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Volume 83 (Fall 2011 - Spring 2012)

Stay Away From the Ladder

What Makes Friday the 13th Unlucky

Stay Away LadderThree times this year, many people will be especially careful to avoid stepping under ladders, spotting a black cat, or being associated with the number 13. Their steps will be a little more careful and their minds a little more on edge. So why is this? Because in 2012, there will be three Friday the 13ths.

The first unlucky day of this year started off with January 13, and will be followed by April 13 and finally July 13, all 13 weeks apart. But the reason why this random day is considered unlucky in the first place is a little more of a mystery.

Unfortunately, no one really knows exactly why the day is unlucky, and is more based on modern hype combined with the superstitions of many cultures.

According to Christian beliefs, there were 13 disciples present at the Last Supper, one of whom betrayed Jesus and set the stage for the Crucifixon, which also occurred on a Friday.

So, 13 is considered the “devil’s number,” and oddly enough, Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy and Albert De Salvo all have 13 letters in their names, according to

Plus, it was on a Friday that Eve tempted Adam with the forbidden fruit, leading them to be banished from Paradise. Friday stands in for many other unfortunate days in the Christian faith, such as the start of the Great Flood, and the destruction of the Temple of Solomon.

It is in other religions and cultures as well that Friday or the 13th is unlucky. There are 13 witches in a coven and according to the ancient Egyptians, 13 symbolized death because there are 12 stages of life.

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A New World in the Holy Land

Traveling to Israel on the Birthright Trip

New World Holy LandWhen I went to Israel, I went with a group of Jewish students that were on a Birthright trip, which consisted of 40 students and eight Israeli soldiers.  The trip was completely free for Jewish students, who were given the opportunity to experience Israel for the first time so that they could learn about the culture, the country, and the history.

To me, Israel is a beautiful country that is unlike any other.  It is only the size of New Jersey and yet there is so much culture, geography and beauty.  There are so many places to see, things to do, and so much to learn about this beautiful place. 

Upon our arrival to Israel, my group spent a few days in the North in Tiberius.  This part of the country is hilly, with forests and mountainous terrain.  We spent some time hiking in the mountains and really getting a feel for the geography.  Our visit was during January, so the weather was about 60 degrees.  

 “The weather was great for the time of year we went, which is usually sunny and brisk. It was the perfect weather for the activities we were going to do,” said Jess Laso, senior at the University of Rhode Island.

After a few days we travelled through Jerusalem where the land is dry, with mountains of dirt and desert for miles and miles.  Jerusalem is on a mountain and has places that are thousands of years old. 

There are so many places in Israel that are worth visiting, such as the Western Wall, also located in Jerusalem. It is enormous, and a person can just feel the power and history emanating from this magnificent wall. 

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Modern Warfare 3 Finishes the Trilogy on Target

Modern Warfare 3After Call of Duty: Black Ops was released in November 2010, I was excited for Infinity Ward and Activision to release another Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (MW) title. With the game being released the same month in 2011, I was worried that IW would rush to get it done and just sell the games with the idea that people would buy them because of the title. I hate it when I’m right about these kinds of predictions, but this time I was wrong. Despite small flaws, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 is an enjoyable game that gives my Call of Duty fix a boost.

I can admit, I’m a Call of Duty fan boy (calm down Battlefield fans, I like those games too). I loved the WW2 era Call of Duty games, Modern Warfare 1 and 2, and even Black Ops. These games got me excited for the release of Modern Warfare 3. Modern Warfare 2 was fun, but it needed some improvements, so I was excited to see how Modern Warfare 3 was. After I got my game at Gamestop, I drove back to my apartment and put the disc in my Playstation 3, eagerly waiting for the game to load. After playing the game for a couple of hours, I was not disappointed with it at all.

Let me start off with the single-player campaign of the game. It picks right up from the ending of Modern Warfare 2. Like MW 1 and 2 (and other Call of Duty games), you switch back and forth between the missions to play as different characters. The United States at war with Russia and an elite team of soldiers led by Captain John Price is on the hunt for Vladimir Makarov. With Makarov playing a small role in MW 2, he is now the primary bad guy for MW 3. Somehow, he became responsible for tricking Russia into attacking the United States, which I still don’t understand how the Russian army managed to bring together a gigantic army to attack Washington D.C. in MW 2.

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Reunions and Annual Events Top 2012 Concert Season

With the dawning of a new year, questions and rumors arise of what to expect from the 2012 concert scene as music lovers buzz with excitement of what is to come. Based on the successes of last year’s music scene and the newest artists’ announcements, I present the top 10 most anticipated musical events of 2012.

