Artist of the Week: Blind Pilot

The band, Blind Pilot.  Courtesy of Google Image Search.

The band, Blind Pilot. Courtesy of Google Image Search.

One must keep in mind Alphonse de Lamartine’s eloquent quote, “Music is the literature of the heart; it commences where speech ends” while listening to the Artist of the Week, Blind Pilot. With soothing sounds and beautiful lyrics, Blind Pilot will help you forget your stress and allow you to immerse yourself into the music.
Blind Pilot was at first composed of singer-guitarist Israel Nebeker and drummer Ryan Dobrowski, but has since expanded to include many more instruments. Some of these include banjos, violins and trumpets, which help to create the mellow sounding music.
After a bicycle tour of the West Coast in 2007, Nebeker and Dobrowski returned to their hometown of Portland, Oregon, to record their first album.  This album, “3 Rounds and a Sound,” was released July 15, 2008 and consists of 11 songs. Having listened to this CD more times than I can remember, I can confidently say that there is not one song that is worth skipping. Each song has beautiful and quirky lyrics that have some hidden meaning. For example, in “One Red Thread,” Nebeker sings, “I have to say there was a mile or two/I had the itch to fly and I flew/now at best we would make our dreams/with something used.” While, this CD is full of laid-back guitar playing and gentle drumming, a few songs deal some surprises. The song “I Buried a Bone” throws some great trumpet in, and my personal favorite song, “One Red Thread,” starts off quiet but rises in intensity.
If you are looking for a relaxing sounding band then Blind Pilot is perfect for you.

Review: Landmark Tavern

The door to the Landmark Tavern.  Courtesy of Garrick Patterson.

The door to the Landmark Tavern. Courtesy of Garrick Patterson.

Ever since the Loading Dock closed last year, The Square in Georgetown has lacked a good place to go and have a relaxed drink. Now, in a different style, the Landmark Tavern has occupied the second floor of the Old Masonic building that formerly housed Romeo’s Italian restaurant. It is a quiet blues/jazz bar, owned by Joe and Bobbye Dowda.

When I stopped in, Mr. Dowda was tending the bar and was happy enough to talk with a new patron.

“This is sort of my retirement gig, and I wanted a place that, if I was going to go somewhere, I would want to go. We have people playing most nights, but even if you’re sitting right next to the band, you can still have a normal conversation.”
I went in on a Thursday afternoon, and Mr. Dowda and I talked about scotch, and although the tavern has not been there long, the people there were already acting like it was the old neighborhood bar; a place to relax after work with friends, with about five people coming and going at around 4 o’clock, all seeming to know one another. Although the two are separate businesses, Landmark works with Amante’s, which occupies the first floor, and Landmark offers a small but diverse menu of Amante’s food, as well as coffee from Georgetown roaster Coyote Moon.

The prices are somewhat high, but fair for the quality of fare. The tavern is a member’s only club, but there are no dues, and anyone is welcome as a member, or as a guest of a member. Lineups for the week start out with Martini’s and Manicures, aimed more at the female crowd, and a jazz pianist. Tuesday is Amateur Showcase, where new bands can audition to perform. Blues and Jazz outfits fill out the week, including Sounds of Lux, a trio that plays New Orleans style jazz on Fridays, and Rachel Roma, who sings blues on Saturday.

“We are a club of like-minded individuals who enjoy good wine, good music, and a relaxed social environment,” Dowda said. “We are looking forward to this whole journey which I’ve professionally prepared for these past 25 years.”
Landmark Tavern is a non-profit organization, which donates any profits to a charity, based on the suggestions of members. For fairly priced drinks and food, Landmark is a pleasant place within walking distance of campus, for those times when nothing could possibly seem better than just being off campus.

Agrandir le plan

Uncultured Project Aims To Absolve World Poverty

A screencap of a scene from the original Uncultured Project video, below.  Courtesy of Google Images.

A screencap of a scene from the original Uncultured Project video, below. Courtesy of Google Images.

Theories concerning ways to end global poverty seem to overwhelm us and often tend to be temporal, unreliable or too complicated to understand. With the help of the YouTube community, people have tried to come up with different ways to tackle what they believe in: Meet Shawn.

