Saturday, December 25, 2010

Professors not pleased with revised exam schedule?

I'm still looking into the issues surrounding the final day of the Fall 2010 semester. There have been some interesting comments on my last blog, "Final exams marred by heavy snow." Check them out. Add anything if you see fit.

Until then, here's an e-mail thread from a few Concord professors that I had forwarded to me.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Mckinley
Date: Fri, Dec 17, 2010 at 8:45 AM
Subject: RE: Fall 2010 Final Exam Inclement Weather Schedule
To: Islamm , Johnnie Linn
Cc: "'George Towers' [+] [+]" , facultystaff@concord.edu

I suggest that final exams be kept on the same day because of travel arrangements plane tickets etc. Also that exams be 2 hrs long so the 1st exam of the day would start at 10am-noon, second exam 12:15-2:15 and third exam 2:30-4:30pm. Most of our students are commuters and the sunsets around 5:05-5:10pm this time of year and the roads refreeeze. This would give our students a chance to get home safely before it got dark and cold.

Tonya McKinley


-----Original message-----
From: Islamm islamm@concord.edu

Date: Mon, 13 Dec 2010 16:44:48 -0500
To: "Johnnie Linn" linnj@concord.edu
Subject: RE: Fall 2010 Final Exam Inclement Weather Schedule

I agree 200% with Professor Linn. The new inclementt weather schedule, only for the finals, has been nothing but a source of confusion. Why was it necessary when there is an existing policy.

Muhammad Islam

-----Original message-----
From: "Johnnie Linn" linnj@concord.edu
Date: Mon, 13 Dec 2010 15:32:20 -0500
To: "'George Towers'" towers@concord.edu, facultystaff@concord.edu
Subject: RE: Fall 2010 Final Exam Inclement Weather Schedule

To All:

I wasn't asked, but a better inclement weather schedule would have been to simply delay all exams by one hour. The exam schedule already has a built-in one-hour delay, since the earliest exams start at 9 a.m. instead of 8. Better to inconvenience everyone by one hour than creating major dislocations for a few students who may have selected sections to fit a carefully prepared finals week departure schedule.

Johnnie Linn.

-----Original message-----
From: George Towers [mailto:towers@concord.edu]

Sent: Friday, December 10, 2010 8:25 AM
To: facultystaff@concord.edu
Subject: Fall 2010 Final Exam Inclement Weather Schedule

Hello Colleagues,

In the event that next week's weather conditions cause Concord University to announce the Final Exam Inclement Weather Schedule, the schedule shown below will be followed.

If the University is closed due to adverse weather during finals, rescheduling instructions will be issued at that time.

Fall 2010 Final Exam Inclement Weather Schedule

Classes that begin:

Exam Time on Normal Schedule

Exam Time on Inclement Weather Schedule

MWF 8:00 AM
Monday, Dec. 13, 9:00-11:15 AM
Rescheduled: Friday, Dec. 17, 2:00-4:15 PM

MWF 9:00 AM
Friday, Dec. 17, 9:00-11:15 AM
Rescheduled: Friday, Dec. 17, 4:30-6:45 PM

MWF 10:00 AM
Wed., Dec. 15, 9:00-11:15 AM
Rescheduled: Wed., Dec. 15, 4:30-6:45 PM

MWF 11:00 AM
Monday, Dec. 13, 11:30 AM - 1:45 PM
No change: Mon., Dec. 13, 11:30 AM-1:45 PM

MWF 12:00 PM
Fri., Dec. 17, 11:30 AM - 1:45 PM
No change: Fri., Dec. 17, 11:30 AM - 1:45 PM

MWF 1:00 PM
Wed., Dec. 15, 11:30AM-1:45 PM
No change: Wed., Dec. 15, 11:30 AM-1:45 PM

MWF 2:00 PM
Monday, Dec. 13, 2:00-4:15 PM
No change: Monday, Dec. 13, 2:00-4:15 PM

MWF 3:00 PM
Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2:00-4:15 PM
No change: Wed., Dec. 15, 2:00-4:15 PM

TR 8:00 AM
Tues., Dec. 14, 9:00-11:15 AM
Rescheduled: Tues., Dec. 14, 4:30-6:45 PM

TR 9:30 AM
Thursday, Dec. 16, 9:00-11:15 AM
Rescheduled: Thurs., Dec. 16, 4:30-6:45 PM

TR 11:00 AM
Tues., Dec. 14, 11:30 AM-1:45 PM
No change: Tues., Dec. 14, 11:30 AM - 1:45 PM

TR 12:30 PM and
TR 1:00 PM
Thurs., Dec. 16, 11:30 AM - 1:45 PM
No change: Thurs., Dec. 16, 11:30 AM - 1:45 PM

TR 2:00 PM
Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2:00-4:15 PM
No change: Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2:00-4:15 PM

TR 3:30 PM

Thursday, Dec. 16, 2:00-4:15 PM
No change: Thurs., Dec. 16, 2:00-4:15 PM


Evening classes will have a two hour final during the regularly scheduled class meeting time during finals week, December 13-17.

If a rescheduled exam results in a conflict with an exam in an evening class, the student must notify the professor of the evening class and either arrange for a late arrival time or reschedule the exam at the discretion of the professor.


Sincerely,

George Towers
Professor of Geography / Associate Academic Dean
Concord University
Athens, WV 24712-1000
voice: 304.384.5220

Merry Christmas



This was me when I was 10. Not literally, but I did get a Nintendo 64 the first Christmas they were available. I was a very happy boy. Not as happy as this boy, but I was still very excited.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Final exams marred by heavy snow

What a crazy end to the Fall 2010 semester at Concord University, right?

I had two finals scheduled for Thursday, the final day of the semester. One at 9 a.m. and the second was at 11:30. Wednesday night, I'm laying in bed around 3 a.m. and I look out the window. It's dark and I don't have my glasses on, but it looks like the sky is moving outside my window. "Must be snowing," I think to myself. I wake up a little before 8 a.m. and realize that it had been snowing. How much, I was soon to find out.

Around 8:30, I'm getting ready to leave. I open the door and see the following:


We're not on the inclement weather exam schedule, as I had not received a text message from Concord. Right before I leave, I get a text message from one of my professors asking if I can make it to campus. Since we're not on the inclement weather schedule, I tell my professor that I should be able to, since Athens Road is probably cleared. Otherwise, I reason, we'd be on the inclement weather schedule.

