Category Archives: Editor’s Picks

Las Vegas

When more than 95 people die and more than 6,000 are injured daily [1], I never see a militarized media response to it. There is no soul-searching, there are no pontifications of what lies in the dark hearts of men that drive them to such mindless violence. Certainly there are no suggestions on increasing the number of regulations regarding the means by which such a tremendous number of lives may be snuffed out.

We just call them “car accidents”.

Gun violence is mostly not an accident, certainly not in the case of the recent shooting in Las Vegas. The worst shooting in modern history is a light day in car death terms. But the fact that it has become such a rallying cry in a way car accidents never have, makes me think that the motivation for such disproportionate focus is largely political in nature. It certainly cannot be empathy for the victims; I find it hard to believe the grieving families have approached every political media machine and begged, “Please use the deaths of my husbands, wives, sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, and cousins at your earliest possible convenience to make sure such tragedies never happen again.”

“Gun violence is mostly not an accident, certainly not in the case of the recent shooting in Las Vegas.” – Photo from CNN

No, I find the root cause might be much more basic: we are more ubiquitously in love with our cars than our guns. If you’re a liberal, you may look to Musk’s Tesla, Toyota’s Prius, or the Chevy Volt as a vehicle worth attaining. If you’re poor, you may look to 1980’s-1990’s era vehicles for the ease of maintaining them. If you’re rich, you make look to the stylish new Mustangs, Challengers, and or Porsches. Whatever your tastes, even with declining Millennial interest in getting a license [2], you probably can appreciate the freedom owning a car provides, or at least utilize it.

Less so with guns. Guns have always been used to kill people; there is little ambiguity there. They are used for sport, war, relaxation, and self-defense. “God made man; Samuel Colt made them equal” as the saying goes. No political issue in our country’s history more divides our nation than one’s stance on gun control, save women’s suffrage and slavery.

Because they are not viewed as universally beloved a facilitator of freedom the way cars are, firearms receive less care and more scorn. The real issues aren’t mental health, gun control, or even what the founding fathers meant in their 2nd Amendment wording. Perhaps it’s just how willfully blind we are to the negative consequences of the things we love while remaining critical of the things other people enjoy.

 

[1] http://www.nsc.org/NewsDocuments/2017/12-month-estimates.pdf

[2] https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2016/01/19/drivers-licenses-uber-lyft/7899452

 

Cover Photo from CNBC

The Biological Imperative

What does equality mean? Is it merely everyone having the same things, or is it everyone getting what they need? What about when the needs are so far out there that the government cannot legislate them into people’s possession? In an article published last year [6], there appears to be a certain measure of equality; men and women are stepping out of their marriages at roughly equal rates. Maybe it’s time we reevaluate the role marriage ought to play in our lives.

Perhaps it’s merely a timing concern [2]. The median age for the first marriage is 27 for women and 29 for men. It is interesting to note the article had to specify “first marriage.” In a sort of Hobbit-esque twist where the Tolkien characters have a meal more or less every hour they are awake, people seem to cycle through marriages not quite as quickly, but just about. 40% of people getting married today are not doing so for the first time [3], and 20% of marriages are both partners’ second (or more) marriage.

What does that tell us? Are people even meant to be bound together? Do we only need to get together to have sex and occasionally crank out another red-blooded tax-paying American, but for all intents and purposes live separate lives? White America, Black America, Male America, Female America, till death do we part, as long as we both shall live, so help us generic Deity/random quantum fluctuations? Much like an afterlife, it’d be real nice to think there’s something more to marriage than just a business arrangement and contractual obligations. Making a plan that does not account for reality has been, historically, a piss-poor recipe for success.

Is everyone getting what they want here? [4] Millennial women, as voiced by the author Jessica Jacobs, would seem to say they are not. Millennial men, as voiced by statistics [5] and anecdotal accounts [6] would also suggest a growing dissatisfaction with the way things are. All of us here in academia are free to debate the causes, but it’s clear that the vast majority are going to move on and find their own solutions whether we agree about why it’s happening or not. We’ll be unable to instill vital information in the latest crop of college entrants about the world the education system is self-tasked with preparing them for.

That’s a problem.

