Tagged: @annmsinger

Soccer player leaves racism on the field

By Ann Singer, Staff Writer
@annmsinger

Screenshot of Twitter search for #noalracismo illustrates the support Alves has received. Taken on April 30, 2014.

Screenshot of Twitter photo search for #noalracismo illustrates the support Alves has received. Taken on April 30, 2014.

When life throws racist innuendos in the form of bananas your way, what do you do? Barcelona’s Dani Alves picked it up and immediately took a bite during a soccer match at Villarreal last Sunday.

Alves is a Brazilian, playing for Barcelona. Evidently, someone in the stands didn’t appreciate Alves’ presence. At the time, he was about to take a corner kick when the banana flew from the stands and landed at his feet. With no hesitation, Alves picked up the banana, took a bite, and proceeded to go through with the kick.

In the past, racism has been dealt with by walking off the field, like then AC Milan’s Kevin Prince-Boateng in 2013. However, utilizing humor to belittle the culprits while still bringing attention to the problem has appeared to be a better option.

After the match, Alves posted a clip of the incident on Instagram with a caption joking about how his father always told him to eat bananas to prevent cramps.

He later told reporters, “We have suffered this in Spain for some time. You have to take it with a dose of humor. We aren’t going to change things easily. If you don’t give it importance, they don’t achieve their objective.”

Justice was served when Barcelona won 3-2. Also, Villarreal located the perpetrator and withdrew his membership as well as banning him from the El Madrigal Stadium for life, stating the club “deeply regrets” what happened.

The world was quick to stand in support behind Alves. His teammates, as well as fans and celebrities, sent tweets of praise as well as pictures of themselves with bananas, using hashtags such as #noalracismo and #weareallmonkeys. Even the president of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association tweeted, “What @DaniAlvesD2 tolerated last night is an outrage. We must fight all forms of discrimination united. Will be zero tolerance at WorldCup.”

Still, racism is a problem in the world of soccer. CNN reported that not many Spanish authorities or media have addressed the incident, saying this sort of behavior is not accepted but tolerated as part of the game. Let’s learn this lesson Alves imparted with his phenomenal response and do our bit to end the ridiculous reality that is racism.

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Lol Thursday: Brozen, a love story

By Ann Singer, Staff Writer
@annmsinger

What do you get when you put together two good-looking athletes and a rendition of a “Frozen”song? Over one million views on YouTube of course!

Matt Kilby and Brad Borosak, both US Navy baseball players, released a video of them lip-syncing to the song “Love is an Open Door,” which has gone completely viral, garnering the attention of Good Morning America on ABC. Even celebrities like Zooey Deschanel have shared the video on social media.

In the video the two men perfectly lip-sync every line, getting the timing down perfectly. Matt Kilby syncs to Kristen Bell’s character Anna, and Brad Borosak plays Santino Fontana’s character Hans. The two men somehow get every emotion, every croon and affectionate side-glance right on, making this performance so much more adorable than any other “Frozen” rendition on the Internet (and there are are a lot of those floating around).

The video came to be because of the crush Kilby and Borosak share of one of the characters in the movie: Elsa. When trying to expose a fellow friend to the phenomenon that is “Frozen,” Kilby came up with the hashtag “Brozen,” as in bros who watch Frozen, and the video was born.

The video was originally shared just between teammates and Facebook fans, but with some urging the men shared it with the public, much to tremendous approval. See for yourself how two men who serve our country and play ball have shared their other talents. Enjoy!

LOLThursday: Worst “Wheel of Fortune” contestant makes viewers cringe

By Ann Singer, Staff Writer
@annmsinger

Is it possible to be one of the worst “Wheel of Fortune” contestants ever while bringing shame to all college kids around the nation?

Julian Batts, a freshman and honors student at Indiana University, achieved this feat during the College Week episode of the show. He managed to miss three easy puzzles, which his neighbor Shelby seemed to pick up right away.

You would think that after a lifetime of schooling one would know how to pronounce the name of the well-known mythical figure “Achilles,” yet even with the completed puzzle right in front of him, Julian managed to butcher it, costing him one million dollars.

