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Vol. XXXIV, Issue 15, November 29, 2011



life in one moment PGS 8-9 Tips for buying books Page 4

Kennedy assassination, 48 years later Page 6


Class of 2011

MeeT Wen

en, a graduate student in the M.B.A. program, feels that to truly succeed in today’s world, a person needs a lot of different skills–skills he’s gained at Texas A&M University-Commerce. From statistics and economics, to finance, marketing and management, Wen is confident the skills he’s learned at A&M-Commerce will be invaluable to him in the future.

One of Wen’s favorite things about the university is the friendly people on campus and in the community. As an international student, he’s especially enjoyed connecting with other students because it has taught him more about himself and his surroundings. “In the business school, we have Indian students, Chinese students, and American students,” says Wen. “It’s a good environment to learn about other cultures and prepare for a career in international business.” Professors like Dr. Steven Shwiff have helped Wen find a deeper appreciation for his class work thanks to real world application. “After Dr. Shwiff’s class,” Wen said, “I knew how to combine knowledge and theory with reality.” Looking back on his decision to attend A&MCommerce, Wen is glad he chose a smaller, regional university noting that he likely would not have received the same one-on-one teaching. He’s confident A&M-Commerce was the perfect choice.

LEARn MORE about Wen and how Texas A&M UniversityCommerce can change your future by visiting:


WWW.TAMU-COMMERCE.EDU 903.886.5000 or 888.868.2682 A Member of The Texas A&M University System


Gardens provide great escape JENNA RODDY Contributing Writer

Amid the 243-acre sprawl of Richland College lie a number of hidden gems – quiet places where students can escape the daily hustle and bustle of campus life. They are peaceful getaways, places often overlooked and underutilized because of the sheer vastness of the campus. One of the best examples is the Horticulture Demonstration Gardens, which were designed and built by students more than a quarter-century ago. The gardens were dedicated on April 18, 1986. Tucked between Sabine and Yegua halls, next to parking lots C and D, the roughly half-acre gardens are enveloped by lush trees and teeming with small creatures such as birds and squirrels. It’s a beautiful place to just sit and observe. “Most of my classes are big and loud. I need some alone time,” said Colin Roeger, 18, an engineering major who often brings his lunch to the garden between classes on Mondays and Wednesdays. Roeger said he noticed the area one day after parking in a nearby lot. He said he hasn’t brought his friends to the gardens because they’re in class when he breaks for lunch. “It’s a good getaway place,” said Roeger. “Everything is blocked out. It’s kind of like you’re hidden away with all the bushes.” Tall, overhanging trees enclose the garden,

which has numerous winding paths and several benches scattered throughout. There are at least 10 benches, including seven wooden ones with carvings from lovers past, and three stone seats dotting the pathways. A small fountain surrounded by a multitude of flowers stands in the center. Nick Knight, 61, a part-time gardener at Richland, said the gardens are an eclectic mix of various holly shrubs, rose beds, live oaks, magnolias and other trees and plants. Knight has worked mainly on the gardens for about 10 years. Asked if he sees many people here, he said, “Not as many as I’d like to see visit the garden. I mean, we have regular visitors and some come occasionally. Some people just don’t know it’s here, I think.” Why this peaceful little area is so often overlooked is puzzling to those who tend to it. But it’s just the type of quiet, secluded area that some students might need to focus and re-charge their batteries. Those who have discovered it find themselves making regular treks. Cameron Edwards and girlfriend June Vu, both 21, said they enjoy the flowers and the squirrels that run amok. They happened upon the area one day after spotting their friends inside. And they’ve been regular visitors ever since. Fadoua Hakimi, 16, Samira Elm, 17, and Abeere Hymore, 16, are all relative newcomers to the garden. They said they’d frequently seen the gar-

dens as they passed by on the way to the parking lots but only recently began to stop and enjoy the scenic, secluded spot. The lack of noisy distractions -- coupled with the gorgeous, overhanging live oaks - add a welcomed layer of tranquility to the space, they said. Hakimi put it plainly: “You’re able to get away.” Contributing reporters include Angela Lao, Zach Walker and Valencia King.

Right: a flowery walkway leads to the garden. Below: (1) The fountain is the center of the garden. (2) An aerial shot shows the size of the garden, the center fountain, and benches where students can sit and relax. Image credit Zach Walker

Image credit Angela Lao

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Books still a problem for students PATRICIA VILLACIN • November 29, 2011

Staff Writer


Janet Petri has always made an effort to keep her priorities straight and stay on top of her schoolwork. While her peers wait until the last minute, fretting over what classes to take for the following semester, pre-nursing student Petri usually has her courses prepared in time for the registration period and is rewarded with slots in the classes of the college’s best professors. Although Petri’s advanced preparations have benefited her in many ways, they have backfired in one important aspect. “I wasn’t able to save on my books at all by purchasing them ahead of time online,” Petri said. The cost of college textbooks is always a thorny issue. Students try their best to use resources such as the Internet and used bookstores to keep them from lining up in the college bookstore to purchase an overpriced copy of their required textbooks. Petri signed up to take an Intro to Psychology course during Summer I. Once she was registered, she looked up to see what textbook she needed and, like most students on a budget, searched for her textbooks online and used counterparts instead. “I usually check alternative sources because books purchased online and books that are used are always much cheaper, but I learned that you have to be very, very careful,” Petri said. “My psychology book was $110 at the bookstore and I found it online for $73. However, my professor changed the book at the last minute.” Petri did not end up saving because not only was she unable to return the book she found online, she still had to purchase a copy of the new required textbook from the bookstore. Even seasoned college students like Petri

