Tyler Horst's picture

Saying Farewell

Four years is a long time to do anything. I kind of knew what I was signing up for with the whole enrolling in a four-year University thing, but I didn’t expect to also work for four years as one of the editors-in-chief of an online publication. During my freshman year at Temple, Honors advisor Brad Pearson gave me a flyer from a student asking people to write for something called HonorsLounge.com. It was a blog and social networking platform (no, seriously, this site was originally set up as an alternative to Facebook) for the Honors student community, and it was still fresh. The site had been created very recently, and that meant whoever wanted to write for it could make it whatever they wanted it to be. I submitted an article about my impressions of freshman year, and when I saw my own work published online, for real, I wanted to do it again. I kept writing, and before the end of the semester I got word that the student managing the whole thing by himself was graduating. The higher-ups at Honors wanted it to survive, and that meant finding a replacement. For some reason, they wanted me. I’m not sure what I did to prove myself, an undeclared freshman with no experience, worthy of running a website, but I can’t thank the Honors staff enough for giving me this responsibility. The commitment to making this website entirely student-run I know has been a challenge, because we’ve pushed the envelope a couple of times, but their trust in me and everyone else who has ever been involved is something I won’t ever forget. Without the creative freedom to write and make what we want, this site wouldn’t be worth much. The other students that have shared leadership roles with me have not only shaped the success of this website, but have also influenced my growth as a person. And to anyone who has ever written an article, helped shoot a video, or took a photo for this site, all I can ever say is “thank you,” again and again. This site isn’t supported by anything other than the dedication of the people who want to make good things for the world to see. The hours that people have put into making this site what it is (and believe me, it looks nothing like it did four years ago) are evidence of the kind of commitment you only get from people doing what they truly love. I am grateful for the opportunity to have grown with them. HonorsLounge contributors are some of the smartest, funniest, most creative people I’ve met during my time at college, and I’m happy to call many of them not only collaborators, but friends. I am humbled by their trust in me as an editor, and their unbelievable dedication to their own work. Without them, this site would literally be nothing, and I wouldn’t have had the chance to do one of the most important things I’ve done at Temple. I can’t take this site with me when I graduate this afternoon, but it was never completely mine anyway. It has always belonged to the talents and ideas of all the contributors and editors, as a team. As much as I’ve put into this site over the years, the biggest honor is that now new students want to take charge and make it their own. I look forward to everything this site will become in the future. So long, and thanks for everything.
KAS's picture

