Archive for September, 2008


Pit Stop

Click for a live image of The Pit.

[In reference to the Pit Preacher]
Boy: He’s such a staunch conservative. I think the funniest story I heard about him was the one with the girl and the pants.
Girl: The girl and the pants?
Boy: Yah, you didn’t hear that one?
Girl: Um, no…
Boy: Haha, OK, well it happened at some other school. He was preaching about how girls are sinful and revealing when they wear pants, and if they don’t wear skirts they’ll go to hell. And right as he was saying this, a girl walked by – in pants of course. And he points at her and says, “Like that girl wearing pants. She’s going to hell!” And the girl goes, “Oh, I shouldn’t wear these?” And she takes off her pants and walks away to class.

By Erin Wiltgen

2008 Election Issues

As the presidential election draws near some issues have gotten more attention than others; issues like health care, the economy and the war in Iraq. It’s not always clear how these topics will affect us directly, but for women, and men, one issue not getting enough attention is abortion.

Right now the Supreme Court is more or less equally divided between conservatives and liberals. But in the next presidential term at least two justices are expected to retire, and the candidate elected this year will have the opportunity to appoint new justices. And then those justices will have the opportunity to either challenge Roe v. Wade or confirm it.

I used to oppose abortion because I believed it was taking a life. It was as simple as that. Then I wasn’t sure if it was taking a life and thought the government had no right to tell a woman what to do with her body. But now, I’ve decided that abortion is simply a way for a woman to cover up an embarrassment. The bulge. The proof that something happened which she is not pleased with.

She should have the right to take care of this mistake, or that’s what our government supports. The other option would be to follow through with the pregnancy and then adoption. But in our culture there is a negative association with this unwillingness to take responsibility for a new life.

Is the responsibility of our government to assist people in avoiding embarrassment? A growing belly and occasional nausea don’t really significantly impact the regular routine of one’s life. What is this right to choose really all about?

It’s outrageous that as humans we have yet to arrive at an agreement whether a baby in a woman’s womb might actually be a life. But in an effort to support women from social humiliation, we say this time ending life is OK.

By Nora Jorgensen

Carpe Diem

Nothing spells living more than some quality helado (Spanish for ice cream) and a sip of sangria while watching the sun set over the Plaza de España.  Nothing spells adventure more than showing up in a foreign city with nothing but a duffel bag, a few euros and maybe a very poorly drawn map.  Nothing spells spontaneity more than rushing to the bus station and buying a ticket to a random location when the music and art department of la Universidad cancel classes for two days.

Studying abroad offers students so many experiences that they just can’t get at universities in the U.S.  The unique cultures and lifestyles of the various countries around the world open your eyes to other perceptions in a way that just reading about them in a newspaper or discussing them in a classroom can’t justify.  Instead of hearing about them, you actually experience them.

All my life I’d heard friends and relatives tell me: “Once you get to college, you have to study abroad!”  The reasoning always amounted to it was the single best experience of their college career, or their single biggest regret.  And apparently my advisors weren’t too far off the national mark.  In a study done by the Institute for the International Education of Students (IES) that surveyed IES program alumni from programs between 1950 and 1999, 3,400 people (23 percent) responded that the experience is an important moment in a student’s life and their personal experience continued to influence them years later.

Students at UNC need to seize that moment.  Especially because the study abroad program here has consistently ranked among the top 10 in the nation, with more than 300 programs in 70 different countries.  The deadline for many of the spring programs is Sept. 25 – two weeks away.  So, even though you won’t speak Latin on any program you choose, just remember carpe diem, and keep sipping that sangria.

By Erin Wiltgen

“There is no other place like this”

For anyone who’s a freshman or anyone who’s a freshman at heart, check out a great Web site provided by Carolina, UNC Freshman Central. This site offers everything a student needs to not only survive in Chapel Hill but also to have a fabulous four years.

You can find an Idiot’s Guide to UNC with advice on getting involved, academics and discovering Chapel Hill. There’s also a list of online resources that will both simplify your life and enhance it. And don’t miss the Freshman Fifteen section — no, it has nothing to do with the extra weight you might gain over the next few years — instead it’s a wonderful collection of 15 restaurants not to miss, 15 books to read, 15 campus secrets and even more.

By Nora Jorgensen

Oh food, where art thou?

Ah, online takeout—a college student’s dream for the late night rendezvous with wraps, wings and everything in between. Being a fan of quick and easy fast food options without the heart attack effect, I was hopeful that Ba-Da Wings would be the solution for us non-meal plan students. But we’ll see, I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ll start with one sweltering Chapel Hill evening: the heat still lingered even as the sun’s rays flickered into the open mouth of the mountains as dusk settled on this tiny college town.

