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Features

The New Hollywood Film: Successful, Yet Risk-Free

default article imageWhile it seems that Hollywood has run out of ideas by the amount of remakes and sequels being released, the reasons why this occurs remains something of a mystery. One theory is that these recycled ideas and storylines internalize the fear of taking a risk on something with an unsure future.

Movies such as The Karate Kid, Arthur, and Footloose were all highly successful films when originally released. Because of this, big budget studios seem to have concluded that if it was successful once, it will be successful again.

Dr. Chad Dell, Chair of the Department of Communication, sees Hollywood remakes particularly as a business decision. “We’ve got remakes of 70’s and 80’s films that still have currency with today’s audiences. The studios see something that was a blockbuster in its time, so it already has that bankability,” said Dell.

Dell then explained that for studios, it seems easier to risk a certain amount of money on something that has already proven its success rather than something with an uncertain future.

Professor Robert Scott, professor of radio/television, also believes the need for film remakes are financial considerations. “It is typically easier to greenlight a project if the financial risk can be minimized,” said Scott. “By pitching a project with a proven track record, name recognition, and perhaps even iconic status, producers may feel they have a better chance of a strong return on their investment.”

Professor Aaron Furgason, professor of radio/television, sees remakes not only as a business related decision but also as way of tapping into an already established fan base. “Remakes are safe,” said Furgason. “Last American Virgin, for example. It was influenced as being this interesting teen film and now it’s being presented to a new teen audience. The original Footloose was a huge hit. So if it was a hit to that teen audience, why wouldn’t it be a hit to the next teen audience?”

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Overcoming the Obstacle of Writer’s Block

features-writers-blockIMAGE TAKEN from wordsmithbob.comThe vertical flashing black line in Microsoft Word is staring you down and reminding you just how little you have written thus far. Writer’s block can be downright demoralizing if you have an assignment due. Whether it is from distraction or procrastination, or your mind is at a standstill, writer’s block is frustrating when it refuses to relent. What is it that causes this bothersome problem and how can it be defeated if someone is stuck at a crossroads?

Writing involves many components that differ for individuals, ranging from purpose to mood to motivation. When something is missing from this mixture, writing can be impossible and panic can ensue.

“I think writer's block is caused by lack of inspiration sometimes. Other times I think it's stressrelated,” Nicole Massabrook, a sophomore writing assistant for the Writing Center said. Sometimes without that little “click” going off in one’s brain, words fail to materialize, which leads to even more worry about not being able to write. Massabrook continued, “Even with homework, sometimes you're just stressed by the fact that it's due soon and you have a million other things to do that you can only focus on the fact that it needs to get done instead of how you're actually going to do it.”

Dr. Heather Brown, assistant professor of English, said that when people talk about writer’s block, what they are really talking about is writing anxiety. “I firmly believe that a major cause of writing anxiety is the idea that one has to wait for inspiration to strike. Inspiration is great when you can get it, but it is even more important that you get your butt in the chair, open a blank document and just start typing. The best way to cure writer’s block is to write,” Brown said.

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Turning Tragedy Into Positivity

Linda Mussara, Supervisor at Einstein’s Bagels, Discusses ‘Relay’ Motivatio


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One woman in the University community found hope after heartbreak. Having survived cancer, suffering the loss of her beloved husband and caring for her sick mother, Linda Mussara, supervisor at Einstein’s Bagels, turned her grief into something positive.

For the last five years, this strong woman has put her energy into the Desperate Mama’s Relay for Life team and turned her pain into motivation to help others. Mussara’s husband Joe suddenly passed away eight years ago from glandular cancer. Enjoying five years of marriage together, he was diagnosed on January 14, and after unsuccessful cancer treatments, died exactly three months later.

“That really put Relay at the front of my brain to say we’ve got to do something here,” his widow said. “If we can save one life it’s worth it.”

