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EVERTON BAILEY Managing Editor It used to be that students came to class with a pen and paper, but many students now simply take out a laptop. Since instituting a laptop distribution program in 2003 and becoming a wireless campus around the same time, St. John’s has made it simple for students to get online from just about anywhere on campus. But with computers being integrated more and more into course lesson plans, this also means some professors have to compete with e-mail accounts, social networking, online shopping, gaming sites and other distractions of the Web for the attention of their students. Merrill Villanueva, a junior, said he often uses his laptop in class for education and leisurely purposes. “For some classes, I use it to take notes because I can type faster than I can write,” he said. “But sometimes the teachers are boring so I’ll just go on Facebook.” According to a May 2008 Newsweek article, many professors from schools such as Harvard, Yale and Columbia banned laptop use from their classes. The article also cites the University of Chicago Law School cutting its Wi-Fi signal for the spring 2008 semester to crack down on Web surfing during class time. Although there are some St. John’s professors who also discourage the use of laptops during class, policies on computer use vary across the University. Thomas Philipose, an English professor, said he feels the decision for a professor to permit laptop use in class should be based on what students are going to use it for and how that use is going to be monitored. “[My students] don’t generally use them [in class],” he said. “The nature of my course doesn’t call for the students to use it though I have taught distance learning courses where technology plays a big part.” Tamara Del Vecchio, an assistant professor of psychology, said although she permits the use of laptops during her classes she reminds her students that it is a privilege. “I let students know I could withdraw permission at any time if they abuse [the policy],” she said.


WHAT’S INSIDE News......................2-5 Opinion...............10-13 Comics......................6 Entertainment....17-21 Features.................7-8 Sports.................23-28

THEATER 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee The Chappell Players put on their latest musical. ENTER RTAINMENT Pg. 20


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Film New York, I Love You Check out this movie comprised of short films about love, all taking place in the city of New York.

Inferno Pg. 18

Features Mitch Albom Read our article about bestselling author Mitch Albom, who spoke to a packed audience on campus.

Features Pg. 7


Men’s Soccer All Tied Up The men’s soccer team tied 1-1 against Brown in the Tuesday night game.


Sports Pg. 26


21 Oct. 2009


FOR MAIL SUBSCRIPTIONS: 718-990-6756 The TORCH is the official student newspaper of St. John’s University. The Torch is written, edited, designed and produced by students of the University. All contents are the sole responsibility of the editors and the editorial board and do not necessarily represent the views of the administration, faculty or students of St. John’s University unless specifically stated.

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The ever-changing St. John’s skyline now boasts a tower equpped with an artificial torch that lights up.

Acting class available to students JOANNA SMYKOWSKI Contributing Writer This year, St. John’s is expanding their course selection by offering a new introductory acting course on campus. The course is offered by the College of Professional Studies and taught by professor Richard Thomas. This semester, 25 students are taking the course. Thomas spoke about the new course’s turnout. “It surprised me how many students were interested,” he said. “The class is overfilled.” The class focuses on the fundamentals and strives to give students a basic foundation in acting. Thomas said, the course consists of different types of acting exercises, including one minute exercises students prepare at home then come to class to present each week. “They are structured in a way to free the student and build confidence. As such, students are asked to recreate an emotional memory, a sensory memory, their identity and so forth. I do not ask them to perform these, but honestly represent the feelings,” said Thomas. In addition to this exercise, students get the chance to act out different scenes and perform monologues. “The point is for the students to gain confidence, and get past any inhibitions that they have,” said Thomas. Both the midterm and final for this course are student performances. Thomas said that for the midterm, students will perform monologues they have selected and perfected up until that point.

The final will require the students to perform a scene as a pair. They must attend the performances of their peers and offer critiques about their strength and weaknesses. Thomas said the students observe each other’s performances as a way to learn more about the art of acting. “To learn how to act, one needs to know what makes good acting, and the only way to do that is to be able to critically evaluate another’s performances,” he said. Sophmore Princess Carroll said she is excited about the opportunity now available to her. “The reason I took this class was to find out whether or not acting is a potential field that I would like to go into,” said Carroll. “Thus far, I have learned a lot! The best thing I’ve learned up to this point is how to get in touch with the part of me that’s behind closed doors. It doesn’t seem like it, but Professor Thomas has taught us that this is the key to acting: letting go of yourself, all your inhibitions and just letting your raw emotions show within the character you’re portraying.” Inda Grofeld, a senior, is likewise excited about the new course, and hopes that there will be more acting courses in the future. “I’ve loved the art of acting ever since I was a little girl. Now as a senior in St. John’s University, I get to experience this class with not only an intellectual professor who has great knowledge of this subject, but also students that share the same interest and passion as me,” she said. “I hope in the near future there will be more classes and more acknowledgment towards the art of acting.”


Breast cancer walk draws large crowd RICHARD MILLER Contributing Writer Cold weather and rain over the weekend could not stop hundreds from showing up with the hope of curing breast cancer. The annual “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” walk was held Sunday morning in Kew Gardens. The course started at Queens Borough Hall and continued along Queens Boulevard. St. John’s students met in the UC Commons at 8:30 a.m. and were transported by bus to Queens Boulevard. Students on the Staten Island campus also participated in a walk. According to Joseph Sciame, vice president of Community Relations at St. John’s, more than 500 students participated in the walk. “It was a very successful day in terms of numbers,” he said. “We were very proud of our students participating despite the weather.” Sciame said that the Queens campus raised more than $22,000 for the event. “Making Strides” raised close to $400,000 from the Queens event sthis year. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and similar events are also held at various locations across the country. St. John’s University has been a flagship sponsor of the event, which is organized by the American Cancer Society, for nine years. The money raised is used by the American Cancer Society to fund research into the causes and treatment of cancer. Sciame spoke onstage about the goal of the event. “We’ve got to come together to overcome this terrible disease,” he said. Students shared their experiences of participating in the event.


Students gathered on Oct. 2 at St. John’s University before participating in the “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” walk on Queens Boulevard. “I guess I just wanted to help out,” said senior Matt O’Leary, who was attending the event for the first time. “It’s good that some people still came out. I don’t mind a little rain.” Some students said they did not expect the event’s high popularity on such a rainy day. “I was surprised by how many people came out,” said Florine Smolenski. “I’m with the physician’s assistant program. I do this every year. It’s for a really good

cause.” Freshman Taryn Mondiello called the event “inspiring” and mentioned that she had attended similar events in the past. “I have done it every year since eighth grade in Prospect Park, Brooklyn,” she said. Some participants even had personal connections to the event. “I like to walk to support people with cancer,” said Paige Ingram, whose grandmother had been diagnosed with

breast cancer. “I am happy that people turned out in spite of the weather.” Marge Cashin, the event’s organizer, was optimistic about the turnout despite the weather. “We usually get between 500 and 600 students,” Cashin said. She made it clear that the service spirit of the University would rise above the weather. “Vincentianism brings out the sunshine,” Cashin said.


her further her career. “I want to establish a stable career in an international entertainment company, possibly doing research [such as location scouting] and other tasks that will enable me to work on all sides of the world,” she said. TV and Film major Miranda Fluhrer also felt that the program would be useful. “I’m not planning on attending graduate school, but I’m good friends with Professor Monteiro and I have heard of the program. I think it’s a good opportunity for communications majors. We have such a huge study abroad program that students can study at multiple campuses across the globe,” she said. “It’s a good opportunity for communication, advertising, and public relations majors.” “I think it’s an interesting and useful program. As an economics major I learned that telecommunications played a big part in the flow of information and globalization,” said Economics major Nevena Georgieva.

employment market.” According to Monteiro, they anticipate at least 10 new students for the fall semester because of the growing interest in the program. Graduate student Tiffany Vasquez is part of the 2009 inaugural class, and received her B.S. in communication arts from St. John’s. She states that she is excited about being a part of the program. “Professor Monteiro had first mentioned this program when I was on a study abroad trip with him in India. I wanted to join this program since then, but it didn’t exist yet! So I waited two years until it did, and here I am,” she said. “The program adds international aspects to the general scope of communications that I love, and since we are steadily becoming more of a globally united world instead of separate countries, these topics are vital to becoming a communications professional.” Vasquez said she feels that this master’s program will help


and have the option to pursue a thesis. “The electives are designed to help students develop certain specializations, such as international public relations or international advertising,” he said. Monteiro said that the internship opportunities made available to the students are an important part of the program. Internship opportunies are offered in Brussels, Luxembourg, Strasbourg, Madrid and Barcelona. The degree program is open to a wide range of undergraduate majors, and Monteiro invites everyone with an interest in the program to apply. “Anyone who has an interest in the management of communication, whether corporate, governmental or non-governmental,” he said. “Today everything is international, transnational, and multi-national; so this degree opens up opportunities for our students to see the world as their

21 Oct. 2009

St. John’s University introduced a new graduate degree in the fall of 2009: the Master of Science in International Communications. There are currently 26 students enrolled in the program. The program is the brainchild of professor Basillio Monteiro, an associate professor of mass communications in the College of Professional Studies. “This is a unique program on the whole East Coast of the United States. This master’s degree combines communication, public policy, international relations and political economy,” said Monteiro. Admissions requirements are the same as the admissions requirements for other University graduate programs. “Requirements for admission are the standard ones across graduate programs at St.

John’s University. They need to have a bachelor’s degree with minimum 3.0 GPA., GRE scores and letters of recommendation. In order to graduate, students must demonstrate at least an intermediate level proficiency in a foreign language,” explained Monteiro. The master’s degree has specific required courses, totaling 18 credits. These required courses include theories and processes of communication, international communication and global development and media and communication research methodology. “These courses are designed to provide students with the foundational knowledge of the complex world of communication, develop a research orientation, and understand the application of communication methodologies in public policy, politics and international relations,” said Monteiro. Students will also be required to choose three elective courses,


New graduate degree debuts this semester



students distracted during class?

Continued from Page 1 Del Vecchio said she allows students to use laptops in class because she has found that some students can organize the information she is teaching more effectively on a computer rather than in a notebook. However, she added that she would prefer her students not spend the majority of her course hunched over a computer screen. “I like to see all of my students’ faces,” she said. Senior Mike Russo said he used to bring his laptop to classes, but stopped when he purchased a non-St. John’s issued laptop and could not access a wireless connection. But, he added, by not being able to bring his laptop to class it has helped keep him more engaged in his lessons. “For me, it’s better because when I used to take notes on the computer I would get too caught up in the formatting of the notes and it would slow me down,” he said. “But when I now see someone in front of me using a laptop in class playing a game, sometimes I think ‘I wish I brought mine too.’” Schawanda Plummer, also a senior, said in her past four years as a student, she has rarely had a class where “there wasn’t at least one person usually using their laptop to go on Facebook, instant messenger or something else not class-related.” “I used to take notes on my laptop, but it would be so easy to get distracted and do other things,” she said. “I would check my e-mail, play solitaire and not pay attention to my

lectures at all. “When I see other students using laptops, I don’t find it too difficult to look past what they are doing and keep my focus on the professor but you can tell that they are just completely tuned out,” she said. Some students said that not all cases of classroom laptop use is for distracting entertainment. Freshman Amina Sanders said she has had cases where having a laptop handy has been useful for her classes. “It helps [to have a laptop] when my chem professor goes over PowerPoints,” she said. “If he goes through them too fast, students can go through the slides [on their laptop] at their own pace.” She also said her professor for her Discover New York class encourages the use of laptops for in-class research projects and for learning how to use the St. John’s library databases. Overall, Russo said despite the temptation for students to find ways to preoccupy themselves during class, he thinks a University-wide ban on classroom laptop use would not be reasonable. “I don’t think laptops should be banned from classrooms but people should be more courteous in how they use them in class,” he said. “I mean, if you’re paying for these classes, wouldn’t you want to get more out of them then just free time to play Tetris?”


Additional reporting by Christina Heiser, A student uses a laptop during class. Professors have varying Kiran Josen and Mallory Tokunaga opinions when it comes to laptop use in the classroom.

