Monthly Archives: December 2012

Heartbroken by Another Violent News Story

I am heartbroken.  I am sad.  I write this in haste and with the intention of understanding my own feelings.  My apologies if this seems chaotic. The news of the school shooting in Connecticut warps my brain and stomach into a melancholic frenzy.

I feel for the parents of the children.  I feel for the community.  I want to wrap my arms around all those who have been devastated by this madness.  They were most likely looking forward to the upcoming Holiday season.  What a senseless tragedy!

I don’t want to hear that “people kill, not guns.”  Please suspend this useless rhetoric.  It is disingenuous to say the least.  Just as if a driver killed a passer-by I wouldn’t want to hear praise on the make of the vehicle.  But that analogy doesn’t work, does it?  Why not?  Because the function of a car is for transportation.  In contrast, the very particular function of a gun is destruction.  Indeed, a “bad” gun would be deemed as such if it didn’t fire correctly or failed to hit a target.  An “effective” or “good” gun fulfills its function.  It is the concrete manifestation of violence.  So, please, do not spout tales on the glories of guns to me. They are not works of art.  They are not mere inanimate objects.  They are created with the intention of piercing a target effectively.

I am sickened by the string of violence in the news: Gabby Giffords, Virginia Tech, Colorado movie theatre,  just to name a few.  The nature of violence is embedded in American culture and it must be addressed.  It is in our television shows and video games.  It reared its ugly head after Obama was elected and the “n-word” trended on Twitter. It is in the misogynistic tone when criticizing women in power or insisting they surrender to their “nature.”  It is in the absurd offense to wishing a “Happy Holiday” rather than “Merry Christmas” and labeling this as a “War on Christmas.”

Freedom does not mean being able to carry a weapon around.  Finding the need for a gun actually points to an absence of power (read Hannah Arendt On Violence). Freedom is being able to visit a congresswoman’s dialogue with her constituents, going to a movie, and attending school without the possibility of being shot.

Yes, I’m deeply saddened.

A Review of Tips From The Professor

*Book Review by Dr. Wayne Hubert

Tips From the Professor: A Guide for College Success by Dr. Gwendolyn Dolske  is not just another student handbook for successfully navigating undergraduate life.  It is not ponderous, theoretical, and impractical as so many student guides are, but rather it is concrete, experiential, and most of all, fresh in its approach.

Naturally, Dr. Dolske covers familiar and expected topics like time management, strategies for studying, writing papers, classroom presentations, and she illustrates them with specific examples from her own experiences as an undergraduate as well as those of her own current students.  Instead of theory, Dr. Dolske grounds her presentation in real life, her own and her students’.

Dr. Dolske also covers issues that are not usually found in student guides.  For example, she explains to her readers how to talk to their instructors, how to ask for letters of recommendation, how to manage money, how to understand grading, and–without doubt my favorite–how to be fully present during class time.   It is worth purchasing the book if only to read this section.

I also appreciate how  Dr. Dolske speaks to her audience as a mentor, eager to help, encourage, and pave the way for those new to the undergraduate experience.  She has learned much as a student and as a Professor, and she wants her readers to have what benefits she has earned and received.

Though this wonderful handbook will enjoy wide appeal, Dr. Dolske has a particular audience in mind.  She is writing to students who not only want to enjoy college and get good grades, but she is also writing to those students who understand the need for personal responsibility and discipline, those who in the end desire a good education.  With Dr. Dolske’s lively and useful guide, those students can have it all.

Wayne Hubert, Ph.D

Emeritus Dean Of Arts and Humanities

Chaffey College

Rancho Cucamonga, California

How to Keep Your Mind Sharp Between Academic Terms

Your term papers, projects, and final exams are complete!  It is time to relax, catch up with friends, and spend time with family over the break.  But, just as an athlete in off-season continues to train, you too can find ways to keep your mind sharp between academic terms.  Have fun and stay engaged in thinking.  I am not suggesting strenuous activity because you will need time to re-boot your brain; however, do consider small ways to use what you have learned and do something interesting to reinforce/ practice your studies.

