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OPINIONS DEAN GERRY RIPOSA
r. Morel y Cruz’s letter to the editor (March 19, 2008, V. 62, Iss. 08) concerning a political poster in my office was laced with uninformed, inconsistent, and ad hominem remarks. I appreciate the Union providing me the opportunity to respond and I will keep this brief. First, Mr. Morel y Cruz , you should be aware that since the 1960’s the U.S. Supreme Court, whether in a liberal or conservative cycle, has consistently supported freedom of pure speech and symbolic speech, especially in cases involving political statements and symbols. My poster of Che easily fits the Court’s criteria of strict scrutiny. Therefore, you do not have the right to dictate what political expression goes on anyone’s wall, including mine. Second, your uniformed description of my supposed motivations for displaying a poster of Che Guevara is presumptive. You know nothing about my social and philosophical reasons for hanging the poster. Pretending you do, regardless of your inflated rhetoric, does not infuse validity into your half-baked remarks. Third, your characterization of Che Guevara is one-dimensional. Ernesto Che Guevara could have chosen a much easier path in life. He could have pursued his career in medicine anywhere, enjoying an elite lifestyle. Instead, he worked with and acted on behalf of the poor. He also chose to actively fight against European and US imperialism that backed a string of brutal dictators and fed the oppression that kept thousands in Latin America and the Caribbean in abject poverty. While Che had a darker side of aggressiveness that prompted his words that to be a successful guerrilla
EMPTY POCKETS AND A WORTHLESS DEGREE WHY BEING THIS HUNGRY ALL THE TIME JUST ISN’T WORTH IT ERIN HICKEY
A hunger for knowledge is what drove me to college, but it’s a much more literal hunger that has me considering taking the bus to soup kitchens these days. In fact the only thing stopping me from doing just that is the ninety-cent bus fare. Yeah, I’ve considered donning old-lady makeup to get the senior citizen rate, but I can’t afford the new wardrobe, or the makeup for that matter. It’s no secret that college is expensive—we go to one of the cheapest options there is, but still most of our wallets are filled with cartoon moths. Budget school my ass. I’ve had to sit through countless professors rambling on about how the Cal State system is “the best bang for your buck.” Is there a regulated phrasebook full of alliterated dribble that all professors must memorize before teaching their first GE? Well I’m not buying it (alright, in fairness, I’m not buying much of anything these days, but still). College has always been expensive, but ten years ago a college degree actually meant something. A college education guaranteed you a high-paying job upon graduation. Now a college degree doesn’t mean jack shit. It’s the equivalent of having your GED. A
friend of mine had her job application turned down by Jamba Juice because several people with college degrees had applied for the same position. So basically, you need a college degree to work a minimum wage job. Awesome. Even scarier than that is the fact that college graduates are applying for these minimum wage jobs—it means there’s nothing else out there. If a Bachelor’s degree won’t get you a livable wage, it seems your only option is graduate school. Great. Not only will you be forced to pay even more money for yet another degree, but chances are that by the time you graduate, a Master’s degree will be just as obsolete as a Bachelor’s. But don’t worry—waste only a few more years of your life and tens of thousands of dollars and you can have a Doctorate! Of course, by then those will be worthless too. Go figure. Up until the mid ‘80s, when you graduated high school, people would ask, “Are you going to college?” Now the question is, “What college are you going to?” Pretty soon it will be, “What field do you plan to get your PhD in?” I blame the high school counselors. One day, twenty years ago, some
high school counselor decided it would be a good idea to encourage all students to go to college instead of just the promising ones. Other high schools caught wind of this and picked up the practice. Not going to college was no longer an option, college degrees became common, and here we are. As children, we were the future. The future’s here and now we’re just screwed. Oh, you believe in me, high school counselor? You think that every single one of my classmates and I can and should go to college? Yeah, well thanks a fucking lot. Teachers, counselors and parents often justify the cost of college with the high-paying jobs your degree will open the doors to. “Once you get your dream job, you’ll be able to pay off all those loans you took out and then some,” they parrot back to us. Of my fifteen friends who have graduated, two have pretty decent jobs, six work jobs that just barely pay the bills, three work jobs that don’t pay the bills, and four are unemployed. None of these friends got their “dream jobs.” I don’t like those odds. I’m not asking for six figures, just a steady job that allows me to live at a reasonably comfortable level. Doesn’t seem like too much to ask of a college degree, but apparently it is. Heck, I’d even settle for not being on welfare. If only the government would start building fewer universities and more soup kitchens. UNION WEEKLY
9 APRIL 2008
A RESPONSE TO GERARD MOREL Y CRUZ’S “WHAT HAS CHE DONE FOR YOU” (3/19)
revolutionary one had to become “an efficient and selective” killing machine, he also had the capacity for great compassion and respect for human life, even for a vanquished enemy solider. His role in the over throw of Cuba’s dictator Batista is undisputable, but Che saw this victory as only one step in the larger fight again imperialism that sucked the resources out of developing nations. This drive would cost him his life in Bolivia where he was wounded, captured, and later murdered by the US-backed Barrientos dictatorship. Since his death in 1967, he has become an international symbol for taking action— not necessarily violence—to eradicate class oppression. More than simply pop art, as you suggest, Che also symbolizes for many the courage to engage in seemingly overwhelming social, economic and political challenges. No one who seriously looks at Che’s life will find the perfect revolutionary; yet, they will find a person who blended realism with idealism in his endeavor to change the world. But perhaps his charisma, his continued attraction especially for the young, is best summed by a quote written in the mid-1960’s: “Neither will President Johnson, our senators, our policemen, our school administrators and most of our teachers. That is why they cannot communicate with our youth. But Che can. He did and will continue to do so. He was a romantic. He lived and died for others—for a better world, a world where people can really love, instead of just ‘coming to terms,’ just compromising. That is why Che is so popular among young America. That is why he is not dead (Gerassi, 1968).” While we disagree, Mr. Morel Y Cruz, I do want to thank you for motivating me to review a number of materials covering the actions and speeches of Che. For a broader understanding of Che Guevara and his contributions to social change, I recommend that you register for a course this fall, Radical Social Analysis, to be taught in Anthropology.
UNDERSTANDING CHE GUEVARA
NOTES OF A DIRTY YOUNG MAN
OPINIONS 49ER “OUR VIEW” MISGUIDED AND POORLY RESEARCHED WHY THE 49ER CAN’T HANDLE A LITTLE CRITICISM RALPH McKAY Editor’s Note: The following letter was sent to the editor of the Daily 49er newspaper as a response to an editorial published by the 49er on March 27, 2008. Unfortunately, for unexplained reasons, this letter was rejected by the Daily 49er and denied publication. Dear Editor, Regarding your editorial 3/27/08 “Our View: Campus E-voting Could Make CSULB E-glad or E-gad,” we think it is only fair to note that BigPulse was not interviewed and none of the assertions were checked with BigPulse before publication. The piece unfairly misrepresents the integrity of the BigPulse online voting technology that ASI is using. BigPulse technology is well-seasoned, with eight years of history. It’s no longer “new” for many Student Governments. If online voting on U.S. campuses is not already the most popular voting method, it soon will be. BigPulse has never experienced a challenged election or any serious incident that compromised vote integrity. You mentioned that Sequoia Voting Systems was reportedly
YOU ARE A LIAR AND A FAKE, AND SO AM I
HOW HONESTY ISN’T THE COMMON POLICY AMONG COLLEGE STUDENTS KATRINA SAWHNEY
You should really learn to be a fantastic liar. I recently learned that the average college student lies in 30-38% of their interactions. That means the average college student is lied to about 200 times a day. If you’re like me, that’s pretty disappointing albeit a thoroughly impressive display of our skills of deception. If there is any wonder where this rain of white lies has come from, consider this: college students lie in at least 50% of conversations with their mother. I know I’ve stretched the truth a few times when talking to mum. We’re born and bred to lie. It’s sad but true. I know our sandbox days were days of honesty, but that’s just so our parents could keep control of us. At any acting audition, you are trained to tell the casting agent, “Yes! Of course I know how to [insert thing you have no idea how to do here].” In job interviews, little embellishments of skill are far from unheard of. In fact, 95% of college students are willing to lie to gain a job, and 41% already have. The deception is not just for the interview, the lies begin long before; 80% of people lie on their resumé. In reality you’re more likely to be beaten out by a fellow applicant who is simply more adroit at convincing the interviewer of a non-existent skill, experience or knowledge. At this point it’s a necessary skill in the adult world. It’s one of those instances where everyone really is doing UNION WEEKLY
9 APRIL 2008
hacked. I believe the Sequoia incident relates to voting machines, which have little to do with online voting and nothing to do with BigPulse. You also mentioned reported weaknesses in California’s electronic voting system. Again a system and technology source totally unrelated to BigPulse. BigPulse uses SSL (secured socket layer) technology throughout the system. And yet the use of SSL probably comprises less than one percent of our total security measures. You raised a separate concern, “We need to be concerned with the ASI’s and BigPulse’s ability to guard our social security numbers and electronic financial DNA.” Why you raised this point is a mystery. BigPulse does not have access to any social security numbers or financial data.