make small errors that result in unpleasant consequences. Although her experience this past summer frustrated her, she said she is now more knowledgeable in the area of book buying and has offered a few tips. Consult with professors Lack of communication with her professors before the semester commenced was the main reason Petri ended up spending so much on books. It is important to coordinate with professors by calling or sending them emails asking them to confirm the books posted on the eConnect site. Many books come with online access codes. A substantial number of courses, however, do not require the use of the codes. By asking your professor ahead of time, you could be saving an extra $50 by not purchasing the code. Search for the right resources Although she had to pay more than expected during the summer, Petri says that online and used bookstores are still good resources for finding more reasonably priced textbooks. The online providers she frequents, like Alibris and Chegg, have flexible policies. Many online book providers have also started providing rent options for customers. “Online providers are excellent resources, but you have to familiarize yourself with things like their return policies before making your purchase,” Petri said. Neebo, one of the largest textbook suppliers, also opened a location on Walnut Street near the Richland campus before the fall semester began.

According to its website, Neebo offers “savings of up to 55 percent off the price of new books on every textbook rental and up to 25 percent on every used book purchase.” Don’t rely too much on eBooks Petri does not use eBooks as an alternative to hard-copy textbooks. She says she does not like the idea of reading her text on a computer screen and having her subscriptions expire at a certain time. “At this point, I’m old school,” Petri said. “I really like reading my chapters in bed at night. It’s good to actually have something to refer to. I don’t have my computer with me all the time and I don’t have things like iPads. That’s not to say that I won’t end up using them in the future, but I’m a nursing student and it’s important for me to keep my textbooks for future reference.” With the fall semester coming to an end, Petri may already be prepared for registration. This time, however, she will make sure to follow her own advice in order to avoid last summer’s mishap. “It was a lesson learned,” Petri said. Contributing reporters include Chau Nguyen, Devin Joseph and Mary Chanell.

“I usually check alternative sources because books purchased online and books that are used are always much cheaper, but I learned that you have to be very, very careful.” -Janet Petri

Richland College Music Department Fall 2011 Evening Concert Series All performances are free to the public on Stage in the Richland Cafeteria Concert Schedule is tentative and subject to change

Symphonic Instrumental Concert 1:

Wind Symphony, String Orchestra, Chamber Ensemble Tues. Oct. 25, 2011, 7:30 p.m.

Richland Guitar Ensemble

Tues. Nov. 8, 2011, 7:30 p.m.

Richland Jazz Showcase:

Jazz Combo, Lab Band, Jazz Singers, & Jazz Ensemble Tues. Nov. 15 , 2011, 7:30 p.m.

Symphonic Instrumental Concert 2:

Wind Symphony, String Orchestra, Chamber Ensembles Tues. Nov. 22, 2011, 7:30 p.m.

Richland Evening Jazz Ensemble: Directed by Phares Corder Thurs. Dec. 1, 2011, 7:30 p.m.

Richland Choral Concert:

Chorale, Chamber Singers, Gospel Choir Fri. Dec. 2, 2011, 7:30 p.m.

Student Composer’s Concert:

Works composed by students of Dr. Paul Bonneau Tues. Dec. 6 , 2011, 7:30 p.m.

World Beat Concert: Richland Percussion Group [RPG], Steel Bands & World Drumming Esemble Thurs. Dec. 8, 2011, 7:30 p.m.

Image credit Julio Nieto

Students are advised to check multiple sources before purchasing textbooks.

Go to for latest updates. Call Derrick Logozzo at 972.238.6254 for information.

STUDENT MEDIA LEADERS Richland Chronicle Editor-in-Chief KDUX Web Radio Station Manager Chronicle-TV Station Manager Chronicle-Online Editor Asst. Managing Editor News Editor Radio News Director Sports Editor Photo Editor Viewpoints Editor Copy Editor Radio Sports Director Layout Editor Gaming Editor

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ON THE COVER Hands of Carmara Burns and Aileen Donahue from the play ‘Waving Goodbye.’

COVER AND FONTS Cover Page Photo Julio Nieto Photo credits: Dealey Plaza Julio Nieto Textbooks Julio Nieto Certain fonts are provided by the following: -

STUDENT MEDIA STAFF Rebecca Banks Terry Blend Mary Channell Adam Crouch Sean Dunbar Tannia Garcia Mary Jane Higginbotham Benjamin Guthrie

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FALL 2011 ISSUES August 16 August 23 August 30 September 6 September 13 September 20 September 27 October 4 October 11

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CONTACT INFORMATION El Paso Hall, Room E-020, 12800 Abrams Rd. Dallas, 75243 Newsroom: 972-238-6079 E-mail: Advertising: 972-238-6068 E-mail: Fax: 972-238-6037

