellow Adidas with the words “Believe” stamped onto the side, a fitting motto for this 17-year-old tennis rock star. She dropped the first set 3-6, but like her previous match, fought back and won the next two sets 6-4, 7-5. Her fourth match placed her against Russian player Nadia Petrova for the fourth consecutive match. Petrova quickly handled Oudin in the first set 1-6 and again, the young American came back and won the second set in a tie break 7-6 (2) and
quickly finished the third set 6-3. She was now a full blown national icon as the entire American crowd at Arthur Ashe stadium cheered for her and she blew kisses into the air. Her win made her the youngest American to reach the quarterfinals since Serena Williams in 1999. Oudin’s semifinal loss to the ninth-seeded 19year-old Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark was a tough match, and there would be no comeback for Oudin this time. Wozniacki won the match 2-6, 26. After the match she left the court with a kiss to the crowd and no tears shed. In her interview she was all smiles and laughs, complimenting her opponent on a great job and stating her desire to continue a career in tennis. This young American is a great asset to U.S. tennis, already following in the footsteps of some of the greatest players. You can be sure that we will see her next at the next grand slam and hopefully many more to come. email@example.com
The Hilltop Views sports column, ‘Five Minute Major,’ appears every other week in the sports section and is written by Co-Editor-in-Chief Tommy Collins.
Melanie Oudin’s intensity and determination earned her a semifinal spot in the U.S. open.
Bid farewell to Swayze
Jake Hartwell Patrick Swayze, often considered one of the most iconic actors of our era, passed away on September 14th after a 20month battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 57-years-old. Swayze was born in Houston, Texas. He studied acting, gymnastics and classical ballet until the age of 20. Swayze gained popularity in the film industry after his role in The Outsiders. Later came Red Dawn, a rousing survival movie depicting the scenario of a Soviet attack on America. Swayze took his first television role in the mini-series North and South, a Civil War drama. The mini-series was nominated for several Emmy’s and Golden Globes, and led to subsequent film offers. His breakthrough performance, and perhaps the triumph of his career, was his role as Johnny Castle in Dirty
Dancing. Originally intended to be a low-budget, smalltime film, the work unexpectedly exploded in popularity, earning over $300 million worldwide and selling over one million video copies. Swayze’s role was legendary, earning him a Golden Globe nomination and a place in cinematic history. After a few less stellar roles, Swayze starred in Ghost with Demi Moore and Point Break with Keanu Reeves, a movie that appears on virtually every top action movie list. Later in life, he picked up roles in Broadway productions such as Chicago and Guys and Dolls. In January of 2008, Swayze was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. After several months of improvement, the cancer started to spread. He is survived by his family and wife of 34 years. firstname.lastname@example.org
11 Wednesday, September 23, 2009 | Hilltop Views
Drafthouse fest back for more Alex Pitts When most people think of film festivals, they think of high-brow screenings and industry insiders. Fantastic Fest, however, defies this stereotype. Started in 2005 by Alamo Drafthouse owner Tim League, the weeklong genre film festival is host to many of the latest horror, science fiction and fantasy films, along with a long line up of special events and themed parties. The films predominately screen at the Alamo Drafthouse, though some of the more high-profile premieres will be held at the Paramount Theatre In past years, Fantastic Fest has shown such films as Apocalypto, The Fountain and There Will Be Blood and has played host to various visiting filmmakers and ce-
lebrities. This year, John C. Riley will be at the fest to show his new film, Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant, a movie about a teenager who runs off to the circus and becomes a vampire. Horror legend George A. Romero will also be at the festival to present his newest zombie film, Survival of the Dead. Other films showing this year include Zombieland, Gentleman Broncos, Rec 2 and Daybreakers. In addition to more mainstream movies, Fantastic Fest is also host to a slew of independent and short films. Along with film screenings, Fantastic Fest holds a barrage of specialty themed parties, such as the 100 best kills party. This event features a roundup of the 100 most violent kills in cinematic history.
Most screenings are held at the Alamo S. Lamar.
