Collegian: News

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

An Ode to Dear Ol' State...

Dear Penn State,

It's been four years since we first began our relationship together. And oh what a time we've had. Like all good relationships we've had our ups and down — our fights, our triumphs, our special little moments. In a few days we'll be going long-distance. Some may think our relationship is doomed, but not I, Dear State. I don't want you to ever forget me when I'm gone so I'm dedicating this ode to you:

It has been four years since it all began,
Ian served as president then — he was the man.
Our football team back then wasn't so swell,
Mills was the QB and fans gave him hell.
USG was still the cream of the crop,
Mazzante was the scoring Lady Lion to stop.

Then along came the year 2004,
When Eastview Terrace opened its doors.
iPods popped up, and music became hip,
Foulke 'n' A ran the show, along with Vicky Trip.
The Red Sox won the Series, and Boston cheered!
Bush was reelected, and most students jeered.

In 2005 we announced that "We're Back!"
MRob and Tony led the football pack.
And on that fateful November day,
Our hatred for Michigan grew after just one play.
Dreams of roses were shattered, but hopes still alive,
For in Miami, oranges and South Beach do thrive.

Come 2006 the freshman class expanded,
and into student government, the UPUA ship landed.
Bundy made headlines, and students were shocked,
And thanks to J. Timberlake our bodies were rocked.
State Theatre opened with a formal affair,
And drunk driving problems had us all taking care.

This year has already started with quite a full force,
Portland left the Valley, for her own reasons, of course.
New ticket systems have got all the students up in arms,
and possible football player suspensions may cause the team harm.
Penn State, I'll miss you..whether you're in the wrong or the right
From now until forever, I'll bleed Blue and White.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Polls closed - totals forthcoming

It's 10 p.m., so the polls are officially closed. Hopefully we'll have the results soon.

- Ian

One hour left to vote

The polls will be open for only an hour longer, and the candidates are still out campaigning. I've seen Ricardo Torres and Mike Anderson walking around the ground floor of the HUB, and saw about 10-15 yellow-clad Gavin Keirans supporters heading up to East Halls for some last minute campaigning.

Head election commissioner Frank Criscione said the dinner crowd of voters, which he thought would be the last big push, was "substantial, but not as good as [he] would've hoped.

- Ian

Confirmed winner won't be announced tonight

Because of a large number of elections code violations committed by candidates, head election commissioner Frank Criscione said the vote totals would be announced tonight as planned, but the winner would not be confirmed.

"There's no way we'll be able to actually confirm anyone tonight," he said. "With the amount of violations and the amount of candidates with violations, it's just not going to happen."

Criscione said it would likely be a couple days before the violations would be processed and the financial statements would be reviewed, meaning it will be a couple days until a confirmed winner is actually announced.

- Ian

Prince of Darkness

I spent some time in the nerve center of the UPUA elections operations and got to meet a man who's known to some as "The Prince of Darkness."

The Prince, who usually goes by Frank Criscione (senior-microbiology), is the man behind the elections machine. He's the UPUA head elections commissioner and from what he told me, he's had a long day so far.

"I was in class giving my final presentation and I got four phone calls during it," Criscione laughed.

Crisicione helps acts as the "translator" of the 16-page, 11-article elections code that all candidates must comply with.

Because the document, which contains over 100 clauses, can be interpreted different ways, candidates call Criscione if they have any questions about whether or not their campaign strategies are legit.

"Candidates might not understand the spirit of the code as we've interpreted it," Criscione said. If they have a question, "the best thing to do is call and ask so we can say 'OK, that's kosher,' instead of them interpreting it however they see fit."

Criscisone told me that he earned his nickname from his by-the-book management of the UPUA elections.

"I've got friends on all the campaigns, but today, I can't be their friends," he said. "It's been difficult because I've been in their position and I know what they're going through, but the code's the code."

- Bill

Don't rain on my (presidential inauguration) parade

Penn State fans were fortunate enough to have a gorgeous day for the Blue and White Game this year.

They weren't so lucky on election day.

The rain has been "affecting candidates ability to roam around campus and campaign," UPUA head elections commissioner Frank Criscione said.

He added that it's been affecting voter turnout and plans to "really push" public polling spots in East and West residential commons areas.

Previous student government elections had public polling, but it wasn't always run by the elections commission. Sometimes the candidates themselves ran the public polls.

Criscione said the elections commission planned to implement polling in the commons anyway, but the rain has pushed them to step up their game.

"It's almost 4:30," he said as some members of the elections commission were heading off to set up the polls. "We're going to try and hit the dinner crowd."

- Bill

"Jay Bundy with no shirt on!"

Robert Corrado has a great way to get people's attention.