I was wrong. Athens Road, the winding backroad to Concord, has not been cleared:



The speed limit on Athens Road is 45. The average speed people usually go on Athens Road is about 55-60. I was creeping down Athens Road at a maximum speed of 20 miles per hour:



When I finally made it to campus, the grounds were horrible. Nothing had been cleared and maintenance men were in the process of clearing off sidewalks on lawn mowers rigged with snow plows:



I make it to my final about 10 minutes late. It's okay, the professor was also running late. He woke up and assumed we were on the inclement weather schedule, so he wasn't rushing to campus. The final starts at about 9:15. At 9:22 I receive a text message. The professor isn't paying attention, so I pull my phone out and check it. It's a text alert from Concord. It says that the campus will be closing at 11:15 (after the first final).

I finish my final at about 10 o'clock and head to the library. I sit there and try to grasp the situation. As I'm doing that, I upload the pictures above (and a few others) to Facebook. I think to myself, "How could we not have been on the inclement weather schedule today?"

I decide to do a little journalism and look up the number for Mark Stella. Along with being Concord's Police Chief, he is also the Director of Public Safety. I try his office a few times and both times his secretary tells me that he is not available. By this point it's getting pretty bad out, so I go home.

I never did get an answer to why were weren't on the inclement weather schedule. This was a huge mistake by Concord's President, Gregory Aloia, to not place us on the inclement weather exam schedule. There were probably about 4 inches of snow on the ground when I looked out the door at 8:30 Thursday morning. When I left Concord at around 11, it was alternating between hail and rain, which caused the roads to freeze.

I don't know if this has changed since the last time I heard about it, but a committee (with Dr. Aloia having final say) determines whether or not to put Concord on the inclement weather schedule. Unless things have changed, here's how the committee works: they informally get together the night before and check the forecast, they all wake up really early and check the forecast and roads and whatnot, they get together and decide the course of action, then Dr. Aloia makes his final decision based on their report.

I don't know who's on the committee aside from Dr. Aloia and Officer Stella. I'm not even sure if that's still the way they decide to go on the inclement weather schedule. If anybody knows anything else, fill me in.

Bottom line here is that somebody fucked up. Concord should not have been on the regular exam schedule Thursday morning. People were put in danger by driving on snow-covered roads. I know, I drove on those roads. Those were horrible conditions. Somebody finally realized it, as they made the decision to close campus before 9:30. The decision should have been made hours earlier, in a much-more responsible and timely manner.

If anybody knows why we were not placed on the inclement weather exam schedule, let us know. Like John Walsh says, "You can remain anonymous."

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Inclement Weather Exam Schedule & some other snow notes

Below is a listing of Concord's inclement weather final exam schedule. Some of the times aren't affected, but a few of the earlier ones have been rescheduled. If the inclement weather exam schedule goes into effect, a text alert will be sent out. Click here for information on how to sign up for the text alerts.

MWF 8:00 AM..........Rescheduled: Friday, Dec. 17, 2:00-4:15 PM
MWF 9:00 AM..........Rescheduled: Friday, Dec. 17, 4:30-6:45 PM
MWF 10:00 AM..........Rescheduled: Wed., Dec. 15, 4:30-6:45 PM
MWF 11:00 AM.....No change: Mon., Dec. 13, 11:30 AM–1:45 PM
MWF 12:00 PM......No change: Fri., Dec. 17, 11:30 AM – 1:45 PM
MWF 1:00 PM.......No change: Wed., Dec. 15, 11:30 AM–1:45 PM
MWF 2:00 PM............No change: Monday, Dec. 13, 2:00-4:15 PM
MWF 3:00 PM................No change: Wed., Dec. 15, 2:00-4:15 PM

TR 8:00 AM..................Rescheduled: Tues., Dec. 14, 4:30-6:45 PM
TR 9:30 AM.................Rescheduled: Thurs., Dec. 16, 4:30-6:45 PM
TR 11:00 AM.........No change: Tues., Dec. 14, 11:30 AM – 1:45 PM
TR 12:30 PM........No change: Thurs., Dec. 16, 11:30 AM – 1:45 PM
TR 1:00 PM..........No change: Thurs., Dec. 16, 11:30 AM – 1:45 PM
TR 2:00 PM.................No change: Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2:00-4:15 PM
TR 3:30 PM.....................No change: Thurs., Dec. 16, 2:00-4:15 PM

* * *

According to the Weather Channel app for my BlackBerry, a winter storm watch is in effect from Sunday afternoon through Tuesday afternoon (12-11 through 12-14), with the possibility of 6-12 inches of snow. So, that's not good. Exercise caution when traveling these next few days.

This is reminding me of last year, when the snow just started pouring down and didn't stop for a couple weeks. It canceled Concord's fall graduation ceremony. I remember where I was when it started, because it wasn't part of my usual routine and stuck out for me.

It was December 18, 2009, and I was at Pizza Hut for a couple hours. The manager on duty needed to leave for a couple hours and asked me to watch the store for him. Nothing was going on and myself and the two other employees there were sitting in a booth, when we noticed that it had started snowing. Within an hour, it looked like this:


It got so horrible so quickly. The other manager got stuck in slow-moving traffic in the snow and was delayed getting back to work by about two hours. One of the delivery drivers walked out, saying that he wasn't driving in the snow. It was just a crazy, crazy couple hours.

The snow continued throughout the night. I had to work the next morning at 8 a.m. I leave my apartment and walk to my car. Luckily, I lived down the street from Pizza Hut at the time, as I quickly decided that I was walking to work:


The actual walk to work wasn't so bad. It was cold, but it was that cold where it's so cold that you don't feel it anymore. The streets hadn't been cleared yet and there was no traffic. That was good for me, since I couldn't find the sidewalks and had to walk in middle of the street:



I wound up walking to work for 4 days. After that, the weather was still bad, but it had stopped snowing and I was able to get my car out of that mountain of snow. Things stayed pretty bad for a couple weeks, then finally settled down to just being bad.

Hopefully this winter doesn't wind up being like that.

On a positive note, there was one cool thing about all the snow and it was on a bush outside of my apartment. Nobody altered the snow in any way, it just naturally forms like this, as I've seen it a couple other times:

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Final Exam Schedule




































Sorry for the poor quality here. If you look closely you can see what time the exams are.

Lennon

December 8, 2010 marks the 30-year-anniversary of the death of John Lennon. I just wanted to make a quick note of that. Here's the link to a really short blog I wrote on the 29th anniversary -
http://chrisslater.blogspot.com/2009/12/instant-karma.html

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Re: "Is Lindsey Mullins a good newspaper adviser?"

It's been an interesting couple days here at the blog. A little increased readership, a lot of comments, some good debate, and a very good representation of an online public forum were presented here over the last week or so.

Before we go any further I'd like to point out an easy way to leave comments. You post your comment into a box that is labeled "Post a comment." Under that box is another box that says "Comment as:" and features a box you can click. You can choose a few options there, one of which is "anonymous," if you don't want your name printed. If you do want your name printed, you can choose the "name/url" option and enter your name. You can also enter a url that people can be redirected to if they click your name. That way, we won't read what we think is an anonymous comment, until we get to the bottom and see that somebody put their name on it.