Ebert Was Wrong

A lot of us grew up playing video games, but are they more than just empty entertainment? HonorsLounge writers Schyler Richards and Kevin Shirley respond to the question: "Can video games be art?" Read Schyler's response here. Kevin's is below: Before, I make my case, let me ask you all a question: “what is art?” Sure, it seems like a question that doesn’t need to be asked; art is part of our everyday lives. We’ve grown up with it. To ask what art is would be like asking what breathing is. Yet, the debate over video games as art has proven that none of us are entirely sure what art is. The late, great Roger Ebert argued quite infamously that video games could never be art. One of his central arguments was that you could win at playing a video game, but you couldn’t win at a piece of art. Mr. Ebert, if you’re looking down at us from heaven, I want to tell you that I have great admiration for your contribution to the form of film criticism, and I also want you to know that you’re wrong. Case in point: Metal Gear Solid 3: SNAAAAAAKE EATEEEEERRR!!! In MGS3, you take on the role of black ops military soldier, Naked Snake(I don’t want to hear your penis jokes). You hide from enemies, search for weapons, and fight a fantastic selection of bosses. And, much like the standard blockbuster gaming experience, there is a final boss at the end. You beat the final boss in a fight, and suddenly, you’re overcome with that feeling of victory. Then, that last hour of cut-scenes happens. You learn that the big evil you killed in that field was not evil at all; she was a sacrificial lion who gave her own life to prevent nuclear war. You, as Naked Snake, have murdered the physical personification of heroism. You realize that you are a pawn in a corrupt system. Your heart is crushed, and this emotional blow will lead you down the path to becoming a terrorist and war criminal. You are not a winner. By combining well-established game mechanics with a heart-wrenching narrative in the cut-scenes, Hideo Kojima manages to deconstruct the idea of winning the game. You may get to the end of the level in record time. You may find all the weapons there are to unlock, but in the world of the game, your character loses his soul. When I finished Metal Gear Solid 3, I was unable to go to bed that night- I was so distraught by the tragic conclusion. MGS3 touches the mind and emotions like all great pieces of art should. There are so many subtextual layers; the deconstruction of James Bond, a commentary on the arms race of the 1960s told from the one country that was subject to nuclear attacks. It contains content that you can find in many Hollywood action films, while annihilating the Hollywood-style happy ending. Do these elements satisfy Ebert’s artistic demands? Unfortunately, he’s not around for us to ask him. But, one person can’t decide what art is. To me, Snake Eater is much more intellectually stimulating than a Cy Twombly painting. There. I said it. There is an area in which video games most certainly have the advantage over movies: threequels. My next game is another number 3: Persona 3. I played Persona 3 for the first time last summer. At first, I didn’t quite get the game; there was a lot of text to sift through before I could get to playing, and the game’s time cycle was a system shock to someone who had grown up on video games that ignored the law of time. But once I got the hang of the game, I realized its magnificence.  Persona 3 is a game which applies a yin-yang relationship to the mundane and the fantastical. During the day, you are a regular high school student, who goes to class, participates in after-school activites, while trying to build friendships. But come midnight, you enter a twenty-fifth hour of the day, the Dark Hour, in which you and your dorm-mates visit the high school, which has turned into a giant tower, called Tartarus, filled with demons to fight. To defeat the creatures that fill the mega-dungeon, you must awaken the mythological creature within yourself: the titular Persona. The experience of Persona 3 serves as an extended metaphor for the life of the average teenager playing the game. In Persona 3, high school is a streamlined experience, in which time is condensed, and the player relinquishes much of his or her agency to the game’s script. At first, this take on the high school experience caught me off-guard, but upon further inspection, I realize how well these deviations do to capture the essence of what it was like to be in high school. After all, how much control did you have in that institution? You went to class, did what you were told, and continued the cycle until you graduated. The game’s abridged daytime represents how you became numb to the cycle of high school, and time began to fly right by you. The Dark Hour, then, represents your time playing a video game. In the Dark Hour, time becomes loosely defined. You’re told that this part of the day is an hour, but you may be hacking away at enemies in that dungeon for a smaller or larger amount of time. For many gamers, part of becoming lost in a game’s world is to lose track of time in the real world. After playing through that tough level or overcoming that imposing boss, you are shocked to learn that your twenty minutes of hitting buttons on the controller was actually two hours. Helping the metaphor is the differing game mechanics of daytime and the Dark Hour. The Dark Hour follows a style of play more familiar to average video gamers than the high school simulation: the dungeon-crawling RPG. Your time in Tartarus is when you most feel like you are playing a video game. To succeed in Tartarus, you must rely on inner spirits called Personas. The game describes the Persona as representing something within the soul of the person. Awakening the Persona symbolizes the self-actualization component of video games. By playing video games, we awaken alternate identities which lie within our subconscious, characters that represent that represent our inner desires, our power fantasies. Your Persona is that person you pretend to be when you pick up the controller. In addition to commenting on the gamer’s experience, Persona 3 presents an international buffet of mythology. Players get to collect and fuse Personas, which are characters and creatures from a wide multitude of world mythology. By making these entities part of the main character’s psyche, the game makes a statement about cultural heritage; our minds and worldviews are shaped by generations of storytelling traditions and cultural exchange that came about years before we were born. The evolution of human culture has been building up to this moment in which characters from Hindu, Greek, and Shinto mythology fight alongside a guy who holds his sword like a baseball bat, an android with pistol hands, and Akihiko “I’ve been waiting for this” Sanada. Am I the authority on what art is? Well, you could say I’m the authority on what art is to myself. I’d argue that the only objective truth about art is that it’s subjective. Every person has the right to decide for themselves what art is. For me, art is a game that dwells on the perils of the nuclear age, while featuring a soldier who hides in a cardboard box. In the museum of KAS, there is a display devoted to that moment when you upgrade Junpei’s weapon, and he gives you that ridiculous smile while saying, “seriously?”. Roger Ebert once said video games could never be art, and in the mindscape of Ebert, that was true. But, in the art museum of your own brain, do you see a few video games?
Tyler Horst's picture