Shawn is 28 years old and grew up in Toronto, Canada, before heading to graduate school at Notre Dame. After meeting Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, author of “The End of Poverty,” he immediately withdrew from grad school and decided to try to make the world a better place – one meaningful difference at a time.

He headed straight for Bangladesh and decided to embark on a mission called the Uncultured Project.

“It’s about inspiring others to believe that we can be the generation that ends extreme poverty,” Shawn said. “Hopefully, this project can also show the big multinational organizations that there is a better way to engage people on the issue of global poverty.”

This is not a charity, nor is it an organization. The funds are raised through the awareness spread by YouTube and through donations from people who have seen these videos and desire to give out of their own pocket.

“What strikes me as so amazing about Shawn is that he realizes that poverty isn’t about them, it’s about us,” supporter and best-seller author John Greene said.

After starting the Uncultured Project, Shawn heard about the Davos Debate. This debate began with individuals entering their ideas on tackling global issues. The voting ended Friday, Jan. 15, regarding the five finalists, Shawn being one of them.

Blankets that are donated in aid to the Uncultured project.  Click for more information.

Blankets that are donated in aid to the Uncultured project. Click for more information.

“The conversation of global poverty is not as black and white as we make it out to be in the classroom and mainstream media,” Shawn said.

The first project he set out on because of Facebook video requests to provide the village of Baros with clean drinking water. The contaminated pond water there caused stomach illness and skin disease or required that the people of Baros walk long distances for more potable sources. They simply did not have the means to implement clean drinking water.

The YouTube community voted that they should be provided with a pond-sand filter, which does just what it implies: It filters sand and other contaminated materials out of the water. After raising money from online donations and donations given to Save the Children, a pond-sand filter was provided.

“This is not a charity, it is an experiment in community,” Greene said.

Shawn is interested in the individual. He wants people to realize that it is the small things adding up and people taking the initiative to help that will make the greatest impact on global poverty.

“It won’t take a radical change like becoming communist or Mother Teresa to make that happen,” Shawn said. “Simple changes in our global priorities can have a huge impact around the world.”

Fatties Need Not Apply

Could this be what is on your dating site?  Courtesy of Google Images.

Could this be your blind date from a dating site? Courtesy of Google Images.

When I order textbooks from Amazon, I expect exactly what is in the picture and description. “Like New” translates in my mind to saving some $800 on this one used book, though from the appearance whomever last possessed the book clearly had no interest in Fundamental Foundations of Functional Financial Accounting, or whatever text my absurd ex-major requires. Thus, teasing me with “like new” and then sending me “acceptable” is simply unacceptable.

Dating sites should work the same way. If I so choose to pay a hefty portion of writer’s salary to ensure I am only dating non-hefty hotties, I want to be ensured I am getting what I paid for and will not have to go through the awkward “return process” or excruciating first date.

So thank you, Mr. Robert Hintze, for not “letting fatties roam [your] site,” The website axed over 5000 members for recent holiday weight gain.

Anyone who dares slack on their eating disorders over this crucial time before the pinnacle of romance itself (Valentine’s Day) deserves to be unceremoniously tossed on their muffin-stuffed asses to forage through the world of excruciatingly average people populating the mainstream dating sites.

Those of us who proudly continue to allow our militaristic workout routines consume our livelihoods shouldn’t be burdened with those who cave at the first site of grandma’s homemade cooking or nephew’s earnestly presented 900-calorie gingerbread man.

If you are going to advertise yourselves as the “sexiest website in the world today” and guarantee “dates that will always be beautiful,” you can’t beat around the bush (god forbid) on fatties. Welcome to capitalism kids; false advertising is not accepted, and fat only correlates to beautiful for those obviously less motivated or less occupied with physical appearance.

Want people to look past the surface? Value your intelligence or wit? Join a dating site that tailors to those banalities or believes in such things as the subjectivity of beauty.

Thankfully Hintze has a clear-cut, non-refutable answer to such pompous, post-modernist perceptions of beauty and implements his innovative take on sex-appeal right on the site through a sliding scale of user ratings. Each person has a myriad of pictures to browse through so that the validity of their beauty can be clearly determined without the deception of camera tricks and light angles.