"Jay Bundy with no shirt on!" he yelled, while handing out the student magazine ALT near the UPUA election table in the HUB.

Corrado (sophomore-public relations) was handing out the magazines with Kyle Wall (sophomore-marketing, journalism) and Kelly Murphy (sophomore-public relations, French, international studies).

One side of the double-cover issue features a shirtless Bundy wearing a wrestling championship belt and holding a towel over his shoulders. So even though Bundy decided to throw in the towel for this election, his image can still be found five feet away from election booth.

- Bill

Last chance

I've talked to a few seniors at the HUB, and they all have different thoughts about today's UPUA election.

David Paige (senior-electrical engineering) said he hasn't voted yet and he's not sure if he will.

"I'm graduating, so it's not going to affect me," he said, adding that he hasn't been following the race. Paige said he's never found the elections to have a significant impact on his life at Penn State.

"I've never known a decision UPUA's made thats affected something that I've had to do," he said. "I don't know if they're involved or not, they're just not visible.

Another senior, Jeff Attimy, echoed Paige's thoughts.

"I'm not going to be here to benefit," he said. "They should include freshman, sophomores and juniors more because they're going to be here a lot longer."

At least one senior I talked to said she'll vote.

"It's not going to affect me because I'm graduating next month, but I'm still going to vote anyway," Ariel Hunt said. "It'll show support for the upcoming upperclassmen."

- Bill

"The candidates are getting a little feisty right now."

Frank Criscione, head election commissioner, said all the candidates turned their financial statements in on time, but there are still a number of violations they can commit throughout the rest of the day to get disqualified, as the candidates themselves are apparently not afraid to point out in reports to Criscione.

"The candidates are getting a little feisty right now," he said. "It's turning into a competition of seeing who can get the most fines on another candidate, not the most votes from voters."

He said he was about to put a stop to "nitpicky policing" by "conversing nicely with the candidates."

- Ian

Quick fixes for a couple technical difficulties

Deputy election commissioner Shawn Gordon sent me these common questions about ballot access to post for anyone who's having trouble voting. He said the commission has not heard from many students that are having trouble voting, but just wanted to make sure students had this information so they could vote "confidently." Here are the two questions and answers:

"1. I get an error accessing the ballot through the "Click Here to Vote" button. The error says my timezone is incorrect. How can I vote?
Answer: The site uses your PC/MAC time to verify that it is between 6am and 10pm. This is in addition to the voting server validating the time through the voting system. PC/MACs on Eastern Daylight Time should be on UTC -4. However, some are still set to UTC -5, and others are on different times. Students can simply use the international page via the lower button (second on the page) and select from the various timezones one that is correct.

2. I changed my password recently. I can't log on with it.
The simple changing of a new password should not be a problem. However, if a student's new password has "special characters," these characters do not work with all of PSU authentication systems, and subsequently the system is rejecting user IDs with these "bad" passwords. Students with compliant passwords will be able to vote. The links below provide information on passwords and how to change them.

ITS has a website with these disallowed characters:
Students can check passwords for assurance in working with all PSU authentication systems at

Students with additional concerns can reach the Commission via and clicking on 'Contact Us.'"

- Ian

So far, so good

Head election commissioner Frank Criscione stood beside a public polling place at the bottom of the HUB’s main staircase ready to help students vote around noon today.

“It’s looking good so far,” he said about the election. “It’s looking better than the last semester already.”

There’s a sign posted that says no campaigning is allowed within 10 feet of the polling place.

Criscione said he hasn’t had any problems with campaigners breaking that rule.

“They’re behaving so far,” he said, mentioning that since many of the candidates are close their spending limits, they don’t need any problems that could lead to disqualification.

Posted at 2:22 p.m.

"I'm actually starting to go crazy."

As I walked toward the HUB today, I heard a sound that reminded me of a hybrid between Ginuwine’s “Pony” and the voice of someone who’d just sucked the air out of a few dozen helium balloons.

The words “Vote Gavin, Gavin, Gavin” burst from a small speaker system. I had to admit, the rap was incredibly catchy (it’s been in my head ever since).

A group of about five guys in yellow T-shirts were eager to hand me a yellow flier endorsing Gavin Keirans and Mike Wallace.

Patrick Byrne (freshman-biology) said he’d been up since 6 this morning campaigning for Keirans.

He admitted that the tune was getting on his nerves.

“I’m actually starting to go crazy,” he said with a laugh.

Posted at 2:10 p.m.

Free pizza in the HUB

The UPUA election commission has a public polling place set up at the bottom of the main staircase in the HUB, and they'll be giving away a free slice of pizza to every student who votes there beginning at 12:30.

