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Sweepstakes Winner 2006 Texas Intercollegiate Press Association

Staff Editorial



Finalist 2004 Associated Collegiate Press Pacemaker Award

Sept. 26, 2007

Testing woes Fail this test and you will not move on to the next grade. This is what many elementary and secondary students are being told about their scores on standardized tests. Increasingly, schools, school districts and states are pressuring students to make higher test scores. This national “goal” is now not only a national problem but also a national embarrassment. Instead of concentrating on subject matter, teachers end up teaching what questions are likely to be on the tests and how to answer them. It’s often referred to as “teaching to the test.”

Nice guys do not always finish last

High-stakes testing puts the wrong kind of pressure on students and ultimately has no important influence on academic performance, according to a study by the Education Policy Research Unit at Arizona State University. The research also showed that a larger numbers of students are being held back or dropping out because of increased testing pressures. According to an article posted on the National Education Association Web site, the rising dropout rate could be blamed on some districts that encourage struggling students to leave so their low scores will not count in the annual No Child Left Behind Adequate Yearly Progress report. NCLB, put into effect in 2001, established that standardized tests are an indicator used to hold schools and school districts accountable for student achievement. In a poll conducted by the National Parent-Teacher Association, most parents do not think standardized testing should be the only means of measuring learning progress. One point is often overlooked. To raise the standards for students means doing the same with teachers and learning materials. Textbooks need to be continuously updated, something most school districts are unwilling to budget for. Ditto more teacher

boundaries and won’t try to push his luck. He has no problem just sitting and talking; physical contact isn’t necessary. He’s not one for confrontation but will step in if he’s needed. Now comes the hard part. I’ve described what I see as the perfect guy. I have him right there in front of me, and I find it so easy to walk all over him. Maybe it’s because I enjoy a challenge. I feel the need to change all the immediate character flaws I find in a not-so-nice guy. Or maybe it’s because the idea of a guy actually being nice is so rare, I don’t recognize it until it’s too late. The opportunity loses itself before it was ever even presented. I like to play games, and I think I’m pretty good at it. I can play games with jerks and know I won’t hurt them. I know they are playing back. I know their motives, and I know when to stop. Simply put, I think the jerk is

jaded and self centered. He knows what he wants and will do whatever it takes to get it. I gave my previous relationships (or utter lack thereof) some thought, and I realized that out of the numerous guys I’ve liked, I can count the truly nice guys on one hand and still have fingers left over. My current situation is, well, just that: a situation. I’m not even sure how to describe it. I think I’ve actually found a nice guy, but it’s been so long, I’m not really sure what to expect. I should really know how to handle this dilemma – I witness it a lot when I’m out with my dad. He was the nice guy back in the day. Any time he runs into a former female classmate, they always question him as to why they never dated and why they always flatly turned him down when he asked them out. Now, he’s even more appealing to the average 50-year-old-divorcee that wouldn’t give him a second glance in high school.

I look at my parents’ marriage and I know I want that for myself one day. And I know I won’t find it with the type of guy I’m normally attracted to. I want the comfort and security and happiness they have, even after being married for 30 years. However, I’m at the age when comfort and security isn’t all that important in a relationship. Sadly, I think I would rather have the typical Laguna Beach hottie attached to my arm to showcase to the world. Believe it or not, I am trying to grow out of that mentality, and it’s probably going to take a really sweet and patient guy to do it for me. And at that point, if he’s stuck around long enough, he probably will be a keeper. I don’t think the nice guy does actually finish last; he just has to wait his turn. Eventually the once popular jock will turn into the fat, balding, middle-aged man, while the average nice guy has actually made something of himself.

N o w that we are a few w e e k s into the semester, everyone is starting to get back into CARLY BURRES the swing FOR THE WICHITAN of things. Football is well under way, everyone is finding that special person that they are “just meant to be with” (at least for the semester), students are finally starting to feel comfortable enough with their classes that they are skipping them. While the people and classes may change, there are some things that will always be the same from year to year. I could talk about any of the things never change around MSU (or most schools for that matter.) But I’m not going to. Because what I want to talk about is the parking. Every year for the past four years I have listened to people whine and complain about the lack of parking. Not to say that I haven’t put in my fair share of moaning and groaning. In fact some people might say that I’m the worst about it. Part of that is because I’m still pissed at the commuter who said that residents have too much parking, and it wasn’t fair how it was right outside of where we live.

