Category Archives: Columns

Student battles phone fears

By Grace Runkel
Features co-editor

I suffer from telephobia. I was not always like this; I used to love to talk on the phone when I was young. I was excited when my parents finally taught me phone etiquette. I also have many fond memories of myself playing office and constantly answering my imaginary phone.

However, somewhere along the line, probably in those terrible tween years, I developed my debilitating phobia of the phone; as well as mottephobia, but that is another story. So what is it that is so terrifying about the phone for me? It is a pretty long list, but I could probably sum it all up in three words: it is… awkward.

I am okay when I am talking with my mom during one of her many “I’m just checking up on you” calls. I can even handle when a friend calls about a homework assignment, but if the conversation goes over five minutes I start to freak out. What do I do if I run out of things to say?

This is the worst possible thing that could happen because either the callers make very lousy small talk about the weather or some other minute topic, or have a very awkward silence. I am not sure which of these situations are worse since both make it clear that no one has an actual desire to talk.

Even simply dialing the phone gives me goosebumps. I started dreading this part after my friend and I tried to call another friend, only the number we were given was not actually hers.

We dialed the number three times, and each time a man answered and we were too freaked out to say anything. Not long after, we received a very angry phone call.

Now whenever I dial a number I have to check it three to four times before I actually make the call. However, speed dial has become a very close friend to me.

However I am making an effort to overcome my fears. No, I have not taken therapy sessions, but I have started using the phone.

Instead of having a long, drawn-out conversation via texts, I try to call people when I need to tell them something. Rather than e-mailing someone to contact them, I will pick up the phone and leave them a message.

It is a slow healing process, but I believe if I stay on my path to recovery perhaps one day I will be normal. Well, more normal.

Columnist speaks out against abortion

Garret Receveur
Forum Editor

I am pro-life. Always have been, always will be. Abortion is one of the worst crimes any human being can commit, up there with genocide. The victim is defenseless and does not know what is happening. My stance on abortion puts me more on the conservative side of the political scale.

More often than not, I find myself cheering on the Republican in the presidential elections rather than the Democrat. I like to think that I have no affiliation with any political party, but this obvious bias for Republicans says otherwise.

Yet, I do not always agree with everything a Republican president does during his term(s), nor do I always disagree with the Democratic president’s policies.

Take June 20, 2007 for an example. On that day, former President George W. Bush issued a veto, which overruled a measure attempting to remove Bush’s ban on embryonic stem cell research. Until that day, I had supported almost all of Bush’s policies on multiple occasions. But this was not one of those times.

His presidency ended sourly over a year later, due to the worsening economy and his ultra-conservative policies, which even a Republican like me could not stand.

Then Barack Obama was elected president of the United States. Those who know me know that I detest Obama, his policies, and his idea of radical change. The numerous bailouts will not fix the economy; the Obama-care health plan is completely unnecessary and socialistic. But that is another column.

Recently, Obama has started to move onto my good side, despite his ultra-liberalism. Perhaps most important is his removal of the stem cell research ban, a monumental decision, up there with his removal of combat troops from the Middle East.

The two most recent presidents passed groundbreaking laws about stem cell research, both of their positions loosely defining their presidency. So what is it about embryonic stem cell research that makes, or breaks, a presidency?

Stem cells are unique cells that we are all born with. They have the ability to transform into any kind of cell the body needs, whether it be a heart cell, a brain cell, or even a simple skin cell.

This is big news for the medical community. Is grandpa dying from Alzheimer’s? Transform a couple stem cells into brain cells. Is he struggling with diabetes? Generate some pancreas cells. The possibilities are literally endless.

However, the best kind of stem cells to harvest can only be harvested from embryos. And this is where the controversy starts.

More often than not, the embryos are killed when scientists harvest the stem cells. At first glance, this is a premature form of abortion and my pro-life self should not support it in the least. Why then do I support it?

Abortion is the killing of a living being before it is born. But I do not consider an embryo a living being. A living being must have the ability to perform complex actions, including but not limited to motion, production of energy, and transport of that energy throughout the organism.

This criteria means that embryos are not alive until about the fifth week of pregnancy, which is the time their brain and heart start to function. Until then, I do not consider them alive. Therefore, feel free to harvest stem cells from them until we find a better way.

