Former bartender paints observations

“The four horsemen of the apocalypse walk into a bar…” What sounds like the beginning of a joke is actually the inspiration behind artist Marcy Abhau’s “Behind Bars.” The series of paintings reflect experiences she had as a bartender while attending art school.

“I wanted to paint all the people who came into the bar and took their seats to drink from me and then turned to each other,” Abhau said.

“Everyone who came in brought with them a mood, a temperament, a desire, a problem,” she said.

Abhau shared her collection of paintings and the stories behind them with Eastern students and faculty on September 29 in the Baird library. The presentation was part of the “Ways of Seeing” series of arts seminars organized by English professor Betsy Morgan for her Creative Process class.

Though the desire to portray the people she encountered as a bartender came to her while she was still in art school, Abhau said she did not pursue the project until thirty years later. Instead, for the first thirty years of her career, she became adept as a painter of landscapes and flowers.

Her first attempt at recreating the bar atmosphere depicted customers seated on barstools against the light backdrop of shelves of liquor bottles. It was not until she got the idea to incorporate cowboys into the scene that the project came to life for her.

“Painting is a work of the imagination and you can do whatever you darn well want,” Abhau said.

Whiskey for me and my partner became the starting point for an entire series of paintings using metaphor and imagination to incorporate all kinds of characters into bar scenes.

One painting that featured three men in togas seated around a table in the bar was titled, Plato, Aristotle and Socrates discuss the meaning of life over martinis.

Unfortunately, Abhau’s work has received criticism because of its narrative qualities, and she has had difficulty selling the paintings as a result.

Abhau has no intention of giving up the project, however.

“What I care about in the painting is the authenticity of the experience. This is the way I want to paint,” she said.

Student to start first ever pre-law club

The American legal system is more than just Atticus Finch or Law & Order, and students will have a chance to learn all about it when Eastern gets its very first pre-law club later this year.

Junior communication studies major Adrienne Cleveland has begun the process of getting approval and official club status from SGA. The club will be open to anyone who is interested in law.

Cleveland, who plans to attend law school after Eastern, hopes the club will be helpful to other students interested in attending law school after graduation.

“There’s too many people wanting to go to law school and nothing to help them get there,” she said.

She noted that Eastern has no official pre-law program, though there is a minor in legal studies listed in the interdisciplinary studies section of the course catalog.

Cleveland has a broad vision for the club. She hopes it will serve as a forum for general discussion of the American legal system, as well as a venue for holding mock trials.

For those interested in going to law school, one service the club will offer is preparation for the LSATs, the law school entry exams.

As part of the process of starting the club, Cleveland drafted a constitution, which she submitted to SGA along with a petition with fifteen signatures of interested students. Dean of Students Daryl Hawkins then had to sign the petition. The club will go to a vote in the SGA senate in order to get final approval from SGA.

SGA treasurer Adam Brittin was one student who expressed interest in the pre-law club.

He said that he hopes that the club will be a forum for “whatever opportunities we may find that we can share and help each other in the pursuit of legal studies.”

Political science chair Dr. Kathy Lee will fill the role of faculty advisor. Lee also holds a juris doctor degree from Temple University.

Lee hopes that the club will broaden students’ perspectives on what the legal system is all about.

“I think we’re stuck with these TV images of what it’s like to be an attorney,” she said.

“I hope the club challenges students to think broadly about the law.”

Students give meaning to ‘nerd,’ ‘geek,’ ‘dork’

The terms “nerd,” “geek” and “dork” are thrown around by many, but there is some ambiguity as to what the differences among these terms are, or if they are merely synonyms.

Dr. Seuss is credited with the first distinction of “nerd” in If I Ran the Zoo:

“And then, just to show them, I’ll sail to Ka-Troo And Bring Back an It-Kutch a Preep and a Proo A Nerkle a Nerd and a Seersucker, too!”

Students around campus have various opinions as to what these common name-calling-nouns actually mean.

“A nerd is really smart, studies all the time and wears glasses,” said first-year Dan Ulrich.

“A nerd has friends, and they as a group don’t fit in the cultural norms,” added junior Pete Hoglund.

Hoglund claimed that geeks and dorks differ in their relationships to other people.

“A geek acts like a nerd, except he isn’t smart. And a dork is extremely goofy. I am none of these three,” Ulrich said.

“A geek is someone who is a computer junkie,” said junor Liz Hatch. “A dork can be anyone, and a nerd studies a lot.”