 

 

 

[1] http://www.intellectualtakeout.org/blog/women-now-committing-adultery-same-rate-men

[2] http://www.bentley.edu/impact/articles/nowuknow-why-millennials-refuse-get-married

[3] http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2017/02/how-many-people-in-america-get-remarried.html

[4] https://acculturated.com/millennial-women/

[5] http://www.businessinsider.com/statistics-unemployed-men-drop-out-workforce-video-games-2017-3

[Featured Image] Huffington Post: The Five Best and Worst States for Getting a Divorce

More Trouble From Apple iPhone

The new Apple iPhone X – photo from Apple.com

Apple has just recently announced their latest and “greatest” iPhone, the iPhone X. Why they called it the iPhone X and not just the iPhone 10 (be consistent, at the very least) is the first and the least of many baffling decisions that the Apple Company has made with their newest product.

With the iPhone X, you do get their latest and most impressive technology, including a bigger screen with better resolution, improved camera functions, and the A11 bionic chip. You also get a price tag that is well over a thousand dollars. And in terms of function, you could get the same thing from the iPhone 8 for half the price (literally). The iPhone 8 has the same A11 bionic chip as the iPhone X does. So really all you are paying for is a prettier screen. Not to mention, with the glass screen extending all the way to the very edge of the iPhone X, and with the phone’s glass back, it is much easier to break or damage the screen. And with the Apple insurance plan jumping roughly seventy dollars, that’s even more money out of your pocket.

The iPhone X is also seeing the loss of the home button and thumbprint identification in favor of new finger swipes to navigate the device and face identification to unlock the phone. Needless to say, this is going to make using the phone much more difficult and it will require some practice and memorization to actually use (aren’t upgrades supposed to make things easier to use?). With the face ID software, there has already been a number of problems for people with darker skin (i.e. not white), which makes using the phone more difficult than it already is. There could also be issues if you try to unlock your phone in low lighting (a lot of people play on their phone in bed at night) or if you make any major changes to your appearance. What if you grow a beard or have to start wearing glasses or get a scar? And if it all does work properly, what if you get arrested and the police take your phone and simply use the face ID software to unlock it and look through it? You aren’t legally required to unlock your phone for the police and they aren’t allowed to look through your phone. There seem to be a number of issues and potential issues that go along with the iPhone X, including its price tag. Instead, you could get the cheaper, more reliable iPhone 8. Or switch over to a different type of phone entirely and leave Apple behind.

Another Abuse of Power by the Police

Salt Lake City in Utah is one of the newest homes to an abuse of power by the police. Alex Wubbels is a nurse at the University of Utah hospital who had a frightening and shocking experience with Salt Lake City police detective, Jeff Payne. After a head-on collision on a Utah highway, William Gray was rushed to the hospital’s burn unit. The police came to collect a blood sample from him, which is standard procedure. Nurse Wubbels informed Detective Payne that he would need a warrant for the blood sample, but he still insisted, despite being told by his colleagues and superior that they could get the blood sample another way. When Wubbels held her ground, Payne decided to arrest her and drag her screaming to his police car. The police detective was clearly agitated and took out his frustrations on the nurse.

Alex Wubbels, the nurse arrested in the Salt Lake City hospital, shares the story of her arrest.
Photo and featured photo from nbcnews.com

Once again, a police officer has taken advantage of their power and breached the civil rights of another person. This nurse was assaulted and wrongly arrested for simply following the law and doing her job. A person’s blood is legally considered their property and it cannot just be taken without consent or a warrant. The police officer had no right to touch her or arrest her and he knew that; she was later released and was not charged with anything.

This is just another example of the deteriorating standards that police are held to and it shows that something needs to be done. Fortunately, this incident did not devolve into something much worse and end up with someone being injured or killed, as has happened before, usually with African Americans. For now, the officer is on paid leave and the situation is being investigated, but this officer should be reprimanded and punished for this abuse of power. Far too often police officers are allowed to get away with gross abuses of power and that needs to stop. A message needs to be sent that says the police force is not above the law and that they will be held accountable for their actions and misdeeds.

Sources

  1. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/officer-arrested-utah-nurse-after-he-was-told-let-her-n800021
  2. http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/officer-arrested-utah-nurse-after-he-was-told-not-to/ar-AArynJM?li=AA4ZnC&ocid=ientp

Are Summer Jobs Realistic Anymore?