7 Candidates For Temple's New Go-To Commencement Speaker

Commencement ceremonies are a big deal for universities. For the graduating senior, it might only feel like an exercise in walking across stages and receiving pieces of paper, but with the right speaker a ceremony can be magical. Videos of famous personalities with once-in-a-lifetime careers telling hordes of identically dressed graduates what life is going to be like go viral for all kinds of reasons, so having a great speaker is a benefit to both the graduates and the university. For years, we had our former poster-boy Bill Cosby to do that. Then the country collectively remembered that Cosby isn't the greatest role model, and people started asking, “Hey, do you think maybe it's not a great idea to keep giving a pedestal to a guy who's been accused of sexual assault by over 30 different women?” Eventually Cosby got the hint and stepped down, leaving Temple without its favorite son and cherished bag of money. But Bill Cosby was never the only eminent talent to come out of Temple. He didn't even technically graduate from here. If a diploma isn't part of the criteria to be Temple's shining star, then the field is wide open for all kinds of great people to tout as one of our own. Here are my proposed candidates for future go-to commencement speakers and possible favorite sons and daughters of Temple. 7. Paul F. Tompkins It's difficult to say what Paul F. Tompkins is best known for, but now that you've put a face to the name you'll probably start noticing him everywhere in lots of random little roles. Though he's never had a starring role, Tompkins leads the comedy world in assists (if the comedy world were a basketball game, which it isn't). He's written for Mr. Show and performed small bit parts in shows like The Sarah Silverman Program, Key & Peele, and Community. He might actually be best known by his voice, which he has lent to countless characters in Bob's Burgers, Regular Show, Adventure Time, and most recently the Netflix series BoJack Horseman (he's the voice of the clueless and narcissistic Mr. Peanut Butter). A master at building characters, Tompkins will often do more than one voice in a single show. He's a fantastic improviser, and has created some of the most beloved characters in the Comedy Bang! Bang! podcast canon. Tompkins actually dropped out of Temple to move to LA and pursue comedy, but as I said, that shouldn't disqualify him. Really, it's one of the most Temple things I can think of to pursue a passion in your free time and treat classes like something you do on the side. If he spoke at commencement, he'd probably do it as one of his characters like Andrew Lloyd Weber, which would be awesome for everyone: 6. Jill Scott Jill Scott freaking rules. The neo-soul singer is both a North Philly native and former Temple student. Like others on this list, she never graduated. She dropped out, according to the Inquirer, because of “financial constraints.” I'm sure a quite a few of us could relate to that struggle. Temple already bestowed upon her an honorary doctorate, so why not bring her back as a commencement speaker? Honestly, if she could just turn the ceremony into a concert, I wouldn't be mad. 5. Adam McKay Adam McKay is the director behind all the good Will Ferrell movies. Do you really need me to list them? Alright, fine: Anchorman, Talladega Nights, The Other Guys, Step Brothers, etc. I know this partially because his name is listed on some plaques in the basement of Annenberg to give Film majors hope. In addition to doing everything with Will Ferrell, McKay also co-founded the comedy website Funny or Die with... Will Ferrell. Nevermind. McKay dropped out of Temple a semester and a half away from graduation but again, who cares? He also went to Penn State first and said it sucked, which is something I think we can all get behind. 4. Robert Atkin Downes Who? Robert Atkin Downes may not look familiar to you, but you might know his voice. Downes is an extremely prolific voice actor, who has appeared in cartoons as various as Thundercats, The Regular Show, and The Clone Wars. He's also all over the video game world, doing voice work for big games like Uncharted 3, Ratchet & Clank, and the Metal Gear Solid series. Craziest of all, his resume includes doing “creature vocal effects” for movies like Wolverine and Aliens Vs Predator, which basically means he gets paid thousands of dollars to make animal noises. Downes actually graduated from Temple with an MFA. I had to include at least one person who finished their degree. Plus, I really just want him to say his famous catchphrase at commencement: 3. Marc Lamont Hill I'm half-joking about some of the entries on this list (see above), but I'm not joking at all about Marc Lamont Hill. Hill has a PhD, is a published author, appears regularly on CNN and HuffPost Live, writes for the Daily News, and still has time for serious community activism in Philadelphia. He's done all of that, and he's only 36 years old. He's an incredibly smart and accomplished person, which makes it almost inconceivable that Temple isn't more proud to say that Hill both finished his undergraduate degree and briefly taught here. If anyone should be asked to speak at commencement, shouldn't it be the award-winning journalist and public speaker? Plus, according to his Instagram bio Hill is “North Philly born,” and it wouldn't hurt Temple to do something nice for someone from North Philadelphia for once. 2. Tim Heidecker & Eric Wareheim The comedy duo behind Tim & Eric's Awesome Show, Great Job! and Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie can be pretty divisive. A columnist for Deadspin called their shtick “oppressively nihilistic anti-comedy,” and Roger Ebert said of Billion Dollar Movie: “There is a scene in this film where a character is defecated on by several people at the same time, and I dunno... I didn't enjoy it.” Though the bizarre satire and sometimes hyper-dumb comedy of these two Temple grads is wearisome to those who don't find it funny, you can't deny that their style—absurd verging on surreal—has greatly influenced the comedy landscape. Out of all the people listed here, I would argue that more Temple students know Tim & Eric actually went to school here. So give the people what they want already! I mean, can you imagine what a commencement speech would be like coming from the guys who made this?: 1. The Ghost of Ted Bundy Yeah, that's right. Ted Bundy went to school here. For a semester. Sure, he's dead, but everyone at commencement ceremonies are already wearing weird robes which is like half of what you need for a séance. Wouldn't you want to say you communed with the spirit of a serial killer at your graduation? I know I would. I guess Ted Bundy isn't any better than Bill Cosby now that I think about it. Probably worse, actually. Definitely worse. But seriously, Ted Bundy went to Temple. Isn't that insane?
KAS's picture

