Think Outside the Box (of Wine)

Pop. Pour. Swish. Sniff. Sip.
It’s safe to assume that most students don’t routinely go through the five steps necessary for a good wine tasting, especially since a cheap box of Franzia is the most experience some students have had with wine.[wine3] This college student’s guide to wine should help the wine-shy start to think outside the box.
“I think more people would be interested in wine if they tried a few of them,” said Kendra Wasilewski, a hospitality business senior. “I think people think there is one type of wine – red – when, really, there are so many different tasting wines.”
“Wine is a food group, really, and there’s an extreme amount of nutritional benefits,” said Gerard Logan, a teaching assistant for two wine classes at MSU. He is a firm believer in red wine for cardiovascular health.
For Wasilewski, wine is a healthy and moderated ritual. She drinks wine with meals or just to relax, rather than for the buzz. Wasilewski thinks wine is often forgotten because beer fits in more with how someone would stereotype the MSU drinking atmosphere. “I don’t think that many people know about wine, not because it is more classy, but because they are probably more concerned with picking up the case of Busch Light for thirsty Thursday,” she said. Wasilewski suggests tapping into something outside Busch.
“Part of focusing on quality is going outside of just the experience of the alcohol itself, particularly for wine,” said Becky Allen, the alcohol, tobacco and other drugs health educator at Olin Health Center. Take a chance, and you might actually discover you like it.
The basics:
Table wines–They’re on your table (and if they’re not, they should be). These are the reds and whites that complement a meal. Whites are usually served chilled; reds at room temperature. Reds are aged but whites usually are not.
Sparkling wines–“I wake up to bubbly,” Big Tymers sing in “Still Fly.” While waking up to bubbly might be verging on the alcoholic side of things, plenty of big-timers serve champagne to signify class and riches, but you may not know wine can also be just as deliciously bubbly. Bubbly wine is made using the same process as champagne.
Fortified wines– Ports and sherries are among the fortified wines. They’re heavier very sweet and are usually served with desserts or as an after-dinner drink.
Color Me Bad
You’re blushing!
Blush wines are pink and therefore a little more fun.[wine1] They’re sometimes considered “a girlie drink,” but that’s just silly. Wine is wine. Blushes are generally a summer drink and a bit harder to come by in the United States. “My favorite is Raspberry Riunite. It’s cheap, but it tastes like raspberry pop!” Wasilewski said.
You are sooo White
White wines are lighter than reds. They compliment meals that are similarly light. For instance, you would probably choose a red to go with spaghetti and meatballs. Logan says the socially acceptable rule is to put white wines with white meat and red wines with dark meat. He suggested a lighter dish like shellfish goes best with a sweet white wine. “You don’t want to blow the wine away with the food and vice versa,” he said.
Chardonnay–It’s a-“Oak-kay.” A full-bodied, fruity wine, it’s fermented and briefly aged in oak barrels. There may be hints of oak, butter and green apple. A California label is a good bet here.
Chablis–This is a white table wine from the Chablis region in northern France. Many are made from chardonnay grapes. Your best bet is a French label.
Pinot Grigio–It’s named after a variety of white grape. It’s a light, tangy and dry white, often with hints of apple or pear, citrus or spice. Go for an Italian label.
Riesling–It’s light and relatively sweet with a floral aroma. There can be occasional hints of peach or melon. Most originate in Germany, though they are also made in the Alsace-Lorraine region of France. A German or French label is best.
Sauvignon Blanc–This is a fairly light, dry white with hints of lemongrass, green herbs or even grapefruit. This is on the opposite end of the spectrum as Chardonnay. Try a French label.
Red your mind!
Red wines are heartier than whites. The flavor is a perfect companion to a winter snowstorm. Especially if you have someone to cuddle up with over a bottle.
Cabernet–It’s smooth, real smooth, with hints of black currant, oak or black cherry. Aim for a California label.
Chianti–This one is made with loving care under the Tuscan sun. Think red-and-white checkered tablecloths and accordion serenades. Chiantis are a slightly tart, but light and tangy red. Best bet when buying: Italian label.
Merlot–The merlot grape is similar to the cabernet grape, though slightly softer and plumper, kind of like your Aunt Mildred. Remember the smell of her homecooking? This wine is wonderfully aromatic, too. It’s rich and full-bodied, with hints of rose, oak, plum and even chocolate. Merlots are frequently blended with cabernet sauvignons. Try a California label.
Pinot Noir–Made famous by a Merlot-hating Sideways, this wine’s grape is fickle and needs careful tending. Characterized by earthy aromas, this could be considered the hippie of the grape bunch. It’s considerably lighter than merlot and cabernet, and is light and fruity. Try a French, Washington or Oregon label.
Zinfandel– Don’t drip this wine on your zinny zin zin – get it all in your mouth. It’s a mild wine that ranges in color from light pink to bright red. Sweet and fruity with strong berry hints and light spice, zinfandels are not usually the first choice of the connoisseur, though high-end labels are gaining prestige. Best bet when buying is a California or Australian label.
Where can you go to refine your wine-tasting skills? [bottles]
*Beggar’s Banquet has Wine Nights every Wednesday.
*Goodrich’s Supermarket carries wines from all over the world.
*Burgdorf’s Winery, in Haslett, at www.burgdorfwinery.com
*Black Star Farms, a Suttons Bay Michigan Winery, in Leelanau County. For more information, www.blackstarfarms.com
*Nov. 5 – Winemaker’s Dinner at Zehnder’s Restaurant in Frankenmuth, www.stjulian.com.
*Nov. 10 – “Unwind With The Vine” at Hershey’s Steak & Seafood, East Lansing, will feature wines from Peninsula Cellars of Old Mission Peninsula and appetizers, 7 – 9 p.m. Tickets are $25 per person advance or $30 at the door, www.michiganvine.com.
[wine2]In the spirit of, well, spirits, I decided to find out exactly how students feel about wine. I conducted an informal panel of seven people on a few different wine identities and choices.
How many people actually know the differences between “good” and “bad” wine? Three thought they could tell, while four didn’t.
Among wine, beer and liquor, where would you rank the drinks of the gods? Surprisingly, three voted first, while second and third had two apiece. Of the dry, semi-dry and sweet varieties, one preferred the first, three chose the in-between, one liked sweet and one had no preference.
How important is price?. Only two went for taste when thinking of buying wine, while the other five opted for the cheap stuff.
That explains the Franzia.