The fest also includes the Fantastic Debates. In these debates, people involved in the film industry meet to discuss different cinematic topics and then proceed to fight each other in three rounds of boxing. The festival concludes with a roast-style award ceremony where awarders hand out
insults along with accolades. email@example.com
Badges & information available at: http://www.fantasticfest.com
SEU hits new note with opera Yenifes Trochez A new opportunity to train for and perform opera is now available at St. Edward’s University. Spotlight on Opera recently conducted auditions for the program. In addition to coaching aspiring opera singers, the group will perform on campus throughout the year. The ensemble originated as a summer camp program in 2007, but will now be extending performances into the fall and spring. “There are too many things to name that are great about Spotlight on Opera,” community member Patricia Combs said, “but one of the greatest things is how lucky we are to be working with such tremendous faculty
Singers have ranged in age from 17 to 70... members.” Cindy Sadler, head director for Spotlight on Opera, is a musician with a vast résumé. In 1991, she debuted at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Today, she continues to perform for opera companies throughout the country. Brother Gerald Muller, an experienced opera singer himself, believes Spotlight on Opera is a great step for St. Edward’s. “The SEU opera program compliments very well the SEU theatre department which produces a Broadway musical yearly,” Muller said.
Spotlight on Opera auditions a wide spectrum of musicians. Singers have ranged in age from 17 to 70, and auditions are open to all community members as well as students. The ensemble includes musicians that perform or have performed for the Austin Lyric Opera, including Combs and Sadler. Spotlight on Opera provides opportunities for involvement regardless of vocal talent. There is a demand for volunteers, props, set pieces, costumes and a variety of other positions. Spotlight’s first fall performance is on Oct. 6, in honor
of St. Edward’s Founder’s week. Titled the French Connection and featuring the St. Edward’s instrumental ensemble, the performance will be a collection of classic French works. On Oct. 11-12, the Spotlight on Opera will be holding “The Song Café,” a performance focusing on popular works from the summer. “The Song Café” will portray a storyline through the songs. For more information about the performances, check out http://www.spotlightonopera.com. firstname.lastname@example.org
Page 12 | ENTERTAINMENT
Wednesday, September 23, 2009 | Hilltop Views
Teen musicians rock out for a cause Michael McNally On Saturday, September 12, several teen musicians got together to rock the socks off a crowd of over 250 young people at the Austin Music Hall to raise awareness of autism. The concert was the first event sponsored by the fledgling non-profit organization Teens 4 Autism (T4A). Tina Napolitano was inspired to start T4A in June 2009 after she attended a luncheon held by the Thoughtful House Center for Children with her 17year-old daughter Georgia. Thoughtful House provides medical, educational and recreational opportunities for children with developmental disorders.
“[The idea behind T4A] was to have teenagers joining together to raise awareness for autism,” Tina said. “Today autism remains an unsolved mystery, but at least via awareness and funding, there are some amazing teams of people dedicated to finding the answers.” The Napolitano family has a strong connection with the Austin teen music scene as daughter Georgia is an accomplished vocalist herself, having been nominated for Austin Idol. Tina thought it would be a great idea to incorporate this significant part of their lives into T4A. “We decided it would be amazing to bring the world of charity together with teen bands and create a win-win [situation] for everyone,” Na-
politano said. Among the eight bands featured at the show, Sam Debold, a twelve-year-old autistic boy, performed on the piano. “He plays the most incredible piano,” Napolitano says. “Children with autism are some of the most incredible children you could meet. They have skill sets off the charts, and many of them bring incredible musical skills and talent to the table. If you know a child with autism, give them a chance to shine.” Aftermath, one of the bands that played on Saturday night, has a special reason to support T4A. Justin Beamon, the drummer for the melodic rock quartet, also struggles with a developmental disorder.
Edison Chair delivered the final performance of the evening.
“This issue is especially close to Aftermath’s heart. Our drummer was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome when he was six years old,” the band said. “When you know you are supporting a good cause, it gives [the show] extra meaning.”