...it is only fair to note that BigPulse was not interviewed and none of the assertions were checked with BigPulse before publication. The piece unfairly misrepresents the integrity of the BigPulse online voting technology that ASI is using. You also refer to an ASI letter to students that warns against any deliberate attempt to alter the outcome of the election. BigPulse voting technology and procedure do not rely on voter honesty—this is obvious from a quick read of our website www.bigpulse.com, particularly the elections page. Clearly ASI was taking additional precautions, which may include factors unrelated to the vote harvesting technology. -Ralph McKay Founder – BigPulse USA, Inc. it. Americans, or least 10,000,000 of us, lie to the IRS every year. It costs the government 200 billion. But I’m sure all of those people worked much harder for their money than you did slaving away at a minimum wage job. Definitely take the high road. I’m not condoning anything here, I’m just saying, you may want to level the playing field. Still not on board? You refuse to be one of us liars? Well, that’s admirable. Really stupid and naïve, but hey, admirable. Well sorry to break it to you, you’re a liar. Yeah I know, you’re an honest person. You know that friend that likes to wear those really unflattering jeans? The ones that when she asks if she looks good, you know there is no salvaging the ensemble and you respond too enthusiastically, “You always look great!” You honest person you, saving your friends’ ego with white lies—the operative word there of course being “lies.” Oh, but that’s excusable because it’s not hurting anyone, right? Yeah, okay. Well then you should be A-OK with the 70% of doctors that lie to insurance companies for the benefit of their patients. Now that I have hopefully made you feel a little better about the lies running rampant through our lives at a speed of approximately seven times per hour, let me break your heart. One hundred percent of couples interviewed in this survey have lied to their significant other. I’m going to hope that these are all “No you don’t look fat in those jeans pun’kin,” kind of lies. Lies will save your career, relationships and give you an ulcer. Guilty conscience? Join the club.
AFTER THE PARTY IS THE AFTER-PARTY I throw parties. It’s one of my “jobs.” We have a little company and do about six to twelve events a month. Last Saturday we were throwing an afterparty for Flosstradamus in Downtown LA. We showed up to the venue, loaded down with alcohol for the bar, and a group of gang-bangers walked by tagging on every wall. They asked us where the party was. We told them, they smiled, and said they already knew. That was a bad sign. A few minutes later, a different crew rolled by. They crossed out the fresh paint and threw their own names over it. That was a bad sign. We set up everything inside, and were about to leave when my business partner Paul got stuck talking to one of the locals. They told him that this was a gang neighborhood and if we were going to be making money in their backyard we needed to kick them down. They were very polite. That’s just a free-market economy. Paul talked fast, told them to talk to the owner, and we left to hit up the Standard (flip your head). When we got back to the venue around 1:30 the problem had been squashed. Our security guard, Adonis, yes Adonis, talked to them and squared it all away. Let me introduce you to Adonis for a second. Actually, let me tell you how he was originally described to me: “He’s black, gay, and has a bullet in his head.” Mind you, I’m not sure if he’s black, he doesn’t seem gay, but he definitely has a bullet in his brain. He’s got the scars and instability to prove it. He is one mean, scary bastard. Did I mention he was on so much coke that his jaw looked like it had palsy and he was grinding his teeth down to the gums? Luckily, he dealt with the locals and we thought we were in the clear. But the problem is sometimes the guard dog turns on you. Over the next hour he threatened to kill me, at least, half-adozen times. I think he threatened to kill Paul far more. That’s doing business. I threaten, I get threatened. It’s usually just a lot of big talk. But sometimes it goes beyond talking. A friend of ours was leaving, it was about four-thirty in the morning, and screamed something as he left. Adonis, out of his bullet carrying mind, went straight at him and punched him in the face. A bottle was quickly broken over his head and chemical infused blood began to pour everywhere. He staggered back upstairs with a previously white towel, now soaked red. They loaded him in the back of a car and he was taken to the hospital. It wasn’t all bad. At least I got to see the sunrise. DEREK CROSSLEY
STEVEN CAREY Art Director
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ERIN HICKEY, JOSEPH BRYANT, RYAN ZUMMALLEN
RYAN KOBANE Advertising Representative
BREE HOPWOOD, ALLAN STEINER Advertising Representatives CHRIS BARRETT Internet Caregiver
PHILIP VARGAS On-Campus Distribution VINCENT GIRIMONTE Off-Campus Distribution
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR MY VEGAS VEINS
hree years ago, I made my first pilgrimage to Las Vegas. I was only twenty-years-old at the time. I had a great job (lots of expendable income), and my best friend was turning twenty-one. “What could go wrong?” I asked myself. My ID was completely legit, I was an experienced gambler (or so I thought), and we were only staying two nights. Thirteen hundred dollars later and all I had to show for it was a massive whiskey-induced hangover and a complete disdain for everything Vegas had to offer. I swore to myself that I would never again choose to visit this place. I’ve been asked numerous times to join friends, I’ve even been offered to have my room paid for, but I just wasn’t ready. The thought of another “free” Corona at the Bellogio’s sports book still makes me cringe. And no matter how good the Mos Def show was that we saw, it couldn’t make up for my propensity to bet on the long
INSIDE THE UNION OPINIONS PAGE 3
Dean Riposa fires back... CHE YAAAA
MUSIC PAGE 10
Katrina Sawhney and Erin Hickey salute Don DeLillo and Madlibs (which are pretty much the same thing anyway).
DARREN DAVIS, MILES LEMAIRE, CHRIS BARRETT, ANDREW WILSON, MICHAEL VEREMANS, CHRISTINE HODINH, JESSE BLAKE, DEREK CROSSLEY, CHRISTOPHER TROUTMAN, JAMES KISLINGBURY, PHILIP VARGAS, DAVID FAULK, PAUL HOVLAND, KATRINA SAWHNEY, ALLAN STEINER, RUSSELL CONROY, KEN C., JOSEPH BRYANT, BRIAN NEWHARD, LAURA SARDISCO, ERIC BRYAN, LEAH MCKISSOCK, MARCUS BOCKMAN
COMICS PAGE 16
The stories just keep on keepin on.
Disclaimer and Publication Information
The Union Weekly is published using ad money and partial funding provided by the Associated Students, Inc. All Editorials are the opinions of the writer, and are not necessarily the opinions of the Union Weekly, the ASI, or of CSULB. All students are welcome and encouraged to be a part of the Union Weekly staff. All letters to the editor will be considered for publication. However, CSULB students will have precedence. All outside submissions are due by Thursday, 5 PM to be considered for publishing the following week and become property of the Union Weekly. Please include name, major, class standing, and phone number for all submissions. They are subject to editing and will not be returned. Letters will be edited for grammar, spelling, punctuation, and length. The Union Weekly will publish anonymous letters, articles, editorials and illustrations, but they must have your name and information attached for our records. Letters to the editor should be no longer than 500 words. The Union Weekly assumes no responsibility, nor is it liable, for claims of its advertisers. Grievance procedures are available in the Associated Students business office. Questions? Comments? MAIL : 1212 Bellflower Blvd. Suite 256A, Long Beach, CA 90815 PHONE : 562.985.4867 FAX : 562.985.5684 E-MAIL : email@example.com WEB : www.lbunion.com
LITERATURE PAGE 15
CULTURE PAGE 18
RANDOM RANTS PAGE 6
Ryan Kobane and Kathy Miranda bitch about cell phones and closed roads.
SPORTS PAGE 7
A diagnosis of the Dirtbags slide and why the rest of the Big West Conference should be thanking us.
A trip to Vegas sends Matt Dupree on a wild drug-induced ride...what a surprise. Also Sean Boulger runs his mouth off about Daft Punk.
VINCENT GIRIMONTE News Director KATHY MIRANDA Opinions Editor RYAN ZUMMALLEN Sports Editor VICTOR CAMBA Comics Editor KATIE REINMAN Creative Arts Editor EARL GREY Grunion Editor ERIN HICKEY Literature Editor & PR MIKE PALLOTTA Entertainment Editor SEAN BOULGER Music Editor & PR RACHEL RUFRANO Culture Editor RYAN KOBANE Photography Director
showed up at the House of Blues only moments before Justice was to take the stage. As I handed a few extra tickets to someone in line and our nearly fifteen-person group took to the venue, I felt as if my luck was finally changing. Vegas decided to embrace me. When the Justice cross lit up and I turned around from the photo pit to see the crowd, I was stunned. Hundreds of robots moving, jumping, waving, sweating, dancing, and what seemed like praying stood before me. Never before had I seen such a spectacle at a concert. I was in a daze when I finally escaped after the first encore (not knowing that bands still play two encores). I was smiling from ear to ear and ready for anything Vegas was willing to throw at me. Ideas and words were tossed around but nothing stuck, that is until someone suggested karaoke. The rest of the night was innocently spent drinking cheap drinks and watching what had to be Vegas locals wail over tracks of metal and hip hop. Or at least that’s what I’m willing to tell you guys. As we checked out of the room the next morning I searched through my pockets for any loose change that was left. I had to play at least one slot machine. I left with empty pockets.
