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Governor Schweitzer Visits COT

Alexis Urbaniak Guest Writer
Gov. Brian Schweitzer traveled to the Montana State University-Billings College of Technology on Monday, Feb. 21, to learn firsthand about the COT and its educational offerings. The governor, along with his large entourage, toured areas of the COT on a quest to acquire further knowledge about the programs that have been a part of legislative discussion this year. The joint House and the Senate Long Range Planning Committee have recommended $9 million be allocated to the MSUBillings College of Technology. The governor is particularly interested in the Process Plant Technology program and talked about a possible new program, Power Plant Training. The tour began in the Process Plant area, learning about the technology and its applications, with instructor Bob Robertus. Dean John Cech talked at length about a possible future path of the Process Plant program. Recently, Cech met with the Director of Global Refining in San Francisco in hopes of developing a partnership between California students and the COT Process Plant program and prospective Power Plant Training program. Ideally, said Cech, we would like to see the first three

Dean Cech with Gov. Schweitzer - Photo by Amanda Greshik.

Dean Cech with Governor Schweitzer - Photo by Amanda Grenshik

semesters offered online, with the fourth semester being strictly hands-on here on campus. This would work well for students in California where no Process Plant degrees are offered. After much conversation Schweitzer said, This is the direction we need higher education in Montana to be going in. We need to be leaders. After the tour, Cech presented the long range building plans and where the money

would be spent if the COT was allocated some or all of the $9 million. The COT is hoping for a funding boost to construct a separate building on the west end campus. The new building would house health care programs, a nursing expansion, science laboratories, and classrooms to facilitate general education courses. Also if funding were available, Cech would like to renovate 29,000 square feet within the existing building.

The governors concern for two things was made very evident: Affordability and credit transferability. Schweitzer said, We just have to have better transferability. I know it is a big undertaking, but it has to get done. Cech closed the conversation with, Well get it done. Hopefully the COT will be seeing some new money come in. Improvements and expansions
Continued on page 2

Winefest Comes to MSU-B p. 3

ASMSUB New Managment p. 6

Constantine Movie Review p. 12

Letters from China p. 17

1500 University Drive SUB 225 Billings MT 59101 Business & Newsroom: 657-2194 Fax: 657-2191 E-Mail:
Olivia Koernig...........Co-Editor-in-Chief Copy Editor Betsy Harris ...............Co-Editor-in-Chief News Editor Evelyn Irmen...............Business Manager Beth Kern......................A&E Editor Tove Bornes........................Layout Editor Niki Porter.............................Photo Editor Bryce Skjervem....................Sports Editor Emily Valenzuela...........Creativity Editor Dana Livermont..........................Reporter Nicole Livermont........................Reporter Dan Hansen..............................Cartoonist Gloria Colvin.........................Staff Writer Patrick Olp..............................Staff Writer Anna Johnson.........................Staff Writer Anne Plowman.......................Staff Writer Jason Corbridge......................Staff Writer Ashley Fagerstrom.................Staff Writer Nancy Swanson...............Faculty Advisor
Guidelines & Policies The Retort encourages the submission of letters to the Editor. Letters must be under 250 words in length and include name, signature, and phone number. The Retort reserves the right to edit for space and possible libel. Letters should deal with subject matter relevant to the students, faculty, and staff of MSU-Billings. The Retort is published every other Tuesday. Letters must be submitted by the Friday after the most recent issue date. The Publications Board of ASMSU-B advises The Retort, leaving content decisions to the editors. Opinions expressed in The Retort are not necessarily those of its members, the college, students, student government, state government, or federal government.

Betsy Harris Co-Editor-in-Chief

I am so excited for the opportunity to be the Co-Editor-in-Chief of The Retort! I have been working on The Retort for two years and have already learned so many valuable lessons from it. The most important thing to me is that people read this newspaper! I hope that we can encourage feedback from the student body so we can report the things you guys want to hear, and maybe some things you dont want to hear. Thats one thing college is good for, hearing things you dont want to! I want to make our school newspaper at MSU-B fun, silly, stupid, cutting-edge, deep, and intellectual. I hope we can get you thinking about issues and ideas that might be new to you or bother you or make you feel good to be part of this University. I hope we can keep you informed about whats happening at school and make you want to be part of it. This is a great time in our lives, lets have a blast living it. Argue with your teachers(they like it), question authority, do something outrageous for your oral presentation. Kick butt on your tests! Live this time of your life to the fullest because it only comes once! Most importantly, READ THE RETORT. Feel free to let your voice be heard! We are more than happy to print your letters, short stories, or anything else you might be interested in. Come with us on this journey and I promise youll smile! Thanks, Betsy Harris

Olivia Koernig Co-Editor-in-Chief

So theres some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that our Editor-in-Chief recently resigned. He will be missed and welcomed back with open arms, should he decide to return in the future. For the duration of the semester, however, Betsy Harris and I will tag-team the position. Thats the good news. At least I think its good, and I hope you will too. We are really excited about our unexpected promotions. I hope youll notice some changes in The Retort. The first improvement is the reintroduction of The Retort online. If you havent checked it out yet, you may access it at This is something you can count on from here on out. Look for updated staff photos soon. Some of you may have stopped reading your student newspaper because it wasnt a reflection of your views and interests. If that is the case for you, please email us at We want to hear from you!! We want to be fun and goofy and important and relevant! You are paying for this newspaper to be here, so why not read it? Others of you may not read The Retort because you dont want to bend down and pick it up out of the stands. If that is the case for you, just ask for help. Seriously, if merely picking it up is the problem, just ask someone to grab it for you. OOH! I know! You can just read it online instead. No bending or heavy lifting required! The important thing is to check us out and offer some feedback. Remember, The Retort belongs to you!! Thanks, Olivia Koernig

Governor at the COT

are much needed, and as the enrollment keeps steadily rising, we will begin to see some changes being made at our College of Technology. It is nice to see that the Montana Legislature is finally putting higher education as a priority, and I know they will lead the Montana University System into a brighter future. The governor only had a moment to answer a few questions: What is your largest concern regarding higher education? Making sure it is affordable. Montana COTs have the highest tuition in the nation. All Montanans should be able to afford college and I plan to assist in making that possible. In my budget proposal I have designated 970 scholarships to Montanans, with some of them being based on high school GPAs. The COT scholarships would range from $2,000 to $3,000 dollars. How do you plan on making college affordable for the working Montanan who may not qualify for a grade-based scholarship? In my scholarship proposal, 500 of the scholarships would be need-based. The proposal is being worked on in the legislature, however, and well see the end product in the next few months. It will be a positive change for the students in Montana.