His second slip-up was slightly more understandable, even though he was only missing two letters. But by the third round, he was definitely thinking way too hard and this time it cost him a car.

Pat Sajak is an absolute doll throughout, giving Julian the old uncle-who-chuckles-at-your-stupidity shtick.

Nevertheless, Julian still managed to go home with $11,700 and advance to the bonus round of College Week. He told the Indianapolis Star on Monday that he blamed his mistakes on nerves and adrenaline and that he still went home as the champion of the episode.

Anyway, his mistakes still make me laugh. Take a look:

Nine-month-old charged with attempted murder in Pakistan

By Ann Singer, Staff Writer
@annmsinger

For most of us, life as a nine month old consisted of crawling around and learning that ‘no’ really meant no. This is no different for little Musa Khan, hailing from the slums of Lahore, Pakistan. Well, except that he was also charged with attempted murder.

Wait, what? Can this be true?

I’m afraid to admit that something so absurd like this can actually happen. Most news outlets are reporting that bill collectors came to the Khan home to collect money or turn off their gas. The family opposed this, though it’s not clear whether they did so peacefully or by stoning (as the police report in question states). Family members, including Musa, were then charged with attempting to murder the gas company workers and the police, and were booked and fingerprinted.

Pakistani lawyers say it is common for whole families to be punished in an incident, just one example of how the corrupt criminal justice system, full of underpaid and incompetent workers, functions.

Pakistan has a penal code that states children under the age of seven cannot be considered to have committed a criminal offense. Yet, Musa was only granted bail and now he and his whole family are in hiding due to pressure from the police.

It’s clear that the police system desperately requires reform, a general consensus by everyone from the Khan family lawyer to Shaukat Javed, the former Punjab police chief.

Because of the growing attention to the case, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has demanded the police suspend the officer who filed the report and open an investigation into the incident. Nevertheless, the Pakistani police force still has a long ways to go before it can be considered legitimate and fair.

Check out the video below:

LOLThursday: “How I Met Your Mother” meets “Les Mis”

By Ann Singer, Staff Writer
@annmsinger

What do “How I Met Your Mother” and “Les Misérables” have in common? Jason Segel and Neil Patrick Harris of course!

In an episode of “Inside the Actors Studio” with the cast of HIMYM, an audience member asked Segel and Harris to reenact the song “Confrontation” in honor of the musical’s return to Broadway this past month.

In case you didn’t already know, HIMYM is a sitcom about five friends living it up in New York City. The show surrounds the narrator, Ted Mosby and his future self telling his kids how he met their mother.

Since its premier in 2005, the show has gathered a loyal crowd and just recently aired the season finale on March 31 to mixed reviews.

Even after a failed 2006 revival of the play, and the 2012 Oscar-nominated film, however, producer Cameron Mackintosh hoped the “Les Mis” brand has not been overused so much that it would discourage people to come see a new live version.

But Segal and Harris have no problem bringing the classic to life in a truly entertaining, hilarious way.

As Alyson Hannigan (who plays Lily in the show) points out in the video, it’s been a long time since they last performed the song on the “The Megan Mullally Show” in 2006. Nevertheless, previously claiming it a song they love and frequent often, Segel and Harris didn’t hesitate a moment before diving right into the roles of Jean Valjean and Javert.

Halfway though, Cobie Smulders (who plays Robin in the show), who was sitting between the two, had to move out of the way and out of the intensity.

BU’s first spirit week is a promising start for school pride

By Ann Singer and Katrina Uy, Staff Writers
@annmsinger @katreenz

Quiz time for Mr. and Ms. BU contestants./ PHOTO BY Katrina Uy

Quiz time for Mr. and Ms. BU contestants./ PHOTO BY Katrina Uy

Boston University’s first spirit week took over campus last week, offering a wide array of activities including Residence Hall Association (RHA) carnival events, a pep rally and lacrosse game  and a Mr. and Mrs. BU pageant.

