29
Apr
12

Reds start of slow, looking for spark ( Stephen Harting)

The Cincinnati Reds, unlike in the past few years, created quite the buzz in the offseason this past year. After last year’s disappointing season, GM Walt Jocketty decided to go out and make some moves. The first was to acquire young Padres starter Mat Latos for a package of prospects and the enigmatic Edinson Volquez. It was a high price to pay, but the Reds felt they were dealing from a position of strength prospect-wise and couldn’t go any longer without trying to find an ace for their pitching staff. The story that would top the trade happened right before the season started when the Reds signed franchise cornerstone Joey Votto to a staggering 10-year, $225 million contract extension. Whether or not you agree with either move, the Reds showed they were serious about being a competitor, both this year and down the line. 

With the acquisition of Latos, plus returning most of the team that won the NL Central in 2010, means that the Reds face fairly high expectations this season. While the Brewers lost Prince Fielder and the Cardinals lost Albert Pujols, both teams still figure to be worthy adversaries for the Redlegs, mostly based on the perceived advantages in their starting rotations. For Cincinnati, another good season from Johnny Cueto is extremely important, as is a bounceback year from Bronson Arroyo. Homer Bailey must also continue to improve and take advantage of his tremendous potential. Back in 2010, the young Reds were led by an explosive offense, and if they want to return to the playoffs, that will most likely need to be the case once again, despite the improvements in the pitching staff. Joey Votto and Jay Bruce are the staples of the offense, but there are certainly question marks elsewhere. As usual, they are located in left field and at shortstop. Zach Cozart, after impressing in a short stint last season, will be the full time starter, which should be a net improvement, given that the SS position recently has been held by noted non-sluggers Paul Janish, Edgar Renteria, and Orlando Cabrera. Left field is not quite as clear, as some sort of platoon involving Chris Heisey and Padres/Cardinals castoff Ryan Ludwick will be used. In addition to these two positions, comeback seasons from CF Drew Stubbs and aging 3B Scott Rolen could also prove crucial to the Reds hope of playing October baseball. 

On paper, it appears the Reds have a pretty good baseball team, and should be right in the thick of things this season. That being said, the first 10 games, which, to be fair is a VERY small sample size, has been difficult to watch. The pitching has actually been fairly decent, although Latos has struggled in both of his starts. That has been offset by an absolutely sensational start to the season for Cuban fireballer Aroldis Chapman, who is currently sporting a 18/2 K/BB ration in just 10.1 innings of work. It seems blatantly obvious that the spring training plan to put the young left-hander in the rotation needs to be put into action immediately. The offense, however, can only be described by words such as “atrocious” and “anemic”. Votto and the surprising Cozart have been the only weapons, and they have been further handicapped by an injury to Brandon Phillips, meaning “players” like Willie Harris and Wilson Valdez have been playing way too much. Either more so, the description of aging perfectly describes the way Scott Rolen has played this year, and Drew Stubbs has never looked worse at the plate than he has early this season. 

As has been noted, it’s important to remember that they have played 10 games, it’s a long season, and the hits inevitably will start falling. There are worries that certainly have to be considered though. The Reds have appeared to be an extremely impatient team at the plate, and that is not usually the sign of a good offensive baseball team. When the hits aren’t dropping in, you must be able to reach base in other ways, namely through base on balls. So far, Joey Votto seems to be the only Red capable of taking a pitch. Adding this to having a manager like Dusty Baker, an old-school baseball guy who doesn’t know much about advanced statistics and the important of on-base percentage, and you have a recipe for disaster. The pitching, however, does appear improved, as Latos will surely start to throw better, and the bullpen is also improved. The Reds also feature an excellent defense. So it’s been rough so far, but it’s not quite time to stop watching and wait for football season. 

 
29
Apr
12

BU Activities Council helps students Fascinate ( Chelsea Ancona)

th Derby festivities right around the corner, Bellarmine students get ready by making Derby fascinators to go with their outfits. Last week, the Bellarmine Activities Council hosted the program, which was a big attraction for some students.

Last Tuesday, several ladies took over the fireplace room with hot glue guns, feathers and flowers to get their head piece ready for the Derby outfit. The BAC Montage Committee hosted the program for the first time and was very pleased with the participation they received from students.

