Driving home, on the pockmarked dirt road
at that bewildering spring time of day
where five in the evening is so late
five in the afternoon is so early

Snow was clinging to the blooming red bud
Dark fuchsia blooms
bursting forth from the
heavy, temporary spring snow
melting into a memory of winter.

For Matthew O’Malley

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I walked into the Italian deli on Federal Hill in Providence and swooned at the sight of the white-clad deli workers corralled by a ring of display cases stuffed full of fresh mozzarella, home-made pasta with pesto and olive oil and red sauce and  hunks of roasted meat and olives of all colors and shapes. A grey-headed man with a moustache curling around his nose introduced me to their Easter treat, something akin to panettone but he was yelling to the obviously newer employee that panettone was not a traditional Easter treat and for that matter Providence was not founded by Roger Williams but started by an Italian of course. The young kid looked away, embarrassed by the yelling. But the robust guy was not perturbed, instead he turned again to me.

“You know this one,” he smiled into my face and took my hand.

“La llla llla llla” and he started singing some romantic song. I smiled at him and tried to follow along, looking into his watery eyes, still wowed by the amount of meat hanging from the ceiling and the stainless steel racks of olive oil.

My friend and I gobbled up everything with our eyes and managed to get enough lunch for a construction crew.

My older friend followed me around the gleaming deli as I wowed over everything. He serenaded me throughout the aisles and I tried to sing along, but alas, being a California girl raised on jazz I could keep the beat but not the melody.

I asked him about the hanging leg from the ceiling. My friends in California had expressed that the world would be perfect if they only had one of those hooks that you see in the bars in Barcelona with a huge chunk of meat on it ready to be carved all night. I asked him what it was, if it was similar to this, and he told me it was prosciutto and that I probably shouldn’t take a hunk of it on the plane all day without refrigerating it.

Dismayed, but secretly relived that I couldn’t carry around a huge hunk of flesh in my bag, we left the delectable store and stepped out into the flooding city.

By Samantha Hinrichs

Published: Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Katherine Venturelli’s show “Universal Language” opening tonight at the University Union Gallery is one of sublime subtlety. A recipient of the R. Bell Printmaking fellowship, Venturelli proves her skill. “Universal Language” uses the mediums of paper and copper to explore symbolic messages.

“We communicate on personal, cultural and spiritual levels with messages which manifest as symbols,” Venturelli writes in her statement. “My intent is to ‘look’ at the meanings of these varied communications.”

“Symbol I” is such a piece. A triangle sits within a reddish box, superimposed upon scribbled notations of a mathematician. “Symbol I” is to contemplate the symbol of the triangle, drawing up themes of the trinity, and relations between heaven, hearth and mankind. This piece is part of a triptych, with “Symbol II” and “Symbol III” featuring the images of a spiral and square. Venturelli’s interpretation of a spiral symbol is of the movement in life, the spiral of life and death and the ultimate return to the center. In contrast, the square represents earth, static energy and integrity.

“Universal Language” features the lunar cycle as another symbolic language. “Luna #18,” “Luna #8” and “Luna #11” are monotypes; also shown are a beautifully-rendered set of etchings with the same theme.

Perhaps the centerpiece of the show is the hand-made books that cross sculptural one-dimensional boundaries. However, don’t expect to be immediately impressed with the show, for the pieces are quiet and their beauty rests on their high level of craft.

By samantha hinrichs

Published: Wednesday, October 2, 2002

Sacramento State is populated with an inordinate amount of beautiful women. While interviewing two men a few weeks ago, I watched as their eyes glazed over and they ate up the strolling students passing by. “Sorry,” one of them said. “But there are some hot girls on this campus.”

As with all things, there is a dark side to this lovely phenomenon. Due to the current popular trend favoring very thin women, many women have been dismayed by what nature has offered them. According to the California Department of Health Services, the average weight of a model is 23 percent lower than that of an average woman; 20 years ago the differential was only 8 percent. With the ideal offered to us by a model being so drastically different than reality, women are driven crazy attempting to compete.

Visual images constantly temp us of a better life if we were only skinnier. “Negative body image is one of the most prevalent and destructive problems among young women, ” says Susannah Northart, co-chair of NOW’s Young Feminist Committee. “The media is constantly surrounding us with images that make girls feel bad about themselves.”

According to National Mental Health Association, five percent of college women suffer from bulimia. Bulimia is one of a set of eating disorders. Others are anorexia nervosa and binge eating, both having devastating effects on the men and women affected. Bulimia’s pattern is a cycle of binge eating and then purging through vomiting, use of laxatives or excessive exercise.

