Saturday, September 30


I've heard friends complain that other friends change after they've been in a serious relationship for a while. I'm not sure why. Perhaps they believe that their friend is changing to better suit their partner. They've been in the relationship so long that they will undertake anything to perpuate its existence because they don't know what they would do without the other. Again, I don't know. These are mere possibilities.

My perspective is a bit different. If that person is better than you, can make you better, you change, no questions ask. Why hold onto an inferior identity and character when one can improve?

Of course, this is all dependent upon the other person being a good one. Should they not be so good, you change them or get out of there.

Thursday, September 28

Reflections on student newspapers making a bad thing worse

This is what happens when Chris' staff editorial gets shot down during the staff meeting. It gets posted here. Sure the audience is infinitesimally smaller, but, at least, his name is more apparent. Enjoy.

So it happened again. A newspaper dropped the ball. Shoddy editing led to the printing of factual errors. It was not the first time something of the sort has ever happened, and no one but a fool would believe it to be the last time. Mistakes happen to all manner of news organizations, at every conceivable level. It’s not hard to think of cases where national publications were forced to fire reporters and editors and publishing fabrications, and, just last week, our own Gonzaga Bulletin corrected errors in a front page story, and ran a letter to the editor identifying errors in another article. Still, this particular case is of interest because The Daily Illini simply gave up.

In a staff editorial berating the athletic department for not treating students fairly in regard to ticket distribution for a basketball game three egregious errors were made. The next day a correction and apology were run, both very appropriate, and that, short of being a poignant memory of what happens when fact checking is neglected, should have been the end of it. However, another editorial appeared the day after and, claiming those mistakes as merely the most recent in a long series, declared that the appearance of staff editorials on its Opinion page would be ended for “a couple of weeks.”

The editorial board of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s student newspaper, an award-winning production that began in 1874 and distributes over 20 thousand copies a day, failed to meet one of the most basic journalistic standards: getting its facts straight. Rather than resolve to confront the issue the next day with editors operating under the reminder of their recent failure, it preferred to remove itself from the public eye under the cover of re-evaluating the system under which the editorials are chosen, written and edited.

Cocaine addled celebrities run and hide. They have no obligations beyond providing entertainment, though stories of their recoveries or devastating descents back into drug use can still prove amusing for those who read People or Us Weekly. Newspapers, however, have a duty to the public and cannot back down from it.

In the editorial board’s last submission to its opinion pages for the foreseeable future, it called the newspaper editorial “a sacred institution” for offering “insight on issues, events and problems relevant to the community.” Now The Daily Illini has forsaken this status, not through its factual errors but through its refusal to meet the problem the next day.
Avoiding blunders like these are simple to those with the mildest understanding of journalism: make sure the editors do their job. I can sympathize with their failure in this instance. People get tired, focus on the wrong things or, more commonly, assume that the person who checked the story before them knew what they were doing and took care of the big problems.

Mistakes are excusable and remedied by apologies and notes under the heading “Correction.” Giving up is not.

Sunday, September 17


Conflict and its appearance in friendship made an interesting appearance in my daily life today. A friend came passed through the room, and I commented upon her bright red arm. I pointed out that there was ice in the freezer, and it would likely speed in the recovery of her sunburn. A second friend said you ought (okay, ought wasn't used, but i like the sound of it) never place ice on a sunburn. Memory gets a little imprecise here, but I believe I granted the point that ice should not straight up be placed on bare skin but maintained that putting some paper towels in between would still do fine. The friend countered that ice was a bad idea, you should only use aloe or cold water to heal a sunburn. We might have reiterated both of these points for a few rounds, but I eventually changed tacs. I had never used ice to heal my numerous sunburns but frequently utilized a cold gel pack. Perhaps we could compromise on that but no. I suggested using a cold gel pack, and she said it was only good for bruises. Finally I said that was what I put on all my sunburns, and the conversation just dropped into an awkward silence at that point and died. The friend with a sunburn had long since left.

I find it funny because, looking back, it seems as though that disagreement could have held much greater consequences than the yelling matches I get into with another friend on whether or not the ends justify the means or the means justify the ends (my position). Do practical disagreements carry more weight than theoretical? It appears so, at least in this case. You could bring up our current war on terror and how its between two opposing ideologies, but I sincerely doubt that the current situation would persist if there weren't certain economic problems behind them. Something to think on.

Monday, September 11


One of the more intersting things about picking up a Dance minor on a whim, besides the kudos from those shocked you would do something like that, especially when you have never seen a ballet and the only thing you have bordering on experience in dancing is Dance Dance Revolution, is the variety of classes you take. Well, in terms that all of the Dance related classes (Tai Chi, Sacred Dance and Ballet) I'm taking this semester involve movement, they aren't that different. It's in the theory that such stark and interesting divisions arise. In Tai Chi we're suppposed to feel our chi, feel it rise up from the earth and circulate through a spot three fingers below the navel. That's on Tuesday and Thursday mornings while Sacred Dance is held about ten hours later, and we're supposed to feel God's presence as if God were looking over your shoulder, asking "Can I step in?"

Why do I have to feel these semi-cosmic (or straight up cosmic with regards to God) forces? Can I categorize my motions such that I only feel them in the appropriate settings? What if I start feeling my chi in Sacred Dance and God in Tai Chi? What then? Or maybe I should merely focus on developing an awareness of one in all my activities. Freak. It's irritating when your instructors are working at cross-purposes like this.

Monday and Wednesday Ballet mornings are almost a relief when you only have to concentrate on your form and not worry about feeling these forces beyond yourself. Of course, Ballet is much more quantifiable than the other two, so someone can say, "You suck. I mean really suck. You make a vacuum look like a leaf blower. That's how much you suck,' and you can't really contest them.