Junior Montage co-chair, Samantha Mills, said, “We absolutely loved this program. We were very excited about it all semester because we thought it would be a fun way for students to prepare for the Derby festivities. Everyone always enjoys preparing for the Derby season, but the famous head accessories can be expensive, so we were glad to be able to provide these accessories for some students.”

Overall, over ten students made the fascinators while being taught by the Student Activities Director, Sarah Fromm. Fromm took care of choosing the supplies for the program and giving students a variety of options.

While some students chose to make their fascinators fun and colorful, other students chose to be more conservative. Senior Danielle Adkins attended the program and had a lot of fun. “I am so excited to wear my fascinator I made to Oaks in a couple of weeks. These fascinators are expensive to buy, so I was glad BAC provided this option for us.”

As some students had experience making fascinators, other students were rookies. However, Fromm and other BAC members provided a lot of help to the students, who were very appreciative. Senior Physical Therapy student, Jessica Ketterer, said, “ I was a little hesitant to make a fascinator at first because I had never made one before. I wanted to learn, which is why I signed up for the program. Fromm and the other BAC members were very helpful and patient with me as they helped me choose colors and think of ideas to help me make my fascinator. I am very pleased with the finished product, and I am very excited to wear it at Day at Downs during senior week.

This program was free for students to attend, as are the majority of BAC’s programs. BAC works hard to provide a variety of options for students when they host programs. With this program being new and successful, there is a good chance they may repeat this program next year.

BAC programs are open to all undergraduate students. Although they are wrapping up their programs this year with the annual Late Knight Breakfast on April 26, they will have many exciting programs planned for students as they return in the fall.

 
29
Apr
12

Christian Johns..The Band ( Dante Novario)

hns (The Band) cannot be called, it is ordinary. The local band started playing shows last year and has been gaining popularity ever since. With a sound that can only be described as the finely mixed baby of folk and alternative rock, the one man show is getting a lot of buzz and rightfully so. Christian Johns (The Student) is currently a junior here at Bellarmine University and in the process of obtaining a degree in molecular biology as well as biochemistry. I was fortunate enough to get a moment of Christian Johns’ time and ask him a few questions about the influences for his music and where he will be heading with his musical career.

What influenced you in your past to start a band?

“I’ve been in and out of bands since Freshman year of High school but the best part about all of them was writing and recording music. Sharing the things that my friends and I create, be it music or video or any form of art, is one of the best things about the creative process.”

Why did you want to play the genre that you do?

“After listening to artists like Kirstian Matsson and Bob Dylan create beautiful stories intertwined with powerful yet simplistic guitar, I knew folk was certainly the genre that spoke most towards my songwriting. The song structure provides a steady platform for my lyricism while remaining complex enough to satisfy my want of intricate musicianship.”

What other bands have influenced your music?

“The Tallest Man on Earth / At The Drive-In / Dyad”

How would you describe the unique style of music you play?

“Veiled metaphors over a driving picking pattern. The simplicity and natural sound is certainly a theme in both my style of play as well as the songs themselves.”

Where would you ultimately like to end up with the band?

“Playing for an audience is one of greatest joys I’ve experienced and my overarching hope is to never give it up. I would hope I could still be communicating my songs to an audience, be it folk or some other genre down the road, for years to come.”

Are there any upcoming shows?

“I’m booking a free show on the 28th of April. A lot of local talent, from a progressive heavier sound to a collection of wonderful folk artist, is set to play and I urge anyone interested to make it out to the Old Louisville CoffeeHouse to check it out.”

Where could people find your music to listen to?

“I am constantly updating my facebook aptly entitled Christian Johns (The Band) to discuss when and where my next show will be, as well as progress on my albums. You can also check out the majority of my songs on my soundcloud, which I use as an intermediate to hold my music before compiling them onto an album.”

How long have you been playing music?

 

“I’ve been in and out of bands since late 2005. But I would say that it only got a kick recently when I started recording music back in August 2011. Soon after I was playing shows as well as experimenting in a few other local bands as well.”

When did you first start Christian Johns the Band?

“Wait! Amendment! I started PLAYING shows in August 2011. I was recording since probably April 2011.”