Learn how to date in Long Beach. We don’t really know, but we like giving advice on stuff we know nothing about. UNION WEEKLY
9 APRIL 2008
RYAN KOBANE Editor-In-Chief ERIN HICKEY Managing Editor MIKE PALLOTTA Associate Editor MATT DUPREE Associate Editor RYAN KOBANE Business Manager
shot or my determination to “learn” the game of craps. Vegas scared me for far too long, and just as many other college students did on their spring break, I revisited the scene of the crime, by choice. Thanks to our fellow student media practitioners down at Kbeach, I finally had a reason to go back, and it came in the form of a bright neon cross and two Frenchmen. I had cold sweats when I woke up from a short siesta during the final leg of our drive. The second the Vegas skyline was visible I started to panic. A strange desire to put it all on black and drink single-malt scotches started to course it’s way through my veins. At the same time I wanted to puke. I guess I’ve never been able to properly adjust to this place. But on we went. As I walked through the casino floor the sounds of slots and chips played a symphony of agony for my ears. I wanted the bitter taste defeat, I wanted to enjoy losing. I wanted out and I wanted to stay for the rest of my life. I was a mess. I convinced my group that staying in the room for a few hours while we pre-partied was a good idea for not only my pocket book but my sanity and thankfully they were nice enough to indulge me. Not knowing that a show could ever start before 8 p.m., our group
RANDOM RANTS WHY I NOW HATE EVERYONE WHO DOESN’T ANSWER THEIR PHONE
efore you ask if I want some cheese with this unforgiving whine, you should know I’ve had both Brie and Goat cheese in the course of only a few minutes which means you should expect a rather grouchy rant. Modern advances in technology have graced us with an invention called the cellular telephone. The benefits that have resulted are as follows: faster communication, improved safety, and perhaps, a decent social life. While the possession of such a device can destroy our means of real, significant personal communication, it also allows for things like meeting people for lunch, informing people that we’re hurt, or about to die, or even telling someone something like, “Hey, I’m not actually going to be at Portfolio at 12.” But for most owners of cell phones, or rather the people I know with cell phones, they deem these benefits trivial and of no worth. Listen, I get it, texting hurts those valuable opposable thumbs, the movie you’re watching is really good and the phone is just a little bit too far.. but fuck! At the very least, check your goddamn messages! You can lie to me all you want but that message was sent, and your responsibility as a cell phone owner has been disgraced, shamed and humiliated. How hard is it to press a button? To tell someone to fuck off? C’mon that’s gotta be a little fun, right? Alright, is it just that you don’t like me? You know what, let’s not make this about me. This is about you and that phone of yours. It comes with a manual you know, and you should really use it. Answer your phone, meet me for lunch to talk (not text, mind you) and please, please, please return your text messages. I don’t care if you tell me to piss off, at the very least the process of communication is reciprocated rather than ignored. If you’re still not convinced, just throw away your phone, ‘cause you’re not very good at using it anyway. Hugs Always, K. KATHY MIRANDA
9 APRIL 2008
WHY I NOW HATE THE 109 FREEWAY You know what rocks? Driving for 450 miles, stopping three times for gas, getting within thirty miles of your final destination and WHAM! Road closed ahead. Hmmm, that’s funny. I seem to remember seeing signs for a few hundred miles that said otherwise. It’s not like it’s a big deal though, I’M ONLY IN THE MIDDLE OF FUCKING NOWHERE, SURROUNDED BY SNOW WITH NO CELL RECEPTION. So here’s to ya 109 freeway. Because of you, my girlfriend and I had to take a 500 mile fucking detour all the way back to Long Beach instead of hanging out in a cabin drinking all spring break. I understand how difficult it must be to hang a sign that says “road closed in 200 miles! Don’t take this route,” though. Actually, no I don’t. Because of you I ended up being a hermit for the last week, and all I have to show for it is this lame T-shirt. RYAN KOBANE
DIRTBAGS ON DIRTBAGS
Listen “D on D” readers, this team is good. Cutty Sark good, and equally as smooth. - Dirtbags on Dirtbags, 3/26/08 VG: And with those words I inflicted the dreaded Spring Break Curse. When the above words were scribed, our Dirtbags were 14-3 overall and at the tail end of an eight-game winning streak, charging toward a top-five national ranking. DD: Since crushing Harvard 15-0 on March 24th, Long Beach went on a six game slide, capitalized by a merciless sweep at the hands of Cal, sending us plummeting down the Division I rankings. This Spring Break breakdown begs the question: The fuck is up? VG: The silver lining here is the youthful season in which the Dirtbags have decided to collectively take a shit. But still, there remain serious issues Coach Mike Weathers needs to get under wraps. Most of the games lost have been tight, meaning the bullpen is struggling in the later innings to guard our lead or our offense is consistently putting up poor numbers. We’re going with the latter here; we did not score more than six runs during the stretch in which we lost six of seven. This makes little sense given that we’re still using metal bats. DD: Not to say Vince and I are blameless. I am sad to report my near obsessive following of the team, as overcompensation for the fact that I am no longer in a committed relationship, declined sharply as Spring Break and my exuberant gallivanting began simultaneously. When I left the state, I also left LongBeachState.com. That and my Baseball Support Bank was temporarily tied to the Angels opening series. It wasn’t until Vince picked me up from the airport when I caught wind of the Fall of the Bags. I was in Washington, Vince. What’s your excuse? VG: I don’t make excuses, Darren. Losers make excuses, I make pancakes in my underwear for six consecutive mornings in my humble Long Beach abode and finally got around to painting the bookshelf a thorough forest green. As inviting as a Dirtbag road trip sounds, I’m wanted in Berkeley for trying to dispel a protest. So we took a week off, no harm in that, right? DD: Fair enough. But if we are going to use the royal We, our allegiance can no longer waver. What we need is a home stretch. We need to get back to Blair Field. We need whiskey breath and the Yellow-Sleeved hecklers. We need to hit with runners in scoring position. We need to hit on girls in the bleachers. We need clutch pitching and smart base running. We need Benson’s Liquor. This shit has gone on long enough. We don’t need a miracle. We need to get back to fundamentals.
CSULB SPRING SPORTS ARE SO DAMN GOOD THAT WE’RE ELEVATING THE ENTIRE CONFERENCE RYAN ZUMMALLEN
t’s been the kind of Spring sports season that must make it really easy for CSULB Athletic Director Vic Cegles to sleep at night. For the Big West Conference’s other ADs… ehh, probably not so much. But they should be waking up every morning and thanking Cegles for his work. Here’s why: As we enter the month of April and approach the end of the semester, Long Beach State boasts several athletic teams steaming towards championship seasons. Despite a recent slide, the Dirtbags remain ranked and continue to aim for the College World Series in Omaha, while the men’s volleyball team is certain to contend for a national title. But all of a sudden, the softball team has taken the nation by storm thanks to an ungodly debut season by freshman pitcher Brooke Turner, and the women’s tennis team will claim its fifth straight conference title while senior Stephanie Bengston recently tied the school’s 21-year-old career wins record. Even the track & field squad has drawn acclaim after recently qualifying five athletes for the NCAA Regional Championships at the end of May. Where the hell did all this come from? Sure, over the years we’ve come to expect it from the baseball and volleyball programs. But all of a sudden, here come softball,
Think you’re a Long Beach State fan? Prove it and scribble on your shoes, then.
women’s tennis and track to join the party. It’s not the success of Long Beach State athletics that’s weird. It’s that they’ve all come together—becoming viable candidates for regional and national championships—at the same time. So you have to wonder, is this the kind of success that we can come to expect from Long Beach State year after year? Or do all of our teams just happen to be coincidentally good this particular season? Regardless, they seem to be feasting off of each other’s successes, and we end up with five Spring sports simultaneously atop the conference standings. But the really beautiful thing is the way that they’re branching out beyond the conference’s confines. Baseball, softball, tennis and volleyball have all been nationally ranked thus far—baseball and volleyball in the Top 10—and figure to continue making regular appearances. With a nod to Machiavelli, we’ve discovered a way to draw attention to the legitimacy of the entire conference. In the way that Gonzaga has forced me to give a shit about Mount St. Mary’s. The Big West has always wallowed in mid-major mediocrity. Maybe Cegles just woke up one day and realized he was sick of it. I know, he thought, I’ll build an athletic program so great—contending for championships, producing nationally-recognized athletes and sweeping the conference every year—that it will single-handedly raise the Big West from the ashes. I don’t know if that’s what Cegles thinks. But it would make a hell of a lot of sense, because it’s coming true. You’re welcome, Irvine and Fullerton.
