Archive for February, 2009


Alert(?) Carolina

It was a normal Sunday night. I was sitting in my room procrastinating and deliberating whether I should go to the library. Deciding that my mastery of TV-Drama was more important, I jumped on my bed and turned on the TV. Desperate Housewives. Perfect.

But as I was watching Gabi trying to deal with her spoiled kids, and Susan desperately wondering if MJ liked her ex-husbands girlfriend more than her, my serenity was interrupted by my roommate. She was on the phone, and I couldn’t help but overhear that the words “bomb” and “threat” and “evacuation” being used over and over again. I checked my phone. If there was really a bomb threat, Alert Carolina was sure to send me a text message, or alert the school with some kind of siren or signal, I thought. So, still doubting the situation, I peeked out of my window towards Davis Library. And sure enough, streams of students were walking away from the library, guided by armed officers.

To think that, as I was innocently watching Desperate Housewives, a person felt it necessary to call the police before detonating explosives in the Pit. Why would he warn the police without even attempting to execute his mission? Whatever his idea, at least it gave the University a chance to test its wonderfully working Alert System.

By this time, of course, rumors were flying on the Internet, ranging from a bomb on campus to gut shots heard on North Campus. My roommate and I looked at each other, and she automatically got up to lock our door. Desperate Housewives was the least of my concern. Now I was desperate – desperate for some sign of confirmation of the rumors.

Of course, if the school urges everyone on campus to sign up for an alert system via cell phone, then they are going to use the text messaging system to announce the possibility of danger on campus. Or least to subdue rumors that would inevitably be going around. And ideally, the system would work. But it was not until I read the Daily Tar Heel the next morning that I figured out what had happened. And a lot of good that did me. I had been “safe” since the treat had been cleared at 4:30 in the morning.

But not to discredit the Alert Carolina system completely, I did get a text message at 11:46 P.M. stating “!!Alert Carolina!! UNC Public Safety is investigating a bomb threat near the Pit. Go to AlertCarolina.unc.edu for updates.” Thanks, that really helped me sleep.

 

By Vicky Waldthausen

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Honey, I uploaded the baby

            The other day a friend sent me a link to a YouTube video called “David after dentist.” According to said friend, it was “so hilarious.” Always being up for a good laugh, I clicked on the link and waited for whatever hilarity would come my way.

            David, supposedly straight out of some sort of dental surgery, sits in the back seat of his daddy’s minivan while he rides a laughing-gas high. Meanwhile, his father tapes all of the drugged-up action from the front seat, laughing and egging on the poor kid.

            Over 12 million people have watched David screaming and confused, asking his dad, “Why is this happening to me? Is this going to be forever?” Sure, it’s funny. But we’re laughing at an innocent kid who has no control over who sees a potentially very embarrassing moment.

            David’s video isn’t the only case of parents using their child to grab that elusive 15 minutes of online fame. Take “Dizzy kid runs into pole” as an example. Apparently, spinning your child incessantly in a swivel chair and watching as the toddler runs face-first into a pole is all okay as long as it’s a YouTube hit. Hey, it’s the perfect opportunity to sell some ad space and make a quick buck. Magic.

            Forget the crazy stage moms pushing their overworked child stars onstage; the new age of offspring exploitation is making a home on YouTube. Now parents can break into the limelight simply by letting the world have a laugh at their unknowing children. And by selling advertisements at the end of videos, the money rolls in with every view.

            Maybe some day all these child Internet stars will log on and be able to see the comments people write about their videos. I’m sure it will be a big boost of confidence for David to read how he’s “probably retarded” and a “moron.”

So let Scarlet take a tumble in front of her webcam or Shane Mercado shake it like Beyoncé all over the Internet. But leave your kids to their Cheerios and T-ball games without using their childhood missteps for fame (or rather infamy). They’ll thank you when they’re old enough to actually understand what YouTube is.

By Erin Locker

Practicing Safer Sex at UNC

Prominent sexual activist Sue Johanson does not promote safe sex, but she does promote safer sex.

Johanson, also known as the Sex Lady, is considered North America’s foremost sexual educator and counselor. Johanson led a discussion on sex for UNC-Chapel Hill students in Memorial Hall on Tuesday evening as a part of her college-university tour.

Johanson, a registered nurse who turned 78 this July, has played a vital role in reaching youth all across the U.S. that have unanswered questions about sex. Sue’s guidance, while extremely honest and uncensored, expressed a very strong message to students: they need to be informed and comfortable talking about sex.

Johanson stressed that safe sex, does not really exist unless you’re pleasuring yourself or not having sex at all. Practicing safer sex is not just a choice; it is a requirement for any and everyone having or considering sex.

Johanson has provided thorough sexual education through her lectures, radio programs and television programs for over the past 35 years. She is most well-known for the “Sunday Night Sex Show,” a live phone-in program on the Oxygen TV network.