Conference on campus sheds light on global poverty


21 Oct. 2009


RAMIRO FUNEZ Staff Writer The Vincentian Center for Church and Society held the Sixth Biennial Poverty Conference on Saturday, examining the global financial crisis from an ethical and economic perspective in efforts to promote globalization. “This event is an opportunity to learn about the extremes of poverty in the world,” said Rev. Patrick Griffin, the executive vice president for Mission and Branch Campuses. The conference commemorated the 350th anniversary St. Vincent de Paul’s and St. Louis de Marillac’s deaths, in addition to celebrating the values of their movement. “All of the parts of the Vincentian family are celebrating their anniversary and recognizing the global issue,” said Griffin, one of the opening speakers at the event. The concept of the word “enough” was emphasized throughout the conference to recognize the current state of unmerited

wealth distribution. Griffin said, the word expresses the desire for the government to recognize the needs of the impoverished by limiting the wealthy’s unnecessary expenditures. Rev. Drew Christensen, editor-inchief of America Magazine, lectured at the event, discussing the shifting cultural values of our society and how the concept behind “enough” has been lost within the popularity of economic solidarity. “God will supply enough for ourselves and for sharing,” he said. “When our needs are satisfied, it becomes our obligation to help others.” Christensen also said “possessive individualism has led us to our current state.” “It becomes impossible to have justice in our society if we only focus on ourselves,” he said. The movement proposed at the conference also centered on the lack of government intervention and the need for federal organizations to limit the power of institutions that corrupt the economy. “Man has the same nature and sin that he has always had, and if we don’t legislate and cultivate the theory of

‘enough’ the possibility of a bad future is likely,” said Oscar de Rojas, former director of the United Nations’ Financing for Development. “The world of 2009 is also undergoing a very regrettable regression: a decline in the aspect of cultural values and ethical morals,” he said. “If this continues to happen, we could go back to living like a civilization that we once looked down upon.” Both speakers were oriented toward addressing the crisis of ethics and economics, and how it affects development, poverty and the future of globalization. “Socially just taxation is one of the most effective means that society has to distribute wealth,” said De Rojas. “This is not socialism. This is rationality and virtue.” Following two lectures, a panel of UN ambassadors discussed the topic “Global Awareness, The Financial Crisis, MDG’s (Millennium Development Goals) and People Who Are Poor.” The mood of the conference lightened as national performing artists Elizabeth and Joseph Mahowald concluded the

day’s activities with their Broadway music and lyrics. “My boldest hope is that the participants in the conference find a renewed sense of duty and drive for their passion for justice,” said Mahowald. “The event has given voice to something we as Americans have to face,” said Beatriz Diaz Taveras, New York archdiocese’s executive director of Catholic charities. “We have a lot of possessive individualism in this country that has slowed us down significantly,” she said. “We need to start fostering a sense of giving and generosity.” Statistics conducted by the Catholic Truth Society were distributed at the conference and showed that the poorest 40 percent of the world’s population accounts for five percent of the global income, while the richest 20 percent accounts for 75 percent of world income. “In these hard times, it is more necessary to foster this virtue of enough more than anything else,” said de Rojas. “The hope of interdevelopment depends on this movement.”

Public Safety releases annual report about campus safety EVERTON BAILEY Managing Editor On-campus burglaries and drug law violations on the Queens campus have increased in the last year while reported liquor law violations have decreased, according to the latest University Annual Security Report. The data, released this month by the Department of Public Safety, details campus crime statistics from the Queens, Staten Island, Manhattan, Oakdale, Paris and Rome campuses between 2006 and 2008.

On the Queens campus, the report revealed 69 reported criminal offenses occurred in 2008, 51 of them coming from the residence halls. In 2007, there were 35 reported offenses and there were 48 in 2006. The report shows the bulk of the crime stemming from on-campus burglaries, which according to Tom Lawrence, vice president of Public Safety, is defined as a case of reported missing property. In 2008, there were 67 cases, which more than doubled the previous year of 32 and is up from 45 cases in 2006. Of the 67 occurrences last year, 50 of those cases occurred

in the on-campus residence halls, an increase from 23 in 2007 and 31 in 2006. There were also five cases of burglary on off-campus St. John’s property. In 2007 there were not any burglary reports filed. “In ’08, I think we can put some of that with the new residences that we have on campus,” said Lawrence. “The townhouses and St. Vincent opened up in August of 2008, so we had about 500 additional students living on campus. I think that may have played some role in the increase.” Lawrence also said that he

recently gave a presentation to resident assistants reinforcing campus safety in an attempt to help decrease future offenses. One case of motor vehicle theft is reported to have occurred on campus in 2008 and one forcible sex offense was reported that year as well. Besides the increase in burglary, Lawrence said he felt St. John’s crime stats have been “pretty consistent for the past few years.” This year’s security report does show a decrease in students referred for disciplinary action for liquor law violations. 192 students were busted in 2008,

down from 229 in 2007 and 232 the previous year. “My sense is it’s the education,” said Lawrence, referring specifically to the efforts of the Department of Student Wellness. “Could it be that students have gotten better at bringing it in [under our noses], that’s always a possibility too.” There were 49 students who received disciplinary action for drug law violations in 2008, while 24 and 34 were reported in 2007 and 2006, respectively. Two students were reported to have illegal weapons violations last year, up from one in 2007 and zero in 2006.


St. John’s gets C+ for sustainability efforts NELL O’CONNOR Staff Writer The University has recently received a grade of C+ on a College Sustainability 2010 Report Card released annually by the Sustainable Endowments Institute (SEI). St. John’s received a C+ on the 2009 report card and a C- on the 2008 report card. Founded in 2005, the institute is a non-profit organization that engages in research and education to advance sustainability in campus operations and endowment practices. SEI releases the College Sustainability Report Card every year as a comparative evaluation of how schools are promoting and maintaining sustainability on their campuses. For its report card, the institute conducted research and surveys of the 300 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada that have the largest endowments, as well as 32 other schools that applied to be included. The grades are based on a university’s ability to meet qualifications in nine categories: administration, climate change and energy, endowment transparency, food and recycling, green building, investment priorities, shareholder engagement, student involvement and transportation. St. John’s received grades ranging from Bs to Ds. It received its highest marks in the categories of administration, food and recycling, student involvement, transportation and shareholder engagement. The St. John’s Sustainability Intiative (SJSI) is an example of the University’s progress in the administration category. The University created the department, which manages and enforces the University’s energy conservation policies, in January 2008. The University received its lowest score in endowment

transparency, because according to the report card, the Brown said she felt that the conference will help the University does not make its shareholder voting record SJSI with promoting sustainability. public. “We learned a lot of different ways to reach out to Thomas Goldsmith, the director of Environmental the student body about sustainability issues,” she said. and Energy Conservation, said he feels that some of the “It was a great conference and now we’re coming back grades were lower than the University deserved. to figure out where to start first.” “I think we deserved a B in climate change and Students outside the initiative are noticing the energy, as well as green building,” he said. “We’re University’s efforts. doing a lot of green building Stephanie Sica, a things, especially in the new senior, said she has seen D’Angelo Center.” improvement over her The climate change and energy an Goldsmith added, four years here. “The climate change and “It’s impressive category is the most aggressively energy category is the most that they care much pursued on campus so that about helping so aggressively pursued on to make students can know how they are students more aware campus so that students can know how they are helping helping to reduce the carbon of the environment,” to reduce the carbon footprint said. “It’s such an footprint of the University. she of the University.” important issue that people At the beginning of sometimes forget to care October, St. John’s was invited -Thomas Goldsmith, director of about.” to present at the Renewing Another senior, Environmental and Annemarie Harr, said the Campus: Sustainability and the Catholic University Energy Conservation she thinks the SJSI is an conference at the University opportunity for students to of Notre Dame. have more input and make Goldsmith, along with a difference. other administrators, took four students to the conference, “Students need to realize the impact they have on where St. John’s was a featured presenter. the environment and how they can contribute to making The conference was a chance for universities to the world a better place,” she said. “They should take compare their sustainability efforts and showcase their advantage of the opportunities this initiative has to successes. offer.” Ashley Brown, president of the Earth Club, was one of the students who attended the conference. She began working with Goldsmith and the sustainability initiative last year to reach out more to students and to promote To review the full report card, visit her organization.

TORCHCOMICS Controlled Chaos Catharine Corrigan

Quarter-Life Crisis Preston Palmer


Jonathan Roman

Cloister Matt Brown

21 October 2009

Think Outside...






Mitch Albom spoke to the eager St. John’s community about the message of his latest book, Have a Little Faith, on Oct. 2 at Belson Stadium.

A message full of faith The University works to bring Albom to campus PATRICE BENDIG Features Editor


21 Oct. 2009


More than 1,500 members of the St. John’s community piled into Belson Stadium Oct. 2, to listen to renowned author Mitch Albom talk about his latest book, Have A Little Faith. Albom is known for his New York Times best selling books, and his award winning work in the world of sports journalsim. However, the process to bring the acclaimed writer to the Queens campus was very involved, and would not have been possible without the certain members of the University. Back in April 2009, Mary Pelkowski, associate dean for Student Engagement, heard that Albom was picking 15 colleges across the country to talk about his latest book, which focuses on his travels and experiencing firsthand what it is like to “pay it forward.” “Pay it forward” refers to the action of giving back to someone else after receiving good fortune of their own. “E-mails went out from the Royce Carlton Agency back in April announcing that Mitch Albom was doing a college tour,” said Pelkowski. “We submitted our proposal and our date was accepted right away.” Along with Pelkowski, Student Government Inc., Friends of the Library and Student Affairs, two students worked particularly close with Pelkowski in making arrangements for Albom to speak at the University to bring Albom to campus. Junior Patrick Brewer, Student Government secretary, and senior Jacquelyn Torres, Student Government treasurer, spent months working alongside Pelkowski and other members of the University to make Albom’s visit possible. In order to be considered, the University had to follow a certain procedure. “The process involved a presentation to him, including how many people we could provide, what are the core values of St. John’s and what did it mean to be a Vincentian University,” said Brewer. “We had to market what we had to him.” Torres, who is also a student worker for Pelkowski, had read Albom’s work and enjoyed watching the University light up with excitement. “It was nice seeing Mary being hyped and sharing that with the students, and getting everyone else excited,” said Torres. As part of Albom’s contract with the schools he agreed to speak at, the establishments are required to

make arrangements for him to speak at another faith- at his funeral when the time came. Not knowing the Rabbi well enough, the author based organization in the community. The University dives into his life in order to get to know him in a more chose the Free Synagogue of Flushing. “The collaboration of working with the synagouge intimate setting, “outside of the suit.” In the eight year process of getting to know the man and faith-based partners is the core of who we are as a University, and being able to be a part of this was an outside of the suit, Albom also met another man of faith, but in a much different setting. overwhelming experience,” said Pelkowski. Henry, the founder of My Brother’s Keeper CongreIn addition, the University had to name at least two faith-based organizations that would be invited to the gation in Detroit, is the leader of the church that was lecture at Belson Stadium. The organizations that were being considered to receive aid from one of Albom’s invited included St. John the Baptist Elementary School charities. With a past full of poverty, incarceration, addiction and Parish, St. John’s Bread and Life Soup Kitchen, Holy Family Grammar School and Macedonia Baptist and despair, Henry turned his life around with his faith in God. He now focuses his whole life in serving his Church. Pelkowski said she felt that Albom’s latest book, poverty stricken community. While getting to know both men, Albom learned Have a Little Faith, related very closely with the values of the University as a community. “The book challeng- that even in the darkest moments, people can change es us to examine our faith,” she said. “Our Vincentian their lives if they have a little faith. At the end of the lecture, it seemed that most stumessage is the heart of who and what we are as an institiution of higher learning, and our faith is a central part dents had forgotten the cold weather, and were impacted by his speech. Afterward, Albom signed copies of his of that message.” Both Brewer and Torres said they were impressed books for eager fans. Alyssa-Roe Hug, a freshman, came out to see Albom by the amount of people who attended the lecture. Not because of the message he only were there students conveys in his books. at Belson Stadium, but “I think he is a phethe lecture was also teleI think Albom was enlightened nomenal writer,” said vised in Marillac Cafete“His books are ria and the Staten Island on how a Catholic and extremely Hug. about faith, hope and livcampus. diverse University came together ing well.” This was also the first After the speech Altime St. John’s hosted on a historic night to listen to one bom presented at the a lecture at Belson Stacommon theme that we all at some University, Torres said dium. point in our lives ponder: faith. she feels that any speaker “It was really nice,” with the same attitude said Brewer. “I had not be a good candiexpected that many -Mary Pelkowski, associate ate dean would date to be a guest lecturer alumni and faculty memfor Student Engagement agement gement at the University. bers to come out.” “I think anyone who is Pelkowski said she interested to inspire stuwas pleased with the dents would be good,” she turnout of the event, and said. “And anyone who is willing to convey a positive the impact it had on the members of the University. “From students that I met in the hallway thanking message to the student body.” Pelkowski said she hopes the the St. John’s commume for bringing Albom to campus, to faculty coming to the lecture with their classes, to alumni that drove from nity was able to walk away from it thinking more about Virginia to see him speak at her alma matter, it made their own connection to their faith. “I hope that the members of the University were this night so worth it,” she said. During the lecture, Albom spoke about his experi- touched in some way by the speech, and received a little ence with two polar opposite people that taught him bit of hope and inspiration,” she said. “I think Albom was enlightened on how a Catholic a powerful lesson that changed his life, which is what Have a Little Faith is about. and extremely diverse University came together on a In the lecture and the book, Albom spoke of his historic night to listen to one common theme that we all childhood Rabbi, who asked him to deliver his eulogy at some point in our lives ponder: faith.”