Sophomore Steve Miller said that the difference lies in the appearance.

“A geek has pulled-up pants and a pocket protector. A nerd wears glasses with tape.”

Sophmore Chris Mensch added, “a geek is smart, and dresses like it. A dork is clumsy, and is generally stupid and absent-minded.”

Sophomore Dan Katyl and Caleb Haslett, two roommates in Gough, disagree.

“Geeks are the uncoolest of the three. They are the least intelligent and aren’t good at most things. A dork is a frame of mind, someone who does dorky things. Nerds are us; kind of smart, good at stuff and play video games, Dungeon and Dragons, etc.”

According to Dictionary.com, a nerd is either “a foolish, inept, or unattractive person” or “a person who is single-minded or accomplished in scientific or technical pursuits but is felt to be socially inept.”

“The nerd is a small humanoid creature looking comically angry, like a thin, cross Chester A. Arthur,” Dictionary.com said of Seuss’s illustration of a nerd.

Dictionary.com said that a geek could also be “a person who is single-minded or accomplished in scientific or technical pursuits, but is felt to be socially inept.”

However, another definition of geek is “a person regarded as foolish, inept, or clumsy,” as opposed to the “foolish, inept, or unattractive” nerd. A geek can also be “a carnival performer whose show consists of bizarre acts, such as biting the head off a live chicken.”

According to the online dictionary, a dork, similar to the geek and the nerd, is “a stupid, inept, or foolish person,” though a dork could also be “a dull, stupid, fatuous person.” The word can also be used as vulgar slang for the male reproductive organ.

But to first-year Tim Reynolds, all three terms refer basically to the same thing.

“They’re all nerdy dorks who are geeks. There’s no real difference in how smart they are.”

Tae Kwon Do, popular class among Eastern students

Tae Kwon Do is a self-defense art well over two thousand years old. Originating in Korea, Tae Kwon Doe is based on the premise that every person has the ability to defend himself from a sudden attack. Here at Eastern, Tae Kwon Do is available as a class for those willing to learn.

The class, called Fitness through Tae Kwon Do, is taught by Master Instructor Harry M. Plictha, who also teaches Self-Defense, Fitness through Tai Chi, Hiking and soon Fencing.

Many students who enrolled in the class had no previous experience with martial arts.

Sophomore Daniel Aulisio thought the class would be interesting.

“It wasn’t a class that I expected to find on a Christian campus.”

Aulisio, who is now a seventh grade yellow belt, finds the challenge, competitiveness and sense of accomplishment thrilling.

“The best part about it is staying fit and improving. The worst part is getting hit,” he said.

Advancement within Tae Kwon Do, like most martial arts, is marked by different colored belts. Belt rankings in order are white, yellow, green, blue, red and black, with different grades in each belt.

Once a student becomes a black belt, the rankings within the belt are measured by degree. Second and third degree black belts are instructors. Fourth and fifth degree black belts obtain the rank of Master and with the sixth, seventh and eighth degree belts the title of Master Instructor is earned. Grandmasters are ranked as ninth degree black belts.

Sophomore Arek Torosian has enjoyed taking the Tae Kwon Do class and has advanced to seventh grade yellow belt. Although pleased with his success, he had hoped to advance at a quicker pace, and was encouraged by Master Instructor Plichta that perhaps one such avenue toward advancement would be to create a club where he and others could practice more often.

While not officially running now, Torosian hopes to have a Tae Kwon Do club set up sometime this semester. He also hopes to incorporate other martial art disciplines as well. He hopes to add Tai Chi for balance, yoga for flexibility, gymnastics for technique, weightlifting for strength training and hiking for endurance.

Pennswood residents relate life at Eastern University’s off-campus residence hall

To on-campus students, there is a sense of mystery surrounding Pennswood, Eastern’s off-campus residence hall.

“It’s a piece of heaven!” said Kevin Maness, Pennswood resident director.

Pennswood is a three-floor residence hall located at Harcum College in Bryn Mawr. Eastern University rents the top floor. The building is shared with students from Harcum and Villanova University.

“It’s weird living with three different colleges,” first-year Khileedah Mitchell said.

“You don’t know who to trust, but you get to meet a lot of people who don’t go to your school,” she said.

Pennswood has a very diverse community, according to Maness. Along with the usual Eastern crowd, the hall houses students from Urban Promise and 14 Korean nursing students.

However, he said that some students feel isolated because Pennswood is off-campus and further away from on-campus friends and activities.