I politely responded to that person: “I pay to live on campus. This is my home. I don’t go to your home and park in your driveway and then tell you to park three blocks away so that you can walk your happy ass home.” Then there are also the teacher complaints. I don’t know how many complaints I heard from my professors when some of the reserved spots right around Fain Fine Arts were turned into resident parking. I feel as though this subject is tired and even a bit annoying to hear about. But before I graduated I wanted to get my two cents in about it. As half a journalist (that’s a whole other complaint on its own), I feel that I should join in on the ranting fun. My first issue with the parking is that the Sunwatcher campus apartments were built about 100 spots short to begin with. I understand the room issue, but it is still very annoying. My second issue is that instead of finding a way to make the parking situation better MSU decided that we needed to wipe out even more spots to put in a softball field. Was that really the only place? We don’t even have an actual football stadium, but we get this softball field on top of our parking spots? YIPPIE!! And third, I’m just freaking tired of coming home at 10:30 and I have to park way down by the mercantile building. That’s a fun walk after

I’ve been at an internship from 8 to 4:30 and then work from 4:30 to 10:30. What makes it even better is when I have to be back at work or my internship at 8 a.m. the next morning, and I have to wake up extra early to get to my car which is about ten minutes away. Mornings suck enough without having to walk through that mess that is the Catholic School drop off time. And since there is no sidewalk on that side of the road, then I get to either walk through the grass or hope that I don’t get killed by someone else who is rushing off campus because they too had to be at work early and had to walk ten minutes to their car. And seriously, if you’re gonna make us park down there, then put in a sidewalk. We will use it. I promise your money, (cough... our money... cough) will not be wasted on a sidewalk. There are so many more things I can think of that my money has been wasted on. My last complaint is about the parking decals. Besides the fact that I truly do feel bad for the commuters because their decals look like a piece of gold crap, I have failed to see a valid reason as to why students can’t purchase their parking stickers by the semester. How hard is it to break down the cost and charge a little over half for one semester?

If you buy for the entire year then the sticker is just under $35. If a student would like to purchase a sticker for just one semester then why not charge them $20. I would pay it. This might seem trivial, but I am graduating in December which means that I now have this bloody parking sticker that is paid for up until August, and I’m not going to be here. If anyone knows any incoming students in January who would like to pay $20 bucks for a parking sticker, send them my way. I do realize that MSU has it better than a lot of other schools. Some schools won’t let students bring their cars to campus until they have a certain amount of hours built up. Not a bad idea if the school provides enough NICE campus transportation. Don’t get me wrong, I love MSU, but the parking situation is one thing I will not miss at all. I won’t miss the people complaining about it in every single class I have, I won’t miss having to park two miles away whenever I come home after 10 p.m., and I won’t miss the campus cops writing me tickets for knowingly parking illegally. What I am sad about is that it took me four years to find MSU’s best hidden secret as far as parking. But today I found it. And I will have to walk long distances no more. I would tell you what my secret is but then it wouldn’t be such a great secret… now would it?

Parking complaints rage within reporter

training. For some students, test-taking is their common weakness. They know the material but at test time their brain freezes. In other cases, students may not fully understand the test directions. Is Washington denying such students exists or is the number simply too small to be of any concern? The solution to the problem is quite simple but it involves the support and help of the parents, teachers and community. More emphasis needs to be placed on students learning. Teachers need to exert more focus on classroom performance rather than testing for testing’s sake. This would include observing the students in the classroom, keeping track of how each student grows throughout the year and meeting with parents to discuss any problems or concerns about their child’s learning. Continuing to place too much emphasis on standardized testing will only hurt more students in the end. Schools need to forget about meeting a quota and start caring more about their students.

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I had a question thrown at me the other day and I deemed it impossible to REBECCA FERGUSON a n s w e r , but I’m AD MANAGER going to dive deep into my feminine psyche and give it a shot. Why does the nice guy always seem to finish last? As a girl who tends to always fall for the jerk, you’d think I would have a plethora to write about, but honestly, I’m not sure that I do. Maybe I should start by defining the “nice guy” in my own terms. He’s humble and doesn’t take credit for his actions. He’s almost a behind-the-scenes guy. He’s willing to drop whatever he’s doing if it’ll make you (or in this case, me) happy. He respects women and their

Copyright © 2007. The Wichitan is a member of the Texas Intercollegiate Press Association. The Wichitan reserves the right to edit any material submitted for publication. Opinions expressed in The Wichitan do not necessarily reflect those of the students, staff, faculty, administration or Board of Regents of Midwestern State University. First copy of the paper is free of charge; additional copies are $1. The Wichitan welcomes letters of opinion from students, faculty and staff submitted by the Friday before intended publication. Letters should be brief and without abusive language or personal attacks. Letters must be typed and signed by the writer and include a telephone number and address for verification purposes. The editor retains the right to edit letters.