The band members of Edison Chair, a rock and roll trio from Dripping Springs, agree. “We think it’s great to use music as a way to help a worthy cause,” Edison Chair said. The show was considered
a success by bands and organizers alike. “It was well organized and [Tina Napolitano and Susan Bennet] did a superb job of advertising,” Chair said. “We were thrilled with the attendance and the event was just incredible and beyond our wildest dreams,” Tina said. “We are already looking at dates for the next Teens4Autism at the Austin Music Hall in 2010.”
For more information on Teens4Autism visit: http://www.teens4autism.com/
Beatles geared to fans
Duo’s effort, mediocre
The Beatles: Rock Band is an incredible way to experience the history and music of one of rock and roll’s most influential bands, but is it worth the hefty price tag? The game lets you play through 46 of The Beatles most famous songs in chronological order. As you progress in the game, the members of the band and the venues in which the band play change to reflect the changes The Beatles made. Gamers start in 1963, playing as The Beatles at The Cavern Club in Liverpool, and end with band’s last performance, on the rooftop of the Apple Corps building in 1969. In between, gamers play through several concerts from the band’s history, including performances for The Ed Sullivan Show, Japan’s Budokan arena, and several performances in the Abbey Road studio.
Scarlett Johansson and Pete Yorn’s new collaborative album, cleverly titled “The Break Up,” tells the story of a deranged love affair in nine tracks. Yorn wrote eight of the album’s nine songs, the other being a cover of “I Am the Cosmos” by Big Star’s Chris Bell. But just halfway into the fourth track, the songs start to blend together. Perhaps the album is appropriately titled, foreshadowing the relationship between Johansson’s music career and the general public. The very idea of Johansson venturing into the world of music is peculiar to some. The idea that she is actually a decent vocalist is even more out of this world. But that fact alone does not make up for this mediocrity. She speaks the language of the drugged- pop world
For Beatles fans, that may be more than enough to sell them on the game. For gamers who are used to all the bells that previous Rock Band and Guitar Hero games have provided, this title may leave them disappointed. The game is simple: you play every song in order to win. The game lacks the difficulty of previous games and it offers no customization options to the player. While all the 46 songs are classics when compared to re-
cently released Guitar Hero 5’s 85 songs, its list seems a little bit lean. If you love The Beatles or are looking for a way to experience their music for the first time and don’t mind spending the money, then The Beatles: Rock Band is a must buy. Unfortunately, if money is an issue the game may be a hard sale. email@example.com
very fluently, enticing a decent number of delusional fans to be hypnotized by her beauty. If you are in the mood for a mildly narcotic world, then you might just have found it. Just like a blissful chocolate bar, Scarlett Johansson and Pete Yorn just might melt your midnight craving in their new album. But like any other midnight candy cravings, the sweet melodies can get old
fast, leaving you with an upset tummy. If you are looking for originality, you are barking up the wrong tree, but for light-hearted lovers looking for something sugary with no depth, you have officially found your fix. firstname.lastname@example.org
Hilltop Views | Wednesday, September 23, 2009
ENTERTAINMENT | Page 13
Romantic Comedies abandon reality Anyone who is in a relationship knows that you’ve got to make sacrifices. Women have to put up with their boyfriends’ annoying best friends, burps, farts, and guys’ inability to fully understand the female mind. Men have to endure gossip, waiting for girls to get ready before going out, and chick flicks. You know what I’m talking about, the romance movies that would never actually happen in real life but that people still watch on the big screen. This weekend, I decided to set my sanity to the side and watch four of the most ridiculous chick flicks I could find in a 24-hour period. -Proctor Anderson email@example.com
1 6 Days, 7 Nights
Apparently people love movies and TV shows about people surviving plane crashes- we see it all the time. Lost, Cast Away, Survivor, and Man Vs. Wild are all based on the idea of surviving on an island with minimal supplies and resources, but all of those examples have strong-willed, powerful characters that make it believable. The 1998 romantic comedy 6 Days, 7 Nights asks us to believe that an obnoxious fashion magazine writer, played by Anne Heche, and a middle-aged, drunken pilot, played by Harrison Ford, could somehow survive not only a crash landing but also a pirate attack. Did I believe it? No, not at all.