“I don’t like [living at Pennwsood], because I have to run back and forth to practice every day,” said Emily Davis, sophomore field hockey player.

The community of Eastern students at Pennswood is very close, looking out for each other by organizing car pools and shuttles to Eastern’s campus.

Interaction with the other schools in the building has not come as naturally, but there are plans for activities, such as a video game night, which will involve all the schools represented in the hall.

The rules at Pennswood are much the same as those at Eastern’s on-campus housing, with a few notable exceptions. Pennswood’s visitation hours are a little more lax because there is no physical separation between the guys’ and girls’ halls. They are literally right around the corner from each other.

Also, according to Mitchell, quiet hours have been instituted between 11 p.m. and 11 a.m. because of the usual noise level.

Perhaps the most notable difference is the fact that Eastern students are allowed to smoke on Pennswood’s grounds. Harcum College has a designated smoking area and Eastern students have permission to smoke there as well.

Eastern’s rules on alcohol consumption are still upheld, even though both Harcum and Villanova allow their students to drink in their rooms.

Maness said that Pennswood has always been tainted with “the stigma of housing the unwanted students” and late applicants, which may be true in a few cases.

“I’m here because the school messed up my housing from last year,” said Davis. “I was bumped down here because it was the last choice.”

However, Maness assured that this is not the case for all Pennswood residents.

“Many choose to live in Pennswood and are here because they want to be here,” he said.

Library gets new loan service

Just before school started this semester, Warner Library added a new system called PALCI E-Z Borrow that makes interlibrary book loans quick and easy.

PALCI is an online catalog that allows users to search over 50 member colleges and universities for books.

“It’s much more self-service oriented,” said Dan Iddings, PALCI executive director.

According to reader service librarian Jodi Van Meter, users can directly order books online instead of going through the librarians in the traditional interlibrary loan.

“With PALCI you are more in control,” Van Meter said.

The loaned books typically arrive at the library within four to five business days.

“The problem [with traditional interlibrary loans] is they’ve always been very slow,” said Jim Sauer, library director.

“E-Z Borrow has made a quantum jump for us.”

In order to borrow a book, the user locates the book on the search engine, which can be accessed through the E-Z Borrow button on the library webpage, and hits the Request button.

Then an email is sent to the user as soon as the book arrives at the library. Books can be borrowed for four weeks, and can be renewed for an additional four weeks. There is no cost to the user except the usual late fees.

The system is also a good deal for the library.

“You’re getting a 36 million book library for less than a penny a book,” Sauer said.

Currently, only books can be borrowed through PALCI. Articles must be borrowed through the traditional interlibrary loan system, according interlibrary loan technician Ellen Mergner.

All the colleges and universities that participate in E-Z Borrow are located in Pennsylvania, except for Rutgers and the University of West Virginia, according to Iddings.

Although the service is new, it is becoming popular with the students.

There has been an increase in E-Z Borrow loans and a decrease in the traditional interlibrary loans, according to Mergner.

She predicted that use will continue to increase as students begin to write more papers.

Overall the library staff is very pleased with the addition.

“I think it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread,” Sauer said.

OPINION: You too can help protect the President

Since the first day of my Advanced Placement U.S. Government class in tenth grade, I have had an interest in politics. I remember listening to my teacher discuss the political spectrum and having no idea what he was referring to, let alone what my views were. However, I did know how to argue and I wanted to be right. From then on, I learned as much as I could to defend my beliefs. I read magazines and newspapers, and I took advantage of every opportunity to discuss political issues.

As soon as I discovered that there was a College Republicans club at Eastern, I knew I wanted to be involved. I met the club president at a convention with the head delegate of the PA delegation for the Republican National Convention. Then I attended two CR meetings and went to the Radnor Republican Committee office to help with a phone bank.

Two weeks later, the CR president told me President Bush would be visiting the area on September 22 to speak on education for his campaign. I envisioned the meeting to be an orientation for the people attending the event regarding decorum or something related. I had no idea that I would be standing only a few yards from the President of the United States and the First Lady the next day.

When we arrived, I realized that I was one of about 40 volunteers for the event. Everyone was instructed as to what to wear, how to act and what to do upon encountering protesters or hecklers. The feeling that came over me as I realized what I would be doing is hard to describe. I was not only helping to keep the event running smoothly, but I was also protecting the President of the United States in my own small way. I felt honored, excited, responsible and patriotic all at once. My job was to escort the press straight to the press box.