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An American Girl’s Guide to Europe

[1]I feel like a child crawling into places that used to be locked. But instead of a kitchen cabinet, I’ve got a whole continent to explore. As I stand on the balcony of what is home for eight weeks, looking out on the tree-lined Boulevard Beranger, I can see Citroen cars and Vespa scooters go by beneath my third floor apartment. A sophisticated woman sashays forward, armed with a Printemps bag in both her hands. Another woman crosses the street pushing a stroller topped with two freshly-baked baguettes. A well-dressed older man strolls confidently down Beranger with a bottle of Vouvray wine.
It’s dinner time. I hear the shifting of pots and pans and smell dinner. My Madame calls: “Melissa, nous mangeons maintenant!” It’s just the beginning of my time in France. Every day was a trip in Tours, the city on the Loire Valley where I learned about French culture. But so many of the adventures I had were during my travels to Barcelona, Girona, Paris and Strasbourg. Join me as I revist two of these places and I’ll give you a few travel tips that I picked up along the way.
10 a.m. Friday: Tours, France [2]
It’s an extemporaneous move on my part. I decide Friday morning that I want to spend the weekend in Paris. I convince my partner-in-crime, Jessica, to go along with the adventure and after a few haphazard preparations, we’re off.
Friday afternoon: Gare Montparnasse, Paris, France.
Montparnasse is crowded. It’s big. It’s Paris. And we’re overwhelmed. We circle the outside of the station until finding a cab. The cabbie swerves us through the congested streets as I periodically check the meter and daydream about finding a Pierre or Claude to sweep me off my feet in one of the cafes we pass. Suddenly we stop at Red. Oui, the famed Red Light District, mes amis. My jaw plummets to the floor faster than a penny dropped from atop the Eiffel Tower. The street is littered with knocking shops, something the British call sex shops. Suddenly the chorus of Ludacris’ “Get Back” starts playing in my head. “Ah! We are in the Red Light District!!” But this is my reality.
Perhaps we should go back to my first encounter with The Atlanta Frochot Hotel. The artifice directly across from our hotel catches my eye. Full and upright in its glory is “The Dirty Dick.” What are we doing here? You can see the panic in my face. Jessica looks at me. I look at her and we start laughing. We’re standing with our baggage in the middle of the Red Light District. Thank goodness for Jessica – I would have been completely lost in both the figurative and literal sense of the word. I’ve always been horrendous with directions.
Tip 1: Find a travel partner that compliments you.
Your travel companion can make or break a trip. Through our travels, Jessica and I began to read each other’s moods and finish each other’s sentences. What you don’t want is a travel companion who will be just another piece of luggage.
My first question to the V-neck sweater-wearing desk receptionist is, “Ummm, do you think it’s safe here for two young women?” He responds in French that drips with an English accent.
“Never once in my twenty years have I seen a prostitute in this hotel. I work nights to save my marriage. To have a successful marriage, I’ve found that you should never sleep with your wife. This one time my wife and I were banging away…” Arête. Stop. His name was Bryan. My encounter with Bryan helps to form my next tip:
Tip 2: Laugh at the bizarre; you’ll have more crazy stories to tell.
“So when the kids are around we have to try to be quiet. She usu’lly holds on to the headboard while we’re bangin’. This one p’ticular time, we were on the bed in our unfinished room. There were open ‘lectrical sockets on either side of the bed. All the sudden, her face LIT up. I thought, ‘I must be doing something right!’ I had hit the point of no return when I realized that she was being ‘lectricuted! I didn’t stop. I don’t think she’s forgave me ‘til this day.”
Every time we entered the tiny hotel lobby, Bryan greeted us like this: “You know what I learned about marriage? Never sleep with your wife.” The greeting was always followed up by a different story.
On the way back from Paris…
[3]Tip 3: Things will go wrong. Laugh when they do.
Brrrring. Brrrring. Brrring. Could that ringer be any louder? Jessica picked up the phone and hung it up, but it continued to ring incessantly. All I hear are mumbled words and then Jessica jumps out of bed.
“Melissa, they said it’s 12:15 and we’re past check out.”
“How could it be? I put in a wake-up call and our train leaves in a half hour.” I dress hurriedly and head downstairs since we only paid for a single room with a bed that could fit the two of us, sleeping head to toe. The concierge forgot to put in our wake-up call, but apologized and called a cab for us. We were told at the station that we wouldn’t have to pay for a new ticket, but did have to pay an extra charge. We wait in Car 18 to pay. No one comes around. We’re not checked so we sit on the floor end for the hour-and-fifteen minute ride. At least we got back and didn’t have to pay for another ticket.
Tip 4: When reserving hostels online, it’s easier to split up the nights you’re paying rather than split it down the middle.
I booked the hostels for the first three nights in Barcelona through www.hostels.com and www.hostelworld.com, but I made the mistake of booking the hostels with both of our credit cards and sent the information to only my e-mail address. We arrived at our first hostel in Barcelona swimming in sweat, tired from traveling and irritated by the humidity.
“Don’t worry, don’t worry,” the desk receptionist assures us. “There’s an extra bedroom at our sister hostel.” The obviously illegal dwelling we’re offered is tucked away behind a linen closet. We have to travel outside, up a rickety staircase past more maid quarters, through a doorway held daintily shut by a small wire. The room in its entirety had two twin beds, a broken fan, and no other source of ventilation.