She’s All That
Very rarely do high school students change cliques. Typically you start out as a popular kid you stay one, or in my case, you start out as a nerdy theater kid with goofy clothes…you stay one. Transcending from the bottom of the high school clique to the top is almost impossible; the separation between the jocks and the band kids is about as rigid as the caste system in India. So when I first saw Rachel Leigh Cook transform from a lonely art student to Freddie Prinze Jr.’s popular date to the high school prom in She’s All That I laughed. That kind of stuff just doesn’t happen in real life. Interestingly enough, despite it’s terrible plot, acting, and writing, I really enjoy this movie.
3 City of Angels
God created angels, but why would he create them with the ability to fall in love with humans? Doesn’t that seem counter-productive? If you are going to have angels down on earth guiding people before they die…why would you allow them to fall in love? Just doesn’t make any sense, but that’s what happened in City of Angels. Nicolas Cage, an angel, falls in love with Meg Ryan. Cage makes himself appear to Ryan, they fall in love, and Cage decides to hang up his wings and become a human. The movie ends soon after. It’s a tearjerker, but that doesn’t excuse it from having a really lame plot. On a serious note: people need to stop casting Nicolas Cage in movies.
4 The Lake House
The Lake House takes the cake. It is the most unbelievable, unreal, and utterly nonsensical chick flick ever to be released. The plot is as follows: Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock are two years apart both living in the same lake house- Reeves in 2004 and Bullock in 2006- and they are writing letters back and forth that they then place into a magical mailbox that teleports them through time. Of course their time traveling relationship hit some speed bumps, and for awhile it looks like things aren’t going to work out, but of course the two eventually meet up in the year 2008 and live happily ever after. The movie runs around an hour and half but you’ll spend another hour just sitting after you watch it trying to make sense of what you just watched.
Quality subbed for sex appeal Jake Hartwell What has tactless dialogue, clumsy acting, and laughable character development? Sorority Row. Nothing more than an excuse to show clip after clip of “cool” kills and cleavage, Sorority Row can’t decide if it wants to be a horror film or a pornographic feature. At least it only lasted 90 minutes. The first murder scene actually raises some compelling moral questions. The filmmakers should have explored these through a series of chilling happenings and difficult moral examinations. Unfortunately, they soon abandon this possibility in favor of showing more gratuitous shots of the female anatomy. One of the most important
elements of any horror film is making you care about the characters—you shouldn’t want them to die. But seeing as the sisters of Theta Pi are backstabbing, superficial wenches concerned only with their hairstyles, viewers should delight in seeing them slaughtered in methodic and gruesome fashion. The stereotypes that saturate the film, from the nerd girl to the shallow future-politician’s wife, only make viewers despise the characters even more. With a lack of development in characters and setting, the film devolves into a clip-show of exposed body parts and uninspired kill scenes. While the first couple of murders are amusing, stabbing someone with a modified tire iron can only
be interesting so many times. The sexualization of alcohol, college life, and murder throughout the film eventually convince viewers that there’s nothing innovative or even remotely interesting to be seen here. Finally, the ending is a convoluted cluster of poorly orchestrated twists. The filmmakers clearly realized towards the end that they had made a mediocre film, and tried to save it by cramming as much into those final 15 minutes as possible. This results in several irrationalities and holes in the plot. Sorority Row is a remake. I can’t say whether the original was a decent film or not, but the liberties that the new filmmakers take make the update more annoying
Burton shines in animated thriller Candice Rogers
to watch than horrific. In the end, you’ll be better off spending your money on something more interesting, like a slinky or a bushel of blank paper. firstname.lastname@example.org
First-time director Shane Acker and veteran producer Tim Burton joined forces to bring the new animated fantasy movie 9 to the big screen. The film is set in the future, after the destruction of mankind by man-made machines. The only hope humanity has left is nine puppets that must restore life using a talisman built by the scientist who created them. With dazzling animation and taut suspense, fans of Burton’s earlier work are sure to enjoy this film. Like many of the movies Burton has directed, written and produced (The Nightmare Before Christmas, Sweeny Todd, Edward