AClassofWine -WinefestComestoMSU-B
Paul Jangula Staff Writer
Wine has been a staple of civilization for thousands of years. The ancient Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians drank it. Wine is one of the most common words in the Christian Bible and some of those passages date back 8,000 years. In the thousands of years that the human race has existed on Earth, wine has been an indication of when a civilization actually became a civilization. Wine has come a long way since the first time a grape was crushed. Today you can buy a wide variety of wines from most of the countries in the world. Sorting through the nearly endless varieties of wine can be a difficult task. On March 8, and 9, the MSU-Billings Foundation in association with Briggs Distributing Company, Wells Fargo Bank/Wells Fargo Private Client Services, Computers Unlimited, Billings Gazette Communications, and Sodexho, are providing some instruction on the history of wine, how to taste wine, the differences between wines, and which wines should be paired with which foods. Wine 101 will be offered Tuesday March 8 and Wednesday March 9 in the MSU-B Student Union Ballroom, starting at 7 p.m. and ending at 10 p.m. You can get tickets at the MSU-B Foundation on Virginia Lane, or by calling 657-2244 or 1888-430-6782. Most major credit cards are accepted. The cost is $40 per night, or $60 for both nights. Tickets will be on sale until the events fill up. These two seminars are being limited to 50 seats per event. You have to be 21 to participate in these seminars. The instructors for Wine 101 are Ben Ripley and Peter Christ. Ben Ripley is a representative of Youngs Market Montana which is a liquor sales representative and wine broker. Peter Christ owns the Bridge Creek Back Country Kitchen and Wine Bar in Red Lodge, Montana. Ripley and Christ share the instruction responsibilities on both nights of the event. Ripley designed the class program making use of his extensive background working with wine, and Christ puts the program fundamentals in perspective by relating how they are applied at his restaurant and wine bar. Wine 101 is designed for the wine enthusiast. It starts with this is a grape and moves to selecting the perfect wine to be served with a gourmet meal. The idea is to give participants a basic understanding of what wine is and what to look for when selecting a wine, said Ripley when asked what he hopes to teach people in the seminars. This truly is a 101 class. The Tuesday class will present the history of wine, wine basics, white wines, and wine and food pairings. The Wednesday class will cover red wines, sparkling wines, and again wine and food pairings. Sodexho is providing the food. This isnt a sit down style dinner. Participants will be given samples of wine and food to compare how one wine tastes in communion with a particular food. Jeannie Moller of the MSU-Billings Foundation explained, It isnt a full meal that is served, but by the end of the session youll be full with all the differing samples provided. Wine 101 is the first event in a series of events called the Wine and Food Festival or Winefest. This event is a benefit for the University, and was first held in 1993. The other events of Winefest include a guest chef dinner, which is exclusive chefs coming to Billings to prepare specialized meals eight separate cooking schools, which are again renowned chefs invited to Billings to teach participants how to prepare gourmet food a wine masters dinner, which is a gourmet dinner shared with the winemaster of a California vineyard a wine tasting event, which is a food and wine sampling event, and the gala dinner and auction to end Winefest. Also part of this benefit are two Wine 401 seminars. These two seminars are for those who have more advanced knowledge of wine. Shana Dilworth of the Jardiniere Restaurant in San Francisco will be the instructor for Wine 401. She is a sommelier, which is similar to saying she has a doctorate in wine knowledge. Winefest main events run from May 10-14. Tickets go on sale Monday April 11, and prices vary depending on which event you would like to attend. The corporate

Graphic courtesy of MSU-Billings Foundation

partners are the same as listed above, and the sponsors are Albertsons, Fortin Enterprises, and Underriner Motors. All proceeds from Wine 101 and Winefest go to the Chancellors Scholarship Awards, civic engagement and service learning, and diversity initiatives minority student recruitment, and recruitment and retention. Winefest is only one event that the MSU-B Administration and Foundation work at to provide better and more opportunities to students. In 2004, Winefest raised $250,000 for these kinds of programs, and the 2005 Winefest event promises to continue the tradition of providing support for the students of Montana State University Billings.