After a long day at work, the growls and grumbles echoing beneath my sundress triggered another beat in my step to find my heart’s desire—a date with a chicken parmigiana sandwich. While vending machines are great for that sudden urge for chocolate bars and Twisters, the eventual desire for something of substance silenced the beast within, though I didn’t know how long I could prevail against such a powerful force.

The warm comforts of home welcomed me but couldn’t soothe our pantry devoid of cereals, pastas and the occasional box of Ramen; it could not magically fill our fridge and freezer with fruits, veggies and ready-to-eat frozen meals. Just as all seemed lost, my roommate suggested we call for backup—Ba-Da Wings. With a cache of choices that were both cheap, tasty and with the added bonus of proximity, our miracle was within reach. Should we do it? Should we take a chance? We agree—we should.

So we run to our computer, we log on, we order, we pay, we’re done… except we’re not: there is an error. So we grab a phone, we call, we order, we wait for 20 minutes—easy piesy. Meanwhile our growls are scolded by our harsh words that food will arrive shortly. But its persistence continues and as the watch clock strikes an hour—we wonder with anticipation. In our haste we call Ba-Da Wings, is it still coming? A gruff manager responds it’s on its way and will get there when the driver figures out where Manning Street is.

So we sit some more and daydream about what flavors will drip from the pita bread, giggle about which French fries will curl the most and which soft drinks will taste the most original—Coke or Pepsi. We laugh like girls do dreaming of the one sandwich that will win us over. But as another half hour passes, we get irritated—aren’t these supposed to be the ones—the best sandwiches Chapel Hill can offer—are they lying to us, telling us what we want to hear? And then they don’t even show up?

Eventually they show, cold, burnt and with no fries or soft drink accessories. The girl hands me a bill for $16, and I reluctantly give it to her. I walk back to where my roommate is sitting and we look at our dates and wish for something better.

In the end, they weren’t the best Chapel Hill could offer and for a first date the price wasn’t worth it—next time we’ll call Gumby’s.

By Karen Kleimann

Pit Stop

Click for a live image of The Pit.

There’s a difference between like and love because I like my jewelry, but I love my black pants…

Girl 1: I hate thieves. I mean, you can never find a pair of kickass black pants.
Girl 2: Yeah, black pants are so in.
Girl 1: I mean all my jewelry was stolen, too, but I really loved those pants—they were canvas and from Express.
Girl 2: That is so sad.
Girl 1: You’re sad? I’m sad—I’ll never find black pants like that again.
Girl 2: So like your jewelry was stolen, too?
Girl 1: Yeah, and I’ve had it since I was like three. And some of it was like my grandmother’s. Good thing she’s dead, I’d be in so much trouble. And like I had a gold necklace, like real gold.
Girl 2: That’s so sad. Well I came up with a slogan finally. It’s ‘I heart Dune, You heart Dune—let’s Dune it,’ We can advertise it on our pants.
Girl 1: Yeah, like black pants.
Girl 2: Well once you find another pair.

Raindrops keep falling on my head…

Girl 1: Oh my god — it’s raining.
Girl 2: Why is it raining?
Girl 3: Because there’s a hurricane.
Girl 1: What’s a hurricane?
Girl 2: It’s like a really bad storm.
Girl 1: From where?
Girl 3: Hawaii.
Girl 2: No stupid, it’s like Katrina.
Girl 1: Who’s Katrina?

By Karen Kleimann

New Face of Facebook

In my opinion…

Facebookers should be able to choose which version they like better, and stick with that version. As if college students aren’t already bogged down with reading, schoolwork, studying, partying and the occasional Time Out visit. The last thing we need is the chance to procrastinate as we try to navigate the new F-book.

There are hundreds of topics that are more crucial to the well being of the world right now. But how many times have you heard people in class or around the pit say, “Facebook switched me!”, “Where are my bumper stickers?” or “Dude, I heard there was a link to get it back to the old one.” Albeit a little ridiculous and over ridiculed, but at some point in the past two weeks, the new version of Facebook has popped up in our everyday lives.

I’m just saying the Facebook democracy should understand the urgency and high demand for a pro-choice version before I spend any more of my time complaining about, or trying to figure out, the new Facebook.

By Tricia Thompson

I’m a big kid now

Another war drags on, more body bags pile in, and once again the drinking age debate gathers attention.

Some make the same arguments about underage soldiers: if they’re old enough to shoot at someone and get shot at in return, shouldn’t they be old enough to enjoy a beer when they make it home alive at the end of the day? Others toss around the idea that lowering the drinking age will reduce the lure of illegality and rebellion in high schoolers and early college kids.

It’s a huge question, especially with studies from the Centers for Disease Control pointing to a lower number of drunken driving deaths with the drinking age set at 21.

But I think a bigger question lies in how the U.S. government wants to define “adult.”