THE WICHITAN Editorial Board

Editor-in-Chief Krystle Carey

Managing Editor Brittany Norman

Entertainment Editor Konnie Sewell Op-Ed Editor Christian McPhate Sports Editor Josh Mujica

Photo Editor Patrick Johnston

Reporters Richard Carter Rachel Tompkins Courtney Foreman

Advertising Manager Rebecca Ferguson

Photographers Joel Abeyta

Copy Editor Haley Cunningham

Graphic Artist Robert Redmon

Adviser Randy Pruitt


Axis of evil? Axis of ignorance

“There w a s nothing left for us to do but to take t h e m a l l , and to CHRISTIAN MCPHATE educate STAFF REPORTER the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them.” And the words of President William McKinley still ring true in this country today with the media’s treatment of the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who visited Washington, D.C. and the University of Columbia this week. Newspapers across New York and the nation try to provoke the president and stir readers’ emotions with catchy terms like “The Evil Has Landed,” “Madman Iran Prez” and a “Guest of Dishonor.” And hundreds of protestors, from politicians to Christians and Jews, filled the grounds of the university to protest the Iranian president’s speech. “He should be arrested when he comes to Columbia University, not speak at the university, for God’s sake,” Assemblyman Dov Hikind stated in The New York Times. “I call on New Yorkers to make the life of Ahmadinejad as he is in New York miserable.” People come up with numerous reasons to advocate their hatred for the Iranian people, ranging from the current president’s statement that Israel should be wiped off the face of Earth to their seemingly hard-lined stance on women’s rights. And with President Bush screaming his war rhetoric on the axis of evil, which includes Iran, and his firm belief that Iran is the supplier of terrorism in the area, what is the average American supposed to believe? I mean it’s not like our evangelical president made the same statement about the former Iraqi ruler Saddam— Oh, wait! He did. And unless the disease of Alzheimer’s has stricken my mind, and I am thinking about another dictator, our president (with the use of some magic supplied by “the almighty God”) created supposed proofs that

proved Iraq was guilty—and one of the main reasons for the bombings on 9/11—to Congress and the American people. And yet the roots of our relationship with Iran have twist and intertwine through the tangled vines of history. After World War I, a popular military officer (who was backed by Britain) Reza Khan seized power from King Ahmad Shah in 1926 and began an era of reform by lifting some social restrictions on women, improving public transportation and “shoring up” the nation’s economy. In 1941, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi succeeded his father and began modernizing Iran with a little help for his friends in the land of the free—America. He marries his third wife who looks like a model from New York and dresses like a modern American woman. However, corruption, inflation and growing disparity—as well as his dictatorial style and secret police—led to resentment and protest from the Iranians. Years of discontent among religious leaders and the populace rose to a boiling point and on Sept. 8, a day that would forevermore be recognized as Black Friday, government troops gunned down a crowd of demonstrators. The public outcry thundered across the heavens, and the democratic Islamic state movement began with religious leaders calling for the release of Ruhollah Khomeini, a religious radical who preached the songs of democracy exiled in Paris. The Ayatollah Khomeini returned to a euphoric greeting from millions of Iranians. Of course, like most politicians, as soon as he received the power, he abused the power and turned his rhetoric of democracy to a strict theocracy with a little help from his Muslim cleric friends. The distrust with America began in November 1979 after a group of Iranian students occupied the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, took hostages and demanded the release of the Shah (he was visiting America for cancer treatment). President Carter ordered U.S. banks to freeze billions of assets of the Iranian government and then secretly landed a team of trigger-happy rescuers into the borders of Iran. The not-so-secret mission ended in disaster with a helicopter and

