Year round reflection reveals genuine thanks

Now that the semester is halfway over, it may seem to some that it has sped up from its original painfully slow crawl. Where once we wanted to get classes over quickly, now some of us are having trouble keeping up.

We’ve already blown through Halloween and are now just about to the point in the year that we get a steady flow of holidays. For whatever reason, the next major holiday either gets overlooked in the shadow of gift bearing holidays or gets complaints over whether it’s right to celebrate it at all. This year, instead of getting frustrated over school and wishing for winter break to get started, we should try actually being thankful for Thanksgiving.

Though it’s two weeks away, the break will come up on you fast, and before you know it, Thanksgiving will be over. Don’t dread the pending loss of another break, and don’t let it pass you by before you get a chance to find what you’re happy about.

Classes have reached the beginning of the end, and all we have to show for spent time is exhaustion and frustration. But, if we can go into the next break knowing what to be thankful for, we might not only enjoy that time off further, but also find it a little easier to get there. So stop and think: what are you thankful for?

Perhaps you will spend Thanksgiving having a great meal with your family, or maybe you lucked out and happened to obtain classes that won’t leave you with hoards of homework to do over the break. Simple things, yes, but the simple things might give you a chance to recharge your batteries and come back ready to finish out the semester.

If what you end up being thankful for is cliché, try giving someone else a reason to be happy instead. Invite your best friend, who might not have the chance to go home for the holidays, to spend Thanksgiving with you. Find a place to volunteer so you can brighten the days of those less fortunate. Bringing joy to others can make your days a little joyful too. It sounds crazy, but we can guarantee you will feel good.

Whatever your short holiday plans are, don’t spend your entire break looking for something to celebrate. Find it now so you can spend valuable time doing everything else. If you find your thankful side now, you won’t be the one person at the table who looks like a jerk when you say something like “I’m thankful for my family,” after you already threatened to lock your little sister in the closet and kicked the family dog. No one is buying it buddy.

By 15th Street News Posted in Editorial

Spotlight: Professor Kim Queri

By:  Tori Beechum, Contributing Writer

Professor of Health and Sports Science, Kim Queri, has been working at RSC for eight years. Graduating from the University of Central Oklahoma in 2002, Queri later obtained her Master’s of Science in 2004.

As the Aquatics Coordinator and professor, Queri has a variety of jobs on campus including swimming lessons, lifeguarding, first aid and wellness. “I love the water and RSC, so it just fell in line with what I wanted to do,” Queri said.

“The best thing about working here is the people,” Queri said. “I really like working with the students and the aquatic patrons.” Queri believes strongly in the power of swimming. “[It’s] a great form of exercise and it’s not too demanding on your body.”

Job Title: Aquatics Coordinator/ Health and Sports Science Professor

Hometown: Bowie, Maryland

Spouse: Mike Queri

Kids: Brandon and Bryce, both teenagers so they keep me busy

Favorite Food: Mexican

Proudest Moment: The day my kids were born

Most desirable place to visit: Italy

Hobbies: Snow skiing, playing soccer, scuba diving, etc.

Would you rather skip Christmas or your Birthday: Birthday

Favorite teacher: Dr. Villani. She was down to earth, inspiring, and got to know each student on a personal level.

Which would you prefer – scuba diving or sky diving: Scuba dive. You’ll never get me to jump from an airplane. Ever.

Superhero or Super Villain: Superhero

What’s the best advice you’ve been given: Live life to the fullest.

How do you get your TV fix: Biggest Loser

If you did a career change, what would be your alternate career: Nursing or something in the medical field.

What do you do when you get nervous: Take a deep breath

What’s your Internet homepage: ESPN

Favorite song: “Brown Eyed Girl”

Worst subject in school: English

How do you top your baked potato: Butter, sour cream, and chives

Would you rather be loved or respected: Respected because with respect comes love

End hunger or hatred: Hatred

One adjective to describe you: Caring

Favorite athlete: Mia Hamm

Historical society preserves legend, memory

By: Bryan Trude, Feature Editor

There is a group of dedicated men and women who meet monthly at on campus who, to an outsider, looks like just a group of old friends. Laughter fills the seminar room at the Professional Training Center as jokes are exchanged and stories are shared.