Anything you would like to reveal about your upcoming plans?

“I’m releasing my second album mid-summer and the release show is something that me and the people helping me are really looking forward to. Expect it to be big.”

So there you have it. If you are interested in checking out the musical stylings of Christian Johns (The Band) go onto facebook.com/christianjohnsband or check out his first album for free at http://soundcloud.com/cjspike1357/sets/effects-and-applications. If you are a fan of folk or good music in general, don’t miss out on this new star on the rise.

 
29
Apr
12

Wikipedia Launches Abortion Terminology Debate ( Angela Holbrook)

Many high school and college students thank their lucky stars for the easily accessible website, while many teachers and professors wish the website would be the next thing hacked and destroyed by Anonymous. Recently, rather than providing solely new facts to be used as filler by some poor procrastinating student, Wikipedia has posed a serious question to its contributors: what, exactly, should we call the two sides of the abortion debate?

Pro-life and pro-choice are the two options thrown around most often, but this implies that there is pro-abortion and anti-choice…which many find offense with. Anti-abortion is okay, but being labeled as anti-choice or pro-abortion has many people seeing red.

“It’s not like anyone likes abortions!” argues Linda Wheeler. “Just because someone thinks a woman should have the right to choose doesn’t mean they enjoy the idea of abortions. Having an abortion is an agonizing and traumatizing thing, but for some women it’s the better option for whatever reason. It doesn’t mean they are going to throw an abortion party, though.”

For this reason, Wikipedia’s Arbitration Committee has asked the Wikipedia community to vote on what official labels should be used in their abortion-related articles once and for all. Many people rolled their eyes at this announcement, saying that Wikipedia is just being silly and is wasting their time on this endeavor. There are already terms existent, so why mess with the formula?

The problem with most pre-existing terminology is that they imply that there’s only two sides to the argument. Of course, there are never only two sides to an argument, especially in the case of a topic as controversial as abortion. This leads to labels that are either inaccurate or misleading, and as such often cause more debate than the issue itself.

Let’s look at the term, “pro-life”.

Some pro-lifers believe in protecting all life, no matter how big or how small. This means that just as an embryo is protected and sacred, so are the lives of criminals. To these people, not only should abortion be illegal, but so should capital punishment.

Then there are other pro-lifers, like our good friend Rick Perry. While these individuals believe that a child must be protected from the moment of conception even in instances where the baby will die within minutes of birth or will potentially kill the mother by being carried to full-term, they are less vocal when it comes to those on death row, fighting in wars, or living in poverty and in need of health care.

“Only in America can you be pro-death penalty, pro-war, pro-unmanned drone bombs, pro-nuclear weapons, pro-guns, pro-torture, pro-land mines, and still call yourself ‘pro-life’,” says actor and television personality John Fugelsang. Many believe he has a valid point.

Interestingly enough, neither group commonly uses the term “abortion” when referring to itself. This should make for an interesting idea in choices, since once of Wikipedia’s suggestions is that articles reflect the AP style guide and label the two sides “anti-abortion” and “abortion rights”. Many users feel this more accurately represents the current debate, since the abortion controversy has shifted from whether abortions are legal in every state to how accessible they are to women who want or need them. 

Other possibilities include “anti-abortion movement” and “abortion rights movement”, “opposition to abortion rights” and “support for abortion rights”, “support for the legalization of abortion” and “opposition to the legalization of abortion”.

Of course, anti-choice and pro-abortion are not up for debate, despite opposing side’s loves of them.

If you’re interested in voicing your opinion on this issue, head over to Wikipedia and cast your vote for which term pairing you feel is most accurate.

 
29
Apr
12

George Zimmerman released on $150,000 bail (Kalie Gipson)

After being charged with second-degree murder, George Zimmerman is out on bail after posting a $150,000 bond.

He left the John E. Polk Correctional Facility in Florida in the early morning on Monday, equipped with a bulletproof vest and an electronic monitoring device that can immediately identify where the offender is.

Zimmerman will most likely stay in hiding and away from the public eye until his trail next year, where he will plead his case for the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. According to reports, he has to report his whereabouts every three days by terms of his release. He must also surrender his passport, observe a 7 PM to 6 AM curfew, and he is not allowed to use a firearm.