transport aircraft colliding, killing eight American soldiers—in turn damaging Carter’s chances for another term and the psyche of the American people’s attitudes toward Iran. And yet, our dislike did not last long. From 1980 to 1988, the American government secretly armed Iran during the eight-year war between Tehran and Baghdad, which led to another twist in our ever-twisting Iranian relationship—the Iran-Contra affair. Of course, we cannot reflect on our rocky relationship without admitting our faults in the relationship that was built on trust and a common enemy. In 1988, the U.S. cruiser Vincennes shot down an Iranian Airbus airliner in the Persian Gulf and killed 290 people. U.S. investigators said the officers were not guilty because they had thought the airbus was attacking the war ship. After the death of the Ayatollah, President Hashemi Rafsanjani, a very rich man, took over the government and began a decade of economic reforms, but still held the west and capitalism at a distance. In 1997, Mohammad Khatami was elected president with overwhelming support from the young and women. Tensions between America and Iran began to wane, and the U.S. government lifted some of the sanctions and restrictions. After the attacks on 9/11, the president of Iran vowed to help the United States in the war on terror. Does this sound like a country of evil masterminds? Exactly how is their history different from our history? Didn’t the forefathers of America commit genocide on the Native Americans and enslave the Africans? Didn’t President McKinley enter the Spanish-American war under the pretense to “educate the Filipinos and uplift and civilize and Christianize them”—even though the Filipinos were Roman Catholic? And the bombers of 9/11… didn’t they all come from our friends in the oil industry—Saudi Arabia? In a world where our friends become our enemies, and our enemies become our friends, who are the real terrorists? Government? Religion? Or humanity?

As some of you m a y know, I am legally blind. F o r those of you who did now JASON KIMBRO know this FOR THE WICHITAN little tidbit about moi, you would not have known it by seeing me. I can see straight ahead just fine but I do lack peripheral or field vision (tunnel vision), and I am night blind. A lot of legally blind individuals usually have some type of physical appearance or accessory that pretty much tells the world, “HEY! I’M BLIND OVER HERE!” In a world that is not used to people with such disabilities, this, in an off-hand way, is an advantage. People are far more understanding when a man with a cane or a guide dog bumps into everyone in crowded places, knocks over a counter stacked with crystal figurines, or “accidentally” cops a feel. It is the individual such as I who do not wear three inch thick glasses, nor carries a cane (usually) who have to deal with an angry world and be understanding of their irritation. If you have kept up with my columns over the past few years you would have noticed the many times I have mentioned my local favorite bar, Toby’s. One of the main reasons I stick to this facility of carnal refreshment is because most of the employees there know about my visual impairment. This is important since most of these places are dark and can end up somewhat crowded. Due to my night blindness I arrive there and right off the bat I appear to be somewhat intoxicated. I stumble around chairs and people trying to make my

rounds through the various rooms and, of course, the bathroom. Kimbrough, Luke, Cassie, Katie, the professor and Mary-Anne all realize (at least now they do) that if I do knock a chair over it isn’t because of my inability to hold my drink. I do not have this understanding anywhere else mainly because they do not know me. If I were to go to, let’s say Old Town for example, and walk in stumbling over chairs and accidentally grabbing a girl’s posterior, the trained bartender/server would refuse to sell me a drink thinking I have already become a liability to their establishment. So, for many reasons, including this one, I stick to Toby’s, my neighborhood bar and an all-round great place to hang out (free drink plug). As for everyday experiences (and contrary to popular belief, Toby’s is not an everyday experience, at least not anymore) the complications rise. I somehow make my way through places like Albertson’s and Wal-Mart without too much trouble, to the amazement of my eye doctor. But I still have my bad days. My number one enemy would have to be the wet floor sign. No matter where I go, if there is a wet floor sign somewhere in the building I will knock it over. I give kudos to wally world for their transition from using the bulky plastic signs that sound like an earthquake to using the nylon, pyramid shaped signs that usually go unnoticed, even by me, when kicked around. Stairs can be an issue if they are in an unexpected place. This was a problem in the old Bennigan’s building when the place was open. MSU has its share of phantom steps that have taken a chunk or two out of my pride, even if it seemed that nobody was around to see my fall on my ass. I have a pair of pants that have been complimented by several in-