Eating disorders have a long history. Romans were known to gorge themselves on food and then excuse themselves to vomit in order that they might enjoy a few more courses of their meal. Romans were probably not acting out of psychological discomfort, but because they had access to plenty of resources. We do not see eating disorders in developing countries because there is simply no food to spare.

There are many factors involved to cause an eating disorder. Family behavior, stress, genetic links and social pressure are some. Dr. Equilla Luke, director of Sac States psychological counseling office, says there is “not a single cause of eating disorders, there are multiple contributing factors.” Dr. Luke went on to explain, “There are many different subsets under the umbrella of eating disorders, and each of these subsets is influenced more by specific reasons, such as the media or a neurochemical disposition.”

As advertising has permeated schools, work, recreation and the home, we are more exposed to the limiting beauty standards put forth today.

When asked if the media portrayed models that were close to the average body size if that would positively affect those with eating disorders, Dr. Luke agreed.” The subset of people affected by media would be less predisposed to the disorder.” She went on to state that Marilyn Monroe, who was a size 10 or 12, was an image of the ideal beauty that was very close to the average body weight of that era. Perhaps, that is why today we have more eating disorders, because we have a greater dichotomy between the ideal and reality.

Sac State is not immune to this disease. The school provides us with free psychological services that can alleviate the symptoms of this debilitating disease. With the knowledge of the problem, and the availability of help out there, perhaps we can reduce the numbers of students affected from eating disorders.

By Samantha Hinrichs

Published: Wednesday, February 6, 2002

Last week, the World Economic Forum will began in New York City, our nation’s economic center. About 3000 delegates attended this invite-only event, each paying $7,300 to attend, and the corporations that sponsor them pay $17,500 annually to be members of the WEF. 4000 police also attended the streets of New York City to maintain “peace” from the several thousand protesters who convened to create their own “joyful, creative resistance” outside, and in town hall meetings and at their own counter forum at Columbia University.

This is big. I don’t precisely know what happens in the WEF, when some of the world’s economic elite gather. I’m not allowed to attend. CNN tells me that they are working on the world recession, and addressing issues such as peace and poverty.

Well, they have been meeting for a while now, and my world seems to be having wars. I also know that the majority of the United States is laden with credit woes and unable to buy a home. Perhaps the world of the corporate elite has peace, spare money, and the luxury to debate the outcome of other’s lives.

The world economic machine drives the socio-political turns of nations. The Gross Domestic Product usually measures the system of models that we have set up, based on growth, products and waves of money circulating in the world. The GDP measures things like how many cars were sold from American manufacturers, the rise in commodities process, and how much extra money was circulated through a nation’s economy. Because of this broad accounting, the $2 billion spent on cleaning up the Exxon Valdez oil spill boosted our GDP. In fact, when you call an ambulance for a sick relative, our economy gains. Here we see that progress: more stuff, more money, includes personal and societal catastrophes.

Economist Robert Heilbroner wrote, “Before economics can progress it must abandon its suicidal formalism.” I think this is what the protestors in New York, Melbourne, and Porto Alegre, Brazil are calling for. We can no longer base progress on on growth, but we must insert some of the negatives into the equation. The Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare, created by Herman Daly and John Cobb, includes pollution, depletion of non-renewables, and car-exhaust related health costs. According to the ISEW, there has been no improvement since the 1970s, and in Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom, the levels have been falling. That sounds more accurate to my reality. The second World Social Forum in Porto Alegre is the counter balance to the WEF. It brings together journalists, scientists, and governmental workers to discuss what the WEF leaves out. This includes the environmental degradation due to industrialization, poverty becoming enhanced due to globalization, and unique, community-based methods for alleviating individuals of catastrophic burdens. This is a start, which is unfortunately thousands of miles away from the WEF.

The WEF web-site describes itself as a “unique club atmosphere” which is very conducive to “addressing key issues of global relevance or initiating new business contacts.” A combination of events on globalization would seem more global to me. How can corporate executives address poverty when they don’t feel it? Let us bring together these each side on globalization, for they are really different faces of our world.

I pray that there is no more violence in New York City, however, the associated press reported 87 arrests on one day alone. There is considerable passion on both sides, but we still all have to live together. New York City police enforce an 1875 law that disallows protesters to wear masks. Well, if the police didn’t have a history of using tear gas, protesters wouldn’t wear masks.

By Samantha Hinrichs

Published: Monday, January 28, 2002

I gathered with members of my community last week at a gospel concert in honor of Martin Luther King. I looked around at many recognizable faces, some well dressed doctors, some loosely draped hippies hanging in the rear, all affected by the unity created from our gathering and singing together in the hope of freedom and peace.