KAS's Top 5 Favorite Anime

It’s finally here. Summer is coming, and its time for me to do those various things I do when I don’t have forty projects to finish: video games, walks to the local comic book store, trying to finish those last two sluggish books of "A Song of Ice and Fire." And, of course, what would my summer be without some Japanese animation? That’s right. I like the Japanimation, not the naughty tentacles, since I know quite a few of you think that’s all Anime is. In reality, Japanese animation presents a wide variety of stories, for various age groups, working within multiple genres. And, they go quite good with an ice-cold bottle of Snapple, while you’re sitting in your dad’s recliner on a summer day. I haven’t watched every anime ever produced- not even all of the critically acclaimed masterpieces. But, I do know the shows that have blown me away. Here are my five favorite anime in no particular order. Tiger & Bunny I love superheroes; I’m wearing my Captain America sweatshirt as I type this article. And, Tiger & Bunny is one of the most unique takes on superheroics I’ve seen in recent years. In an alternate New York City, called Stern Bild City, the heroic exploits of superpowered men has been turned into the biggest sporting even on television. Superheroes are like NASCAR drivers, carrying brand logos on their outfits as they fight crime and save civilians, hoping to win points and become the “King of Heroes.” But even more impressive than Tiger & Bunny’s premise is the emotional character arc of its protagonist, Kotetsu T. Kaburagi aka Wild Tiger. The first half of the show focuses on the contentious relationship between the old-fashioned Kotetsu, and his younger, left-brain-focused partner, Barnaby Brooks Jr., the titular “Bunny.” Then, comes the second half, in which the show presents a heartwarming narrative about the follies of age and learning to balance one’s familial responsibilities and his devotion to the people of the city. We’ve seen many superhero tales in the new millennium, but few of them have as much heart as Tiger & Bunny. Madoka Magica Madoka Magica is your typical show about magical girls and their space-bunny companion. Until you get to the end of the third episode, and you realize it’s not. Madoka Magica is a dark deconstruction of the popular magical girl genre of anime. What initially appears to be a story about girls fighting evil witches with their magical powers turns into a story of tragedy, moral relativism, and the loss of innocence. Madoka Magica is probably the hardest-to-watch show on this list, even more so than the show with the serial killer. While the violence never becomes too graphic, an atmosphere of malice permeates through the series. And yet, there is more to the show than just darkness. It may take several episodes for the moral core of the show to come together, but eventually, you’ll find yourself watching a story about ultimate sacrifice and the tragic side of friendship. It is a show that haunts the viewer, but there is a deeper message within the haunting. Monster I must be honest: Monster, originally a manga by the great Naoki Urasawa, really doesn’t need to be animated. A while back, Guillermo del Toro announced plans to adapt the series into a live-action show for HBO, and I think that would be just fine. The story is completely grounded in reality, and accordingly, the anime avoids every single visual gimmick we associate with Japanese animation. That being said, with a story like this, I’d have trouble complaining about a fifth grader’s doodles flashing across the screen. Centering on a neurosurgeon who hunts down the insane killer he once saved from death, Monster is a case study on what actual “mature” storytelling is. Questions of morality and psychology flow through an international tale, featuring an assortment of intriguing characters. This ethically complex narrative is anchored by what may be the greatest villain in anime history-- scratch that: one of the greatest villains to appear in any medium. Johan Liebert possesses none of the superpowers of a Frieza or an Orochimaru, but he possesses three times the menace. Not content to kill a ton of people, he makes a point of destroying their spirits. Never have I seen planetary destruction quite as devastating as the time Johan had a kid walk through the shady side of town, looking for his mom. Steins;Gate Steins;Gate requires some patience from the viewer. Time travel stories are notoriously difficult to get right, and Steins;Gate responds to this challenge by spending several episodes setting up its laws of time travel and establishing character dynamics. However, once we get through the expository section, Steins;Gate reveals a heart of gold. The show uses time travel to explore issues such as gender identity, social isolation, and heartbreak caused by the loss of a parent. From these diverse topics, the show proceeds to reflect on the ethics of time travel, asking if it changing history does more damage than good in the long run. Steins;Gate asks its viewers to think with their brains and their hearts. Samurai Champloo Shinichiro Watanabe is an all-star in the world of anime. His landmark series, Cowboy Bebop, is considered to be one of the great classics of Japanese animation, having helped to bring the form popularity in the Western Hemisphere. But, it was his venture into Edo-era Japan that reignited my enthusiasm for anime at the end of high school. On the surface, Samurai Champloo may seem like a case of style over substance. But, dig a little deeper, and we find a show that uses style to add substance. Samurai Champloo uses anachronism in a way that stylizes the action while de-romanticizing the history. It incorporates hip-hop aesthetics in a way that feels so natural, you’ll believe Feudal Japan always came with a set of slick beats. Samurai Champloo walks an intriguing line between the episodic and the serial. The average episode is a self-contained story, but it is always marked by the ongoing journey of the main characters. This journey reaches its boiling point in a three-part finale, when the bickering protagonists see how much their relationships have evolved over the course of 20+ episodes. It’s a surprisingly heartwarming conclusion for a show marked by a certain nihilism. Also, there are few joys in life greater than that episode where the characters play baseball.
Christopher Persaud's picture