With the school year winding down and summer break almost upon us, a lot of students are starting to make plans for their summers. Some have vacations, some will simply be going home for the summer, and many will be looking for a summer job. College and life, in general, are expensive and we could all use a little extra cash in our pocket. People have been doing this for years, so it is no big deal, right? Not exactly.

starbucks worker
“Most businesses are not looking for part-time summer help anymore; most places want someone who is willing to work part-time year-round.” Photo from: http://cdn.thesimpledollar.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/starbucks-barista.jpg

The world is changing and progressing rapidly and things aren’t the same as they were 20, 10, or even five years ago. Most businesses are not looking for part-time summer help anymore; most places want someone who is willing to work part-time year-round, at the very least. And working year-round is not a very plausible option for most college students. First of all, most college students go home for the summer which is usually not very close to college. It can be two hours away, four hours away, or six or eight hours away. So even if a college student wanted to, the idea of having a year round job is not a possibility. And with that option gone, the job opportunities dwindle. Most places of business do not want to hire someone only to replace them after three months; that is just bad business.

If a college student lives near their college campus and does stay in the same area year-round, they will still run into similar problems. While it is not impossible to keep a job and go to college at the same time (plenty of college students do exactly that), it is difficult and not something that everyone can do. Any college student can tell you that college is hard and that it takes a lot of time and effort; many have to spend the vast majority of their time working on school work. It is not uncommon for them to have very little spare time left and it’s hard to work at a job when you only have a few spare hours. College is intensive, and the whole point of summer break is to give you an actual break, not spend it begging for a job that you’ll likely have to quit in a few months.

Students’ Say On: Are You Beautiful?

We’ve all heard it before: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But what does that really mean? Obviously, the straightforward meaning is that beauty cannot be determined by a general standard or popular opinion, but is instead judged by whoever is looking.  Hence the reason why your mom can tell you that you are the most beautiful person in the world, but someone else (usually someone you want to impress) thinks you’re just okay-looking. But I believe that beauty is not so much in the eye of the beholder, but is instead in the eye and the mind of the person themselves, regardless of the beholder. Whether you are beautiful is something that others can have an opinion on, but ultimately, it is a decision you make for yourself.

looking in mirror
“I believe that beauty is not so much in the eye of the beholder, but is instead in the eye and the mind of the person themselves.” Photo from: https://beyondthepulpitmabc.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/woman-looking-in-mirror.jpg

This week, we asked people on campus whether they believed they were beautiful or not. We got a wide range of answers. A popular response was “sometimes” or “on some days” and “maybe, but not right now.” Their reasoning was they felt they did not look the greatest at the moment because of stress or because they were not putting forth a lot of effort towards their appearance on that day. Some students viewed themselves as “in the middle” of the beauty spectrum and said they felt okay about themselves and were happy with themselves.

Some expressed little care about whether they were beautiful or not. “It’s not something I think about at all,” said one student, while another stated, “I don’t think of myself in that way.”

Others felt more strongly about the question.  “If we’re talking about statistically attractive, I think that’s bullshit. Beauty is inner,” remarked one student. Another student declared, “Yes!” when asked the question and continued with, “I’ve accepted myself, and a lot of other people say it all the time.”

Male students who we talked to were generally more sure about themselves and their looks than females. When asked whether he thought he was beautiful, one student responded with, “Yes,” and for his reason, he answered, “Because I look in the mirror every day.” Another guy’s reply was “Of course,” and when asked why, the answer was, “Look at me.”

