Archive for April, 2010

Good-Bye CSC Editorial

April 26, 2010

Wow. How does four years flash by quicker than the speed of sound? I feel like it was just yesterday that I was just coming into Colby-Sawyer as a scared (and I do mean scared) first year student. Not knowing what to expect or what college life was going to bring. And let me just say it has far exceed any expectation I had in my mind.

I have so many memories of my time here at CSC; places I have gotten to go and the people I have met along the way who have shaped me into who I am. I will never forget the time Hester Fuller and David Reed took a bunch of us Communications Studies students down to Boston for the 2007 Red Sox rally. I remember watching the game in my room, hoping, just hoping the sox could beat the odds again and pull off another World Series win. When they did the campus erupted into cheers and laughter. This is “Red Sox Nation” after all.

But heading down to the rally was the first real world application of my Colby-Sawyer learning. With Maranz Kit in hand I took to the streets and interviewed bystanders all out to share in a common experience. I remember one guy who came to the rally to share the moment with his grandson. He proved it really is all about the little moments in life; the ones that mean the most.

My other memorable off campus moment was the life-changing trip to New York City last year with donna berghorn. Life-changing because the conference hit me like a brick over the head and made me step-up my journalist credibility at The Courier. Being amongst minds that shared a common passion for journalism awakened a fire within me I did not even know was there. Plus, I got to visit one of the greatest cities in America. That weekend will never be lost on me.

But I really want to take a moment and thank Colby-Sawyer for these past four years. Whether it was my roommate struggles and room flooding freshman year or my achievement award senior year, Colby-Sawyer has been there each step of the way to foster my growth as an individual.

Before coming to CSC, I had always been a news junkie. Breaking News has always been a passion of mine (second only to Country Music). But coming here took that to the next level. Through the journalism classes and Visions of Nature with Ann Page Stecker, I developed an intense curiosity about the inner-workings of the world. I have grown smarter about going green and the importance of eating locally grown food.

I have grown in ways I do not even think I fully understand or know yet. My professors have pushed me to limits I did not believe were possible and allowed me to become the ideal version of myself.

We all make mistakes and have bumps in the road but it is our ability to pick ourselves back up and keep going that makes us stronger. When the going gets tough, embrace it. Or in the words of my grandfather, “when the going gets tough go to the dump.”

It is in those moments that we are taught the greatest lessons not just about life but about ourselves as people. Tough moments bring us all that much closer to understanding the human condition.

In reflecting back over my time at Colby-Sawyer, I have come to understand something so fundamentally that it has become a mark for how I live my life: Once you become comfortable, it’s time to change things up.

It is in those moments of comfortableness that the mind stops exercising and the body goes stale. Routine is a wonderful tool for nurturing stabilization in our lives but we cannot let routine define us. Once we become our routine, it is as if we stop living and worse, stop growing. I never want to reach a place within my existence on earth where I stop growing.

There is always something new to learn, place to discover, or idea to grapple with. The beauty of life is that it is ever changing.

College only lasts four years for a reason. It is the gateway to expanding upon knowledge gained both in and outside the classroom. And what we do with that knowledge defines us.

Thank you Colby-Sawyer for being the gateway to expanding my knowledge and increasing my awareness about the world around me. I was always meant to come here and while I may not fully know the reason now, it will surely reveal itself down the road.

To all the professors who have taught me in their classes; I will never be able to thank you enough for all you’ve given to me. It has been said that the greatest gift of being a teacher is the ability to make a difference in the lives of the students they have taught. You have certainly made a difference in mine. While there are far too many professors to list; you all know who you are.

Rock on into the future Colby-Sawyer. You are an amazing institution, and now it is time to impact another life. Make the most of the new Windy Hill school and start a campus-wide conversation when The Courier goes digital under the direction of amber cronin next year.

No matter what happens I will be watching, and keeping up with the college that molded me into the person I was always meant to be.

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Grey’s Anatomy

April 26, 2010

Hit television program Grey’s Anatomy has risen above its soapy backdrop to become a cultural phenomenon. In the six seasons that it has been on the air, the show has kept viewers coming back for more week after week as the tale of interns turned residences at fictional Seattle Grace Hospital go about their busy lives and have more sex in the on-call room than most people in a whole career in the porn industry. It seems that by now, each character has hooked up with each other thus igniting passionate debate among legions of loyal fans.