Once you have properly sorted through a portion of the individual’s representational narcissism, you then scientifically calculate viaAmerica's Increasing Waist Linemeasurement of your blood pressure and personal envy exacting how beautiful on a zero-to-10 scale each person is. As more people view each person’s page, the number is actualized and solidified – as there is undoubtedly consensus. Even more importantly, as each person adds recent pictures to their page, their attractiveness can be tracked through the development of their work out routine and “eating” habits.

Therefore, when some undeserving fatty manages to finagle their unruly thighs into the site, they are quickly exposed for the fleshy miscreants they are.
Way to go, BeautifulPeople! One more step toward sterilizing the whole overweight population entirely.

All opinions expressed in Opinion & Editorial pieces are the opinions expressed by the author and not the Megaphone staff in general.  Thank you.

Graduating Senior Makes Final To-Do List

May 9, 2010.  Courtesy of Google Images.

May 9, 2010. Courtesy of Google Images.

I never thought this semester would arrive – my last semester in college. Remembering back to my very first semester, I recall thinking that four years was going to be a long time. The truth is, however, that it is not. These years have gone by like a blip on a radar screen, fast and insignificant within the grand scheme of things.

Not to say that my time in college has not changed me dramatically – hopefully for the better – because it has. The classes I have taken, the friendships I have formed, and the essence of community that I feel will forever impact the rest of my life, even when college life seems to be a distant memory.

Before embarking on all that lies ahead after graduation, there are many goals that I hope to accomplish within this last semester at SU.

First and most importantly, I want to finish off my education “with a bang.” Not to toot my own horn, but I have kept an above average GPA since the beginning of college, and I would like to stay consistent with that aforementioned accomplishment.

This semester will most likely be the most challenging that I have ever experienced, and keeping my GPA, if not obtaining a higher GPA, would leave me feeling not only gratified, but consistent (consistency is very important to me).

Second, I would like to graduate with a career that not only interests me, but makes a sizeable contribution to some sort of community, wherever that may be. I realize that I am graduating into a “tough economy,” but I think this goal is more than doable. I have plenty of time and multiple resources at my disposal.

Third, I want to have fun. I want to really appreciate this last semester and everything that college life gives to its students.

At times, I have taken my college life for granted and now that I see that time coming to a close, I am aware of a fondness, if not great appreciation for all that college life allows for. Even though I have a great deal of work and obligations ahead of me within these next months, I really want to strive to have fun and appreciate my time here. Every class that I attend, every book I crack open, every paper I write – I want to value it all, even more than I have in the past.

Last, and this seems somewhat trivial to me, but I want to “document” more of what happens during my last semester here. I have never been a

A scrapbook is a good way to remember your years.

A scrapbook is a good way to remember your years.

big picture taker or scrap booker, but it would be nice to do at least one of those, if not both. Unfortunately, I have a poor memory so having something concrete – like pictures of documentation of some kind – will help me to remember specific times, experiences from college.

For those of you that have just started your college education, for those of you in the middle, and even for those of you nearing the end, I advise all of you to sit down, make a list of goals and work to accomplish them. It is never too late and when you look back on it, I guarantee you will be thankful you did.

All opinions expressed in Opinion & Editorial pieces are the opinions expressed by the author and not the Megaphone staff in general.  Thank you.

All opinions expressed in Opinion & Editorial pieces are the opinions expressed by the author and not the Megaphone staff in general.  Thank you.

Gay Marriage Should Not Be Ultimate Goal

All opinions expressed in Opinion & Editorial pieces are the opinions expressed by the author and not the Megaphone staff in general.  Thank you.
A gay marriage ceremony taking place in Vermont.  Courtesy of Google Images.

A gay marriage ceremony taking place in Vermont. Courtesy of Google Images.

We stand on the verge of a breakthrough, a triumph of unprecedented magnitude. With the federal court challenge of Prop. 8, the process is set in motion in which the Supreme Court could potentially legalize civil marriage equality for the entire nation. This is the goal, the prize, we have fought for so long, and now, we are at the brink of achieving it!

At least, so goes the conventional narrative. The mainline gay rights (no longer gay liberation, and hardly Queer) movement has come to dedicate itself not exclusively to marriage equality, but certainly primarily so. The objective of the movement has become very narrowly defined, with marriage being held up as the ultimate test, the last and greatest battle to be won, after which we’ll all be, if not equal, at least close enough to it that gay people can finally fully assimilate.