A history-rich professor CAROLYN WARGULA Staff Writer


Not many people have had an opportunity to have a diverse career. Professor Tracey Cooper, originally from Northern England, is one of the few who has. Until she was 25, Cooper was a social worker, but returned to Boston College to further her education in history. Currently, Cooper is an assistant professor in the History Department. She has taught courses such as History of Britain I, Medieval History I and II and a class on medieval women for the last three years at St. John’s. She is also in the process of developing two new courses: one concerning the Crusades, and another focusing on the impact the fall of Rome had on Africa, the Middle East and Europe. Because of her expertise in this area, Cooper appeared in a History Channel documentary last summer on mythical characters in literature and offered her keen insight into the Anglo-Saxon culture. In August 2009, The History Channel released Clash of the Gods, a documentary on the origins and social impact of ancient mythical characters. Cooper appeared in three episodes reflecting and analyzing historical and contemporary texts with other scholars. Topics discussed prominent characters from different time periods like Beowulf, Thor and J.R.R. Tolkien’s monsters in Lord of the Rings. “They did a good job with the graphics. The re-enactments had a very literary feel,” said Cooper. “It wasn’t just a group of guys marching up a hill in costume.” She explained that mythological creatures in medieval literature are mainly symbolic representations of pressing issues of the time. “A lot of the way people thought and talked in the medieval period was about allegory. The monsters represent fear, greed, lust and those things that were important to fight against,” said Cooper. “These issues are not going to come out unless you analyze [the text] a bit.” As an Anglo-Saxon scholar, Cooper has spent countless hours pouring over manuscripts discovering a better interpretation of medieval culture. She is especially fascinated with a collective book of 98 different medieval texts called BL Cotton Tiberius A III. Currently, Cooper is working on a book concerning the manuscript that will be published in three years. She said this manuscript is a good representation of the intellectual culture between 1015 and 1035 A.D. These texts discuss subject matter from prayer and liturgy to science and magic, linking them all together

21 Oct. 2009 The TORCH

into a useful book for bishops and priests to keep on hand. “There were some pretty wacky things. They imagine the growth of a fetus to be woven,” said Cooper. “Also, they think they can predict what kind of person you’ll be depending on the day of the week you’re born and what the outcome of an illness will be depending on the day that you fall sick.” Throughout her career, Cooper has been able to get her hands on ancient pieces of literature, which is a major honor for people in her field. Cooper said she feels that the most exciting moment in her career was when she was at the British Library and got to touch the BL Cotton Tiberius A III firsthand. As she turned the pages and analyzed the text, Cooper noticed figures drawn next to a page concerning the remission of sins that were supposed to evoke sympathy in the priests. “Nobody knew it was there before I spotted it. So, it sat in the margin for nearly a thousand years without anybody seeing it or talking about it. That was exciting,” said Cooper. She is on a quest to share her insights and enthusiasm of history with more people. Cooper is also working on a

second book concerning the dragon slayers in medieval culture and literature. She hopes to explain the reasoning behind the sudden popularity in saintly dragon slayers such as St. Michael, St. Margaret and St. George during the 11th and 12th centuries and how what previously was considered an Eastern Byzantine phenomenon suddenly became popular in Western Europe. Cooper said she feels history is the umbrella that gathers all forms of the liberal arts into one scope for further knowledge in the study of mankind. “You think there could be very little we could say about things that happened over a thousand years ago. Every generation starts with a new set of principles,” she said. “Their exposure to certain movements or political views or cultural trends changes the way they look at the past. So, the history changes.” In Cooper’s opinion, history shines a light on individuals. “It’s not just a collection of stories that we read to each other and tell and retell,” she said. “The story changes all the time. I think that’s what makes history continually exciting.”

Study abroad expands program HANNAH GUTIERREZ Staff Writer


Professor Cooper works in the History Department, as well as working on her own research in medieval culture. She has taught several different history courses at the University.

Coming to St. John’s offers a new environment for freshmen, especially for students who are not from New York City. Now, St. John’s is giving freshmen another opportunity to enjoy their new environment, but this one is across the pond. The Freshmen Passport program invites first-year students to visit Rome and Paris for two weeks as part of a core class. The program is a collaborative effort between the Institute for Course Studies and the Office of Global Studies. Karl Rutter, the recruitment director at the Office of Global Studies, spoke about the new program. “It’s to give them the opportunity to experience the study abroad program in a more controlled and structured environment,” he said. The program, which is in its inaugural year, was developed to give freshmen the opportunity to travel abroad. Before this program was available, students could only study abroad starting their sophomore year. Now, students can combine one of their main core classes with a voyage to Italy or France. The program’s purpose is to give students a sample of what studying abroad would be like and encourage them to study abroad for a semester when they become upperclassmen. The first program was this August, in which 30 students went to Rome as part of their Discover New

York course. The students compared Rome to their own communities, researching different sights that interested them and reflecting on community service. Clarie Cilento, a freshman, was one of those students that studied in Rome with her DNY class this summer. Her reaction to the trip was very positive. “My experience in Rome was unforgettable. The Freshmen Passport Program provided the opportunity for me to get involved in St. John’s before I even entered the school,” she said. “I was able to meet other students and form friendships and memories.” This program is for more than just exploring a foreign city. The Freshmen Passport Program combines one of the following core classes in Theology, English, DNY or Speech 1000C with a two-week stay in Rome. Each core class includes unique assignments that directly relate to their class and their European city. Students are allowed to explore the city of Rome but they won’t have time to visit other countries or European cities like those who study abroad for a full semester. They are also required to participate in certain activities after their classes. Still, if students want to explore on their own, they have free time each day after all events on the itinerary are done. The itinerary itself includes two day trips to Florence and Assisi. For the winter session this year (Jan. 2-14), students begin one of their core classes here at St. John’s and end their class in Rome. They are placed in the same class with students that are attending the program. At last count, there were 78 students attending this session,

according to Rutter. Freshman Patrick Schuster said he will be attending the winter session in Rome. Although it will not be his first time traveling outside the country, it will be his first visit to Europe. “I love traveling and seeing new places,” he said. Rome is not the only city students can visit for the Freshmen Passport program. A two-week program in Paris is already in store for spring 2010. This program offers Theology 1000C and was designed with the biology or pharmacy student in mind because their core course load differs from students in other academic disciplines. “It is more difficult for biology and pharmacy majors to participate in semester-long Global Studies programs because their majors have very strict guidelines and their mandatory courses are not offered abroad,” said Rutter. “That is why the Freshmen Passport program has offered Theology 1000 in spring so that those students may take one of their core classes abroad.” The trip costs $1,500 and includes most meals, bus trips and accommodations, but airfare is not included and must be paid separately by the student. The financial aid a student receives for tuition is put toward this trip, but unlike the regular semester study abroad program, no scholarships are directly available for students. Rutter said he believes that students should take advantage this program. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, an incredible experience,” he said. “It adds to academic credibility.”




Editorial Board LXXXVII

Illustrator’s Corner:

CHRISTINA HEISER Editor-in-Chief EVERTON BAILEY Managing Editor KIRAN JOSEN News Editor JUSTIN THRIFT Editorial Page Editor


21 Oct. 2009


A social distraction The dynamics of today’s college classroom environment have been dramatically affected by technology in the past few decades. Digital notes, SmartBoards and online course forums have changed the way students learn, for better and for worse. One of the more visible additions to the classroom has been the laptop. Today, virtually every college student in the country has their own personal laptop, especially at schools like St. John’s were a laptop program provides one for each student. Some people would argue that this technology is an enormous tool for modern college students, and to some extent this is true. Having a laptop in class allows students to take clearer notes and access Internet resources that can aid their learning experience all while sitting in class. In theory, this works. However in reality, most students choose to take advantage of their laptops in class in ways that do not augment the academic learning experience. We’ve all seen it – an unsuspecting teachers delivering their lecture as a handful of students browse Facebook, sports sites and chat on AIM, diverting their eyes away from the blackboard. Some teachers choose to ignore it and others do their best to stop it. While this is obviously not a productive way for students to be using their laptops in class, it’s indicative of a much deeper social issue. In addition to immense disrespect toward professors, this illuminates that we’ve become a generation of people obsessed with social networking and dependent on constant media stimulation. When a student can’t sit for 55

minutes through a class, which they’re paying thousands of dollars for without checking their Facebook notifications and updating their online statuses, there is something very wrong. In addition to visiting the social networking sites, many students rarely attend a class in which they don’t receive or send a text message; it’s almost inconceivable that one would keep their phone in their backpack during class. This poses a serious threat to the educational futures of those who fall subject to this condition. It reveals that student attention spans are growing increasingly smaller, and the methods used to engage students in their own education are demanding more progressive and creative professors. What is most alarming is the lack of self-control and interest that many of the students show in their education. The debate that many educators are forced to deal with is how to combat this disturbing trend. It seems ridiculous to ban the use of laptops in the classroom considering that college students are adults. Additionally, we live in an age centered around technology and to prohibit the use of laptops would be grossly unfair to students who actually use their laptops to enhance their classroom and learning experience. While playing Tetris and browsing Facebook may be a tempting way to stay awake during a boring class, students should realize the dangerous implications this may have on their education. When you reach the point where it’s hard for you to resist the Internet’s lure and not focus on the subject of class, it’s time to admit what sites like Facebook have become – a distracting addiction.


EDITORIAL POLICY Editorials are the opinions of the Editorial Board of The TORCH. Columns are the opinions of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of The TORCH. Opin-

ions expressed in editorials, columns, letters or cartoons are not necessarily those of the student body, faculty or administrations of St. John’s University.

TO CONTRIBUTE Mail letters to: The TORCH Letters, St. John’s University, 8000 Utopia Pkwy, Jamaica, NY 11439 E-mail letters to:

Please include your full name, year, and college (or department). Letters have a limit of 350 words and may be edited for content, grammar, or space. Unverifiable or anonymous letters will not be published. All letters are subject to the approval of the Editorial Board of The TORCH.



Letters to the editor To the Editor: October is National Fire Safety Month. During that time we are encouraged to change the batteries in our smoke detectors and to make sure that they are working properly. Unfortunately, even a functioning smoke detector might not wake up a sleeping individual who has a hearing loss. The frequency of the alarm in most smoke detectors is 3100Hz, which falls within a range in which many people do not have normal hearing. The most common kind of hearing loss in adults is characterized by good hearing for low pitched tones (below 2000Hz) but a loss of hearing for higher frequencies. Fortunately, there are devices on the market which either utilizes a lower frequency alarm signal, which is audible to many more people, or mechanisms that work in conjunction with a special clock-

radio that is turned on by the sound of the smoke alarm. For more information on whether you have a hearing loss that would interfere with the smoke detector’s ability to wake you, as well as information on other assistive listening devices to help with communication and TV, contact your local audiologist. For more information on where to purchase these alternative alarms and for a free hearing screening, contact St. John’s Speech and Hearing Center, located in Flushing, NY, 718 990-6480.