Learning to Love Downtime

5:21 PM. You’ve finished your classes for the day and have arrived back to your room. A “to-do” list is pinned to your corkboard, your phone has already reminded you of the response paper that you have due in approximately 30 hours, and you haven’t eaten since 11 AM. That is, if you are counting a banana, a granola bar, and a mug of tea as a meal. Finals week is almost upon you, so anything that isn’t pizza that ends up in your mouth is a victory. At this point, the thought of looking at another paragraph of qualitative research methodology makes you want to curl up into a ball and watch videos of vogueing for three hours. Or maybe that’s just me. Now that I’m finishing up my fourth semester of college, I’ve noticed a trend amongst my fellow students, especially us Honors folk. We hate having downtime. The idea of not being productive makes some of us break out in hives. That isn’t to say that we’re doing work all the time- anyone who’s been to the physical Honors Lounge can attest to that. But you can be sure that while we’re groaning about assignments while queuing 5 more episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender, we are nevertheless internally repulsed by the idea that, in this moment, we are not getting work done. Where does this war on decompression come from? When did it become a bad thing to take a break from a litany of academic text? Am I the only one that likes to spend a few hours reading the extremely specific wikis for shows that I have yet to watch? I’m not particularly fond of getting into the nuances of capitalistic ideology and its relationship to criminalizing “idleness," especially because I think it assumes a great many things about the ways in which we all “do work." My academic burdens (mainly analytic papers and longform readings) look very different than my biochemistry or actuarial science friends. I think it’s infinitely more valuable to question how we assign worth to our activities from a personal perspective. For me, that involves interrogating why I have no problem with spending two hours reading Bad Feminist (a brilliant collection of essays by Roxane Gay), but I grimace at the thought of opening up my notes to review issues of internal and external validity. Stop making yourself feel bad for not being “on” all the time when it comes to schoolwork. Outside of next-level cases of procrastination, chances are you really do have an hour or two to devote to a close viewing of dubiously acquired Teen Titans episodes. There’s an enormous pressure to be constantly producing, disseminating, and evaluating information each and every second of the day. Don’t let it it overwhelm you. I promise that you will be able to contribute an original thought even after you take some time to consume something that was not entirely procured via fridge-to-microwave culinary prowess. It is not a crime to enjoy yourself, even during Finals week. Go outside. Get a crêpe. Test your knowledge of Sailor Moon through a couple BuzzFeed quizzes. At the end of the day, and notably Honors students are notorious for this, the work gets done. Let’s stop shaming ourselves for taking a break every now and then.
Tyler Horst's picture

Meet Pat Donlevy, The "God Guy"