Relative newcomer Ellen Pompeo, previously seen in Catch Me if you Can, plays Meredith Grey, the title character and protagonist. A dark and twisty off-spring of brilliant surgeon Ellis Grey, her mom had a decade’s long affair with Meredith’s now boss (and chief of surgery) Richard Webber. Their relationship proves testy as Webber tries to act as a father figure to the damaged intern while trying not to cross professional bounds.

The core of the show centers on the love affair between Ms. Grey and neurosurgeon Derek Shepherd, known by his mick-name “McDreamy.” The sexy TV couple has been the benchmark for love on a primetime drama since their debut in the spring of 2005. Viewers were there for each break-up, make-up, and eventual “wedding.”

 By no means revolutionary or any bit forward thinking, Grey’s Anatomy does little to tie current events into the plot-lines. An escapist drama, Anatomy acts more as a mind-numbing hour of television than a gripping ripped from the headlines type of show. And as viewers will attest, they like the show just as it is.

Unfortunately for its own merit, the show adds little to the hospital drama, a tired brand of television that seems in overdrive. When compared to shows such as House, M.D. or John Well’s ER, Anatomy lacks in major depth and feels more like a romantic comedy than a serious medical drama. Targeted at women ages 18-24, the show serves its purpose but would you want those doctors taking care of you? I think not.

Much too how it may appear now, Grey’s Anatomy began as one of the freshest TV shows to come along in quite a while. Paired with ABC’s equally buzz-worthy Desperate Housewives and debuting in the spring of the 2004-2005 TV season, Anatomy more than held its own in the Sunday night 10:00pm time-slot. Season one brought strong interesting plot-lines and the kind of characters David Mamet feels all writers should strive to create. The addition of Kate Walsh, previously seen in Under the Tucson Sun as fellow Grey’s star Sandra Oh’s lover, as Derek’s wife Addison Forbes-Montgomery brought the show the missing dimension it needed and also a touch of irony. While hated upon first arrival, Dr. Montgomery quickly became a fan favorite and garnered a spin-off in 2007 entitled Private Practice.

The sad part of Anatomy is the downward spiral in quality after the first two seasons. Creator Shondra Rhimes took what was once a work of pop-culture art and turned it into a joke. The addition of multiple characters a season has caused Anatomy to have a higher inflation rate than the U.S. Government. With way too many storylines for the writers to keep track of, later seasons suffer from a lack of focus and downright tiredness. When characters George (played by openly gay actor T.R. Knight) and Izzie (ego-maniac Katherine Heigl) began their love-affair (“Gizzie” anyone?) late in season three, it left the fans a little more than outraged. Simply put the story line did not work and brought together two characters in a romantic setting who had, at best, a brother-sister relationship. The writers even acknowledged when the story-line fell apart “under the weight of its own absurdity”.  

In the mist of the fog, bright moments do shine through. Over all six seasons, the most consistent actor has been Oh. Formally seen on Arli$$, the story of a sports agent and his group of associates, which ran on HBO from 1996-2002, Oh has carved her nitch as no-nonsense Christina Yang. She is convincing in the role and so on point in each episode, it is baffling how Ms. Oh has not yet scored an Emmy for her work. In a sea of goldfish, she is the lone shark. Yes, Sandra Oh is that good. She makes it look so damn easy the viewer can easily loose sight of her talent. (Check out the scene in which she must declare her relationship with fellow Doctor Preston Burke, in front of the chief and his wife.)

As season six draws to a close, Ms. Rhimes promises a “game-changing” season finale. In a show known for producing garbage for most of the season and then finishing up with some of the best episodes of network television in years (last May’s finale, in which the lives of George and Izzie lay in the balance, was one of the show’s highlights), this is either going to be worth the wait or a sadly missed opportunity. Buy there in lies the problem. Who cares to wade through the crap even if the promise of a better future awaits?   

45th ACM Awards: Where’s the country?

April 21, 2010

I am not ashamed to admit my status as a country music purist. I may be 22 years old, but I’ve grown to love all facets of country music. It’s a wonderful genre filled with truth and songs depicting real life. Above all else, the artists are the most genuine people anywhere. The country music community is a giant family, afterall. I credit the Grand Ole Opry for helping to create that sense of community. It gave (and still gives) everyone the chance to come together in celebration for the music. You’ll be hard pressed to find the likes of Kayne West in country music.

While watching the 45th annual Academy of Country Music Awards Sunday (April 18, 2010) I felt a giant shift in the genre. Gone are the days of singers walking on stage, singing songs about real life, and putting heart and emotion into performances.  Country Music has officially lost touch with its roots and I fear there isn’t any turning back. Traditionalists stand little chance of making an impact in the genre in the future.