Zimmerman’s lawyer, Mark O’Mara, has stated that he will waive Zimmerman’s appearance at his arraignment on May 8th out of concern for his personal safety.

“We have had serious threats that law enforcement is looking into where they’ve threatened his life and since we don’t know how legitimate they are we have to be concerned about all of them,” O’Mara told ABC news.

He has also stated that Zimmerman will need someone who can “help protect him” and he will ask the state to pay for his protection. It has also been asserted that Zimmerman’s family will be looking for some outside help in paying for his living expenses, security, and legal fees.

On April 20th, at his bond hearing, Zimmerman addressed Martin’s family directly and apologized for the murder.

“I am sorry for the loss of your son. I did not know how old he was. I thought he was a little bit younger than I am. I did not know if he was armed or not,” Zimmerman said.

Benjamin Crump, the Martin family attorney, said “it was very hard for them being in that courtroom, for him to have done what he did.”

He added that it was “somewhat of a surprise, because we had told them this was not the appropriate time. But they just disregarded that and he went and pandered to the court and the media and gave a very insincere apology.”

The Martin family stated in a news conference that his apology was not appreciated. O’Mara has said that he would have done things differently had he knew that Martin’s parents objected to an apology.

“Had I known or been told that that wasn’t the time, it wouldn’t have happened. So I apologize for that.”

It is possible that he will receive a life sentence if convicted.

Zimmerman maintains that he shot Martin in self-defense on the night of February 26. He told police that Martin punched him and then pounded his head on the concrete repeatedly. Zimmerman is not expected to be seen in public again until his trial.

22
Feb
12

Young Supermodel’s Life Forever Changed (Chelsea Ancona)

A young, aspiring supermodel went on a trip to look at Christmas lights with a friend in December when her life was forever changed by walking into the still-spinning propeller of an airplane.
On Dec 3, 23-year old supermodel, Lauren Scruggs, and a friend took a single-engine plane in Dallas, Tex to view the Christmas lights in the area. The plane landed to pick up another passenger. Scruggs walked in the dark to the front of the plane to thank the pilot when she walked into the still-spinning propeller. The propeller severely cut her left hand and the left side of her shoulder and face. Doctors had to amputate her left hand as well as her left eye. She endured other cuts on her face and a fractured skull.
The pilot, Curt Richmond, is a friend of Scruggs. He left the engine running while new passengers boarded the small plane as he prepared for another trip in the air.
Richmond told air safety officials that he put his arm up and yelled at Scruggs as she tried to walk in front of the plane. According to a National Transportation Safety Board Report, he put down his arm and turned away from her when he thought she had turned to walk away from the spinning propeller.
However, Scruggs may not have heard his warning over the sound of the engine. Moments later, someone on the ground screamed ‘Stop! Stop!’ and Richmond saw her lying on the tarmac. Scruggs’ mother was inside the airport when the incident occurred and called 911.  
 
The NTSB did not find Richmond at fault for the accident, but air safety investigator Denny Kelly said Richmond is ultimately responsible because he should have shut the engine down.
Scruggs does not remember anything from the night of her accident. She knows she was in a bad accident, but she does not remember how it happened. Once she was taken to the hospital and was stable, some of her first words were, “I love you” to her mom and twin sister.
Since that horrific night, Scruggs continues to progress, along with the support of her family and friends. She has since received a prosthetic eye, and is undergoing intense therapy to recover. Scruggs is learning how to walk, dress herself and shower on her own.
According to her mother’s blog on Caring Bridge, she is doing well, but is now dealing with the emotional pain. On Jan. 27 Cheryl Scruggs wrote, “We chalked up this past week as one of the toughest yet. You would think that things would be on the upswing, huh?…They are in some ways. She is progressing well, physically, but we have now entered into working through the five stages of grief. We have experienced a little of this along this journey, but we now face it head on.”
Scruggs comes from a devout Christian family and is using her faith to help her recover from her accident. Her mom has a Caring Bridge blog for her daughter, which she updates frequently. She often adds in her posts that this recovery process could not be possible without the support of their family, friends and God.
On Feb. 7 she wrote, “We have had some good days and some bad days this past week. But what God reminded me of today is to get back to praying for myself, and for my family, that we be filled to the brim each day with the fruit of the Spirit. Living by the flesh is easy. But living out the fruit of the Spirit takes a dependence on Jesus. That’s the only way we can do it.”
Scruggs and her family recently took their first vacation since the accident. They went to Steamboat Springs, Co. for the weekend. She released pictures with her family and friends for the first time since the accident.
Scruggs was pursuing her dream of becoming a supermodel. She has a fashion blog and had interviews scheduled for New York Fashion Week.
The young, aspiring supermodel continues to adapt to her new life and, through the grace of God, accept these changes and recover quickly.
A Hope Fund has been set up to help the Scruggs family pay for medical bills and other expenses. Anyone wishing to help can visit her page at www.caringbridge.org and search ‘LaurenScruggs.’
22
Feb
12