MEETINGS & POLICIES Staff meetings: Monday and Wednesday 2 p.m. in E-020 ------Letter Policy Letters to the editor may be edited for space. They will be edited for spelling, grammar and malicious or libelous statements. Letters must be the work of the writer and must be signed. For identification and verification purposes, letters also must include the writer’s classification (grade level), full name, address and telephone number, although address and telephone number will not be published. Editorial Policy The Chronicle is the official student-produced newspaper of Richland College. Editorials, cartoons, columns and letters are the opinions of individual students and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of other individual student writers, editors, advisers or the college administration. © Richland Chronicle 2011


Classes burn the midnight oil Editor-in-Chief

Midnight classes are taking after-hours learning to a whole new level. It’s a new trend with community college campuses and it’s one that could eventually arrive at Richland. According to USA Today, the program started at Bunker Hill Community College in Boston.  Classes that are offered include psychology and economics. The classes begin at midnight and end about 3 a.m. The only problem the program faced so far was students who thought they were signing up for a course at noon and were unable to transfer out. At first, the program may sound ridiculous to students who are tired enough after a long day of work and school. But for many, this is a stress-relieving option. Multiple jobs take up most of the hours during which conventional classes are offered. This leaves many students who have inflexible work schedules left with little or no options for in-person class time.  Online courses are usually the solution to time management issues. But many students argue that online courses are not the best option, and many find themselves more successful in lecture classes rather than with those taken online. Some students are night owls by nature and stay up playing video games and roaming

Facebook through the depths of the night. In this case, midnight classes are a productive option. “I’m up late most of the time, so I’d honestly be all for this,” said Richland student Drew Bramlett. Others agree that while they wouldn’t sign up for the classes, overall it is a refreshing option for time-strapped students. “I think this would be a great idea for students who could function from 12 to 3. However, I am not one of those people,” said psychology major Catherine Boynton. “I think it’s great, though, and it’s nice to see that some colleges are accommodating those of us with jobs and a hectic schedule.” Others, like Richland student Abbey Stryk, said that they wouldn’t be able to succeed at such late hours. “I would not want to take a midnight class. Even though I would be awake, I don’t believe I would comprehend anything from the class.” Stryk said. There may be students who are willing to take the courses, but finding a professor willing to teach that late may be a challenge. Currently Richland does not have any plans to offer the midnight courses, but that doesn’t mean learning is unattainable for those with difficult schedules. “At this time Richland does not have any plans to offer classes that start later than 8:30 p.m.” Donna Walker, associate vice president of enrollment management and Richland Collegiate High School superintendent said. “The college has increased the number of

distance learning classes offered each semester. This allows students who need a flexible schedule to continue pursuing their educational goals.” Although there are no steps being taken now to integrate midnight classes on campus,

Rebecca banks

dents. It’s free if a student takes a physical education class. Students who would like to talk about their stress are able to talk with one of Richland’s certified counselors in E-082. The counselors can help students with techniques to relieve stress and better manage their time. The Counseling Center also offers free personal counseling for relationships, anxiety and other concerns that may cause stress.

Help for easing pre-exam stress Staff Writer

Newly Renovated Apartment Homes Built in Microwaves Fireplaces Covered Parking Courtesy Patrol Forest Cove Apartments 214-341-4298

it isn’t impossible for them to be offered one day. Registration for the 2012 spring semester is now under way, and it is recommended that students register as soon as possible, especially in case of potential schedule conflicts.

With two weeks left in the Fall 2011 semester, students may have a difficult time managing their time with work, school and personal affairs. All these factors can contribute to students getting stressed and overwhelmed. “Everyone has stress. It’s just how we perceive and deal with it that can be damaging or, we are getting through it OK,” said Richland counselor Karen Cuttill. Richland’s Counseling Center offers a free relaxation group. It’s available every Thursday from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. in El Paso Hall, Room E-081. The group starts with yoga and then demonstrates other breathing relaxation techniques. Students unable to attend the yoga session in the afternoon may take a yoga class Thursday evenings. The class is free and runs from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Room E-076. “Physical activity is the best way to relieve stress. Students can go to the meditation room, several gardens, labyrinth and walking path. Although many may not know it, these things are intended to relieve stress,” said Cuttill. The gym offers a $20 monthly fee for stu-

The Office of Student Life will offer free massages to students Dec. 12-13 from 9 a.m. to noon. The massages will take place in the student lounge. Cuttill said the best way to handle stress is to take care of one’s self. It is important to get enough rest, nutrition and remember to take time for yourself to have fun. Editors note: For the night class schedule visit • November 29, 2011




An event that shocked the nation LAURA GARSEA Editor-in-chief

Images credit Julio Nieto

Visitors to Dealey Plaza take turns standing on the X to get their picture taken where John F. Kennedy was shot. • November 29, 2011