Scissorhands, Coraline), 9 has a bizarre plot, groundbreaking visuals, side-angle lighting and a uniquely dark perspective. Acker originally conceived 9 as a short film in 2005. The original short film was an off-and-on project that took Acker four years to complete and went on to win awards at numerous film festivals. 9 is Acker’s first feature film. He has also made two other short films, The Hangnail and The Astounding Talent of Mr. Grenade. The movie brings friendship, the will to survive and sacrifices for the well being of humanity to the big screen. crogers4@stedwards@edu
Wednesday, September 23, 2009 | Hilltop Views
Texting while driving needs nationwide ban What cell phones can do today is remarkable. What we essentially carry in our pockets are hand-held computers with high-speed Internet access. And while they can multitask, you can’t—at least not behind the wheel. Why then do so many people text while driving, not to mention check e-mail or surf the web? States across the country are beginning to adopt laws prohibiting texting while behind the wheel. Austin, which passed a law banning texting while driving in August to be effective in
October, will hand out Class C misdemeanors to offending drivers as well as cyclists. That’s right—cyclists. A study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute showed that texting while driving increases the likelihood of crashing by 23 percent. While it’s convenient to read e-mails on the morning drive to work or school, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s dangerous, illogical and, soon, illegal. The first thing each 15-year-old is told when learning to drive is that focus is essential to safety. A recent
Texting from the driver’s seat will soon be illegal in Austin.
study found that a driver’s focus is distracted from the
road for almost five seconds while text messaging.
While various states, including Texas, have taken the initiative to combat this problem, it is a nationwide issue that should be federally outlawed. The Alert Drivers Act of 2009, which is now in the Senate, would do just that. The bill would force states to hand out minimum penalties, established federally, for texting while driving, or give up 25 percent of allotted federal highway financing. While it might seem inappropriate for the state or federal government to regulate something like text messaging, it has become
necessary. Just look around at passing cars the next time you’re at an intersection and notice the number of drivers distracted by phones. Do you feel safe with all those drivers’ fingers flying over the keypads of their phones? So, if distracted driving is dangerous, and texting is a clear distraction to driving, then texting while driving is dangerous. It logically follows and is, appropriately, illegal.
Kanye wins criticism, no Moon Man for VMA actions Leslie Ethridge If you just so happened to be connected to the world for the past week, you know what happened at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards. Taylor Swift, in all of her beauty and grace, became the first country artist to ever win a VMA. She was humble as she walked up to accept the honor of Best Female Video, beating out the likes of Kelly Clarkson, Pink, Lady Gaga and Beyonce. While the queens of pop sat respectfully in their seats all smiles for the 19-year-old Swift, she began her speech, announcing that “she never thought this could happen.” Enter Kanye West, who apparently also never thought this could happen. Or, for any matter, should happen. And, with the restraint of a five-year-old, he appeared on stage, grabbed the microphone from Taylor Swift’s hand, and proceeded to announce, “Now Taylor, I’m re-
ally happy for you—I’m a let you finish—but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time. Of all time.” And in response to all of the booing that soon followed, West responded with an obscene, middle-fingered gesture. To this, I ask: Really, Kanye? How could you be so heartless? One of the kindest people in the entertainment industry, Swift holds a reputation for class, sincerity and poise. Not only is she widely respected, but her talent is evident in her singing, songwriting and ability to play the guitar. Her second album, “Fearless,” has sold over 3.79 million copies since it was released in November 2008, making it the most popular album of 2009. Her fan base is enormous, with over 1 million followers on Twitter and over 2 million friends on Facebook. In contrast, West is argu-
ably one of the greatest rappers of all time. He may not be as near and dear to your heart as Biggie Smalls, Tupac or Jay-Z, but he has talent. Not just a rapper, but also a producer, West introduced the world to his own style of hip-hop, selling over 3 million copies with his debut album, “The College Dropout.” Since then, he has not ceased to amaze critics and fans, with “Late Registration” and “Graduation” holding the highest first week sales in Def Jam Records history. With all of this knowledge, it’s hard to understand why West would want to bring Swift down. Even if you aren’t a fan of Swift, it’s difficult to imagine why he would want to disrespect such a kind, beloved person. Might it be that “808’s & Heartbreak” didn’t do as well as he had hoped, only selling 1.5 million copies to Swift’s nearly 3.8 million? Or maybe it’s Kanye’s dislike of country music stars—
Kanye West’s outburst at the Sept. 13 MTV Music Video Awards has left him on the receviing end of disparagement.