The RHA hosted a carnival on Thursday that consisted of nine separate events such as: pie your RA, mini golf, and popcorn and Polaroids, among others. The events were meant to foster a greater sense of community on campus and encourage school spirit throughout.

Some, like Gonzalo Zeballos, vice president of the South Campus RHA and host of the free henna and Ben & Jerry’s portion of the carnival, felt a need for such activities.

“…as you know, in BU there is not a lot of cohesion in terms of community,” said Zeballos. “We thought this was going to help people be more excited, and at the same time we serve as an envoy to tell other people what is happening because it’s really hard to get everyone at BU to know what is going on, when something is happening or not…we really want this to be a thing that’s going to increase more awareness and get bigger every year.”

Spreading the treats and the message quickly, RHA ran out of ice cream way before its scheduled end, revealing a general sense of good spirit and camaraderie.

Down the street at Warren Towers the Spring clothing swap was another event designed to boost school spirit. Residents were asked to donate clothes and for every article of clothing donated a ticket was earned to get a different article of clothing at the swap.

“I think it’s a really nice way to donate clothes for each other and for organizations like Goodwill,” said Joy Wang of the Warren Towers’ RHA. “I think [Spirit Week] is helping…You don’t have to be living in that certain place to go, and so you can get to know other people, and that’s a way to spread the spirit of BU,” said Wang.

Despite the low turnout, with about 10 people in the room at a time, those who showed up co-mingled and seemed to have had a good time.

The week’s festivities culminated with the Mr. & Ms. BU pageant on Friday night, held at the Jacob Sleeper Auditorium inside the College of General Studies (CGS). Couples from a participating colleges and student groups competed in a multitude of games, including a trivia game about Boston and a blind taste test hosted by BU’s Dining Services, as the audience cheered them on.

The night was all about fun and friendly competition, adding to the overall atmosphere of school pride. It was also the first year the Mr. and Ms. BU competition involved student clubs, instead of just school representatives.

“It was really fun, and it was my first time going to an event like this, where there was a lot of school spirit,” said Alejandra Cambonchi, a junior in the College of Engineering.

Monica Weitekamp, a junior in the College of Engineering, added, “I thought the skits at the end were really great, and I wasn’t surprised at all by the turnout at the event or the amount of spirit everyone had.”

The night ended with Bryan Cosca (ENG ’14) and Trisha Serquina (ENG ’15) of the BU Filipino Student Association winning the title of Mr. & Ms. BU 2014, with Cory Azmon and Sarah Jasper from the School of Education (SED) as runners up.

Even though a majority of students didn’t know what Spirit Week was, localized events like the Spring clothing swap and larger events like the Mr. and Mrs. BU pageant helped spread the word and change things little by little. Overall, it was a good start to foster school spirit.

Are video games actually linked to aggression and racism?

By Ann Singer, Staff Writer
@annmsinger

Just how much do video games affect us?/ PHOTO BY Ann Singer

Just how much do video games affect us?/ PHOTO BY Ann Singer

Here we go again: a new scientist, a new study, and a not so new debate has caught the world’s attention. Scientist Craig Anderson, director for the study of violence at Iowa State University, recently published a study about the link between violent media exposure and aggression in children.

His team followed over 3,000 children in the third, fourth, seventh and eighth grades for two years and asked questions measuring aggressive behavior. The team found that children who play violent video games for an extended time displayed an allowance and propensity towards hostile behavior.

So, kids who see and partake in violence become aggressive? What a novel idea!

But really, was this something that time and money needed to be spent on to figure out? In 2013 when President Obama called for an increase in research on violent video games and violent behavior, did he mean this?

Of course violent video games desensitize to an extent, making someone a bit more aggressive. However, this aggressiveness does not equate to murderous tendencies. What research really needs to focus on is the role of violent media and the tipping point between aggressive behaviors and violent behaviors, a link that very well may not exist and is moreover influenced by personal matters of home or mental illness.