Show Me the Money: Student Fee Allocation

Dana Livermont Reporter
Recently, the Associated Students of MSU-B (ASMSU-B) held their presidential and vice presidential elections. Astonishingly, of the 4,645 students who are enrolled in MSU-B, only 380 voted. That means that barely over eight percent of the entire student population found enough time or interest to vote for their Senate leaders. Worse, only five votes were received from the voting booth that was set up at the College of Technology. One must wonder whether students are ignorant of the Senate and its processes, or they just plain dont care. A small, unscientific survey conducted in the Liberal Arts Building would seem to support the second notion. Of all the students asked, none knew what ASMSU-B was or what it did. Interestingly, though, when asked where they could find current information about the Senate, most knew that they could check the Senate website through the MSU-B homepage or go to the Senate office in the Student Union Building. It is apparent that most students know that there is a Senate and that information about current legislation is available; they just are not interested. Dr. Bill Kamowski, the ASMSU-B faculty advisor states, Information flow is low, possibly because most of the students are commuter students. He purports that because many students usually come for class and then leave, many students are unaware of the events that happen outside of the classroom. Students should care, though, as the Senate controls all of the money taken through the activities fees paid by students each semester. Vice President-Elect, Dan Hansen, says that the purpose of ASMSU-B is to investigate and allocate funds to student organizations that are derived from student fees by process of voting. Moreover, they are representative of the student body at roughly a 300 to 1 zation. Hansen states, that More times than not, student organizations will ask the Board for an increase in money. The Senate also has a contingency account, which is to be used to establish one-time requests. Often these requests come from groups like the Percussion Club and the ASL Art Auction. To be considered for contingency funds, an individual or group must find a Senator to sponsor their request in the form of a bill. Then the same process is followed as with a of the Senate, almost every aspect of the university has student representation. Hansen guesses that there are between 20 and 30 of these committees, including the Academic Appeals Committee, Technology Fee Committee, and the University Budget Committee. Hansen says that one of the biggest concerns he and PresidentElect, Tracie Overberg, have is student involvement with the Senate. He hopes that Senators will make themselves more available for students and organizations. This would help connect the gap between the Senate and the students it represents. He would also like to see the Student Activities Board make events that are more applicable to different demographics of the students. The current distance between the students and ASMSU-B is pitiful, and as the Senate recognizes the problem, it is trying to address the situation. However, improvement must be made on the student end as well. After all, the students pay that $250, 000 in student fees; they should care about where it is being spent. Students can access the Senate minutes by logging on to the MSU-B website. Also, the Senate office is located in room 213 in the Student Union Building. There is usually a friendly face, or two or three who would be more than happy to provide information about current Senate issues. The easiest way, however, to get ASMSU-B specifics, is to just ask any of the Senators who can be seen roaming all areas of campus in those navy shirts that say Senator on the back. They wont bite.

ratio. Students should know that the student fees this last year totaled nearly one quarter million dollars, and it is the duty of the Senate to decide in which ways the money will be spent. The Senate allots money in one of two ways. They have a budgeted account to pay for budgeted organizations. These would include The Retort, the Student Activities Board (SAB), and others. These established organizations have a budget request which they submit each year to the Financial Board. The Financial Board will then decide on an appropriate budget to recommend to the Senate for that organi-

budget request. Not only groups but also individuals, may request funds for an activity, as long as it is done in representation of MSU-B. Hansen estimates that roughly $25,000 is allocated for contingency requests; the rest of the money is used for budgeted accounts. Aside from controlling student fee money, Hansen says, Senators also serve on multiple committees throughout campus as, and sometimes the only, student representative. He suggests that this is important because it is impossible for all 4,645 students to attend every committee meeting. With the help








Nicole Livermont Reporter

Have you ever felt like your being watched? Truth is there may have been someone there after all. Stalking is a serious and very common problem in the United States and on college campuses. Stalking occurs often and happens to most people at least once in their lives. The creepy ex-boyfriend/girlfriend that just wasnt quite ready to let go or the next door neighbor who likes to leave little secret admirer notes, to menacing phone calls from somebody who wont

tell you their name but knows what your wearing, are all examples of stalking. The criminal definition of stalking is the continuous presence of a person posing a threat to another person. This definition is so vague that it is hard for some people to realize that theyre being stalked and they need to notify someone. The number one confidant of stalking victims is their friends. If there is any thought in your mind that you or a friend is being stalked all you have to do is tell a friend. Its like getting a second opinion. After telling a friend, many stalking victims feel relieved and are better able to

analyze the situation and work towards a solution because they feel theyre no longer alone in their struggle. On the other hand, if youre the stalker, first of all stop what youre doing ! Stalking is a felony offense in 13 states and is a misdemeanor in all states. This is no laughing matter, stalking is a crime. First analyze why youre stalking. If it is because you have a crush on someone, talk to them, its better to be shut down and rejected than in jail. You probably wont get a date once your victim finds out who you are anyway. Ex-es, you need to get over it. If its closure

you seek, talk you your ex, if its knowing that theyre not with someone else already, stop crossing paths. Reschedule your time to never see your old flame. Out of sight out of mind. There are also people you can talk to. Again, consult your best friend. Tell them what youre doing and why. Your friends wont think youre psycho because you have an obsession. Bottom line, stalking is creepy and not cool. It happens too often and is confronted too little. So, next time you think there may be someone in the shadows, dont just brush it off, check it out and deal with the problem.

Two Newly Elected Senators are Accepted into ASMSU-B

Emily Valenzuela Creativity Editor
Jason Gibson is a new Senator-at-Large, and in his junior year. He is pursuing a Criminal Justice/Psychology major. Jason is just getting his feet wet with ASMSU-B. What information/experience do you bring to ASMSU-B? From my military experience, I aide in providing project management skills, discipline, and a certain type of maturity. What got you involved in ASMSU-B? I wanted to expand my maturity level, and work with other disciplined people in a slightly different environment from what I was used to. What do you like most about ASMSU-B? I enjoy being around people who are passionate for trying to make a positive influence. What issues do you focus on? I tend to focus on areas concerned with the contingency budget; however, Id like to remember myself as a sort of trouble-shooter in other committees; trying to bring insight when it comes to overall general dynamics. What other organizations are you involved in? Chi Alpha, International Studies Club, Marketing Club, Baptist Student Union, and Civil Air Patrol as a search and rescue pilot. What would you say to encourage other students to be more involved? I would say look around you and see what i t i s t h a t y o u d o n t l i k e ; ASMSU-B, for example, has helped me to better communicate ideas as a student among other students. Most importantly, I would say to have something from which you can draw your inspiration; I look towards my Christianity as an inspiration. I have accumulated from my extensive research while I participated in Speech and Debate. What got you involved in ASMSU-B? Besides a great deal of pressure from seated members of ASMSU-B, the idea of serving the students interests is what motivated me to get involved with the ASMSU-B. What do you like most about ASMSU-B? Knowing what were there for, most of the ASMSU-B members know why they are there. They know they are there to support, help, and serve the students of MSU-B, and that reflects what they do. You dont see that kind of motivation and energy everywhere. What issues do you focus on? I focus on making sure the students are getting what they need from the ASMSU-B. I really want to see the students more informed about what is going on around campus, in the city, state, and nation, and overall raising awareness on the issues that are going to affect us all. What other organizations are you involved in? I am a member of the National Honors Society, National Forensics League, and the United States Bowling Congress. I am always looking for more ways to get involved in my community.