UNION WEEKLY 9 APRIL 2008
DARREN DAVIS VINCENT GIRIMONTE
49ER STATE OF MIND
This week: SERIOUSLY with this freaking slump?
ENTERTAINMENT NTERTAINMENT GOOD NIGHT, AND GOOD GRIEF A REVIEW OF LEATHERHEADS
Photo UNIVERSAL PICTURES
he first thing that needs to be said about George Clooney’s new film, Leatherheads, is that it isn’t a good movie. There’s a certain amount of trepidation in nay-saying any George Clooney project, especially given his proven talent as a director with Good Night, and Good Luck, which earned him an Oscar nomination in 2006. That, and the whole icon thing. But with Leatherheads, a Prohibition-era sports screwball comedy/romantic comedy among other more half-assed endeavors attempted by Clooney, expect a film that will yield a long, unwavering sigh and a bout of confusion upon leaving the theatre. Spring is here, movies are shit, so tear another ring from your Iron Man paper chain. Clooney is football player Dodge Connolly, a pioneer of pro-football in the Swinging ‘20s, back when it was a game played by hooligans unable to hang up their collegiate cleats. Connolly captains the Duluth Bulldogs, a team—like most of pro-football at the time—on the verge of financial ruin. In an act of desperation, Connolly finagles his way into a meeting with war hero and Princeton football star Carter “The Bullet” Rutherford (John Krasinski), a national celebrity Connolly believes will bring pro-football off the cow pasture and into the social conscious. Also present at the meeting is Lexie Littleton, played by Renee Zellweger, a jive-talking, sassy reporter from the Chicago Tribune assigned to bring home the goods on Rutherford’s suspect military record. Is there a more trustworthy set of hands in which to place an American piece of nostalgia than George Clooney’s rugged paws? Don’t be duped into this logic. Clooney likely lured you into the theatre, but unfortunately, his Dodge Connolly, although very sufficient with the understated charm and humility we love in all the Hollywood greats, does not pull this movie from the muddy dog pile of mediocrity. The movie is fast-paced, but has remarkably little to
show for it. The quick-witted dialogue between the characters, mainly Clooney and Zellweger’s, a throwback to the screwball comedies of the ‘30s and ‘40s is, at its best, a distraction from a predictable story line which leaves you tapping your foot about thirty minutes before the film ends. The few moments of genuine laughter come from Clooney’s own talent, and a few one-liners that haven’t fallen into the category of stock. Krasinski’s gift is either underused in Leatherheads or exclusive to a cozy office cubicle set. Granted, he’s playing the innocent, All-American boy, and with that role brings the danger of a one-dimensional character. Krasinski succumbs, and is flat-out disappointing. As far as Zellweger is concerned, I was often unable to take my eyes off her puckered lips, which distracted me from her otherwise routine performance. This is not to say she was bad in the tough-lady-journalist-takingon-a-man’s-world role, but it was certainly something we’ve all seen before, and seen done better, probably by Zellweger. Seriously though, there is something wrong with her mouth area. Clooney is unable to contain himself with regards to leaving any sort of agenda out of this seemingly slice of ap-
GOOD RIGHT OUT OF THE GATE A REVIEW OF BOARDING GATE MIKE PALLOTTA Recently given a limited release, Boarding Gate can only be seen in LA, which makes sense considering the nature of the film. It’s not a film for the masses, delving into eccentric and kinky sex, violence and some explicit conversations about said sex and violence. Subject matter such as this could only be seen without any sort of backlash in the city of LA, where the citizens are considered progressive towards the ideas presented by french director Olivier Assayas. Assayas’ track record isn’t well-known—he’s mostly done films in his home country that didn’t get released in America. His two most recognizable films to date, one being a segment (“Quartier des Enfants Rouges”) from Paris, je t’aime and the other being the 2004 filim Clean starring Nick UNION WEEKLY
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Nolte and Maggie Cheung (Hero), aren’t that recognizable to Americans at all. With Boarding Gate, Assayas casts Asia Argento (Land of the Dead) in the role of the lead character, ex-prostitute Sandra, who isn’t too much of a stretch for Argento to play—not in that she actually used to be a whore, but in that Sandra is a another “strong woman” character that Argento has played so many times before. Comfortable in her skin and not much else, we see Argento take part in some “sensual” (a word that only exists in the context of film) intercourse with former client/possible lover Miles, played by Michael Madsen (Reservoir Dogs). Madsen does a good job at playing his usual cool and collected self, and seems eerily relaxed in scenes where he’s being choked with his own belt and simultaneously jerked off. Where the film truly shines is in its story and its willingness to portray its characters in an unapologetic light. Sandra smuggles drugs in her post-prostitution
George Clooney (above, middle you dumb fuck) plays a charming down-on-his-luck hero. Imagine that.
ple pie movie. Rutherford’s war saga comes into question, and ultimately culminates in Clooney patting Krasinski on the back, saying, “We need our heroes,” i.e. absolutely nothing at all. There are many sandbags preventing this film from getting off the ground, but none were bigger than Clooney’s handling of the media’s need for the war hero and its damaging affect on our country. It dragged and seemed out of place in a movie about pigskin. If you’re looking for a film about football, Leatherheads really isn’t your most direct route. Check out Little Giants. That said, if you’re looking for a period screwball comedy, this movie will fail you once again. If you’re looking for a film with George Clooney flashing his porcelain whites and a few quick comebacks, Leatherheads might just be the diversion you’re looking for, you sad fuck. Vince gives Renee Zellweger’s puckered lips:
daytime job working on the docks of France, and both of her boyfriends Miles and Lester (Carl Ng) are liars, cheaters, and manipulators—resulting in most of the twists and turns in the plot. Boarding Gate is a stepping stone to recognition, Assayas shows he’s got talent even if his cinematography gets heavy handed. The entire movie is blue. Literally. Like a scene out of The Ring, things get annoyingly blue when it transfers from scenes of night to day and the only way you can tell is that everything changes from gun-metal blue to glacier blue. Assayas’ attempts at symbolism through reinforcement of color has the adverse affect of what he was trying to convey, the feeling of a harsh, cold reality. Boarding Gate’s downfalls however, don’t outweigh its strong points resulting in a film worth a watch.
A REVIEW OF THE NEW ROLLING STONES DOCUMENTARY SHINE A LIGHT JOSEPH BRYANT
t can’t be easy to be Martin Scorsese. The legendary director behind Taxi Driver, Goodfellas,, and The Departed has set a high standard for himself because of his natural talent, so of course people judge everything he does with scrutinizing eyes. Scorsese is no stranger to documentary filmmaking—he directed great docs such as: No Direction Home: Bob Dylan (2005) and The Last Waltz (1978)—but his newest venture in the genre, Shine a Light, is less than stellar, but nonetheless still enjoyable. Shine a Light is about those old codgers that are still really popular, The Rolling Stones. For those of you whose parents never educated you properly, The Stones consist of frontman Mick Jagger and his ability to wiggle his arms
Watching Christina Aguilera (above, left) repeatedly pull down her cammy-toe revealing shirt was pretty funny.
For a Martin Scorsese movie, Shine a Light is below average, but as a rock doc’, it’s just plain average. The film feels much longer than its 122 minutes, but I’m guessing if you were a die hard Stones fan it would feel far too short. I’m more of a Beatles man myself, so what do I know? Joe says it’s no Help! and gives it a rating of:
BRINGING OUT THE DEAD
like that inflatable guy in front of car dealerships, guitarist turned zombie Keith Richards, other guitarist Ron Wood, and Charlie “tired of being famous” Watts on drums. Joking aside, I love The Rolling Stones just as much as that guy with the lips and tongue on his shirt that’s in every class you’ve ever had ever. Well, not that much, but I like them enough that I was excited to see Shine a Light. The movie starts off with a fumbling, somewhat fictionalized and frantic view of how Martin Scorsese’s life became hell when he was trying to film the Stones’ performance at the Beacon Theater in New York City in 2006. Yeah, we get to see Scorsese try to neurotically out-maneuver Mick Jagger’s attempts to keep their final set list away from him until an hour before the show, but it loses its appeal when you find out that The Stones played the Beacon two nights. Most of the footage was from the second night, when Scorsese would know exactly which songs would be played and could better coordinate his camera work. Despite that, it’s a damn good performance. Jagger is spry as ever, Richards is still a fucking badass, Ron Wood is present, and Charlie Watts’ drumming is still fantastic, though you can tell he’s over it. You do see some cool cameos during the concert. Buddy Guy joins The Stones for Muddy Waters’ “Champagne & Reefer” and Jack White looks stoked on life as he belts out “Loving Cup” next to Mick Jagger. Christina Aguilera also shows up for “Live with Me” and is subsequently impregnated by Jagger (don’t get too excited, it’s kind of boring). Scorsese captures some great little moments—Charlie Watts turning to the camera after beating the shit out of his drums and letting out an exhausted breath, and a great long shot of Keith Richards staring into the crowd—but in the end the film is nothing more than a better-than-usual concert DVD. Scorsese injects some great archival footage into the performance every 15 minutes or so, but he hasn’t accomplished anything other than show that, yeah, these guys are in their 60s and still know how to put on a great show.