“If we die in here, no one would know,” I proclaim. “Thanks for the optimism,” Jessica retorts. We survive the extreme heat by sleeping in the buff. I wake up the following morning to take a shower downstairs and open the wire clasp to get out. It falls off. I return to a not-so-pleased friend. “Why did you leave the door open?! The maids came in while you were gone!” [4]
Tip 5: When you ride the train in France, don’t forget to compostez your billets.
You may think you can just hop on any train and take free rides wherever you want. You are probably right. But in case you decide to uphold some sort of moral standard, don’t miss the little machine on the train platform where you punch your tickets. Don’t be a fool like me and put your ticket in the wrong end. The first time I had to punch a ticket, I held up a line of commuters, and all eyes rolled in my direction. Look at your ticket before you get in line to punch it. There is an arrow that shows you where it should be punched.
Tip 6: Buy a youth pass if you’re going to be backpacking Europe or traveling around a lot.
You will pay a lot for the pass, but once you have it, it will feel like you’re spending nothing when you go to buy tickets. If you want to buy a rail pass online, you have to buy your tickets at home or have someone at home buy them for you with your driver’s license. There are a variety of options in which you can choose from with a number of countries you plan on visiting, all divided into zones. For instance, Luxembourg and Belgium would be in the ‘BENELUX’ zone. You must also buy the pass according to how many days you plan on traveling. Check out these sites for more information: www.sncf.com and www.raileurope.com. You should get to the station early because the trains are always on time, unlike the CATA buses we so lovingly wait around for. Also, you can watch the cool changing train schedule signs they have. Maybe I’m just easily amused.
Tip 7: In France, there are people, not a line.
How does the French sense of the term individual affect you? I would say that more Americans then French and more Japanese than Americans, for instance, respect the line. In most cases, more Americans than French respect the line, while Japanese are even more courteous than in our country. The French think it’s all right to cut in line, so get ready to stand your ground. On the shuttle to the airport, we were all pressed for time because the first bus driver refused to take us all to the airport. A whole group of business people tried to push us out of the way. They knew where they were going and we didn’t. We might have missed our train if it weren’t for a couple nice folks that let us get ahead.
Tip 8: Watch for pickpockets.
Don’t carry your passport with you unless you have to. If you have to, put it somewhere safe. Keep items you take out close to you at all times, especially in big crowds. You may have dressed as a gypsy for Halloween, but are there actual gypsies? Yes. Some of the kids on my study abroad trip were at the Eiffel Tower when someone asked if they wanted a bracelet. Before they could answer the hooligans tied string around their arms and demanded money. Street surveys are usually hoaxes so that they can steal your money. Think about it. You’re concentrating on filling out some survey while they rob you blind from behind. First, I would highly recommend wearing a money belt. Unlike the notoriously goofy-looking fanny pack (hey, our mothers may have worn them in the 80s, but they are so not cool), you wear this under your clothes. They’re inconspicuous. I also liked to carry a purse just to be tricky.
Tip 9: Watch out for French men…and boys.
While the French men are quite forward (at least with foreigners), I thought this story about French boys is certainly the most interesting. I was sitting in Park Prebonds in Tours one Sunday afternoon with two friends. There is nothing open on Sunday so we would go and relax in the park. We’re soaking in the beauty of the perfectly groomed park and conversing when these pre-teen boys start circling us on their bikes while shouting repeatedly: “Yes, yes, you come with us.” Yes, little boys, we definitely want to ride on your bikes. We’re not responsive so they try to catch our attention by doing pop-a-wheelies. Finally they ride away mumbling, “Lesbians.”
Tip 10: Every foreign man wants a foreigner. As my French host mom would say, soyez sage, or be wise.
Yes, we want to believe in women’s liberation. Unfortunately, it still is dangerous for a girl to be walking alone at night. One of the girls on my trip was walking home by herself one night and was chased. Another was just about to enter the gate to her host family’s house when a man pulled down her skirt. The man tried to get through the gate, but she successfully locked him out. She was unharmed, but needless to say, shaken up. In the most direct of precautions and tips, just be safe.
Tip 11: A is for…
Real absinthe is only legal in Amsterdam, but the faux absinthe I tasted in France was vile. It tasted like black liquorice, and it seemed that most everyone who had a little in addition to drinking a decent amount of alcohol got sick the next day. Avoiding absinthe is probably the best idea yet.
Tip 12: Another word on safety: D is for Drouges…
Get to know the laws of the place you’re going to. The last thing you want is to end up in jail wherever you are. U.S. laws don’t apply out of the country, so you’re basically on your own. Nobody wants the Interpol on their tail (and no, I’m not talking about the New York-based band.)
Tip 13: Dress classy. Dress French.
Don’t wear short skirts in France. Shorts are also a no-no. Tank tops are fine. I took fashion cues from the French and now I’m all about accessories. Scarves are the classic French touch to every outfit. My favorite chain store in France was Zara. Printemps and les Galeries Lafayette are worth a look, but are generally more expensive than the other stores. Pim’ke carries lots of T-shirts with slogans in English. While plenty Europeans know English, the translation doesn’t always work exactly or the wearer doesn’t understand what it says. I saw a German boy wearing a shirt that said, “I heart my weiner.” I also saw girls in Spain that looked about 12-years-old wearing matching T-shirts that said, “Buy me another drink, you’re still not cute.” Men are much more fashion forward in France. There are more stores exclusively for men like Celio. Men in Europe are masculine enough to wear man purses and capris.