Netflix’s Asian Erasure and Racism

We all know about Netflix. In fact, it often seems synonymous with college nowadays. Everyone has it, and everyone uses it. There are hundreds of shows to watch online, some recent and some old. Some of them are even Netflix originals. Many are based off previous characters and/or are revamps of old shows. There are several Marvel superhero TV shows, for example. But one of Netflix’s newest TV shows is based off an anime that many may have heard of. Netflix is doing a live action remake of Deathnote, and they completely messed up.

anime
“Worse, they’ve completely erased the Japanese people from the show. Asian people get so little representation in the media as it is.” Photo from: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/af03a0ff80f68be7963f4bf0ac3907b8a21eb6f3d742b5c1b645de387a6c6cff.jpg

This is a TV show about a Japanese person in Japan dealing with, among many other things, the Japanese legal system. Yet, they place the show in America and make the main character (and presumably the rest of the cast) white. The show isn’t even out yet, and they’ve already ruined a large part of the entire premise of the show. Worse, they’ve completely erased the Japanese people from the show. Asian people get so little representation in the media as it is. Taking a show like this and completely erasing them is both salt in the wound and a blatant insult to Asian people, and more specifically, Japanese people.

This type of action shows blatant discrimination towards Japanese people. Here was a perfect opportunity to hire Japanese actors, portray some aspects of Japanese culture, and give Japanese people heroes and villains that they could identify with and relate to, so they wouldn’t have to feel like they are on the outside looking in. This is white washing to such an extreme that it seems like a very deliberate insult directed at Japanese people. Everything about this show came from a uniquely Japanese perspective. Now it is just about a white boy becoming a serial killer, and if we wanted to watch that we could just turn on the news.

Die…and Become a Tree?

Many people wonder what happens to us after we inevitably pass away. Is there just nothing, a black oblivion without consciousness or thought? Or is there some afterlife, a place where our soul or spirit lives on? Many religions and philosophies dedicate themselves to finding out, and while we can’t say for certain what happens to us after we die, we do have a say in what becomes of our bodies once we do pass away. And, as it turns out, you (or at least your remains) can become a tree.

capsula mundi
“Essentially what Capsula Mundi does is place your corpse inside a biodegradable burial pod with the seeds of your preferred tree on top.” Photo from: http://www.jebiga.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/CAPSULA-MUNDI-05.jpg

The Capsula Mundi project was created by two designers, Anna Citelli and Raoul Bretzel. It is a new, more eco-friendly burial practice that is quickly becoming available. Essentially what Capsula Mundi does is place your corpse inside a biodegradable burial pod with the seeds of your preferred tree on top. Then you are buried in a special “cemetery” (land set aside for these burial pods) and the tree eventually grows by using the resources and nutrients from your body.

So what is so great about this new type of burial? For starters, it is much more environmentally friendly than your traditional burial. Wooden coffins (and coffins in general) are only used for a few days for the sake of the funeral ceremony and after that they are essentially thrown away. That’s a lot of trees that have been cut down for a pretty limited use. Whereas the burial pod does the exact opposite and creates more trees–trees that will, presumably, last for many years. The pods are also completely biodegradable and will eventually become a part of the soil, providing more nutrients for the tree and the surrounding area. Not to mention, you could have an impressive tree that will continue to grow even more impressive as the years go by rather than a headstone that will wear down to a blank rock.

A plot in a cemetery is, essentially, useless. This isn’t meant to disrespect any of the dearly departed or anyone who might want to have a traditional burial. However, you can’t argue with the fact that this type of memorial would be more helpful than a headstone. There is also the fact that a “cemetery” full of trees would be a lot cheerier and not nearly as depressing as our typical cemetery. Wouldn’t a person want their loved ones to be happier when they went and visited them?

Ode To A Desk Doodle

The smudged and abstract set of jaws
Hangs half open with the weight of teeth.
The crude body curls into a cruder spiral
Perhaps a tail, perhaps a shape undefined,
Tightening in on itself until it smears
Into shady gray. Already the decay starts.

You will not last. Your time is short,
A distraction made in minutes and set
To die a careless death in days.
Permanence is a flight of fancy to you,
Immortality a concept impossible to grasp.
A sweep of a hand could wipe you away,
Without even a memory left to hold you.

Were you worth something? Did you
Provide to the hand that so callously,
Thoughtlessly carved you into the world
Some small fraction of amusement?
Some minuscule joy? Or were you
Made and abandoned in the same
Tiny shard of time, a work orphaned
Before it could even hope to be art?

A hand hovers over you
But you do not have eyes
To see it with. Hold your breath
And wait as I consider you.

But I do not wipe you away.
You exist, for some time more
Is that a kindness
Or a curse?