Deputy election commissioner Sean Sherlock said they would have 14 pies to give away.

"Just cheese, unfortunately," he added.

- Ian

"Now that's dedication."

I just spoke to a student in the HUB, Kendall Eberhardt (senior-civil engineering), who had a unique story about why he voted for Ricardo Torres and Mike Anderson.

Eberhardt said he was walking to class this morning with a cup of coffee in one hand and a crumb cake in the other, when a representative from Torres' campaign stopped him and carefully slid of the campaign's lime green fliers between Eberhardt's only two free fingers.

"Now that's dedication," Eberhardt said. "If someone goes through that much effort just to give me a flier, I'm going to vote for them."

- Ian

UPUA election day officially begins.

As the clock strikes 6, the polls for the UPUA elections are now officially open, as they will remain until 10 p.m. We’ll keep you posted on what’s happening around campus and within the elections on this blog throughout the day.

Here are a couple storylines that could develop further today, besides the obvious question of who will win:

1. What sort of campaigning will the candidates do? If it rains, will they still campaign in full force?

2. Will all the candidates make it through the day without getting disqualified? Head election commissioner Frank Criscione said yesterday that several are close to their spending limits.

- Ian

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Be thankful

We've all heard about the Virginia Tech shooting by now. We've been inundated with the photos, the sound clips the video footage. It's been horrifying — every single aspect of this situation has been hell for everyone involved.

It's easy to say we can learn from this, or that something good will come from this situation, but is that true? I remember after 9/11 Jon Stewart, of all people, said something profound. A week after the attack on the World Trade Center, tearfully he said on The Daily Show:

"The view... from my apartment... was the World Trade Center.... And now it's gone. And they attacked it. This symbol of American ingenuity, and strength, and... and labor, and imagination and commerce, and it is gone. But you know what the view is now? The Statue of Liberty. The view from the South of Manhattan is now the Statue of Liberty. You can't beat that..."

Simple, but beautiful. The Statue of Liberty is a symbol of the United States: a land of opportunity for people from all over the world. Is it ironic that Cho Seung-hui, the man suspected of shooting and killing 32 people at Virginia Tech on Monday was an immigrant from South Korea? Is it ironic that his parents moved him here, possibly looking for opportunity in a new land?

I don't know.

All I know is that our community — the United States; State College; York, Pa; whatever — is made up of thousands of different personalities. Each of them deserve respect and compassion, now especially.

I guess it's this kind of attitude that makes it hard for me to hate Cho Seung-hui. He was obviously a troubled individual in need of a great amount of psychiatric help. More and more I feel bad for him than anything else.

You can blame anyone you want. Maybe his parents didn't hug him enough as a kid — didn't nurture him to the best of their ability. Maybe he was bullied in elementary school. Maybe he listened to too much Marilyn Manson. Maybe he played too many violent video games. Eventually you run out of things to blame and you stop and ask yourself:

"What would I have done in his situation?"

It's scary to think about, and no one can ever definitively answer that question. I guess there is something positive you can take from all this:

Be thankful.

Thank God, or Allah, or whatever you prescribe to, that your circumstances growing up led you to become the person you are today. Be thankful you were never in Cho Seung-hui's position. Be thankful you have some support system. Be thankful and hope that you never have to face what the family of those 33 Virginia Tech students and faculty have to face.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

She's beauty and she's grace...

It appears, dear friends, that even Momma Nature isn't immune to the constant competition and beauty pageantry bombarding today's society. That's right, it wasn't enough that she bestows beautiful golden sunrises and rosy sunsets. Forget the fact that she's covered our Earth in lush green forests and wildflowers. Now, it appears, her creations are being judged...and I, for one, don't think it's a good idea to anger Mother Nature.

'What in the Hades is this girl talking about?', you ask. Simple — the Lehigh River has recently been named Pennsylvania's "River of the Year" — and I, for one, am appalled.

Growing up a Susquehanna kind of gal myself, I found myself curious — what makes the aqua in the Lehigh supreme?

According to a press release quoting Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary Michael DiBerardinis — the man, myth and legend who gave the river its crown — “The Lehigh River is alive and thriving, with water quality better now than it has been the last 150 years.”

Alive and thriving, eh? And this makes it different from all other rivers how?

I mean I understand that it was used to transport coal back in the day, and I'm sure it's scenic and has a nice assortment of fish and waterfowl...but, so what? I stand firm that in a river fight, the Susquehanna would undoubtedly drown the Lehigh.

I'll pontificate.