Standing on the grassy knoll, staring at that infamous X, it’s hard not to imagine the shock and chaos that occurred on that spot in Dealey Plaza the day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Even for someone who wasn’t born when the horrific event occurred, it stands out as a historic and solemn day. However, for those who are old enough to remember hearing the news, the Kennedy shooting certainly warrants a “where were you when” moment. It was 48 years ago, on Nov. 22, 1963, that Lee Harvey Oswald fired the shots that killed President Kennedy as he rode through downtown Dallas. Thousands of people lined the streets and hundreds stood and witnessed two bullets strike the president, going through the back of his head and his throat. The film of Kennedy grabbing his throat and Jackie grabbing him and then being

pulled from the car, covered in blood, are shocking images that haunted the nation. Less than two hours later, after Kennedy was pronounced dead, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as the new president. The media had a large role in breaking the story of the assassination. Since network television was in its young prime, stations were sometimes too quick to report any news they heard. Many stations made erroneous reports, such as that Jackie Kennedy had been injured. Others reported that the assassination was a conspiracy while the Warren Commission determined that Oswald acted alone. Today, tourists from all over the world come to visit Dealey Plaza. Some just to get a picture on the X, others to pay tribute to a president whose death caused U. S. citizens to pause. To find out more about the assassination, visit the Sixth Floor Museum, 411 Elm Street in Dallas, where photographs, films, tours and interactive programs are offered for visitors.


Shots fired from the corner window of the Sixth Floor Museum killed President John F. Kennedy on the X, bottom left, as he rode through Dealey Plaza on Nov. 22, 1963.

Preview: MARY CHANNELL Gaming Editor

All right “Zelda” fans, another installment has come out. The “Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword” gives players full motion control with the Wii Motion Plus that synchronizes each movement exactly with Link, the hero. In “Skyward Sword,” players finally get to see the past relationship with Link and Zelda at Hyrule when they were childhood friends. Of course something goes terribly wrong and the fate of the world is in

Wii Motion Plus takes ‘Skyward Sword’ to new heights


Link’s hands once again. This latest edition is filled with new dungeons, puzzles and enemies. Ganon is not in this “Zelda” game. Instead you get a creepy sexualized demon named Lord Ghirahim. Also, instead of using a horse or a dog to take players to their destinations, this time they’ll get to use a bird to fly between sky-based environments! To find out Link’s distant past and to save the world from an evil entity, you should check out “Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.” It’s available exclusively in the Wii platform.

Images courtesy,

A tale of brilliance ‘The Papercut Chronicles I ’ Staff Writer

Matt King’s (George Clooney) life seems to be falling apart. Things don’t seem to be looking up as his wife is in a coma from a boating accident and she may have been having an affair. Without her help Matt isn’t quite sure how to raise his two girls. He even admits to being the “backup parent.” In the midst of selling his ancestor’s land, King goes to search for his wife’s secret lover. “The Descendants” is a beautiful movie from co-writer/director Alexander Payne. The story is nothing if not compelling as each character comes across as a relatable human being. You can’t help but feel every little thing that Images courtesy Clooney’s character is going through. Luckily, there’s this perfect blend of comedic genius to go along with this depressing tale. Clooney’s performance in “The Descendants” is obviously nothing short of what you’d expect from him, exceeding expecta-

tions and giving one of the best performances of his career. How this man gets better every time he’s in front of a camera, I’ll never know. The man is a master of his craft and “The Descendants” is a showpiece for Clooney’s career. The child actresses playing King’s two girls are some of the best I’ve ever seen. Shailene Woodley, who plays the teenage daughter, gives the best portrayal of a teenage girl. She’s just one of those troublemaker teenagers who wants nothing to do with her parents and gives a realistic performance all around. Woodley makes it hard to believe that she was reading lines from a script. I can tell she’s going to be a star one day. At first glance, this movie doesn’t seem like it’s anything special. Not until you are in the theater witnessing its brilliance will you fully understand Fox Searchlight Pictures how great “The Descendants” is. The way these characters are developed turns this story into an interesting ride. It’ll make you laugh, it’ll make you cry but most of all, it will make you forget it’s just a piece of fiction.

differs from hit single TIMOTHY POTTER Staff Writer

Gym Class Heroes looks to continue its style of unique hip hop beats with “The Papercut Chronicles II,” its latest album. The band has seen a lot of success in the past few years, evident from the numerous collaborations with other artists in recent works. This album doesn’t have any real defining features, with its only real mainstream success single being “Stereo Hearts.” This song is a great piece. Its popularity has caused it to dominate the airwaves recently. If only the rest of the tracks matched this success. The album does sport a fun element repeated from the prior album, “The Papercut Chronicles,” with an opening and ending using Microsoft Sam. However, this idea loses its charm after hearing it a few times. The main content of this album does have some better songs, but it can be hit and miss. “Life Goes On” is a refreshing track, with a smooth chorus by guest singer Oh Land balancing the rap elements. “The Fighter” is another song like this with upbeat lyrics, pacing and chorus.

My least favorite track is unquestionably “Kid Nothing And The Never-Ending Naked Nightmare.” The tempo and unbefitting screamo inserts make for an awkward sound overall. I can’t decide what this song is trying to be, and I don’t think it can either. “Papercuts Chronicles II” is a great purchase for fans looking to relive the feeling from Gym Class Heroes’ earlier music. But if you’ve only heard radio singles from the album, don’t expect the rest of the songs to follow suit.