dividuals. They were at one time a plain pair of jeans that I purchased at wally world but I would receive compliments because there was a hole in the left knee that seemed to be symmetrically in tune with my left leg and the jeans themselves. I have no qualms, though, telling all who have their nice words that the hole was due to an accident right outside the offices to Sunwatcher Village, a set of steps I have fallen from on more than one occasion. Both my clothing and my legs (particularly my shins) bear the scars. So pity me. Feel sorry for me. I cannot drive. My poor fiancé has to chauffeur me around everywhere. My friends must deal with the fact that I do not ever have to be the designated driver. Resentment abounds! I kid of course. I want no part of pity. I say this mainly as a warning. So take a good look at my picture. Remember that face well. And if you are out, and I “accidentally” run my wandering hands into some inappropriate area of your body, it isn’t because I am bi-curious nor is it due to my overly-aggressive, trucker-style of flirting. If I stumble down some steps, go ahead and take glee for I myself will laugh in the near future. If you see me in any of the grocery stores, veer far away for I may shove my basket directly into your path unintentionally, thus causing a four cart pile up on the toilet paper aisle. But most of all, do not pity anyone who has a disability. They have the potential and the resources to be independent and secure in their surroundings. Unfortunately for many individuals with disabilities, the ones who do not make it are the sheltered individuals who did have an over abundance of commiserate feelings. Adios!

Blind advantages in the Falls


THE WICHITAN Sept. 26, 2007

Christian’s Horrorscopes

Todayʼs birthday (09-26-07): A person who is ugly and annoying is your new best friend. Youʼll learn to avoid them at all cost (even going so far as to skip class), trying to avoid hurting their feelings. Your concept of “people person” will take on a new meaning. Aries (March 21-April 19): Try to keep your mouth shut today. Donʼt say anything. Avoid speaking at all cost, or there will be consequences for your non-action. Taurus (April 20-May 20): You have been accused of being an ass, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Continue with your attitude and you will go far in politics. Gemini (May 21-June 21): Your friends pretend to admire you even more when you attempt to deal with a tough situation with tact that you sometimes lack. Ditch your friends and make new ones – your situation will improve. Cancer (June 22-July 22): Your schedule is full. No time for your friends. No time for your family. It is time to panic. Rush down to your local shrink and grab a handful of anti-depressents and prepare for the onslaught of negativity. Leo (July 23-Aug. 22): Your horoscope sucks... wait for next week. Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): You never learned your lesson on buying, selling and saving. If you plan on purchasing, then stop. You need to start saving... bad mojo for next month. Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Try doing something a little crazy like skinny dipping, smoking a cigarrette in the menʼs bathroom (especially, if you are of the opposite sex). Itʼs boring to be good, and you are a little on the innocent side. Try the darkside... you may like it. Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): You are over worked. Your life is shit. Luckily, your month to shine is right around the corner. Try releasing your frustration on Halloween... scare some kids. It may not solve your workload problem, but you will have a hell of time watching the kids run away in terror (and you will have lots of candy to share). Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Love is in the air... run! Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Continue with your daydreaming, and you will finally cash in on that insurance policy. You can try to be a little implusive and stop, but we both know that your cooler side never prevails. Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Want more freedom from rules and regulations? Become an anarchist. Fortunately, this state of mind is easy to achieve. You just need to practice. Put in a death metal album, turn the music up and scream... the rest will fall into place.

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THE WICHITAN Sept. 26, 2007

Down and Outhouse

LAUREN WILLIAMS | The Wichitan Students and faculty were limited to port-a-potties Monday and Tuesday after a water main broke under the Fain Fine Arts building over the weekend.

Caribfest________________________________________continued from page 1 a miniature version of Carnival, we are all proud and elated to share with the community, students, staff and faculty of MSU our traditions and culture.” Another addition to this year’s events will be a Calypso show being held in the Akin Auditorium October 6 at 5 p.m. “This is another aspect of our culture in which we have added to our celebrations,” McIntyre said. “Even though it is free of cost, it is also very entertaining.” With the help of alumni and summer fundraisers, the CSO is able to raise funds each year to continue the tradition. “Caribfest is very costly to run for a nonprofit organization, but we do it because we love it and enjoy giving back to the community and MSU,” McIntyre said. All the funds raised from the event will be donated to the Lunce

Foundation, flood victims of Wichita Falls and Childs Advocate. The CSO will be selling tickets this Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at a booth in the Clark Student Center. Tickets will also be sold at the same location and times next Monday through Friday. If a student is not able to purchase a ticket at the booth between these times, tickets are also being sold at the Clark Student Center bookstore. The cost of a ticket is $5, which covers the purchase of food. Some items on the menu will be jerk chicken, curry goat, calypso rice with raisins and much more. T-shirts can also be purchased for $12, which McIntyre encourages everyone to wear on the day of the event. Participants of the event can also get a better deal of $20 for two food tickets and a t-shirt. According to McIntyre, a lot of