To categorise the award show as terrible would be putting it mildly. The opening number, a rocking rendition of “Traveling Band” featuring Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Brad Paisley, and Charlie Daniels singing with John Fogerty (the original singer of the song) was a mess. The performance was pointless, I cannot recall the last time John Fogerty scored a major country hit or how he is relevant to country music in 2010. The sound was far too loud and drowned out the vocals.

The performances that followed didn’t help matters much, every bad country song from the last year got rolled out one after another. To think that the disastrous “Hillbilly Bone” and beyond mediocre “That’s How Country Boys Roll” even rolled off of some dimwitted Nashville songwriter’s pen let alone topped the Billboard Country charts, gives insight into the intelligence level of the listening audience.

Nashville journalist Chet Flippo  asserted a few weeks ago, that music row is turning out records exces in Nashville don’t care to buy. When are we going to wake up and notice the identity crisis country music finds itself in?

The only link to the past throughout the night came a mere hour and forty some-odd minutes into the show. When Miranda Lambert sang “The House That Built Me,” she gave the kind of performance no one else was capable of giving that night. There wasn’t an electric guitar in sight, nor did Lambert rely on gimmicks  (i.e. gliding above the audience or jumping backwards into a pool of water). She just stood there and sang her song with more sincere conviction than anyone else in the room that night could muster on a dare. Is there even any question as to why she won Top Female Vocalist? Thank you Miranda, for taking three minutes to remind us all why we fell in love with country music all those years (or decades) ago.

The only other performer who justified their worth was Carrie Underwood. Her performance of “Temporary Home” felt awakward; like she rushed the melody a bit but she showcased every reason to rally behind her as the newest top female in country. I take serious issue when recapers refer to her as the newest “queen of country,” seeing as she isn’t in a position to earn that title yet.

The most polarizing moment during the show was Laura Bell Bundy performing “Giddy On Up.” This defines the notion of you either like it or you hate it. While I didn’t outright hate it, it lacked authenticity. Bundy’s theatre background (she was lead on Broadway in Legally Blond) gives her the edge in working an audience and taking control of the stage but the whole performance was contrived and fake. Something was missing in the connection between Bundy and the viewers. I don’t feel like I know her as a person and thus couldn’t find a way of relating to what she was doing. At least it was something different to shake up the night.

45th ACM Awards: Should/Will Win

April 14, 2010

Let’s hope a few of my “Will Win” predictions fail to come true (I’m looking at you, Vocal Event)

Should Win:

  • Entertainer of the Year: Keith Urban
  • Top Male Vocalist: Brad Paisley
  • Top Female Vocalist: Miranda Lambert
  • Top Vocal Group: Zac Brown Band
  • Top Vocal Duo: Joey + Rory
  • Top New Artist: Joey + Rory
  • Album: Revolution (Miranda Lambert)
  • Single Record: “White Liar” (Miranda Lambert)
  • Song: “Need You Now” (Lady Antebellum)
  • Video: “White Liar” (Miranda Lambert)
  • Vocal Event: “I Told You So” (Carrie Underwood Featuring Randy Travis)

Will Win:

  • Entertainer of the Year: Taylor Swift
  • Top Male Vocalist: Brad Paisley
  • Top Female Vocalist: Miranda Lambert
  • Top Vocal Group: Lady Antebellum
  • Top Vocal Duo: Sugarland
  • Top New Artist: Gloriana
  • Album: Revolution (Miranda Lambert)
  • Single Record: “Need You Now” (Lady Antebellum)
  • Song: “You Belong With Me” (Taylor Swift)
  • Video: “Need You Now” (Lady Antebellum)
  • Vocal Event: “Hillbilly Bone” (Blake Shelton Featuring Trace Adkins)

Honoring Traditional Country Music

April 13, 2010

Yah! Today is a good day for the recognition and preservation of traditional country music. Below is an article found on CMT.com. Anytime the history of country music is remembered and awarded is a good day, overall, for the genre:

Hank Williams is being posthumously awarded a special citation from the Pulitzer Prize Board. The honor was revealed Monday (April 12) in conjunction with the announcement of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize recipients in journalism, drama and music. The citation was determined following a private survey among experts of popular music. It notes Williams’ “craftsmanship as a songwriter” and his “pivotal role in transforming country music into a major musical and cultural force.” Williams died in 1953 at age 29. His songs have been recorded by hundreds of artists in a variety of genres. In recent years, the board has awarded several other special citations in music to Bob Dylan and jazz legends Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane.
 