The last couple blogs I posted had a lot of feedback. The first was my entry titled "Looking at the Nov. 17 'Imagine...' column" and the second, which came about from comments left on that post was titled "Is Lindsey Mullins a good newspaper adviser?"

The post about Lindsey Mullins came about after talking to my girlfriend Candace Nelson, who is the Editor-in-Chief of West Virginia University's newspaper (The Daily Athenaeum). She didn't think that Mullins was very professional in criticizing the work of one of her writers in my blog's comments section. I agree with Candace that it was not right to do that. Candace also had some wise advice, not just for Mullins, but for anybody in a position of power - "Praise in public, criticize in private is an essential rule to live by a a leader, as a teacher."

In my comments section, Mullins has said that she had learned her lesson and would no longer comments on student blogs - "... I have learned my lesson as a young professional to not comment on blogs outside of work."

The key issue that has come up here is what constitutes being professional? Was it unprofessional of Lindsey Mullins to comment on my blog? I don't believe it was unprofessional of her to do that. She's left several good comments on my blog before. Click here to see an example.

It was not the best decision to criticize one of her students on my blog. Mullins was not conducting herself in a professional manner by doing that.

Does this make Lindsey Mullins unprofessional? No. This is one snafu over nearly four years of being a professor at Concord. Has she made some other unprofessional snafus before? There are a few incidents from her first year that I can think of, but she has definitely improved as a professor over the years.

I was Editor-in-Chief of The Concordian during her first two semesters at Concord. That was in the 2007-2008 academic year. I came back to the staff for the fall 2009 semester. I noticed a huge turnaround in the way Mullins conducted herself at the meetings. It was a much-more professional manner.

One thing I would like to point out is that the last post about Mullins was not an attack on her. It was not me saying that she was a bad adviser. It was me asking a question - "Is Lindsey Mullins a good newspaper adviser?" and giving the evidence that was in front of me. The only problem with that was that there was not enough evidence presented.

Is she a bad adviser because she criticized MariLuz Diaz' work on my blog? There are so many components to being a newspaper adviser that one instance cannot make one entirely good or bad at advising. Was it the best decision? No, it wasn't. Should we throw her under the bus for it? No, we shouldn't.

We're all human. We all make mistakes. Have I made them? Yes. A couple, at least. That was a joke - my life is one mistake after another. We all make mistakes and one shouldn't ruin our reputation.

Is Lindsey Mullins a good newspaper adviser? That depends on one key element - does she advise the newspaper staff well. There's not a journalism program at Concord, and the "Comm. Arts" major that it does fall under is a joke, so the staff gets most of its advising from her.

Is she advising the staff well? Are they putting out a good product? This is the first semester I can honestly say the newspaper staff has no influence from me. There are no staff members I worked closely with and nobody on that staff has ever asked me for help. My influence - which basically means all the stuff I learned regarding running The Concordian before Mullins took over as adviser - is gone.

This is what a 100% Lindsey Mullins led newspaper looks like. Go to http://cunewspaper.com/ and look around. If it looks good, then Lindsey Mullins is a good newspaper adviser.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Inclement Weather Schedule

Information about Concord University's inclement weather schedule can be found at http://www.concord.edu/emergency-alerts

Here's the schedule for classes:

MONDAY/WEDNESDAY/FRIDAY CLASSES

8 a.m. classes meet at 10:00-10:40
9 a.m. classes meet at 10:45-11:25
10 a.m. classes meet at 11:30-12:10
11 a.m. classes meet at 12:15-12:55
12 p.m. classes meet at 1:00-1:40
1 p.m. classes meet at 1:45-2:25
2 p.m. classes meet at 2:30-3:10
3 p.m. classes meet at 3:15-3:55

TUESDAY/THURDAY CLASSES

8 a.m. classes meet at 10:00-11:00
9:30 a.m. classes meet at 11:05-12:05
11 a.m. classes meet at 12:10-1:10
12:30 p.m. classes meet at 1:15-2:15
2 p.m. classes meet at 2:20-3:20
3:30 p.m. classes meet at 3:25-4:25

Concord offers an emergency-alert text system to let students and faculty know about school closings and other such emergencies. Go to http://www.concord.edu/emergency-alerts-system/emergency-text-messaging for more information.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Is Lindsey Mullins a good newspaper adviser?

My last blog post, looking at MariLuz Diaz' "Imagine..." column got a lot of interesting responses. For those who didn't read it, Diaz' column was about usage of the "n-word" and how she felt it was not acceptable. My response was about how I felt that the word was slowly becoming more acceptable.

I was discussing the blog post with the Editor-in-Chief of West Virginia University's newspaper, (aka my girlfriend, Candace Nelson). My "blog influence" at Concord is something that has come up as a topic between us several times. She's impressed that I have decent readership and, more importantly, that people seem to listen to me when I say something.

She was looking through the comments section and asking me about the people. There were a couple anonymous comments, a comment from Justin Grathwohl, one from MariLuz, and a couple from Lindsey Mullins. Grathwohl is a former Concord student who is now working in the Las Vegas area. He was involved in the SGA and was also a former Concordian columnist. MariLuz is the current Opinions Editor of The Concordian. Mullins is the faculty adviser of the paper.

When I told her who Mullins was, she brought up whether or not it was appropriate for Mullins to be making the comments that she was making. That led to Candace writing her own blog post about the subject. Here's the link - http://candacelately.blogspot.com/2010/12/advisers.html

She discusses the role of an adviser, and how she feels as though Mullins was acting unprofessionaly by posting comments about MariLuz' work in my blog.

"Yes, maybe [MariLuz'] writing isn't up to par," Candace writes. "Maybe she needs to do some more work, but when was it ever, ever okay to critique your student's work on the public blog of another student?"


Candace notes the fact that Mullins is representing Concord University as a professor, and that she believes this looks bad on Concord's part - "This adviser is representing her university, and Concord seriously made a flawed decision in hiring this women if this is any indication of how she runs her newspaper."

I've been a member of the newspaper staff under Lindsey Mullins for three semesters. Two as Editor-in-Chief of the paper, and one as a staff writer. My two as EIC were her first two semesters as a professor at Concord. I blogged about Mullins in June, after a chance meeting at Taco Bell. Click here to read that. At the time, she was not coming back to Concord in the fall; however, that obviously changed, as she's still here.

I don't know if I'll have any thoughts on the subject I want to throw out. I'll let Candace's blog post sink in and see what comes out of that. Any thoughts, comments, criticism, etc on the subject from anybody else is welcome and encouraged. As always, anonymous comments are allowed. Keep it civil and relatively clean.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Looking at the Nov. 17 "Imagine..." column

There is a weekly column in The Concordian called "Imagine...". It is written by MariLuz Diaz, the Opinions Editor. I think she's a sophomore. I'm not sure. In one of her columns she mentioned that she was an English major, I think. She's allergic to smoke. She wrote about that a month ago or so. That's all I know about her.