For the past two decades, this has been the focus—I would say the obsession—of the modern gay movement. The logic goes: gays are the same as straights in every sphere of life except sex and romance. Therefore, equality means equality in the area of sex and romance. Since the ultimate societal legitimization of a sexual-romantic relationship is marriage (civil or religious), achieving equality must logically mean achieving equal marriage rights.

This logic is good as far as it goes; however, while I fully support marriage equality, I do feel that it’s ultimately inadequate as a means to achieve true equality for LGBT people.

There’s more to life than sex, and there’s more to being gay than dating, partnering, and marrying. The various overlapping subcultures designated “LGBTQIA” or simply “Queer” are far more than a dating scene. Sexuality and gender are facets of identity that pervade one’s whole existence—and the larger heterosexual cisgender society recognizes this. Thus, you have Queer alienation from almost every aspect of the social mainstream, whether it’s in the field of religion, politics, work, housing, healthcare, or even simple place of residence. Marriage is hardly the only area of society that Queers are excluded from, so why should it be the only one the movement attempts to integrate the community into?

Furthermore, there are, in my opinion, far more pressing needs than marriage for most Queers. Marriage is the main concern primarily of gay people in long-term committed relationships who have established home and professional lives and simply seek to be integrated—or rather, assimilated—into their neighbors’ world. Most LGBTQIA people don’t fit that description.

Courtesy of Google Images.

Courtesy of Google Images.

I used to live in Houston. Twenty-five percent of that city’s substantial homeless youth population identified as LGBTQIA—these are kids who were kicked out by their parents for being Queer, who are now a part of the most disenfranchised group of people in the United States (the homeless) solely because their parents valued their bigotry more than their children. There is only one homeless shelter in Houston that serves youth; it does not allow trans kids to live with others of their psychological sex. Where is the HRC’s outrage?

In 2008, there were more than 100 murders of transgender-identified individuals reported to the police as hate crimes in which the bodies were identified in the United States alone. Marriage equality, while undoubtedly a positive thing, won’t rectify the danger that many people (such as myself) live in as trans individuals in a profoundly—often violently—transphobic society. Again, where is the HRC’s outrage?

These are two issues; there are many, many others. They rarely, if ever make the headlines—certainly not the way that marriage does. Despite that, and despite the comparative lack of resources devoted to them, they are of vital importance, in a very literal sense. Why, then, should we be obsessed with marriage as the ultimate aim of gay rights?

All opinions expressed in Opinion & Editorial pieces are the opinions expressed by the author and not the Megaphone staff in general.  Thank you.

What to Expect from Studying Abroad

Courtesy of Caitlin McCown

Courtesy of Caitlin McCown, Photo Editor

Having just finished studying abroad in Argentina, I think now that it probably would have been nice to know what to expect from what my study abroad program was describing to me during the application process.

I remember looking at a lot of programs, and they all seemed to, for the most part, be saying the same things. There are likely to be the options of living with a homestay family, excursions, internships, and-or even an independent study project in what these programs have to offer you. They all may seem pretty self-explanatory, but after having gone through it, I feel like it is important to stress what to expect from some of these parts of a studying abroad program.

The study abroad program can be really involved or it can be relatively hands-free, and what you may want your program to provide for you really depends on what you actually want to get on a personal level out of your study abroad experience.

For some, the homestay component of a study abroad program is probably one of the more nerve-racking things to think about when going into studying abroad. If you want to learn more about the culture or language of the country that you will be studying in, then living with a homestay family has the potential helping you out on a lot of levels. Personally, I feel like the homestay setting alone helped my Spanish improve tenfold compared to how I had been before, but I will admit there were a few things I would have liked to have been told before I went into it.
Just remember that if you live with a family in that foreign country, you follow their rules as you are living in their house. It was the first time I had regularly lived day-by-day with a family since high school, and even then it was much different because it was not my actual family. As a result, in a lot of ways it felt like high school again in that I had to do things like be home for dinner at a specific time, could not go out very late on weeknights, and had to call to see if it was all right if I brought someone home.

Usually host families do not mind you going out at night, you are in college, but you may have to take into account whether or not they would mind you coming back in the wee hours of the morning sometimes, or if you are going out too many days of the week in general. Not that these are that big of inconveniences, but every family is different, and it is important to think about the implications of living with host parents instead of other students your age.