Security_______________continued from page 1 There are seven emergency phones scattered around MSU, and the committee is looking at adding more, Farrell said. Student behavior is also a point of concern when it comes to safety. “We [the university police] are actively in communication with other university departments,” Hagy said. “We ask them to be our eyes and ears. That includes faculty—if a student is misbehaving and the behavior is alarming, we ask that they let us determine whether it’s just bizarre or potentially criminal.” The counseling center held a

workshop for faculty on Sept. 19 to aid in the understanding of what type of behavior should set off warning flags and what shouldn’t, Farrell said. Through tackling these individual concerns, the committee hopes to pull together a comprehensive crisis management plan that combines prevention and reaction. “Student, faculty and staff safety is a paramount issue,” Farrell said. “This isn’t a ‘maybe’ or an ‘if.’ This is serious business and it’s something that the university takes very, very seriously.”

Quad___________________continued from page 1 lege it must be done. On a nice day students can be spotted by the fountain looking through their books. The quad is a quiet place where students can be free from distractions. Having fun in the quad is a great passing time for students, but for the maintenance crew cleaning up the overflowing fountain is not enjoyable. “At least once a week, the maintenance crew is busy cleaning up after students who trash the fountain and leave their things in the quad,”

Police Chief Michael Hagy said. MSU police do not keep count of how many times they get called because they can’t catch the suspects. “One day we will catch them and there will be consequences to pay,” Hagy said. Even though there is slight damage to the fountain, it’s still a main attraction to the campus. With many tests, lab assignments and quizzes, it’s nice to get away from studying and find a place to relax and enjoy college.

Debate_________________continued from page 1 solid relationship with the MSU Democrats to encourage students to be interested and get involved in politics. The main goal of the MSU Democrats is to educate students with issues so they can make informed decisions and give input. The MSU Democrats are also planning to re-

lease a publication in the future. “If students understand the issues from both sides when they start having contact with the national debates, they will know where they stand and can make an educated decision on who they want to support,” MSU Democrats President Mary Payton said.

activities are in store for the entire family, and everyone in the community is invited to attend. He also said a surprise is planned, but he is not allowed to give it away. “All I can say is that it is a celebration you won’t want to miss,” McIntyre said. Students can take a look at past Caribfest pictures on the CSO’s Web site at Click on the “Caribfest” link to view the page. “I hope that they [students] will understand even though we are all from the Caribbean, each island has something exciting and different to offer,” McIntyre said. “And most importantly, I hope that the students, staff, faculty and people in the community enjoy themselves tremendously and will be excited to come back next year.”


THE WICHITAN Sept. 26, 2007

No lying: Liars fourth CD is great

RICHARD CARTER FOR THE WICHITAN A favorite writer of mine once observed that aspiring artists break into the art world (i.e., make a name for themselves) by creating work that breaks the “beautiful” windows (i.e., the previous art) of well-known artists. Thus the key to artists staying vital, he argued, was that they must continue to creatively “break” windows – including some of their own. (But reader, for goodness sakes, please do not literally break anything glass-wise or mirror-wise at home or at school or wherever.) The world of music is similar to the world of art. And, it’s absolutely awful how many bands have gotten noticed with a cool sound or approach to tunes, and then sell out in order to become the new U2 or the Cure. Back in the late ’80s, the initials of the band KMFDM meant something. The point is that Depeche Mode is now long dead, and no one misses them. KNFDM aside, it’s sad to see what’s recently happened to the majority of interesting new bands that broke out in the early to mid 2000s. The Strokes lost it after one album. Bloc Party wanted to sound so much like U2 on their last record that I have friends who refuse to even listen to it. And Yeah Yeah Yeahs only managed to save their slow decline into everyone else’s music with their most recent EP “Is Is.” There are a ton more bands that ended up getting messed up along the way, including !!! and Interpol, and it’s just