Image courtesy Fueled By Ramen, Decaydance • November 29, 2011




‘Waving Goodbye’ -- a solemn


Sometimes it takes a devastating event to force us to sample a slice of life. That’s the case with 17-year-old Lily Blue as she struggled to come to terms with the unexpected death of her father, Jonathan, in Richland’s production of “Waving Goodbye� by Jamie Pachino, which ended its run on Nov. 19. The play, set in a broken-down loft home in New York City, gave the audience a glimpse of what the teen’s life is like after she lost her father in a mountain-climbing accident. The challenging lead role of 18year-old photographer Lily went to Aileen Donahue; yet no one would have suspected that it was her first role on a stage. Donahue was outstanding as the lost teen who clashes with her mother, pours out her feelings to a young male friend and tries to launch her own career as an artist in the process. The audience immediately got the message that “Waving� would be a serious drama from the minute Donahue stepped out on the Arena Theatre stage. The small theater was perfect for the plot and the somber mood of the characters. Lily stated, “How do you tell the story of a life? In one moment? How do you explain someone important? Record them so people will know?� From that moment on, Lily’s answer was

to take photographs to freeze special people and moments in time. That’s what she did throughout the play with a camera, which suggested her upcoming art work. The art department -- specifically Jennifer Rose, Vicki Mayhan and Jim Stover -- provided some paintings and beautiful red-andblue forearms and hands and reflected the continuous hand imagery in “Waving.� While “Waving� centers on Lily, the play weaves in and out of the past and present using flashbacks. Lily’s sculptor mother, Amanda, is 19 and 37 and her husband, the deceased Jonathan, is 25 when they marry and 43 when he dies. Amanda made a sculpture of Jonathan’s forearms and hands when Lily was 10, which was an important element of the play. Director Nic McMinn and the drama tech staff created a convenient setup for Jonathan to appear in flashbacks in a number of scenes – he’d just climb down from the top of the loft, interact with the characters and then climb back up to disappear again until the next scene. As a elusive specter, Christopher Frater as the dead Jonathan didn’t need to have as much spark as a living character. Frater pulled off the gloomy role quite well. Wearing blue jeans and a plaid shirt, there was no need for him to look anything but real, as Lily remembered him. Some of the most potent scenes in “Waving� concerned Amanda, played by Alex Drago as she and Lily argued over past events. McMinn could not have chosen any • November 29, 2011

“Sometimes I dream my father falls and I can’t catch him. Sometimes my father dies because I’m too insignificant to break his fall.� -Lily


Images credit Julio Nieto

Christopher Frater (Jonathan Blue) and his wife, Amanda (Alex Drago) disscuss their past life together.

two women with better chemistry for their roles. Both were petite with light brown, long hair and could have passed for mother and daughter in real life. Pachino’s plot touches on the motherdaughter conflict with examples of poor par-

enting. At the heart of the conflict is the neurotic Amanda, who as a mother wasn’t there for Lily when her father fell off a mountain to his death five months earlier. Amanda, who was in Israel, learned two weeks later on the Internet that he died. Lily feels very much alone



Carmara Burns (Boggy) and Aileen Donahue (Lily) share a kiss.

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slice of art imitating life Carmara Burns plays the comic role of Boggy, which balances out the seriousness of the drama. As far as romance is concerned, there didn’t seem to be much chemistry between him and Donahue, which is what his character was working toward. Burns made the audience laugh, however, with the way he posed ridiculous riddles in certain scenes, such as, “Why were the two blood cells so unhappy? . . . because they loved in vein.” The final touching scene, prompted by a satellite phone call from Jonathan, again allowed Donahue to shine. Facing the audience in the spotlight, Lily speaks with her father while he is trapped and dying in a crevasse on a mountain. There is no escape. He knows he will freeze to death soon. Yet Lily pleads with him to try to live, knowing there’s no hope. Anyone who has lost a loved one had to feel her pain. “Waving Goodbye,” a thought-provoking drama, will be remembered for its teen heroine, who longs for significance. It’s what everyone strives for, but the play captures the innocence of youth and how one young person deals with tragedy. By the end of the play, Pachino gives the audience the satisfaction of knowing that

Images credit Julio Nieto

Alex Drago (Amanda) and Aileen Donahue (Lily) try to comfort each other over a broken sculpture of Jonathan’s forearms and hands.

Lily has learned how to be without her father and has improved her relationship with her mother – which shows that if two people

will learn to communicate and work through their problems, they can achieve success. • November29, 2011

and resents Amanda for not being there for her. She believes her mother didn’t want her to be born, was fearful that one day Jonathan would die and leave both of them and that she is more interested in her art work and career than she is in her. As Lily struggled to accept her father’s death, she stated in one scene, “Sometimes I dream my father falls and I can’t catch him. Sometimes my father dies because I’m too insignificant to break his fall.” Pachino offers a glimmer of hope, though, with two other characters. The first is Perry Marshall, a New York art gallery owner and longtime friend of Amanda’s, and H. Bogsworth Barry, or “Boggy,” an 18-year-old male friend of Lily’s. Sasha Restrepo plays the enthusiastic Perry, who continually gives advice to Amanda and Lily. Perry, who’s overprotective, plays the mediator between mother and daughter. Perry offers Amanda a job selling some of her sculpture. Since Jonathan didn’t have any life insurance, she’s behind in her mortgage and almost broke. Lily follows suit by also wanting to work in Perry’s art gallery. Perry encourages Amanda to talk to Lily, who just wants to be noticed and acknowledged as a person, since she’s almost an adult.


Christopher Frater (Jonathan Blue) looks on at his daughter Aileen Donahue (Lily).