Tuesday’s discussion was co-sponsored by The Carolina V-Day Initiative, a week of entertaining and informative events for UNC-CH students in which all donations benefit the Orange County Rape Crisis Center. The Center aspires to be part of the movement to end all forms of sexual violence by offering members of the Chapel Hill community free support and therapy after rape trauma.

Johanson’s charismatic personality and obvious interest in sex kept students interested in what she had to say. The most important issue Johanson stressed was safety.

“There’s so much you need to know about sex. Don’t let sex just happen,” Johanson said.

Johanson openly discussed generally socially taboo topics like female orgasms, anal sex, oral pleasure and her thoughts on the best sex toy for financially struggling college students.

Many students at UNC-CH are having sex, but do not have enough information to fully pleasure themselves or their partners. Johanson informed students how to reach optimum pleasure during sex while still being safe.

Opponents of the discussion are appalled with the openness of the topics and the degree to which the topics were addressed. However, this type of sexual education is about developing young people’s skills so that they make informed choices about their behavior, and feel confident and competent about acting on these choices.

More and more college students are participating in casual sex with either the same or multiple partners. Johanson’s guidance should influence students to familiarize themselves with their partners, encouraging each other to get tested regularly.

We live in an environment where sex is thought about constantly: how to get it, where to get it, and whom to have it with; we need to know not only know how to protect ourselves but how to enjoy ourselves.

Johanson provided us with the information to do both.

By Alyssa Griffith

Box Office Millionaire

Some call it this year’s “Juno.” Others refer to it as a “one of a kind, original story.” But no matter what it is called, there is no doubt that Slumdog Millionaire, a low-budget Indie film, captured the hearts of millions of people throughout the world. Now nominated for ten Oscars, including Best Motion Picture, Best Screenplay, and Best Achievement in Directing and Editing, and already winning four Golden Globes for Best Motion Picture, Best Drama, Best Original Score, and Best Screen Play, Slumdog Millionaire is climbing to the top.

I am not going to lie. I was hesitant to see this movie. Although I had heard only good critiques, I read that the movie had lengths in the middle. (And that fact that Dev Patel, the main character, reminded me of my ex-boyfriend did not help.) But as I was watching romance, crime, and drama unfold, I did not even notice the length of the movie, or the familiarity in the face on the screen.

Slumdog Millionaire is a story about Jamal, a teen from Mumbai who, after growing up in the slums and losing almost everything, becomes a contestant on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” Arrested under suspicion of cheating, Jamal is questioned on how he knows the answers without an education. During the interrogation, events from his childhood reveal how he knows the answers. With his closest friends, Latika and brother Salim, Jamal moves through is childhood, orphaned and uneducated, making money illegally and picking up the ways of life of the slums. While at times heartbreaking, the intertwined bits of comedy will turn tears to turn to laughter.

Not only was the acting of first timers Dev Patel and Freida Pinto phenomenal, but the young actors who played brothers Salim and Jamal did not fail to impress. The care and determination that all of the actors put into their characters was incredible, especially at such a young age. I do not think that the film received enough attention before and while it was in theaters, but the judges at the Academy Awards certainly picked up the unique charm of the movie.

Slumdog Millionaire is still playing at the Varsity Theater, so if you haven’t seen it, don’t forgo the opportunity. And don’t forget to watch the Oscars on February 22, 2009. Maybe the actors will once again grace us with the Indian dance that played during the credits. I am pretty sure that it kept every single person in the theater until all the credits were over. 

 

By: Vicky Waldthausen

Overheard in the Pit

Girl 1: I was watching Discovery Health the other day and this woman gave birth to her baby in a tub. It was crazy.

Girl 2: Whoa, how does the baby breathe when it comes out though? It’s under water, right?
Girl 1: Well they’re still atta—
Girl 2: Oh, yeah, duh, babies have gills when they’re born, sorry.
Girl 1: …
Girl 2: Right?
Girl 1: I’m not even going to respond to that.

Environmentalist: Excuse me, do you have a minute for the environment?
Boy: No, sorry, I’m on my way to class and I’m running late.
[Boy proceeds to enter the Union and get in long line at Alpine Bagel Café]

Girl: Did you hear the “Talk Sex with Sue” lady is coming to Memorial Hall?
Boy: She’s so hot.

Girl: Oh my god, I was driving yesterday and the Cluck-U chicken attacked my window.
Girl 2: What? I can’t believe they let chickens just go free on the sidewalk!
Boy: I think she means the dude in the chicken suit.
Girl 2: Oh. Well they still shouldn’t let it wander around like that.

Boy: [to clearly angry girlfriend] Do you want to go home?
Girl: Do you want to shut the f*** up?

Girl 1: I totally just failed that test.
Girl 2: Really? I thought it was kind of easy. I knew every multiple choice except one, and the essay was on the same thing that I’m writing my paper on. I think I got an A.
Girl 1: Seriously? Seriously. Shut up.

