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Vol. XXXIX, Issue 9 March 25, 2014

‘The Nerd’ review:

Pg. 3

Literary arts festival: Pg. 6

Official Chronicle Outlets

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2 March 25, 2014


‘The Nerd’: Obnoxious guest = comedy at its best

Staff Photo Sayako Metoki

Joyce Jackson Copy Editor

There’s nothing more irritating than having unwelcome guests arrive who are totally obnoxious. They overstay their visit. What do you do? The distressed characters in Richland’s March 8 hilarious production of “The Nerd” by Larry Shue were faced with that alarming question. Drama chair and director Andy Long could not have chosen a more superb cast to keep the audience laughing for nearly two hours. The minimal plot is based on a successful architect, Willum Cubbert (Kevin Dang), who gets the surprise of his life from a down-andout chalk inspector who arrives unexpectedly – and has no intention of leaving. Willum made a promise to Rick Steadman, who saved his life while they were in the Vietnam War. Steadman courageously dragged Willum’s wounded body on the battlefield one and a half miles to safety. Since Willum was unconscious, he never met Rick. Through the years Willum told him by correspondence, “So long as I’m alive, you will have someone on this earth who will do anything for you. I mean it. Money? A place to stay? Anything.” Big mistake! The action takes place at an apartment in Terre Haute, Ind., on Nov. 4, 1982, as Willum’s tenants and friends, Tansy McGinnis and Axel Hammond, throw him a surprise 34th birthday party. Soon thereafter, just as Willum is about to entertain a new client, Warnock Waldgrave and his family, for a quiet dinner, Rick unexpectedly arrives dressed in a hideous gorilla suit, all revved up for a costume party and ready for some fun. From that moment on, Willum’s peaceful existence ends.

Johnny Blanford had the most difficult and challenging role of the obnoxious Rick, but he pulled it off with an extraordinary performance throughout the entire production. Kudos to costume designer Misty Clark for Rick’s outlandish attire, which added to his pompous role – black slacks too high at the waist and too short at the ankles, a white shirt and red suspenders with brightly striped multi-colored socks. And, the classic symbol of a nerd, some black glasses. In the funniest scenes, Rick traipses across the stage with toilet paper dragging from his shoe – something every person dreads, but which delights an audience. He disrupts Willum’s peace by shaking his tambourine and spoofing “The Star-Spangled Banner.” He follows Rick like a shadow. Blanford perfected the most annoying, high-pitched speech to complement his role. It was a joy to watch him perform in every scene he was in. Other crazed characters helped keep the audience in stitches, especially the Waldgraves. The contrast between the husband, Warnock, and his wife, Clelia, was exceptional. David Escamilla, as Warnock, commanded the stage with his loud, gruff, deep voice as he spouted off about his wife and young daughter, Thor (Ruby Long, 9). Jordan Bechtol portrayed the timid, soft-spoken Clelia, who was plagued with a bizarre obsession – to release stress she needed to break dishes, preferably a dish from Woolworth’s. To watch her in one fantastic scene take a saucer, nonchalantly grab a napkin from her purse, wrap up the saucer and smash it with a hammer was just downright hilarious. And Ruby was especially good at being bad by whining, running in and out of doors and stomping her feet. Amanda Alch had the delightful role of the pretty blonde, vivacious Tansy, Willum’s love interest, and Gustavo Rodriguez excelled at

portraying the arrogant Axel, with his sarcastic remarks and sly attitude. So how does this awkward dilemma end? Willum finally demands that Rick leave. But only after some exciting pandemonium on stage, involving some “hideous pagan rituals.” Shue cleverly shocked the audience with a surprise twist at the end. The man who claimed to be Rick [Blanford] is not the real Rick Steadman, but an imposter, an actor by the name of Kemp Hall who left phone messages on the answering machine pretending to be another man, Red Graham, who wanted Willum to build a housing estate in Virginia for him.

Finally, the last surprise is when Blanford again entered the scene, but this time he’s dressed as a suave young man in a tux with a deep voice that sounds like an intelligent businessman. Together, Axel and Kemp reveal that they wonder what the real Rick Steadman is like. They assume he’s probably a nice fellow. Axel’s excuse for deceiving Willum was simple: “He just needed to have his life interfered with a little.” On the serious side, it meant that Willum stopped being such a pushover. But it didn’t matter to the audience because it had to be one of the funniest comedies any of them had ever seen. During the curtain call, a standing ovation showed that.

Tuesday, March 25: 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Richland College Composition Recital. Fannin Performance Hall

Office of Student Life in El Paso Hall, Room E-040 before the event.