10.) Van Halen

Formed in the 70’s, Van Halen was praised for their signature shrieks of Eddie Van Halen’s electric guitar and the unmistakable energy of front man David Lee Roth. After great success with number one hits like “Jump,” tension between the band members led to replacing their main vocalist.

Van Halen continued to play together without Roth, but did not achieve their original success. Just before all hope had been lost of the band reuniting, Van Halen played a surprise show at a café in New York City with Roth as their lead on January 6.

The band has announced the release of their new album, A Different Kind of Truth, for February 7 and their plans to go on tour. Local shows include two at Madison Square Garden February 28 and March 1, or at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia March 5. This epic opportunity is not inexpensive however (cheapest tickets at MSG run about $60).

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The Artist Silences Audiences With Nostaglia

Artist Silences AudiencesWhile movies have been innovated over the years by how people see them, from eye-popping 3D to awe inspiring IMAX, there is very little reason to regress to old filming techniques. Especially when one goes back to the way movies were originally shown to audiences with no color, completely silent besides a musical score, and a story simply told through action and written dialogue.

As creativity seems to be diminishing from Hollywood, Michel Hazanavicius’s film The Artist shows audiences that out with the old and in with the new is not always true, even if that’s what the movie is all about.

The Artist dives right into the successful life of silent movie star George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) at the height of his career. His latest movie, “A Russian Affair,” is having its premiere and the audiences love it. George hogs the spotlight with his dog Jack while movie head Al Zimmer (John Goodman) basks in the applause backstage.

As they exit the theater, the streets are packed with reporters and the women that love George, like Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo), a beautiful unknown dancer. She’s pushed front and center as George stares at her in bewilderment at her natural beauty. He then bursts into laughter as she charismatically smiles and poses for pictures, the start to her bright career.

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Provost Film Series Puts A Perspective on Muslim Women

Provost FilmThe University will be hosting the Provost’s Film Series featuring movies on Muslim cultures with a focus on women.

The four films being presented at Pollak Theatre were organized by Provost Thomas Pearson, his office and the Office of Global Initiatives and will be shown throughout the spring semester.

The movies this year are Scheherazade: Tell Me A Story (January 30), Made in Pakistan (February 21), Rachida (March 21), and Under the Bombs (April 5).

Each film comes from a different country, each with its own unique story of women in Muslim culture. Three of the films were produced and made in the Middle East, shot in locations such as Egypt, Lebanon and Algeria.

For example, Made in Pakistan is a documentary filmed in Pakistan following four citizens, including two women entrepreneurs.

Pearson says this year’s theme was inspired by the Arab Spring and thought “it would be great to have a film series that deals with one of the most ancient places in the world which was now becoming politically dynamic.”

Saliba Sarsar, Associate Vice President of Global Initiatives at the University, is part of the committee in selecting films, saying this year’s theme is also important “because we are tying it to the Caravanserai initiative which focuses on the Muslim culture.”

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Five Off-Broadway Shows That Are on the Money

Five Off BroadwayWhen living so close to New York City, it’s easy to take advantage of all the great theater at your disposal on the Great White Way.  That is unless you’re a struggling college student because then it’s a bit more difficult.  While “Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark” and “Book of Mormon” might be the toast of Broadway, tickets can come at a steep price.

Off-Broadway plays, on the other hand, are a little more affordable.  Shows here are generally no different in quality except they just perform in a smaller theater.  Every show likes to play to a packed house, and you can usually find discounts online or at the box office for these performances. 

Most often these venues have a very generous price reduction for students, so always make sure to bring your I.D. to the ticket window. 

With winter break approaching, some theatrical entertainment could be just the thing to enjoy, especially if you have a little extra holiday cash in your pocket.  In case you’ve never considered Off-Broadway theater before, The Outlook has your guide for five shows that are worth seeing.

  1. “Love, Loss, and What I Wore”

“Love Loss, and What I Wore” is the equivalent of the best kind of “chick flick” and was even written by Nora Ephron of When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle fame. 

The play features a rotating cast of actresses who speak in the voices of several women, and use observational humor to explore romance and hardship.  This often involves relating the incident to a particle piece of clothing or a fashion fad that has significance to a character. 

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‘Season’s Greetings’ Rang Through Wilson Hall

Seasons GreetingsThe Music and Theatre Arts Department presented “Season’s Greetings,” their annual holiday concert, on December 8 on the decorated Grand Staircase in Wilson Hall.

“Season’s Greetings” was a collection of songs performed by students such as the Chamber Singers and Concert Chorus under the direction of David Tripold, chair, associate professor of Music and Theatre Arts, and the Chamber Orchestra directed by Michael Gillette, specialist professor of Music and Theatre Arts.