There is a group of scientists out there who are working on a way to convert adult skin cells into stem cells, but it has not produced the same versatility. That is the magic of embryonic stem cells. It can be easily transformed into any kind of cell in the human body. Once an organism is born, the cells pretty much stay the same type of cells throughout the organism’s lifespan.

The best time to harvest stem cells is before the fifth week of pregnancy. Think of all we as a species could accomplish with access to a ready supply of stem cells. Debilitating diseases like stroke or Alzheimer’s would be a distant memory. Paraplegics or victims of muscular dystrophy would gain full use of their limbs again.

With all the promise of this field of research, it makes little sense for one to restrict it. I am pro-life and have never been in support of killing an unborn child, but the promise of major medical advancements and ability for numerous people to pursue a life of happiness is too great. Sometimes, you have to be willing to sacrifice one life to save millions.

Violence and the good guys

By Danielle Rehor

We are all taught as small children that fighting is bad and not to punch your little sister in the nose. But what about the guys on TV? What about Sergeant Martin Riggs and Sergeant Roger Murtaugh from Lethal Weapon? It is acceptable for them to be violent because their victims are the bad guys?

As children, we are always told do not fight or argue with our siblings, parents, or friends. We must get along with others or else we are told we will have no friends. We are warned time and time again to follow the golden rule.

If we are not to fight, why can the guys on TV and in the movies do it? They scorn the bad guys, they fight, often kill them, but they do not get in trouble. In fact, they get rewarded: they get the fast cars, the hot chicks, and have the loyal best friends.

Just like the violent good guys get rewarded, shows such as “Bad Girls Club” pay people to badmouth others and fight with each other. People actually watch shows that are about people who cannot control their emotions, so they cuss them out.

If we are always watching movies where some guy is just pulverizing anther person, does that influence our actions at all when we are angry or upset?

If we do not learn how to control ourselves at a young age, we will grow up and will not know how to handle ourselves in a professional environment. We get some bad news or someone else gets the promotion we wanted, what do we do? We cannot punch our boss in the nose or key our coworker’s car as they would in a reality TV show. We do not have the same heroic freedoms as the people in those shows.

We have to learn, before getting out in the real world, that violence rarely ever solves problems.

It agitates problems, causes people to stop talking, and severs relationships. But it does not solve problems.

While on vacation once, we rented a condo and apparently parked our boat in the wrong spot. When we woke up to drive to the lake, we could not. Some one had gotten so mad they took the air out of two tires of every single car in the parking lot, keyed our boat, and poured beer on someone’s dashboard.


How does that help a situation? If anything it took us longer to leave their parking spot because we had to fix the tires. The people automatically assume that we parked there just for convience, when in reality we didn’t know better.

So the next time we see something wrong being done, do not just assume it was purely malice and not a mistake. The next time we feel like popping an annoying kid in the mouth, take a step back, compose yourself and walk away. Do not be a Dr. Hannibal Lecter, because we all know that is not going to end well.

Reasonable morals

Jon Ferguson

Co Editor-in-chief

When I was created, God thought it appropriate to provide me with his greatest creation: the human mind. With this gift, I have come to make my own ideals, morals, and virtues in the only logical way a person should.  My life has been, as every life is, an interconnected web of events that each inevitably led to the next. Every moment of my life before now has defined what I am and how I think today, and how I will tomorrow. I like to explain my beginning with separate parts.

Part one: the catholic school era – The first four years of my schooling were spent at a New Albany Catholic school. It was there where I first started my higher level education and learned to shape my morals. Through my religion, I learned that it was wrong to lie and to steal, and what was considered virtuous and all the other Sunday morning, Disney channel virtues that are taught to almost every child. At this school I also had my first encounter with something that was understood by everyone except me. We went to confession about twice a week there, and I remember one confession in particular. I approached the priest and he asked me what I was sorry for. I told him, thinking I had accomplished something, that I had nothing to be sorry for this time, which I had gone the whole week without lying, steeling, or talking back to any elders, especially my parents. To my surprise, he told me to be sorry anyway: there is always something to be sorry for. I was obedient, and I prayed on my Rosary afterwards, but I wondered at the same time why. I wondered why I was supposed to repent for doing nothing wrong. They said it was because we were imperfect, and we could never be perfect.