(Inspired by Ode to a Grecian Urn)

Fearless Girl

On the eve of International Women’s Day, March 8, a new statue was installed on the Bowling Green in New York state. It is a bronze statue of a young girl defiantly standing across from the famous Charging Bull statue that is one of New York’s most famous landmarks. The new statue of the young girl is called Fearless Girl, and it is there in support of all women everywhere who are standing up and fighting for women’s equality.

The statue and its placement speak volumes about its intent and the impact it is meant to have. The statue is of a child and of a girl, both of which have been stereotyped as weak, partly due to sexism. But this isn’t a weak girl or a weak image. The young girl has her hands on her hips, her feet firmly planted, and she is prepared and ready to face, and win against, whatever comes her way. This is especially significant because she is in front of the Charging Bull statue. Bulls have long since been depicted as powerful male figures. They’re a symbol of strength and testosterone, the epitome of masculinity and manliness. They are extremely powerful and dangerous animals, and this young girl is ready to take it on in nothing more than a dress.

fearless girl
“On the eve of International Women’s Day, March 8, a new statue was installed on the Bowling Green in New York state. It is a bronze statue of a young girl defiantly standing across from the famous Charging Bull statue” Photo from: http://wtop.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/APTOPIX_Fearless_Girl_Wall_Street_11525-727×485.jpg

It’s great symbolism, and it sends a great message across. We live in a world where women still do not have true equality and where there is a great imbalance of power between men and women, with men in the more powerful position. But not only are women ready to fight, they are prepared to win. And they can and they will. They will also do it while still being women, while staying true to who they are and not becoming something else entirely. Hence, the young girl is in a dress, something that is traditionally feminine ( not that a woman has to be feminine to be a woman, they can be masculine and be a woman). Women are prepared, they are ready, they will fight (against great odds), and they will win. That’s what this is saying.

The statue will only be around for a short while. It was installed as a temporary fixture but its stay has already been extended past the original time period. There is a petition to make it a permanent part of the city, and it is gaining support.

Global Climate Change

Most people are probably enjoying the warm and sunny weather that Radford University has been having lately. Temperatures in 60’s and 70’s, a nice bright sun to keep you warm, a cool breeze every now and again; it’s great weather for sitting on Heth lawn and relaxing. In fact, that’s what many people have been doing. We’ve had quite a few people in shorts and t-shirts (or even just shorts) outside enjoying the weather and playing games; they’ve been all over campus. The only problem is that it’s the middle of February, and the weather should be freezing with ice and snow, not warm like it’s the middle of spring. The unusual weather is due to the effects of global climate change, which is becoming a bigger and bigger problem.

climate change
“The unusual weather is due to the effects of global climate change, which is becoming a bigger and bigger problem.” Photo from: https://www.cdc.gov

Some people do not believe that this drastic change in climate is even real, despite the amount of evidence for it (1). Firstly, we need to get rid of a common misconception and frequently made argument against climate change. There is a difference between climate and weather. The weather is whether or not it is sunny or rainy outside, or warm or cold, on that specific day, while climate is part of the specific environment of an area. If you are in a desert then you have very hot temperatures, and if you are in the Artic then you have very cold temperatures. The issue is that these temperatures are steadily increasing to the point that these environments are becoming uninhabitable.

A particularly cold day or cold season does not mean that climate change is a hoax; some of the gasses that we have added to the atmosphere have created an ozone hole over the South Pole, causing that part of the stratosphere to become colder. This colder stratosphere causes faster winds that reach as far as the equator which then affect tropical circulation and rainfall (2).

Global climate change is due to the increasing emissions of greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere. These gasses absorb and hold onto the heat that we receive from the sun, so the more we put into the atmosphere, the warmer our planet gets. This is a real problem; glacial ice is melting and subsequently causing sea levels to rise. This means landmasses that are close to the sea level will be wiped out. Environments are getting destroyed due to the increasing climates and sea levels. We are hurting ourselves by ignoring this issue, and something needs to be done soon before it is too late.

  1. https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/
  2. https://climate.nasa.gov/faq/

Stress Levels and Mental Health in College Students

College students usually get stressed when they have major tests in their classes. And it seems that stress levels spike when midterms and finals are approaching. However, most students feel stressed almost all of the time. It is said that one out of five students say they feel stressed most of the time (1). Stress can cause other mental health issues like anxiety disorders and depression. Stress, along with these other mental health disorders, has major effects on students’ day to day lives, and even their future.