Scott Martin. Photo by Dan Hansen

Jason Gibson. Photo by Dan Hansen

Scott Martin is a new Senatorat-Large, and in his freshmen year. He is pursuing a Pre-law/sociology major. Scott is also just getting his feet wet with ASMSU-B. What information/experience do you bring to ASMSU-B? In the summer of 2003 I attended Montana Boys State, which is a program set up to model the Montana State Legislature. I participated on my high schools varsity Speech and Debate team for three years in Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Legislative Debate, and Oratory Speech. I also participated in Model UN my senior year of high school. I like to stay informed on all the issues that effect my generation in some way shape or form. And I bring whatever knowledge and experience that

St. Patricks Day has a Meaning Outside ofAlcohol Consumption

Betsy Harris Co-Editor-in-Chief
Believe it or not, St. Patricks day actually has a meaning and a reason, besides getting drunk and wearing green. The original St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was born in Wales about AD 385 and was given the name Maewyn. He considered himself a pagan until he was sold into slavery at 16 years old by group of marauders who raided his village. That brought him a lot closer to God. He escaped after six years and went to Gaul to study in a monastery. It was there that he became aware that his calling was to convert pagans to Christianity. St. Patrick died on March 17 in AD 461. Thats why we celebrate St. Patricks Day on March 17. According to the official St. Patricks Day website, St. Patricks Day is a traditional day for spiritual renewal and offering prayers for missionaries worldwide. St. Patricks Day was first celebrated in America in1737 in Boston, Mass. As with most things American, its meaning has changed greatly over the years. Spiritual renewal? What part of getting drunk and wearing green underwear is that? Most Americans celebrate St. Pattys Day by wearing green to prevent being pinched and drinking green beer. Many cities have St. Patricks Day parades and some even go so far as dying their rivers or streams green. The Irish look at St. Patricks Day in a whole other light. In Dublin St. Patricks Day is now known at the St. Patricks Day Festival. They dont use it to commemorate the past but to look to their future. They are very proud of their country, which just happens to be doing great. They boast U2, one of the best bands of all time, Riverdance, which has been seen by 60 million people worldwide, and their GDP(gross domestic product) surpassed Great Britains a few years ago. So it looks like even in Ireland theyre not exactly praying for missionaries worldwide on St. Patricks Day. Whatever the original meaning of this holiday was, its still fun to party Irish style, so dont worry about the hows and whys, just be responsible, be safe and have fun on St. Patricks Day.





Niki Porter Photo Editor

The theme for this years YWCA sponsored poster contest is Decide to End Sexual Violence Honoring Respectful and Healthy Relationships. The contest is open to all middle, high school and college students, as well as the Career Center, Lincoln Center, and the Crossroads Alternative School.

Besides the normal formats, the contest is open to collages with print media and photos. It runs until 5 p.m., March 25. There are three cash prizes: $25, $15, and $10. Winners will be announced and notified April 5 at the Second Annual Balloon Release, which recognizes the 240 victims of sexual assault during the 2003-2004 year. If you have any questions, please contact Linda McBride at 2526303 extension 44.

ASMSU-Billings: Under New Management

Emily Valenzuela Creativity Editor
Although it was not as intense as the recent presidential elections for the country, students held their breath to see who would be the next student President and Vice President of MSU-B. Once results came out, Tracie Overberg and Dan Hansen had reason to celebrate. I was able to ask them about their goals and visions for next year. What made you want to run for that specific position? Tracie: I wanted to run for the position of President because representing the students and helping to lead the student senate has been a long-standing dream of mine. I am an education major, and therefore have an internal commitment to public service. The position of Pres. is a great catalyst into my future aspirations as a public servant. Also, as a student-athlete and a member of several clubs, I have always strived to be very involved on campus. The position of ASMSU-B President gives me the opportunity to increase my involvement on campus even more. Dan: Much like the students I talk to on a daily basis, I wasted away my high school years. I wasted many of my Navy days too. I had the opportunity to truly make a difference and be a part of something great. I feel that my talents and abilities are best suited for the V.P. position. What was the hardest part about campaigning? Tracie: For me, the hardest part about campaigning was simply going up against such worthy competitors. In my opinion, each candidate was qualified and deserving of the position. The election results were very close and I feel very grateful to have been given the opportunity to serve my fellow students next year as President. Dan: Trying not to annoy people; some are too busy to vote, some completely reject the voting concept, some people were loyal to other campaigns, and I genuinely did not want to harp on people to vote. What do you hope to accomplish for next year? Tracie: My primary focus for next year will be to improve the system of communication on our campus, especially focusing on increasing communication between the main campus and the COT. I believe that we need to find a better system of informing students about what is happening on campus. I hope that we will see an increased amount of participation in campus-wide activities during the 2005-06 school year. Dan: I have three goals in mind. (1) Spreading the wealth of information. There is actually a ton of stuff to do and be involved with on campus. The hard part is telling people about it. We must first do the research and act on the results. (2) Getting the students involved in Student Activities Board(SAB) events and our drama department. Like I said, there is a ton of stuff to do, we as a student government need to inform the students about it, promote it, support it, and be involved in it ourselves. Finally (3) get the College of Technology more involved with the available services and activities on the main campus. I truly feel that the COT has been lost somewhere in the shuffle, somewhere along the line. We need to get in touch with our brethren. What do you find as the biggest obstacle to overcome next year as Pres/VP? How do you plan on overcoming that obstacle? Tracie: The primary obstacle I foresee for myself, as President, is getting a bit of a late start. I will be in to be done to increase student involvement and awareness of campus activities. Many times, students do not get involved in activities because they are not properly informed about them. Dan: I want to see a mass flocking of senators to events on campus, be it basketball games, live performances, whatever. Sean Fucci had a great point in his campaign that I feel should be a key focus of next year: visibility. Every student should be able to point out a senator in their classrooms and feel as if they can walk right up and talk to them. Based on this year, what would you like to see done differently? Tracie: I would like to see senate become more visible. Students need to be made aware that they can approach ANY student senator with questions and concerns, and that the senator will either have an answer, or they will inquire around and find an answer. Every legitimate student concern that is voiced to a senator is bassadors who communicate directly with Montana senators and representatives and report back to the senate about growing issues involving Montanas education system, and our campus. I would definitely like to see that program continue. The committee also established a Lobbyist position that will be filled by our very own Connie Summers. Sen. Summers will spend next year lobbying for MSUBillings needs in Helena. She has been doing a fine job and I hope that she continues to do so next year. Dan: President Lucido did a phenomenal job of representing MSUBillings. I had accompanied him to the opening of the Downtown campus and was really impressed by his professionalism. Also, Business Manager, Hanna Rugg, did a great job with Financial Board. The scrutiny that all financial matters went under was astonishing. Her committee was truly dedicated to allocating funds in the best interests of the students. What issues are you most concerned about within senate? Within the school? Within the community? Tracie: Senate: Visibility. School:Apathy. Community: Involvement. Dan: I am not the first V.P., nor is Tracie the first President, who has made it a point to get students involved. ASMSUB has been working on that for years. Our slogan, Advancement in a Legacy of Leadership was a reference to continuing the efforts of past years and trying new tactics this year. Apathy is our worst enemy. What would you say to encourage senators and other students to run for Pres./V.P. in the future? Tracie: To encourage other students and senators to run for President or Vice President next year, I would tell them to Go for it! The senate exists primarily to represent the students opinions and needs. If someone out there has ideas, goals, and visions for this campus, then they should let their voice be heard as a student senator, or an executive cabinet member such as vice president, or president. The positions require dedication and time commitment, but the experience itself is rewarding educationally, socially, and professionally. In other words, I hope that you get involved and good luck! Dan: Ask questions! Between the Student Services / Public Relations Committee, the Legislative / Legal Committee, and the Financial Board, there is something for everyone to advance themselves in their university. Not everyone is in a position to get involved, so we need those who can to do so.