There have been a myriad of other studies that try to pinpoint the criminality of violent video games. One study tried to show how high-stress gaming situations lead to higher sensitivity, or how they help suppress empathetic feelings, or even how they promote racism.

In terms of empathy, Anderson and his team found no evidence of such a connection. According to an earlier lab-based study, whether someone was in the group who played violent video games or non-violent ones, they were equally likely to help the scientist pick up a dropped pen.

A recent study done by Ohio State University shows how picking avatars of different races affected the gamer’s stereotype of that race, proven through the Implicit Association Test (which basically tests subconscious racist tendencies). But this study was done only through a few select games and situations. Yes, some games may have racism laced in, but this problem extends far beyond the virtual world.

Today about 90 percent of children play video games, and over 90% of these games involve mature content like violence. If violent video games lead to violence in real life, shouldn’t there be an upward trend of violence to go with this data? Research shows there has been no increase in real-life violence, especially in adolescents where the target of these inquiries lies.

People will never cease to ask questions, target, and study the impact of violent media in connection to violent behavior. Yet, maybe it’s time to let go of this search for excuses and focus more on the known, direct causes for violence and work to fix the problem itself.

‘Bestie’ and ‘DIYer’ make the Oxford English Dictionary’s list of new words

By Ann Singer, Staff Writer
@annmsinger

Should words like "bestie" and "selfie" really be included in accepted language?/ PHOTO BY Ann Singer

Should words like “bestie” and “selfie” really be included in accepted language?/ PHOTO BY Ann Singer

Language is always evolving, accommodating for changes in culture and behavior. Ridiculous at first, new words seem to pop up every week, creeping their way into our daily vernacular. Yet it isn’t until a word is officially entered into a dictionary that the word is deemed acceptable for formal use.

A new list of about 900 terms has been added to or updated in the Oxford English Dictionary just this past week. As if past additions of words like “twerk” or “selfie” didn’t indicate where the evolution of language is headed, this list has some contributions that are sure to raise some eyebrows.

Some examples include bathroom break, beatboxer, bestie, DIYer, do-over, sciency, and the verb form of toilet paper.

While some additions seem necessary to support our current lexicon, controversy arises over whether entries like bestie or the variations of the c-word really exemplify proper English. Many claim that these are just slang and are not appropriate words to enter into a formal dictionary.

However, throughout history we see the continuous cycle of one word morphing into a similar word, which then becomes a standard part of our language.

One common example we use everyday is the greeting bye.  According to dictionary.com, The word originated from the phrase God be with ye, which was then abbreviated to godbwye, after which good (possibly in association with the phrase good day) substituted God to become good-bye, which now has shortened to just bye.

The entries of these controversial words do not necessarily imply our culture is deteriorating intellectually. Rather, it can mean we are simply entering a new phase in history.

One of the most prominent ways to recognize this shift is through the recent competition by Scrabble to let fans choose the first word to be added to the official dictionary. The official Scrabble dictionary is only updated once or twice a decade, so to make an event of it Hasbro invited fans to nominate words via Facebook.

Some of the first words suggested by Hasbro makers themselves were selfie (nine points) and hashtag (14 points). I think of Scrabble as a sort of academic game , so seeing the makers of the game themselves suggesting new additions like selfie only fortifies the new direction the English language is headed.

Whether this direction is a downward spiral to the death of the English language, or just a different phase and generation in time is a relative matter of perspective.

Arizona Bill Promotes Discrimination for All

By Ann Singer, Staff Writer
@annmsinger

Arizona bill would have allowed further discrimination./ PHOTO BY Ann Singer

Arizona bill would have allowed further discrimination./ PHOTO BY Ann Singer

Arizona governor Jan Brewer vetoed SB 1062, a bill commonly known as “that Arizona anti-gay bill,” last week against the desires of conservative Christian activists, her main supporters. The bill would have allowed businesses to deny services to the LGBT community based on religious beliefs.