Tip 14: The best time for shopping in France is from the end of July to August. That’s when the soldes, or sales start.
The rest of the year, prices are ridiculous, especially since the euro is worth more than the dollar. I loved the shopping in Spain. The clothing there was more colorful and fun than the French styles. It was also much cheaper. Sfera is a great deprtment store in Barcelona. Custo is the stop for brand-name mavens. Blanco was my favorite store because they had very trendy clothing at great prices.
Tip 15: When in Rome/When in France, Il faut manger francais![5]
The French love to use this expression. FYI: The French don’t understand the expression, “When in Rome.” They say, “When in France…” The French are extremely proud of their gastronomy, and with good reason. Are you a peanut butter and jelly kind of person? Leave that jar of Smuckers behind. While in France, I learned to love the cheese (not all of them but that’s okay), the wines (Alsacian-grown Riesling was my favorite,) I savored crème brulee, delighted in duck, nibbled on quiche, munched on a croque monsieur, grew fond of fondue, enjoyed escargot, sliced into saucisson, introduced my palate to pate, snacked on galettes and sipped on cafe au lait.
FYI: the French don’t snack. The French meal is a gathering event. Snacks are more for kids in France. The traditional French meal commences with an aperitif, usually a kir which is wine and blacurrant liquor followed by the entree. The entree in France is our appetizer. Then you have the main dish, and then cheese and to complete the meal. I was often served raspberries or strawberries in white cheese for dessert. White cheese is more like a crème than actual cheese. In Spain, I went crazy over seafood paella, and tapas, a meal composed of small dishes that you pick out as if you were ordering sushi. The dishes can be tuna, chips, olives, and other small items that comprise a satisfying and sometimes surprisingly inexpensive meal. I liked tapas because I always seem to look longingly at a friend’s dish when I go out to eat. I like to try it all, and with tapas, it’s possible. The French eat late by our standards, but the Spaniards eat even later. This late mealtime is practical for the weather because the Spaniards eat starting around 9 p.m., when the sun starts to set.
Tip 16: L’addition s’il vous plait/La cuenta por favor/Check please.
Europeans like to relax rather than rush during their meal. The service is different as well. In France, the tip was included with every meal. You must also make sure to ask for the check.
A word on wine. When in France, see how wine is made and go for a wine tasting. I went to Vouvray, but there are countless places where you can learn about the art of winemaking. In general, there are white wines, brut (the bubbly), vin sec, vin douce (sweet wine), dry wine, red wines, and pink wines. There is so much to learn about wine. I loved that you could buy a good bottle of wine for $10 or less. Over there, wine is a way of life.
Tip 17: Take some time to soak up the local color.
You don’t have to sightsee to really get to know a city. The way I really got to know a city was by getting coffee, going to a local bar, or watching a bocce ball tournament- not going to all the tourist attractions. If you hop between tourist attractions, you’ll miss out on the city and will just be exhausted. Balance your trip so that you have enough time to do both sightseeing and relaxing. During my week in Barcelona, I had enough time to see many of the attractions, but I also relaxed plenty.
Tip 18: The Truth about Hooking-Up abroad.
Époque Karaoke Bar, Paris
I see him from across the room. He’s completely gorgeous. He has short brown hair, sparkling brown eyes, a slim, but toned body, and confident stance. I think, “Wow, if only I could get a guy like that.” I continue my conversation with Jessica, but occasionally glance over and am surprised to catch his eye once or twice. The atmosphere is great; I’m already drunk from the bottle of wine we drank beforehand and the bottle of champagne we drank in the restaurant. We went out for a ritzy dinner at Roman Bistro, where we told the waitress that it was my birthday so she wouldn’t think we were drunkards. Every time she came to the table and said “bonne anniversaire,” we laughed. Back to the bar. I’m walking back from the DJ stand past him. To my surprise, he stops me and starts speaking to me in French. After we figure out where we’re both from, we speak in English. His name is Orly. He’s a firefighter from England. Score. Set your limits beforehand.
More people seem to be inclined to let loose on vacation, and that can be “a good thing.” But just like Martha Stewart’s naughty behavior, yours can get you into trouble too. Use your intuition, and always let your friends know where you are.
Speaking of letting people know who you are…
Tip #19: Just pretend you’re Canadian, eh?
Anti-Americanism was rife in France. The anti-American sentiment was pretty much ubiquitous. Every French person I came into contact with thought that Lance Armstrong was drugged. I can’t even count the number of times I was harassed for being American. I had a much easier time when I said I was Canadian.
[6]
I’m sitting in Spanish class. My TA plays Manu Chao’s “Me Gustas Tu” and I practically jump out of my seat because the song sounds so familiar. It’s like de-chao-vu! The song followed me back through tourist shops in Barcelona and back to sitting on my bed in Tours listening to my stereo. I didn’t like everything in France and Spain. However, I was able to sift through aspects of their way of life that spoke to me and I can retain those aspects. I can’t wait to go back to Europe, but for now, like one vendor at the market across the street from me used to say: il faut profiter! Just like he said his goods were going fast, life moves fast. Profit from all you can.