Alex Drago (Amanda Blue) reminisces about her husband Jonathan in a picture.

Carmara Burns (Boggy) and Aileen Donahue (Lily) embrace during an emotional scene.



Creative scenic designer finds success JOYCE JACKSON Copy Editor

Award-winning scenic designer Randel Wright visited the Richland campus earlier this month. Wright’s PowerPoint demonstration showed off his best work to aspiring drama students. Drama Department Chair Andy Long, who attended and took part in the discussion, said Wright has been named the best scenic designer in Dallas/Fort Worth and is director of design at the Dallas Children’s Theater. Wright has made a living in Dallas designing theatrical scenery and other applications of that craft. One important element he attributes to his success isn’t what he would call “legitimate theater,” but “agenda theater.” “Agenda theater is a form of entertainment that diminishes the standard definition of live theater in favor of the production of work that fits a certain agenda,” Wright said. “Now that might be just pure fluff in amusement park shows. That might be business communication in an industrial show. That might be a religious celebration in a church. These are all forms of entertainment in theater. Agenda is paramount over the standard definition of theater because it must accomplish the purposes of that agenda.” There’s a little bit more money and opportunity in agenda theater, Wright said, and he admits to doing pretty well in it over the years. Wright informed the audience how Dallas musical theater evolved. He said the Dallas Summer Musicals began with Charlie Meeker, who managed the Majestic Theater part of Interstate Theaters, a large movie chain across the Midwest. “I don’t know exactly how, but the idea of this outdoor summer musical at Fair Park in the band shell got started,” Wright said. Meeker agreed to run the musicals. “Charlie Meeker came up with this idea before anyone else in the country did,” Wright said. “He wanted to get shows on stage here in Dallas quickly, after they opened on Broadway, even if it was two or three years after the show opened in New York.” Meeker would hire one well-known star, an actor with a marketable name, Wright said, get a few supporting actors from New York and hire the rest locally. Next came Peter Wolf, a New York designer who did the first season. “Wolf dazzled the audience with this scenery,” Wright said. “The summer musicals became a huge, huge hit – and very successful

financially because of this formula that Charlie Meeker put together.” Wright said eventually Meeker’s formula started evolved and summer musical organizations all across the country copied it because it was a money-making operation. Tours started and soon thereafter, New York started doing the same in the early 1980s. Wright said that everyone then wanted to work in theater at the Dallas Summer Musicals. Auditions were huge. Hundreds of dancers and singers showed up. It was a big event. “My main point was that Charlie Meeker and Peter Wolf – they did something that was brand new to this area and to the nation, really,” Wright said. This was happening at a time when Neiman Marcus was becoming known and oil money was flowing into Dallas. “This environment is what eventually created this glamorous Texas mystique. It’s bigger in Texas. It’s larger than life. It’s more extravagant than you could imagine,” Wright said. Wright worked with Wolf, learned how he pitched the idea of a concept and finally decided to branch out on his own by forming a company identical to Wolf’s. After a decade, Wright began to see theatrical plays not as productions but as literature. It was a turning point for him. “When I saw it [a play] as literature, then I began to be able to have philosophical points of view about the play or maybe psychological points of view about the characters,” he said. “Once I was at that level, then I was able to come up with concepts that had something to say about the work that was very notable. From that, I developed what I say today, which is that I try to find notable expressions of literature.” A few years ago, Wright challenged himself by taking some creative writing courses. He recalled how he as a child enjoyed listening to Jane Goodall and her amazing rapport with chimpanzees. He met Goodall for an interview, pursued writing about her and eventually discovered that no one had ever written anything about her for the theater. “I was a scenic designer but somehow or other, I found another way to take that same creative process and channel that into another skill,” Wright said. “I think we can all do that.” As a result of Wright’s creative efforts, he has continued work on the Goodall project. Long is working with Wright and others on it to workshop a new play in his Acting II and III classes and, at some point in the future, it will be done at Richland, he said. • November 29, 2011

“I was a scenic designer but somehow or other, I found another way to take that same creative process and channel that into another skill.” -Randel Wright


Image credit Joyce Jackson

Randel Wright (left) and Andy Long compare notes on a PowerPoint demonstration for a discussion on scenic design.







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What’s wrong with violent lyrics? JOE STUMPO Columnist

A few weeks ago, while working out with my fitness trainer, I heard a song on the radio for the first time this year titled “Pumped Up Kicks” by the American pop group Foster the People. Granted, I am not much into what the younger-than-40 generation listens to today, but I thought the song had a good beat to it and was the kind of tune people might dance to at a nightclub. “Pumped Up Kicks” is one of those songs that blends something really familiar with something that’s very modern,” the band’s vocalist, guitarist and keyboardist Mark Foster said in an interview with Billboard magazine. “It’s a song where you could lie on the couch and listen to it or you can get up and dance around the room to it.” Like the late Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab,” whose opening line, They tried to get me to go to rehab. I said, “no, no, no,” I could not get the lyrics out of my head for a few days after she passed away in July. I soon found myself singing the chorus lyrics of “Pumped Up Kicks” and I didn’t feel the least bit guilty about it, although I am sure some of you might find the lyrics disturbing. They go like this:

All the other kids with the pumped up kicks You’d better run, better run, outrun my gun All the other kids with the pumped up kicks You’d better run, better run, faster than my bullet