Legally, a person becomes an adult at 18 years old. Depending on the individual situation (whether in college, paying themselves through college or entering the workforce), 18-year-olds have to pay taxes, pay for their own apartment, pay bills, pay food and living costs – the whole deal. They have to make real-life decisions because they’re no longer dependents, and some no longer get mommy and daddy’s money. They also get to vote, to decide the future of the country. Yet even in the face of this legal responsibility, this legal adulthood, the government and other groups don’t believe 18-year-olds have the maturity to make decisions in regards to alcohol.

And, to be honest, in many cases the government is right.

But many 30-year-olds don’t have that maturity, either. And the point is that the government is upholding a blatant contradiction. They call 18-year-olds adults, burdening them with various levels of adult responsibilities, yet deny them a distinctly adult pastime.

In some cases, the government doles out adult responsibility at an even younger age. Some kids are tried in court as adults at the age of 15 or 16. Kids are charged adult admission at movie theaters by the age of 12. That last is a rather petty example, but the point remains that the transition from childhood to adulthood is an extremely fuzzy one in this country, and from a legal standpoint it really shouldn’t be.

Either at 18 you’re old enough to pay taxes, live on your own, decide who to marry, vote and drink a beer after work – all in one package – or you’re not capable of any of this responsibility and decision-making until age 21. Pick a year and stick with it.

By Erin Wiltgen

Buns

In a compelling combination of classy gourmet and backyard barbecue, Buns instantly embraces the whole gamut of diets: from health conscious, to vegetarian to classic American –- triple-patty style.

The restaurant keeps a motto of freshness, using no freezers or microwaves to prepare the meals.  Workers make the burgers daily –- whether beef, turkey, vegetarian, seared tuna or grilled salmon -– and cut the Idaho-potato fries fresh throughout the day.

Buns uses a make-your-own-burger style, starting with the basic single patty at $3.98 and topping out with the Tar Heel Triple at $6.99.  The hungry public can select among a variety of no-charge toppings, ranging from tomato to jalapenos, as well as extra-charge toppings, such as fried egg and blue cheese.  Hot dogs, salads and chili fill out the menu, and deserts of cake and cookies as well as a selection of beer and wine complete it.

To complement the food, Buns provides an environment charged with a cheerful, bustling energy.  A polka-dotted booth lines two walls while large windows lined with a bar counter and stools look out onto North Columbia St.  Lively jazz music creates a pleasant background to the rumble of talk and laughter of children, students, parents and couples ranged around the room. But Buns also serves beyond the dining room; the restaurant not only caters, but offers a takeout option, complete with delivery.

Whether you sip your wine or slurp your soda, nibble your tuna sandwich or scarf your double-patty beef burger, Buns offers it all, and without the stuffy pretense of a fancy restaurant.  Visit at 107 N. Columbia Street, right off of the corner of Columbia and Franklin.  To call, dial 919-240-4746.

By Erin Wiltgen

Crammed bookshelves

The life of a novelist is not without appreciation. As writers, we are often solitary creatures, in tuned to the world, observing yet walking at a distance.

“The flair of an ingenious sentence is cushioned with the palatable hint of originality.”

This phrase spewed from my writing professor’s lips as her Tibetan singing bowl hummed the truth of these words on my first day of college. This was before writing was designated to Greenlaw—when it was part of the very culture that demanded it be free and admired.

I was horrified to learn that we are living in a dying world. A world where thousands of unread books cascade on bookshelves because not enough people care to read what’s inside the covers. It seems the hard work, frustration and despair of being a writer is reduced to a blogger and opinion columnist—journalism has become the new pursuit for many budding writers—a stable career where money can be made.

This is not to say journalism is not creative, and I worked hard to get into the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, but my real dream was to live in a loft where I’d wake every morning to write, photograph and live a simple life.

But I learned to live in this changing globe, this world where writing is about profit and not admired for its beauty and novelty.

The human element hasn’t changed; we all still bleed, laugh, cry and manipulate—it is as impermeable as time. But preferences change, technology increases laziness and reading is a pastime remembered by grandparents.

Publishers look for specific genres and with the decline of readers, bookstores cannot afford to fill the walls with unknown authors. And so, writing has become trite. It is borrowed themes from decade and century old writers—from a time when writing was still an art form, and they were known and hailed as Renaissance men and women.

Still, it’s hard for me to believe it will soon be gone. Writing is feverish, personal and fantastic. For me, it brings back an aura of simplicity and peace—a childhood realm of fantasy, where perhaps only dreams can truly manifest themselves.

Education embraced it as the creative outlet of imagination. Now in my senior year, I just see it fading with the chalkboard and ruby red apples once left on teacher desks.

My writing mentors demanded expression—any kind, but nothing boring, nothing old, nothing previously whispered or hinted at. We had to strive for Picasso, not Monet.

And so books settle in for a long nap in empty libraries, while writers descend with the laziness of mankind. Still, maybe our only salvation lies in the changing world of literature—the blogs, columns and features—and our willingness as writers to bring our dreams with us no matter where we go.

By Karen Kleimann