Members of the Charles B. Hall chapter of the Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. (TAI) however, are much more than just a club of aficionados.

They are dedicated to the preservation of the history and the memory of an iconic group in U.S. military aviation history, the “Red Tailed Angels,” the original Tuskegee Airmen.

According to Mahlon Smith, vice president, the modern TAI, was founded in 1975 as a “charitable and educational group to preserve the accomplishments and lessons of not only the Tuskegee Airmen, but all black pioneers in aviation,” and to “inspire young men and women, particularly minorities, to pursue futures in aviation and aerospace.”

The original Tuskegee Airmen was founded in 1940, according to Smith, as a result of the pressures and demands of World War II. With a little help from acts by Congress, the group was able to force the Army Air Corps to establish an African-American combat unit. They drew their name from the Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Ala., where they trained.

The nickname “Red-Tailed Angels” came the distinctive red color the Tuskegee Airmen painted the tails of their aircraft. The pilots soon gained a reputation as bomber escorts during World War II. According to TAI, the original airmen were a major factor in President Harry Truman’s decision to desegregate the armed forces in 1948.

According to Chapter President Augustus Mays, 450 original Tuskegee Airmen were trained between 1941 and 1945, with only about 100 surviving today.

“Every day, we lose a few more of these veterans,” Smith said. “With every veteran we lose. We lose a story.”

The Charles B. Hall chapter’s namesake, according to Mays, was the first black fighter pilot to shoot down an enemy plane, and then, upon landing, Hall’s reward was “an ice-cold Coke.”

The chapter provides scholarship money to deserving local high school graduates, with TAI’s 52 chapters nationwide awarding over $90,000 in scholarships annually. The chapter also attends and provides services to events in the area, including their flag ceremony performance at Global Oklahoma, Oct. 2, 2010.

The Charles B. Hall chapter meets on the fourth Tuesday of every month in the Professional Training Center, room 114. Membership is open to anyone. According to Mays, members are a mixture of both military veterans and civilians of all ages, races and backgrounds, who want to serve the organization’s mission and preserve the history of the Airmen.

Individuals interested in joining the chapter can download the membership form from their Web site at www.tuskegeeairmanok.com. For more information, contact Mahlon Smith at smitty58@swbell.net

By 15th Street News Posted in Features

Chill out with good reads for cold weather

By: Brittany McDaniel, News Editor

The chilly arctic breeze can whip through Oklahoma air like a brazen warrior. It leaves in its wake cold college students eager to snuggle up with a warm blanket, hot cup of cocoa, and rustle through some fabulous literature. We have compiled a list of some great cold weather reads to warm your soul.

“The Old Nurse’s Story”, by Elizabeth Gaskell

Gaskell’s story centers on Miss Rosamond, a young orphan, and her nanny. When Rosamond is orphaned, the two are sent to live at a manor house in Northumberland, far from their home. They travel in a horse drawn cart in the foggy landscape to the old Furnivall Manor. After arriving, they notice a strange atmosphere and a forbidden east wing. The nurse begins to hear strange noises from the hall and young Rosamond forms an attachment with an imaginary friend that always gets her into trouble. After getting too attached with this friend, the mystery of the east wing begins to unravel as the identity of the friend is revealed.

“The Witches,” by Roald Dahl

This unique story follows an orphan named Luke. After Lukes parents die, he goes to live with his grandmother. Luke’s grandmother tells him stories before bedtime, often warning him about the danger of real witches. She offers advice on how to spot them, and explains why they are so dangerous to children. The two take a vacation to the seaside, and in their hotel, a convention for the witches of England is taking place. Luke gets caught listening in on their plans for take over. The witches take their vengeance on Luke, but will he let them get away with their evil plan to exterminate all the children of England?