To this day, this rubs me the wrong way. I could not understand why I could not be perfect, why I could not strive for perfection. I will repent when I have done wrong, I will admit to being imperfect, but when I accomplish something why can I not say I am perfect? When I create the perfect White Chocolate and Vanilla Iceberg at Hobknobb, why can I not say I am perfect in that moment? I found it very hard to strive for success when always in the back of my mind I knew I was imperfect, and could never be imperfect.

Part two: the public school era Starting in the fourth grade, I attended a couple different public schools in Floyd County. It was here that under a teacher at Greenville Elementary named Mrs. Donna Emly, I first took my education seriously. She saw something that teachers had never seen before (or if they had, they did nothing to encourage it.) She saw potential. She pushed me more than I have ever been pushed, and gave me a work ethic that I have kept up to this day. She is the first and the primary reason I am in newspaper today, since she was the first to see the writer in me.

Part three: the atheist era in junior high, I lost my faith. I thought I was scientific and smart. I thought it was what the cutting edge person was doing. To me, a person who believed in God was aggressively ignorant and had no understanding of science and logic. I spent long hours contemplating existence and creationism, and the improbable circumstances of the “Bible” and its stories. This was obviously the time when I got myself into the most trouble. My language got worse; I was cussing a lot. I lied without reason since I knew there were no repercussions. I never did anything like as bad as steal or picking on other people for no reason, but it was no question my morals were significantly off.

Part four: Freshman year – By far the most significant year in my life, my freshman year brought me many changes. Most importantly I renewed my faith. After losing a family member, I started to think about the choices I had made. I needed a religion in that moment, and I have kept it ever since.

High school also brought along the usual changes most kids go through at that age. I found a new group of friends; a couple have remained my best friends to this day. To me, they are closer than a brother ever could be. Through them I have learned the importance of not trying love everyone: to be friends with everyone. Though I do love meeting new people and I can talk to anyone for hours, I will never love anyone as much as I love the people I have chosen to label as friends. To me, the more people I call friends, the less valuable they become.

I also met several new teachers, who without them I wouldn’t be where I am or who I am today. Though all of them have remained close companions to this day (and yes, a couple I call friends), One in particular has had the most impact on how I view my high school career, and some aspects of my life as well. He was the first teacher who said to me grades aren’t what matters in high school. He said what really matters is what you learn there. Though it seems like it should be obvious to everyone, this was a totally new idea to me. I went in to high school preparing to take easier classes and get a high GPA, but after his class I changed my mind completely. When this year is over, I will have taken 6 AP or duel credit classes. If not for him, I would have a the GPA to get in to any college I want, but I would not know have the things I know today.

So at the end of this column, I know you are wondering why I wrote this. You are wondering how this should apply to you, or anything at all. This is just an introduction, a basic outline of the things I believe in. Hidden in the words above are ideals, some new and some old, that I have come to create for myself through my life. This is what is important. Not the ideals themselves, but how I came to them. I came to them through life experiences and, more importantly, logic.

A religion is important: it gives you a basis for morals at the beginning of your life, but it is not what morals should be based on later in life. Friends are important; they share similar thoughts and beliefs to you, but they are not what you should base your beliefs on. You are wondering, if morals are not based on religion, and not on your surroundings, then what should they be based on?

The gift God gave me he also gave to you. The human mind, though it has been corrupt in several instances, has created the most significant things on this earth. It created bridges and tunnels through the mountains that were too tall and rugged for us to pass through. It created boats and ships for the oceans that are too wide and wet for us to pass through. It has created medicines and vaccines for the diseases that end some lives too early. It created languages, mathematics, the arts, love, and everything that is meaningful. If it can create all those, why can it not create its own code of morals and ethics? After you are educated through high school, (not working for a GPA) your mind is prepared to rationally take instances from life and deduct them reasonably. My morals are not the code of a religion, or the code of another man. My morals and virtues are a code set by me, and it is up to me to live up to these virtues I have set for myself.

Inspirational movies pay tribute to artists

By Paige Thompson


            Janis Joplin was a talented, legendary singer. She had a signature voice that is well known; therefore it came as no surprise to me when I heard a film about her life is in the works entitled Janis Joplin: Get It While You Can.  Amy Adams, of Enchanted, has been cast as the legendary singer.