This last year has brought challenges to our awareness long ignored. It has also brought a sense of shared experience that has recently been scarce in our hyper-mediated lives. I appreciate this reawakened desire for unity, yet a part of me shies away from the fervored patriotism due to our current crisis. I believe it is because I share with my neighbors, with the dreams of King, a craving for unity, of bringing all together. By its nature, patriotism creates a divide based on geo-political boundaries, and also a psychological one summed up by President George Bush, “with us or against us.”

There is correlation here between the events of the Sacramento State graduation last month, and the divide between unity, patriotism and our freedoms. Really, I wasn’t so surprised that a speech about the loss of our civil liberties, racial profiling and questioning the government was booed off the stage. We have changed as a nation since Sept. 11, and we are clinging to the beliefs that we are doing right action in the Middle East, and that changes to our rights here at home are warranted, because the other option, questioning, is scary and hard work. Sacramento Bee Publisher Janis Heaphy’s speech challenged students to “to be active participants in the democratic process.” Well, in a way I can appreciate the vocal heckling at the ceremony as a form of expressing one’s opinions, exactly what Heaphy was calling for. However, I also see it as an immature refusal to hear ideas that were not shared, apparently, by a loud portion of the 10,000 plus audience.

More so, Heaphy’s comments angered attendees due to the fact that she asked for students to investigate our governments actions, here and abroad, and therefore she became, as Bush had said, “against us,” or unpatriotic. Are we a nation that is based on blind following of narrow principles, or were we intended to be a nation of working thinkers, of champions of freedom? Right now we walk that line, each of us choosing every day the degree to which we will participate in our democracy. We each choose to unite together or divide, to contemplate actions, or accept them.

I reflected upon these ideals of freedom and unity on Martin Luther King Day, a day honoring one of our nation’s heroes. One psychologist concludes that our nation hasn’t dared to believe in a cause since the dual traumatic deaths of King and John F. Kennedy. We haven’t dared to engage in a passionate debate of ideals, and now we embrace patriotism, sometimes noble, sometimes divisive, in a belated attempt to express that suppressed desire for a cause. We can believe in something! Unfortunately, I don’t think that it is that easy. We must couple belief with deliberate introspection. It’s not the easy way. It isn’t the way of booing a speaker off stage. It is the way of King, of the best in each of us. We can unite together as one nation, all people, and all thinking, different, challenging people. We can be patriots, true Americans who work for the diversity of thought, the blessed danger of freedom, united in our differences. I dare us to be that brave.

By Samantha Hinrichs

Published: Wednesday, April 3, 2002

Recent college graduates will have a harder time finding work than they would have in the past two years, but not compared to the rest of the decade.

In 2000 and 2001, the job market was booming, and the United States in general was at an economic high. The end of 2000, and the beginning of 2001 showed California unemployment rates of 4.6 and 4.7, according to the United States Bureau of Labor. Now California has an unemployment rate of 6.1 for February, according to the most recent report for the state.

Compared to the rest of the 1990’s this is right in line with the other years. In 1997, California’s unemployment rate averaged 6.3 percent, while in 1992, it averaged 9.2 percent. Most of the decade saw this index hover around 7 or 8 percent.

The west has historically high unemployment rates. Currently, we have the highest rate in the nation, compared to the lowest of 4.0 in New England.

Nationwide, the rate has remained stable at an acceptable 5.5 percent.

Labor commissioner Lois Orr stated in a March 8 report to the Senate that most job losses within the nation in the last month have been in manufacturing, mining, aircraft production, and electrical equipment each losing tens of thousands of jobs. For the first time since July, the finance sector had a loss, with 11,000 persons out of a job this month.

Students in the field of health, education, engineering and management will have an easier time landing employment. These areas are all gaining, with health services leading at 34,000 more employees in February.

According to the American Nuclear Society, although no new power plants have been built in 20 years, they are in dire need of students with a Bachelor’s degree or a Masters in Nuclear science. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics considers one employed when a person who does “any work at all for pay or profit in the survey reference week or work(s) 15 hours or more without pay in a family business or farm.”

Orr states that there are 7.9 million Americans unemployed, and 4.2 million who have part time work but would prefer full time.

By Samantha Hinrichs

Published: Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Recently, I was listening to my local radio station and two people were being interviewed about the Space Preservation Act (HR 3616)that was introduced in the House of Representatives by congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) earlier this year. While the legislation has been slow to move through the House, progressive Berkeley, Calif., has passed a resolution endorsing the Space Preservation Act and the companion world-wide Space Preservation Treaty.