I enjoy reading MariLuz's column in the paper each week. I think she has an interesting perspective on things. I mentioned her column briefly over a month ago in my "Concord musings" blog. I wrote about how her column had the potential to be really good, but she just needed to find out how to successfully complain in an article. She's getting better. The only way to get better is to keep writing, so she's on the right track.

I was reading the Nov. 17, issue and checked out her "Imagine..." column. For those who don't know, it opens the same way each week. She starts with "Imagine..." and writes about a scenario and it leads into whatever her column is about.

[side note - I tried to find the article on http://www.cunewspaper.com/ in order to link it, but I can't seem to locate it anywhere. I don't know if it's temporarily missing, or was never posted, or what. If anybody finds it online somewhere, feel free to send a link. Otherwise, check out the hardcopy issue around campus.]


Close your eyes and imagine some rude people disrupting her lunch in the cafeteria. As Diaz writes, "I was sitting down to lunch with one of my friends, when the people at the nearby tables disturbed us. They were yelling across our table at each other, sometimes using the 'n-word.'"

She continues, "I am pretty sure that everyone knows which 'n-word' I refer to. This word truly offends me." She never mentions what that word is, but we're all adults here and can have a civil discourse regarding the use of the word "nigger."

Diaz notes the historical significance of the word, with some facts about slavery and even brings up that her great-great-great-great grandparents were slaves. To help her cause, she also breaks out the dictionary.com definition: "a person of any race or origin regarded as contemptible, inferior, ignorant, etc; a victim of prejudice similar to that suffered by blacks; a person who is economically, politically, or socially disenfranchised." She uses this to illustrate that you're not just being offensive to black people if you break out the "n-word," but to lots of other people.

The main point Diaz makes with her column is that people are ignorant for using the word "nigger."

She writes:

...Isn't the fact that you made it to college proof that you're not ignorant? And for a people who have been fighting against oppression and racism, why keep this term around as if it was a term of endearment? Your oppressors used it against your ancestors, and yet you sit around yelling it at each other like nothing.

I think if you can't stop calling each other racial slurs, then you shouldn't be in college. Our ancestors died for the right to be seen as human beings, not as slaves, not as inferiors, but as humans. And look at us, we're throwing it in their faces, and using it every day. Wake up people and think before you talk.

I'm not disputing Diaz' point, that this word has historically been a very offensive and derogatory term. Something that I feel needs to be brought up has been how "nigger" has developed a not-as-offensive connotation over the years.

I'm not saying that I feel as though Diaz is wrong to feel the way she does. I'm not condoning usage of the word. I'm just saying that in some instances the negative stigma is gone.

Urbandictionary.com, a site that is purely for entertainment, has the definition listed as: "1. describes an ignorant, uneducated, foolish individual regardless of race, color, religion, sexual orientation, etc. 2. endearing term between two or more individuals to describe a friendship or bond."

An endearing term to describe a friendship or bond. Urbandictionary isn't a serious website, but that is a legitimate connotation that has developed recently.

I wrote about this issue back in February. Musician John Mayer dropped the "n-bomb" in an interview with Playboy magazine. Click here to read that blog. Two of the three YouTube videos I embedded are no longer available. Mayer is asked about being accepted by black people, having a "hood pass." Mayer said that if you actually had a hood pass, you could call it a "nigger pass."

This is a hot-button issue and I feel like more attention should have been paid to the connotation, rather than the denotation. I don't believe the people that were using the "n-word" in the cafeteria were trying to disrespect their ancestors, but rather using a word that is slowly becoming acceptable in certain circles.

Do I think that's right? I don't know. Do I think Diaz is wrong in her opinion? No. She doesn't like that word and that's perfectly fine. Some people do like it. Are they wrong? No.

I feel as though this debate has now entered into that category. You know, where no amount of debate will really change any feelings about it. "Is 'nigger' okay to say" is now in the same category as "Should marijuana be legalized," "Should the drinking age be lowered," "Are abortions ethical," and so forth.

Thoughts? Anonymous comments are allowed. If you go that route, keep it civil.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving Break

I had an enjoyable Thanksgiving Break from Concord University. The reason I enjoyed my break so much was because I spent it with my girlfriend, Candace Nelson. She traveled from Morgantown (at the top of West Virginia) all the way to Princeton (at the bottom of the state) and stayed there all week with me.

This was Candace's second trip to Princeton. She stayed for 3 or 4 days in August before the semester started. I usually make the drive to see her, as it's easier to adjust my schedule than it is hers. But for the break she had the entire week off from work and I had most of the week off, so she came to see me.

I like getting to see Candace for extended periods of time. Usually we just get to see each other for the weekend and there's not really a lot of time to relax. We're so excited to be around each other and then it's time for me leave the next day. We had an entire week together so we could relax and not be so rushed to have fun with each other.

A few things we did:

- took a trip to Brush Creek Falls
- went to Danny's, a local sports bar
- went to a strip club
- introduced her to my mom
- had Thanksgiving with her parents (5-hour trip from Princeton; 2nd time I met them)
- ate at the coolest truck stop diner ever
- made rice krispie treats
- introduced her to several of my friends
- met one of her friends (weird coincidence that her friend from Morgantown was also in Princeton)
- and several, several more fun & exciting things

It's rough not being able to see her as much as I'd like. But this week with her was fun. And, the winter break from school is coming up so hopefully we'll get to see each other a lot more. We'll see what happens.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Top 50 - complete list

Below is the complete list of the Top 50 most-played songs on my computer's iTunes. The list is as of May 12, 2010.