Tracie Overberg - President Elect Photo by Dan Hansen

Dan Hansen - Vice President Elect Photo by Ruby Chunkapura

Spain to study abroad for six weeks and therefore, will not be as active as I would like until June 27. However, I hope to maintain communication with the senate and administration during my absence. I plan to pick up my responsibilities as President immediately after my return. Other than that, I do not foresee any major obstacles. Dan: Student involvement; during my campaign, I REALLY wanted 20 percent collective voter turn out. After all the efforts, time, and money, we (all of us running) received 8.2 percent. Also, most of the SAB events rarely saw more than 30 people. Again, getting the COT back in the loop. What would you like to see senate (as a whole) accomplish next year? Tracie: Next year, I would like to see senate establish a stronger connection with SAB. Something needs

brought up, discussed, and usually resolved to the best of the senates abilities, all within senate meetings. This past year, the senators did a fine job communicating with students and administrators. However, I believe that we, as a senate, can raise the bar. Dan: I felt like there was an us and them mentality at times. The lines were most apparent between senate and the executive cabinet. Hence, the communication process was resistant. Despite best efforts, many of my political colleagues did not feel comfortable which can easily hinder a positive working environment. Based on this year, what would you like to see continue? Tracie: This year, our legislative/ legal committee established a new program for young people who are interested in politics, especially pertaining to education. This new program established a system involving student am-

Lewis and Clark Frenzy Taking Over Billings

Dana Livermont Reporter
For most people in the Billings area, it is impossible to go anywhere or do anything without the mention of Lewis and Clark. It seems that all areas along the Lewis and Clark trail are experiencing what can only be described as Lewis and Clark Frenzy, and as the bicentennial of the time Lewis and Clark entered this area grows near, Lewis and Clark Frenzy can only grow exponentially. The Billings Logan InternationalAirport features poster signs with historical information about the event. Lewis and Clark commercials are transmitted daily via television and radio, and most local televisions have dedicated portions of their nightly news to some sort of Lewis and Clark related material. Because Lewis and Clark Frenzy is coming at the public from every angle, one might ask, What is the big deal? Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were designated by President Thomas Jefferson in 1803 to discover if a water route could be taken to the Pacific Ocean. They began in St. Louis, traveled up the Missouri River through Kansas, Nebraska, South and North Dakota and came through Montana in the late spring of 1805, making this year the bicentennial anniversary of their journey. They followed along the Missouri in northern Montana through Fort Benton and Great Falls. West of the Divide, Lewis and Clark followed the Columbia River through present day Idaho and Washington until they reached the Pacific Ocean. It was not until they returned that the Billings area was crossed. On March 23, 1806, the Corps departed home. It was on July 3, 1806 that the party split, and Lewis returned the way that they had come, while Clark followed the Yellowstone. As Clark passed through this area, he discovered what is now known as Pompeys Pillar, on which he carved his name. The parties convened at Fort Union Trading Post and finished the journey together, arriving in St. Louis on September 23, 1806. The importance of the expedition is that Lewis and Clark discovered much about this continent that had never been known before. There was new wildlife and geology to be studied. It also paved the way for further explorato think about their choice of words...for us the idea of celebrating the harbingers of what would become genocide is offensive and shameful. Native Americans are rather choosing to commemorate the event. Whether people are celebrating or commemorating, the bicentennial is creating a lot of activities and excitement as the summer approaches. The Montana State University-Billings College of Professional Studies and Life24 of March will feature Hasan Davis, poet and storyteller, as he depicts Sergeant York of the Corps. The symposia begin at 7 p.m. and are free and open to the public. People are encouraged to attend if they are considering becoming Lewis and Clark interpreters or volunteers for Lewis and Clark events, however anyone that is interested in just learning more about Lewis and Clark and the heritage of this area should attend as well.