Senator Douglas Roche, a Canadian senator, has asked for Canada to lead an international campaign to stop weapons in space. Since the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty expired this last summer, there is an international void which this new treaty fills. Without a treaty, a new arms race will begin, filling the skies with lethal and controlling weapons. Thinking that this must be important, I started looking into the matter. What I found shocked me.

First of all, the economics of the situation astounds me. Richard Becker, of the International A.N.S.W.E.R (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism) told me that one of every two discretionary tax dollars goes to the Department of Defense. With a 15% increase in its budget this year, our military budget will be $471 billion by 2007, equaling the military budgets of all nations in the world.

Currently our $378 billion budget looms over the combined budget of our top six terrorist nations. Cuba, North Korea, Syria, Libya, Iran and Iraq have a combined military budget of $12.6 billion. Becker asks us to look at the overall picture. “Look at what has been lost as compared to what has been spent,” Becker reasons, “21 and a 1/2 trillion dollars has been spent on the military since 1920. What about our homeless, our educational system? Social problems like these could be solved tens of times over.”

Leuren Moret, a geoscientist who used to work for Laurence Livermore Labs who is now on Berkeley’s Environmental Commission, feels that government defense spending bolsters a many unfeasible science projects.

“Star wars will never work,” she explained.

Apparently the system of lasers is thwarted by all the space trash and most of the power is dissipated and reflected. She has been a big supporter of HR3616 and the world treaty.

Currently, she is in Japan campaigning for support of the treaty. She feels that the individual cities proclaiming their support will start a ball rolling. “We are using the Berkeley resolution as a way to get global support and to increase awareness of citizenry.”

The most unbelievable thing that Moret contends is the use of non-lethal weapons, or NLW in space. Time magazine reported that the military is developing “directed energy” weapons. Lev Grossman, of Time, describes these as a “tight, focused beam of energy that flash-heats a target from a distance.” Placed atop Humvees, these transmitters pulse out electromagnetic frequencies.

“The cranium is not transparent to electrical current, but it is to electromagnetic frequencies,” Moret explained, “(the) technology is not affected by space or atmosphere.”

In a 112-page report presented to the European Parliament, the Omega Foundation outlines some of the science-fiction-like effects that new technologies cause on enemies. Internal organs can be superheated, cause a person to fall asleep, create aggressiveness and memory loss.

Dr. Rauni Kilde, the former Chief Medical Officer for Finland is extremely worried that these technologies can permanently affect, and even control, people.

What does this have to do with the HR3616 and the Space Preservation Treaty? Well, one of the weapons the act restricts, reads, “c. directing a source of energy against that object or person;” essentially, the act disallows use of directed energy.

I’ll explain more of the details of non-lethal weapons in my next column, especially the bizarre but true effects of psychotronics.

Samantha Hinrichs reads voraciously. Any comments can be given to forum@statehornet.com or give your feedback at http://www.statehornet.com

By Samantha Hinrichs, Forum Editor

Published: Wednesday, November 13, 2002

More and more, we have a society that bases one’s value on material acquisitions and external achievements. It is easy to see this when we try to remember the last time someone complimented you on your honor, honesty or decency. Why don’t we laud Ben Affleck for his integrity?

The “dproject” is a collective/collaborative visual arts project about ideas of self worth. “dproject” asks us to examine the methods we use to judge ourselves. Comprised of more than 70 artists, the project brings together participants from Sacramento State, UC Davis, San Francisco State, UC Santa Cruz and California College of Arts and Crafts.

One piece looks at our silly standards particularly well. I’ll call it “The Pencil Test.” This sculpture is a voluptuous ceramic breast with a pencil trapped underneath. On the smooth, glassy surface, these words circle out from the nipple: “Boob, hooter, tit, jug, melon- After I was twelve I could never pass the pencil test-Could you?”

This is in reference to the imbecilic “test” of a woman’s value- the perkiness of her breasts. If one has limp breasts that can hold a pencil underneath, than they are undesirable. Or perhaps they’re just naturally large without the effects of silicone.

Apparently, the pencil test, as a social phenomena is an indicator of how beautiful a lady is. By graphically showing the stupidity of this test, the artist makes us question the larger standards by which we judge ourselves.

All the artists were given a 5″ by 5″ block of wood to work with, creating radically different pieces.

Some were graphic; such as a bread “hand” reaching outward, a glass penis dangling from its block, or langourous nude reclining.

Others were interpretive; such as a foil-wrapped block dotted with crushed mirror pieces, or a small mirror with the words “eye make you.”All of the blocks are neatly arranged on a wall at the University of California, Davis.