“The Catcher in the Rye,” by J.D. Salinger

Nobody captures teenage angst quite like Salinger in his tale of a boy drifting from one phase of life to another. When the protagonist Holden Caulfield is expelled from his prestigious prep school, he heads for New York City. While there, Caulfield experiences city life exactly as a teenage boy should: irresponsibly. Join Holden on his misadventures through life as a teenager, and wade through all the sarcastic rhetoric to discover what he truly holds dear.

“Wuthering Heights,” by Emily Bronte

Wuthering Heights is a classic novel in which the tale is mysteriously woven backwards. The story begins with Mr. Lockwood, who rents Thrushcross Grange in northern England. He visits the neighboring Wuthering Heights estate, and discovers the eccentric Mr. Heathcliff. When bad weather comes along, Lockwood is forced to stay the night in the manor. After an evening of ghostly apparitions and restlessness, Lockwood asks housekeeper Nelly to explain the strange condition of the manor and the bizarre people living in it. Through the different accounts of history, it is eventually revealed that a vengeful, bittersweet romance happened many years ago, and ended in a tragic quandary. Even though the original romance is no more, the eccentric Heathcliff continues to relish in its destruction in a very peculiar way, unable to move beyond his trauma.

 

By 15th Street News Posted in Features

Controversy over the role of censorship in the arts

By: Brittany McDaniel, News Editor

Professor Kristin Hahn led the third installment of the Great Issue Lecture Series with her presentation, Censorship in the Arts, Wednesday, Oct. 27 in the RSC Lecture Hall.

Hahn began her lecture with a quiz to attendees, providing questions that forged into discussions concerning how literature and the arts are censored in today’s society.

Hahn gave examples of banned and challenged books, some of which, by modern standards, are classics. The widely read “Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain stirred up controversy with its use of racial slurs. “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald caused concern with the use of language and sexual references. According to a database from the American Library Association, the groups most often challenging books are parents. Their main basis for the challenge is sexually explicit text.

So when is censorship of a work appropriate, and when does it constitutional rights like freedom of speech? Hahn walked the audience through some examples.

In 2005, the children’s book “King and King” was placed in the adult section of the Oklahoma Metropolitan Library System because aspects of homosexuality in the book were deemed inappropriate for younger readers. The complaint came from a parent who was not happy the book was accessible to her child. The library system restricted access of that book, and in doing so, controlled who was allowed to read it.

In the realm of art, success of a work is based on highly valued opinions. Critics say what is worth looking at and what is not. However, art critics are not the only ones interested in giving opinions about art. In 1987, the Andres Serrano photograph “Piss Christ” sparked controversy around the world. The photo depicted a crucifix emerged in a jar of urine. The photographic image of the art does not appear to be obscene, yet the process in which Serrano created his artwork was, for many, a source of outrage. Several US senators called for a halt of government grants issued to help fund his art.

Censorship does not necessarily mean taking down art based on fundamental differences. In the case of Australian artist Bill Henson, the basis for censorship was protection. In 2008, Henson placed several photos on display at the Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery in Sydney, Australia. Many of the photos on display showed children posing nude. One in question exhibited a nude 13-year-old female. Miranda Devine, an Australian columnist, wrote about the photos in an editorial, describing them as an example of the “over sexing” of children. Henson faced charges that were eventually dropped after a careful review of his work.

Despite personal opinion, censorship has proved itself to be a useful in restricting and controlling public access to questionable works. The fact remains that censorship is alive and kicking, whether or not the basic principles are supported or opposed. The question to ask is when does censorship go to far and where does it not go far enough.