Courtesy of Caitlin McCown

Courtesy of Caitlin McCown, Photo Editor

Also, it is not like you cannot learn a foreign language without the homestay experience. As far as learning outside of the classroom goes, I probably learned more when I made friends with people closer to my age simply because it was easier to relate to them.

Having said that, if you want to learn more about people, the culture, and-or the language outside of the classroom, then traveling around the area is probably more suited toward those goals. However, if you want to travel, I highly recommend that you not enroll into a program that requires you to spend a lot of time participating in the activities of the program, such as classes and field trips. Excursions are a good way to travel, and sometimes they are even included in the program cost, but just know that you would have to go with the entire group under the program’s rules rather than just your new friends who you would otherwise go with alone with your own prerogative.

For me at least, personal freedom was a big issue during my study abroad semester. You are still a college student, but try not to take it too hard if you are not getting all the freedom that you had before while living on campus.

Some programs are more regulatory than others, and you may even need to get the permission of your program directors to travel occasionally. Depending on where you are, traveling outside of the country may be more difficult, and the program may be less inclined to allow you to actually do so.

Also, please remember that if you are traveling to a country with a foreign language you plan on learning, in a lot of ways it can be like baptism by fire, but ultimately it is worth going through.

All opinions expressed in Opinion & Editorial pieces are the opinions expressed by the author and not the Megaphone staff in general.  Thank you.

Liberal Media Bias Ends as Palin Gets Foxy

Foxy Lady

Foxy Lady

On Jan. 11, Sarah Palin was hired by Fox News as a “contributor.” In the face of the obvious liberal media bias, Fox News has decided to be the maverick and single-handedly compensate for all the Bill Mahers and Jon Stewarts out there. In a press release, Rupert Murdoch stated, “This had nothing to do with the obvious fact that she is a very attractive woman. She is obviously a very intelligent, refined, and articulate person, and that is why she has been hired. Her vast experience in international matters will also be a great contribution. After all, how many people can say that they see the continent of Russia from their back porch?” Murdoch also stated that, “Sarah Palin will be there to balance out other hosts.” According to one executive at Fox News, “Glenn Beck never stops and Sarah Palin always quits, so it’s a perfect match.” When asked if the move will upset Fox’s reputation of fair and balanced reporting, Murdoch said, “No of course not. We will always treat the GOP position with fairness and balance.”

The move was resoundingly supported by the National Comedians Association, a group that represents America’s best in comedy. Patton Oswalt said, “Sarah Palin is totally a Democrat now because without her us poor comedians wouldn’t make any money.” Larry the Cable Guy, as one of the most prominent members of NCA, has created an exploratory committee to take over the governorship of Alaska as a move to support the Palin movement.

There was an equal amount of criticism by some organizations such as the National Wolf Council, due to Palin’s wolf hunting. Ruff Wolfe, president of the organization, stated that, “I always thought a Fox and wolf could get along. But times are changing.”

Shows that Palin will be periodically hosting, include “You Betcha!,” “Sass & Class,” “The Daily Wink,” and “Real American Stories.” “Real American Stories” is a program that will talk about the stories of people like Joe the Plumber, who are from the “pro-America areas of this great nation” such as all the states with secessionist movements like Texas and Alaska.

Along with this contract is a book deal, which Fox News is hoping will live up to her NY Times bestseller “Going Rogue: An American Life.” It will be called “Drill, Baby, Drill! (but only after you get married… unless you are my daughter)” which is to be released in 2011 concurrent with her prospective bid as a presidential candidate for the Bull Moose Party as well as the Republican Party.

Sarah Palin, in a statement released by her spokesperson, stated that she took the job because, “Yeh know, it’s all about job creation and shoring up the economy. After all, that’s why I left my governor’s position open.”

Talking about open positions, MSNBC has decided to hire Sasha Baron Cohen to write a documentary about the life of Todd Palin called “Nailin’ Palin: Behind Every Great Woman is a Great Man” as a counter to the potential loss of male viewers to Fox News.

Rush Limbaugh stated that, “The Republican Party has done some bad things in the past like excessive spending, instituting bad fiscal policy and ending slavery. Now, though, we have been redeemed because Sarah Palin has joined the media in an attempt to end its liberal dominance.”

Web Ed. Note: This article was co-written by Benjamin Bracher.