YOU MEAN YOU HAVEN’T SEEN... KELLY’S HEROES (1970) JAMES KISLINGBURY My politics have shifted back and forth over the years, and despite how liberal I’ve become in some regards, I still believe that some people just need to die. Maybe it’s because I’m such a big fan of the Old Testament. The great war films— Apocalypse Now, Saving Private Ryan, Full Metal Jacket—are films about men in a terrible world trying to survive. Kelly’s Heroes isn’t about men put into a horrible situation though, it’s about mercenaries and businessmen that choose to put themselves into a terrible situation. The title is supposed to be ironic. The men know that they aren’t “real heroes” (even if they inadvertently become heroes). They aren’t fighting for a country or to save the live of others or even because they were told to. They’re fighting for the oldest of all reasons: Gold. Which, now
that I think about it is a pretty direct way to try to live their lives in peace. In the world of literature, for every Hemingway there’s another ten thousand shmucks just trying to pay the rent. Kelly’s Heroes exists in this vein of thought. It takes place in a world where no one in the entire theater of operations seems to care very much about the war. Serving their country is a dull job like any other. Even the normally bloodthirsty Prussian hordes are rather indifferent about this whole Second World War thing. This is a war movie that focuses on the men that only fill uniforms, rather than great patriots that war fiction seems to be enamored with. At first glance, Kelly’s Heroes seems to be nothing more than a gung-ho, jingoistic romp through Nazi Germany, but underneath the surface, it’s an anti-war movie. Warfare is an absurdity. The men most likely to profit are the least likely to get killed and the ones
that run it probably never fought in a war themselves. Kelly and his men don’t want to be used. So when they hear about Nazi gold being held in a bank not too far from them, they decide that it’s time for the little guy to get something out of the war besides a posthumous Bronze Star. Kelly’s Heroes is the first Clint Eastwood movie that I’ve ever watched to completion and unlike a lot of movies I watched when I was twelve, it holds up. It’s even better now that I can appreciate it as the subversive black comedy that it is. Oh, and it’s got the best tank battle of any movie I’ve ever seen (actually, it’s the only tank battle that I’ve ever seen in a movie). While the movie isn’t as poetic as The Thin Red Line in terms of philosophy or as existentially funny as Catch 22, it is an important piece of war cinema, because it treats the men involved in World War II as something more than sacred cows. It dares to treat them as human beings. UNION WEEKLY
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Fear and justice RYAN KOBANE
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OR M AY NO A VERY G ONZO T HAV ACCO E HA UNT PPEN OF W E D AT HAT T H E MAY JUST IN VE GAS b ICE SHOW y Mat t Dup ree
t began as all great stories will: an hour late and armed down to the floorboards with alcohol. As the convoy pulled out of sunny, safe Orange and headed east, there were no illusions of what was to take place. The stage was set for a baptism of filth, and the players were in rare form that evening. The plan was simple, or at least it started that way: drive to Las Vegas, attend a Justice show, and then do as much damage as possible before speeding off in the getaway vehicle before the first sunbeams reveal our deeds. Unfortunately, unreliable elements made their way in to the equation. As far as Elvis fell from his glorious youth at the time he died, a quick glance down the strip makes even the King, bloated and rhinestone-studded on his death-toilet, look like a Kurt Cobain supernova. Las Vegas is the slick package that fools and sleazebags believe is the American Dream. Everything is commodified, and nothing is taboo. If others find your deepest delights to be uncouth, low, and insipidly bizarre, Las Vegas will sate you in ways you’ve never known. Long gone are the Rat Pack days of tousled tuxedoes and cigar-chomping flair. There is only elegance-flavored excess, a living postcard flattened, glossed, and built to entice. The mutants are running the circus now. We checked in at 4pm to our alltoo-basic room in the Tropicana, a winding fortress that always manages to spit you out at the casino area. I’ve been told that they saturate the air with oxygen so that gamblers find themselves feeling strangely invigorated simply throwing dice, so I breathe deeply hoping to pull in some of that slippery euphoria. It is hard to imagine that this place could tear your life apart, but I brand across my memory that it will if you let it. No one in our party gambles that night, making it the only vice we abstain from by choice. Within an hour, we are set up in our room with what has been officially coined the “Mobile Booze Lab.” It consists of a large plastic flask of Vodka, a bottle of premium Gin, 6 beers, Tonic, Strawberry Puree, Sweet & Sour, Margarita mix, and an ice bucket that is woefully unequipped for our ice needs. The drinks we make taste like strawberry lemonade despite their remarkable alcohol content. The television has only very few channels so we watch celebrity news until we set up some music. Adhering to the second law of concert-going, we do not listen to anything being played by the night’s acts. We are just about buzzed when a cursory check of the tickets reveals that doors open for the show at the ungodly hour of 6pm. It is 6pm. Thankfully, Las Vegas has no (enforced) open container law. Beer bottle in hand, I stroll out of the casino and flag down a taxi. After directing him to take us to the House of Blues, he chuckles and suggests we walk since it’s just a couple
casinos down. So on we walk to Mandalay Bay. Within the Mandalay Resort Group area are three casinos at the southern tip of the Vegas strip; The Mandalay Bay, Luxor, and Excalibur. The Luxor shows its age more than any of the others, as it now bears a 15-story advertisement for cellular telephones. Entering the venue was entirely without hassle except for a frantic phone chase by me for the inevitable afterparty and the happy problem of giving away the four extra tickets of which we found ourselves in possession. Drinks were outrageously priced, so I kept it simple with a shot and an energy drink to bolster my intoxication and keep it at optimum levels during the dancing. And oh, was there ever dancing. Somehow I found myself in a crowd of unfamiliar women attempting to fend off sleazier men unfamiliar to them. Observing a strip club approach to touching the girls (none, let them touch you), there began a sweatsoaked cotillion with an air of hypnotic sensuality. By the time Justice ended their set, I had nothing left. I sauntered defeatedly toward the door to sit out the coming encore. Thankfully, that notion of overoxygenated casinos seemed to ring true, and a sugary drink and a moment’s rest on the Mandalay floor had me back to what I’ve decided to call “Vegas normal.” Somewhere in the muck of it all, I receive divine providence and a text message informs me of the whereabouts of an afterparty. Since everyone in Las Vegas is far more interested in Vegas than some afterparty, none of the artists and no names worth dropping are in attendance. There are beautiful women, lots of them underage, taking refuge from the sketchy characters wandering the city. Even brief conversation with them points me to the conclusion that the achievement was simply getting there, and it becomes time to move on. On our way out, we ask the valet what bar he goes to. “Ellis Island,” he immediately offers. “Take a right just past Bally’s.” The walk takes forever. Men handing out flyers for hookers mob the streets and all of the Disneyland-like elements of the strip shut down. This is no place for children. The night stalkers are about. Ellis Island is definitely the insider’s drink spot. $3 nets a well drink and we cast out our trios of dollars as quickly as we could. The locals were deep into their karaoke and after ten minutes it became obvious we were never going to get our chance to perform. So we screamed what lyrics we knew until the fierce gazes of the locals, recognizing us now as interlopers, drove us out into the still-surging streets. Morning couldn’t come quickly enough. I was ready to rid myself of the lights and spectacles. The open road was as quick a cure as I could hope for. And so I stared out the window, down the broad spine of the strip, and realized how quickly one can get homesick in this cultural vacuum.