1) "Hey Hey What Can I Do," Led Zeppelin

2) "Strip My Mind," Red Hot Chili Peppers

3) "Especially in Michigan," Red Hot Chili Peppers

4) "Readymade," Red Hot Chili Peppers

5) "Hero of the Day," Metallica

6) "Gimme Shelter," Rolling Stones

7) "Good Riddance," Green Day

8) "Jigga What/Faint," Jay-Z & Linkin Park

9) "Ronnie," Metallica

10) "Bleeding Me," Metallica

11) "She's Only 18," Red Hot Chili Peppers

12) "Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge On Seatle," Nirvana

13) "Emit Remmus," Red Hot Chili Peppers

14) "Redundant," Green Day

15) "Polly," Nirvana

16) "Better Man," Pearl Jam

17) "Death of a Martian," Red Hot Chili Peppers

18) "Pruno," Stone Temple Pilots

19) "The Unforgiven II," Metallica

20) "Serve the Servants," Nirvana

21) "Bullet With Butterfly Wings," Smashing Pumpkins

22) "Glide," Stone Temple Pilots

23) "Where Did You Sleep Last Night," Nirvana

24) "Black," Pearl Jam

25) "Where the Wild Things Are," Metallica

26) "Glamorous Indie Rock & Roll," The Killers

27) "Church On Tuesday," Stone Temple Pilots

28) "Violet Hill," Coldplay

29) "Ziggy Stardust," David Bowie

30) "Hello," Oasis

31) "Turn It Again," Red Hot Chili Peppers

32) "Sitting Waiting Wishing," Jack Johnson

33) "Savior," Red Hot Chili Peppers

34) "Desecration Smile," Red Hot Chili Peppers

35) "Heaven & Hot Rods," Stone Temple Pilots

36) "Black Math," White Stripes

37) "Yellow," Coldplay

38) "King Nothing," Metallica

39) "MC5," Stone Temple Pilots

40) "Hitchin' A Ride," Green Day

41) "The Jean Genie," David Bowie

42) "Rockin' in the Free World," Neil Young

43) "No Rain," Blind Melon

44) "Casey Jones," Grateful Dead

45) "Heart-Shaped Box," Nirvana

46) "This is the Place," Red Hot Chili Peppers

47) "I Got You," Stone Temple Pilots

48) "What It Takes," Aerosmith

49) "What's This Life For," Creed

50) "Soul," Matchbox Twenty

1 - "Hey Hey What Can I Do," Led Zeppelin



I know what you're thinking - "Really? This is number one?" And, yeah, it's a little random if you look through my list. Most people were probably expecting Red Hot Chili Peppers or Metallica to be on top. This always gets a mixed reaction with people. They either think this statement is weird coming from me, or they think it makes perfect sense. I like Led Zeppelin. I think they're pretty cool.

"Hey Hey What Can I Do" doesn't sound like a typical Led Zeppelin song. They have a few slower songs that are accoustic-ly based, but this is the closest Zeppelin comes to recording a country song. That's probably another reason why it's puzzling as to this being on my list, as I really don't like a lot of country music.

As I have stated several times, this is not a list of my favorite songs. This is a list of the songs I have listened to the most on my computer and iPod. "Hey Hey What Can I Do" was a song I heard a lot when I was a kid and enjoyed it. It was one of those songs I forgot about over time, even as I amassed my Led Zeppelin discography collection over the years. It's the only song that was never released on an official album. It was finally included on the re-issue of the Zeppelin B-side album Coda a few years ago.

After re-discovering "Hey Hey What Can I Do" I listened to it a lot due to childhood nostalgia. Then, I started listening to the story of the song, something I didn't pay attention to as a kid (and wouldn't have understood anyway). Those two factors created multiple plays for "Hey Hey What Can I Do," bringing it to the top of the chart.

Lyrically, the song looks to be about lead singer Robert Plant falling in love with an unsavory woman. Some interpretations put her as being a prostitute. He loves her, but knows he shouldn't be with her, prompting his thoughts of "Hey hey, what can I do?"

Musically, I like how "Hey Hey What Can I Do" builds throughout the song. It starts out slow and gets a little louder and faster as it goes. The background vocals of the rest of the band repeating "Hey Hey What Can I Do" are heard throughout, and the song reaches its peak when Plant finally belts out the title of the song near the end. A subdued beginning, with the trademark loud, high-pitched Plant/Zeppelin lyrics to close things.

2 - "Strip My Mind," Red Hot Chili Peppers



The final song from the Red Hot Chili Peppers on my countdown. They finish up with 10 of the 50 most-played songs on my computer's iTunes. They were also featured on the list in spots 3, 4, 11, 13, 17, 31, 33, 34, & 46.

"Strip My Mind" is a slower, really trippy song from their Stadium Arcadium double album. The uniqueness of the song is mostly from former guitarist John Frusciante, as his guitar work and backing vocals give "Strip My Mind" most of its identity. It's just a cool, mellow song to close your eyes and sway your head to.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

3 - "Especially in Michigan," Red Hot Chili Peppers



Number 3 on my list of the Top 50 most-played songs is another selection from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I've stated it enough times, but I'll add it again - Stadium Arcadium is one of the best albums of the last decade, and probably one of the best in longer than that. There's so many unique sounds and styles featured on the two-disk double album.

"Especially in Michigan" is similar to RHCP's earlier hit "Californication." Not musically so much, but more in meaning. "Californication" talks about the seedier side of California, which is where lead singer Anthony Kiedis lives. "Especially in Michigan" has more of a positive tone about Michigan, which is where Kiedis spent the early part of his life and where most of his family still lives.

It's one of those songs where you hear it and it sounds confusing. The words don't mean anything and it's just gibberish. After initially hearing this song I did a little research and - as the title would suggest - most of the lyrics have a lot to do with Michigan. "A mitten full of fishermen." People say Michigan is shaped like a mitten. "Lions and Tigers come running..." Those are sports teams. And you can find several such references throughout "Especially in Michigan."

Musically, this song is so unique. It doesn't sound like anything else right now. It has a sound all to its own, with the guitar solos and distortion throughout. That's ironic, considering that "Readymade" was accused of stealing a Jane's Addiction baseline and "Dani California" was accused of stealing a Tom Petty guitar riff. As a side note - I recall reading a Rolling Stone interview with Tom Petty and the RHCP riff was brought up. He said something to the effect of "There are so many songs out there, a few are bound to sound alike."

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

SGA Transparency

As I've written a few times now, I have a night class every Wednesday at 4 p.m. that has kept me from being able to attend Student Government Association meetings, which are at the same time. I didn't have to attend the Sept. 22, meeting of my night class, so I went to that meeting (which I blogged about here). Other than that, I have had to keep up with the SGA through secondary means.

The problem with that is that there aren't really any good "secondary means" around campus. There are three main secondary means of getting information about the SGA on campus - The Concordian, the SGA's Facebook, and the SGA's Twitter.

The Concordian is kind of here-and-there with its SGA coverage. Sometimes it's decent, sometimes it's not so decent. Those in charge of the paper don't see the SGA as being as important as I did when I was in charge of the paper. The paper seems content to mostly cover events in Princeton, Beckley, Hinton, and Morgantown that have little effect on Concord's main campus.

That's cool. I don't need The Concordian to find out about the SGA. The SGA have their own Facebook and Twitter accounts. I'll just go there...

Oh wait, can't do that. They don't update their Facebook or Twitter.

This was an issue last semester, as I wrote about it in an entry titled "Transparency." Here's the fun, full link - http://chrisslater.blogspot.com/2010/03/transparency.html

That entry talked about how Jeff Yeager's SGA was not as transparent as he had promised. I also wondered why the SGA did not have a Facebook account. This was back in March. The problems seemed on their way to being a fixed after I posted that blog. A new Twitter account and a new Facebook account had been started.