Mussara is one of many who have been saved from cancer. She fought her own battle against throat cancer 15 years ago. “I spent a summer getting radiated five days a week for 12 weeks,” she said. “They never tell you what the radiation is going to do to you later on down the road.” Relative five-year survival rates for nasopharyngeal cancer are 72 percent when diagnosed at stage one, as Mussara was, according to the American Cancer Society’s website.

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The Dropping Cost of Gene Sequencing

A Subsequent Rise in Medicine Personalization


Dropping Cost Gene SequencingAs the lines separating biology, chemistry and computer science have yet again been blurred, new roads have been paved for the scientific advancements of tomorrow to begin today.

Genes are the units of heredity in living organisms. They are composed of stretches of DNA and RNA that code for other RNA chains and proteins, one of the chief building blocks of life. A decade ago, an international collaboration of scientists in the Human Genome Project successfully mapped and identified all of the genes that make up the human genome, the aggregate sum of all our genetic makeup – the cost of doing so, however, ran in the billions of dollars.

Recently, Bill Banyai, an optical physicist at Complete Genomics, designed a factory that, according to the New York Times,“automated and greatly lowered the cost of mapping the three billion base pairs that form the human genome.” His company is pushing to reduce that cost to under $1000, the applications of which are simply jaw dropping.

Young fields such as personalized medicine, gene therapy and genetic counseling will mature into integral parts of tomorrow’s medicine, branching out new lines of careers in bioinformatics, applied computing and molecular genetics, to name a few.

The advent of personalized medicine in particular will bring forth the most visible change in the near future. Patients can be treated on a case-by-case basis on an unprecedented level of specificity, one down to the molecular level of their own genetic makeup. This will allow doctors and biotechnology companies to pinpoint the errors in genes that predispose individuals to certain diseases such as cystic fibrosis, breast cancer and Alzheimer’s.

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Look for the Ones in the Pink Jerseys

The Stigma Faced by Female Sports Fans


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They cheer right along with everyone else, shouting and applauding, booing and sighing, sitting on the edge of their seats as a pitch is thrown, holding their breath as the ball hits the backboard and bashing the referees for making bad calls. They talk sports, are up-to-date on all of the latest trades and stats of players and team rosters, and are able to participate in heated conversations. They wear their team’s colors and their favorite jersey, usually with their favorite player’s number displayed on the back. They jump up when their team scores, rounds of high fives going around. They are the female sports fans, and are as well-versed in sports as many other die-hard sports fans out there.

The stigma of being a female sports fan has plagued many. Women do not watch sports purely for the sake of pleasing a boyfriend, but watch sports because they want to. Nicole Keslo, junior psychology major and Yankee fan said, “The worst thing has got to be the stigma against hardcore female sports fans. Whenever you say you like a team there's always that guy in the crowd who makes a snarky remark about how girls don't understand sports. Sorry guys, you're sadly mistaken!”

Marilyn McNeil, Director of Athletics, still sees that some women like teams to please their significant others. “I think this is a sociological issue. Women still tend to be fans of what their boyfriends or husbands, want to do. And those ‘others’ aren’t willing to include the women’s game in their choices,” she said.

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Who’s Checking You Out?

The Hidden Dangers of Online Dating


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In this fast paced world, everything moves at the speed of light, whether it’s your brand new iPhone or your Lexus Hybrid. Being that we are always on the go, it is that much harder to meet someone special.

In the past 15 years, the world of online dating has exploded and become a trend that many Americans have begun following. According to the Chadwick Martin Bailey Study, one out of every five singles is dating online. Online dating services are everywhere we look. If it’s not a commercial for eHarmony or Match.com, it’s a side bar ad on our Facebook for Christian Mingles.

 “Everyone knows someone who met on a dating website. It’s so popular it’s becoming a norm,” said Michele Ventricelli, junior.