Dr. Toni Gordon, Ph.D. Speech and Hearing Center


Educating the public Preparing students for college and the standardized test debate

As a product of New York City schools, I’ve dealt with the good and bad that comes with attending public school in the nation’s largest education system. One of the best things about going to public school in Queens, for example, is a diverse student body. I met kids from many different backgrounds and got to experience all of their cultures. But one of the biggest faults that I’ve encountered is the emphasis placed on standardized testing. This is something that New York City Comptroller William Thompson, the democratic candidate for mayor, has been criticizing Mayor Mike Bloomberg for as Election Day draws near. In 2002, Bloomberg was able to gain mayoral con-

trol of the New York City Department of Education. That same year, Congress passed George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which states that students in all states must pass standardized tests in English and math in order to be promoted to the next grade. The amount of federal funding a school receives also depends on how well students fair on these exams. During a debate held between the two candidates last week, Thompson outlined the downside of a standardized test-centered curriculum: “…Our children are taught to take tests, but they’re not learning critical thinking, comprehension and the ability to be able to compete on a global economy,” he stated. Bloomberg countered that by saying, “We give them the same tests that a potential employer will give them and if the test is ‘can you read,’ the answer is that we should be giving that test and the good news is, our kids are doing better on that by that standard all the time.” Since so much emphasis is placed on reading and math, a lot of the art and music programs in New York City pub-

lic schools have been cut. When I was younger, I used to love these classes because they broke up the monotony of the day. I even learned how to read music in third grade, something that is actually supposed to help students in math. New York City is also a major cultural center for the arts; why deny students the opportunity to experience all the city has to offer? In New York State high schools, students must pass numerous Regents exams with a score of 65 or higher every year to graduate from high school. Because students must pass these tests in order to graduate, many teachers only teach information that is going to be on the test because of the pressure placed on them for their students to pass. I even had a few experiences in high school where, if a teacher said a piece of information wouldn’t be on a Regents exam (or on a midterm or a final), students would actually put their pens down and not take notes on it. But the scoring on the Regents exams is skewed. On the June 2009 Algebra Regents Exam, students who got a raw score of 30 (meaning they answered

30 out of the 87 total questions correctly) received a grade of 65 percent, even though they only got 34 percent of the questions correct. So students can still pass these exams without making significant academic progress. This is not the way to successfully prepare students for college. While I have had a few classes at St. John’s (mostly core classes) where I’ve had multiple choice exams and I could get away with memorizing information and then forgetting it, this has not been the case for the majority of my classes here. As an English major, I do need that ability to think critically. But for students who are continually taught to take tests, college is going to be quite the challenge for them. While each of these two mayoral candidates seem to care about education, one thing is certain: things need to change in order for significant progress to be made and for students to get the quality education they deserve. Christina Heiser is a senior English major. She can be reached at:

New TVs at Montgoris mean more waste ANGELIKA SWATOWSKA Contributing Writer

can’t hear the TVs. These new TVs are also never turned off, wasting energy. HD TVs are energy-munching appliances. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, one 32-inch HD TV costs at least $100 per year to operate – and the bigger the screen, the more electricity is used. And HD TVs are quite an expensive purchase. On average, HDTVs cost around $800 each. Some can even cost up to $5,500, depending on the brand, screen-size, and whether they are Plasma or LCD. The sad reality is that this money could have been used in better ways. Var-

ious clubs and organizations on campus are struggling with budget constraints. After all, students have come to St. John’s to get the most they can of an educational experience. When budget is limited, responsible choices need to be made. Therefore, while the no tray policy was a step in the right direction toward creating a green campus, introducing the flat screen HD TVs has brought St. John’s back to the starting point. The TVs create a lot of waste because they are kept on at all times, and they are not used effectively. The University needs to display a more solid stand in terms of its green policies.


21 Oct. 2009

Are you excited for the upcoming homecoming events?



The campaign for a cleaner planet has reached pandemic levels lately and it seems like everyone is trying to “go green” in one way or another. Buses are now running on electricity, subway trains are full of posters urging us to save Mother Earth and some grocery stores no longer offer plastic bags. St. John’s, too, has been a part of this new wave of green. For example, Montgoris Dining Hall

recently ended the use of trays in order to conserve water and save food. However, while trays were taken away, brand-new HD TVs were added. Students who usually dine at Montgoris will certainly have taken notice of these five new flat screen Philips HD TVs on the first floor and of the exceptionally large Panasonic HD TV on the second floor. These TVs were recently purchased to replace the older models. However, these TVs are not being put to good use. First, the only channel that is played is MTVU, which shows music videos. Second, the volume is so low that during peak hours in Montgoris, students


Marika Sdraker Sophomore

I’m very excited because of all the school spirit.

I just found out that homecoming’s next week. I’m very excited about it since I’m a senior.

Tina Harizadeh Senior

Brittany Tucker Senior

Yes, I’m looking forward to the masquerade ball and all of the other events. Daniel Bresee Freshman

Yes I am because of all the free stuff.



Settling the scoreline Should the National Football League consider changing their overtime rules?


Oct. 21 2009


MARK MCDONALD General Manager In the past few years, the National Football League overtime rule has come under extreme scrutiny from fans, players, owners, and football analysts. As the rule stands, in the case of a tied game, the first team to score in overtime wins. It would seem that whomever gets possession of the ball at the start of the overtime period has an obvious advantage over their opponent. With so many people clamoring for change, it might also seem that the NFL overtime rule must be wrong. However, that is not the case. The current NFL overtime rule has worked for 30 years now, and it is not going to stop being effective anytime soon. By following the “sudden death” rule, the NFL has had 30 years of success, growth and popularity. Changing the rule may seem like a good idea right now, but that may be a shortsighted perspective. Right now, the NFL is experiencing a resurgence in popularity while other American sporting leagues continue to falter. It seems like a good idea to make the game more competitive and add more depth, but that could result in oversaturation for the audience. A few years ago, the NBA switched the first round of the playoffs to a bestof-seven-games format instead of a five-game format – a decision that was made right before the NBA began to lose viewers. By always leaving people wanting more, it builds excitement for the next game. In addition, changing any rule always creates discrepancies in the record books. Many have said that quarterbacks like Troy Aikman, Dan Marino, and many others will have their career numbers mean less and less because of the recent adjustments to the way quarterbacks are protected. By changing the overtime rule, the

JUSTIN THRIFT Editorial Page Editor NFL will create a fault between the records before the rule was enacted and those after. This can also cause a lack of respect for the history of the game for new viewers. The main reason people tend to think the overtime rule should be changed is that it seems to be lopsided. By giving one team the ball first in a sudden death matchup, it appears to be giving that team the chance to win instead of the defending team. However, there is a reason that the NFL has a separate team for defense. The defenders in the NFL can make game-changing plays just like quarterbacks can. For many teams, their defense is what gives them an identity. As great as the Steelers and the Ravens may be on offense, their defenses keep them anchored, fired up and competitive. Playing great defense is that team’s chance to win just like offense is for the other team. On a similar note, just because a team starts off with the ball does not mean that they will be the team who scores a winning drive. In this week’s New York Jets game against the Buffalo Bills, each team managed to have several chances at scoring in overtime. In the end, Buffalo won, but only after each team had multiple chances to clinch the victory. The NFL overtime rule certainly has its flaws, but finding a rule that doesn’t have any flaws is nearly impossible. The overtime rule may have resulted in some heartbreaking losses and ties, but it has yet to stop a great team from reaching their goal. The game is still fun, and its popularity has turned it into America’s new pastime. The NFL may not be perfect, but its flaws have helped mold it into one of the greatest sports in the world; and getting rid of them takes the beauty out of the game.

Anyone who knows anything about sports will tell you that the National Football League is the nation’s model sports league. The NFL is known for its smooth operations and overwhelming popularity with American sports fans. It could easily be argued that no other sports league in the world functions under a more fairly designed team draft system, working salary cap and with better behaved athletes. The NFL’s supreme administration and commitment to building a competitive league is the reason that it is the most profitable sports league in the United States. However, there is still one area where the league falls short: the situation of a stalemate game and the leagues’ ruling on overtime. Consider the following scenario: you’ve been watching your team play since the beginning of regulation time. Through four quarters your team has lead, fallen behind, made a few amazing plays and kept themselves alive up until the final seconds. Unfortunately, the game is locked in a tied score. The current NFL rules are simple: 15 minutes of overtime play and the first team to score wins.As the referee blows his whistle to signal the end of regulation time, the players organize themselves for overtime and designated captains are sent to attend the coin toss that will determine which team receives possession. As stated in a recent Time article, Elias Sports Bureau reports that 64 percent of the teams in the past 30 years who win this coin toss go on to win the game. This means that almost two-thirds of the time, a coin toss has decided the outcome of a game. A coin toss. After 60 minutes of grueling, hardfought football, you watch as your team loses the coin toss. Now, the opposing team simply has to drive within range of

a field goal and kick three points to win. It doesn’t matter that the game has been evenly played. It doesn’t matter that your team hasn’t had a chance to score in overtime. Last season, we saw this take place at Gillette Stadium when the New England Patriots fought their way back twice against the New York Jets by scoring 18 points in a row, only to eventually lose the game in overtime when the Jets won the coin toss and kicked a 34 foot field goal to win. The outcome stung extra hard for Patriots’ fans after Randy Moss completed an astonishing catch to send New England into overtime. The Jets were happy enough to get a victory from a game, in which they had twice blown a large lead.This season, the Patriots suffered the same fate during week five to the Denver Broncos. Last Sunday, the New York Jets took on the Buffalo Bills in a game that was marked by poor plays and weak offense. A 13-13 tie sent the game into an overtime period that Buffalo eventually ended with a game-winning field goal – big surprise. Last Sunday’s overtime period between the Jets and Bills only availed both teams ample opportunities to score because of terrible play and sloppy execution. The reality remains that when a team scores in NFL overtime, the other team is given no last opportunity to retaliate. No other sports league leaves the fate of a tied game down to the flick of a coin. The routine outcome of a gameending field goal and the defenseless losing team has become more than unfair, it has become un-NFL-like. The National Football League needs to examine their rules for overtime play and develop a tie-breaking scenario that provides both teams with an equal opportunity and fans with less heartbreak.

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Monitoring computer usage at the library RAMIRO FUNEZ Staff Writer Many St. John’s students express the difficulty of completing academic work on the library computers in St. Augustine Hall. While some students wait hopelessly for a computer to finish assignments on, others use them for instant messaging or designing Farmville plots on Facebook. As a result, tasks as simple as researching information or printing papers include tedious expeditions throughout the building in pursuit of available computers to work on. Sometimes students are not even able to complete or print their work on time before class because of the selfish and unstructured way that the library computers have been used. With thousands of students on campus that rely on the library’s printing services, discrepancies in computer usage are far from astonishing. With an ever-growing student population, more efforts should be made towardcatering to those using library computers for academic use. Computers at St. Augustine Hall should be individually designated for either educational or recreational functions with Web site locations programmed accordingly. The library should also institute more academicbased computers than recreationally-used computers, as their use is more urgent and important. Considering the fact that every St. John’s student is bestowed with a laptop serviceable on our campus-wide network, the need to log onto entertainment-oriented web locations should not interfere with library computers used for academics. Students’ laptop proprietorship allow for recreational use that won’t take time away from everyone else’s school-related needs. By designating the two different kinds of computer locations and distinguishing them scrupulously, students who want to print out papers or complete online research will have more time and convenience to do so. Recreational users would benefit as well because they wouldn’t have to worry about other students who need to finish homework breathing down their necks to get off the computer. This would increase the comfort level of entertainment-seeking Internet users, allowing them to stay longer at the library.

In fairness to the University, the library has attempted to differentiate library attendants by establishing different environments within the building. Quiet study areas are designated locations within the library that prohibit food, snacks and loud noise. They do not, however, regulate their computer usage or emphasize academic Internet usage to avoid misuse of computers. The Academic Commons was designed as a more socially tolerant sector of the library that contains numerous computers and printers, but also does not have computer regulation. Although different rooms within the library were designed to set varied environments for students visiting with distinct intentions, the

issue of designating computer usage has still not been addressed. Regardless of the library’s regulation and monitoring of this current problem, it remains up to the students to realize the rudeness in using library computers for anything other than school-related activity. Students who are running around feverishly trying to print or work on an essay before heading to class shouldn’t have to wait for someone else to finish checking their Facebook account. Students should save the games for their own time and personal computers and keep the library computers open to those in need.