 
Here is what Jim Fusilli had to say in an article posted April 14 in the Wall Street Journal :
 

By awarding Hank Williams a posthumous Special Citation, the Pulitzer Prize Board not only honors the singer-songwriter, but acknowledges the importance of traditional country music to contemporary American culture.

In Monday’s announcement, Sig Gissler, administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes, said, “The citation, above all, recognizes the lasting impact of Williams as a creative force that influenced a wide range of other musicians and performers.” The Pulitzer board put particular emphasis on William’s gifts as a composer, praising him for “his craftsmanship as a songwriter who expressed universal feelings with poignant simplicity and played a pivotal role in transforming country music into a major musical and cultural force in American life.”

No one who feels the power of a well-crafted song could quarrel with the Pulitzer board’s sentiment. In his lyrics, Williams, who died in 1953 at age 29, often combined a commercial sensibility with an understanding of human emotion, particularly heartache and loneliness. While his best-known pop tunes “Hey Good Lookin’” and “Jambalaya (On the Bayou)” are often rendered as lighthearted country-pop fare, Williams also wrote of the despair of the broken-hearted: “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” “I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still in Love with You),” “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” “You Win Again” and “Cold, Cold Heart” have been covered by scores of country, pop, blues and rock artists. Even his breeziest tunes like “Why Don’t You Love Me,” in which the singer laments, with a well-paced vocal hiccup, he “ain’t had no lovin’ like a huggin’ and a kissin’ in a long, long while,” Williams crafts the kind of plainspeak lyric that reveals his insight into the guilt that comes with some relationships: “I’m the same old trouble that you’ve always been through.”

Williams also wrote the country-gospel classic “I Saw the Light” and the rock-blues chestnut “Move it On Over.” No doubt, the titles alone bring to mind for fans of American popular music evoke performances of Williams’ songs. With his numerous contributions to the Great American Songbook, Williams serves as the bridge between traditional American folk music with roots in the South and the work of Bob Dylan, who earned a special citation from the Pulitzer board in 2008. (Other recipients of the citation include Thelonious Monk in ’06 and John Coltrane in ’07.)

The acknowledgement of Williams comes at a time when country music seems under assault from within, as its biggest stars promote glossy, cookie-cutter hybrid that owes more to pop than acoustic country and its writers have reduced to a litany of well-worn clichés the kind of lyrical insight Williams displayed. Though Williams was a star in his day who understood the power of image, at the core of his work was his ability to write and sing lines that resonated not only in the mind but deep in the heart of his listeners – which is why his songs so easily cross genres for other performers: His words speak of what we know to be true.

Taking Charge

April 9, 2010

IF YOU COULD TAKE CHARGE OF ONE THING IN YOUR LIFE WHAT WOULD IT BE?

What a great question. With graduation just a month away, the most obvious answer would be my future. This is the most exciting time in my life. I have everything ahead of me and the trick is to seize opportunities when they arise.

I was at a concert last evening and a student asked me about my plan for after graduation. When I told her I didn’t really have one she seemed relieved that “Jonathan Pappalardo” doesn’t have a plan in place yet for when he graduates. This separation between “Jonathan Pappalardo” and myself has happened more than I like to think about.

Students always tend to think of me as one way, this hard-working student who always does well on everything. I do get good grades but I don’t deserve this high pedestal. Sure, I got a 95 on Melissa Meade’s Mass Media mid-term last year but that was kind of a fluke. I’d really enjoy meeting this “Jonathan Pappalardo” that everyone believes I am. I’m no different from anyone else.

Anyway, the one thing I would take charge of is my future. I’ve seen a shift in my thinking over the last year moving away from mediocrity into the substantive. I love being exposed to new ideas, learning about people, and becoming smarter with regards to the world around me. Two months ago, I took to reading the New York Times on Sundays. I enjoy the Sunday Magazine the most and feel like my day isn’t complete until I’ve digested the content within it.

What Are You Hungry For?

Another wonderful question is, “What are you hungry for?” I am hungry for so many things. But mostly I am hungry for more. More realness in people and in the world and a deeper level of thinking about what is going on around me. I know for sure that as a nation we’ve overdosed ourselves on the celebrity culture and reality television and in turn dumbed ourselves to a low never before achieved.

I am very hungry to feed my brain with knowledge obtained from mature individuals who talk intelligently. I’ve had many aha moments while taking MB’s Writing About The Arts class this semester. He has forced me to challenge myself and grow as a thinker about arts and culture. Although I originally said this last summer, I have taken a vow never to waste my time anymore on crap movies. Life is too short to be pained by art.