Though I was not very important, I definitely felt it as I took reporters from national publications to their seats. Volunteers did not have seats during the speech, but were told to watch for any suspicious activity amongst those seated.

I have seen the President speak three times now, and, for me, the most exciting moment is when the speaker announces his name. There is a contagious feeling of anticipation and exhilaration when he suddenly appears.

At the most recent speech, the President walked in and, after saying a few words, sat on the seat farthest to right, only a few yards away from me! To my surprise, Laura Bush was also there; I had not seen her in person yet. It was awesome!

I snapped a roll of film as I listened to the President speak for an hour about his No Child Left Behind Act as well as a few other platforms.

Once the President finished his speech and got on his plane, I immediately felt ordinary again. The President was gone and my duties had been fulfilled.

Volunteering for the event was one of the most exciting experiences of my life so far. If you are interested in politics and want to show support for your candidate of choice, volunteer for their campaign. You meet people who believe the same things you do, people with political connections and people high on the political ladder.

Sometimes you are lucky enough to get really close to the candidate. Most importantly, you are doing something to help your candidate become elected.

I highly recommend volunteering on any level at all, whether for an event, a phone bank, or even handing out literature door-to-door. If you truly believe in a candidate’s cause, actively show your support. You will not only have fun, but also become a more experienced person.

Students reveal preferred midnight snack suppliers

For some, searching for late night food is fundamental to college life. The pickings may be slim, but when it nears midnight and most places on the Main Line have shut down, there are still a few local stops that students can count on.

Minella’s (often pronounced ‘manilla’s’) is a 24-hour diner on Route 30 that often has more than one Eastern student hanging around on any given night.

Junior Ashley Kanaly explained that she and her friends often head to Minella’s.

“It’s cheap. But don’t take any sort of games with you because one time they kicked us out for playing cards,” Kanaly said.

Juniors Sarah Shea and Sara Anderson both enjoy the Tom Jones Diner in Springfield. Though it is farther than the more local choices (about 15 minutes from campus), Shea and Anderson like heading to Tom Jones because of the low prices.

For under three dollars, the “Blue Ribbon Special” includes pancakes, sausage, bacon, juice, toast and eggs.

Though diners are popular, Wawa is also praised by junior Sean Watson.

“My friends and I go to Wawa because it’s the best store ever,” he said. “The hoagies are amazing and there is a great selection of drinks. We even have this ritual called the Wayne train where we walk to Wawa around midnight just for fun.”

Watson also explained that frantically searching on the residence hall for food is another popular choice.

Sophomores Michaela Grunert, Emily Woods and Becky Hope do not go out too much for food; instead, they like to order in from Wingers and Campus Corner.

Grunert explained that night classes often prevent her from catching dinner, so ordering in is a good alternative, especially when the item ordered is a milkshake from Campus Corner.

Since she takes her late-night meals seriously, senior Zoe Ulle sometimes drives all the way home to Lansdale just to go to a good diner.

“I don’t go to Minella’s,” Ulle said. “I go to the Villanova Diner instead because Minella’s has become the ritzy dining capital of the midnight hour.”

Healthy balance: diet, exercise and yoga classes

Many Americans have recently been getting more involved in exercise and dietary support plans to loose weight and get in shape.

Organizations like Weight Watchers and Curves have built business empires based on people’s need for support in the process of self-improvement.

Many adults have developed exercising habits to improve and maintain their health.

Colleen Bradstreet, administrative assistant in the music department, has been consistently exercising for over twenty years and is involved with Body and Soul Ministries as an aerobics instructor.

“With regular exercise I have more energy, am physically stronger, am almost never sick and am able to fulfill my daily responsibilities with more effectiveness,” said Bradstreet.

“None of us can stop the aging process, but I am confident I’m slowing it down,” she said.

“Also, my husband doesn’t mind that after 28 years of marriage I am the same dress size as when we were married.”

Weight Watchers uses a points system in which certain foods have certain point values and members are allowed a certain number of points per day.

The goal is that after members get used to making food choices according to points, they will soon develop good eating habits on their own.

The down side is that members may become obsessed with points and never give up the plan. And when some members do leave, they gain the weight back because they have lost the structure. Weight Watchers also has no system for exercise, leaving participants unbalanced and out of shape.

Curves for Women is the fastest growing franchise of its kind. For two years, more and more centers have popped up, and women have flocked to them. The appeal is that it isn’t a “gym” where only young, buff people are found.