too depressing to keep going. Needless to say, maybe music management is just greedy, or maybe the bands just didn’t have that much to say in the first place. So, it makes me happy, or at least hopeful, to report that the Liars’ fourth album, “Liars,” is pretty darn good. Edgy in a refreshingly vital way, the Brooklyn band is not trying to sound like U2 or whatever selfrighteous band happens to be making lots of money right now. Instead, they followed last year’s surprise CD “Drums Not Dead” with a surprising collection of new tunes. If, after the band’s very different sounding first three records, anyone said they could tell you what the fourth album was going to sound like, I would have laughed. Still, after hearing so many bands crater, the thought of breaking open “Liars” and listening to it after buying Hastings’ lone copy several days ago was kind of scaring me. I mean, besides recent bands such as Arcade Fire and Yeah Yeah Yeahs, what band on a major label (or even some of the minor ones) doesn’t smell the money and want to run like smelly cheese. Listening to the Liars’ new CD is a good experience. I honestly enjoyed the fact that the trio brings in sounds, ideas and fragments of their first three records: The slamming Gang of Four-ish first CD, the strangely bewitching second album and the droning tribal-esque third record. But they’re also decidedly moving forward, and most of it seems to be in fertile directions. The 12 songs of “Liars” hits, meanders, grooves and gets into the head, feet and/or

Jonbenet light up 169 The Jonbenet will perform at the 169 Saturday at 5:45. p.m.


What’s in a name? Needing something to call their band that would demand attention, four Houston musicians started calling themselves The Jonbenet. “A name that people would recognize,” drummer Drew Ireland said. “It would cause controversy, people would talk about, they would ask us about it, it would make people talk about us.” While the name got them noticed, The Jonbenet took those notices and ran with them. So much so that the well-traveled band is playing big time in the competitive national hard-core scene. The group is set to play Saturday at the OneSixNine, the new name for American Legion 169 on Lakeshore Drive. The show will begin at 5:45 p.m. and was booked by Babies Productions, run in part by Nicole Barron, an MSU student. The Jonbenet will play on the same ticket with John Henry Verses the Machine, Down-Stares, The

Knockout Kings and a number of other talented area young bands. Vocalist Michael Murland’s idea, according to Ireland, was to start a band that was “weird and rock-ish and just out there, instead of something totally heavy like everyone else was doing. Indie rock was key.” The all-ages music scene has been a dream come true for the four musicians. “We just want to keep riding and doing it. We have this rad opportunity that we’ve been busting our butts to get,” Ireland said. Ireland’s favorite thing about playing is the crowd response. “They don’t have to like it,” he said, “but they have to be wanting to have fun and hang out. If I sense the people around us are comfortable and hanging out, then I will have a good show no matter what happens.” Audiences should expect a loud, eventful and insane show from the act. “Crazy things are often the order of the day,” Ireland said. He expects his drum set will be in shambles by the end of the set.


Buy any size Shaved Ice and we will upsize it to the next larger size for free! Valid at:

3203 Kemp Blvd. Wichita Falls, TX

The Liars will perform at the Palladium in Dallas on Sept. 27. The show starts at 8 p.m.

bodies of all types of listeners. The songs are, at times, dance worthy, rocking and/or ambient. Is “Liars” a sell-out? Nope. Is it as different from the last CD as

the third record was from the second one? Nope. Is it worth going to the band’s MySpace (http:://www. and checking out some of the tunes?

Heck yeah! Consider some of the Liars’ new tunes a nicely aimed rock at the tainted windows of contemporary rock music.

Chevalier’s latest not ‘Bright’

KONNIE SEWELL ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR Is it too much of a stretch to say that there’s everything before Tracy Chevalier, and then there’s everything after her? Even if Chevalier’s second novel, “Girl With a Pearl Earring,” wasn’t the first to explore the relationship between model and artist, it was certainly at the forefront of a modern phenomenon in the book world. Susan Vreeland, Karen Essex, Sarah Dunant, Elizabeth Hickey – so many authors have played with the story buried behind a famous work of art’s completion, but none have done it so well as Chevalier. When done right, this literary conceit can be a unique experience with great characterization and intricate plot threads. It can help readers look at the work of art in question in a completely different light. When done wrong, it’s just a waste of time. Chevalier’s latest, “Burning Bright,” isn’t exactly a waste of time, but it is a different type of novel from Chevalier. The novel begins in 1792 with the Kellaway family moving from their country home to the hustle and bustle of London. Thomas Kellaway, the head of the family, is in the business of making chairs. He has decided to relocate his family from their comfortable home to the city because Philip Astley, a London circus impresario, has offered him a job working for his company. Along with father Thomas is his wife, Anne, and their two young children Maisie and Jem. Maisie and Jem meet and befriend Maggie Butterfield, a street-wise young girl who despite her young age knows a lot about seemingly everything. Then the kids have various adventures and participate in various hi-jinks. Then they all meet William Blake. … And that’s pretty much how the plot goes. Chevalier’s novels have never been epic in scope. The focus has always been on telling the story in an elegant, subdued manner – char-