The musical comedy duo returns with the album I Told You I Was Freaky. The album’s mix of different musical genres is sure to please both old fans and new followers.


Flight of the Conchords


PG 19





ew York, I Love You is a collection of short films that depict various love stories found in New York City. Based on the same concept as its 2006 predecessor, Paris, Je’taime, the movie is the product of several contributions by different directors that ultimately creates a montage of love stories in one film. The film takes a New York approach to love, with a “nothing is impossible” theme that pervades the 10 out-of-the-ordinary scenarios (each shot in two days) located throughout the city. For that reason, New York exceeds the predictability of an American love story and the mushy sensitivity of a chick flick. The long list of big names that appear in the film, including Orlando Bloom, Christina Ricci, Bradley Cooper and Blake Lively, adds to the movie’s hype but does not take away from the small love stories. The list of participating directors boasts more recognition, with international contributions from Yvan Attal, Mira Nair and Sherak Kaphur. Actress Natalie Portman also makes her directing debut.

The movie hits on every type of love, from multicultural to whimsical to paternal to intergenerational. One of the beginning stories plays on the idea of interracial relationships, with Natalie Portman playing a Jewish bride-to-be who haggles with a widowed East Indian diamond broker in a shop within the Diamond District. Their intimate meeting results in each character having culture-specific fancies of Yiddish and Hindu love which remain nothing more than fantasies. A comedic highlight of the film is Brett Ratner’s piece which depicts the story of a young man (Anton Yelchin) who takes his pharmacist’s daughter (Olivia Thrilby) to his high school prom at Tavern on the Green. After finding out that she is in a wheelchair, he expects to be doomed to a night of disappointment. However, her disability becomes something that makes his night even more special. Portman directs a bittersweet short about a Latino father who becomes mistaken for a “manny” (a male nanny) to his Caucasian-looking daughter. In spite of his modern dancing, the father shows the masculine side of parenthood by loyally visiting his daughter while dealing with her ungrateful mother. Attal’s contribution comes in the form of an explicit yet charming pickup attempt by a writer (Ethan Hawke) whose interesting wordplay fails to get a married woman (Maggie Q) into bed.



The multiple love stories featured in New York, I Love You explore the relationships between married couples, families and even strangers.

21 Oct. 2009

Although the film showcases distinct tales of romance, several mini-movies leave room for confusion. In the piece by Kapur that takes place in a posh New York City hotel, a crippled bellhop (Shia Labeouf) admires a retired opera singer (Julie Christie) who is nearly twice his age. The artistic camera angles separate imagination from reality, but blur the relationship between the two. This is especially evident when Labeouf falls to his death and an older bellhop materializes, using the same dialogue as his younger counterpart. One of the more endearing segments of the film comes towards the end, when an elderly couple (Eli Wallach and Cloris Leachman) take a stroll to Brighton

Beach, bickering with the experienced love of 63-year marriage. Overall, the film represents the idea of love in New York as far-fetched but yet as yet simple as the multiple plots it depicts. Even if audiences do not enjoy the film, some New Yorkers will appreciate it because of the familiar sights and distinguishable characters. Whether depicting the love between two strangers, a father and a daughter, a painter and a subject, or a husband and a wife, the same traits of understanding, affection and sacrifice are consistent throughout the entire film. The movie has audiences caring for each other as much as they do for New York, a place where anything can happen.




New York, I Love You is the 2009 American remake of Paris Je’taime that will leave a soft spot in audiences’ hearts for each other and the city.

Horror Hits the Suburbs SYDNEY DELANCY Contributing Writer




imilar to recent horror films like Disturbia and One Missed Call, The Stepfather is a thriller that presents audiences with non-stop action and endless screams. Penn Badgley, Amber Heard, Sela Ward and Dylan Walsh are only a few of the talented actors that make up the cast. Although the movie has its fair share of faults, it is ultimately an entertaining and frightening look into one family’s struggle with terrible circumstances. The Stepfather takes place in Portland, Oregon and focuses on the events that transpire after Michael Harding (Badgley) comes back home from military school and discovers that his mother, Susan (Ward), has gotten engaged to David Harris (Walsh) after only knowing him for six months. David seems to be the perfect father—he picks up Michael’s younger brother

and sister from the dentist and convinces Susan to let Harding stay in Portland for his final year of high school. David even gets Michael the permission that he needs to practice with his former swim team despite previous issues. Despite how perfect David seems, Michael is suspicious of him. There are no photos of David, and being a self-proclaimed carpenter, he spends his time building storage containers with locks on them in the basement. Wherever Michael goes, it seems that David is always there. Michael realizes that David might not be as perfect as he seems after a neighbor dies mysteriously and David begins talking to himself. When Michael decides to investigate, he reveals the true horror of the situation. His discoveries put himself and his entire family in danger. One of the downfalls of this movie is that some of the characters in The Stepfather lack common sense, which makes the situations seem less believable. There is no explanation as to why Susan Harding

would agree to marry someone after only knowing him for six months, especially since she does not know anything about his past. Even after being warned many times by her sister and an elderly neighbor, Susan refuses to question her perfect fiancé. At one point it seems as if she finally sees the questionable perfection of her fiancé after he “disciplines” her youngest son and physically assaults him. However, this moment of sanity is merely temporary and almost all but forgotten by the next day. Because the development of Susan’s character was so weak, some of the plot points that her choices set up seemed contrived and unbelievable. The Stepfather steers clear of some of the blood and gore of modern horror movies, focusing instead on the development of David’s character as he transforms from the perfect father to a terrifying monster. Although it suffers from moments of poor writing and character development, The Stepfather is an entertaining movie which promises to keep audiences on the edge of their seats.


Penn Badgley discovers his mother may be engaged to a killer in the new film, The Stepfather.







il Woman,” shines on the album as well. Fans of the show will remember this song from the episode in which Jemaine goes on a dinner date with a fanatic fan who refuses to let him sing or speak while wearing an Art Garfunkel costume. This then cuts to a music video which is a spoof of Judas Priest music videos. In the midst of the hilarity created in this album, the band found a way to fit in social commentary. The song “Fashion is Danger,” surely plays on the electronica genre of music, but most importantly the fashion world. The model lifestyle is certainly the butt of the joke as the two name off ridiculous poses, cities they have traveled to, as well as other nonsensical phrases. There is no doubt that I Told You I Was Freaky will be a worldwide smash when it hits the shelves. With songs of sadness and songs of praise, Flight of the Conchords will be able to win over new listeners as well as keeping old ones hooked. The album features bonus content including buttons, stickers and a lyric book that contains the chords to each of the songs. This release will surely be groundbreaking considering the content and extras that are packed within.

ret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement, the folk music comedy duo from New Zealand, have done it again with their latest album, I Told You I Was Freaky. McKenzie and Clement make up the group Flight of the Conchords, whose take on comedy is both subtle and widely outlandish. Ever since the group’s formation in 1998, their level of success has been on a constant rise. Performances at several comedy festivals helped them become widely known, and they made their way to Europe. The duo made a major commercial debut in England with a BBC 2 radio series comprised of six episodes. The episodes were aired in 2005 and were incredibly successful among listeners. It is not a surprise that this exposure landed McKenzie and Clement a half-hour comedy special on HBO’s One Night Stand later that year. I Told You I Was Freaky, due to be released on Oct. 20, features all of the tracks that viewers enjoyed in season two of the HBO hit series, Flight of the Conchords. McKenzie and Clement take it upon themselves to explore all sorts of genres of music, including, but not limited to, rap/ hip-hop (“Hurt Feelings,” “Sugalumps”), electronica (“Fashion Is Danger”), and R&B (“We’re Both in Love With a Sexy Lady”). The best song on this album is the sentimental “You Don’t Have to be a Prostitute.” To put it in context of the series, as Jemaine and Bret are unable to pay their bills because of the depletion of their band fund into bum investments, Jemaine chooses to hit the streets to make ends meet. Realizing that they have more than enough money after discovering that their investment is not a scam, Bret sings the song addressed to Jemaine in the style of The Police’s PHOTO COURTESY OF HBO.COM “Roxanne.” Flight of the Conchords are back with a “freaky” album Their song “Demon Woman,” a that all of their listeners will enjoy. spoof of the Cliff Richard tune “Dev-



Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler co-star in the new movie Law Abiding Citizen, where Foxx plays an assistant district attorney who helps Butler seek justice in a murder case.

aw Abidinig Citizen, the much-anticipated new release from director F. Gary Gray which stars Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler, takes the typical “revenge flick” to whole new heights. Law Abiding Citizen questions the flaws within the justice system, while hacking away at the barrier between right and wrong. Clyde Shelton, played by Butler, is the victim of a heinous crime, which inspires his plot for retribution. On a seemingly ordinary evening, Shelton is at home with his daughter and wife, when intruders appear on his doorstep. They burst in, slaughter and rape his wife and then murder his little girl. This all takes place as he lays there helplessly and on the cusp of death, forced to watch all that he loves being ripped away. Nick Rice (Foxx) is the young, ambitious assistant district attorney in Philadelphia who takes up Shelton’s case against the two brutal murderers. However, due to inconclusive evidence there is a chance that both murders could walk free if the case goes to trial. Concerned with his 95 percent conviction rate and the prospect of a promotion, Rice makes a deal with one of the men to testify against his accomplice in exchange for a less severe sentence. This man was the intruder actually responsible for the torture and death of the two victims. Shelton pleads with Rice to pursue the case and seek justice, but Rice explains that the deal is already done. Ten years later, Shelton returns to seek his own justice and receive retribution for the deaths of his wife and child. His clever tricks and mind games constantly reveal just how corrupt the court system can be. At first, the audience is sympathetic to Shelton’s plight, as he exacts revenge upon the monstrosity that destroyed his family. His violent actions, while at first justifiable, ultimately lead to a fade in sympathy from the audience and a debate over the justice or injustice of his revenge. One of the strongest aspects of the film is that there are no heroes. Both of the main characters, Shelton and Rice, have alterior motives to their actions and often make immoral decisions in pursuit of what they want. This allows the audience to flip back and forth in support of the characters, making for a much more interesting dynamic as a whole. The supporting cast includes Colm Meaney, Bruce McGill, Christian Stolte, Regina Hall and Emerald Angel Young. The actors added life and energy to their characters and the plot. Most noteworthy is Viola Davis’ invigorating performance as Philadelphia’s mayor. The strong acting from the entire cast was a highlight of the film. Law Abiding Citizen is, more or less, a constant debate over right and wrong. The premise of the film suggests that corruption exists everywhere and that no one is completely innocent. It is left to the audience to make up their minds, which is what makes this a compelling and intriguing movie. Throughout the movie there are a few inconsistencies to go along with the farfetched nature of Shelton’s crimes, not to mention his mockery of the prison and justice systems as a whole. However, these are the same exaggerations that bring great thrills and action to the film. The conclusion fails to live up to the high expectations that audiences may have had at the beginning, but it is clear that both characters have learned a share of lessons. Despite these shortcomings, Law Abiding Citizen does not fail to entertain or enthrall.

The Return of the Conchords





dancing. Each cast member does an excellent job portraying their characters, whether they are flawed children or frustrated adults. Some of the best acting comes from the “parents” of the spellers. The parents, portrayed by Chris Engler, Michael Courtien and Alexa Peyton, appear in different costumes as different family members of the spellers in flashback scenes and musical numbers. Some of the funniest lines come from the three adults who are constantly on stage; Rona Lisa Peretti (played by Sarah Derene), the host who was a champion back in the day; Vice Principal Doug Panch (played by Taylor Pedane), whose outbursts led to a five year hiatus from the bee; and Mitch Mahoney (played by Matthew Gray), the comfort consular, an ex-convict giving out juice boxes to losers. They poke fun at all the contestants, especially the audience volunteers. All in all, this is a must-see musical for everyone affiliated with the St. John’s community. St John’s students cannot only get reduced admission, but also a chance to retrieve coveted MVP points. This is also a good event to attend during the upcoming family weekend in which the whole family can enjoy the hilarity that is The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.


The musical tells the story of six spellers who compete to go to the national spelling bee.





The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee features an ensemble cast of characters who are each given a chance to shine through musical numbers, dances and hilarious monologues.