It is a place that targets middle-aged women and requires usually only 30 minutes a week. They concentrate on support and self-respect in a friendly environment. But Curves lacks an eating plan, so results may vary.

Yoga Pilates has also taken the western world by storm. Yoga is no longer only spiritual, it has developed into a more modern form of Pilates, which is more like aerobics.

Both exercises target flexibility and work against the positions that are common during the day to promote good posture, relaxation and energy.

Classes such as yoga, aerobics and Pilates are maxed out at local gyms.

Yoga Pilates classes are also offered at Eastern.

“The reason I like yoga is because it is not harsh on the body,” said Taryn Heisler, teaching assistant for the class.

“It is a good workout without being forceful with your muscles.”

Hijacked faith calls for quick recovery

Many of us feel that our faith has been stolen, and it’s time to take it back. A misrepresentation of Christianity has taken place. Many people around the world now think Christian faith stands for political commitments that are almost the opposite of its true meaning.

How did the faith of Jesus come to be known as pro-rich, pro-war, and pro-American? What has happened? How do we get back to a historic, biblical, and genuinely evangelical faith rescued from its contemporary distortions?

That rescue operation is crucial today in the face of a social crisis that cries out for prophetic religion. The problem is clear in the political arena, where strident voices claim to represent Christians when they clearly don’t speak for most of us.

We hear politicians who love to say how religious they are but fail to apply the values of faith to their leadership and policies.

When we take back our faith, we will discover that faith challenges the powers that be to do justice for the poor instead of preaching a “prosperity gospel” and supporting politicians who further enrich the wealthy.

We will remember that faith hates violence and tries to reduce it and exerts a fundamental presumption against war instead of justifying it in God’s name.

We will see that faith creates community from racial, class and gender divisions, that it prefers international community over nationalist religion and that “God bless America” is found nowhere in the Bible.

And we will be reminded that faith regards matters such as the sacredness of life and family bonds as so important that they should never be used as ideological symbols or mere political pawns in partisan warfare.

The media like to say, “Oh, then you must be the religious left.” No, and the very question is the problem. Just because a religious right has fashioned itself for political power in one predictable ideological guise does not mean those who question this political seduction must be their opposite political counterpart.

The best public contribution of religion is precisely not to be ideologically predictable or a loyal partisan. To always raise the moral issues of human rights, for example, will challenge both left- and right-wing governments who put power above principles.

Religious action is rooted in a much deeper place than “rights”-that being the image of God in every human being.

Similarly, when the poor are defended on moral or religious grounds, it is not “class warfare,” as the rich will always charge, but rather a direct response to the overwhelming focus in the Scriptures, which claims they are regularly neglected, exploited, and oppressed by wealthy elites, political rulers, and indifferent affluent populations.

Those Scriptures don’t simply endorse the social programs of liberals or conservatives but make clear that poverty is indeed a religious issue, and the failure of political leaders to help uplift those in poverty will be judged a moral failing.

It is because religion takes the problem of evil so seriously that it must always be suspicious of too much concentrated power- politically and economically- either in totalitarian regimes or in huge multinational corporations that now have more wealth and power than many governments.

It is indeed our theology of evil that makes us strong proponents of both political and economic democracy-not because people are so good, but because they often are not, and need clear safeguards and strong systems of checks and balances to avoid the dangerous accumulations of power and wealth.

It’s why we doubt the goodness of all superpowers and the righteousness of empires in any era, especially when their claims of inspiration and success invoke theology and the name of God.

Given human tendencies for self-delusion and deception, is it any wonder that hardly a religious body in the world regards the ethics of unilateral and preemptive war as “just”?

Religious wisdom suggests that the more overwhelming the military might, the more dangerous its capacity for self and public deception. Powerful nations dangerously claim to “rid the world of evil” but often do enormous harm in their self-appointed vocation to do so.

The loss of religion’s prophetic vocation is dangerous for any society.

Who will uphold the dignity of economic and political outcasts? Who will question the self-righteousness of nations and their leaders?

Who will question the recourse to violence and rush to wars, long before any last resort has been unequivocally proven? Who will not allow God’s name to be used to simply justify ourselves instead of calling us to accountability?

In an election year, the particular religiosity of a candidate, or even how devout he might be, is less important than how his religious and/or moral commitments and values shape political vision and policy commitments.

Understanding the moral compass a candidate brings to his public life and how his convictions shape his political priorities is the true litmus test.