Amid all the hype, have people bothered to look at the actual bill to see what makes it anti-gay? Compared to most legislation, which spends hundreds of pages explaining itself, SB 1062 was a whopping two pages with not one mention of the LGBT community. The bill uses the term “person,” defining it as “any individual, association, partnership, corporation, church, religious assembly or institution, estate, trust, foundation or other legal entity.”

Whether heterosexual or homosexual, black or white, Christian or atheist, the vague wording of this bill implies that anyone can be legally denied a service using the scapegoat of religious beliefs.

This also means the bill would’ve made it okay for conservative Christians, the main proponents of the bill, to discriminate against other Christians, i.e. Catholics against Protestants, Baptists against Latter Day Saints. This wasn’t the original goal of the bill, but it’s the kind of turmoil that could happen if it did.

Besides, religion should not be used as an excuse to discriminate. Religious texts, however they phrase it, emphasize tolerance and loving others. No matter what your beliefs are, in the end we are all human beings struggling and striving for the same basic goals, and as human beings we know some things — no matter our skin color, sexuality, or beliefs — are fundamentally wrong.

They say history repeats itself. Looking back, Americans used religion to support slavery and segregation. As a nation we grew out of that, and maybe we can grow out of this too. Religion is supposed to not only be a belief base, but a source to teach moralistic values, so why should such a thing be used to back such an ugly entity that is discrimination?

One of the founding ideals that America and democracy are built upon is the freedom to worship. But this freedom works both ways, and worship shouldn’t infringe upon the rights and freedoms of others. One of the most beautiful parts of this nation is the ability to think and do what you want; but there is a limit to this. You can do what you want, until it negatively affects others. The proponents of SB 1062 did not take careful enough consideration of their prose and their intentions, which led to the demise of this discriminatory bill.

Disney: The Ultimate (Pricey) Vacation

By Ann Singer, Staff Writer
@annmsinger

You can spend a day at the Happiest Place on earth for $99

You can spend a day at the Happiest Place on earth for $99/ PHOTO BY Heather Goldin

Disney’s Magic Kingdom, the most expensive Disney theme park, raised their one-day ticket prices up to $99 — a $4 increase — on February 23. Prices for Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios also increased by $4, now $94 for a day of entertainment.

With such a price hike coupled with the economic instability many people have been facing, one of America’s favorite vacation destinations seems to be in a precarious position.

However, according to the Walt Disney Company’s reported earnings, there was a 9 percent increase in revenue in the last quarter of 2013 compared to the equivalent in 2012. Every year Disney raises ticket prices, and every year revenue continues to increase. It’s basic business: as long as people are willing to pay, Disney will continue to increase its prices.

So what makes this specific vacation destination so special, enough to spend absurd amounts of money on, especially for young children? Is it even worth the time and money?

The myriad of families that make the annual trek to Disney can agree that the trip isn’t about how much money it costs, or even if their three-year-old will remember anything; it is about being able to enjoy the present moment as a fun bonding experience. For most, Disney is the classic American family vacation.

While this “carpe diem” attitude can be admirable, there are other factors to consider when it comes down to the choice of to Disney or not.

Of course the most obvious consideration is money. Even though Disney does offer multi-day passes that decrease the cost of daily visits, factor in costs like food and a place to stay, and the bill treacherously adds up.

Also, as much as the whole enjoy-the-moment argument is an idealization, when it comes down to the economic reality I would want to remember what I did. So when considering taking little kids to Disney on a regular basis, it may not be the most fiscally-responsible idea. Besides, the more rarely the opportunity presents itself, the more special it is when it happens.

Another consideration is that there is a whole world to explore, much of it family-friendly without being a Disney park. By making a trip to Disney a routine vacation, it deprives children of being exposed to all the other possible vacations available, ranging from camping to road trips to exploring attractions in an unfamiliar city.

Growing up I never got to go to Disney regularly (or even at all), and I remember sulking about it every time a classmate came back with a tan and tales of rides and hugging a life-sized Mickey Mouse. But looking back I am glad that I had other opportunities to go to so many other places for vacations, and eventually when I did get to go to Disney, I was old enough to really enjoy it, and that made the trip that much more exciting.