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GHOSTS IN THE MACHINE HOW DAFT PUNK ARE CHANGING LIVE MUSIC SEAN BOULGER
Photo CESAR ALVARADO
ore than twenty years ago, two Frenchmen met at a finishing school in Paris. Before long, the two formed a surf-rock group named Darlin’ (after the Beach Boys song), with Thomas Bangalter playing bass while hyphen-rich Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo manned the guitar. Darlin’ enjoyed a modest amount of success opening for Stereolab on a few UK dates, but the music was not well-received by critics; British music publication Melody Maker went so far as to describe it as “a bunch of daft punk.” Needless to say, Darlin’ disbanded, but Bangalter and Homem-Christo remained close friends. The two experimented with drum machines, synthesizers, and sequencers, eventually adopting their favorite criticism as the name of their new band. Daft Punk was born. Fast-forward to early 2006. Daft Punk have met an influential figure in the recording industry, gotten themselves signed to a record label, and released two widely successful and influential dance records. Homework showcased a bold and inventive take on Chicago house, while the group’s sophomore effort Discovery represented a shift into playful, samplebased synthpop. Then, in March of 2005, Daft Punk released Human After All. Conceived, written, and recorded in a short six weeks, the album was clearly UNION WEEKLY
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not the best release in the band’s catalogue thus far. Perhaps it was the lukewarm reaction from critics that prompted Daft Punk to hang out under the radar for a little while at this point. Who knows, and who cares? In April of 2006, Daft Punk showed up again, playing the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. It was their first appearance on US soil in nine years, and the show went down as one of the most legendary performances in Coachella history. The duo promised an entire tour in the following year. Alive 2007 commenced, and Daft Punk effectively solidified themselves as one of the most brilliant acts in the history of electronic music. As the Alive 2007 tour swept through the United States, one couldn’t avoid hearing or reading about Daft Punk’s legendary live show. Everybody from Pitchfork to Rolling Stone sang emphatic praises about the French group whose most recent release was two years removed, and was mediocre at best. Daft Punk, in an impressive display of calculation and cunning, executed a perfect rebound by creating a show that is easily one of the most innovative experiences in live music. Sitting at the top of a large pyramid with LED screen walls, the band creates unique sets of remixed and overdubbed versions of their preexisting material, usually never playing fewer than two songs at once, and rarely playing songs as they appear on albums. But what is it exactly that makes the Daft Punk live show such an incredible experience? Is it the massive amounts of Ecstasy that their audience tends to be on? Is it the insane visuals? Is it the pump-you-up dance music? I say no. It’s the robots. When they reemerged on US soil at their 2006 Coachella appearance, Bangalter and Homem-Christo were famously clad in what appeared to be leather motorcycle jackets, pants, and very interesting helmets. For all intents and purposes, they looked like robots. Not an inch of flesh was visible underneath all that metal, plastic, and leather. The effect was exactly what
I would assume Daft Punk intended it to be—the audience, whether they realized it or not, didn’t think of Daft Punk as actual human beings. The ingeniousness of Daft Punk’s live show stems from the fact that they have actually created separate identities for themselves, removing themselves from the level of ordinary musicians or performers. Instead, the audience (and again, I think this is mostly done unconsciously) thinks of them as robots. When I was watching the band perform last October, I noticed myself getting extremely excited every time one of the members did something human-like. Every time a normal gesture was made (giving the audience the peace sign, blowing kisses, pumping fists in the air, etc), I found myself experiencing a burst of energy, and thinking “Ah! Holy shit, that’s cool!” As I paid attention more and more, I noticed the people in the crowd having similar reactions, and I realized that this is because when Daft Punk do things that normal humans would do, it’s crazy and exciting, because the audience actually thinks of them as robots. So what does this tell us? Look at the facts: Daft Punk is very quickly becoming a household name. Where once they were known solely by an incredibly annoying single, now they’re being sampled by Kanye West and playing at the Grammys. These guys are on top of the world, and (excepting the recently-released Alive 2007) they haven’t put out a well-received CD of new material since 2001’s Discovery. Rather than focusing their energy on producing another album of new material, however, Daft Punk have reached out and directly connected with their audience, albeit in a very strange and roundabout way. By maintaining their robot identities at all times, Daft Punk have established themselves as odd dance music deities. Regardless of the fact that Human After All was a bit of a flop, Daft Punk have shown us that all it takes to be one of the best bands in the world is a refreshing bit of creativity.
HOW ONE MAN WAS ROCKED BY THREE CONSECUTIVE BANDS AT THE GLASS HOUSE RYAN KOBANE
he line at the concession stand was ten people deep before We Barbarians took the stage on March 25th at the Glass House. People with their eyes fixed on a tray of nachos or a soda were certainly not prepared for what came out of the speakers next: rock. Rock so gritty and full of energy I even saw someone leave the line without the food they just paid for. One song in, and the second band of a four-band show had everyone in attendance by the jugular. This was not your common indie show, not by a long shot. From the standpoint of a photographer, the Glass House offers up about as much ambiance as your local elementary school auditorium. Combo that with no booze, thirteen-year-old hipsters, and the fact that the Glass House is in the ghost town of Pomona, it still surprises me how many great bands play there. This night was no exception. But my expectations before attending any indie rock show extend as far as being somewhat entertained. To say the least I was skeptical. Let’s be realistic here, leaving a common indie show feeling anything more than appeased is rare. So when We Barbarians decided that heavy baselines, stage presence, and brooding vocals would be the medicine for what ailed me, I couldn’t have been happier. Front man David Quon is a born performer, and leaves one wondering why he didn’t sing more while playing for The Colour. His bravado is effortless and unforced, much like the music We Barbarians produce. Derek Van Heule’s taut bass playing matched perfectly with Nathan Warkentin’s tension building percussions, and after hearing their entire new EP, I was thoroughly exhausted. I could have left then, more than fulfilled, but luckily I didn’t. When I think rock, I think movement and excitement; Eagle Seagull has this in spades. It’s obvious that they’ve listened to a few Arcade Fire albums, but it’s also obvious that they interpreted the show that Arcade Fire is rather than completely ripping them off. Performing inches away from each other, the six piece band ripped through their set with reckless abandon. Carrie Butler pranced stoically with violin on chin and made me a believer that there is always room for at least one beautiful face in a rock band. And while lead singer Eli Mardock rocked red leather pants and belted away on synth, this was Austin Skiles’ night to shine. This man was all over the place, but in a good way. Guitar in the air, knees on the ground, hair flying in all direcClockwise. (top) David Quon of We Barbarians. Nathan Warkentin of We Barbartions; Skiles belongs in an early 80’s metal band. ians. Dave Monks of Tokyo Police Club. Austin Skiles of Eagle Seagull. Eagle Seagull never gave the audience a chance to second guess their antics or torrid musical style and left the stage dian quartet. Halfway through their set, I put my camera down. exactly how they came, with a unapologetic crash of sounds. I just wanted to enjoy what was unfolding. I just couldn’t believe It isn’t very often when the pressure to play a fantastic set falls what I had witnessed in the last three hours. The show was so on the shoulders of the headliner, but such was the case. Tokyo good that TPC even played an encore (something they never do). Police Club plays indie rock like the Ramones would have: un- And even after that I saw the faces of so many who just couldn’t abridged. There isn’t a wasted moment on stage with this Cana- believe the night was over. I almost shed a tear.