I’m glad to be ending my college career in a month for one reason. I’ve had enough of learning through memorization. I am so sick of reading boring text books and cramming information into my brain so I can do well on an exam. I’ve done enough of that to know how unproductive it is. I want to learn for the sake of learning. I want to learn through exposure not through a text book. I want to hear different points of view and come in contact with people who live a different life than I.

I want to take classes and create life memories that change my view of the world.  I will forever being indebted to MB for opening the floodgates and providing examples of how it is possible to talk about culture in an intelligent way. I sort of had an idea that media criticism existed but he brought it to the forefront of my thinking. In four years of college, no other professor has successfully been able to accomplish that task.

COULD YOU USE A NEW POINT OF VIEW?

I’ve already answered this to a degree but a life goal of everyone on earth should be to seek out new points of view on a weekly basis. No one should live in a bubble. Imagine the kind of world we would have if everyone believed in their hearts that life didn’t exist beyond their bubble.

Reba McEnite posed the question, “Is There Life Out There/So Much I haven’t done/is their life beyond my family and my home?” Of course, there is life out there. Hell, there’s a whole world out there just waiting for you to take the leap and discover it.

I strongly believe that God creates moments in our lives that push us onto a new path whither we’re ready or not. A path that is as much exhilarating as scary. It’s in those moments that we get a second to reflect, not only on where we’ve come but where we’re going. Graduation is one of those such moments. It’s a force out of the comfortable and into the unknown.

I personally am looking forward to the end of eating in the dining hall. It has nothing to do with the quality of the food; that has gone up considerably with the new aim towards sustainability. But I find that eating in the dining hall is a road block from reality. The world isn’t about swiping a plastic card and having a dedicated staff cook for you three meals a day. While great, it’s dream land. Only when forced to find, cook, and clean up your own food do you get a true sense of what life is really about. Life is about making choices for yourself and living/dying by those said choices. NOT having someone cooking for you. I am thrilled Jaycee McCarthy has to cook all his own meals while abroad in Poland. He’s getting a true taste of the real world.

In short, yes I can always use new points of view. What is so wonderful about this melting pot of a country is that new views pop up all the time and teach us so many wonderful little tidbits about life. Even in Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book Committed (which my mom is reading), she is using marriage as a metaphor for the way to live ones life.

What I want is a renewed passion in learning. A curiosity about the world. Not just for myself but for everyone around me. Take a needle and pop the bubble you’re encased in and see what else is out there. The world is bigger than 16 and Pregnant and Jersey Shore.  

I cannot wait to travel and see more of the world. That’s where my future is going to take me. As much as I love New Hampshire and Massachusetts, it’s time to see other places and gain new experiences. I’ve had enough of snow to last me a good long while. I can go without brushing off my car every damn morning just to drive to the gym.

I’m ready for more. Bigger. New experiences. Hell I’m 22, I have my whole life ahead of me.

Colby-Sawyer Climate Action Plan: Let’s be the change we seek

April 1, 2010

I’m very proud to say I go to a college that cares so much about sustainability. After hearing a talk this morning from sustainability coordinator (and fabulous person) Jennifer White, I got to thinking about climate change and what Colby-Sawyer is doing to reduce carbon emissions.

I’m sad to say that I had no idea Colby-Sawyer had even made the “GreenROUTES Climate Action Plan for Colby-Sawyer College” as it’s called. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve known about GreenROUTES all along — I was, I believe, a first year student when the original plan was orchestrated but I was unaware of it being updated. This saddens me simply because it means the word has not yet been spread across campus of the plan’s existance. 

I have to admit, I have not yet had a chance to dive in and read the plan but I hope to do that within the coming days. I’ve sort of become passionate about these such causes especially food issues and become healthier (as demonstrated through the editorial I sent to the Concord Monitor). 

The big thing right now is the need to become aware. In a way that’s all we can ask of people. Awareness is the key to thinking and thinking leads to planning which leads, hopefully, to action. 

I’m excited to see where the 350 planning will go — I’m in the PR group which I believe to be the core of my passion. I love exposing people to new ideas and getting the word out about ideas that matter to our future as a world.  

I know we have a real opportunity here to do some good. Let’s be the change we seek. I’m getting pumped now!

Jen White asked us to post the climate action plan to our blogs — I’ve done so here. Now I have to stop looking like a hypocrate and actually read the document…well I got the first step down. I know it exists. That’s more than I can say for most people on this campus!