These websites practically sell themselves too. Nobody wants to be alone, and making a profile takes five minutes. So what’s the harm in seeing what’s out there? Well that’s a question Americans should take into serious consideration before heading down the path of online dating. The bigger question is, how do we really know who we are talking to when we’re speaking to someone we met on the internet?

According to William McElrath, Chief of Police at the University, the main concern is that you really don't know too much about the "real" person you're meeting online. That person could easily be married or have intentions of taking advantage of your wallet. The person could also be dangerous and looking for easy victims.

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Blinded by the Light: The Real Cost of Indoor Tanning

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It’s burning up more and more by the second. The bright lights blind you, but you don’t want to place the eye protectors across your eyelids in fear of leaving spots or an uneven tone on your face. You lie there, completely at peace with music playing above your head, outside the box. Twelve minutes pass, the lights come down and immediately, you feel a rush of cool air as the heat vanishes. As you’re getting dressed, you catch a glance of yourself in the mirror, let out a sigh and smile, thinking it’s all worth it. Even in the early weeks of spring, you’re magically walking around with a sun-kissed tan as if you just came back from the Bahamas. Fact check: that invigorating feeling of confidence may not last as long as the chemicals in your body will.

Indoor tanning is said to be as danger as it a luxury for people. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, more than one million people tan in tanning salons. Moreover, 70 percent of patrons are women aged 16 to 29, ages that include college students.

Melanie Ratajczak, a sophomore education and spanish major, has been tanning indoors for three years and believes she has become addicted to the way she looks with a tan. “Initially, I started to get a base tan before vacation. Naturally my skin is pale, so a base tan helps in order to avoid sun poisoning.”

A frequent customer at Beach Bum Tanning Salon for their “reasonable prices,” Ratajczak explains she normally tans on level one, the lightest and weakest level, in 15 minutes intervals. She says she also goes tanning to relieve stress and insists it helps with acne breakouts and covers up scarring.

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Guiding Students to a Healthy College Experience

Meet Kathy Maloney, Director of Health Services at the University


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For Kathy Maloney, Director of Health Services, it has been 11 years of transforming students from adolescence to adulthood in terms of their health.

She’s cared for patients withdrawing from heroin, struggling from rape, sick with the stomach bug, and facing a variety of physical and mental health problems. She says, “We have had it all. We never really know what comes through the door.”

However, there is one event that Maloney said absolutely takes the cake.

She describes it as the “Pinewood Illness.” “A few years back, two girls [residents of Pinewood Hall at the time] came into the office with the most horrible looking throats. Red, swollen, horrible looking. Then, they started to break out in rashes all over. Itchy, itchy, itchy rashes. We could not figure out what it was. Then all of a sudden, other people on the same floor of Pinewood started having similar symptoms. And before you know it, it was almost the entire floor. We didn’t know if it was something in the floors, or something in the vents. The Department of Health was here and Facilities Management did testing of the vents.”

Everything seemed to be better when people were not on that floor in Pinewood, Maloney remembers. “People would get better when they went home, and got worse when they came back. Then we started to do a diagram,” she explains, tracing a chart with her finger on her desk. “We plotted out the rooms, and what happened was the girls in the center room had the worst symptoms, and as you went further out, those girls had less symptoms. And no one could figure out what was going on.”

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Celebrity Culture: The Worldwide Obsession

What Fuels Our Fascination With Celebrities?


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What do you see when you walk through the checkout aisle at any grocery store? You are bombarded with tabloid magazine upon tabloid magazine with the face of a Kardashian plastered on the front cover. Although we would like to think that we have the willpower to turn our heads as we impatiently wait for the cashier to finally reach us in line, the truth of the matter is that some people give in to their curiosity and pick up the occasional Us Weekly or People magazine. What is it that draws us to celebrities and makes us incapable of completely ignoring them?

“Many members of the general American public are intrigued by the lives of celebrities for a variety of reasons,” said Mary Harris, public relations professor. “The media, at times, glorifies the rise and fall of famous individuals, including actors, singers, reality television personalities, athletes, politicians, and talk show hosts. Average citizens may be intrigued by the idea of the unique and almost unrealistic lifestyles of some of these celebrities.”