Madlibs played a huge role in my childhood. Aside from helping to teach me the difference between parts of speech, I could entertain myself for hours trying to come up with the most ridiculous verb, nouns, adjectives and adverbs to insert into otherwise bland stories. “The hungry fart pooped greedily?” Hilarious. So why aren’t there more books that inspire creativity like Madlibs did? Choose Your Own Adventure was good in theory, but didn’t even come close in practice. As much as the books tried to convince you that you were in control of the outcome, you weren’t. There were a set number of outcomes that the author chose. There were limited possibilities. Worse, all of the words contained within a Choose Your Own Adventure book were the author’s own. There were no little blanks in which you could insert absurd plot twists. The books never ended with the lead character shaving off all of their body hair and weaving it into a cocoon. And why not? Because authors are nowhere near as creative with their intellectual property as their readers are. I love novels as much as the next literature columnists, but sometimes I just want to space out, come up with the dumbest words I can think of, and laugh. In that spirit, I’ve created a Madlibs-esque fill-in-the-blank from a paragraph of Ernest Hemingway’s, “Hills Like White Elephants.” Take a break from your studies, grab a friend, and have a little fun. The _________(plural noun) across the valley of the Ebro were _______(adjective) and _________ (adjective). On this side there was no ______(noun) and no trees and the _______(noun) was between two _______(plural noun) in the sun. Close against the side of the _______(noun) there was the warm ______(noun) of the _______(noun) and a curtain, made of strings of _______(plural noun), hung across the open door into the bar, to keep out flies. The American and the _______(noun) with him sat at a ______(noun) in the shade, outside the _______(noun). It was very ______(adjective) and the _______(noun) from _______(place) would ______(verb) in forty minutes. It ________(verb-past tense) at this junction for two minutes and ________ (verb-past tense) to Madrid. Yeah, it’s not Hemingway, but that’s okay. He was a genius with words so that you wouldn’t have to be. And besides, what better way to take out your self-esteem issues about your inferior wordsmithing abilities than by ruining the work of a master? ERIN HICKEY
YOU SHOULD READ: DON DELILLO
on DeLillo plays by no one’s rules. He doesn’t consider himself a great American writer, but that won’t stop me and a great many others from thinking so. His writing style has been described as everything from maddeningly athletic to damningly harsh and poetic. I personally find some of his appeal in the genuine disinterest of his image or his standing on a bestsellers list. Not surprisingly, he cites his influences as “abstract expressionism, foreign films, and jazz.” He is rarely interviewed, partially due to his hatred of it, and usually due to his habit of being nothing short of offputting and abrasive, and these are some of his best qualities as a human being. Life seems to move slowly in a DeLillo novel, usually because he intends to fuck with your conception of time. He doesn’t play nice with those earthly constructs that condemn him to frameworks beyond the pure examination of the deterioration of man. Most of DeLillo’s characters are irreparable portraits of the human condition usually set to the backdrop of bleak New York. These are not novels of healing or triumph, they are an examination of the romantically rusting morale of America. The characters are the refuse of the generation or in the case of Great Jones Street, the last generation of washed up rock gods. His third novel, written in 1971, depicts a main character clearly reminiscent of Bob Dylan. The protagonist, Bucky Wunderlick is a moody, reclusive rock front man who disappears, without any explanation to his public, to dwell in an unfurnished apartment in the grit of New York. The Dylanesque moments are not limited to the main character’s role of counter-culture savior. DeLillo even alludes to Dylan’s infamous (and, at the time the novel was written, anxiously anticipated) Basement Tapes with the novel’s parallel character’s Mountain Tapes. In keeping with the days of Dylan, the plot is contingent on the existence of a mind altering drug that with enough use wreaks havoc upon the language center of the brain. DeLillo’s work was well-received by critics from his first novel forward but it wasn’t until his nationally acknowledged,
though still modestly acclaimed, novel White Noise in 1985 that he garnered any real fame. It’s still considered one of his best works and a great candidate for a first time DeLillo reader. The story is perfect movie material and has been poised to be made into a film many times, but no cigar. The first half of the book is a sarcastic look at family life and academia that follows a university professor of Hitler studies, Jack Gladney. The second follows the disintegration of the carefully constructed life he lived after a toxic chemical spill leads him to discover peace from forced consumerism in a drug called Dylar. This black market and experimental drug is the chemical cure for the fear of death. In addition to epics like White Noise, DeLillo boasts smaller works for less avid readers. His novella, The Body Artist, is not for the weak hearted. Don’t let its petite and unassuming appearance fool you; it is a bonafide 124 page mind-fuck. The plot, and I use the word plot very loosely, focuses on a woman’s last moments with her husband and her spiritual healing thereafter. It doesn’t sound like much, but it is pure DeLillo brilliance. The depth of this little novella is mind blowing and leaves you reeling from the barrage of grand questions that DeLillo manages to weave into a non-sequential blow through a uniquely wandered existentialist crisis. Some call the prose and provocation induced by it a “zen experience.” I found it to be more of a swim through the most complicated of
life’s questions with no resolve in sight. At times the writing is tiring, but it has every right to be and the infliction of this exhaustion is part of the genius that is DeLillo. He puts you through the trials of a character you thought you were only reading about, and in many respects pulls you through it alongside her. Upon the resolution the character finds, you are allowed that same sweet quiet, and then you begin to see the beauty in this novella. It’s an underappreciated masterpiece that rivals the greats and earns DeLillo a spot among the giants of American literature. With novels that center around the rejection of the contrived, DeLillo condones the madness of humanity as he sees it in an honest look at ourselves. While pessimistic, his works are undeniably intriguing and leave the reader to re-examine where one draws those pesky social lines. He has been accused of “literary vandalism” on many an occasion and periodically been labeled a “bad citizen.” His response was of course, “I don’t take it seriously, but being called a ‘bad citizen’ is a compliment to a novelist, at least to my mind. That’s exactly what we ought to do. We ought to be bad citizens. We ought to, in the sense that we’re writing against what power represents…and what consumer consciousness has come to mean. In that sense, if we’re bad citizens, we’re doing our job.” The most eloquent of “fuck you’s.”
THIS WEEK: WHY MADLIBS WERE MORE INGENIOUS THAN HEMINGWAY
TEXT AND THE CITY
9 APRIL 2008
COMICS You’re STUCK Here! by Victor! Perfecto
Drunken Penguin Presents by James Kislingbury
Crossword puzzles provided by BestCrosswords.com. Used with permission.
firstname.lastname@example.org Across 1- Brother of Hoss 5- Regions 10- Hindu music 14- Queue 15- Scorch 16- Yellow cheese coated with red wax 17- Make urban 20- Flight of steps 21- “... ___ the cows come home” 22- Short letters 23- Tic ___ Dough 25- Italian composer 27- Fish stew 31- List of mistakes 35- Second hand, took advantage of 36- Doctrine maker 38- Performed 39- Fish appendage 40- Copy 41- Hesitant sounds 42- Promising words 43- Tasteless items, junk 44- Arranged in strata 46- Taunt 47- Be innate 49- Tavern 51- Fenced areas 53- Incredibly powerful
OMKAR-The Barbarian by Travis Ott-Conn
mythical bird 54- Seeped 57- Unit of electrical resistance 59- Rustic 63- Make a trade? 66- Creamy-beige color 67- Black tea 68- Spanish wings? 69- Arrest 70- Line in a play directed to the audience 71- Regular payment for agreed hire
Down 1- Material charity 2- Intake 3- Organization to promote theater 4- Deserved 5- Snake 6- Public disturbance 7- Animate 8- Nimble 9- Part of a tennis match 10- Impressionist Pierre 11- Passage into a mine 12- Look intently 13- Iowa city 18- Spoken 19- Guitarist Segovia
24- Close friend 26- Bring back into stock 27- Muslim legal adviser 28- Eastern 29- DuBois’ “talented” group 30- Nailed obliquely 32- Farewell 33- They get high twice a day 34- Worship 37- Winder for holding flexible material 40- Scrape off 45- Colorful pullover garment 46- Waggish 48- Thorough view 50- Israeli round dance 52- Prescribed amounts 54- Honest 55- Killer whale 56- Japanese sandal 58- Emotional state 60- Vex 61- Islamic call to prayer 62- For fear that 64- Hot tub 65- Word used to precede a woman’s maiden name
The line must be drawn HERE! And sent to editor Victor Camba: email@example.com Or dropped off at the Union office Student Union Office 256a
Girly Girl by Christopher Troutman
9 APRIL 2008
Lost Diary of a Coffee Man
hortly after I moved into my current apartment, I noticed that the ventilation system wasn’t working very well. Neither was our land lord who, when told of the problem, said to me, “Tough shit” and proceded to down an entire Pabst Blue Ribbon for effect. I then took on the problem, fixing the ventilation as a little project. It would be fun, I thought. I systematically unscrewed each of the louvers and cleaned them, but the problem persisted. That was until I uncovered the last vent. To my surprise a heavy object bound in a rag fell out. I examined the bundle to find a book inside. It was some kind of a journal. Someone had obviously hidden this in the vent in an attempt to prevent it from being discovered. But was that for the writer’s benefit or for whoever might find it? And what kind of a man hides his diary in an apartment’s AC vent? I quickly received my answer: A man man. The following is the last excerpt of a man pushed to the edge of sanity by the forces of darkness. I pray that the same foul Fate does not befall you, gentle reader!
There the journal goes blank.
Podland Speagle Pt. 1: Into The Wastelands companions—weary and pale like him but much skinnier. They didn’t talk, but they clung to each other. Most of all they were ugly in the natural light. They were beauty in the persistent fog, shining from their faces with dry sweat and wet. In this light, though, in this outside, this great beyond they shone with crooked noses, porous skin, cracking and blemished skin. They were so like us. The couple plodded sort of hopelessly (hope was that strange chemical that kept everyone from committing suicide and taking the easy way out while the rest of us just suffer and suffer). Pren saw now what he could never see in the pods, “They was all beautiful bodies and ugly souls.” Their pods were nice, but it was a mess up on the inside, and in the absence of everything they really were ugly. Ugly and silent. They didn’t talk because they had nothing to say. They used to talk about their cat and dog, two once-wild animals that were conditioned to accept podlife. But there were also smaller animals that would live in pods called cages and tanks in the homepods and other pods. They didn’t talk about anything anymore because no matter how close they waded to the top of the ocean of life, they realized now that they were deformed and had chosen to be that way through neglect and doubt. Pren was still young, but they were so old, growing decrepit with the sand and trash—the trash never goes away, even though people died. So many people would die, but pods and waste were immortal. UNION WEEKLY
9 APRIL 2008
hey have a story in that world that parents tell to their children in one of the smaller pods that are contained in the homepods (those smaller pods are probably the loneliest places on that world or this). I’ll tell you, but don’t read too deep into it—it’s just a parable from a superstitious, agoraphobic people: He stepped outside of his pod and his name was Prentice. And instead of shuffling from the door of his homepod to his carpod like most people—especially when weather asserted itself and you actually had to feel something besides numb—he began to walk past all the pods and into the wilderness, the other things beyond the city and beyond the podworld. He walked toward the wasteland. He passed on through the wasteland that surrounded all pods—vast expanses of dirt where nothing grows, plastic trash and harsh, dead cactus. Moons and stars showed through the foggy air, but now it was day and the blinding, ambiguously placed sun hid the mountains and everything around Pren. Everything around him was dead, except for the other sojourners, the pod people of all nationalities that trekked the handsome, lonely desert, whose rich dirt was made sullied by years of chemicals and neglect. He passed a man and a woman—
CULTURE RACHEL RUFRANO
A well thought-out date is not usually an easy event to plan. All you know is you like this girl, you want to know her better, you may want to make her your girlfriend, or maybe you just want to get into her pants. Whatever your intentions are, it’s going to require a little effort, some confidence and mettle, and a damn good playlist to put in your car when you pick her up. So, take heed or take a hint—the following makes for one fine date. So please, trust us, because we know what your intentions are.