remember when he dissed Gretchen Wilson for winning the Grammy for Best New Artist in 2004? Perhaps, though, the most plausible explanation is West’s inflated ego. The Swift incident isn’t his first offense, and despite his many apologies for his past actions, Kanye still cannot get his ignorant outbursts under control, which range from
“George Bush doesn’t care about black people,” “Let’s not forget that the [paparazzi] killed Princess Diana” and “If I don’t win Best Rapper of the Year, we’re gonna have a problem.” You may contend that West has been paid off by MTV to complete such acts for publicity, but all signs point to every moment of minor turrets to be his own marketing
campaign. And now, his hoard of the spotlight has honestly begun to affect his fan base. Once deemed a respected and talented rapper, West’s reputation is now tainted by the fact that he can’t seem to shut his mouth. He may be one of the most talented people in the biz, but no one wants to listen to another celebrity who can’t seem to check his ego, or emotional baggage, at the door. All in all, West really needs to get it together. His excuses for his gaffes, from “I had a little sippy sippy” to “I’m just a busy, talented artist,” make it evident that some things, specifically everything West has to say, are better left unsaid.
Hilltop Views | Wednesday, September 23, 2009
VIEWPOINTS | Page 15
Apple unveils bushel of rotten products Ryan Lester Part of the reason why Apple has experienced a rebirth this decade is its ability to hold timely, smart press conferences that are nothing short of media circuses, wowing both tech experts and consumers alike. However, a lack of jawdropping announcements and an underwhelming line of new products made the company’s Sept. 9 musicthemed press conference a letdown. Apple missed many opportunities that could have made this year’s conference one to remember. First of all, Apple did not make any announcements
regarding The Beatles. The conference came on the same day that the Fab Four’s entire discography was re-released in a digitally remastered form. Additionally, The Beatles: Rock Band, one of the most anticipated video games of the year, was being released to the public. Apple could have easily capitalized on a renewed sense of Beatlemania by bringing the band’s entire catalog to iTunes. Although the Beatles record company, Apple Corp., did sue Apple Computer several years ago, an announcement of this caliber could have been a sign that things were well again between the two companies.
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Hilltop Views is a weekly student newspaper published by the School of Humanities and serving the community of St. Edward’s University. The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of the university, whose mission is grounded in the teachings and doctrine of the Catholic Church. Letter Policy: Hilltop Views welcomes all letters to the editor. Letters may be edited for space, grammar and clarity. Letters will be published at our discretion. Anonymous letters will not be printed.
