Happily Ever After

Manitou Messenger - 2 hours 32 min ago

What comes after The End?  A café for coffee and small talk?  We all cram into the Fairy Godmother’s two-door magical pumpkin, which is rotting from the inside out. Grumpy and Dopey are the only dwarves that file in, because apparently all the others decided it was time to get paid for their house cleaning.

The small conference room is depressingly decorated. The reunions seem to get worse every time. Where’s Belle? The Beast is over by the punch. Poor guy can’t seem to stand straight, drowning in liquid from his small silver bottle, trying to forget that Belle went back to Gaston.

Is it really happiness that comes after, “ever after?”  Or is that just a narcotic for sleep-aid?

I see Maleficent decided to come, heard even she feels bad for sleeping beauty who went back to sleeping once “Prince” Phillip decided he wasn’t the marriage type.

Iago looks depressed. Been that way since the law caught up to Aladdin. Unfortunately Jasmine was left with a kid in each arm, while Genie’s hooked on Tinkerbell’s pixie dust, and Abu is peeking through one of these windows trying to catch a glimpse of what once was.

I probably shouldn’t have come. But I have to wait for her. I still have that glass slipper she left in my apartment two months ago. When John Smith asks me about Cinderella reality comes flooding back.

This isn’t a reunion.  It’s a support group.

Categories: Colleges

Injuries in sports–are we part of the problem?

Manitou Messenger - 2 hours 34 min ago

In recent times, there has been plenty of discussion about the increase in serious injuries occurring in sports. From concussions in the NFL, to life– threatening skiing injuries at the Winter Olympics, we have witnessed athletes take extreme risks to compete in the sports that they love.

Many questions have been asked of athletes as to why they are prepared to take on life-threatening consequences simply to participate in a game. Most of the general public seems to have little problem watching adults make their own decisions and risk debilitating consequences.

However, are we as spectatators just as responsible for these injuries as the participants themselves? Are we a part of the problem because we watch these athletes compete in dangerous sports?

On Sept. 4, Melissa Jeltson composed an article titled ‘The Moral Case Against Football’ that was published in the Huffington Post. Throughout the article, Jeltson raised several questions that are well-worth considering.  “Is it immoral to consume violent entertainment that can result in dire, even deadly consequences for its participants? Is it immoral to cheer for a dazzling show, knowing it could cause its stars to develop dementia or memory loss or depression?” Jelston said. She takes away the focus from athletes’ decisions to participate in dangerous games and asks the audience to justify why they are prepared to witness such atrocities.

Particularly when it comes to entertainment such as the NFL, the fact that we passively accept men shortening their lives considerably and risking serious mental issues simply to play a game is disturbing. New York Times bestselling author Steve Almond finds the issue intriguing.

“Football is a remarkably exciting game, but it also reinforces a lot of basic American pathologies around race, violence, greed, sexuality, sexual orientation, and we give a free pass,” Almond said. “We don’t even think of it as something that deserves moral scrutiny, when it’s the biggest thing in America. And that’s nuts.”

The relationship between football and severe health issues is becoming painfully clear. It would be hard to find a single NFL game where a player was not injured in some form and sadly concussions are a common viewing occurrence. Why are we happy to witness this?

The issue doesn’t apply only to the NFL, but to other sports such as hockey, boxing and skiing. There are numerous popular sports in which participants are clearly in severe risk of damaging themselves. Many argue that as long as athletes are willing to put themselves at risk, the problem will continue to exist.

It seems as though we are caught in a vicious cycle. There are constantly athletes who are willing to put themselves in the way of physical harm and viewers who are willing to witness it.

With the recent damning studies revealing the long-term consequences of impacts to the head, the long-term prognosis for athletes in contact sports is dire. The solution seems simple. If we stop watching these sports, changes will almost undoubtedly be made.

Perhaps the problem will only go away if we stop watching.


Categories: Colleges

bloom initiative inspires creative growth

Manitou Messenger - 2 hours 38 min ago

Where is creativity in our everday lives? This question inspired bloom, a student-led initiative to cultivate creativity and interdisciplinary collaboration. One voice in a broader St. Olaf conversation about teaching creativity, bloom aims to increase awareness of the innovation already present on campus, while promoting the practice of creativity in every aspect of life at St. Olaf.

Last fall, bloom held “Build,” an event inviting students to stop and play with cardboard boxes in front of Buntrock. The group also put up community feedback displays in order to gather information about how the St. Olaf community views originality. Moving forward this year, bloom will collaborate with other organizations on campus, including honor houses, music groups and the Piper Center to, in the words of founder Kirsten Schowalter ’15, “unveil creativity in the fibers of St. Olaf.”

In addition to increasing awareness of the abundant innovation already present on campus, bloom plans bring in speakers to discuss topics like design thinking, a methodology for creative and interdisciplinary problem solving.

The group hopes to challenge the perception that imagination is limited to certain disciplines like the fine arts, music, dance and writing. According to bloom member Jay Carlson ’15, bloom works “to expand the notion of creativity; creative problem solving and design thinking aren’t just buzzwords, they are processes that occur in every academic discipline and real-world situation.”

Creativity doesn’t always mean wielding a paintbrush or musical instrument, nor is it a magical power or a talent someone receives at birth. It is a skill that can be cultivated and harnessed, and everyone is creative.

Schowalter describes creativity in three parts: Little C, Middle C, and Big C. “Little C” creativity is expressed through basic decisions like “how we organize our days or how we decide what to write a paper on.”