It’s Wednesday night and there’s a 45 minute line out the door of a Mexican restaurant tucked away in an inconspicuous plaza and, unfortunately, neighboring the most god awful little Italian place. But don’t be fooled —this is a place to let your foodie date in on one of Long Beach’s best-kept secrets. Southern Californians know a thing or two about Mexican food, but this is fresh, authentic, crafted cuisine that exceeds the genre’s expectations. Don’t worry, they still have chips and salsa. Try: Pasillas asados, del mar salad, house pork shank, chuletas de puerco, chocolate bread pudding. So, your date’s a vegetarian and, even though the Churrascaria on PCH is a phenomenal choice, the last thing you want to do is offend your herbivore with skewers of meat and tasteless vegetarian options. A true gentleman knows he can have his baby cow flesh and eat it, too. Oh, and his date can eat something if she feels like it. This is great Lebanese food that anyone can appreciate. Try: Chicken Schawarma Plate, Hummus, Kibbi
My New York Italian Grandfather still maintains that Parolaccia (translation: the bad language) is “fancy Italian,” but that’s probably because Northern Italians don’t eat spaghetti and meatballs and, much to Grandpa Tony’s dismay, there aren’t any red dimpled candle holders or a Sinatra soundtrack. This is real Northern Italian cuisine served by real Northern Italian people—they have fun and take their food seriously. Try: Saltimbocca alla Romana, Penne Cinqueterre, Cozze e vongole saltate This building, seemingly cursed by the ginger paint plague on its doors, was doomed for failure and predicted to wilt in the shadow of it’s shining (and overplayed) neighbors: Le Creperie, Bono’s, and Yen. But once you’ve built up the courage and the cash to dine here, you may never want to see those neighbors again. The menu is infallible and the dim, candle-lit setting is classy and intimate. Try: Anything. It’s going to be good, trust me (but that still doesn’t mean you can order for her).
Long Beach Museum of Art, Free on Fridays • The Yardhouse, Happy Hour, M-F 3pm6pm, Sun 10pm-Midnight • Greek Festival, Aug. 30 - Sep. 2, www.assumptionlb.org • GameWorks at the Pike, gameplay cards $1-25 • Hilltop Park in Signal Hill, 5am-10pm • Color Me Mine on 2nd, prices vary • The Rock Gym, www.therockgym.com, $15/person • Thrift Shopping on 4th • Shoreline Village • Rent Segways at the Pike, $45/hour • CSULB Art Museum, adm. $4, student adm. free • Aquarium of the Pacific, 9am-6pm, $20.95 • Neighborhood Fun Bus, Thu. 6pm - Midnight, Sat. 1-6pm • Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden, T-F 8-3:30pm • The Gondola Getaway in Naples, $75 for two people
ENRIQUE’S Since you’re using our cheaper dating option, your laid-back look will have to be well executed and not last minute. Channel the Adam Brody dorky innocence for this one. Chicks will forever let down their guard for a man wearing jeans, an un-striped polo (no Ralph Lauren), and canvas sneakers. Please, make sure all of this leisure garb fits—there’s plenty of high schoolers around the corner who would gladly replace you should you go baggy. A short brim cap would be a great addition, but only if you can actually wear a short-brimmed cap. You should know this by now. VINT’S This place will be thick with Cougars and their new-car scent, and should your date turn out to be a bust, you need to look good for Suzanne Sommers sitting at the bar’s corner. Nice (meaning something other than stock Levis) dark jeans, brown Oxfords, a muted button-up, and throw on a blue blazer to push you over the top. Make sure your belt matches your shoes, boss. LA PAROLACCIA The waiters here are all Italian and loyal to their county’s standard of fashion, and you need to look better than the hired help. This also means your hair needs to be properly groomed, or at the very least maintained. Hat hair means she goes home with the guy who brought you gnocchi. An off-white Henley, black jeans and some Jack Purcells ooze cool and keep it simple. Wear a scarf if you’re man enough to commit.
MAGIC LAMP You’re eating adventurous (by 2nd street standards, anyway), so try to look like you’ve done a bit of traveling, or at least know what countries constitute the Middle-East. Let’s call in the Topsider deck shoes, the trustworthiest shoes you can wear. Pair those with a rolled up Oxford shirt and some classic blue jeans—the only thing missing from your rugged attire is some Stetson cologne. Note: don’t wear Stetson cologne.
VINCE GIRIMONTE UNION WEEKLY
9 APRIL 2008
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“Baseball First. Then Your Mundane Bullshit.”
Volume 62 Issue 10
Wednesday, April 9th 2008
Disclaimer: This page is satire. We are not ASI, nor do we represent the CSULB campus. Send rags to EarlGrey@lbunion.com
OPINIONPALOOZA Portfolio or Viento Y Agua? I Don’t Even Fucking Know Anymore
PINKBERRY IS NOT PEOPLE An Official Statement From President Shelly Hwang
In response to rumblings and grumblings heard through various media outlets, I have chosen to publicly renounce claims that Pinkberry is not frozen yogurt at all, but instead a mash of preservatives and other fabricated chemicals. Such claims are absurd and detrimental to the reputation of the fiber of the integrity of our company. Now, if you were to ask me what exactly is in our Swirly Goodness, I cannot say. While our product is swirly (and, for that matter, filled with goodness), as a nutrient, it is a mysterious, mysterious beast. To give away what goes into our wildly successful frozen treat would be a faux pas of business strategy. We can’t very well have every Tom Fool making Pinkberry in their own
garages. That would be madness. I can assure you that Pinkberry is definitely something. There are things that go into our frozen treat that make it exist as you know it, and those things are, in fact, things, and present where they are whole. I wish to also say that Pinkberry was in no way originally created by a freak accident in some lab. No siree Bob. No reason to think that. Pinkberry sure isn’t people. That is for certain. Pinkberry is not made up of processed children sent over from China as a means of population control, despite the fact that said children would be abhorently cheap and no one knows what Chinese children taste like. Stop thinking. Keep eating. Shelly Hwang, President
BY DAVEY K. With variety comes the heinous reality of making decisions. Such is my plight. I recently ventured down 4th street on my bike that I recently fixed to my personal single-gear specifications and found this coffeehouse called Viento Y Agua. I’m a Portfolio man through and through, but the aroma upon entering Viento Y Agua was overwhelming. And the art, well, it was fucking amazing and new. I’d never heard of it. Over the years I’ve made dozens of friends, friends that really don’t
require anything so long as you talk to them like an intellectual and clap at their readings. But Viento Y Agua seems to have these people too, and lots of bikes fixed to specific single gear specifications just like mine. I liked these people because they were new and undiscovered and I generally appreciate things like that. They had vinyl I’ve never even heard of hanging on their wall, and men writing things in small black books with off-white pages, bound not with metal spirals but with thick oxygen and carbon. The barista was pale and freckly and served my Americana with the light touch of an angel. What am I to do?
Turd Burglary Doesn’t Pay The Bills Like It Used To BY GUS SALISBURY What am I doing with my life? Honestly, what is the point of burglarizing people’s turds if I’m not able to find adequate monetary compensation in my many risky endeavors? I suppose I should have paid more attention to my father, who was a cat turd burglar for over twenty years. He died penniless—shot to death in someone’s kitchen—on what was supposed to be his last big score. And for what? A few dried up pieces of litter encrusted cat shit? Personally, I blame the economy. What’s the old saying? When
the housing market dries up, so too will turds? I’d like to believe that things have changed in this country, but here I am, a closet full of turds and $12.85 in the bank. I simply never thought I’d see the day when turds couldn’t put food in the mouths of my children or pay for my alimony. I never thought I’d see the day when the ratio of the turd dropped below the Canadian dollar. And I most certainly never thought I’d see the day when my tax rebate paid me more in a week, than hours upon hours of turd emburgalment. Something’s wrong with this country and I think it stinks.
Burt Tandor Bowls Another 290 PAGE C7
Best Friends Turn Out To Be Gay Grunion Editor Pries Gun From PAGE BFF
Heston’s Cold, Dead Hands