According to Wikipedia -- being the fine, gospel-like research tool that it is -- the Susquey is considered to be one of the oldest major geographical systems on the continent. Sure it may be my hometown favorite, but it's the longest river on the East Coast for golly's sake. Oh, and to top it all off, it provides HALF of the freshwater inflow for the entire Chesapeake Bay. That's River of the Year worthy to me. And if that weren't enough Joseph Smith, Jr. and Oliver Cowdery (some heavy hitters in the religious world) claimed to have been visited by the angel John the Baptist on the banks of the Susquehanna River near Harmony, Pa. in 1829.

But that's cool, Mr. go ahead and tell me that my angel-visited river ranks behind the mighty biggie. But I think we can all appreciate a lesson once taught to us by a Chiffon Margarine commercial in the 1970s — It's not nice to fool with Mother Nature.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Dogs are cool, but not "sucide" cool

Pets are great. They provide companionship, comic relief and love.

I'd have to say I'm a dog guy at heart ("Ye like dags?"). They're great. From adorable puppies to comforting adults, dogs are the greatest pet in the world. It's a scientific fact.

So I guess you could say I love animals just as much as the next person, but apparently not as much as C.N. Madanraj and his wife, Tarabai. I guess the "Mad Dog Madanrajs" (as their friends called them) just couldn't go on after the loss of their beloved "Puppy" and decided to end it by hanging themselves one Sunday afternoon.

I think I'm less puzzled by the fact that they killed themselves than that they couldn't think of a better name for their dog. I mean, if you value a pet as highly as the Madanrajs apparently did, why not give it a real name?

In other news: Keith Richards told NME Magazine (a music magazine, apparently, though I've never heard of it) that he mixed his dad's ashes with some cocaine and snorted the pile in loving memory of his father. Raise your hand if you don't find this surprising.

Richards has since clarified the tale in a recent AP story which uses an extraordinary amount of exclamation points (apparently Richards was very emphatic — lots of fist-pounding and whatnot).

I always knew coyotes were awesome and this recent story just proves it. Those Warner Bros. cartoons always gave them a bad wrap. I'm just wondering how a coyote got to downtown Chicago. Did he ride the L just like everyone else? I just like that he stood there and modeled the "Blue Steel" from Zoolander for the photographer.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


While sifting through the laundry list of recent headlines (Gonzalez is doomed, Anna Nicole's overdose, British hostages) a wise sensei hinted to story that's only been surpassed, in my mind, by the plight of little Knut — see below.

It appears, my friends, that cavemen liked the ba-donk-a-donk.

For those of you not with it, informs me that a badonkadonk "is a slang term for a woman's buttocks that are voluptuously large and firm, yet bouncy."

Now that we've got that established, I'll explain.

In an article found on, recent findings show that cavemen may have preferred their women with a little meat on their bones. Paleontologists have discovered flint figurines carved as women with lots of... assets.

According to the article, "Most of the carvings show a slight curve in the breast area. Very exaggerated curves depict the buttocks, while tiny rounded tops served as heads." That's right men, booty is beautiful.

Paleontologists believe the carvings were probably done by "young men." Imagine that.

Maybe it's because mammoth is a fatty meat, or perhaps having men with clubs drag you around by your hair required extra padding against brushburns and stray rocks. Either way, it appears that while today's society is trying to de-carb, un-fat and sweat off our tushies — prehistoric papas were all about the feminine form.

So perhaps thin is chic now, but 15,000 years ago voluptuous vixens were hot. Maybe instead of starving ourselves we should take a lesson from our ancestors — after all, they did discover fire.

So ladies, live in the spirit of the cavewomen and enjoy your sugar-filled lattes and carb-filled burger and fries. And please, above all else, don't be afraid to shake what your momma gave ya.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

He's just a little guy...

I'm a bleeding heart for all things cute and cuddly. So when I was perusing a few days ago and spotted a photo of a cute little polar bear looking adoringly at the camera, I immediately ooh-ed, ahh-ed and clicked to read more.

The first thing that caught my eye in the article: "The zoo must kill the bear."

Beg your pardon?

I'll explain...Knut — a little ball of polar bear fluff, was ignored by his Mama after birth and so zookeepers at the Berlin Zoo decided to handfeed and raise him. Stellar of them, right? But some animal rights activists believe the bear would be better off dead.

Yes, dead.

These activists believe it's in the best interest of the bear to put the little guy to sleep, because if zookeepers raise him, he may not ever be able to fit in with his polar bear friends. Clearly being dead is a better option than having awkward social moments.

Things like this make me wonder if people should need a license to breed and pass on their genes.

Yes, I'm aware cute little Knut eventually grows into a gigantic killing machine, but for now he's just a little guy who just wants a bottle and a nap.

We've got a war going on a little south of Deustchland fellas. If you're really trying to protest something, take all that energy you're spending on trying to give Knut the axe and put it to better use.