New York City’s Scariest Spot

21 Oct. 2009



he lights in The Little Theatre are bright. The competition is intense. The words are hilarious. Let the spelling begin! This isn’t any regular spelling bee; it is the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. The St. John’s Chappell Players are currently in their run of the Tony Award-winning musical the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. The show centers on a fictional spelling bee in Putnam County, New York, in which six kids face off in the battle of their lives. They compete fiercely against each other as well as volunteer audience members. The musical hosts a cast of memorable and humorous characters. They include overachievers, wallflowers and scatter-brains. The story deals with more than just the spelling bee — it also deals with these characters’ issues. Throughout the musical, audiences are given glimpses into the lives and minds of each character through flashbacks that show scenes of the characters’ family lives. The spellers, played by Dylan Frisina, Sarah Goncalves, Lara Love, Rich Masin, Jessica Hackett and Justin Phillips, each have a personal solo that gives the audience a look into their personalities and approaches to the competition. One of the most essential and funniest elements of the play is the words used in the spelling bee. Not only are these words highly obscure, but they are accompanied by some of the most questionable and laughable sentences. This production features a lot of improvisation and audience participation. During the first scene, members of the audience are picked to join the characters on stage and participate in the spelling bee. These audience members are given a chance to compete in the cut-throat competition all the while being gently teased by the bee announcer. If an audience member answers correctly he or she is allowed to stay for more rounds and songs. If not, he or she is escorted offstage by the bee’s comfort consular while the cast sing their goodbyes. There are also other opportunities to feel a part of the show. An audience member might be lucky enough get free candy thrown at them by a disgruntled speller or even be picked out to be a pubescent boy’s object of the affection. The Chappell Players’ production is filled with an all-star cast that manages to capture and entertain an audience for an hour and 45 minutes through singing and


Gerrold Vincent is one of the scary characters waiting inside of New York City’s Blood Manor Haunted House.

lood Manor gives New York another reason to never sleep. It has been ranked one of the top haunted houses in the city, and the Travel Channel has named it one of the scariest in the country. Though it is surrounded by night clubs in the Chelsea section of Lower Manhattan, heels should definitely be left at home. The Manor is a terrifying roller-coaster ride through hell. The suspense hits visitors before they even enter the building. The entrance and exit are connected, so those waiting in line have the opportunity to get and reactions from people on their way out. The visitors go on a mind trip thanks to sexy zombiestrippers in a psychedelic room equipped with 3D glasses and some pretty grotesque scenes, including a man with hooks in his back that connect him to the ceiling. There are more than 15 rooms, and some scenes imitate ones from horror films, like Nightmare on Elm Street. However, the scare factor for some may be debatable—the various rooms are somewhat frightening, but the biggest scare is the creatures popping out. The last person in a group is probably not going to be afraid, considering that his or her friend up ahead has already ruined the surprise by screaming. The actors do not break character, even when tempted to laugh at the apprehensive “scaredy cats” waiting

in line. Their costumes and makeup are very believable, from the psychotic doctor and patients to demonic clowns. These are not Party City masks and ketchup blood stains. The actors’ rancid breath, intentional or not, even added to the thrill of the experience. Blood Manor lives up to its hype, but there are some flawed moments. The actors are not supposed to touch anyone, but they tend to slip up which leads to the possibility of being accidentally whipped or hit with a fake axe. However, those moments do not take away from the intensity, and the touching may add to the scare. The actors also pack plenty of perverse innuendos for the ladies and may stalk those waiting in line. To get a scream, they may lift someone up or even pretend to lick a face or two. It is definitely a four-star treat, and it would probably be the equivalent of an R-rated horror flick. To some, the price may be steep for a 20-minute torture session, but for a scream-loving thrill-seeker, it is reasonable. Tickets are only $25 when purchased online. Buying ahead is encouraged because lines are expected to get longer as Halloween approaches. Blood Manor is located at 542 W. 27th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues. The C and E trains stop blocks away at 23rd Street and 8th Avenue. The haunted house is open every evening Thursday through Sunday, and the week of Halloween, it will be open every day but Monday. Blood Manor opens at 7:30 p.m. and closing times vary depending on the day of the week. The haunted house runs until Nov. 7. For more information or to purchase tickets in advance, visit




Theater Thinks



Compiled by Jessikah Hackett OLEANNA-

SNAG A DEAL AT A SAMPLE SALE Those who have loved Betsey Johnson’s collections of playful clothing will be pleased to discover that the soughtafter fashions can now be snagged at discount prices. The Betsey Johnson sample sale is happening Oct. 21-23, so shoppers should quickly hop on a train into Manhattan so as not to miss out on the chance to save on this designer’s creations. Millennium Broadway Hotel 145 W. 44th St. Subway: F to 42nd St. 212-789-7546

BREAK OUT THE COMIC COLLECTION Every Tuesday at 9:30 p.m., some of New York City’s most dedicated superhero lovers flock to People’s Improv Theater for the weekly Comic Book Club meeting. The meeting often takes the form of a talk show with guests from the industry, such as Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesadas. For those who have always been adding to their collection of Spiderman and Superhero comics, or those who recently became fans of this unique form of enterainment, the Comic Book Club offers something for every type of fan. People’s Improv Theater 154 W. 29th St. Subway: 1 to 28th St. 212-563-7488




Julia Stiles makes her Broadway debut as Carol, a struggling college student in the new Broadway production Oleanna. of the show, the producers of Oleanna instituted an event called “Take a Side: The Oleanna Talk-Back Series.” At the end of every show, different panelists and one moderator take the stage and invite the audience to the front of the orchestra seats for a discussion about the major themes and questions of the play. Though the institution of the series takes away from the powerful note that the play ends on, it provides a chance for audience members to voice their opinions on who they believed was the true victim in the show. It may be the play’s first time on the Great White Way, the same cannot be said for the people behind in the production. Director Doug Hughes is no stranger to Broadway after directing shows such as A Man for All Seasons and Inherit the Wind, as well as winning the Tony Award for Best Direction of a play for Doubt. Bill Pullman, who plays John in the two-person cast, began his professional acting career through New York theater in 1983, even though he is currently best known as a film actor. Julia Stiles’ role as Carol, on the other hand, is her Broadway debut despite her previous experience with theater. Like Pullman, she is best known as an actress in films such as 10 Things I Hate About You and The Bourne Identity. Oleanna is not a show for those who simply enjoy being dazzled by extravagant sets, largescale dance numbers and catchy songs. It is, however, the perfect way to spend an evening for those who enjoy dramas that challenge their preconceptions and send them out of the theater with questions still buzzing in their head.

21 Oct. 2009

or theatre-goers who enjoy drama that wrestles with sensitive topics and challenges the audience to think, the Broadway production of Oleanna is a perfect fit. The compelling drama focuses on the power struggle between a college student named Carol and her professor, John. Frustrated that she is failing his class, Carol goes to her professor’s office and tries to explain that she simply does not understand what he is trying to teach. John appears to be less than willing to listen at first, since he is distracted by his nomination to obtain tenure and the new house he is going to buy because of it, but he soon takes her confusion to be a mistake in his teaching and feels terrible. In an attempt to help her pass the class, he offers to re-teach the class to her after hours in his office. At first, the plot seems to primarily focus on the tainted role that higher education plays in society. However, when the second portion of the show begins, the play takes a radical turn when Carol files a sexual harassment complaint against her professor, putting his tenure and his comfortable lifestyle in danger. What results is a drastic shift in power between a professor and his student. While John initially held Carol’s future in his hands with her grades, Carol now controls the outcome of her allegations against John. As much as John argues that she wrongly took his words and his actions out of context, Carol does not stand for it. She insists that it is not his intention that gives meaning to his words; it is her understanding of them. What makes Oleanna such a provocative drama is that there is no blatant answer to who is right and who is wrong. There are no explicit signs of sexual harassment in John’s behavior that can confirm the allegations Carol makes against him. However, when Carol recounts his words and actions within her context, the possibility that it is sexual harassment can be understood. Essentially, the play questions the concept of being “politically correct” and how it can lead to gaps in human communication; with no solid evidence for either argument, the audience is left to leave the theater talking among themselves as to who was in the right and who was to blame. Oleanna, written by playwright David Mamet, originally debuted in 1992. Though it met instant popularity upon its initial run, the show never made it to Broadway. More than 10 years later, Oleanna has finally made it to the Broadway stage. Despite how drastically society has changed since its premiere, the play remains just as invigorating and thought-provoking as it was in its first performances. In order to facilitate the conversations that take place among audience members at the end


This Halloween, the annual New York City Village Halloween Parade will be haunting 6th Avenue between Spring St. and 21st St. Every year, some of the country’s craziest costumes are put on display during this extremely popular parade, which attracts visitors from all over. The parade starts at 7 p.m., but be sure to show up early if you want to get a good view of the event. All those who attend in costume are welcome to take part in the parade, but for more information about how to get involved, visit the event Web site.



Bill Pullman (right) stars alongside Julia Stiles (left) as the professor who is accused of sexually harrasing her in the two-person cast of the play Oleanna.

If you are not already a fan of frozen yogurt, it is definitely time to see what the craze is about. This healthier alternative to ice cream can be found at, one of the newest eateries on Union Turnpike. features delicious, tart frozen yogurt that can be mixed with fresh fruit, nuts, candies and other toppings, as well as several flavors of ice cream. The restaurant itself has a playful atmosphere and the delicious treats are sure to keep customers satisfied.





teig Larsson’s newest novel, The Girl Who Played with Fire, is an unconventional murder-mystery that contains a diverse and complex cast of characters. The book is the second in the internationally best-selling Millennium series and the sequel to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Although it is not crucial to read the books in the order they were written, the first book provides a solid foundation for the dynamic characters. Additionally, Larsson often references events in the first book that might confuse new readers who have not read the entire series. Although Larsson spends a small amount of time explaining some of the situations that occurred in the past book, The Girl Who Played with Fire is much less confusing to those who have read its prequel. The Girl Who Played with Fire focuses on Lisbeth Salander, a brilliant, quirky and socially unacceptable computer hacker who has a very troubled past. The book dives into the mysteries of her extremely dark past and reveals the traumatic incident that happened in her early teens and left her to be bounced around psychiatrist clinics and foster homes. The novel is written so that each chapter covers a time period, usually anywhere from couple of days to a couple of weeks. Within each chapter there are several breaks and each time this occurs, Larsson switches to a different plotline. Salander is coping with her past by taking up an interest in esoteric math. Meanwhile, some shady characters who are connected with Salander’s legal guardian, Nils Erik Bjur-

man, arise. In the last book, Bjurman was revealed to be a sexual predator who attacked Salander, which lead to her revenge where she undermined Bjurman’s authority by having him slowly apply for her release of guardenship. Now, Bjurman is seeking blood, and his methods and connections lead to some very big trouble. As this is happening, another character in the series, Mikael Bloomkivst, is trying to publish an issue about sex trafficking. The magazine would reveal key people involved in the prostitution ring. Two of the reporters are found murdered. Matters get even more twisted and interesting when the murder weapon is discovered to be Bjurman’s, with Salander’s prints on it. Bjurman is then found murdered in his apartment, and Salander becomes the chief suspect and the victim of a manhunt. The police are guided by misinformation which leads them to believe that Salander is a mentally unstable prostitute. Once again, people misjudge Salander, who is far from being mentally unstable. Larsson characterizes Salander as a witty character with no notions of how to function in a social setting and a strong, unconventional sense of justice. She has a never-die attitude and a knack for surviving in tough situations. Salander is easily the most odd and entertaining heroine to emerge in crime fiction. This novel is gripping because Larsson manages to draw so many parallels among the different plotlines without losing the tension. What at first appears to be a book about the crimes of a prostitution trade turns into a murder-mystery novel. Secrets are either hidden in the grimy crimes or behind doors that only the hacker, Salander, can open. It is no surprise this novel is an international PHOTO COURTESY OF MURDOCHBOOKS.COM bestseller. The Girl Who Played with Fire appeals to many different types of readers and captures their Stieg Larsson brings readers a sequel to his interest with the realistically bizarre characters and best-selling murder-mystery novel Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. multiple plotlines.