Girl: I love cheese. Can you get addicted to cheese? I think I am. Do you think we could find some mozzarella sticks? Ugh, I love melted cheese.

Boy 1: You should have seen this girl last night. She was all over me at PT’s.
Boy 2: Did you get her number?
Boy 1: No, it was weird she said she didn’t have a cell phone, but then I saw her texting someone later.
Boy 2: Weird.

Girl 1: Hey! How are you?
Girl 2: I’m so hung over. And I lost my shoes while I was out last night.

[on the phone]
Boy: No, mom, I didn’t do my paper yet.

By: Erin Locker

10 Ways to Tell its Election Time at UNC

In America we can throw our votes anyway we’d like. Want to vote for improving the environment? You’ve got a candidate. Want to lower taxes? Someone will fight for you.

UNC-CH works on the same principle for its Student Body President elections. And at no time is it more evident that the candidates want your vote for them than it is in early February, the week before elections. Here are the top 10 ways to tell it’s election time on Carolina’s campus:

10. There are 20 different soundtracks playing in the pit at once (which is quite annoying, especially when one of them is I Want it That Way by the Backstreet Boys and you have this huge urge to sing along and relive your middle school memories. But agh, it’s so unfair. I can’t wait until I’m grown up and don’t have to deal with this anymore.)

9. You end up with a stack of five different papers in your hand before you open the door to Lenoir (these can be especially useful for spontaneous games of hangman with friends when conversation inevitably sags at lunch and you feel inadequate attempting the crossword puzzle).

8. You feel like you’re at Disney world. Simply stick your head through the small hole in the wooden stand and smile. Ta-da you’re J-Russ 4 CAA Prez!!

7. The Kvetching Board is full of either complaints about candidates campaigning or personal ads.

6. No one answers their dorm room doors anymore. Could it be a dorm-stormer? You can’t be too careful…

5. The platform points start making you think differently about issues. For instance, one platform advocates for an Alpine in Davis. Why? Well then, again…why not an Alpine in Davis?

4. You think there are only 6 people who really matter in this world. Well, maybe seven. Those 6 smug faces whose photos are constantly on the front page of the DTH and that ‘YOU’ person they keep talking about.

3. You walk down to the Dean Dome, dressed in Carolina Blue, excited about the basketball game and are struck by how strange it is that six people would sacrifice their game experience to stand out in the cold chanting “TE for SBP” and holding up the letters “SAMOHT.” Is that Polynesian…?

2. You have to develop code names for the candidates in case any of the campaign workers overhear you trash-talking their candidate (some good suggestions are: Blagojevich (Thomas Edwards), and Captain Balboa (Ron Bilbao))

1. You plan on meeting your friend in front of Lenoir at noon for lunch. But then end up waiting for an hour. And then spot her standing behind Ashley Klein’s enormous A-frame in the pit. She’s actually been standing there for the entire 60 minutes. But with the 10 other gigantic A-frames and the lunch line stretching halfway across campus, and the 25 songs advertising candidates you weren’t able to see her, much less hear your cell phone ring when she called to tell her that she was freezing cold and would you please hurry up and get there already?

by Shannon Spain

Blue&White is {What are you doing right now?}

Facebook – the social network no college student can live without; a network so fascinating that we put off deadlines, papers, and studying to post and tag pictures from the night before, and as a result may have to forcefully and grudgingly disengage our profiles during exam time. And I must admit, keeping tabs on all my friends (and foes, and yeah, even sometimes the hot TAs) has never been easier. I don’t have to go as far as today’s mini-feed to know what is going on next Friday night or which summer camp friend from two years ago is in a “complicated relationship”.

But lately it seems as if Facebook is causing me (and if you’ve read Time Magazine lately, it seems numerous others as well) some annoyance, especially in the form of the special notes, quizzes, and applications. The Time article “25 Things I Didn’t Want To Know About You” sums up this newly articulated aggravation and writer Claire Suddath even compiles a list of the top things about her friends that were simply TMI for online solicitation.

Reading about this Facebook trend made me take a look at what my own friends were doing with their time, energy, and keyboards. They’ve sent bumper stickers about Twilight and drinking too much. They’ve thrown virtual snowballs at each other. Three of them are attending a house party next week. Seven were tagged in an album. And my own dad even sent me a virtual box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day. Yum.

While I’m all for technology and easy ways to communicate, I’m also a big advocate for reality and live communication with people, and seeing the abundance of activity going on via Facebook makes me a little worried sometimes that we’re losing the value of face-to-face interaction and replacing it with Facebook chat. And even though a perfectly appropriate bumper sticker makes me smile and having a reminder of whose birthday is coming up makes life a little easier, I still hope that this small bit of satisfaction won’t suck me into the Facebook obsession. And I definitely hope it doesn’t mean that my dad is subbing in virtual candy for the real thing this Valentine’s Day.

By Tricia Thompson