By 15th Street News Posted in Features

Spotlight: Shawn McCreary

Danielle Finnegan, graphic artist

Meet Shawn McCreary, president of Student Senate. McCreary’s main goal for the senate this year is to promote more student life on campus. “It is difficult because it is a two year college, but we are trying to get more student activities here on campus,” McCreary said. McCreary was a former senator and floor leader in senate before becoming president. A psychology major here at RSC, he is planning to continue his education at either OU or UCO.

Age: 19
Hometown: Harrah
Siblings: 2 sisters, Rebeckah and Samanthah
Pets: A dog named Snicker and a cat named Baby
Were you involved in student politics in high school? Nope. I was too busy with other groups.
Heroes: Probably my Dad or Jesus. They both manage a lot.
Hobbies: Is senate a hobby? Probably driving. That’s when I do my best thinking.
Most life-changing book ever read: The Bible
Drink you would recommend to someone having a bad day and why: Dr. Pepper, it makes the world taste better.
Proudest moment: When I got voted in as swim team captain in high school.
What is your most eccentric behavior? I love to debate. Even if I’m wrong I enjoy debating it.
What Web site would you recommend to someone else? www.icanhascheezburger.com
Most desirable place to visit: why? Area 51. Why not?
If you were stranded on a desert island and all of your basic needs were met, what three things would you take with you and why? A fully charged satellite phone (to call for a helicopter), one hammock (to chill until the helicopter gets there), and a bag of money (so I can be rich when I’m back).
Quotes that most amuse or inspire you: “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” First half of Matthew 16:26, my favorite scripture.
One adjective a loved one would use to describe you: caring
If you did a major change, what would be your alternate major: Political Science
Superhero or super villain? What would your super power be? Super Hero. I’ll just take the Superman setup.
Would you rather skip Christmas or your birthday? Birthday. I love the feeling of Christmas.
Which would you prefer to do: Scuba diving or sky diving? Sky diving. I work at a pool, so water isn’t as fun anymore.
What’s the best advice you have ever been given? Communication is the key.
If you could live in a different time period, what would it be and why? The Future. Why not?
How do you get your reality TV fix? Pawn Stars and American Pickers. Sometimes, Hell’s kitchen
What cartoon character would you be and why? Ash Ketchum, so I can ask everyone how new Pokemon just randomly appear after a few years.
If you could invent anything, what would it be and why? A Light Saber. Who wouldn’t want a light saber?
What do you do when you get nervous? Calm down.
Who was your favorite teacher (at any point in your life) and why? My high school band director, he taught me a lot of life lessons.
What is your favorite genre of music, why? Music is like candy, is all good after you throw away the rappers.
If you could invite three famous people to dinner, who would they be and why? Anyone. As long as the food is good.
How would you say you have changed from high school to college? I’ve matured a bit.

CIA officer speaks on Iraq war failures

By: Bryan Trude, Feature Editor

VOICE (Vocal Oklahomans In Civic Engagement) hosted an open campus lecture featuring Donald Hughes of the CIA Wednesday, Oct. 27 in the Main Dining Room.

The lecture, entitled “Iraq 2002: Where Are The Weapons,” was Hughes analysis over “the intelligence community’s failures in its assessment of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) capabilities prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom.”

“How did we get to this point?” Hughes asked. “We were wrong about WMDs in Iraq, how did we mess that up?”

According to Hughes, who referred to the lecture as “an entire [college] course compressed into an hour,” attributed American intelligence failures in Iraq to several factors.

“After the [Berlin Wall] fell, the CIA’s job didn’t get any easier. Instead, it got a whole lot harder,” Hughes said. “Instead of trying to figure out what the Soviet Union was doing, we had to figure out what a bunch of smaller states and groups were doing.”

Hughes also cited an overreliance on second hand information from other countries, which he said was “often old or dated,” and was therefore unreliable. He additionally cited a lack of direct CIA presence in Iraq following the departure of the United Nations Special Commission. The responsibility of the commission was to inspect Iraqi weapons programs, but it was disbanded in 1999.