The night also featured The Harmonic Joules, the University’s Glee Club and The Exultation Ringers of the Colts Neck Reformed Church.

Tripold said the “concert is a special collaboration of music directors and students who assemble a program of seasonal music to be presented each year in the magnificent setting of Wilson Hall.”

Family members, friends and students filled the first floor of Wilson Hall with some onlookers peering down from the balcony.

The night started with bass soloist Brendan Moore graciously singing the J.S. Bach piece “Grosser Herr und starker Konig” from Christmas Oratorio with plenty of slurs to make a smooth legato.

Moore was followed by mezzo soprano Jasmine Walker taking center stage and tenor as well as piano accompanist Justin Sanford performing a slow R&B rendition of “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” After Walker belted out the final note, the crowd was left roaring.

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Foo Fighters Win Battle for Top 2011 Album

Foo FightersWell, 2011 has been quite the year from a musical standpoint. There have been numerous new bands that have broken into the mainstream, successful bands who have continued their success, and old bands that have made valiant returns.

Considering there are only a few weeks left in 2011, now would be a good time to list what I believe to be the top five albums of the year.

  1. Foo Fighters – Wasting Light.

Hands down the best album of the year and I do not believe any other album this year will be able to top it. Wasting Light was easily the bands best release since The Colour and Shape, which was released back in 1997.

The band went back to their old rock roots, releasing great hard rock songs like “Bridge’s Burning,” “Rope, Walk,” and “These Days.”  The Foo Fighters also had an old friend help contribute on the album with former Nirvana bassist Krist Novaselic collaborating with the group on “I Should Have Known.” It was nice to see him and Dave Grohl back together again.

It’s very hard to find a song that is not listenable on this record, which is why it is easily the number one album of 2011.

  1. Blink-182 – Neighborhoods.

After a six-year hiatus, Blink-182 finally returned to the music scene and released their highly anticipated album Neighborhoods this past September.

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Fans Enjoyed “A Winter Night” with Martin Sexton’s Music

A Winter NightMusician Martin Sexton filled Pollak Theatre with his bluesy folk rock this past Friday night, December 9. His set, entitled “A Winter Night,” was a low-key affair that featured Sexton and his guitar.

The Boston native has been a recording artist for the better part of 20 years now with nine full-length albums and an EP due out in January.

Sexton greeted the audience when he first arrived with, “Good evening, brothers and sisters,” and right away the audience could feel his hippie vibe.

However, Sexton didn’t say much else. He’d just go from playing one song after another, often without stopping to say anything about these numbers.

Sexton usually didn’t even introduce his songs, and the closest thing to an introduction was before one song when he said, “I try hard not to suck, and it’s off a record that I think doesn’t suck.” The song did not suck, but it kind of sucks that I have no idea what song it was.

Anyone who wasn’t a Sexton fan might have felt a little out of place, which might explain the various concert goers who left at different points in the performance.

Though judging by the small audience (probably less than 10 rows filled), the audience was mostly Sexton fans. The uproar that was heard every time a song finished was shockingly loud, as was the screaming when Sexton would begin a new tune.

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Midseason TV Shows to Stay ‘Awake’ For

Midseason TVFOX was first to start the midseason TV shows with the comedy “I Hate My Teenage Daughter” last week.

The show, revolving around single mothers, Annie and Nikki (Jaime Pressly and Katie Finneran respectively) with bratty teen daughters, wasn’t great and the ratings were even worse, so the freshman show hasn’t even been given a timeslot in the new year.

The jokes fell flat and the plot was relatively boring. Luckily, here are other midseason TV shows that viewers might find much more watchable.

Like any musical television show, “Smash” on NBC has the potential to be a huge success or a massive flop. With names like Steven Spielberg, Anjelica Houston, Debra Messing, and “American Idol” alum Katharine McPhee attached, it’s fairly likely that “Smash” will in fact be a smash hit.

“Smash” is a drama about the making of a Broadway musical about Marilyn Monroe. McPhee sparkles in the trailer as Karen Cartwright, a struggling actress vying for the part of Marilyn. She is pitted against a more experienced actress (Megan Hilty) and the producers struggle over whether to go for the talent, McPhee, or the name recognition, Hilty.

The show will feature an original song every week, written by Tony and Grammy award winning composers Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. “Smash” won’t start until February 6 on NBC, but you can go to to see sneak peeks and even a music video of McPhee covering Christina Aguilera’s song “Beautiful.” 

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Contact Information

The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication
and Instructional Technology (CCIT)
Room 260, 2nd floor

The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151