Dornon's Index 1/21/10

6 – people in HB who were supposedly arrested thanks to the campus’s new favorite pets.

0-4.7 – percent probability that this event actually happened without Mouthwestern knowing all of the intimate details.

2 – ounces of pot that can land you in jail in Texas.

unknown-the amount of marijuana that can land you in jail at SU.

At least 57 – the number of references made to Nazi German military forces in response to recent university drug controversy.

11-17 million- the total number of people killed in the Holocaust.

Rod Blagojevich Just Wants Back Into Our Hearts

Look at him.  Don't you just want to pinch his cheeks?  Courtesy of Google Images.

Look at him. Don't you just want to pinch his cheeks? Courtesy of Google Images.

After finding that his efforts to inspire the diminutive American populations of “Guys with Great Hair” and “Martyrs of Extortion and Black-Market Bystanders” were failing miserably, Blagojevich revised his game plan. After reading the timeless literary classics “Bill Clinton: Mastering the Presidency,” “Bill Clinton’s Little Black Book” and “My Life: Bill Clinton,” Blagojevich felt the sweet light of mercy fall upon him. He knew what he must do: He began a tireless crusade to prove his pale paunch to the African-American community.

Apparently, first up on his list of things to do was give an eloquent interview to Esquire magazine where he stated, “”What the [expletive]? Everything he’s saying’s on the teleprompter…I’m blacker than Barack Obama. I shined shoes. I grew up in a five-room apartment. My father had a little Laundromat in a black community not far from where we lived. I saw it all growing up.”

Silly, President Obama! Learning to read? Not breaking the law? With all the media attention going to Obama’s presidential campaign, subsequent win and later Nobel Peace Prize foray, we Americans completely missed Blagojevich’s struggle from the streets – a riveting story of redemption.

The lesson here, kiddos, is that A) White people think the equation for “blackness” has something to do with shining shoes and owning a Laundromat, and B) Becoming a crooked politician is a worthy goal to be attained if you’re living in the hood.

Blagojevich later apologized, calling the comment “stupid, stupid, stupid” and noting that he MEANT to criticize Obama’s high-falutin’ focus on upper-class echelons and lack of concern for the streets. And with heart warmed by his good intentions, I will forgive dear Rod once again for his lack of foresight and quasi-racist-stereotypic-overtones. What can I say? He makes me laugh. And that’s important.

Intro to Exquisite Writing


PUBLISHED AUTHOR/ENGLISH PROFESSOR: Okay, so here’s an easy exercise you can use to work on writing better stories.

GIRL SITTING NEXT TO ME [muttering]: He thinks he’s sooo cool, Mr. Published Author.

PROFESSOR: …Take this sentence and fill in the blanks: “The best thing that ever happened to me was __________, BUT __________.”


PROFESSOR: Okay, let’s try it! Go!Classroom


PROFESSOR: Let’s hear what everybody wrote! [To girl in front row:] We’ll start with you.

TIMID GIRL WITH PONYTAIL: The best thing that ever happened to me… was learning to ride a bicycle… but then I fell off of it.


PROFESSOR: Okay, that’s a good start. Next.

SMALL FRESHMAN BOY WEARING BEANIE: The effervescence of the ocean… calling to me like ethereal sirens… the azure folds of the waves… my love awaits me on the shore…

PROFESSOR: …….Um, okay, very poetic.


HIPSTER IN FRONT OF ME: The best thing that ever happened to me was getting sick. But then I didn’t die.


HIPSTER: Just kidding.


ME: Um, the best thing that ever happened to me was when I learned to read minds. But, little did I know, this enabled other people to read my mind, too.

PROFESSOR: Hmm, sounds like a sci-fi novel in the works.


ME: Fuck off, it’s your turn.

GIRL SITTING NEXT TO ME: The best thing that EVER happened to me was meeting my BOYFRIEND!






RICH KID WEARING HOLLISTER: The best thing that ever happened to me was winning the lottery, but then I spent it all.



GUY WITH LARGE BEARD: The best thing that ever happened to me was learning to play the guitar, but then it messed up my fingers and made me BLEED HEAVY METAL GLORY.

GIRL WITH LARGE GLASSES: The best thing that ever happened to me was when I figured out I was gay. I was at a sleepover, you see, and this girl climbed on top of me–