Upcoming events Wednesday, March 26: Noon to 1 p.m. “Spring Break Welcome Back Concert” El Paso Hall The Steel Band will entertain on the cafeteria stage to get everyone back in the swing of things after a welcomed spring break. Thursday, April 3: 11 a.m. on “So You Think You Can Dance” contest Cafeteria Pit - El Paso Hall The Richland Style Dance competition is on and students are getting revved up to win. Try out with any style of dance, but no more than one minute. Perform solo or in a group. Prizes are: First place, $100; second place, $75 and third place, $50. Sign up in the

Monday - Friday, March 24-28 Sabine Hall Health Professions Information Days A variety of speakers will be available this week to inform students interested in the medical profession, from transferring to four-year schools to the fields of pharmacy, nutrition, physiciian’s assistant, among many others. For information about times and rooms, pick up a brochure in Sabine Hall, Room 205, call Mike Bell at 972-2386015 or email him at

During inclement weather when schoul is in session, call 972-238-6196 to see if Rlchland will be open or watch any of the local TV stations by 6 a.m. March 25, 2014

Johnny Blanford (left), as the obnoxious nerd Rick, shocks Tansy (Amanda Alch), Willum (Kevin Dang) and Axel (Gustavo Rodriguez) in one of many funny scenes.



Possible March Madness makeover? Gabriel flores Staff Writer March 25, 2014

March Madness is the peak of the college basketball season with 68 teams playing a nationwide tournament to crown the national champion. March has been known to provide some memorable moments and been the stomping ground for future NBA stars like Carmelo Anthony at Syracuse in 2002 or Mario Chalmer’s last-second shot against Derrick Rose’s Memphis squad in 2008. But the tournament does have its flaws. Deserving teams like SMU being left out of the dance, for instance. Chad Brown, a 22-year-old communications major, said, “SMU by far was the biggest snub.” Brown added that snubs “don’t happen often.” Brown prefers the NCAA over the NBA. What if the NCAA adopted an NBA-style season format? The 32 current conferences would each send one representative to the tournament. Each conference would have eight seeds to qualify for the conference tournament consisting of four three-game playoffs to determine the conference champ and the champs would move on to the 32-team national tournament. The national tournament would be a series of single-elimination games until the round of


eight where the previous three-game playoff format would take place again. With a series format based on seeding, the weight of each and every game would be magnified creating harder-fought, more intense battles on the court. The series format would force teams to repeat solid performances and leave less room for pretenders to advance in the tournament. Communications major Spencer Head, 24, seemed to agree. “There are too many teams,” he said. Head, in regard to the quality of the tournament, said that there is a “big gap in talent” and creates a “watered down product.” Head prefers the NBA playoffs over the tournament because “best team wins,” adding that a“seven-game series shows you who can really win.” Fire protection major Darnell Green, 25, doesn’t like “the way the system is set up” (NCAA). From a practical standpoint the likelihood of an NBA-style season and postseason would never come into fruition due to close proximity to the NBA playoffs and TV contracts. The system is deigned to make money. Last year’s NCAA tournament brought in the most revenue in the last 15 years. But, suppose it happened? Would the NCAA tournament be better for it? Could we see even more intensity? Produce even more drama? I hope so.

Staff illustration Lora Advincula


Image courtesy

Bill Marks (Liam Neeson), uses force to find the mysterious person threatening to kill a passenger every 20 minutes in the thriller ‘Non-Stop.’


If you’re looking for intense thrills and suspense, “Non-Stop” is the ideal movie for you. You’ll have all the excitement you need for one day in this thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. Liam Neeson, the hot and sexy lead, can still mesmerize an audience. This time he isn’t searching for a lost daughter or missing wife, as he did in the “Taken” movies. In “Non-Stop,” he’s playing Bill Marks, a weary U.S. air marshal with a drinking problem, a nice change of pace for this fascinating actor. Mark boards a transatlantic flight from New York to London, expecting a routine trip, as many of us would, and when a beautiful redhead named Jen Summers (Julianne Moore) gets the window seat near him. So much the better but this is not a romance, so don’t count on seeing any sexy scenes in the restroom with these two. As one would expect, right after takeoff a frightening text appears on his cell phone. Suddenly, the trip turns into a possible death flight. Someone on the plane texts him that one passenger will die every 20 minutes unless the airline transfers $150 million into an offshore account.