Blue Connecticut West Virginia Georgetown Notre Dame Marquette Providence Seton Hall Pittsburgh

6-1-1 5-1-2 5-3 5-3 2-3-3 2-4-2 1-4-3 0-7-1

9-2-3 6-2-5 8-5-1 7-6-1 3-7-3 5-6-3 4-7-3 1-11-1

Red Louisville South Florida Villanova St. John’s DePaul Rutgers Cincinnati Syracuse

5-2-1 4-2-2 4-3-1 3-1-5 4-4 4-4 3-5 1-7

9-2-2 9-2-2 8-5-2 4-2-8 7-6-1 6-7 8-7 2-13

Big East Team Notre Dame Syracuse Cincinnati Pittsburgh Louisville Villanova South Florida Connecticut Marquette West Virginia Seton Hall St. John’s Rutgers Georgetown DePaul

5 7 7

W 13 18 15 14 12 16 11 11 13 13 8 8 8 11 6

L 4 5 8 8 8 6 6 11 9 10 15 14 13 13 15



1. Mohammed, USF Alvarez, UConn Seamon, VU

L 0 1 1 2 2 3 3 3 5 5 5 5 6 7 7



W 7 7 6 6 5 5 4 4 3 3 2 1 1 1 0


Kills Per Game

1. Dike, ND 2. Welker, SHU Vroom, DPU 4. Salmon, RU Rolfe, LOU

8 7 7 6 6

1. Ramdin, STJ 2. Niemer, CIN 3. Dooley, PITT Town, PITT

1. Maroon, VU 2. Matters, SHU 3. Rossi, PITT 4. Rezin, GU

6.18 4.96 4.64 4.33


STANDINGS Conference





American Marquette South Florida St. John’s Connecticut West Virginia Pittsburgh Providence Syracuse

5-2-2 5-2-2 5-3-1 5-4 4-3-2 2-2-5 2-5-2 1-7-1

11-4-2 8-5-3 11-4-1 10-6 7-5-5 7-4-5 7-7-3 4-10-3

National Notre Dame Rutgers Georgetown DePaul Villanova Cincinnati Seton Hall Louisville

8-0-1 6-1-2 6-2-1 4-5 3-3-3 2-6-1 1-7-1 1-8

12-3-1 12-2-3 12-3-2 9-7-2 10-3-4 7-9-1 5-10-1 4-11

Assists 1. Wells, GU 2. Baker, GU 3. D’Abrisi, GU 6. Jordan, GU

11 7 7 7

Goals 1. Ryan, VU 2. Jones, RU 3. Ruutu, UConn 6. Jordan, GU

10 8 8 8


Blowin’ in the Wind

People just see statistics. We know that we were caught in an unfortunate situation with recruits and inexperience, but we’re not far away. -Volleyball coach Joanne PersicoSmith on the team’s struggles this season

Headin’ this Way


Red Storm home games

Women’s Soccer: Oct. 23 USF Oct. 25 Marquette

4 p.m. 1 p.m.

Volleyball Oct. 24 Connecticut

11 a.m.

Two members of the St. John’s fencing team, sophomore Daryl Homer and junior Dagmara Wozniak, represented the United States at the 2009 Senior Fencing World Championships in Turkey Sept. 30 – Oct. 8. Homer advanced to the second round of the men’s sabre event before being defeated by Spain’s Jorge Pina, 15-12. He finished 25th overall in his first-ever appearance at the world championships. Homer said although he though he had a solid debut, he intends to have a stronger showing in the future. “I didn’t go above my expectations, so next time I’ll be hoping to improve upon that,” he said.

hard here, [the team] can really win the NCAA’s this year.” Individually, Wozniak expects to remain in the top three fencers in the country, where she finished last season. “As a team, we have a pretty strong setup this year so I really am expecting a lot of strong results,” she said. Wozniak felt differently about how the competition will benefit her in this upcoming season. Because of the different fencing styles used at the World Championships, Wozniak said “the competition didn’t benefit [her] in terms of strategy.” Wozniak said from the competition she learned how to take “a loss and just looking at is as not the end of the world.” Overall, the U.S. women’s and men’s teams finished sixth and seventh, respectively.

Midfielder Tom Manes, goalkeeper Gavin Buckley and defender Jerry Nevin were recently named the 2010 St. John’s lacrosse team captains. Manes, who returns to the field after redshirting last year due to foot injury, is in his fifth season with the Red Storm. He has scored 50 points – 19 on goals – in his career. Buckley, a senior from Owings, Md. is eighth in program history with 220 saves. Nevin collected 30 ground balls, caused 15 turnovers, and started all 14 games last season.

21 Oct. 2009

Homer, Wozniak represent Storm in Turkey Wozniak, making her second appearance at the world championships, reached the round of 64 after going 3-2 in pool play. She was eliminated by American teammate Monica Aksamit in a close 15-14 match. “I was a little disappointed with my individual performance in Turkey,” Wozniak said. “I could’ve performed a lot better, could’ve trained a lot better, prepared a lot better before the competition.” Despite the disappointing finishes, though, both fencers think the competition in Turkey will help them when the regular season begins Nov. 6 at the Junior North American Cup in Kansas City, MO. Both fencers have high expectations for the upcoming season, individually, and from a team standpoint. “I expect myself to go undefeated,” Homer said. “I think if everyone trains

The 2009-10 St. John’s basketball season kicks off Thursday during the second annual Red Storm Tip-Off in Taffner Field House. Fans will get their first glimpses of this season’s men’s and women’s teams. Fans can also attempy to beat head coaches Norm Roberts and Kim Barnes Arico in a three-point shooting contest and compete in Red Storm basketball trivia. The event will be capped off with a combined men’s and women’s scrimmage.



Leavin’ their Mark Tip off Thursday

Lax names captains Digs Per Game

4.65 4.38 3.95 3.95




A bittersweet road finish

Women’s soccer wraps annual October trip with loss at Rutgers KATIE BECKMANN Staff Writer


21 Oct. 2009


Coming off a big road win over Big East-rival Seton Hall on Thursday, the No. 18 St. John’s women’s soccer team should have been confident going into its Saturday match with No. 10 Rutgers. But head coach Ian Stone’s squad got off to a slow start, giving up an early goal, and was unable to capitalize on offensive opportunities, dropping the conference match, 1-0. RUTGERS




“We weren’t confident enough to go against them,” Stone said. “Rutgers is a very good team and when we travel to their home field, we need to be ready to play.” The Scarlet Knights struck less than six minutes into play, when Kristie Lang fired a shot on Red Storm goalkeeper Kristin Russell and collected her rebound to find the back of the net. But after the goal, Stone thought his team dominated the play of the game. “That goal was a wake-up call for us and it shouldn’t be like that,” said Stone. The team finished the game with eight shots on goal, while Rutgers only got off two on Russell. Forward Kelly McConnell was the main offensive catalyst for the Red Storm. The senior finished the game with a team high two shots on goal. Tara Mendoza and Raelynne Lee finished the game with two shots a piece. Though the Red Storm had plenty of chances for the equalizer, Rutgers goalie Erin Gurthie made save after save to stop every scoring chance. The senior finished the game with eight saves and was particularly impressive toward the end of the first half, making tough saves when Mendoza, and moments later when Amanda Pasciolla, fired another shot. “It was a frustrating game, because we didn’t come out strong and they took advantage of us right away,” Mendoza said. “I felt like this game


Senior forward Kelly McConnell fired a team-high two shots on net in the Red Storm’s loss to Villanova. was our game to win.” Stone shared Mendoza’s frustration about the game. “We were, in my opinion, better than they are and we needed to show that this game,” he said. “We didn’t come out strong and it hurt us.” With this loss, the Red Storm drops to 11-4-1, 5-3-1, while Rutgers improves to 12-2-3, 6-1-2. The Red Storm concludes their regular season at home this weekend when they host USF on Friday and Marquette on Sunday for Senior Day. With only two games left, Stone and Mendoza think the team needs a strong finish to have a successful postseason. “I think were going to learn from this game and make sure that we came out strong every game,” said Mendoza. Stone said, “We don’t realize how good we are, we haven’t lost a game to a team that’s been better than us this season and we need to realize that.”


Ian Stone didn’t think his team was ready for Villanova.

Haas’ path to stardom an unconventional one KATIE BECKMANN Staff Writer When Ian Stone first recruited Katie Haas in 2006, he knew that she was going to be a special player. He just didn’t know how complicated her path to soccer stardom would be. “I [thought] she had a really good future and she’s a strong and athletic girl,” said the Red Storm women’s soccer coach. “She was [a] different player then most freshmen. She’s known for scoring goals and was more of a midfielder before she came to St. John’s. I saw her as a more of a natural forward.” Haas did not disappoint after she had a great start to her rookie season. In the second game of the season, she scored the game-winning goal against St. Joseph’s

and was later named Big East Rookie of the Week. Everything was at a high point for Haas until three games later, she tore her ACL and was forced to miss the rest of the season. To rehab, Haas, now a senior, said she went through a rigorous program that was very demanding. “It was hard because I was putting in a normal day of classes, practices, and then I would have to go put in a couple extra hours of rehabbing,” she said. “I had a great support system, the trainers, my coaches, and my teammates were a great support system.” Haas recovered and played the first seven games of her sophomore season. But her season was cut short again when she collided with a teammate and re-tore her ACL during practice. “It was frustrating because when you

finally get to a point where you’re healthy and then you have to go through everything again,” she said. “There were times that I felt like just giving up because it’s so hard to go through rehab, not once, but twice.” Stone said it was crushing to see Haas suffer another injury. “It’s heartbreaking understanding what somebody has to go through to rehab,” Stone said. “She never complained and just went through it.” Last year, Haas played her first full season with the team and appeared in 12 games, the same amount of her previous two years combined. But this season has been a remarkable one for Haas. The senior forward/ midfielder has played in fifteen games, starting one, and leads the No. 18 Red Storm in scoring, with four goals. She also was named the BigApple- Player of the Week for the week of September 23rd. “This season has meant a lot to me,” Haas said. “It’s great to be back on the field and being able to contribute to the team again.” Stone said Haas’ past obstacles have made her a stronger player and person. “She’s playing harder than she ever has before,” he said. “Just to come back and be as confident as she was is a credit to her.” Stone said he also feels Haas’ story is an inspiration to all athletes. “In college sports, athletes are going to go through injuries and it’s all about the way they come back from it,” he said. “The types of injuries that Katie went through have sidelined many players. The way she’s come back from her injuries is a great example for other athletes.”


A bump in the road to recovery Mason Jr.’s comeback to be delayed again with injured hamstring BILL SAN ANTONIO Sports Editor After losing most of last season to foot surgery, Red Storm swingman Anthony Mason Jr. will miss the next four to six weeks with a hamstring injury, head coach Norm Roberts announced Tuesday. “We’re disappointed for Anthony, because we know he wants to be out there,” Roberts said in a press release.“We have to give him time to recover so when he joins us on the court, he’ll be 100 percent. “We’ll obviously be very happy and excited to get Anthony back. He is such a versatile scorer, and his ability to be our main scorer on any given night makes our team that much deeper.” According to the release, team doctors have been carefully monitoring the hamstring injury, which Mason Jr. initially suffered in early September before the Red Storm’s four-game trip to Canada. After a re-examination over the weekend, a team doctor recommended the redshirt senior take even more time off to fully recover. The hamstring injury comes months

after Mason Jr. underwent foot surgery that ended his 2008-09 campaign, one that began with a 24-point game against Cornell and a 12-point outing against Boston College as part of the preseason NIT Tipoff tournament. But on Nov. 21, the team announced that an MRI in Mason Jr.’s right foot revealed a torn peroneal tendon, requiring season-ending foot surgery. The team announced that Mason Jr. was granted medical redshirt status for the 2009-10 season on July 22. In the months that followed, Mason Jr. was filmed rehabbing from the surgery for the MTV documentary series, True Life, which aired Sept. 19. As a junior in 2007-08, Mason Jr. averaged 14.0 points per game earned a Big East Honorable Mention selection and a first team All-Met selection by the Metropolitan Basketball Association despite missing eight games due to high ankle sprain. Can’t get enough TORCH sports? Visit our Web site for online exclusives.


Anthony Mason Jr.’s return to the men’s basketball team will be delayed due to a hamstring injury he re-aggravated in practice last weekend.