Thoughts on Nicki Minaj (Kalie Gipson)

To get the preliminaries out of the way, let me say first that hip-hop music has never been a strong market for women. Regardless, the foundations of rap music does include some incredible female acts who are still revered today (at least by real hip-hop heads), such as Queen Latifah, Salt ‘N Peppa, and MC Lite. Over the years, many female rappers have come and gone. Some deserved their claim to fame, while others did not. Missy Elliott released a whole set of chart-toppers throughout her career. Lauryn Hill proved women could rap and sing on the same album, and she did it beautifully. Eve, an affiliate of rapper DMX, dropped consistent albums that unfortunately went under the radar. However, others like Khia, who made their name known by crafting horrible songs that essentially degraded themselves and over sexualized women as a whole. Did anyone actually enjoy “My Neck, My Back?” Speaking of degradation and over “sexualization”, one female “artist” has exploded onto the scene over the past few years and is being quickly held as the best female rapper alive. Nicki Minaj is in no way, and never can be, the best female rapper alive.

Let’s pretend we live in a society where an artist’s lyrics are important for popularity and airplay. This may be a difficult concept to grasp, but hang with me. Now let’s also pretend that a person’s image is important for the media. The media likes a woman who is conscious and self-respecting in this fantasy world I’m crafting. Now where would Nicki Minaj be in this situation? Nowhere. She would be nowhere, because her lyrics are terrible, her image is terrible, and she is, overall, terrible. Her song “Super Bass,” goes like this: “I said excuse me you’re a hell of a guy, I mean my my my you’re like pelican fly. I mean you’re so shy and I’m loving your tie, you’re like slicker than the guy with the thing on his eye.” That’s what is winning awards these days. To me, it is kind of sickening. The lyrics don’t get better. Another song, entitled “Stupid Hoe,” is just insane. I can’t mention hardly any of the lyrics to this song here because they are completely inappropriate. Even further, her verse in the remix to Big Sean’s “A$$” is one of the most horrible verses I’ve ever heard in my life. Once again, stating the lyrics is out of the question. They’re not clever. They’re not enlightening. They’re gross. This is what young girls are listening to now. This is what they aspire to be.

The main reasons behind Minaj’s fame are how weird she is, her emphasis when she raps, and her affiliation with Lil’ Wayne. Her outlandishness gives her undeserved attention. She’ll change her voice up to be squeaky or bark-like, and this causes the listener to barely understand what she’s saying. And by being in Lil’ Wayne’s circle, you’re guaranteed fame and airplay regardless of your skills. This is what propels Nicki Minaj. She’s not innovative or creative. She’s not special in anyway. She acts different because it gives her the attention that the masses can’t help but pour on to her. It makes me wonder if people actually listen to her lyrics at all. Well, she’s played on the radio constantly and is always in the mainstream eye, so she must be a respectable figure, right? It makes me angry to know that female artists like Jean Grae are barely known, while talentless gimmicks like Minaj are running the show.

Maybe she does have a song here and there with actual merit and worth. I have yet to hear it. Nicki Minaj is just an industry puppet, acting out for attention because she can. She only furthers the notion that women are objects whose main goal in life is to vie for sexual attention. Where are the strong females in this society? I know they’re out there. They’re just not welcome in the media. It’s sad that Nicki Minaj is an example for young girls to follow. I hope her fame dies down soon and she can be seen for the joke she really is. Something tells me this won’t happen.

 




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