MSU-B Team on to College Bowl Nationals

Quotes and Views of the team

Emily Valenzuela Creativity Editor

The Mentally Retorted, Jed Barton, Anna Johnson, Erin Fladmo, and Sean Whiting, won the Northwest Regional College Bowl Championship in February. They will advance to the national competition at the University of Washington in Seattle on April 22-24. long Learning and the MSU-Billings College of Technology are holding four symposia to educate the community about the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The first two were held on March 2 and 10, and the remaining will be held on March 17 and 24, at the MSU-Billings Downtown Campus, Broadway III, located 2804 Third Avenue North. The March 17 symposium will focus on the importance of Pompeys Pillar and will feature John LeVar, who is a Pompeys Pillar Rochjohne chapter member, and Jeff Deitz, chairman of the Yellowstone County Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commission. The symposium on the

Graphic from

tion and settlement in the west. This is why many are celebrating the event. It is ironic that the Lewis and Clark Expedition, which demonstrated much negotiation and consideration between the mostly white Corps and many of the natives they encountered, spawned the exploration and settlement of the west. As the white settlers and the Native Americans struggled over land and pride, many were left dead. These conflicts would scar this nations history forever. Roberta Conner, VicePresident of the National Council for the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial, states, Indian people are not celebrating the bicentennial...we want people

It was good to get back to the top after falling short last year. Now our goal will be to improve upon our performance in the national tournament. -Jed Barton Team Captain I know we are all ecstatic about going to the College Bowl National competition. Our regional win is, in a word, significant. It is highly reflective of the intelligence that can be found here among the student body at MSU-B, as the national competition includes a number of wellknown colleges and universities. I feel very lucky to be standing next to Jed, Erin, and Sean, as they are absolutely brilliant; Im sure we will do well in Seattle. - Anna Johnson

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Nicole Livermont Reporter

So what do you think of wheelie back packs? There is some opinion surfacing on campus concerning backpacks with wheels being used. The general voice of traditional students states that they dislike them. The general voice of non-traditional students speaks out in favor of the new trend. Students around campus had this to say: They are the dumbest thing, why do you need to carry a suit case around? If you cant carry it, leave it at home! -Kelly Marquardt, MSU-B student I love mine because it prevents bag drag. Backpacks are attractive when your 18, but when 30-something, theyre not! -Amy Stark (like raving, mad Amy Stark, Resident Nut-Case. Photo by Nicole Livermont or naked), MSU-B student

You have to be a dork to have one. Its for old people that cant walk up and down stairs. Its one step away from pulling a wagon behind you. -Jeff Solberg, MSU-B student Well thats the word on the latest fashion to hit MSU-B. If you have a response or opinion about an issue around campus please respond at

Patrick Olp Columnist

I was sitting in my room the other day, minding my own business, when out of nowhere came the most clamorously loud sound Id ever heard in the halls (except for the day that someone had an air horn). It was an accordion. Now anyone who knows anything about anything knows that the accordion is typically used as an instrument of torture in wartime to make POWs give out war secrets. It is responsible for the proliferation of polka and angry punk rock bands that use the word oy. Or is it the bagpipe? It doesnt really matter; the issue was that someone was actually playing the vile thing on my floor in the halls. Upon further investigation, I found one Jenni Howe, the other RA on my floor attempting to play an eight note scale, which she did remarkably well. I asked her where she had found it. Jenni: I got in Red Lodge this past weekend, I just saw it and decided to buy it. Me: Why? JH: I used to play the piano and so this is a smaller version I dunno.

About that time, we received a phone call from an unnamed resident down the hall who was none too pleased. I went to address her frustrations. Its annoying as %&$* when Im trying to study, she said. I cant quote you as saying that, I told her. She rolled her eyes at me. Back down the hall, Sarah Fry, another fourth floor resident, had found her own annoying niche. Its called a recorder, she told me. I was taken back to my year in fourth grade when I had to play one myself. It had all of the characteristic distinctions of a recorder, but hers was purple and not the hideous brown I was used to. She explained that she was in a class (EDCI 306) to teach little kids how to play the recorder, the guitar, and the keyboard. I told her we could start our own annoying instruments band, as long as it had nothing to do with band camp. She agreed. In search of other musicians, I recruited guitar players Kyle Barranger and Shane Fairbanks. The band lasted for five minutes as no one could come up with any song ideas. Maybe I can learn to play the cowbell.

Anna Johnson From the Left

For those of you who have been following this column along, I know that my last diatribe was quite long, so Ive promised I would try to keep things short and sweet this time. Our topic today concerns something relatively simple and painless: voting. While Anne and I are at rather opposite ends of the political spectrum on a variety of issues, we are both strong believers in the power and symbolism of voting. Ill admit that there are times when making the time to vote seems inconvenient and/or I dont particularly like the choices, but I still make a point of doing it. I vote because I love my country, even if Im not enamored with our leaders, policies, or practices. I vote because I want to believe that my opinion matters. I vote because there are people in the world who cannot. I vote because there are people who have become causalities in the process of protecting my freedom, including the right to vote. (However, I do feel that P. Diddys 2004 Rock the Vote slogan, Vote or Die was a tad extreme, even though his sentiment was well meant.) I vote because if I dont, Im not allowed to complain! I know that on some level we thoroughly enjoy being allowed to

gripe, yet there are a huge number of people who do not exercise their right to vote in national, state, local, or even campus elections. If you are among the 8 percent of students who took the time to vote during our recent campus election, bravo! If you count yourself among the 92 percent, this is your wake up call. Thats right a whopping 92 percent of MSU-Billings students chose not to vote on the leadership that will affect their lives as students. No doubt some of you are thinking that Im full of something unmentionable, but part of the tuition we all pay is distributed by the Student Senate to a variety of programs. I care who my leaders and representatives are because your money and my money can make our time here as students more comfortable. If something affects my life, the people I care about, or my wallet, I want to be involved to whatever degree I can. Voting offers us all that possibility. One of the greatest reasons young voters cite for apathy is the belief that their views are not represented. However, politicians counter that they operate on the basis of feedback. A significant part of that feedback is looking at the voting practices of their constituents. The twain shall truly never meet if people are unwilling to stand up, be counted, and make their opinions known.