New Releases

MUSIC: “Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon,” Devendra Banhart; “Just Like You,” Keyshia Cole; “The Awakening,” Melissa Etheridge; “Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace,” Foo Fighters; “White Chalk,” PJ Harvey; “Baby Makin’ Project,” Jagged Edge; “Last Light,” Matt Pond, PA; “Shine,” Joni Mitchell; “In Our Nature,” Jose Gonzalez; “Shepherd’s Dog,” Iron & Wine; “Still Feels Good,” Rascal Flatts; “The Real Thing,” Jill Scott; “Songs About Girls,” Will.I.Am. BOOKS: “Playing For Pizza,” John Grisham; “The Choice,” Nicholas Sparks; “The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War,” David Halberstam; “Bridge of Sighs,” Richard Russo; “Run,” Ann Patchett; “Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger’s,” John Elder Robison; “Lover Unbound,” J.R. Ward; “The Vixen Diaries,” Karrine Steffans; “Fire in the Blood,” Irene Nemirovsky; “Empire of Ivory,” Naomi Novik; “The Orc King,” R.A. Salvatore VIDEO GAMES: “Halo 3,” X-Box 360; “Crayola Treasure Adventures,” NDS; “Ninjabread Man,” Wii; “DK Jungle Climber,” NDS; “Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts,” PC; “Tarr Chronicles,” PC; “Kirby’s Avalanche,” Wii; “Legend of Hero Tonma,” Wii; “Streets of Rage,” Wii DVD: “As You Like It,” “Black Book,” “Bug,” “Drawn Together, Season Two,” “Evening,” “Full of It,” “The King of Queens, Nineth Season,” “Knocked Up,” “My Name Is Earl, Season Two,” “Next,” “Numb3rs, Third Season,” “Pearl Jam: Immagine in Cornice,” “The TV Set,” “The Unit, Season Two,” “Voltron: Defender of the Universe,” “What About Brian? Complete Series”

Bus Uncle

A cultural sensation in Hong Kong, “The Bus Uncle” is a Cantonese video clip of a quarrel between two men aboard a bus in Hong Kong. An older man (Chan) is seen scolding the man seated behind him (Ho). A nearby passenger used his camera phone to record the entire incident. When the clip was first shown on YouTube it became the most viewed video of the month, attracting viewers with its rhetorical outbursts and copious use of profanity by the older man.

This is Sparta?

acters have always come first for her. But eventually you’ll come to a point in “Burning Bright” where you think to yourself, What’s the point in reading this? The grand point, I suppose, is that much as in Blake’s poetry, the children in the novel are good. The adults in their world are flawed, but not evil. That doesn’t make for exciting reading, however. “Burning Bright” reads more like a children’s story, a fairy tale. Chevalier has traded in her sophisticated approach for charm and sentiment. It’s a little cloying, to be honest. In addition, Chevalier decided to write the book in third person. This is the first time she hasn’t written in first person and it shows. Chevalier

is a master of writing in first person. Her characters all seem unique and they each have different manner of speaking and thinking. Part of the fun of her other novels was seeing who believed what and why. The characters in “Burning Bright” are pretty much just stock characters. This is nothing new; most of Chevalier’s characters in her other novels are as well. But the first person narration helped her overcome this. Chevalier is a great writer and she has an undeniable gift. But you wouldn’t know it from reading this book. It leaves a lot to be desired in even the most casual Chevalier fan. Here’s hoping her next novel is a return to form.

Just like the O RLY? owl and the lolcats before him, King Leonidas has become an Internet phenomenon. Since the film “300” was rife with catchphrases, it’s little wonder that people would find a way to use them for comedic effect. Go to html?page=1 to get a taste. Warning: Don’t look at these during work (or class, for that matter). You’ll be laughing so hard you’ll cause a commotion.

The Wichitan needs writers! Call 397-4704!

Sept 26, 2007