 Oftentimes, people look to celebrities to be the trendsetters. Although the Oscars are meant to be an evening to honor the great works in the film industry, most of us only watch the red carpet to see what Angelina Jolie or Jennifer Lopez is wearing.

Those who make it through the ceremony itself are more interested in which celebrity did a wardrobe change, who is making his or her first public outing with a new significant other or which celebrity the host is going to offend first.

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You Could Lose More Than Just Weight With Diet Pills

Lose More than WeightIt’s that time of year again: Spring Break has ended and summer is around the corner. The birds are chirping, the trees are green and little string bikinis are scattered in the display windows once more. At this point in the year, one might think it is time to hit the gym, but no; students are heading to CVS to pick up the latest and greatest diet pill to hit the market, such as Hydroxycut and Trimspa.

Mary Lou Dalessandro, a Nurse Practitioner at the University, said, “Because obesity is an important health problem in this country, the desire to become thin is often a primary goal of college students. However, being thin and being healthy are not often the same. Many students turn to over-the-counter diet pills to achieve quick results.”

In some cases, diet pills are just the trick to lose that extra winter weight students are carrying around. Alex Cohen, a graduate student at the University, has taken diet pills and supplements for several years now. “I started taking Xenadrine to lose the small percentage of body fat that I had left. As a result I am now a personal trainer at the New York Sports Club. Without Xenadrine, I’m not sure I could have sculpted my abs enough. It was worth the risk of experiencing side effects,” said Cohen.

However, these little caffeine capsules do not always work so well. Kayla Nennecke, senior at Seton Hall University, knows all about the diet pill hype. “Last year I wasn’t quite ready for the summer so I decided to take Hydroxycut, which my friend had recommended,” she said.

But Nennecke soon discovered that the side effects written on the side of the box are not just there for decoration. “After taking the pills for about three days, my heart felt like it was fluttering in my chest. I decided to read the label and saw that increased heart rate was, in fact, a side effect,” she said. According to Substance Awareness Coordinator, Suanne Schaad, increased heart rate and blood pressure are only two of many side effects. “Some of the most common side effects are dry mouth, sleeplessness, headache, back pain, constipation, nausea, dizziness, anxiety and depression,” said Schaad.

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Are You Falling Asleep in Class?

The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Students


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They are everywhere: walking zombies roaming the halls on their way to class in a trance-like haze. They are easy to spot, sporting heavy bags under their eyes, hair askew and wardrobe disheveled as if they got dressed with the leftover clothes scattered across their bedroom floor. Many can relate to this feeling, or appearance, because lack of sleep can affect anyone. Cramming for exams, staying up late to finish a paper due the next morning, or just having too much on the mind can affect sleep. If not kept in check, sleep deprivation can lead to many effects that can harm you in the long run if not taken care of when they first appear.

Sleep deprivation can be brought on by many differing factors. Kathy Maloney, Director of Health Services, said that some of the contributing factors are overuse of stimulants (caffeine-related drinks especially taken late in the day/night) anxiety and depression, and stress. Many of these indicators are evident in students’ lives. It is easy to point out the victims of lack of sleep in many classes as well. Maloney said that some other effects of sleep deprivation are falling asleep in class, irritability, bloodshot eyes, bags under the eyes, and inability to focus.

According to webmd.com, the average adult needs about seven to eight hours of sleep a night, though some can function on less. Many students view the weekend as a chance to recuperate and get caught up on missed hours of shut-eye. Maloney said, “There is a misconception that eventually people can ‘catch up’ on their sleep at some point in the future. College students especially perceive themselves and their health as invincible and that nothing bad is going to happen to them despite their lifestyle choices.”

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Contact Information

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

MAILING ADDRESS
The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey
07764

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151
Email: outlook@monmouth.edu