Volleyball loses after taking the first set MIKE GURNIS Staff Writer

tives to build on, according to PersicoSmith. “People just see the statistics,” Persico-Smith said. “We know that we were caught in an unfortunate situation this year with recruits and inexperience, but we’re not far away. I know nobody wants to hear it, but we did good things today.” “We could’ve won, we’re all disappointed. We have to stay strong, because there’s still a lot of games ahead. We’ve got to stay together, and fight together,” said sophomore Darlene Ramdin, who led the Red Storm with 20 kills. “We were happy to bring it to a fifth set after losing (the second and third), but we wanted to win.” Another bright spot in the game,

according to Persico-Smith, was the play of freshman libero Ashley Asing, who had a game-high 21 digs. “Ashley has been working really hard, and today she went up against the No. 2 digging team in the Big East,” Persico-Smith said. “Once we get our front-row blocking established, it will be much easier.” Asing was not the only player who contributed in digs, as Kun Song had 15 digs, and freshman Gabriela Petkova had 13 digs. Petkova also tallied 38 assists. Junior Diana Banya also contributed with double-figure kills for the Red Storm. The Red Storm return home on Saturday to face Connecticut at Carnesecca Arena.


The St. John’s volleyball team lost its fifth consecutive match on the road Sunday to Villanova, (9-25, 25-14, 25-22, 1925, 15-10), after a dominant performance in the first set. The Red Storm (8-14, 1-5 Big East) scored 16 consecutive points in that first set but never led in the second set, as Villanova (16-6, 5-3 Big East) seemingly took the momentum away from St. John’s, something the Wildcats do characteristically, according to head coach Joanne Persico-Smith. “On the road, you have to win the first

game. We knew that yesterday Villanova did the same thing and lost the first set (and won the match), so we wanted to be up 2-0,” Persico-Smith said. After a tough third-set loss where there were 14 tie scores and seven lead changes, the Red Storm bounced back to take the fourth set, but could not get it done in the fifth. “We made a lot of unforced errors, so we have to take care of the ball a little better” said Persico-Smith. The loss marks the Red Storm’s fifth loss in a row, as they are in a tailspin toward the bottom of the Big East, after winning it three years in a row. But although the Red Storm has struggled so far this season, there are still some posi-

Doctor’s orders will serve Mason Jr. well Tournament – the Red Storm’s last conference game – is all the evidence needed to suggest that Mason’s presence on the court, powered by his offense, could pressure opposing offenses into consistent scoring and cut down big runs and momentum. A healthy Mason Jr., complemented by the offensive firepower of D.J. Kennedy and Paris Horne, could be a deadly trifecta that prevents St. John’s from placing in the bottom of the conference. So let Mason Jr. rest up for the start of the season. Give him as much physical therapy as he needs to heal and get his mind set for the season.

Bill San Antonio is a sophomore journalism major. He can be reached at


in his hands as opposed to sitting in the trainer’s room, this is by far the best course of action for the swingman. Over the last few years, Mason Jr. has not been healthy, suffering a sprained ankle that required time off late in the 2007-08 season and a torn peroneal tendon in his right foot that required surgery early in the 2008-09 season. All indications were that Mason Jr. would still be toying with his repaired foot entering the 2009-10 season, but would be healthy enough and hungry for a strong return to the hardwood. Entering the season, “Young Mase,” as he is more commonly known, should

have plenty left to prove. Though he averaged 14.0 points per game two seasons ago, and ranks sixth among St. John’s all-time three-point shooters, Mason Jr. told the TORCH last year he wanted to leave the University with a legacy. He probably didn’t anticipate a legacy of back-to-back injury-shortened seasons. By rehabbing and fixing this injury before the season picks up speed, Mason Jr. would only miss the first few games of the season. While every outing is important, missed time is better served for non-conference games than Big East battles, especially when the Red Storm is confident it has the pieces for a Top 10 finish in the conference this year. And though this year’s product is touted to be the most impressive St. John’s team in years, it could struggle again without Mason Jr. Last season, the team learned how much the absence of a big-time playmaker can hurt a team, and a 10-point first-half effort against Marquette in the Big East

21 Oct. 2009

Doctor’s orders are keeping Anthony Mason Jr. out of action for the next four to six weeks, a move that may keep him off the court when the men’s basketball team opens its season against LIU on Nov. 13. Mason Jr.’s most recent ailment is a re-aggravated hamstring injury, one he hurt early in September that kept him out of the Red Storm’s Labor Day lineups in Canada and under the watchful eyes of team doctors ever since. When Mason Jr. originally hurt himself, doctors limited him to light weight training, conditioning and physical therapy. Then he was cleared by medical staff, and last weekend he hurt himself again in practice. Team orthopedist Answorth Allen, M.D. – who splits time between the Red Storm and the New York Knicks – recommended four to six more weeks of rehab, presumably to ensure a full recovery. Though Mason Jr. would probably want to spend as much of his redshirt senior year on the court with the rock



Something for everyone Red Storm’s tie with Brown boasts drama and conflict MIKE CUNNIFF Staff Writer


21 Oct. 2009


It wasn’t the same. Although the St. John’s men’s soccer team played No. 18 Brown to a 1-1 draw for their eighth tie in 14 games, last night’s game was different. While so many of their previous draws have been characterized by anemic offense being saved by strong defense, yesterday’s game boasted drama, excitement and some conflict. BROWN




Tied 0-0 in the 36th minute, Red Storm midfielder Pablo Punyed had his shot blocked and went down awkwardly. As he lay at midfield, Brown took the ball down the field on a counterattack, and eventually scored. Head coach David Masur, stormed onto the field in protest, furious that play wasn’t stopped by either the referees or by Brown kicking the ball out. He received a red card that ended his night on the sideline. “There’s a lot of gray area in those situations,” Masur said after the game. “Usually the opposing team will kick the ball out. Pablo was kind of up-anddown, and Brown didn’t really know what to do.” He didn’t spare the officials, however. “Often an official will see that and stop the game. This did not occur. Brown continued to attack and scored a goal.” At halftime, Masur came into the press box to see the video of the play. The video confirmed his feelings. Punyed agreed with his coach’s assessment. “I was tackled, fairly, but he got me with the cleats,” he said. “The referee should have stopped the play. I was down on the floor. Masur overreacted but that’s part of his personality. I think the referees should have thought that one over.” Lost in all the excitement was the sobering fact: St. John’s had dug itself into a hole in the first half again, and would need to come back against a good team, again. Without Masur, the players were certain that they wouldn’t miss a beat. “We’ve got two great assistant coaches in Jeff [Matteo] and Reevos [Mark Reeves],” senior midfielder Nelson Becerra said. Punyed added, “He’s a great presence, even when he’s on the sideline. But we knew what we had to do to win.” In the second half, as they have done all year, the Red Storm came out with renewed energy. They outshot the Bears 9-1, and tied it up with a goal on a penalty kick in the 61st minute by Becerra. He got the opportunity when a handball was called inside the penalty area. After a short debate with junior midfielder Tadeu Terra over who should take


The men’s soccer team had nine shots on goal against Brown, but only came away with one goal in the 1-1 tie. the kick, he eventually took the ball. He did not disappoint, putting a ball inside the left post to knot the score. “I practice my PKs a lot,” Becerra said. “I was really confident that I was going to score.” The rest of the second half was marked with near misses and some good saves by Brown keeper Paul Grandstand. They forced Grandstand to make eight saves. Their nine shots on goal were well over the five that they usually average. “We’re getting more consistent,” said Masur. Added Punyed, “We’ve been trying to turn the corner. The team has been trying extra hard…Everybody’s stepped it up.” The overtime periods had their moments as well. In the 106th minute, Brown junior midfielder David Walls took a free kick from about 21 yards out. His shot beat senior goalkeeper Derby Carrillo, but hit the crossbar, mere inches away from ending the game. In the second overtime, St. John’s had an opportunity as time wound down. Becerra, dribbling down the middle of the field, spotted sophomore forward Walter Hines streaking down the left side. His lead pass missed him by mere feet, disrupting what could have been a possible breakaway. With the tie, St. John’s (4-2-8, 3-1-4) in the Big East finds itself tied for third place in the Big East’s Red division. A top-four finish in the division promises them a home game in the Big East tournament.

They go on the road to Red division foe Cincinatti on Saturday. The Bearcats, at 3-5 in the Big East, lie four points back of St. John’s.

Said Punyed, “It’s going to be cold, but they’re a great team…We just gotta play our game. We’re away, but we gotta play our game.”

Tracking the Storm: Cincinnati The men’s soccer team travels Saturday to Cincinnati, where they take on a Bearcats team that is just 3-5 in conference play and has lost four of its last five games. In the Bearcats’ last game, a 3-0 shutout loss at Rutgers, they were outshot 23-8 and allowed all three goals in the second half. “Even after giving up the first goal, we were still in the game and created some chances,” said head coach Hylton Dayes. “The second Rutgers goal swung the momentum their way. It is difficult to get a result on the road in the Big East and today was an example of that.” Junior Mark Konitsch leads the team in goals with four and junior Nick Weightman leads the team with five assists. Goalkeeper Matt Williams has a .746 save percentage.

“With three matches left, we still have a chance to make the Big East Championship,” Dayes said. “Our guys will bounce back next Saturday against St. John’s.” The Red Storm took on the Bearcats last season at Belson Stadium on Halloween night, where the Johnnies wrapped up the regualr season Big East championship, 2-0. Nelson Becerra and Trevor Chiduku contributed goals for the Red Storm. The shutout was the team’s 11th of the season. “Cincinnati is a well-coached team and a very tough opponent,” head coach Dave Masur said after the game. The men’s soccer program has won six regular season championships, in 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2003 and 2008.


Becerra bounces back from summer injury DYLAN KITTS Staff Writer At the conclusion of last season, St. John’s Nelson Becerra hit the weight room. For some, it seemed like the gym was his second home. Only a few months later of lifting, however, Becerra began to feel pain. It was soon revealed he had over-worked his back, suffering a herniated disc. During the summer, doctors ordered him to stay away from activities that could strain his lower back, which included working out and playing soccer. While sitting out preseason practices, Becerra did not have as speedy of a recovery as the men’s soccer coaching staff hoped. At the start of the season, the preseason NSCAA AllAmerican selection was regulated to coming off the bench. “I wasn’t 100 percent, but coach knew I could help by coming off the bench,” Becerra said. In between games this season, Becerra says, along with practicing with the team, he has run on the treadmill at least three days a week and has worked on his fitness.

“He worked really hard throughout the season,” head coach Dave Masur said. “He’s really important to our success.” On Tuesday night at Belson Stadium against No. 18 Brown, it was obvious the hard work paid off. The midfielder played a season-high 110 minutes while also knocking in St. John’s only goal during the 60th minute off of a penalty kick. He also kicked a game-high four shots on goal. “He scored a great penalty kick tonight,” Masur said. “He got everyone involved. He looked a lot more healthier than any other TORCH PHOTO/KRISTEN FARMER game this season.” “I feel the best I have all season,” Becerra said. “It Senior Nelson Becerra scored the men’s soccer team’s only goal last night. feels great to be out there playing like this again.” Throughout the game, ball. His creativity is amazing. John’s scored a goal apiece With a 4-2-8 conferBecerra shredded Brown’s His fitness is much better now each game, Becerra said he ence record, St. John’s is defense, penetrating the open than earlier in the season.” began to feel truly back to still battling for an NCAA seams of the defense while Through Wednesday, form. It wasn’t until Saturday’s Tournament bid. The team also setting up teammates for St. John’s has struggled game against Louisville that knows that Becerra’s emergence scoring opportunities. offensively, scoring only 13 he started and played longer will be a key factor. “Nelson is great with the goals in 14 games. They have than 90 minutes. “It is great to have him back ball,” Red Storm midfielder been victim to the shut out “I didn’t have to tell coach like this,” Punyed said. “We Pablo Punyed said. five times. anything about my playing have the depth but he really does “At times, he can be During last week’s two- time,” Becerra said. “I think he make a big difference. He makes dominant out there with the game road trip, when St. could see the progress himself.” all of us better with the ball.”

Do you



St. John’s annual literary and art magazine. THE DEADLINE IS DECEMBER 11.





The women’s soccer team capped its road trip with a loss to No. 10 Rutgers.

The volleyball team lost its fifth consecutive game Sunday at Villanova.

Pg. 24

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