Hughes is the CIA Officer in Residence (OIR) at the University of Oklahoma. The OIR program is “designed to contribute to the study of national security issues while providing a real world practical prospective on intelligence-related matters.”

Prior to joining the CIA in 2000, Hughes was an officer in the U.S. Army, and spent three years in Brazil to improve the nation’s ability to “exert its sovereignty over the Brazilian Amazon,” according to the VOICE club.

VOICE, established to get students more involved in politics and the democratic process, holds meetings on the first and third Thursday of every month at 2 p.m. in the Learning Resources Center. For more information on VOICE, e-mail advisor Dr. John Wood at jwood@rose.edu or by calling 405-733-7413.

Communication Center hosts Transcend: An African-American art exhibit and film

By: Adriana Valtinson, Editor-in-Chief

After the closing of the 40-4-40 art exhibit, RSC has opened another, but for African-American art. The film opened with a reception and film by director, writer and co-producer J. Leigh Brantly.

“Transcend: Part 1 & 2 Five Black Artists by Five Black Artists” features works from Skip Hill, Nathan Lee and Suzanne Thomas, a professor of art at RSC. The exhibit, which opened Monday, Oct. 18 in the Communications Center Lobby, was be available until Friday, Nov. 19.

Brantly’s film includes interviews of artists conducted by artists. “It is a non-fiction art film about a community of black artists,” Brantly said. “We really tried to expose [the] African-American experience here in [Oklahoma].”

She described the film as a quilt made up of different chapters that represent the patches. “I wanted us to be invited into their experiences,” Brantly said.

Skip Hill said the title, “Transcend,” is a reference to art transcending ethnicities and cultures. “Our mission is to educate everyone,” Hill explained. “Ideally it’s to use as a vehicle for community outreach. Perhaps we’ll be an inspiration to minority children, but ideally all children.”

Brantley explained that, with the film, they are hoping to address “hot button issues,” such as sexual identity and political issues. “It’s not heavy handed,” she said. “I personally want to see people talk about these issues… of prejudice. It’s called Transcend because it transcends what it is.”

Continuing to say, “It’s something very near and dear to my heart. Being female, a director, I don’t think people should be put into a box.”

Nathan Lee, who co-produced the film with Brantly, described the art in the exhibit as “really diverse” saying, “I think it brings more exposure to the African-American artists.” He added, “I think it shows we’re unified in our ideas as far as our art community. It shows we’re dedicated to expanding in our art community.”

“The common theme is that we’re all African-American artists,” Suzanne Thomas said. “I think it’s important that we all— African-American or European [among others]—see that. We know we’re good at singing and dancing, but we can make pretty pictures too.”

Oklahoma voters fall for Fallin

Nov. 2 was a historic date for Oklahomans, regardless if their candidate won or lost. Our state has elected its first woman as governor.

Now, with good news aside, what will Fallin do with her new position? This is the question on many minds of the Oklahoma territory. Let’s recap Fallin’s past government experience so we may see what to expect from here in the years to come.

According to maryfallin.org and fallin.house.gov, Fallin started her government career in 1990, where she was elected as an Oklahoma state representative. She later became the first woman and Republican lieutenant governor in 1994, where she sat for 12 years. In 2006 and 2008, Fallin was elected to Congress as the first woman to represent Oklahoma since 1920.

It seems that Ms. Fallin has quite the resume. She also has quite the list on what she has voted for and against while seated in the House.

April 2007- voted no on granting Washington, D.C. an electoral vote and vote in Congress.

Oct. 2007- voted No on assisting workers who lose jobs due to globalization.

Nov. 2007- voted no on prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Feb. 2008- voted no on tax incentives for renewable energy.

June 2008- voted no on investigating Bush impeachment for lying about Iraq.

June 2008- voted yes on more funding for Mexico to fight drugs.

Sept. 2008- voted no on environmental education grants for outdoor experiences.

Jan. 2009- agreed on prohibiting the return of the Fairness Doctrine.