The Yeager administration faded out and the Belcher administration took power this academic year. At the Sept. 22, meeting that I attended, the Technology committee gave a report. I don't remember who the chair was. I recognized her face, but I didn't know her name. She said something to the effect of "We're looking into ways to utilize the Facebook and Twitter."

In that "Transparency" entry I linked earlier, I wrote the following:

The key to making both of these accounts matter is to post relevant information. If they post nothing but weekly updates along the lines of "the SGA meets every Wednesday at 4 p.m. Stop by," then nothing will be accomplished. These accounts are for people who don't want to go to the meetings.

The Facebook account should publish the minutes in the "notes" section. A tweet should say, "Amendment 030310 passed. It [does this]." A Facebook status update should say, "What do you like about Spring Fling?" and let people get involved.

The biggest way for this to be seen as important is for the current SGA members to get involved. In that Spring Fling status I just mentioned, there should be 10 or 15 members of the student senate debating the subject. That shows the regular students looking at this, that the Facebook account is a great way to get informed about something, and also a good forum for the expression and discussion of ideas.


What have the Facebook and Twitter posted? The Twitter account hasn't posted anything since March 2, 2010. There are only two people who follow the SGA on Twitter - me and Robert Elsaid. The SGA only follows three accounts - me, Bill Lewis, and the old Concord SGA account that nobody ever deleted.

The SGA on Twitter is kind of a lost cause; I'll admit that. Some people just don't "get" Twitter. I'll just wave the flag on even trying with that.

The SGA's Facebook, though, that is a different game.

Why the SGA has no relevant or pertinent information posted on its Facebook account is beyond me. While I won't say that EVERY Concord student is on Facebook, I feel confident saying that NEARLY EVERY Concord student has a Facebook account.

Here's the last update from their page, which was posted Sept. 8:

SGA held a meeting today in the stateroom @ 4:00. It was announced that two senator positions are now open, one of the positons are for a commuter senator. If you are interested in being a senator please stop by the SGA office and pick up an application and return it as soon as possible. SGA meets every Wednesday in the stateroom at 4:00.


If you don't know much about what the SGA does, that update means nothing to you. It just boggles my mind that they can't update their Facebook in a way that can entice student involvement; or at the very least, just let students know what is going on.

There's nothing else to really say on the matter. A committee shouldn't spend months trying to figure out how to work a Facebook account.

Will things change? It did the last time I complained about this, for a little while at least. Will things change again? It would be in the best interest of the SGA and the student body if they did.

* * *

Here's my disclaimer (which used to be a constant in my blog but that I haven't needed to break out in a while):

I import these blogs into Facebook. That gives me the option to "tag" people, sending them an e-mail notification. I tag people for two reasons - 1) if I mention you by name & 2) if I think you will find this interesting. If you are tagged and don't want to be, let me know. If I don't tag you & you'd like to be tagged in the future, let me know.

There is a comment feature on this blog & I don't mind if you use it. It's cool to disagree, as long as it's kept civil. Anonymous comments are allowed, as long as it's relevant & mildly profanity free.

4 - "Readymade," Red Hot Chili Peppers



Number four on the list of the Top 50 most-played songs on my computer's iTunes is "Readymade," by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. This is one of the faster-paced songs on RHCP's Stadium Arcadium album. I've read both a lot of praise and also a lot of criticism leveled against "Readymade." Most of the praise is directed at John Frusciante's guitar work, particularly the solo in the middle. Some criticism I've read has been that the bass line seems too similar to a Jane's Addiction song, the intro sounds like an Audioslave song, and that the word "Readymade" is used too many times.

When writing about song #6 on my list, I noted that one thing I felt was missing from music was a sense of realism, and that too much stuff was post-produced in the studio. "Readymade" features a spontaneous moment that shows the band was just in the studio performing this song together, as Anthony Keidis yells "Clean it up, Johnny!" to Frusciante right before his guitar solo. It's nice to hear something that's real.

5 - "Hero of the Day," Metallica



As I mentioned in my previous Top 50 post, this is not a list of my favorite songs, but rather, a list of the most-played songs on my computer's iTunes. That's why there are a lot of Metallica songs in the list - I was in a mood last summer to listen to Load a lot. With all of that said, though, "Hero of the Day" would rank high on the list of my favorite songs. It's the highest-ranked song from Metallica on my list, and would have been on this list even if I didn't go through my "Load phase" back in 2009.

It's just a really cool song. It follows that same pattern that I like about Metallica from this era (mid-90s) - slow intro and conclusion, louder chorus/middle. Lyrically, it's kind of vague. What is a "Hero of the Day"? Is it somebody we want to look up to? Is it somebody we should look up to? Somebody we do look up to, but we shouldn't? Is it even a person? Draw your own conclusions.

Metallica released a version of "Hero of the Day" on their S&M live album. Get your mind out of the gutter - it stands for "Symphony & Metallica." They played their songs with a symphony backing them. Click here to listen to that version.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Book Review - "Countdown to Lockdown"

Professional wrestler Mick Foley is back with his fourth autobiography, "Countdown to Lockdown."

I know what you're thinking - "Really? Four autobiographies?" In his last book, "Hardcore Diaries," Foley noted that he was tied with Winston Churchill for most autobiographies and jokes in "Countdown to Lockdown" that he has now surpassed Churchill.

For those not familiar with Mick Foley, he is a professional wrestler who started his career in the mid-80's and has become one of the biggest professional wrestling stars over the last 25 years, wrestling under the names Cactus Jack, Mankind, and Dude Love. He has enjoyed success in all four of the major wrestling promotions to come up in the last 20 years - World Championship Wrestling (WCW, which went out of business in 2001), Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW, which also went under in 2001), World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE, where Foley reigned as a 3-time Heavyweight Champion), and he is currently a member of Total Nonstop Action wrestling (TNA, which was founded in 2002).

He is mostly known for helping popularize the "hardcore" style of professional wrestling on a national stage, as well for his colorful promo skills, and a very unique charisma that endeared him to numerous fans over his career.

[Click to watch: highlights of Hell in a Cell 1998 - ECW promo - WrestleMania 22 highlights - Royal Rumble 2000 moment - This is Your Life, w/ The Rock - Mr. Socko]

Foley is really a distinguished author, and helped break the long-held stereotype of professional wrestlers being unintelligent jocks. He has authored four autobiographies - "Have a Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks," "Foley is Good: And the Real World is Faker than Wrestling," "The Hardcore Diaries," and "Countdown to Lockdown." He's written two holiday-themed children's books - "Mick Foley's Halloween Hijinx" and "Mick Foley's Christmas Chaos," and a WWE-themed children's book - "Tales from Wrescal Lane." He has also written two novels, "Tietam Brown" and "Scooter." He's appeared on the New York Times Bestseller list multiple times, with "Have a Nice Day" and "Foley is Good" both debuting at Number one. He wrote all of these books without the aid of a "ghost writer," and hand-wrote the majority of them.