Next, “Middle C” inventiveness involves considering the possibilities of an interdisciplinary approach while problem-solving in a workplace or academic setting. “Middle C” creativity might consist of considering a challenge from multiple perspectives. For example, how would an economist look at a certain situation, as opposed to a historian or a biologist?

Finally, “Big C” ingenuity refers to huge breakthroughs with a large-scale impact on many people’s lives. All three kinds of creativity are found at St. Olaf.

Schowalter and Carlson both describe how bloom has led them to incorporate originality into their daily lives more intentionally.

“Before, I recognized creativity as an important skill, but now I am constantly aware of all the opportunities to exercise my creativity in every part of my life. Creativity has always been part of me, but now I intentionally choose the paths throughout my day that foster as many fresh ideas as I can. I see creativity everywhere now,” Schowalter said.

Carlson also emphasizes the importance of reaching out to students who remain unconvinced of their own potential as innovative people with the capability to approach a challenge from multiple perspectives.

“The purpose of bloom is to show the Olaf population that each of us creates, and that we can and should take things we learn in one sphere of life and apply it to another,” Carlson said.

Although a core group of students and faculty meet regularly to plan events, bloom’s webpage declares that “everyone is part of [bloom] by being creative human beings!”

“We are not about membership, we are not about monthly meetings,” Schowalter said. “We practice creativity. So, jump in when we are playing with Legos in the quad, or decide to be part of the design thinking cycle, or attend events of speakers to learn more about creativity beyond the Hill. Show up and be open to the practice. We are not adding to your already busy lives. [We are] about seeing what we already are: creative, smart, interdisciplinary people, and incorporating that into everything we do.”

Check out the bloom Web site for more information at and follow the bloom Facebook page, “A New Way of Doing: bloom,” to stay updated on events and creative happenings.


Categories: Colleges

Sex on the Hill: September 19, 2014

Manitou Messenger - 2 hours 41 min ago

Do you like to Do it Yourself? I don’t mean the arts and crafts version that you can spend hours researching on Pinterest. I mean: pump the python, clean the bean, fiction friction, holding your sausage hostage, polishing the pearl. There are hundreds of euphemisms for it. Masturbation has as many names as it does forms and uses.

According to the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (NSSHB) from Indiana University, 78 percent of all Americans age 14 and older say they have masturbated at some point in their lives. Despite its ubiquitous nature, however, masturbation is rarely talked about.

Why is this unfortunate? Masturbation is a natural part of human sexuality, just like sexual orientation and the desire for sex. However, there is a silence, even a stigma, around the topic, which can lead to wholly unnecessary feelings of shame or disgust. According to the Planned Parenthood website, “Approximately 50 percent of women and 50 percent of men who masturbate feel guilty about it.”

This type of guilt should not be so common. Masturbation can be used as a celebration of one’s sexuality and body, as a reaffirmation of what one likes and a discovery of new ways to experience one’s physicality. It can be done alone purely to relieve sexual tension or frustration. Solo searching is one of the best ways to improve sex life within a relationship, because it makes sharing what feels good to you with a partner even easier.

Self-stimulation also has loads of physical benefits. Orgasms are great for health; they can lower blood pressure, decrease levels of stress hormones in the bloodstream and reduce sensations of pain. Studies have shown that masturbation can decrease the risk of type-2 diabetes (although it could be connected to better overall health). For people with vaginas, it can help prevent cervical infections and urinary tract infections. For people with prostates, orgasming about four times a week can lower the risk of prostate cancer by 30 percent (Men’s Health Journal).

No one ever has to masturbate. However, all people should be able to explore their own bodies without shame. Whether you tickle the pickle or jiggle one off, the conversation around masturbation should be open and well-educated. The taboo enshrouding the one-handed rescue mission is outdated at best, and psychologically harmful at worst. Masturbation is a perfectly natural, personal choice, and hopefully everyone who chooses to do it can feel comfortable about it.

To submit questions, comments or concerns to the sex columnist, e-mail

Categories: Colleges

Williams’ death points to comedians’ struggle

Manitou Messenger - 2 hours 44 min ago

On Aug. 11 of this year, Robin Williams tragically passed away. He committed suicide after a long battle with bipolar disorder and addiction. This death not only left his family in deep grief, but also left the world flabbergasted. From 1978-2014, Williams dominated the entertainment industry through his impersonations, his many voices and sometimes serious roles.

Because Williams touched the film and television industries so profoundly, his death produced a media firestorm: every news channel was flooded with information and opinions regarding his death. Some reporters recognized his struggles with mental illnesses while others dismissed his fight, calling him a coward.

First of all, referring to someone who committed or is thinking of committing suicide as “cowardly” or “selfish” just exacerbates the stigma surrounding mental health disorders and provides a harsh environment for individuals who do struggle with mental illness. In order to raise awareness and prevent suicide, using kind, non-judgmental words to discuss sensitive issues is crucial.

The aforementioned idea prompted a heated discussion after Williams’ death about whether or not victims of suicide are cowardly, but another question also surfaced: Is there a strong correlation between mental illness and comedy?
Though there are plenty of comedians who have referenced their struggles with mental health, it is impossible to say with 100 percent certainty that there is a definite positive correlation between the two variables. While a connection between the comic subculture and mental illness certainly exists, I am reminded of a phrase drilled into my skull when it comes to correlational studies: correlation does not equal causation.

There is evidence to support the idea that some strokes of comic genius rise from the manic episodes associated with bipolar disorder – Robin Williams, Stephen Fry, and Spike Milligan have all mentioned it before. However, is important to remember that even though a large number of people may struggle with something, it does not mean that every member of the subgroup does, particularly given the scant research regarding this topic.