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Pink-Shirt Men

[look]“Metro” may be out of style, but men’s style is more on the move than ever.
Hair products, tweezers, a closet full of pink and a small fortune in shoes- the grooming rituals and apparel of men now rival that of the most high-maintenance women. From head to toe, males have been relishing in self-indulgence, too. Just don’t call them “metro,” because that was so last season. (And they have been keeping track; the modern MSU male does his style homework.)
Pink is proliferating on campus and so is the fashion-conscious man. Perhaps it’s not to the point that boy babies are wrapped in pink and carried home from the hospital in Kenneth Cole booties, but modern men seem to be embracing the former female-only hue and decking themselves out in more pink than ever.
[amy] Yes, what tells women you’re the man for them more than a shockingly pink polo with the collar cockily popped, softly grazing the stubble-free and moisturized skin of your jaw? That’s right, the modern male is just not down unless his collar is turned up.
“Pink is definitely in, and if a guy wanted to be in style, he’d wear Diesel or Banana or Express,” Amy He, international relations sophomore, said.
He points out a cardinal rule for male fashion: you just can’t achieve the same effect without dropping at least one paycheck on clothes. Clearly, a pair of K-mart knickers and oversized three-in-a-package white T-shirts won’t cut it these days.
“It is a good thing for guys to be fashion conscious. I think layered collared dress shirts are stylish,” psychology freshman Samantha Dresser said.
Ask any pink-clad man on campus, and he’ll affirm, everything is coming up roses for a man who sports pretty threads. “I think that girls respond well to [pink],” Steve Morrison, political science and pre-law sophomore, said. “While I’m not really sure, I’d say if a guy dresses well, girls will be more likely to notice than if they are wearing the typical blue jeans and T-shirt ensemble.”
And it’s not just the clothes that set today’s modern man apart from the Neanderthals, it’s also the hair and all the places it grows. Natural selection in the fiercely competitive MSU environment calls for more than stunning accouterments. The perfect coif should take no less than 45 minutes to complete. Gel is the pink shirt of the hair world and no modern male leaves home without it thoroughly saturating each and every strand.
[steve] When it comes to that other kind of fuzz, MSU’s modern male is no longer a hairy ape – he has evolved, and his face, chest and most likely a few other key areas are smooth and silky.
Hair removal for men is a very big trend right now. “[A] lot of guys come in for eyebrow waxes lately,” Jenny Ranes, a stylist at Kevena V’s Day Salon in East Lansing, said. She said the men who come in to get their eyebrows waxed are generally in their mid-twenties. “They watch TV with the guys with their hair all done everyday, and they see that and want it done, too,” Ranes said.
So what was it that made men realize two eyebrows are better than one? Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. The men of Bravo’s hit show brought male fashion to the forefront and started the upswing toward not only a keener interest in clothing, but also taught that the “uni,” a former favorite of men, is now the Latin prefix for abominable.
The Queer Eye gang also helped move the term “metrosexual” to the living rooms of small-town America, but it was a woman that originally coined the word. Candace Bushnell, the writer whose book inspired the series Sex and the City, is known to have uttered it first, describing similarly fashionable but straight men in Manhattan. But, like last season’s Uggs, “metro” is out, replaced by a generalized embrace of all things suave and an overall less style-squeamish male population.
“Some of it definitely started with Queer Eye, only it could have never come about if there wasn’t already a trend toward men’s style,” Jessica Fischbein, fashion editor for Men’s Health magazine. “That show definitely got men in touch with grooming and fashion. That’s where it began, then it grew exponentially,” she said.
“I think the term metro just caught on because of the whole Queer Eye fad,” said Morrison, who affirmed that the word, at least on this campus, is indeed dead. “There is no reason for me to be categorized for dressing a certain way that may be considered more feminine or trendy. To the guys who bash it, I would say that I’m just more confident of my sexuality than they are,” Morrison said.
[vanessa] The new men’s styles are in your face, but for some, the trend is too much. “All the pink shirts and tanning and flipped collars, it’s just a new way to be different,” said criminal justice freshman Matt Accivatti. “People with pink shirts are just posing,” he said.
Some MSU women are also irritated by the trend. “I do appreciate the style, and I suppose it is not the actual clothing that I dislike, but rather it is the sheer number of people who dress like that,” said psychology freshman Vanessa Johnson.
But if the modern MSU male is able to endure a wax job, he can certainly withstand the stares, jeers and snickers of his pale, earth-tone donning counterpart. Like he’d want their support anyway – they probably don’t even own a pair of Armani Exchange jeans.
Whether the need to be a perfectly accessorized, modern male has caught on for good, or will go the way of other superflous trends (see pet rocks and shoulder pads), today’s men are “More put together, groomed, down to having even maybe their fingernails manicured and a nice pair of shoes. They tend to take are of all their things—shoes belts, accessories, brands like Kiehls and Brave Soldier are geared toward men and making skin care a part of their daily regiment,” said Stephen Kamifuji, Creative Director of www.TheStyleGroup.com, a non-profit luxury Web site based in Beverly Hills.
“Now men don’t really have to be afraid,” Fischbein said. For years, the pink shirt had hidden itself at the back of the T-shirt-filled closet, longing to be worn proudly by the too-tan, smooth-faced man of today. Finally, its time has come to shine, and shine it has – from the catalogs, storefronts and on the waxed chests of American men.