"Countdown to Lockdown" is his first autobiography not written under the WWE umbrella, as he joined TNA near the end of 2008, after a nearly 12-year association with WWE. "Countdown" is written in the same style as "Hardcore Diaries," as a memoir looking at a certain point in his life. "Hardcore Diaries" chronicled his preparations for WWE's "One Night Stand" pay per view, with some other stories thrown in.

"Countdown" follows the same format, as it is literally a countdown to TNA's Lockdown event, which features Foley facing Sting in what is Foley's highest-profile match in several years. The diary format looks at Foley trying to get in shape for the match, as well as his reservations about how well he will be able to perform in such a high-profile environment.

The storyline between Foley and Sting has shades of real life in it, as the build to the match is due to Foley being mad at Sting for showing mercy on him in a previous match. He's trying to prove to Sting and the world that he's not washed up and can steal the show at Lockdown. In the book, Foley writes of trying to prove to himself that he's not washed up and can steal the show at Lockdown.

I really found this book to be interesting because it describes what I consider to be the creative peak of TNA so far. I have never been more interested in TNA than I was in the spring and summer of 2009. Everything was just "clicking," the right people were doing the right things and it was just a very compelling, interesting wrestling program. The Sting/Mick Foley match was right in the middle of all that, occuring in April. To get an inside look into something I remember quite fondly was a real treat.

In addition to the countdown chapters, there are several other chapters that Foley has inserted into the book at random intervals. Those chapters have what he has coined as a "Wrestlemeter" at the beginning, a scale of 1-10, with 1 having nothing to do with wrestling and 10 being entirely wrestling based. Foley writes in the introduction - "Armed with this valuable literary information, readers can now make up their own minds; read the chapters in the order they are presented (my personal favorite way), refer back to them at a later time, or skip them completely. Don't worry about hurting my feelings - I'll get over it... eventually. Occasionally, a reader (usually the mother of a wrestling fan) will pick up one of my books and find themselves completely engrossed by everything but the wrestling aspects. For those reasons, the Wresltemeter is a valuable monitoring tool."

The chapters ranking high on the Wrestlemeter mostly describe the end of his relationship with WWE and the beginning of his association with TNA. He writes about his frustration with realizing WWE no longer had faith in him to be an important part of the show. Seeing Mick Foley's slide down the hiearchy in his last two books was interesting. In "Hardcore Diaries," Foley writes that at one point he considered himself and WWE Chairman Vince McMahon to be friends, but noted that was no longer the case. In "Countdown," he recalls a conversation with McMahon where he was told that he didn't connect with the fans anymore and that he was no longer exempt from WWE's dress code policy.

Foley's brief, yet memorable, career as a WWE commentator is also looked at. His anger at McMahon's lack of respect and harsh critiques of his announcing style helped him realize that he no longer wanted to be under WWE contract. He discusses his frustrations in the chapter "The Magic Headsets," which uses a fantasy of a hero slaying a dragon, while being harshly critiqued by a "Mr. McMagical" for the way he is doing it. It nicely sums up the frustration Foley was feeling, while not coming off as too bitter.

Mick also gives his thoughts on the murder-suicide involving Chris Benoit, looking at issues of steroids and concussions. His views on performance-enhancers may not be the most-popular opinion, but he really makes some good points.

The charity work that Foley has been involved in is talked about at great length in "Countdown." From his work with the USO to his efforts to build schools in Sierra Leone, he presents a different side of himself that a lot of people probably wouldn't know a lot about. He also donated 100 percent of his monetary advance for "Countdown" to the ChildFund International group and RAINN (the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network).

Perhaps the best chapter in the entire books is Foley recounting his first meeting with Tori Amos. If you've never read any of Foley's previous autobiographies, that might sound weird. But, if you are familar with his previous works, that is a very unique chapter.

Starting in the mid-90's, Foley began using the music of Tori Amos - specificially the song "Winter" - to pump himself up emotionally for big matches. He wrote in "Have A Nice Day" about how the beauty of her music was able to allow him to visualize the horrific acts he was about to do in the ring. Prior to the book's release, the "Meeting Tori Amos" chapter (which ranked a 6 on the Wrestlemeter) was posted on Slate.com for fans to preview. Click here to read it. It's one of the most heartfelt things Mick Foley has ever written.

With what I mentioned, along with more, Foley's book - to use a lame cliche - packs a real literary punch. Is it his best book? Foley's first book is considered to be the "Holy Grail" of wrestling books. It literally helped create the genre of wrestling books. Before "Have A Nice Day," there had been a few books penned by wrestlers, but it wasn't seen as something viable that people would want to read. So, in that respect, is "Countdown" Foley's best work? No. But, that's actually a compliment, as he had already written the best wrestling book of all time.

"Coundtown to Lockdown" may not be Foley's greatest work, but it is a definitite improvement from "Hardcore Diaries," which was hurt a little bit by being overly negative. Foley couldn't help it; the build to his match did not go the way he planned it. It affected him in a negative way. With "Countdown," Foley is slowly regaining his confidence and feels like a valuable part of the TNA family, which really comes through in his writing.

This isn't a spoiler, as it happened over a year ago. Mick Foley wins the TNA championship from Sting at Lockdown. What is a spoiler would be to tell you if he was pleased with the match and his reign with the title. That you'll have to find out for yourself by reading "Countdown to Lockdown."

I'll leave with one of the moments that Foley considers one of the highlights of his program with Sting. It got its own chapter in the book - "When Cactus met Mick" (which, of course, got a 10 on the Wrestlemeter). It's a promo where Mick Foley interviewed Cactus Jack. And, yes, those are the same people. He writes that he wanted to try something "out there," to show that his character was somewhat crazy.

"The other wrestlers actaully cheered me when I came through the curtain," Foley begins. "Actually cheered a promo. Some of them even stood. I'm talking about seasoned stars like Booker [T]. A standing O for a promo. It happens all the time for matches. But promos? Not that I can recall.

"Sting told me it was the best promo he'd ever heard. High praise indeed, given some of the guys he's been out there with and how long he's been around.

I might stink up Philadelphia [site of Lockdown], but for tonight at least, I'm the King of Orlando [site of the promo]. Or at least the backstage area of a sound studio that is part of a huge amusement park complex that is located in Orlando. Yes, if that couple-hundred-square-foot area was a country, then for one night, at least, I'd be its ruler."