It is said that stress is a precursor to anxiety or depression disorders. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health Illness, almost two-thirds of students drop out of school due to mental health reasons (1). Suicidal thoughts may be involved with these disorders. And 95 percent of suicides committed by students are related to anxiety and depression (1).

stressed student
“Stress, along with these other mental health disorders, has major effects on students’ day to day lives, and even their future.” Photo from: http://www.autismafter16.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/article_large/article-images/iStock_000010063963Small_0.jpg

Stress, anxiety and depression levels in students have risen dramatically since the 1980s (2). This means that there is also an increase in those going to their university’s mental health centers, if they are provided. According to Boston University statistics, in the 2014-2015 school year, students seeking psychiatric evaluation went from 120 students to 134, and those coming in because of a crisis increased from 647 students to 906 students (3). It’s happening all over the country. The Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors found that 73.1 percent of counseling center directors reported an increase in the severity of student mental health concerns (3).

Radford University has a Student Counseling Services office located in the basement of Tyler Hall. They offer individual, couple and group psychotherapy, medication evaluations and management, professional consultations and other services (4). Their offices are open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and their phone number is (540)-831-5226.

Mental health is one of the things that college students should take care of, especially in times of great stress. So, if you or someone you know is going through a rough patch, definitely try to make an appointment with the Counseling services; it could help you before things get too bad.

1 – http://stress.lovetoknow.com/Statistics_on_College_Student_Stress 2 – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/theory-knowledge/201402/the-college-student-mental-health-crisis  3 – http://www.bu.edu/today/2016/mental-health-college-students/  4 – http://www.radford.edu/content/student-counseling/home.html

Boys can Wear Skirts and Look Cute as Fuck

My boyfriend wears skirts. Not tunics, not man-skirts, and for sure not kilts. He wears skirts and he looks damn good doing it. Unfortunately, it took years for him to build up the courage to wear skirts as much as he wanted to. He suffered because of the male standards in our culture. I want to challenge these male standards and claim that continuing to follow them will be a detriment to our society as a whole.

Since around the 1920’s, it has become increasingly culturally acceptable for women to dress in pants. Today, women have access to blazers and suits that look great. Women have the choice to dress in a feminine or masculine way because they fought and earned that choice. Men have no choices at all. They must either dress in a masculine way or face ridicule. In our broader culture it is acceptable for women to want to be more like men, but for a man to give up his masculine power is a disgrace.

man skirt
“I want to challenge these male standards and claim that continuing to follow them will be a detriment to our society as a whole.” Photo from: https://i.ytimg.com

Men are culturally trained to reject feminine clothing in our society. This is because if a man wears feminine clothes, it implies the clothing and the people wearing it are as good as men. My boyfriend has been called sissy, fag, and other terrible names for wearing skirts. All these names come from other men. The idea of another man being happy and comfortable in a skirt is such a shock to them they feel the urge to tear down what they no longer consider a real man to preserve their own masculinity and their power.

Men need feminism just as much as women do. The core idea of feminism is that men and women are equal in society. True acceptance of this elevates women to the power of men, but it also unlocks the full breadth of the human experience to men. Feminist culture invites men to feel beautiful and powerful through makeup and clothing forbidden to them in a patriarchal culture. Feminism gives men a choice to be as masculine or as feminine as they wish, and it is not a mandate to become more feminine.

Even worse, modern masculinity standards are a parody of authentic manhood. We tell our boys to restrict their emotional expression, power through their pain, and never act like a girl. In order to preserve some idealized masculine fantasy, men are encouraging themselves to be less than full human beings. This unrealizable standard that men hold themselves to leads to corrupt and toxic masculinity characterized by external violence, hate, and internal self-loathing. Men, if you consider yourself a real man, call out your male friends when you hear them talking negatively about others in any form. A simple, “Hey man, that’s not cool,” is sufficient self-policing and is a start to changing minds. This is important if we want to work towards making our culture a more just and verdant society.