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Only the Short of It

Short films were the first films, but these days, there is a shortage of the short. That is, until the annual East Lansing Film Festival rolls around.
Writer and director Adam Finberg of the short “On Alert,” said when learning the craft of film, it’s best to start by making a short. It’s the stepping-stone to longer pieces. “It’s best to do that rather than make your first film a feature if you don’t know what you’re doing yet,” Finberg said.[alert]
Finberg explained that many filmmakers don’t aspire to do only shorts but that they are artistically valued. “I don’t think anyone sticks with doing shorts. They’re usually more of show pieces rather than commercial,” Finberg said.
While a short film may not be as involved as a full-length feature, Finberg thinks the story can be told well in a brief period of time. “You can really tell a story in 30 to 60 seconds,” he said. “On Alert” plays at the festival on Friday, April 1.
[adam] Mahyar Abousaeedi works for Pixar Animation Studios and, like Finberg, is also a recent film school graduate. “Nativity” was Abousaeedi’s thesis at the University of Southern California film school. It is an animated piece clocking in at just under seven minutes.
“Animated films take a lot longer than most people realize. The features we work on here [at Pixar] take two to three years with a very large crew of artists.”
Telecommunications sophomore Pat Cooke enjoys seeing shorts as much as he enjoys making them. “It’s a break from reality, like all movies, but more specifically I like to see short films because it’s a break from the Hollywood films that are sometimes very repetitive, almost like they are made by formulas or current trends,” Cooke said.
Cooke creates his own shorts because he likes to come up with ideas with his friends and see them through. “They require less prep than feature length movies, but are still proof that we like to make movies and that we can and do make movies.”
[nat]Like Cooke, many students produce shorts. Some of these end up at the Lake Michigan Film Competition, which comes to East Lansing on Sunday, April 3. The competition, which was expanded from The Michigan’s Own Film Competition last year, receives entries from Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin.
Erin Burke, Lake Michigan Film Competition coordinator, said, “[It’s] a larger region and gives other states the opportunity to submit their work.”
The competition had 165 submissions this year. The 52 films chosen for the competition are judged separately by genre and rated on “projection value, sound quality, quality of editing, creativity and plot; which ones score the best are the ones we go with,” Burke said.
When it comes to the shorts in the competition, Burke explains there is quite a variety. “Some are plot-driven and some are cute cartoons,” she said.
If you’re looking for the short of it, the East Lansing Film Festival is where to find it.
The East Lansing Film Festival plays at Wells Hall and the Hannah Community Center from March 30 through April 3. The festival is the largest and most diverse film festival in Michigan. For show times and other information, check out www.ELFF.com.

For more information on Adam Finberg’s “On Alert,” check out www.OnAlertTheMovie.com.
To learn more about Mahyar Abousaeedi’s “Nativity,” please visit www.Mahyar.com.

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How To Be… a Sex God or Goddess

Hear that? It’s the whisper of sweet nothings in your ear. You feel the tempting touch of your Adonis incarnate. Or perhaps it’s the amorous look of your Athena. The feather-soft brush of fingers along the nape of your neck sends tremors down your spine; through your toes and, of course, into your loins. It’s not easy being a sex god or goddess, but you’ve got it in you.
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and that means it’s time to work on your “make ’em swoon” skills. Even if you were lucky enough to have been hit with Cupid’s arrow, don’t count on that little cherub for further aid in the god or goddess department. He’s booked this time of year.
[rose2] First of all, you’re hot stuff. You know it. The “URA10″ candy heart you’re munching on knows it. Speaking of which, put down that box of sweets; bloating is not sexy. Anyway, the point is, you must learn to exude your inner seductress. Take a look at that sexy self in the mirror, give it a grin, muss up your hair a bit like you just finished taming wild stallions. That’s the trick.
The art of seduction begins with a strut. Practice five to six times before the main event. Just make sure to lock your door; you never know when your roommate could walk in on you prancing around in nothing but a feather boa to Right Said Fred’s “I’m Too Sexy.” But practice makes perfect. The more comfortable you are with yourself, the more alluring you will be to all your potential victims.
Physiology junior Lisa Levick knows the “I’m too sexy” secret. She says it’s about “being able to be confident in what you are doing no matter how awkward it may be.”
Now grab a friend and practice talking dirty. Don’t laugh. Communication is critical, says Pure Romance consultant Jean Lee. It’s important to be “in tune with your partner, even if you’re not that emotionally involved outside the bedroom,” Lee said. You should “be able to explore with your partner.”
[quote] Next, take cues from Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally. Maybe you don’t need to do an orgasmic impression in a crowded restaurant, but you get the picture. Betsy Woodward, a communication sophomore, says “making noises lets your partner know you like it, even if it’s total crap, and that gets them going even more.”
Finally, have fun. “It’s more about letting go and being intuitive. It’s all about having fun and not getting too bogged down with the technique,” Lee said. For Valentine’s Day, Lee suggests “doing something spontaneous and a little out of the ordinary, whether it be eating strawberries and whipped cream naked in bed or just including some fun element.”
Now that you look, walk, sound and act like a sent-from-heaven sex god or goddess, there’s nothing holding you back. Kiss your inhibitions goodbye and let your inner Athena or Adonis take charge.