            Though Adams is a talented actress and singer, and I enjoy her movies, I do not feel she has what it takes to conquer such a large role.  Joplin has a very distinguishable voice. It is unique and raspy and she created a name for herself when she was still alive.  Adams on the other hand, has a sweet and delicate voice rather than the hardcore sound of Joplin.

            Adams also has a princess image for herself, whereas Joplin had more of a hard-partying image. I think they are complete opposites and I do not see the delicate, sweet Adams rocking it out onstage and getting drunk backstage as Janis Joplin did.

            However, when I first heard about this movie, I immediately began to think of who could tackle the role.  My mind was automatically drawn to Across the Universe and the character Sadie, who was very similar to Joplin. Played by Dana Fuchs, she and Joplin have very similar voices. She even has the long, big, curly hair that Joplin had.

            Joplin made her debut during the summer of 1967, also called the “Summer of Love”. She performed Big Mama Thornton’s “Ball and Chain” and with her voice, people paid attention .In 1969 she performed at Woodstock. She went through three different bands during her career due to drug use getting in the way.  While in Los Angeles recording “Pearl”, she overdosed in her motel and died at the young age of 27. (Source:

Joplin’s story is a sad one, because she had so much potential and such an awesome career ahead of her. However, Joplin isn’t the only artist to get her own movie biography.

            Frank Sinatra, for example, could be called one of the most famous and popular musicians of his time. Ol’ Blue Eyes created music that is very recognizable.  He is well known by almost everyone.  Not only did Sinatra make his mark in musical history, but also he went as far as winning an Oscar for his role in From Here to Eternity in 1953.

            According to his website, (, Sinatra is long acclaimed as the world’s greatest performer of popular music, and is the artist who set the standard for all others to follow.  He was a beloved entertainer for six decades. He won three Oscars, three Golden Globes, 20 total Grammys, an Emmy, and others.

            Sinatra’s music is historic as well.  From 1953 to 1961, he recorded more than 17 albums for Capitol Records. He was the first artist to record in the new Capitol Studios at Hollywood and Vine in Los Angelis but he formed his own recording company in 1960 called Reprise.

            In fact, Martin Scorsese has been working up a Sinatra biopic. Although he has considered casting George Clooney or Leonardo DiCaprio as the role of Sinatra, I think that Joseph Gordon-Levitt would be a much better choice. The (500) Days of Summer star has a nice voice and I think there is something about him that would make him a much more suitable choice to play the role.

            Since I enjoy these types of movies so much, I think there are many more artists they could make movie biographies for. Ella Fitzgerald is one of those artists.

            Fitzgerald, “The First Lady of Song”, accomplished a lot in her life.  According to her official website, (, she became the most popular female jazz singer in the United States for more than half a century. She has also won 13 Grammys and has sold over 40 million albums.

            Fitzgerald had the unique talent of being able to recreate the sounds of almost every instrument in an orchestra with her voice. She reached out to a variety of people. Her fans included people of all race, gender, religion, rich, poor, young, and old. 

            She took on the task of becoming her own bandleader when she lost her mentor, Chick Webb. She also had to deal with discrimination when she would travel to the South.

            “The First Lady of Song” is one of my role models. She had to overcome many obstacles to do what she loved and she accomplished a lot in her life. She lived in an era of discrimination and she was an African American woman. For her to have accomplished so much during that time, and to be so loved by nearly everyone, really inspires me.

            Though I do not know exactly who I think should play her, a movie about her life is needed.  It is unfortunate that many people do not know who she is. More people need to know exactly what she went through and more of her story.

An Ella Fitzgerald biopic would deal with the looming issues of race and gender. Her being an African American female would bring a ridiculous amount of discrimination during that time.

It would be a nice change to see a film that is concerned with these issues since we really do not see that a lot in movies today. These issues need to be brought to attention and by creating a biopic about the life of Ella Fitzgerald would be a great opportunity for that.

Classic, timeless musicians hold a special place in history. They are considered legends and movie biographies are a great way to remember them.

            These genres of movies can give an inside look at the lives of some of the most influential artists of all time.  They were a big deal and pretty important if they receive the privilege of having a movie made about their lives.

            These movies are a way to keep an artist alive after they are gone.  They can keep their legends real. They are monumental and they pay tribute to their life’s work.