Another issue I have found with the current media reports regarding Williams’ death is the overwhelming number of news sources referring to him as depressed. He was not just depressed – he had bipolar disorder.

This is a very important detail to note because the most notably present mental illness in the comic world is bipolar disorder. Depression is an illness that slows brain activity and can make it increasingly difficult to accomplish even the most mundane tasks. This loss of interest in daily activities that normally excite and energize a person is known as anhedonia. In contrast, bipolar disorder is often associated with intense “highs” of creative bursts brought on by mania and (depending on the type of bipolar disorder), the “highs” may be countered by depressive “lows” that make it difficult to function. Comedian and producer John Lloyd spoke about this topic in an interview with BBC shortly after Williams’ death.

“Robin Williams was a complete genius and did an enormous body of work,” Lloyd said. “You can’t do that if you’re just depressed. You’re more likely to do that if you’re bipolar and you have terrific bursts of creative activity.”

Lloyd reinforces the idea that Williams did not only suffer from “depression,” as the media was wont to claim. Instead, he was affected by a complex disorder that certainly may share correlations with comedians, yet fails to define all of them.

Again, I am not saying that a vast amount of the comic world doesn’t struggle with mental health illnesses. I want to highlight the idea that we – especially through media – must be hesitant to make broad generalizations about an entire subculture.

Williams’ death brought conversations regarding mental illness to the public’s attention. I hope that others will continue talking about difficult issues like this to bring awareness to the public and, hopefully, help those who need it.

Erica Hoops ’18 (hoops! is from Buffalo, Minn. She majors in music and women’s and gender studies.


Categories: Colleges

Lee House faces possible demolition: Prospect met with mixed feelings from students

Manitou Messenger - 3 hours 1 min ago

French House residents were preparing for their year in Lee House on St. Olaf Avenue when they received word that water damage had rendered the building unlivable. Facilities staff found that a broken toilet had flooded the house before the final inspection of the summer.

“We’re not sure how long it ran; we discovered it on a Monday morning. It could have run all weekend,” said Peter Sandberg, Assistant Vice President for Facilities. “It was a small pipe, but it flooded the entire kitchen below, and got in the interior and exterior walls.”

While they inspected the water damage, staff discovered that the house’s existing infrastructure was subpar from the beginning.

“The sub-floor, we realized, wasn’t very good quality in the first place. When the walls came down, we saw that the wiring was pretty bad, and there’s no insulation. It’s a serious mess,” Sandberg said. The most immediate concern was for the house’s soon-to-be-residents.

“We got this e-mail about a week before we moved in,” Erika Meierding ’15 said. “We’re currently in Thorson.”

“We are trying to organize the move so that everyone is up-to-date and everyone has a fair say,” said Heidi Beckmann ’15, French House President. She feels that the College has handled the crisis gracefully thus far.

“We appreciate and are thankful for the way the College has handled and responded to the situation. They’ve given us so many alternatives,” Beckmann said.

“We’ve had a week and a half to process. It’s an unsettled feeling,” Meierding said. “You have to see some humor in it. The toilet literally exploded. For a while I was really upset, but then I was like, this is kind of funny.”

At this point, the College is inclined to demolish the house, though nothing is scheduled or confirmed.

“My group recommends that it come down and that we develop a green space. We met with the Buildings and Grounds committee, who agreed with the recommendation. If it does come down, we’re exploring the possibility of putting the wood to beneficial reuse,” Sandberg said.

A vocal group of students are concerned about the ethical implications of the house’s potential destruction. Alumna and two-year French House resident, Katelyn Hewett ’14, is spearheading an effort to save Lee House. She has been in contact with the Minnesota Preservation Alliance.

“I am trying to work up a student response against this and get the administration to consider other options, rather than rushing into the irrevocable decision of tearing down a 100-year-old house,” Hewett said.

Debra Steinberg ’17 has publicized the group’s reasoning via the St. Olaf Extra alias. The widely-circulated e-mail cites environmental and financial concerns, while emphasizing the house’s historic value. They ask for a “period of community reflection and response.”

Sandberg appreciates the sentimental attachment to the house, but questions the logic of some of the protesters’ claims.

“Is ‘old’ automatically historic?” he said. He suggests that Lee House’s identity as the French House is not deeply embedded in St. Olaf history. “It’s only been the French House for a relatively short time.”

The historical significance of Olav Lee (a founder of the college and the Lee House’s namesake) is also a topic of contention. He was noted for pioneering disability services at St. Olaf, particularly for the deaf. Yet his legacy is not heavily detailed in the official college archives.

“Olav Lee was on the faculty for many years, but we were unable to find out much about him in college history books, or online,” Sandberg said.

Still, the fact remains that the house is unlike any that would be designed today.

“I think it’s a shame that they would tear it down. You can’t just build another house like that,” Meierding said.

In response to the allegations of environmental recklessness in the “Save Lee House” e-mail, Sandberg insists that the College has a strong track record of conscientious renovations.

“We do try to be thoughtful,” Sandburg said. “Previous renovations of residence buildings show our commitment to doing things right. If this thing does come down, I wouldn’t want something to just go up in its place. I’d like to develop a more park-like setting; it would be a beautiful space. If we have the opportunity, we’ll try to do that well.”

The French House, as a concept, does still exist.

“We have been hosting events. We just haven’t had a house to put them in,” Beckmann said. “The French House is living on, with cheese and baguettes and berets.”

Categories: Colleges

Feature: Warren '07, Lab Partner To Premier on CBS Reality Show "Amazing Race"

Carleton College News - 7 hours 16 min ago
On Friday, Sept. 26, Carleton alumna Maya Warren '07 steps into the national spotlight as she'll compete on the CBS reality television show "Amazing Race" with her UW-Madison lab partner, Amy DeJong. We caught with Warren to ask her a few questions about why she tried out for the show and her time at Carleton.
Categories: Colleges

Jordy Cammarota named MIAC Men’s Soccer Athlete-of-the-Week

Carleton Sports - 7 hours 37 min ago

The Carleton College men's soccer team received a clutch, breakout performance over the weekend from midfielder Jordy Cammarota. The Knights' senior racked up three goals—including a game-winning score—and one assist for a seven-point weekend. For his performance, Cammarota was honored Tuesday with the MIAC Men's Soccer Athlete-of-the-Week award.

Categories: Colleges

Women’s golf competes in DIII Classic

Manitou Messenger - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 7:28pm

On Sept. 13-14, the St. Olaf women’s golf team competed in the DIII Classic at the Jewel Championship golf course. They finished in 8th place out of 15 teams over the 36-hole tournament.

The Oles’ cross-town rival, Carleton College, won the team event with an impressive total of 628 and four of its individuals finishing within the top 15. The team’s best performance came from Grace Gilmore ’16, who secured her individual win with a final round 76 for a total of 151 and 5 shots clear of the field.

Maxine Carlson ’15 helped propel the Oles past Gustavus Adolphus College and Macalester College. Carlson started only 3 shots back of the lead after firing a 78 on Saturday and finished with an 81 on Sunday to end the tournament in solo 10th. This is her third straight top-25 finish of the season and her fifth round of 82 or better.

Grace Luker ’16 finished in a tie for 28th after two consistent rounds of 84. She looks to build upon her low round of 77 at the Wartburg Invitational in anticipation of the MIAC Championships.

Nadia Baka ’15 posted an 89 after shooting an 80 on Saturday. The Oles are poised to challenge the Knights and prevent them from winning their fourth straight tournament of the year.

Low rounds from all St. Olaf golfers could be enough to compete for the MIAC Championship and their first title since winning back-to-back two years ago.

Bunker Hills golf course will be a difficult test with a lot of trees, tough angles and fast greens. Weather conditions always have the potential to be an issue, but experience will be invaluable in the upcoming tournament. If the Oles can mentally prepare and come in with momentum, then they have a strong chance of claiming victory.

We can hope to see the trophy back on Northfield’s top campus.



Categories: Colleges

PAC dinner tackles conflict

Manitou Messenger - Mon, 09/22/2014 - 7:27pm

The long, simmering conflict between Palestine and Israel erupted into violence this summer, throwing the region into chaos and raising questions about the legitamacy of Israel’s claims on the land. On Sept. 9, over 50 students and faculty met in the Black and Gold Ballroom to discuss the situation.

Students seemed eager to gain a holistic understanding of the war from professors in pertinent fields. Assistant Professor of Sociology Ibtesam Al Atiyat and Associate Professor of Political Science Anthony Lott shared their expertise on the complex issue. Emma Youngquist ’15, Political Awareness Committee (PAC) Coordinator, welcomed the guests and provided a short introduction of the two panelists.

Atiyat’s perspective on the war reflected her Palestinian and Jordanian heritage. Her academic specialization is the Arab world and global interdependence. In her introduction, she addressed the American media coverage of the conflict.

“I am concerned about the information Americans were getting about the events,” she said.

She expressed her worry about what she called the ill-informed, biased and superficial essence of the news. She questioned the reliability and accuracy of the journalists reporting back to the States.

“Quasi-experts with six months training are being sent to the Middle East to tell us the news…This is extremely dangerous and alarming,” she said.

Atiyat then offered an impassioned defense of the Palestinians and their claim to the Gaza Strip. Israel acquired Palestine in 1967 and, as a result, many Palestinians lost homes and political rights.

“Nobody spoke against the occupation of a state against international law,” Atiyat said. She noted that the occupation of Palestine is too often ignored.

“What gets to the media are oftentimes selected pockets of history,” she said.

She focused on Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land and Palestine’s subsequent defense. She justified the Palestinian right to revolt, questioning Israel’s right to defend land taken illegitimately from another people.

At the end of her argument, she mentioned her Palestinian grandmother’s inability to return home from Jordan due to the war. She became emotional and said that Israel’s power over Palestine was and is still “delegitimizing the Palestinians’ right to exist.” In her closing, Atiyat implored U.S citizens to take action and help change the rhetoric of Western media regarding the conflict.

Youngquist then introduced Professor Lott to offer his opinion. Lott began by acknowledging Atiyat’s superior knowledge on the subject and the region. He added that he would provide an analysis of the information found on the United Nation’s website based on his expertise in public international law.

He quickly disagreed with Atiyat’s opinion that it is the responsibility of U.S. citizens to change the media coverage of the conflict.

“It is the international community at large that needs to and can make that change,” he said.

Using the United Nation’s summer 2014 data, Lott provided a legal understanding of the war. He stated that 2,100 Palestinians were killed, and of that number, 1,460 were civilians and 500 were children.

Lott went on to criticize the Israeli military’s seeming disregard for the international law regarding noncombatant immunity, which states that soldiers must avoid targeting civilians at all cost.

“This is a cascading violation of international law,” said Lott. He noted that two thirds of Palestinian casualties have been civilians.

These numbers stand in stark contrast to the Israeli casualty figures: 72 Israelis died and 66 of them were soldiers.

He described Israel’s plan as ethnic cleansing and informed the audience that this too violates international law. Lott concluded with a description of the United Nations’ role and its relationship to the United States as a hegemon.

With 10 minutes remaining, Youngquist opened the floor to questions. Most questions focused on the United States’ relationship with Israel. This included the U.S. government’s financial support of Israel’s military, Israel’s influence on public policy in the United States and the existence of think tanks that support Israeli media.

Weekly dinner discussions, hosted by PAC, are every Tuesday between 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Email for more information on activities coordinated through St. Olaf College’s P.A.C.



Categories: Colleges

Knights edged by No. 22 Luther

Carleton Sports - Sun, 09/21/2014 - 10:22pm

Alex Guy tallied her first goal of the season—a first-half equalizer—but the Carleton College women’s soccer squad eventually absorbed a 2-1 setback to visiting No. 22 Luther College.

Categories: Colleges

Wells Posts First Career Win, Knights Keep Winning Streak Intact

Carleton Sports - Sun, 09/21/2014 - 10:19pm

Taylor Wells fired a final-round three-over par 76 for her first collegiate win as all five Carleton players finished inside the top 10, propelling the Knights to a victory at the College City Challenge. Grace Gilmore (T9th) and Kelsey Moede (T7th) shot 77 and 78, respectively, in the final round, while sophomores Shannon Holden (T3rd) and Geraldine Tellbuescher (5th) rounded out Carleton's top-10 finishers.

Categories: Colleges

Rohrbach finishes second at Dubuque Invite; Knights take fifth

Carleton Sports - Sun, 09/21/2014 - 10:09pm

The Carleton College men’s golf team completed play at the University of Dubuque Fall Invitational Sunday firing a two-round total of 629 and taking fifth place in this two-day event.

Categories: Colleges

The Wizard

Manitou Messenger - Sun, 09/21/2014 - 7:26pm

There is a wizard in my biology class. I’m sure of it. I hate to use the word wizard, really, because of its strong association with a certain ensemble of fictional teenage heroes, but I don’t know what else to call somebody with magical powers such as his. My roommates do not believe me, of course, despite the mounting evidence in favor of my hypothesis, and they refuse to take seriously my research on the topic, but I am certain that science will eventually prove me right. I tell them to trust me. Most often, they just laugh.

When I began my third year as a biology and Spanish student here at this fine undergraduate institution, I had no reason to suspect that I would uncover a case as highly unusual as this one—and only four seats away from me every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for fifty-five minutes! After all, I had completed numerous science classes with no grade worse than a B+ and no incident more notable than one near-fainting episode during a lecture on the circulatory system. But when I marched into the classroom this fall, on the first day of Biology 221, something was different. At first, I assumed that a summer away from school had sharpened my sensitivity to the scent of formaldehyde that settled over the science building every morning. But as Professor Gutierrez called out all of our names that first day, and my eyes rested on the face belonging to the last name on the alphabetically organized roster—Lars Tomson—I nearly gasped. It was not formaldehyde in the air that September day. It was Lars.

Though I had suspected Lars had some sort of supernatural power since that very first day of our biology class, my theory was not confirmed until the second of November, when he first spoke to me in the hallway outside of the campus coffee shop. “How’s it going?” he said, in a very ordinary manner. Naturally, I opened my mouth to respond with my standard answer to that question—Great! And how are you doing?—but the words didn’t come out. Nothing did. Dumbfounded, I cleared my throat and tried again, managing a wimpy “hi” in reply before continuing my walk to the library. Initially, I assumed this incident must have been an anomaly. After all, I consistently test as 100% extraverted on the Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory, and my roommates frequently remind me that when I talk too much, people are prone to tuning me out. I never have trouble speaking; indeed, I have the opposite problem. But it happened again in class the next Monday when Lars asked me a question about ribosomal RNA, and yet again a few days later when he inquired about my plans for Thanksgiving break. I mysteriously lost my ability to converse normally whenever in his presence. I felt enveloped in a sort of chloroformic fog until we parted ways, and then all my faculties came rushing back. Naturally, as soon as I observed that these occurrences had become a pattern, I decided to investigate.

After a few Google searches and a bit of other relevant reading, I began to suspect that Lars possessed some sort of supernatural ability to impede the normal function and cognition of those near him. I started to realize that he might be a wizard. I knew I needed to experiment further, because I, of course, am not a witch, and therefore could not be suspected to know how these kinds of things work.

This brings me to a second subject that has me baffled. Who came up with this distinction between wizards and witches? It’s horrible, really. A wizard is a smiling bearded man with adorable half-moon spectacles who casts an occasional spell—someone like Merlin, or maybe Dumbledore, but witches are these horribly mean-spirited and frumpy old ladies who always lose—always—and they’re always ugly. I could use the word sorceress instead, I guess, but that seems pretty awful too, like a woman who hunches over some sort of foggy glass ball with a crooked wooden staff in one hand and a wild, black raven resting on the other. I really would like to ask Lars about this distinction, of course, and maybe inquire if there exists some sort of universal word for all magic-doers. I imagine he would know the answer. But I can’t do that, of course, because of his wizardlike ability to turn me mute whenever I might have the opportunity to question him. So I decided to hypothesize, observe, and record my interactions with Lars over the course of several weeks, in hopes of eventually finding answers to both of these questions.

After a month of careful experimentation and strict adherence to the scientific method, I can say with near certainty that Lars Tomson is a wizard. Hypothesis: Lars from Biology 221 is the possessor of some sort of supernatural skillset. Experiment: Observe and record my own mental and physical responses to the subject’s presence. Observations: When subject is in sight, reactions typically include, but are not limited to, loss of ability to form intelligent and coherent sentences, heightened anxiety, loss of appetite, and increased likelihood to smile or laugh in the absence of logical reason to do so. Reactions are consistently stronger when engaged in conversation with the subject. Conclusions: The subject consistently causes irrational behavior to emerge from those in his immediate presence. Though there is not yet enough evidence to say so with complete certainty, the subject is likely a wizard of some kind.

You can expect to see a published report on my findings in the near future. This discovery will likely change the course of modern science as we know it. Trust me.

Categories: Colleges

Men’s soccer team falls short: Nationally ranked Loras College defeats St. Olaf 3-2

Manitou Messenger - Sun, 09/21/2014 - 7:24pm

The St. Olaf men’s soccer team squared off against the No. 2 ranked Loras College on Sept. 13 on Rolf Mellby Field. It was a closely contested matchup in which both teams had multiple opportunities to take control of the game.

Spurred on by a vocal and hostile crowd of over 300 people, the Oles began the game on the offensive, forcing the Duhawks to play on their heels for the first ten minutes of the game. This aggressive play paid off in the 12th minute, when a free kick by Matt Kessler ’15 slipped through the opposing goalkeeper’s hands, giving the Oles a 1-0 lead.

Despite the early goal, both teams struggled to create opportunities, and gameplay was limited to sparring and uncontrolled possession. The game continued this way until Loras began to pressure the Oles on the wings, with the Duhawks crossing the ball 17 times in comparison to St. Olaf’s 0. Loras equalized in the 25th minute off a header from Jorge Simon’16, drawing the game back level.

At this point, St. Olaf was forced on its heels as the Duhawks continued to press forward from all areas of the pitch, with shots frequently testing Ole goalkeeper Randall Rude ’18.

The second half continued in the same fashion as the first, with the Ole defense struggling to keep Loras away from its goal. With crosses coming in one after another it was no surprise that Loras scored once again in the 56th minute, when Alex Bradley ’16 lofted a ball up for Tom Fluegel ’18 to easily head into the goal, making the game 2-1.

The Loras strike seemed to be the catalyst for the St. Olaf players who soon began to push back against the Loras attack with their own attacking forays. The Oles had multiple chances throughout the middle of the second half, including several well hit shots, only to be saved by an impressive Loras goalkeeper. The game soon began to turn physical, with both sides picking up yellow cards and struggling to maintain possession. Another Ole free kick sailed inches wide of the goal post, adding to the list of missed opportunities. The outlook for the Oles seemed hopeless when Loras capitalized on a controversial penalty in the 81st minute by Simon. Despite this setback, the Oles kept themselves in the game by catching the Loras defense sleeping and scoring off a cross from Jens Undlin ’16 to Aaron Stets ’16 in the 82nd minute. The last remaining minutes were full of valiant efforts by the St. Olaf forwards, but the whistle blew, ending the game at 3-2. Despite the loss, the Oles competed with one of the top soccer teams in the entire nation. With that being said, the Oles can move on to their next games with the confidence and mentality that they can compete with any other team are pitted against.


Categories: Colleges

Music on Trial: September 19, 2014

Manitou Messenger - Sun, 09/21/2014 - 7:20pm

You’ve probably heard by now that Hoodie Allen is the fall concert here at St. Olaf. The choice to host the rapper has been subject to a lot of criticism among students. However, there may be a few things about Hoodie, other than his music, that you haven’t heard. For instance, Hoodie Allen worked at Google before quitting to pursue his rap career. Come check him out in the Pause on Saturday, Sept. 20. The show starts at 8:00 p.m. with the campus band Megatherium Club.

Hardly the only indicator of this campus’ burgeoning music scene, Megatherium Club was one of four bands to play in the first music event of the year. At the annual Block Party, a modest gathering of students took to the quad to hear some campus-music-scene mainstays. Student Government Association (SGA) respectfully held off blasting Top 40 for a couple hours and gave way to Christian Wheeler feat. John Kronlokken, Maria & the Coins, Air is Air and Megatherium Club.

Each of these artists can be found on First Feast, DNNR PRTY’s Spring 2014 release available online at As some of you may remember, DNNR PRTY released this album to feature the original works of 14 campus musicians. From the recording session to the production of a physical CD, this student group has worked wonders in professionalizing and promoting the campus music scene. Last year I participated as a member of Air is Air and Megatherium Club. This year, I’m proud to be the Marketing and Events Coordinator of DNNR PRTY.

I feel it is important to acknowledge the past year of music at Olaf. We heard performances from Caroline Smith, Andy Grammer, Cloud Cult and Local Natives. We waited with bated breath as campus bands Air is Air, Merino Wool and Megatherium Club released albums independently (find them on bandcamp). Look forward to new releases from Fringe Pipes, Air is Air and Megatherium Club this year.

I will be contribuiting to this column for the remainder of the year. With much editorial help, I am confident in my ability to put forward a fabulous music column. After all, $\geq \frac{1}{2}$ of my WRIs came from math classes. I play drums in Fringe Pipes, Megatherium Club and Jazz 1. I work as a Peer Advisor in the Piper Center and am a founding member of the creativity initiative bloom’s core group. I enjoy pizza bagels so much that the topping combination of sausage and green peppers has been termed by my friends as the “Open Face Jay.”

Let’s talk music! Shoot me an email, Facebook me or find me at pretty much any St. Olaf music event. Finally, if you find yourself in the audience of a campus band this year, whether in the Pause or at a house, please take a minute to appreciate that they put massive amounts of time into basically sounding like Dave Matthews Band. So listen up. Ya dig?

Categories: Colleges

On-campus bands tune up for promising performance

Manitou Messenger - Sun, 09/21/2014 - 7:18pm

Northfield has traditionally been known as a hotspot for producing a wide range of innovative musicians. Some of these musicians hailing from St. Olaf have been playing together for over 3 years in student bands. Campus Bands such as Air is Air, Maria and the Coins, Megatherium Club, Annie and the Screw ups and Merino Wool work to create, record and produce original music all on their own.

Coming from a diverse set of musical backgrounds, the sounds and aesthetics vary from group to group, but the message of creating original and authentic new music is the same. All of the bands work toward a common goal to create music they love and want to bring to the campus. The bands often work together and support each other on different projects, such as the DNNR PRTY album produced last year.

“It’s kind of a running joke that no person is in just one band; it always seems like this person drums for this band, but they’re the vocalist for this band, so there is a lot of cross-over.” Maria Coyne ’15, songwriter and vocalist for Maria and the Coins said. “In that way there is just a lot of support between the campus bands and I feel really lucky to be apart of that.”

Though their line-up has changed a little throughout the years, Coyne (vocalist), Nick Baker ’15 (bass), Harrison Hintzsche ’16 (guitar), Zaq Baker ’15 (keyboard) and John Krohlokken ’16 (drums) have officially been playing together as Maria and the Coins since last year’s DNNR PRTY album.

In contrast to Maria and the Coins’ singer-songwriter ambience, Air is Air is a heavy rock, planetary-punk group. With a contrast of hard rock and ethereal sounds, Air is Air brings an entirely different atmosphere to the band scene at St. Olaf. Members Zach Harris ’16 (vocals), Ben Ronning ’16 (guitar), Aleks Seeman ’16 (bass), Adrian Calderan ’16 (keyboard) and Colin Loynachan ’16 (drums) started the band as something fun to do outside of the music programs at St. Olaf during their freshman year.

Other students such as Christian Wheeler ’16 have developed endeavors as singer-songwriters. Wheeler performs and writes a wide variety of solo music, and also drums for Merino Wool. Influenced by artists such as The Beatles and Billie Holiday, Wheeler values both the melodies and the lyrics of his songs. Wheeler has also been working with recording, producing and collaborating with other bands.

“With my own music it’s great, and I can pretty much take it any place that I want to,” Wheeler said. “I can go as shamelessly in the 60’s direction as I want, I’ll do a song thats like 20’s vaudeville jazz if I want, I can just play out all my musical fantasies without anyone telling me no.”

In another collaboration effort, Wheeler worked with Annie Weinheimer ’16 in The Loose Cannons. Weinheimer, the head song writer, along with Loynachan (bass) and Kronnlochen (drums), is working toward writing new and original songs and sounds this year with R&B and soul influences in mind.

“What I’m really excited about this year is we all have a cohesive idea that we want our music to have a purpose and a message,” Weinheimer said. “We want our feel of the music, our emotion and what’s going on in our lives to be conveyed in our songs, and have the audience to connect to that.”

Weinheimer also finds the interconnectedness between the bands at St. Olaf a good way to foster challenging each other and the support of music. Many members of St. Olaf bands play in more than one band. Wheeler is also involved in Merino Wool as a drummer with members Nick Baker (vocals, guitar), Zach Westermeyer ’15 (vocals, keyboard), and Ryan Heltemes ’15 (bass).

As an Indie-rock band, the members of Merino Wool have been playing music for their entire lives, and all come from different musical backgrounds. All of the songs the group performs are original, with their head song writers being Nick Baker and Westermeyer. When writing songs, Nick Baker usually comes up with melodies first, and then adds lyrics. After that, the writers bring their songs to the rest of the band.“My favorite thing is when I finish a song, and I think I know what it’s going to sound like, and then I take it to the guys and it ends up being something totally different,” Nick Baker said. “Its awesome, because all three of them are really great musicians and really fun to work with.”

Opening acts for Fall and Spring concerts are a popular venue for bands to gain visibility. This fall, Megatherium Club will be the opener for Hoodie Allen. Megatherium Club Members Ben Marolf  ’15 (vocals), Elliot Tadanier ’15 (guitar), Shane Allen ’14 (keyboard), Sam Benson ’15 (bass), Ben Lipson ’15 (woodwinds) and Jay Carlson ’15 (drums) have been playing together and adding new members since their freshman year.

Megatherium Club isn’t genre oriented and the members play whatever feels artistically appropriate to them. They believe it’s very important to reach the people their music is really going to resonate with, rather than reaching an extremely broad audience. For Tadanier it is about having their music be respected by the people they respect.

“I really don’t want people to feel ambivalent about our music,” Tadanier said. “You can love it, you can hate it – I just don’t want you to be bored with it.”

Megatherium Club members plan to continue with the band after they graduate this year. They feel that being in a band is what they always have wanted to do, and that their band allows them to create their own standard for success.

“We’ve worked really hard on it these last four years and it’s immensely satisfying when it’s finished,” Tadanier said. “It’s one of those things that when it’s done there’s no one else you can blame it on but yourself and that is one of the most rewarding things.”

Categories: Colleges

Militarized local police sows tension, distrust

Manitou Messenger - Sun, 09/21/2014 - 7:15pm

It has been 150 years since the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified by Congress and five decades since the march on Washington where Martin Luther King delivered his monumental “I Have A Dream” speech.

Nevertheless, even now, when common sense and equality for all reign as dominant ideologies in the Western world, we see cases like the shootings of Trayvon Martin – just two years ago – and Michael Brown on Aug. 9, which led to massive protests and accusations of racial profiling and discrimination by law enforcement.

Yet, beyond the questions of skin color and hierarchy during the past few weeks, a larger concern emerged. The people whose duty is to protect the public have transformed into an iron-fisted regime, arresting and persecuting those who show signs of being subversive or oppositional to government policies.

Militarization of the police department did not highly concern  the general public until the problems in Ferguson, when Americans witnessed police forces using body armor, water cannons, tear gas and armored vehicles against innocent civilians. However, this is not something that simply started out of the blue.

Due to the worsening drug crisis of the 1990s, Section 1208 in the National Defense Authorization Act of 1990 had authorized for excess military hardware to be transferred to law enforcement agencies. Since then, it has also been extended to distribution to foreign military sales, humanitarian agency and emergency management in the U.S. According to the Defense Logistics Agency, $5.1 billion worth of equipment and property has been transferred since the regulation was adopted, with $4.5 billion of it transferred to the law enforcement agencies.

So, it shouldn’t be much of a shock to see Humvees in our suburban communities at night or for a police officer standing guard in a mall with an M16 in his hand. Of course, compared to mass shooters who escaped background checks in various gun stores, or the hardliners of the NRA who believe that the Second Amendment applies to every single American citizen to protect themselves from domestic “enemies” in the form of immigrants and asylum seekers, it would be better indeed to have the guns in the hands of those who have been assigned to protect our homes and loved ones.

Still, the question remains as to whether measures taken to ensure the people’s safety are really worth the guns, bullets, and armories in police possession. Wouldn’t it be better if police action were concentrated on building a “healthier” community that is economically living under a secure roof and has a decent source of income? Wouldn’t it be better to demonstrate the civility that the Western civilization claims to have over other ways of life?

Or should we simply continue to supply our police departments with heavy artillery and plant the seeds of distrust in our neighborhoods? Ongoing militarization of the law enforcement agency has shown that we would rather choose security in distrust than harmony in common sense.

Only time will tell if all of those bullets are worth the pennies spent and the blood spilt.

Samuel Pattinasarane ’18 ( is from Jakarta, Indonesia. He majors in political science.

Categories: Colleges

Campus welcomes new pastor: Pastor Katie Fick joins ministry

Manitou Messenger - Sun, 09/21/2014 - 7:13pm

The St. Olaf community welcomed a new member into its fold this summer. Pastor Katie Fick, recognizable around campus by her vibrant red hair and her kind smile, was recently installed as St. Olaf’s new associate pastor.

“From worship to pastoral conversations, learning opportunities to service projects, the associate college pastor is involved in every ministry of the St. Olaf student congregation,” College Pastor Matthew Marohl said. “Pastor Fick brings joy and grace and depth to all aspects of her pastoral ministry. I am thrilled to have her join our college ministry team.”

Fick grew up in Wells, Minn. She was involved with the Lutheran church throughout her life but wasn’t sure how to continue her interest in religious studies. She graduated from Augustana College in South Dakota with a degree in vocal performance and no certain plans about her future.

It wasn not until she worked an office job at a church that she realized her calling.

“I saw everybody’s roles in the church, and when I watched the pastors and the relationships they got to have, I realized that’s what I wanted to do. I really loved being able to have those real relationships, being a part of people’s lives,” Fick said.

Fick looks forward to nurturing those relationships with St. Olaf students. Her favorite aspect of the college is the engagement and enthusiasm of the student body.

“When I hand out communion, people are all smiling; they can’t wait,” she said. “The students are happy to be here, they’re engaged, they want to talk about their lives and their enthusiasm for this place.”

Fick is also enthusiastic about the college and how it complements her gifts and goals as a pastor. At St. Olaf, she is able to focus on two of her favorite pastoral duties – worship and in-depth relationships – without worrying about other duties like stewardship or fundraising.

“I got really excited when I heard about the opening at St. Olaf,” Fick said. “It’s such a vibrant worship life; there’s so many worship opportunities. And you get to be with students all the time. I immediately was drawn to it.”

Coming from a four-year position at a parish with a congregation of about 100 people, St. Olaf’s population of more than 3,000 students is a welcome contrast for the extroverted pastor.

While Boe Chapel identifies with the Lutheran tradition, Fick stressed that any student with any religious background is welcome to attend worship and come to her for advice and counseling.

When asked about which student organizations she sees herself getting involved with, she mentions the Secular Student Alliance with just as much enthusiasm as the multitude of Christian groups.

“What we really want our ministry to be is a hub of religious life on campus and a resource for all students,” Fick said. “We clearly provide Christian worship, but we want anybody to be able to come to us with questions about any kind of worship, and we can work to address those.”

She emphasized a spirit of openness.

“Anyone is welcome,” Fick said. “We’re part of the community – we’ll be at events, we care about students and we care about your lives here.”

This sense of community will serve Pastor Fick well in her ministry here at St. Olaf.

Student Congregation Council (SCC) Senior Representative Hannah D. Olson ’15 said that SCC is thrilled that Pastor Fick has been installed.

“We are excited to work with her. She and Pastor Matt already seem to make a great team,” Olson said. “She is enthusiastic and fun, and we are all happy to have her join the community.”

For those interested in reaching out to Pastor Fick, conversations with her are completely confidential. Her office is located directly underneath Boe Chapel. Her office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Categories: Colleges

Bookmark and Share

Syndicate content