April 2009- voted no on enforcing against anti-gay hate crimes.

(According to www.ontheissue.org/house/mary_fallin)

And all of this from the woman who believes that being a mother and wife is her best qualification to become Oklahoma’s governor. Is running a household comparable to running a state government?

And what about Fallin’s view on gay marriage? As a Christian, its understandable her beliefs do not support same sex couples. But many Christians do not support divorce either, which Fallin has extensive personal knowledge about.

One of the biggest questions is on Fallin’s vote to give more funding to Mexico to fight drugs. Yes, drugs are a strong hold in Mexico, responsible for countless deaths of innocent people and unnecessary violence. Fallin should be supported for her role in international affairs. As a leading country in the world, the US should have a hand in these things and offer help or advice to counties needing guidance.

What about the war on drugs in our own backyard? Oklahoma is a leading state in the country for meth production and distribution. Our jails are riddled with addicts, our foster systems overrun with children taken from drug dependent parents.

So whom should Fallin have voted for? The country she represents, or the state she lives in? Many Oklahomans would say Oklahoma. Many Mexicans would say Mexico.

We say congratulations and good luck Governor Fallin. But we’ll take someone who believes in gay rights, lower textbook prices, and free candy for all any day.

(Photo by MCT Campus)

By 15th Street News Posted in Editorial

New on Netflix: Reviewer embraces Anime, hides from politicos

By: Bryan Trude, Feature Editor

There is a lot of pretentiousness amongst Hollywood types. A deep seeded belief that because they are “talented,” and surgically-enhanced enough to earn millions doing things I do in my car when I’m bored, that they somehow know better than the rest of us pee-ons.

Case in point: Jenny McCarthy, whose claim to fame is taking her clothes off for Playboy and dating a man who got famous for talking out of his butt, started going on the talk show circuit telling people that vaccines cause autism. Since then, over 600 people have died from diseases we have vaccines for.

Sometimes, I wonder why I even follow the exploits of these self-important morons.

Oh yeah, because it distracts me from politics.

Even without the recent slapfight election, movies and TV shows serve not only to entertain me, but to give me a place to hide from all the mind-numbing silliness of politics that seem to coat the news channels like icing on a cake.

Unfortunately, these two worlds collided not too long ago when childlike funnyman Zach Galifianakis toked up a joint of (fake) weed on “Real Time with Bill Maher” during his Oct. 29 appearance, pushing California’s (failed) Prop 19, the California initiative to legalize marijuana.

Politics and self-important so-called, “movie stars” in one place? That’s it. I can’t take it anymore. I’m going to crawl under a rock and watch a cartoon with people I’ve never heard of.

Yeah, that’ll keep me safe from the big bad politi-tainment monsters.

Xenosaga: The Animation (2005)

Not Rated

Director: Tsuyoshi Koga, Shigeyasu Yamauchi

Starring the voices of: Stephanie Wittels, Luci Christian, Brittney Karbowski, Greg Ayers

“Xenosaga” is the Japanese animated telling of the story of the PS2 game “Xenosaga Episode 1: Der Will zur Macht.”

In the series, humanity has left Earth and settled the stars, losing the location of our home planet to the midst of time and space, and is locked in a deadly war for survival against the alien, Gnosis.

To fight back against the alien aggressors, engineer Shion Uzuki (Wittels) develops the battle android KOS-MOS (Christian). KOS-MOS, however, turns out to have functions and a mission Uzuki did not know about, and winds up drawing Uzuki into a tale of political intrigue and a battle for survival to uncover the past.

The animation is top notch and intricately produced, something I find unusual in modern anime. The English voice acting is passable, though some parts still lack an appropriate emotional inflection that plagues the genre.

The story can be hard to follow, and suffers a little from “Star Wars prequel” syndrome: if you’ve played the game before, you already know what’s going to happen. Chances are, if you weren’t excited about the series when you saw the title, this is going to be hard to get into and stay with for all 12 episodes.