Even as I write this column, I can’t stop singing those lines to myself. If I had shed any disgust over the song’s lyrics, my reaction would have been the equivalent of that scene in “Easy A” (2010) where, despite calling Natasha Bedingfield’s “A Pocket Full of Sunshine” “the worst song ever!” Olive (Emma Stone) winds up singing it to herself several times one weekend while doing her nails and taking a shower. When my trainer told me the lyrics from “Pumped Up Kicks” had to do Image courtesy with a mall shooting that happened a while back, my only question was, “Which shooting?” If there was any Foster the People is an American indie pop band from California. Their hit song “Pumped Up Kicks” has consecutively topped the charts. controversy surrounding this song I know I would have heard about it, much like the controversy that plagued rock Manson’s music, along with violent movies, songs are appropriate to listen to. artist Marilyn Manson after Eric Harris’ and influenced the two shooters. Hearing people analyzing a hit song’s supDylan Klebold’s killing spree at Columbine Trouble is, I couldn’t find much proof posedly dark lyrics makes me want to repeat High School in April 1999. It was argued that while searching the Internet that the lyrics the comment that Nick, the cynical drugof “Pumped Up Kicks” had any connec- dealing character William Hurt played in tion to any violence nor did I find it to be “The Big Chill” (1983), said to his college about the December 2007 Westroads Mall buddy Sam (Tom Berenger) while watching shooting in Omaha, Neb. where 19-year-old a movie. Robert Hawkins killed nine people, including “You’re so analytical,” Nick says. “Somehimself. times you just have to let art flow over you.” The only connection I could find with this Songs like “Pumped Up Kicks” don’t necsong is the person’s name mentioned in the essarily influence some disturbed individual lyrics. His plan was to go postal as “Robert.” to go on a killing spree. Chances are the per‘“Pumped Up Kicks’ is about a kid that son harboring those thoughts was already basically is losing his mind and is plotting re- screwed up mentally long before he ever venge,” Foster told Spinner UK in a quote heard the lyrics. on To quote one woman’s comment I read “He’s an outcast. I feel like the youth in on the “Pumped Up Kicks” Facebook page, our culture are becoming more and more which has over 11,000 likes on whether or isolated. It’s kind of an epidemic. Instead of not listening to this song will cause her to go writing about victims and some tragedy, I off the deep end one day, she wrote, “I love wanted to get into the killer’s mind, like Tru- it! No change in behavior yet.” man Capote did in “In Cold Blood.” I love to write about characters. That’s my style. I really like to get inside the heads of other people and try to walk in their shoes.” I suppose I would have felt differently if the group’s 2011 music video of the song, which boasts 24 million hits on YouTube’s VEVO channel, actually told a four-minute Members Wanted C.C. Island House is Seeking story about a kid plotting revenge. What is Talented Steel Band Members and Drummers. shown, however, are clips of the band members having fun in and out of the recording All Interested Candidates Please Contact Trini studio. The difference between the way I listen to Phone: 214-622-7819 music and what others might do is I listen to Email: songs in hopes of being entertained. I don’t look up the lyrics from various bands to see Or mail resume to: 2205 Foreman St. Dallas, TX. 75210 if they are referencing drug use, sex and vioImage courtesy Columbia Records lence and then decide whether or not those


Looking For Steel Band Players • November 29, 2011

Drumming Up Support



Is it possible to eat right at Richland?

Contributing Writers

Whether you’re a transition student with dual enrollment, a freshman just out of high school or a more mature student attending college after many years in the “real world,” you are in grave danger of a new epidemic; the Freshman 15 or a variant called the Freshman 40! Yes, with your new sedentary lifestyle of lectures, studying long hours and perhaps no parents watching what you’re eating and no state-mandated standards on what is offered at the school cafeteria, you and your classmates may suffer from excessive weight gain and other health hazards. With limited funds, limited time and perhaps limited information about how to eat a well-balanced meal, it is little wonder that students have difficulty making good food choices. But is it impossible to get your degree or certificate without sacrificing your waistline or your health? We spoke with several students in the lunch area about these issues and learned that Richland College actually had a traditional cafeteria at one time. According to Ron Gorman, an art major and older student returning for his fourth degree, “When I first started here in the 1990s they had a traditional cafeteria-style cafeteria, where you could go in and get an entrée and it could be pot roast, or meatloaf or vegetable medley, with a wide variety of sauces, and you could plan your own meal.” What Richland campus offers now is Subway and a few food items in the bookstore; mostly candy, granola bars, sodas and juices. Most students expressed a desire to eat right, but had trouble finding food on campus that was both convenient and nutritious. Business law major Chris Anuwe told us, “Sometimes if it’s more convenient to grab something fast, I’ll grab something fast, but

Chris Anuwe eats a vegetable Subway sandwich.