Recent UC Davis graduate and dproject organizer, Sarah Cline, was very happy with the project.

“I am so pleased, it was like Christmas when I went to pick up the squares,” Cline said. “Definitely the interesting thing is that artists are participating in public spaces.”

When asked what prompted the show, Cline expressed her desire for collaboration. “I thought it would be interesting to get artists to come together and express (their ideas) about self-worth. I asked students, staff and faculty to participate, but there were more students.”

Cline corresponded with the artists through email. After creating the Hotmail account, she began to receive junk mail in reference to self-worth. “They were awful, like ‘Lose 100 pounds’ or ‘Increase your penis size,'” Cline described. “I thought about printing out a booklet of just the subject lines of the emails as part of the project.”

Sac State artist Alicia Griffin felt strongly about the theme of self-worth. “It can be complicated, understanding how your own self-worth has been affected by society. It’s important to show other representations,” she asserted during the show’s opening. Her childhood, as all of ours do, affected her ideas of self-worth. “I felt that racist ideologies affected my own concept of beauty and self-confidence. I’ve seen (racist ideologies) changing in my lifetime,” Griffin stated, “but they are still worth examining.”

John R. Fishbein PhD., author of the book “Emotional First Aid,” sees one’s self-worth as inherent. However, he feels that most people erroneously base their worth on what others think of them.

“Self-worth is commonly thought of as something a person can get or lose. It is often measured by external things such as wealth, popularity, accomplishments or others’ opinions,” Fishbein writes.

These artists challenge those common perceptions. Their work proves you can judge your merit on more than superficial means.

Check out the show, and find you own versions of your worth. It’s shows until the 18th.

For directions, go to http://www.nerdmusic.com/~sarah/dproject.

By Samantha Hinrichs

Published: Wednesday, November 6, 2002

One of the most vocal of all our hundreds of campus groups is the Students for Justice in Palestine. On Friday of last week, SJP sponsored a benefit for an orphanage in Bethlehem. Some students volunteered their last summer, meeting the children. They decided to help out the orphanage called Save Our Souls with a concert and poetry. The hip-hop artists traveled from Jacksonville, Fla. to help bring awareness to the cause. Often holding rallies, distributing information, this group of 200 or so does not just focus on the Israel and Palestine conflict, but all situations involving oppressed people, according to Nina Shoman, the president of SJP.

“Unity is very important to us,” Shoman stressed. This explains why seven SJP members dedicated a Saturday to volunteering at the huge peace rally in San Francisco.

“We had designated positions for taking donations and security,” Shoman explained. “Our volunteers worked really hard, leaving Sacramento early to start at 9 a.m.”

Along with Sacramento State’s Muslim Student Association, SJP is very well known in the activist world. The Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee, or ADC, called upon the young protestors to volunteer because of their good reputation. The group also attended another large rally in San Francisco in April of this year, but apparently it was half the size of Octobers rally. When asked how many people she thought were there, Shoman estimated 80,000 or more. “I was there on April 2nd, and I counted 40,000 then. This rally was held at the same spot, and due to the crowding, and knowing the space, there must have been twice that,” Shoman concluded.

News reports concluded much the same about the recent protest, one of two national events slated for that day. The other was in Washington, D.C., and reports there stated impressive numbers as well.

However, it seems that mainstream media declined to cover them as much as other events. When I returned home from a debate tournament that weekend, I flipped on the major networks looking for some coverage, assuming that such large crowds would attract some attention. I had to go online to Indymedia to get any sort of news coverage. It looked really exciting, with thousands cramming the streets of San Francisco, many waving American flags with a peace symbol where the 50 stars are. Music, costumes and giant puppets made it festive and like a wild parade with one message: Peace in our world.

Shoman has strong opinions about the lack of new coverage. “It’s something that should be reported more often. Unless it’s seen on TV or in the newspaper, people don’t know about it. I saw a few minutes on T.V. with inaccurate information.”

Besides it’s “news-worthiness”, media attention on certain events creates knowledge and awareness. Shoman says, “Media is a form of education.” When we listen and watch and read the news, we are constantly learning things. Who now knows what a Chevy Caprice looks like? How many of us knew where Afghanistan was prior to Sept. 11th?

The lesson here is that we must observe what people are not talking about. Perhaps because there wasn’t violence at the peace rally, networks decided it wouldn’t capture the attention of media-saturated Americans. But the fact of the matter is tens of thousands of people marched to change the world.

Hundreds work tirelessly to create laws and policies that affect all of us. There are acts of miracles everyday that go unreported, making us feel as if the world is crumbling around our shoulders. Don’t be fooled. Search out the full truth of what is happening today.

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