At around 1:00 in the afternoon, foot traffic by the Bell Tower is at its peak. Students rush to class with their heads down or ears plugged with headphones, taking no notice of the thin man with curly white hair shouting at the top of his lungs. People don't avoid him. Traffic flows so widely around him that he might as well not even be there. He seems to be imploring them to heed his message—something about “God” and “righteousness”--but the complete refusal to acknowledge his presence turns his impassioned plea into the rambling monologue of a crazy person. Nobody stops. Occasionally, a passerby shakes his head. The way people ignore him, it seems reasonable to think that Pat Donlevy must be a wholly unpleasant person, but he greets approaching strangers with a warm smile. His teeth are slightly stained and his face lined with age, but his soft-spoken, amiable presence is a complete about-face from the hard-nosed prophet he appears to be while standing on the corner. A skeleton of a man, Donlevy barely fills out his blue button-down shirt and dark khakis. He carries with him nothing but a backpack and a Bible, pulls a cap over his frizzy head of hair to block the midday sun and sits down to take a break on a bench near the only spot he's ever seen on Temple's campus. He's known to most only as “The God Guy,” but he doesn't belong to Temple University alone. For the past seven years, Pat Donlevy has been preaching on campuses in Philadelphia and New Jersey, presenting his urgent spin on the gospel to whatever college students happen to be walking by. Donlevy says that although he's always been involved in evangelism in its many forms, he learned his current method of proselytizing while at his hometown of Ocean City, New Jersey, preaching to passersby on the boardwalk. “You can't assume that people know anything about the Bible,” says Donlevy. His challenge is to compress the rhetorically rich and expansive stories of the Christian holy book into digestible soundbites, into “snatches that people can use.” Receptive ears could pass by at any moment, so each exhortation should be something potentially meaningful. Also, he says, you have to be loud. It was uncomfortable for Donlevy at first, to set himself apart from the ebb and flow of daily life and shout at the top of his lungs at people who probably do not want to hear what he has to say. And even after seven years on campus, he still gets anxious before every new semester, but preaching in this upfront and often vulnerable way is the only way that's ever made sense to him. Donlevy says that he never knew what to do at church. He began preaching as a sophomore German major at Rutgers University in New Jersey, and went on to Biblical Theological Seminary in Hatfield, but practicing in a traditional church setting never seemed to work for him. About nine years ago Donlevy “stepped up [his] preaching” when he and some colleagues went to Germany to evangelize to university students there. He speaks with great fondness about the one-on-one conversations he had with the German students, the thrill of spreading the gospel he believes to be true in the language he'd been studying since he was in college himself. He was forced to come home to the United States so his wife—who had been traveling with him and fell ill—could recover, but he hopes to return one day. Donlevy preaches with the conviction of a man who knows what it is like to feel transformed. He grew up with an understanding of the Bible and its teachings, learning verses of scripture from his mother, who he says is “sort of Christian.” It wasn't until he was a young adult, in the 1970's, that Donlevy says he truly came to his faith. An otherwise healthy young man, he was unexpectedly diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease, a cancer of the lymph tissue. Most people don't survive it. Faced with the prospect of death, Donlevy began an intense examination of his life. What he saw, after careful consideration, was that he was a sinner. Of what sins was he guilty? “Oh, you know. I was lusting after women and calling people 'idiots,'” he explains. Not very heavy crimes, it would seem, but it was enough for Donlevy to decide that something had to change. When the illness subsided, he says he “came to Christ.” Like so many other young people, however, Donlevy then found an entirely new set of problems at college. During his freshman year, he began to fall out of step with his commitment to a higher power. It was a time he describes rather summarily as being full of “parties and depression.” Later, in the fall, he was overcome by the second grand epiphany in his life. It came to him, of all places, at a dance. He was standing next to a girl on the dance floor at Douglas College, an all-girls school in Jersey. “I don't remember her name. I have no idea who she was,” he says with a faraway smile. What he does remember, with bracing clarity, is the experience, the full-body sensation of receiving a message from the supernatural. He heard no voices, nor did he see a blinding light, but felt only the slow entrance of some immaterial presence into the room, reminding him that there was something in the universe beyond himself. It was an event he can only describe, after a long search for words, as a “feeling.” The following summer, he joined a Christian group on campus, and set himself off on the path that would eventually lead him to the Bell Tower at Temple University. It's no secret that what Donlevy does puts people off. To many students, the old man huffing and puffing at them when all they want is to get to class is just angry and confused. He's been called “an idiot” by students, accused of doing nothing but harm to others and to his own beliefs. But Donlevy speaks of what he does like a craft, almost as a musician ponders what it is to perform. “If I'm on my game, then the Holy Spirit gets involved,” he says. The message is for others, but Donlevy admits that there is something in it for him: it's fun and exciting. Donlevy even concedes to having a great deal of respect for his curbside contemporaries. He's certainly not the only one, on campus or in the whole city, offering enlightenment or salvation in its various forms. Donlevy knows about the others, the 12 Tribes of Israel and the Hare Krishna monks, and sees them as equals rather than competition. “I have to applaud that someone else can stand up and do this for another religion,” he says. And he knows the proper time and place for talking spirituality. Donlevy's day job is as a substitute high school teacher in a New Jersey school district. Some of the kids know about his preaching, he says, but he doesn't treat the classroom like the street corner. His favorite Bible verse is Romans 3:10: “There is none righteous, not even one.” Ironically, many might want to throw this back and challenge him to prove that all his pomp and circumstance doesn't represent a misunderstanding of the verse, but he readily admits: “I'm the same way.” He is carefully vigilant about remaining humble all the time, avoiding the dangers of a swelled head. For all his apparent assurance, Donlevy admits to having doubts about what he does. Even other Christians have come up to him and told him to stop, and more often than not people seem to simply not be listening. But Donlevy sees this apparent ignorance as a different story. “If people tune you out that means they're listening,” he says. “They have to work harder not to hear you. That's how I know what I say is making an impact.” all photos by the author
Maddie Murphy's picture