His job now turns into a crisis and he has to stop the killer. He gets some help from Nancy, the flight attendant, played by Michelle Dockery. The plane is packed full, more threatening texts appear and Marks struggles to find the killer when half the people on the plane are busily engaged in cell phone use. Tension rises as he encounters fights and gunplay. Eventually, the airline discovers what is going on, but instead of helping Marks, the tide turns and they accuse him of being a hijacker, making threats and demanding money. Passengers panic; all hell breaks loose. A newscaster broadcasts on the plane’s movie screens that Marks is the criminal. That this news and his picture would appear on them seemed a little unrealistic. It would be a shame if I told you who the real killer/killers are, but I will say that the intensity builds right up to the end with an especially clever ending bent on keeping the plane from crashing. However, as much as I liked this movie, it’s not for anyone who’s planning a flight anytime soon. One last scene will thrill you if Neeson is your idol. He flashes a sexy smile at Jen (Moore) – a good sign for romance. (Others in the movie are: Nate Parker, Scoot McNairy, Corey Stoll, Lupita Nyong’o and Omar Metwally) Grade: B+

Ricky miller Entertainment Editor

Liam Neeson makes a pretty darn good action hero. In his latest flick, “Non-Stop,” he’s Bill Marks, a United States marshal with a slight drinking predicament. He also has a nicotine habit that he remedies by jerry rigging the smoke detector so he can squeeze in a drag off his cigarette. The threat he faces is from an unknown individual who states that a different passenger will get killed every 20 minutes unless his demands are met. Alongside the Sandra Bullock stinker that was “The Net,” this was one of the few times I’ve seen a cellphone used to send and receive messages and threats. More recently, I liked him in the first “Taken,” wherein Neeson traveled overseas to rescue his daughter from some nefarious gangsters. He was equally awesome in the title role of “Rob Roy” in 1995. I did not loathe this movie, rather I just wasn’t enthralled with Marks and his so-called entanglement. Julianne Moore provides support as fellow passenger Jen Summers, a physical therapist

who says she does a lot of traveling for her job. She and Neeson share an easygoing rapport that translates to the screen. Recent Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o of “12 Years a Slave” has a small supporting role as Gwen, a flight attendant on the endangered plane. Her character provides the necessary vim and vigor in the part. Director Jaume Collet-Sera directed Neeson in 2011’s “Unknown,” another letdown of a flick which used mistaken identity scenarios that were pulled as a trigger for a flick that dabbled in nothing more than sheer mediocrity. At least a strong helping of antics and ridiculous shenanigans encapsulate the storytelling of the so-so “Non-Stop.” Grade: C March 25, 2014

‘Non-Stop’ - Medium high?



Steel steals the show

STUDENT MEDIA LEADERS Editor-in-Chief Layout Editor Sports Editor Entertainment Editor Radio News Director Copy Editor

Pete Shannon Staff Writer

A tasty touch of Trinidad paid a thumping visit to Richland’s Fannin Hall during the noon hour on Tuesday, March 18. More than a dozen talented percussionists pounded their way through a three-set program of delightful pieces featuring steel, snare and bongo drums, plus miramba, xylophone, synth-bass and vibraphone with some electric guitar thrown in just to keep the decibels at a memorable level. The outstanding part in the first set, which included the Richland Percussion Group, was Shadaira Scott, who gave a fierce rendition of Mitch Markovitch’s “Tornado” on a single snare drum. It was enough to make the rafters rattle. With her feet wide apart in a stance that dared the poor drum to resist, at times she waved and bobbed and flung her hands high in flourishes, and at others she tilted her head or knitted her brow as her lips pursed in intensity. It was a performance that displayed amazing skill and appreciation for the complete range of possibilities that can be wrested from a simple drum. The second and third sets were presented by the dozen or more players who make up the Richland Steel Band. The steel drum, or “pan,” is a relatively modern musical instrument of Caribbean origin, dating from the 1950s, but don’t let its obvious “industrial”

ON THE COVER In ‘The Nerd’, Johnny Blanford as Rick (minus bag on head) teases Tansy, Willum, Axel, Clelia and Warnock in a crazy game with bags, much to the delight of the audience. (Actors, left to right): Amanda Alch, Johnny Blanford, Kevin Dang, Gustavo Rodriguez (seated) and Jordan Bechtol.

COVER AND FONTS Staff Photo by Sayako Metoki Cover Certain fonts are provided by the following: -

Staff Photo Melanie Brandow

The Steel Sound Band rocks to “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana.

ancestry from an oil barrel give the impression that it’s in any way crude or unsophisticated. In fact, it’s a very intricate marvel whose creation begins with a sledgehammer but ends with the use of a strobe light by a specialist technician for delicate tuning. The concave metal skin of the drum head becomes very thin in the center due to stretching when the barrel top is first hammered down into a dish. The Steel Sound Band first rendered a group of various percussion pieces and then launched into a final set featuring works by Jeff Narell. In his introductory remarks pertaining to this section, music professor Derrick Logozzo, himself a “steely” from his March 25, 2014