Anne Plowman From the Right

We live in a great country. You drive or walk to school every day on sidewalks or roads that are kept up by the government.You (usually) obey the laws set by the government. You listen to the radio which is monitored by the FCC, part of the government. Some people are even monitored when using the internet. Knowing this, why do people neglect to vote, claiming the outcome wont effect their life or that their vote wont make a difference? First of all, government does affect your life, second, there are votes that come down in a tie or are decided by 10 or fewer votes. You voted and your candidate didnt win. The person who did win still represents you even though you might not like that person. If your candidate did win, great! Have you been keeping track of him/her and have you been holding that person accountable? Our government is set up by the people, for the people. Our system wont function if people refuse to participate. The level at which you choose to participate is your choice, the extent to which you are informed is vital. Participating is one step in the right direction, but it is a small piece of the puzzle. Involvement in government and politics is a manifestation of how informed an individual is and whether they

have a grasp on the issues at hand. An uninformed voter is a potential danger, and can undermine those who are informed. Obviously we are a little past the voting stage, as this year is not an election year. Now you have the opportunity and privilege to make the greatest impact on policy, especially at the state level. When I mentioned holding our representatives accountable, I didnt mean taking them to the wood shed; I meant contacting them on a regular basis and reminding them they represent you. Chances are, a bill has come to the house or senate that impacts you, or that you have an opinion on. I have talked to senators and representatives inquiring as to what might make them change their vote. Every time the response is the same, they want to know what their constituents and voters in general think. Hey! Thats you. No matter who won a race, the representatives job is always the same, to represent. Email, call, or write. Those are the three most effective tools you have as participants in our system. Montana is one of the greatest places to live if you want to involve yourself in the government process.Anyone who has a phone or uses the internet can contact a representative and leave them correspondence in a matter of minutes. Do yourself and your state a service, get informed then get involved.

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AnotherBrick in theWall - Peaks to Plains Project Still Underway

Ashley Fagerstrom Staff Writer
Who doesnt enjoy a little controversy now and then? Well, it seems that recently the topic on everyones lips is the somewhat cumbersome brick wall on campus dividing the north parking lot and the former football field behind the Liberal Arts building. Many current students and even a few professors have voiced their opinions about making the trek from their cars around the wall, in order to get into the heart of campus. One student who wishes to remain anonymous was quoted saying, Its a total pain, we pay $70 a year for parking and then we have to walk a half of a block out of the way to get around that wall. That wall is actually a part of the four-acre Peaks to Plains Park Project developed by Fischer & Associates Landscape Architecture, which began in the summer of 1999. Each feature of the park is meant to symbolize the regional, local and historic landscape in the spirit of Montana. The wall or rim in the park is meant to reflect the sandstone rims that define the city of Billings. Like the rimrocks, it is supposed to be a distinct edge. Eakle Barfield, who works with MSU-Bs Facilities services, said, The wall will eventually showcase plaques with the names of donors, and act as an evolution of the university through time. Phase one, which included the landscaping of the park and the Quarry(the small gathering area and fountain), as well as a garden, cost approximately $600,000. The money was funded in part through the 1996 bond drive, as well as private donations. It has nothing to do with tuition, said Mr. Barfield. Each year MSU-B benefits from money given through thousands of contributors. It is hard to imagine now, but eventually the grassy area that began as a football field will be transformed into a place for gathering. The design for the park includes an amphitheater for performances, a commons area for lectures and small classes, a space for ceremonies and markets, botanical gardens, opportunities for environmental education and places for outdoor recreation complete with a pond that will be used for ice skating during the winter months. According to the MSU-B Foundation, the Peaks to Plains Project is about 50 percent complete. Upon its completion, Fischer & Associates hopes that the Peaks to Plains Park will be a place to showcase community talent, and encourage appreciation of the visual, literary and performing arts, as well as linking the community and student activity For those who see the wall as an irritation, try imagining the Peaks to Plains Project as a whole. Hopefully this endeavor will improve the future lives of those on campus and in the Billings community. So, needless to say, despite the inconvenience of a little added exercise, there is much to look forward to.

Rendering of Peaks to Plains Park Project provided by Fischer & Associates

From the land of the Lobbyists- Week 8 in current Legislations

Connie Summers is a lobbyist for MSU-B in Helena and she has been keeping The Retort up-to-date on what is happening with the latest bills in Helena. House Bill 540 A bill which contains bonded building projects Subcommittee approved $9 million for COT expansion Subcommittee passed a motion to request the Legislative Audit Committee to conduct interim audit on the performance of Operations & Maintenance for state buildings House Bill 447 The Pay Plan - passed the Senate Provides a 3.5 percent and 4 percent increase in the next biennium, with minimum floors of $1005 and $1188. House Bill 435 formerly the Governors Best and Brightest billfaced further amendments Taking out best and brightest since a 2.65 GPAqualifies one for these scholarships 500 need based scholarships to students attending two-year programs 500 Scholarships are distributed as follows: 180 scholarships to one student in each high school in Montana 100 scholarships to students pursuing a two-year degree in a health sciences field 220 awards for student who pursue a certificate or two-year degree in a technology or technical field 470 Merit Based Awards distributed as follows: 40 at-large awards of $2000 for students attending four-year schools 180 $1000 awards for one student from each accredited public and private high school attending a four-year school 250 $1000 awards for students attending a two-year program House Bill 521 Passed on second reading- referred to House Appropriations Provides a preference for Montana producers on food contracts