Lady Lamb at World Cafe Live

It’s best to learn life lessons from someone else rather than making certain mistakes yourself, so I thought I would share a lesson with all of you honorslounge.com readers to spare you from leaning it the hard way: If you ever find yourself standing in front of a merchandise booth at a concert avoid jokingly using the phrases such as “I hate her,” in a loud and obnoxious voice, in reference to the musician who’s CD and cassettes you are looking at. You may turn around to find the musician you just jovially dissed standing behind you, well within possible hearing distance. You may kill the mood of the evening entirely and live in shame for the rest of your life. This is real thing that happened to me while attending Lady Lamb’s concert at World Café Live. To make matters worse, she went on to play a set that nearly brought me to tears. Besides the minor fact that I felt like the world’s biggest jerk, this concert was one of the best performances I have ever seen. Lady Lamb played mostly from her latest album After, but included a few songs from Ripely Pine as well. Throughout the majority of the concert, she was accompanied by two band members. All three musicians proved to be extraordinarily talented, and it was clear that they were all well-versed in the material. Lady Lamb’s music distinguishes itself through its complexity. It would be fairly easy for the band to slip into the simplicity found in other beachy rock and roll music, but Lady Lamb avoids falling into this unremarkable category by changing the direction and pace of her music in many of her songs. Songs such as “Violet Clementine” and “Aubergine” keep listeners engaged as they smoothly transition between upbeat and mellow tones. The small upstairs venue at World Café Live was packed, and with such strong vocals and a great rhythmic feel, it’s only a matter of time before Lady Lamb becomes a well-renowned act. I have a feeling that the next time she comes to play in Philadelphia I will have to pay a lot more than $10 for a ticket; a fact that I bemoan as a lowly college student, but that Lady Lamb has certainly proved she deserves. Although, considering my aforementioned embarrassing blunder, I may have to go to the next concert incognito to avoid reopening old wounds. . .    Photo courtesy of flickr user digboston under the creative commons license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
HonorsLounge's picture

First Annual Scriptwriting Contest

The HonorsLounge Video Crew is hosting a Scriptwriting contest, and we want your ideas! We are looking for a 3-5 page script that can be produced by a small crew (no sci-fi epics please). Please send all submissions to christina.betz@temple.edu by April 10th!
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Our 2nd Annual Poetry Contest Is Now Open For Submissions

It's National Poetry Month, and HonorsLounge is celebrating once again with a contest. If you have a knack for playing with words, send us your work for the chance to see your poem published online. Please keep submissions to no more than 3 pages in length. You can do anything you want inside those 3 pages--you could write upside down in 36-point font if you want to. Send submissions to tmhorst@temple.edu by 5:00pm on April 17. For inspiration, check out last year's winner: "Fingers" by Christopher Persaud. Don't hesitate to send in your work. In the immortal words of the poet e.e. cummings: "Well, write poetry, for God's sake, it's the only thing that matters."
KAS's picture