Literary arts festival under way


Dr. Stephen Templin, a New York Times bestselling author, will be the featured speaker at Richland’s 31st annual Literary Arts Festival, to be held from March 25-27 in the Lago Vista Library. Templin and co-author Howard E. Wasdin published “Easy Day for the Dead: A SEAL Team Six Outcasts,” a 2013 novel. He will speak from 10:10 to 11:05 a.m. March 26. Templin holds a Ph.D. in education and teaches university courses in English, teaching English to speakers of other languages, applied linguistics and intercultural communication. Other speakers include Bonnie Friedman, author of “Writing Past Dark: Envy, Fear, Distraction and Other Dilemmas in the Writer’s Life,” 11 a.m. to noon March 25. The book was a Village Voice best-seller. Poet Frederick Turner, best known for his use of the longer genres, the narrative, science fiction and strict metrical forms, will speak from 11:15 a.m. to 12:10 p.m. March 26. Turner attended the University of Oxford, where he obtained the degrees of B. A., M. A., and B. Litt., a terminal degree equivalent to the Ph.D. in English language and literature. He was naturalized as a U.S. citizen in 1977. Turner’s epic poems, “The New World” and “Genesis,” have been the subject of several critical studies, theses and dissertations.

Kisten S. Chetty Lora Advincula Blanca Reyes Ricky Miller Carla Davis Joyce Jackson

He is currently Founders Professor of Art and Humanities at the University of Texas at Dallas. Dr. Jason Shelton, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Arlington, will speak on the sociology of religion, the intersections of race, class and attitudes about a number of political and social issues from 12:20 to 1:20 p.m. March 27. His first book, “Blacks and Whites in Christian America: How Racial Discrimination Shapes Religious Convictions,” won the Southern Conference on African-American Studies 2012 C. Calvin Smith Award for the most distinguished scholarly book on African-American Studies published in that year. Novelist David Haynes will speak from 11 a.m. to noon March 27 about his short stories and creative nonfiction, which explore the issues of class, race, gender and generational difference. His most recent novel is “A Star in the Face of the Sky.” In memory of Richland professor and poet Joe Stanco, the English faculty and guests will share their own original works of poetry and prose from 12:30 to 1:50 p.m. March 27. The English department, English professor Patrick Murphy and the Office of Student Life are sponsoring this event. Flyers are available in the library. — Joyce Jackson

college days, pointed out that several players in the percussion group on stage were also power-performers on other instruments in other Richland music ensembles, and he invited anyone to contact him if they had an interest in learning to play this challenging but rewarding instrument. He also reminded everyone that Narrel, a nationally known steel drum composer and recording artist, will be a special guest at the upcoming Richland Carnival of Steel, a popular annual all-day event to be held on campus April 26. In summary, the overall effects of Tuesday’s concert were quite striking.

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Fiscal insanity or fiscal responsibility? RAYMOND THOMAS PRONK Staff Writer

Part 1 appeared in the March 4 issue of the Chronicle. Fiscal insanity is rampant in Washington among the ruling elites in the Democratic and Republican parties. In February Congress suspended the national debt ceiling through March 15, 2015 thereby increasing it to nearly $18 trillion. On March 4 President Barack Obama proposed a fiscal year 2015 U.S. Federal Government Budget to Congress that is massively out of balance with estimated government spending outlays exceeding total tax revenues by more than $500 billion. In order to meet its obligations and pay its bills, the federal government must borrow money. The Department of the Treasury must sell Treasury securities, including bills, notes and bonds. By doing this, the national debt of the United States is increased. Both the interest and principle on this debt must be paid off by existing and future generations of American taxpayers. In the last 12 years the massive deficit spending by both Republican and Democrat Congresses and presidents has resulted in increases in the gross national debt by nearly $10 trillion. Since Obama has been in office, the deficits for fiscal years 2009 2013 have exceeded $6 trillion and resulted in a massive increase in the national debt.

Table 2 right summarizes the increases in national debt resulting from the yearly budgetary deficits. Some would argue that once the U.S. economy begins to grow again greater than its historical growth rate of about 3 percent per year for real gross domestic product, unemployment will decline, government tax revenues will increase and deficits will be significantly reduced. The unemployment rate has been greater than 6.5 percent for the past 63 months and greater than 8 percent for 43 of these 63 months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor. The U.S. economy is growing at less than 3 percent per year, measured by real gross domestic product growth, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, Department of Commerce. Until federal spending is brought under control by cutting both discretionary spending for all departments and agencies and mandatory spending for entitlement programs including Social Security, Medicare, Obamacare, welfare programs including Medicaid, food stamps and income security, the economy will continue to stagnate with low growth rates and high unemployment rates. The time has come to live within the means of the American people and bring federal government spending under control with balanced budgets and fiscal responsibility.

Staff graphic Raymond Thomas Pronk

Sam Houston State University College of Criminal Justice March 25, 2014

Online Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice


8 March 25, 2014

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