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Beneath the Bourbon and Beads

[king]What’s under all those beads? If you’re in New Orleans, the answer is probably not very much. Mardi Gras, which literally means “Fat Tuesday” in French, is rich in history, tradition and religion. It is a time to celebrate and gorge on paczki or King Cake before Lent, a 40-day religious period of repentance and self-restraint. Mardi Gras, which is always 47 days before Easter Sunday and the day before Ash Wednesday, falls on Feb. 8 this year.
The debauchery that most people associate with Mardi Gras was derived from ancient Roman celebrations. When Rome became Christian, the Church incorporated pagan rituals into the religious observance of Lent to make converting an easier process for the every day Roman. Mardi Gras as a colorful, exuberant party made its way to the new world through New Orleans by way of French explorers in 1699. The official colors for the celebration, which date back to 1872, are purple, green and gold and represent justice, faith and power. Mardi Gras itself is represented by the boeuf gras, or “fattened bull.”
[pastry] The treats associated with Mardi Gras may even surpass the richness of the festival’s history. King Cake is the epitome of scrumptious symbolism. The twisting circular shaped cake represents the unity of faiths. A small plastic baby is hidden in the cake symbolizing the discovery of Jesus’ divinity by the Magi. The person that discovers the baby is rewarded with good luck and must host the next party. Sadly, not everyone wants to serve as future host and the poor baby is left abandoned in crumbs and frosting.
Polish pre-Lent festivities are filled with, well, jelly. The day before Lent is also known as Paczki Day, especially for the large Polish communities of metro Detroit. Paczkis don’t skimp on taste or calories; one pastry alone contains about 420 calories and more than 25 grams of fat.
After a day stuffed with paczkis, the religious significance behind the Mardi Gras celebrations kick in with Ash Wednesday, followed by the 40 days of Lent. Father Mark Inglot of St. John Student Parish said Lent is about “new life on the outside in nature while new life is coming about spiritually on the inside. People generally look forward to Lent as a sort of ‘spring cleaning.’” Traditionally, Lent is a time when people “give up” something, such as chocolate or smoking, with Sunday being a “free” day.
While pre-vet freshman,Kristi Lobodzinski still doesn’t know what she will give up for Lent, she appreciates the meaning of the 40 days. “It’s kind of religious, and we believe that is when Jesus died and rose. We give him something in appreciation for that.”
If you’re looking for a way to, as they say in New Orleans, laissez le bon temps rouler, or “let the good times roll” before the season of Lent, check out The Riv, Ricks and Beggar’s Annual Mardi Gras Progressive Party. Appetizers, beads, a full-course meal and drinks are included for $25. The bar crawls are at 5:30, 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. on Tue., Feb. 8. Rum Runners celebrates Mardi Gras on Saturday, Feb. 5.

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Dreidle, Dreidle, Dreidle

“Put on your yarmulke, here comes Chanukah.” These catchy lyrics from Adam Sandler’s “Chanukah” have permeated American culture, but popular culture tends to neglect the true essence of Chanukah.
In fact, the story of Chanukah and the idea of pop cultural assimilation are adverse entities. The translation of Chanukah means dedication, in honor of a group of Jews who fought bravely for their freedom.
MSU Hillel’s Rabbi Elazer Meisels said that “Chanukah is the only Jewish holiday not found in the Tanach and the only one rooted in a military campaign. And yet, its focus is almost entirely spiritual, not physical. For example, there is no feast associated with Chanukah, the way there is with Passover and Purim, the two other Jewish festivals of deliverance. Its religious observance is concentrated on flame, nothing more”.
In the second century B.C.E., the Maccabee rebels fought for religious and cultural freedom from King Antiochus IV, a Greco-Syrian monarch. Judas Maccabee led the Maccabees to a victorious recapture of the Holy Temple, despite Antiochius’ overwhelming army. The book, Chanukah-Eight Nights of Light, Eight Gifts for the Soul describes Judah Maccabee as the leader with “stubborn tenacity that literally saved the Jewish people and the Jewish way of life.”
The miracle of Chanukah occurred when the Maccabees returned to the Temple. There was only enough oil to last for one night, but the lantern burned brightly for eight full days.
Chanukah, for many, holds distinct memories, smells and tastes. They can vividly recall choosing the colors for the candles that filled the menorah each night and excitedly lighting the candles with the guidance of parents, mouth-watering smell of latkes wafting from the kitchen and games of dreidal played with chocolate gelt.
But because Chanukah this year starts December 9th and goes through finals, many Jewish MSU students’ celebration will be in a more low-key manner than they would at home. Pre-Med Freshman Samantha Dresser said: “I brought a menorah, candles and a dreidle back with me for Chanukah. I’ll probably get together with some of my friends in Case and have some mini Chanukah parties.”
Dresser said that one thing people should realize is that “Chanukah is not the Jewish Christmas. The High Holidays and Passover are the most important Jewish holidays.”
But even though Chanukah is not the most important Jewish holiday, Meisels said that “[Chanukah] is intrinsically a special time.”
Hillel will be hosting Chanukah events. To get more information check out www.msuhillel.org.

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Your Town: The MSU Press

In a four-suite office in the Manly Miles Building off of Harrison, a book is born. One of only forty per year, this book, published by the Michigan State University Press, may soon take up space on library shelves and professors’ bookcases across the country. But, most likely, you will never see it on the New York Times’ Best Sellers list.
Established in 1947 to compensate for the disorganization in textbook publishing at MSU, the press publishes a smorgasbord of materials from academic journals to poetry to fiction and is among the roughly 90 university presses in the country.
Unlike commercial presses, the MSU press is non-profit,and the most important motivation, according to MSU Press Director Fred Bohm, is the “quality of the scholarship.” The press is supported by grants and fundraising efforts, and “people who believe in books,” Bohm said.
A typical day at the MSU Press doesn’t exist and the small staff of fourteen is consistently busy. One day for the journal editors may involve copyediting or proofreading, or working with academic editors to select articles that will fit the style of the journals, which include subject matter on American History, Literature, Canadian Studies, African Studies, Rhetoric and Public Affairs, and Native American Studies. A day in book acquisition area of the MSU Press may involve looking for manuscripts or going to academic meetings to keep updated on the latest research.
“In any given year there will be about 2,000 acquisitions, but only about forty of those acquisitions will be published,” Bohm said. Publication itself is a lengthy process and takes about nine months from beginning to end. “A book up for publication will be sent out for peer review. Then the press holds an editorial meeting to make a final decision.”
It is not easy keeping with the latest in academia and publishing technology. “Diversification is one of the things that has really kept us going,” Bohm said. But there are challenges to come in the publishing world. Technological advances are taking place, but until there is a way that technology can preserve literature permanently, they do not want to invest in it completely.” Currently, the press uses acid-free paper that is guaranteed to last 300 years.
The MSU press offers internships for credit for a limited number interested students. The deadline for this summer is January 14th. For more information on internships or more general information about the MSU Press, check out its Web site athttp://msupress.msu.edu.