The 5 Worst Video Games of All Time

Look. I’ve been playing video games for a long time. Longer than I’ve been able to tie my shoes. Seriously, I probably got my first gaming system when I was in kindergarten; the whole shoe-tying thing didn’t burn itself into my brain until I was in fourth grade, and even then, my knots weren’t as tight as they could be.  My point is that I’ve played a ton of video games: some of them good, some of them bad. Then, there’s those forsaken pieces of software that “bad” doesn’t even begin to describe. If we compare the brain to the intestines, then these games are J&H on Welcome Week. They’re the kind of games that haunt me for years- I lay on my bed, staring into the dark abyss, contemplating the precious hours of my life that will never be reclaimed. These are the top five worst video games of all time: 5. Chrono Trigger I should’ve known this game would be terrible from the moment I looked at its protagonist. I mean, look at this guy:     He looks like one of the characters from Dragon Ball Z, but with red hair. What am I supposed to call him? Son McGoku? But, trust me. It’s not just abominable character design that makes this game a travesty. Oh, no. This is one of those games where you can’t just hack at the enemies. The developers actually expect you to sift through menus. Freaking menus. If I wanted to play something slow and ‘strategic,’ I’d play a game of chess with my grandpa. Only, I wouldn’t, because he’s dead. The poor guy probably died of boredom from playing this game. He may have also died of being 91 years old. Also, the game suggests that Y2K happened, and it was caused by a giant alien bug. Yeah, right. 4. Pokemon Gold and Silver More menus. Those darn menus. I’ll be honest. I liked Pokemon... the first generation. Afterwards, everything turned to garbage, like in Gen 5, when they had a Pokemon that was literally garbage. I miss the good old days, when Pokemon had creative designs. Like a purple pile of sludge: Gold and Silver took the series on a dangerous path which it never left, that being a continuation of the path that was begun in Red and Blue. As soon as they introduced things like a day-and-night cycle, Pokemon breeding, and evolutions based on the magic of friendship, I said to myself, “That’s it. Pokemon is ruined forever.” 3. Sonic the Hedgehog 2 One of my fondest childhood memories has to be getting my cousin’s used Sega Genesis and playing the original Sonic the Hedgehog for the first time. I liked that first game: the running, the jumping, the animal cruelty. So, when I found out that Sega made more Sonic games, I just had to play them all. Little did I know, I was in for the greatest disappointment of my young life. On the surface, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 seems like another fun game. There is some cool level design. Sonic runs faster than before, and he can now do this spin-dash attack. But, all of that is diminished by one little fox: God, Tails is so annoying! Who thought it would be a good idea to bring this guy into the Sonic games? Everyone knows that the Sonic games only have one good side character: Big the Cat. It’s because of Sonic 2 that we have to deal with characters like Charmy the Bee and Cream the Rabbit. It all began with that stupid, flying fox. 2. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker I’m going to cause some controversy by saying that I’m not the biggest fan of the Zelda franchises. I always feel as if the games spend too much time on those stupid puzzles and mazes, when all I want to do is hack away at some goblins, or the giant pig men that these games substitute for goblins. But, I understand why others may be able to enjoy the games more than I do. I mean, I guess they got a bit of a Lord of the Rings vibe, if you take out Elijah Wood and throw in some effeminate elf dude who makes Orlando Bloom look like Sean Connery’s chest hair. However, I really don’t get people who claim to like Wind Waker. I mean, what is there to like? The graphics are just atrocious. Instead of giving us the polygon counts and textures the Gamecube was capable of, Nintendo gave us Mickey Mouse. It’s insulting. We’re not babies, Nintendo. We are grown men who turn on the game, hoping for some dark, something edgy, something we don’t want our moms to walk in on. Want more proof that this game is kiddy garbage? At the end of the game, the hero stabs a guy in the forehead, and there is no blood whatsoever. This is why Nintendo will never make another console. 1. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater The first time I saw a trailer for this game, I expected great things. The trailer painted it as a roaring, violent good time, full of digital throat-slitting and machine gun-toting. Then, I played the game, and what I got was ten hours of cut scenes and this: Remember that video game ultra-violence I told you about before? Turns out that’s a train ticket to game over in MGS 3. Instead, the developers expect you to have the time of your life, crouching down in the grass, all while listening to the characters reflect on the futility of armed conflict and the insanity of the Cold War. I don’t know about you guys, but I play video games to have fun, not to question the actions my country’s government took when Sean Connery’s chest hair was still a sex symbol. But, it gets worse. About half-way through the game, you take on a 150-year-old sniper in a fight that lasted me about an hour. The battle was kind of cool, but what followed immediately after had to be the most mind-blowingly stupid event I’ve ever witnessed in a video game. Instead of trying to explain it in words, I’ll just let you see it for yourself: <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3Z5UGE3g5M> I'm done.

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