Oh, How I Love You Broccoli Man

Dark earth piles up in neat rows–

Vegetables grow

In tall palatial columns–

A tantalizing treat

For the hungry young boy alone.

 

Over the fence and up the path,

Until he stealthily grips his prize–

A verdant head of broccoli.

Starved from days unfed,

He scarfs it down, collapsing

To hardened earth below.

 

Frost chills him to the bone

And an ominous wind moans

A witch’s curses from afar:

Ye dared partake o’ me produce

And ye shall be cursed to poison broccoli

Forevermore!

Whoever loves ye shall partake of the broccoli

Purged from your stomach

And will not die.

 

The lonely boy searches

For fifty years to find his love.

Youth is his until

A day when the sky is grey

And the sun is hidden

And the wind blows fierce–

He sees her!

A quiet girl with golden hair

And eyes of sea waves.

mirror
“We will meet again In the other dream.” ‘And she fell through The rippling mirror.” Photo from: www.vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net

He vomits and retches out

A head of verdant broccoli.

He fears the maiden

Will not accept his bouquet.

 

He catches her by her shirt tail

Pulling her into

An antique dwelling and in

A dark cavern hallway

Asks her,

“Do you care for broccoli?”

 

She replies to his timid inquiry,

“Of course I do! Why shouldn’t I?”

And gobbles it down in haste.

The boy watches in anticipation–

Lo and behold

She does not die!

 

A soft breeze whispers past

As he solemnly attests,

“You are my destined one!”

He pulls her close to him

And as he kisses her

A foul taste fills her mouth

As he falls apart like brittle clay.

 

“We will meet again

In the other dream.”

And she fell through

The rippling mirror.

 

The Life of a College Dog

With the beautiful weather and abundance of homework, Iris loves Radford’s campus almost as much as any hiking trail. What dog doesn’t love a puppuccino and endless belly rubs?

Here, we see a pupper in its natural habitat.
Here, we see a pupper in its natural habitat.

Normally, I’d say let sleeping dogs lie. However, we’ve got an entire day planned. She’s secretly lazy though.

Look at her, dude.
Look at her, dude.

Peering majestically, in search for a treat nowhere in sight, Iris kinda likes it here.

Because who doesn't love a gorgeous day and a good novel?
Because who doesn’t love a gorgeous day and a good novel?

Starbucks is usually her hang-out spot. Sorry if she begs you for some food – she’s kind of a dog.

Watching us Zipline

After hours of reading, Iris hits the RU Able facility to watch us zipline and run around to her heart’s content.

She curls up beneath my piano, signaling a say well spent.
She curls up beneath my piano, signaling a day well spent.

A snoring puppy is always a success. Go team!

Wanna see more of Iris? Happy Birthday; here’s last week. http://www.ruwhim.com/?p=52028

The Life of A College Dog

Iris, an Austrailian Shepherd/Catahoula Cur mix, just turned into a one-year-old pupper on January 25th, 2017. I adopted her at four weeks old. Since then, she has grown into a stunning, albeit sometimes vexing, addition to my family. Alongside her three kitten siblings, Iris is ready for anything. This is the journey of a college dog, week by week.

Iris lets me know she's ready to go.
Good morning!

Iris wakes me before the alarm, shoving her leash in my face, demanding to start the day. The screech of a whiny dog isn’t the most comforting thing to be woken up by, but it’s better than poop on the floor. Always stay positive!

Iris poses perfectly for a candid shot in front of Young Hall.
Iris poses perfectly for a shot in front of Young Hall.

Following her wait for mom, Iris goes for a walk around campus. The sun is shining, the breeze is careful, and Iris is feeling fresh. She runs around Moffett quad and then rests in front of Young Hall, which makes for a great candid shot.

Iris showing her love for pork at Due South BBQ
Iris showing her love for pork at Due South BBQ

If you don’t like barbecue, leave now. Iris doesn’t need that negativity in her life.

Iris's best friend accompanies us on our journey for quality BBQ.
Iris’s best friend accompanied us on our journey for quality BBQ.

After begging for a taste of our food, Iris and her BFF pose for a photo with a giant pig BBQ pit.

Love story between a waterfall and a pupper.
Love story between a waterfall and a pupper.