More of the same, with a few extra bells and whistles... More importantly, though, this could have been an allstar move on Apple’s part. The Beatles have never allowed their albums to be sold for download before, so an exclusive deal to have their music on iTunes could have potentially brought even more customers to their music store. Alas, it seems that the company’s conference date of Sept. 9 was merely a coincidence and nothing more. The new line of iPods that were announced also left much to be desired. Apple has relied on the same group
of iPods—Shuffle, Nano, Classic and Touch—since 2007, so the press conference was the perfect time for them to announce something new. Instead what was announced was more of the same, with a few extra bells and whistles thrown in. Perhaps the cornerstone of its iPod focus was the addition of a video camera and radio capability to the iPod Nano. It’s as glorious as it sounds: the device can now capture live action video and has a radio. With the iPhone already capable of both of these things, and given the
Nano’s limited space of 16 GB, it seems like Apple could have used its energy to focus on something new. Besides new prices and even more colors for their Nano and Shuffle lines, Apple’s other big news was that the iPod Touch now holds up to 64 GB. For those of us with large music libraries, this news is extremely disappointing. I love the Touch’s ability to connect to the Internet and its numerous apps. However, until they come out with a model that exceeds 100 GB, I will stick with the iPod Classic, which recently got a nice bump to 160 GB. Even the release of a new version of iTunes was not enough to get anyone excited. Sure, it’s easier to use, and the redesigned store is that much
more intuitive, but when the biggest draw is the addition of liner notes to some albums, you know that you do not have a gamechanger on your hands. “It’s only Rock N’ Roll, but we like it,” read the invitation to the press conference. I do, too, Apple. I really do. Unfortunately, you have underwhelmed me to the point where rocking out is almost impossible, as your lack of notable announcements or new products has nearly put me to sleep. Wake me up in about a year, Apple, and we’ll try this again. firstname.lastname@example.org
Disbanding the Fed a costly idea Eric Saltwick Essayist Henry L. Mencken once said that “(t)here is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.” Perhaps no solution has fit this description in recent times like Ron Paul’s proposal to audit the Federal Reserve. It is easy, it is neat, and, by evidence the proposition’s support, it is very plausible. But it is also very, very wrong. First off, the move is unnecessary. The Federal Reserve is already audited by the Governmental Accountability Offices, with the exception of monetary policy. Furthermore, each individual branch is audited by an independent auditor. An increase in the work could detract from other audits that the GAO provides throughout the year. Think about it—Medicare could be even worse than it is today. It requires a stance of over-
transparency. Some transparency is good—nothing should ever be conducted in the shadows—but too much transparency is cripplingly limited for corporations, organizations and even individuals. By rendering the money supply completely transparent, the United States would leave itself at the mercy of foreign nations who could predict and exploit the market. It gives Congress too much power. The House of Representatives has given the bill so much support because it would result in a transfer of money from an independent organization to Congress, which sounds good—until you realize that Congress spends $2 for every dollar they make. Who is to say that once gaining control they wouldn’t spend more? It is misdirected. The Federal Reserve had virtually nothing to do with the recent economic crisis. If anything,
the Federal Reserve prevented the crisis from slipping into a depression by the very nature of bank bailouts and by the printing of more money, which caused more inflation but kept unemployment at the lowest rate possible. These maneuvers were the exact opposite of what the government did in the 1930s, and what happened then? The Great Depression. It is costly. An audit of the degree that Ron Paul calls for would be carried at a high cost. That cost would have to come from someone, and that someone is the American people—either directly, such as through higher taxes, or indirectly, through the reorganization or elimination of certain federal departments. Maybe Paul would suggest eliminating the Environmental Protection Agency or the Department of Education— no one seems interested in using those anymore. Lastly, it does not solve anything. Dissolving the Federal
Reserve only transfers the information from one messenger to another. In reality, all auditors can do is express whether the entity is following a specific set of rules or not. Auditors are also powerless to change anything an entity is doing wrong. In a perfect world, this bill would not exist, and in a perfect world, the Federal Reserve would not exist either. But this is not a perfect world, and both do exist. One has helped stabilize the economy and lead the United States through possibly the most prosperous time in this country’s existence. The other aims to destroy an entity that has helped a number of people for a number of years. Hopefully Congress will pick the right one for the American people. email@example.com
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Wednesday, September 23, 2009 | Hilltop Views
San Francisco Khristine Tugangui
For the first time, I was able to witness the Pride Parade of San Francisco this past summer. I interned with a local portrait photographer in San Francisco and lived on campus at the University of San Francisco, located in Richmond district. The photographer I assisted pointed out the “hot spots” in the city and updated me on events and activities. Soon afterwards, I visited the brightly colored Victorian homes in the Haight-Ashbury district. And for the Fourth of July, a group of us went to Treasure Island to see the fireworks. One weekend, we decided to take advantage of the beautiful weather and walked to Alamo Square— the area that is said to be the filming spot of the introduction to the hit 90s TV show, Full House. There, we saw the famous “Painted Ladies,” which are beautiful, well-maintained Victorian homes. I also toured chinatown and visited the Fortune Cookie Factory. I had the pleasure of riding in an oldschool trolley that ran on rails and attended a Giants game at AT&T Park.