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Finding Their Harmony

As much as I love singing in the shower, I wanted more. My aspirations to take my love for singing above and beyond the soapy corridors, more commonly known as community showers, led me to start a new co-ed a cappella group on campus.
I went about finding singers through friends, by posting messages online and posting a few flyers around campus. Auditions were held, and our group was complete with ten dedicated singers with fabulous voices. But. with our debut at Accapalooza, the annual gathering of a cappella groups from around the state, only two weeks away, we had a lot of work to do.
First we needed a name and claim to fame. How did we want to present ourselves? Should we be goofy like the Spartan Dischords or be a class act like Capital Green. Or should we be a mixed bag like the Accafellas?
[harmony]Practices did not go without disagreements about these issues. The newly-dubbed State of Harmony was perpetually in a state of distress as we prepared for our one-song cameo.
I sought the advice of someone who was no stranger to the scene, Capital Green member, John Russell. He told me that “to establish a group that will stay together you need to have group unity. If you have a lot of bickering and infighting amongst each other, you’ll never get anything done.”
Luckily, as junior and State of Harmony group member Lisa Levick said, “Each one of us is extremely committed.”
Is our commitment enough to establish ourselves amongst MSU’s talented a cappella groups? I’ll admit it: I’m nervous. I wonder what the audience will think of us. I wonder if we’ll be able to pull it off. We have put so much work into preparing, practicing five days a week. But will our hard work translate to a great performance on stage?
Russell gave me his advice about what we need to entertain an audience. “First music—because that’s what they’re there for.” Secondly, he said the audience is also there to be entertained. “Some people want to see you goof off a bit, while others want to sit back and listen to you.” Both groups will need to be played to.
Of course, as devoted as we are to our Accapallooza performance, there is life after our debut. So what does the future hold for our group? Member Lora Duschene articulated our next move. “I’d like to find our niche among the other a cappella groups on campus,” she said.
But before we start dreaming of the future, we must first prove ourselves worthy.
Will State of Harmony knock the socks off the ‘pallooza audience? Get to the show and decide for yourself. Accapalooza, which is hosted this year by the Accafellas, takes place November 5th and 6th at 8 pm both nights. State of Harmony will be opening for the Accafellas, Capital Green, Ladies First, The Spartan Dischords, and guests, U of M Dicks & Janes, The U of M Sopranos, and EMU’s No U-Turn. Tickets are available at the Wharton Center Box Office: http://www.whartoncenter.com or call 1-800-WHARTON.

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Top 10 Hellishly Funny Halloween Costumes for the Presidential Contenders

For W.
10. Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Fun! That’s the statement that he’d make as a stick of Doublemint gum. This minty fresh idea would show appreciation for his devilish duo, the Bush twins.
9. A Can of Bush Beans: Dubya’s favorite cuisine is Mexican, so the costume has a double entendre as he proceeds to “refry” Iraq.
8. Bush is “Born to Be Wild”! Bush could definitely pull off a bodacious biker look if he were to dress in a leather vest complete with fringe, a Harley headband and tattoos boldly gracing his arms with “I heart Dad,” “Thanks Jebbie” and “Faith or Die” across his chest.
7. A Firecracker: Think of his explosive behavior during the second Presidential debate.
6. Osama Bin Laden because, well, that would just be downright hilarious.
5. A palm tree: In reverence to the state of Florida.
4. Nick from the Great Gatsby: A Yale graduate from old money—sound familiar?
3. A Webpage: so Bush can keep up with all the rumors on the “Intranets”.
2. We’ve all seen his perplexed expressions warped into something from the beginning stages of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. That’s right— Bush should go as a monkey.
1. Yeehaw! Ride ‘em Cowboy! The President can pull off a Texas Ranger without a hitch.
For Kerry
10. A Kerry Mask: It’ll fit like a glove over his prominent nose and jutting chin!
9. A Bulldog: Showing his love for the alma mater he shares with Bush.
8. A Ghost: Kerry claims he has a plan for everything, but for now these plans seem to be just a specter of a promise.
7. He’ll look stupendous in a tux as an Oscar recipient as most convincing role as a sympathetic leader.
6. No need to take the effort to repeat the same lines over and over again. If Kerry dresses as a broken record player, the phrase: “Wrong war, wrong time, wrong place” would be perpetually repeating.
5. Kerry would please his main squeeze if he were to dress up as a Heinz bottle in honor of his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry.
4. A Beach Bum: Complete with flip flops attached to his feet and his language.
3. Kerry should go as one of his top supporters in the music biz – a lovely blonde Dixie Chick. While he’s at it, he would likely change the lyrics of “Goodbye Earl” to “Goodbye George.”
2. A Giant Scrabble Board: Rhetoric, rhetoric, rhetoric! The costume would allow Kerry even more time to put together words, his favorite pastime.
1. Throw out those Purple Heart awards and throw on bell bottoms, tie-die T-shirt and peace sign necklace and you have John Kerry as a hippie! There is no way he could find a more perfect costume.

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