most of the time, for the most part, I like to your colon and digestive tract caused by the eat healthy. I tend to eat a lot of nutrient-rich length of time it takes meat to digest. Highly food, diet supplements with minerals and vi- processed foods can also create a weaker ditamins and try to eat organic food.” gestive tract making it harder for the body to Asjad Azam, who’s an undecided major, process and release toxins. said that he makes food choices based on Researchers point out that more than taste and nutrition, but, “If something tastes enough calcium and protein can be obtained really good but I know it’s bad for me, I try from eating plenty of vegetables, especially not to eat it.” When asked if he considers the the dark, green varieties. What everyone food pyramid when making dietary choices, seems to agree on is, we need to eat more Azam said, “No, I have all the foods incor- fresh vegetables and whole grains. porated into my diet.” He then admitted that Whatever diet you choose, it should be he eats only three servings of vegetables daily your conscious choice based on factual inwhile the RDA is 4-5 servings. formation, not on the options the marketing Several students pointed out that most of masters at the food counter place in front of what is available in the vending machines and you. in the bookstore is junk food. Subway offers The consensus is that breakfast and lunch greasy pizza (and you have to order a whole are the primary problems. While a rare pizza, not just a student or two slice), cookies and claimed they eat sandwiches on eggs, toast and starchy breads. juice for breakfast They do sell sliced on a daily basis, apples (no longer the overwhelmfresh and partially ing majority of oxidized), yogurt, students we spoke fruit juice and tea. with admitted to A frozen avocado eating a single can be purchased, piece of fruit or but allow thaw skipping breakfast time. entirely. Boredom with This is a big the limited lunch mistake. There is a options is andirect correlation other concern. Ron Gorman samples pizza and soda for lunch. between eating a Sophomore nurshearty and nutriing major Elizabeth Bustamonte said, “I’ve tious breakfast and a high GPA according to been coming here for a while, and eating at the research. Diets deficient in omega-3 fatty Subway every day doesn’t really make me acids, like those found in salmon, kiwis, and happy. I mean, I’d like to have more varieties almonds, have shown in studies to be linked of foods, like some universities offer, but I to attention deficit disorder, or ADD, as well know it’s a community college.” When told as dyslexia and depression. Students who that Richland used to have such a cafeteria, wish to improve their learning skills, as well she expressed surprise and said she wished as memory, need diets complete with omegathey would bring back the full-service cafete- 3 as well as folic acid that can be found in ria. spinach and orange juice. Surprisingly, we discovered that all of the Lunch is a challenge that can be overcome students we randomly polled actually wanted with a little planning. Students often resort to eat healthily. Most knew that they should to the convenience and cost effectiveness avoid junk food, fast food and sodas and of fast food. Over-consumption not only should eat more fruit, vegetables and home- causes an adverse effect on studying, but can cooked meals. But many didn’t know exactly also lead to health problems. what or how much they should be eating. Many students pack a good sack lunch That’s understandable, given that the food from leftovers at home along with fruit and pyramid changes occasionally. fresh carrots and celery or salad. Depending Where most people go wrong is in not eat- on your schedule, you might be able to eat a ing enough vegetables and whole grains, fill- late breakfast of slow-burning proteins (eggs, ing up on starches or empty calories instead. for instance), which will give you physical The food pyramid is a good basic guide, but and mental energy for five-plus hours so that each person must customize it for them- you can make it home for a late but nutritious selves. Religious dietary restrictions, allergies, lunch. If you do find yourself on campus finances, personal values and genetic ten- hungry with nothing to eat, you can go for a dencies need to be taken into consideration. granola bar (at the bookstore), some yogurt, Also, since most foods are grown in mineral an apple or special order some vegetables at and nutrient-depleted soil, it is necessary to Subway. be aware of possible nutrient deficiencies. A poor diet can also be the culprit leading Nutritionists tell us that meat and dairy to a weaker immune system. The easy fast consumption should be very limited or food choice for a meal is a quick fix for huneliminated because of health dangers from ger, but a decision that affects the heart. Resynthetic hormones, as well as the danger to fined carbohydrates and trans and saturated

Images credit Sandra Clark

KJ Anderson enjoys breakfast before class.

fat as found in most fast food are the leading causes of inflammation of the heart. Left untreated, this will lead to heart disease. Selecting the fast food option for any meal can lead to inadvertent overeating, since most meals come in oversized combos. Overeating can cause you to be sluggish, which can lead to “revving” up by eating a candy bar from the vending machine. This is not a long-term solution because the candy bar’s sugar will cause a short energy burst, followed by more sluggishness. Unless you want to spend a fortune on endless candy bars to fuel you and don’t care about the dangers of obesity, you might want to investigate another way to energize your body. Self-medicating with Red Bull, Adderall and caffeine or gum are not good options, either. Most energy drinks like Red Bull contain the same amount of caffeine as a dozen soft drinks and can result in nervousness, anxiety, tremors, rapid heartbeat and, in rare cases, death. Unless prescribed by a doctor, Adderall is illegal and dangerous because you can easily overdose, and it often has adverse effects. Caffeine has been linked to breast cancer, dehydration and stress. The sugar-free gums are sweetened with Aspartame, which has been proven to damage the brain. Is that really what you want? Most students want to eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet. It isn’t easy to do on this campus, given the challenges students face. It will take some effort. You will have to want to be healthy badly enough to take a few simple steps to plan ahead and perhaps change your eating habits. The first and most important step, of course, is to make a choice. Will you choose the pleasures of short-term convenience or the pleasure of long-term health? It’s entirely up to you. • November 29, 2011




Vol. XXXIV, Issue 15, November 29, 2011