Fast forward past the disaster of having to tear her away from the smell of cooking food. We find ourselves at Falls Ridge nature preserve. I cannot stress to you the difficulties I faced while taking this photo. Picture yourself splashed by mud, almost trampled, and herded into the water to play. After running around for 20 minutes (no joke), she finally sat for a beautiful nature shot.

Falls Ridge features an 80-foot waterfall, varieties of plant and marine life, and great hammocking spots. So, you should visit. But wait, there’s more!

Iris enjoying her second hike at Ellett Valley Nature Trail in Christiansburg, VA.
Iris enjoying her second hike at Ellett Valley Nature Trail in Christiansburg, VA.

For the small price of one more minute of your day, you can see more cute pictures of my pupper!
Iris’s parents, being dumb college kids, forgot water and had to go to the gas station. We noticed Ellett Valley Nature Trail, secluded and small. Why the hell not, eh? Iris seemed to love the smells and environment.

BFF in hand, she's ready for dinner and a long nap.
BFF in hand, she’s ready for dinner and a long nap.

Perfect end to a perfect day. Let sleeping dogs lie!

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”
—Josh Billings

Radford Partnering with a Chinese University

Radford University is giving serious consideration to partnering with Shandong Youth University of Political Science for student and faculty exchanges, joint degree programs, and international collaboration. On November 30, President Hemphill met with five representatives from Shandong, including their vice president Linshan Wang. He toured several of the academic buildings on campus and discussed a potential partnership.

A partnership with an international university would be a great thing for Radford University. It would be a wonderful opportunity for students from both universities to travel internationally and participate in new experiences. It would also help ease a lot of the tension and misconceptions that many people have about foreign countries and their people.

hemphill and chinese president
“On November 30, President Hemphill met with five representatives from Shandong, including their vice president Linshan Wang.” Photo from: www.radford.edu

It’s more possible and convenient than it has ever been for people to travel internationally, but people are also very worried and suspicious about other countries. Bringing in international students and having our students travel would help ease some of the tension. This gives the people of Radford University a chance to learn more about people from different places.

In order for Radford University to be more welcoming to foreign students, we must open our doors and welcome them into our lives and programs. Humanity as a whole often negatively judges people and things they don’t know well simply because that is our natural reaction to the unknown. But it is not the appropriate reaction to the unknown. You have to get to know people and learn about them and their way of life. You can’t say one way or the other what sort of person they are or what their culture is like without getting to know them. This partnership is a great way to foster new connections and broaden the horizons of Radford students.

A Need for More Diversity in Entertainment Media

Almost everyone watches TV, plays video games, reads books or does some combination thereof. All these options are great forms of entertainment and a great way to relax. Everyone loves them, but not everyone is represented in them, at least not fairly.

hands earth
“In today’s media, there is not much variety. There are very few characters that are African American, Latino, Asian, homosexual, bisexual, transgender, disabled, female, Muslim, Jewish or any combination thereof.” Photo from: https://makeitgentle.files.wordpress.com

Most of the characters in any form of entertainment media fit into a well-defined set of basic characteristics. That is to say, the vast majority of them are white, straight, cisgender, able-bodied, and male. This is not to say there is anything wrong with having characters like this. It’s perfectly fine, but the issue is that in today’s media, there is not much variety. There are very few characters that are African American, Latino, Asian, homosexual, bisexual, transgender, disabled, female, Muslim, Jewish or any combination thereof. There are very few characters with these traits, especially compared to the number of them that are white, straight, cisgender, able-bodied, and male. And when there are minorities present, it is usually only one token minority character, such as an African American in a group with five white people, for example.

This is not to say there should be less white characters or straight characters and so on, just that there should be more characters that are minorities. There should be more African-American female characters, more transgender characters who are gay, more bisexual and disabled Latinos characters, more asexual Muslim characters, more of any and all of them because these types of people exist and they deserve to be seen and heard. People want to see characters that they can connect with and feel good about. They want to see that an African-American woman can be a superhero so they can believe they can be a superhero, just like a white man can with Captain America. (Or almost any other superhero. Think about it, how many of them are white and male?) People want to watch sitcoms and dramas with diverse casts because the audiences are diverse. The simple fact of the matter is that representation matters.