6 - "Gimme Shelter," Rolling Stones



Number 6 on the list of the top 50 most-played songs on my computer's iTunes is "Gimme Shelter," by the Rolling Stones. I don't think it would be an exaggeration to say that this is one of the greatest songs of all time. A true classic.

This is also one of the few songs that's actually a favorite of mine to rank highly on the list. As I've mentioned a few times before, this is not a list of my favorite songs. This is a list of the most-played songs on my iTunes. It just depends on what I'm in the mood for. Number one on the list is a song I had barely heard since I was a kid, so when I got it on my iPod I listened to it a lot. Earlier this year I got on a kick of listening to a lot of Red Hot Chili Peppers. Last summer I listened to Metallica's Load album a lot. Those two bands have a lot of songs on the list as a result.

"Gimme Shelter" is one of my favorite songs and it's a testament to how good it is that it's so high on my list. This is one of those songs that just sucks you in and takes you to a different place for a couple minutes. If you look at music as art, "Gimme Shelter" is the musical version of the Mona Lisa.

This song is one of the few songs to feature a female co-singer with Mick Jagger, as Merry Clayton lends her vocals to "Gimme Shelter." The way that this song was recorded is something that I feel is missing in music. There's nothing computer-generated or "fake" about "Gimme Shelter." It's the band and Clayton in a studio making music. As Clayton's voice cracks during the song from hitting her high note, you hear Mick Jagger yell in the background. Today, things are so post-produced and done seperately that real moments like that are hard to find in popular music.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ho-lloween, one year later

One year ago today my "Ho-lloween" column was printed in The Concordian. I heard a lot of positive comments about it and it seemed to be one of the most popular things I had written in a while, so I felt this upcoming Halloween season would be an appropriate time to re-print it here in my blog.

For those who don't remember, I wrote a weekly column in the newspaper called "Communication Breakdown." I came up with some names for the column and then decided to go through my iPod and look for song titles that sounded journalism-ey. I showed my list of about 10 possible names to Wendy Holdren, then the Editor-in-Chief. She told me her two favorite names and I picked my favorite of her two.

The opening line for each column was a little cheesy, but I think it's that cute kind of cheesy. You can roll your eyes after reading it if you want. I won't mind.

* * *

Originally published Oct. 28, 2009; The Concordian, Concord University

By Chris Slater

Welcome to the latest edition of "Communication Breakdown." Let me break it down for you.

There's a fun holiday coming up this Saturday for the children. It's called Halloween. Perhaps you participated when you were younger. Dress up as something "spooky" or "scary" and go door-to-door getting candy and other assorted goods. Fun times and great memories.

There's a problem with Halloween, though. It's just for kids. No self-respecting adult still "trick or treats." If you still do, it's because you're not a respectable adult. The term for you is "Man-Child."

The bigwig marketing executives and PR-people realized this problem a few years ago – "How do we market Halloween to the college audience?" I'm guessing that they held a meeting to figure out a solution.

Somebody at that meeting, a younger rookie PR guy, had a figurative light bulb go off above his head. He raised his hand and said, "I have an idea."

"Let's all hear it," they said.

The PR guy collected himself for a second, trying to figure out the best way to formulate his idea. He opened his mouth -

"What if we encourage young women to dress like whores?"

Silence. Another PR guy questioned this by wondering how it would include males.

"Well," the rookie PR guy began, "They can look at the women dressed as whores."

More silence. The rookie is nervously looking around the room. Suddenly, a man begins clapping. Soon, the entire room is giving this rookie PR employee a standing ovation.

"Brilliant!" shouted one. "You’ve saved Halloween!" yelled another.

Now, that may or may not of happened. But, somebody, somewhere had this idea to market what is commonly known as "Ho-lloween" - young women dressing up as whores for Halloween.

Well, technically, the term is "sexy." They’re either a "sexy nurse," or a "sexy police officer," or a "sexy pilot," etc, etc, and the list goes on.

Now, I may not know the exact definition of a whore, but trust me, I know one when I see one.

They are out in full-force every Halloween. There's usually a crowded house or club. There’s usually a lot of alcohol involved. And, by 2 p.m. November 1, the pictures are all over Facebook.

Now the ladies may be wondering, "What’s the big deal? Give me one day to have fun."

Well, it's not always that easy. "Ho-lloween" outfits can give guys the wrong impression of you.

Guys aren't deep thinkers. Here’s a logical guy thought – "She's wearing knee-high boots and fishnet stockings. She's easy."

He's not taking into account that it's a costume. Throw in some alcohol - or something else - and you have the ingredients for a horrible misunderstanding, at best; and something a lot worse, at worst.

Remember when I mentioned Facebook earlier? Pictures on there just don't disappear after a while. That picture of you dressed as a "sexy cop" arresting your "sexy criminal" (as a group of guys cheer you on) stays on Facebook until somebody decides to delete it.

Something to remember this "Ho-lloween" season - dressing like a whore makes people think less of you. If you don't want your reputation to be tainted, don't dress like a whore this Saturday.

Unless your reputation is that of a whore... You know what they say, "If the ill-fitting, trashy suit fits..."

-30-

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

7 - "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)," Green Day



Yeah, I like this song. If you get over how cheesy it's become over the years, it's a really good song. Green Day is a very talented group and "Good Riddance" helped show the mainstream that they were more than a goofy punk band. It first shot to prominence when it was featured in the final episode of "Seinfeld," arguably one of the greatest sitcoms of all time. After that, it became a staple of high school graduations around the nation.

Part of the problem is that "Good Riddance" became so closely associated with "Seinfeld" and graduations that it diminished the value of what a good song it really is. These are really heartfelt lyrics, along with a catchy accoustic hook. The message just got lost over the years after associating it with the antics of Jerry, Elaine, George, and Kramer.

My 12th grade year of high school, I remember there being a lot of anger that we - the Class of 2004 - couldn't use "Good Riddance" as our graduation theme because the Class of 2003 did. I really didn't want to use that song, but anything would have been better than what did wind up becoming the theme to my graduation.

For some reason, there was a contingent of students pushing for the "Saved By the Bell" graduation song to be used. Luckily, those people did not get their way. I don't even know what song was selected. It's so bad I've blocked it from my memory. I know it was by Boys II Men. It wasn't the song everybody would expect it to be.

I didn't really have a strong feeling either way about what the song should have been. I just knew what I didn't want it to be. I thought Staind's "So Far Away" would have been a pretty cool graduation theme. It's something kind of different, which I feel would have made it work. I told a couple people about it and some thought it was good. But, I wasn't part of that clique that was on the graduation committee, so they wanted Boys II Men and they got it.

I believe the Class of 2005 used "Good Riddance" as their graduation theme. At least they didn't use that one graduation song...