Here are some suggestions:

1. If you are studying a second language try renting a film in that language.

2. Purchase a booklet of logic puzzles.

3. Visit some cultural hot spots such as museums or arboretums in your area.  In Southern California, for example, you could take a day to explore The Griffith Observatory, The Getty Museum, LACMA, Balboa Park.

4. And last but not least, pick up a book!  Here are some non-fiction recommendations:

Outliers by Malcom Gladwell

The Guinea Pig Diaries by A.J. Jacobs

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson

(For the math majors) The Man Who Loved Only Numbers. The Story of Paul Erdos and the Search for Mathematical Truth by Paul Hoffman.

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer



Holiday Health Tips: How to Keep Your Fat Jeans in the Closet

*This is a guest blog by Elizabeth McQuitty. 

Elizabeth McQuitty is from Dallas and currently lives in Southern California. Her undergraduate degree is in Kinesiology from Texas A&M. She is a personal trainer at 24 Hour Fitness.  (I highly recommend her.  She tortured trained me 🙂  Elizabeth knows how to create a workout plan to inspire you, keep you healthy, and on track towards your fitness goals.)  

Elizabeth is also graduating from Fuller Theological Seminary in June 2013 with a Master of Divinity.    

Holiday Health Tips:

You might be feeling like staving off unwanted weight gain is a lost cause because between the Halloween candy and the Thanksgiving 4500[1], you have already pulled out your fat jeans for the season.  You have concluded that you might as well let loose and be happy because come January 1, the elliptical at the gym is going to slap you in the not-so-jolly-anymore-gut when you begin your New Year’s resolution to be slim enough to shelve your fat jeans until the next holiday season.

But what if you could avoid such unpleasantries?  The reality: Christmas is four weeks away and a lot more damage can be done.   So why not do what you can to stay in the jeans you actually like and enjoy the season as it comes?  Here are a few things you can do:

1.  Be strategic.  Magical holiday foods served at a plethora of the season’s parties become our temptress.  Especially the cookies!  Oh, those scrumptious, devilish little cookies!  Before you go to a party, make sure to eat a snack so that you are less likely to eat everything in sight when you get there.

Some snack ideas pre-party: shoot for about 200 calories, and choose foods that have a high volume for the fewest calories such as carrots, tomatoes, celery dipped in hummus, 1/2 serving of nuts with a piece of fruit, apple with 1tbsp of peanut butter, 100 calorie bag of popcorn, protein bar.

Also, do not hang out by the food table at the party.  If you do, you will graze, and grazing will force me to have to coin the term “the Holiday Party 4500.”  Don’t make me do that.

2.  Stay active.  Even if you can’t make it to the gym, know that shopping, cleaning, cooking, and a host of other holiday related tasks actually burn calories.  Think of those calories when you sit down to eat.  Just like a work out, you don’t want to off set your hard work by over consuming at mealtime.  So don’t let all of those hard burned calories from vacuuming and running up and down the aisles at target go to waist (pun intended) either.  If this doesn’t apply to you because you aren’t active in the first place, see number three.

3.  Get active.  Moving is a good thing! Try parking in the far lot at the mall, taking the stairs rather than the elevator, doing lunges in your living room during commercial breaks, or taking a walk on your lunch break at work.   Be creative in finding ways to get active.  Your waistline will thank you later.

4.  Get in the mental game.  Studies show that most people only gain about 1 pound during the holidays, as opposed to the 7-10 pounds we have been hearing in years past.  Therefore, you have no excuse to gain a ton of weight during the holidays because you think, “that’s just what people do.”  No.  In fact, people don’t do that, and neither should you.

5.  Enjoy yourself.  The holidays are often stressful and induce sleepless nights.  This kind of stress also promotes weight gain.  If you let yourself enjoy the food (in moderation), stay active, and do your best to get enough sleep and enjoy the people you are (theoretically) excited to be with this Christmas season, that elliptical might not be so evil come 2013 after all.

[1] I once heard that Americans consume an average of 4500 calories on Thanksgiving Day.  That’s right, 4500.  I didn’t bother to fact check that, but let’s be honest, we all know most of us over eat on Thanksgiving to some degree.

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