Class Project Creates Public Service Announcement

Betsy Harris Co-Editor-in-Chief
Professor Sarah Kellers new social marketing class, which is being taught as seminar course Comt 492-592, is producing a 30 second Public Service Announcement(PSA) about the dangers of HIV in Billings and the importance of getting tested. Wait a minute! We dont have HIV in Billingsdo we? I dont know anyone who has it, you might think. Well, thats part of the problem. Sometimes the person who has AIDS doesnt even know they do and thats because people here in our towndont believe it could happen to them and they dont get tested. This PSA is the main focus for the whole semester for the students in Comt 492-592. They will do all the background research, interviews, concept and visual designs, and write texts for the project. They have partnered with Yellowstone Aids Project for vital information about HIV in Billings. Production West will be producing and filming the project. Rob Massey at the downtown MSU-B campus will be editing it. The PSA will be made for television and also converted for radio use. They have made agreements with Community Channel 7 and Yellowstone Public Radio to air the PSA, but they are also seeking cooperation from Q2 and the other cable stations. While this is a major project, there are actually only five students in Comt 492-592 to get it done. According to Keller each student has a different sphere of expertise and they all contribute in different ways to the project. Carla Amerson, who we all know as our class president from last year, is educated to why were targeting 18-24-year-olds. They need to know the facts. Margo Aldrich is an advertiser and communications director at St. Vincent hospital. Margie Sampsel is getting a masters in PR and helping with many research methods. Chelsea Lynnes is an undergrad and is in a health promotion program. Dan Feinberg is a graduate PR student and is doing the evaluation research around the project as his thesis. According to Lynnes, this class ties in everything she has learned so far about you dont use drugs or sleep around (that much) you think youre ok, right? Not so. The members of Comt 492-493 are working with a 23-year-old who had one boyfriend who was a player. He not only gave her HIV, but her best friend and five other women as well. These are facts in OUR community and facts that this PSA will try to address. Another fact that Keller is passionate about is that if you do get tested for HIV and you are positive you can get medication and live a normal life for an indefinite period of time. However, if you dont get tested out of fear or ignorance, it could be too late for medicine to help you. So you can get educated and be safe and healthy, or stay in denial of any risk and possibly risk your own health and the health of those you love. If Comt 492-592 does their job, more people will be aware of the actual risk of HIV in our community and will get tested. Keller realizes that one 30 second PSA is just a beginning but she hopes to offer Health Communication on a yearly basis and to do a project each year. After all, if this 30 second PSA saves only one life it will be more than worth all the hard work.

Courtesy of Yellowstone AIDS Project

be an art teacher and brings her creative visuals to the project. Amerson said, We did surveys with campus people and I was very surprised to find out that most people are still under the impression that AIDS does not and will not affect them. They feel that if they are heterosexual and dont do drugs they are safe. They feel its a dirty mans disease. Thats

health promotion. The PSA is going to target 18-24year-olds and the main message is to increase the perceived risk of HIV. Statistics in Montana are quite different from national HIV stats. The majority of HIV carriers are Caucasian in Montana and they have most likely contracted the disease from intravenous drug use. So if

Eccentric Production by Student Thespians Considers Significant Themes

Dana Livermont Reporter
Marco Polo Sings a Solo debuted February 23 and held performances through Saturday, February 26. I wanted to see the play, as did my sister. My dad and his new wife were in town on Saturday, so my sister and I thought that taking our stepmother to the production would be a great way to spend some bonding time and for us to display the works of this great institution. The three of us headed to Petro Theatre for a night of entertainment. The setting of the play was the year 1999 somewhere off the coast of Norway. The set crew did a good job of portraying an icy habitat. I thought that a cold, isolated tone was well communicated through the wintery scene that was created through the set and lighting. The detached dialogue also helped create this effect. The plot was a bit more difficult to follow. Characters Stony (Tim McMurty-Hauptman) and Diane (Trina Lewellyn) live in an isolated area of Norway, where Stony is filming a movie about Marco Polo, starring his parents portrayed by Lauren Moreno and Joshua James Payne. Diane, who once was a prodigious pianist, left that career and is now the mother of Stonys child. The two are celebrating their fifth anniversary, and Dianes lover, Tom (Patrick Wilson) decides to visit. He wants take Diane with him to the UN as he delivers the cure to cancer, which is in his possession. Meanwhile, an icon of their generation, Frank (Levi Black Eagle) is visiting planets in other worlds. Stony often compares his life to Franks, in order to rationalize it. Franks wife has taken refuge from the iconic life by becoming Freydis (Sarah Benson), Stony and Dianes housekeeper. Lucy (Natelie Pallares) was in an automobile accident with Diane, who then cared for her; she now wears leg braces and seems to have a permanent connection to the family. This may seem confusing; I was confused. This is where my stepmother comes into the situation, or shall I say, leaves the situation. She couldnt understand any part of the play, and was a bit offended by the constant explicit sexual descriptions and analogies. She asked my sister to take her back to her hotel room. Now I felt sorry that we had dragged my poor stepmother to a play that she found offensive, but I was also sorry for the members of the play, as she and a few others left at some part during the play. As my sister and stepmother left, I continued to watch the play, which I thought seemed to get much better. Each of the characters had their own priorities and intentions, and as they pursued those intentions, they all seemed to disregard everything else. This theme, I think, is an important one, as it seems as if this may be becoming a standard in our reality. People often seek things in life, and while struggling to attain those things, disregard others, and the world. The play ended with disaster; a catastrophic event left the film, the cure for cancer, and everything else that was important to the characters, in ruins. They then had to reconsider the meanings of their lives. As far as characterization, I thought that most of the actors did a good job at bringing their characters to life. The play was saturated with dialogue, and I thought that some of the speaking could have been done more loudly and more clearly. I also thought that at times, they depended too heavily on the dialogue to convey the ideas. While it is important for the actors to focus on conversation, their interaction upstage and downstage, can do a tremendous amount of the speaking for itself. I think that this could have been a more dynamic element of the production. The entire crew did a good job in creating a smooth running play in such a short period of time. