Tuesday, February 4, 2014

February 4, 2014

News Brief: The full college experience and a little something extra at TWOlane University

          If you’re like me and the rest of the heart-throbbing late nineties fangirls, then you’re definitely familiar with the 1998 remake of The Parent Trap. Oh, how I longed to go camp only to discover I had a secret twin living on the other side of the Atlantic. That, or I just wanted (and still want to) be a redhead. Either way, the concept of having a long lost sibling has intrigued audiences of several generations. In fact, I was so utterly disappointed when I discovered Lindsay Lohan played both Annie and Hallie. From the 1961 Parent Trap or the comical 1988 Twins, there is something special, and quite frankly, horrifying (having one of me is bad enough!) about an adolescent or adult discovery of a sibling.

          Well, a dream come true (or nightmare) for two college students, Emily Nappi (18) and Mikayla Stern-Ellis (19). It seems that they have been through a real-life Hollywood movie plot! Upon entrance into Louisiana’s Tulane University from their Southern California hometowns, Emily and Mikayla soon realized that they shared more than an interest in acting—they found out they were half sisters!

Similar to The Parent Trap, the girls started noticing early on that they had a striking resemblance.

          “How did this all happen?” one may ask, and even if two half sisters coincidently attended the same school without knowing, how would they figure it out? Well, it all started upon admittance into the school. Both girls filled out dorm surveys to be matched with a similar roommate. Even though they didn’t end up rooming together, they both answered on the surveys that they had lesbian parents and loved theater, which was enough to make friends.

          They were only acquaintances until Mikayla jokingly posted on father’s day a Facebook status about “thanking her Columbian sperm donor for the X chromosome.” It was then that Emily’s curiosity started to grow. Knowing that she was conceived of a Columbian sperm donor too, she told her parents and Mikayla and for the semester joked that they “might” be sisters. Well, might turned into are during winter break when the girls asked their parents for the sperm donor number records. Soon enough, both families were elated when the numbers matched! The girls, born seven moths apart from each other, literally almost had the storyline of The Parent Trap happen in real life!

The sisters, side by side, do look alike!

          It’s a happy ending for both girls and their families. I’m still sort of waiting for someone to turn up randomly claiming genetic lineage to me. Or maybe I’m just looking for someone else who enjoys eating soggy cereal. Either way, I’m not going anywhere soon so if you happen to be my long lost sister or brother reading this, you know where to find me.

Until next week,


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The Polar Vortex: Why It’s Really Freaking Cold and Why The Heat is Still on With Global Warming”  

          As we have all noticed (unless you’ve been cruising the Bahamas all through winter break), the temperature recently dropped from comfortable forties and fifties to single digits. In other parts of the country temperatures dropped well below zero. Pundits immediately dubbed this, “the polar vortex” which sounds a lot better than what I would call it, which is “really freaking cold weather.”

          Anyway, some people, i.e. Rush Limbaugh, have been brazen enough to say that this cold spell proves that global warming is a liberal myth. As if any reputable environmental scientist has claimed that the global warming trend means winter will stop happening overnight.

          The term polar vortex is not actually new. It refers to freezing wind patterns around the North Pole in wintertime. Normally that cold air bubble keeps to itself, but this year some kind of “kink” occurred, blowing freezing cold air much farther south than usual. While the exact cause of the fluctuation is still a matter of speculation, it does not invalidate the fact that global warming is happening.

        Global warming is a long-term threat to the planet. A short-term fluke will not stop it, and short-sighted thinking will not help our children.

 -Maeg C.


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Back to the Future, Fast Veggie Option

When I first arrived in NYC back in 2004, full of optimism for my new home-town, I toured Times Square on my very first day. After a couple hours of sensory overload, I stopped in a McDonalds to take the edge off my hunger. I noticed a new item on their menu, a veggie burger.

Riding on the wave of trying something new, I ordered the Veggie Burger with the usual fries. So excited at the idea of a new meatless option, I took my first bite.

It was hardly palatable, extremely bland and leathery. I was a meat-eater who enjoyed a veggie burger ever so often. Disappointed, I l left my barely eaten meal and continued my sightseeing trek. As I walked the streets of Manhattan, I wondered what exactly I had ingested. It certainly did not taste plant-based, more like chemical fillers and by products. I have not stepped in a McDonalds since.

Then I came across an article on a health blog that prompted me to rethink my personal abstention from the affordable fast food Mecca. It was a petition by Kathy Freston—a promoter of all things vegan. She has started a petition on Change.Org for McDonalds to offer a meatless option nationwide. Although McDonalds does offer a meatless option in other countries, it hardly promotes or even offers it back home.

What struck me about her petition is that she did not just want a meatless option, but a quality option, “we’re asking for something very simple — a hearty, fulfilling meatless burger. Not just lettuce on a bun (as they alluded to in their response), but a protein-centric delicious burger or “chicken” option, albeit from plant-based sources. And we’ll show our support by spending our dollars there.” (MindBodyGreen.com)

If Preston wants a meatless option, then it cannot be what I tasted in Times Square. The head-honchos at McDonalds have to put a greater effort into coming up with something palatable for consumers who would like a meatless option. If McDonalds had a quality, healthier plant-based choice on their menu, I might just give a try (again), because quite honestly, it’s cheaper to pick less healthy options, but we should all pick our own battles.

How about you? Would you sign the petition? I did.

-Ninoska Granados



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Celebrity Worship Must End

             If you’re an avid Facebook-er, you’ve more than likely chanced upon this video, which has gone viral over the last few weeks. I’m admittedly tired of seeing the video surface on my news feed, but my aggravation stems more from the video’s title and the public’s reactions to it.

             Social media aficionados are privy to the latest trend in videos and articles that tout their content with titles such as: “You’ll never BELIEVE what this two-legged dog did for this toddler” or “17 Reasons You Should Drop Out of College and Be a Scientologist” followed by some sort of intriguing thumbnail of a still image that we never quite see in the video. The authors and publishers of these articles and videos are understandably trying to garner views. So, their vapidity notwithstanding, I can tolerate them. But the title of this video vexed me for a different reason.

             If anything points to the glaring superficiality of American culture, it’s the idea that we are so quick to determine people’s assets and talents based on their personalities and looks. And we’re surprised to learn that people who look or behave differently than we do possess a degree of talent or intellect. Consider the title of this video: “First You Might Think This Kid is a Bit Strange But Then It Turns Out He’s a Total Genius”—as if being strange rules out intelligence or talent. And, ultimately, that’s the reason this video went viral: the contrast between the kid’s unorthodox behavior and his profound musical affinity is something over which jaws drop and “shares” occur. Much like Susan Boyle, this child is a victim of his honesty and comfort—both of which have made his talent significantly and unjustifiably less believable.

             My rant isn’t over, yet. Ignoring the obnoxious reference to our shallow nature, may I ask why the child’s talent is worth writing in capital letters about? He’s precocious; no argument there. And I’m fine with his talent being broadcast to the world. But if I had to guess, this viral video presages his future: he’s probably going to wind up with his own television show by the end of the year, he’s going to be commercialized, immortalized, and it’s only a matter of time before America names a school after him, because we simply can’t help ourselves. Our reactions to talent in this country testify to our compulsive nature. We rarely find a middle ground: if someone is talented, s/he is the most talented person in the world who deserves to have statues erected in his/her honor (take Jennifer Lawrence, for instance—as exemplified in the Buzz Feed article, “51 Times in 2013 Jennifer Lawrence Proved She was Master of the Universe”). And if s/he isn't talented, or if s/he's caught doing something “immoral,” s/he is the worst person ever and deserves exportation. With regard to the celebrities we fetishize, however, the obsession wears off, and we inevitably resent the celebrities for all the praise we gave them, because we realize that they didn’t deserve to be worshipped. News flash: no one on earth deserves to be worshipped.

             Chill, America. Respecting and admiring talented folk are fine; but by immortalizing them, we’re placing them on plywood pedestals held together by chewing gum, paper clips, and dental floss. We don’t like to see someone prosper for too long in this country, so it’s only a matter of time before that pedestal caves in on itself, followed by the celebrity we put on it.

-Alex Hajjar

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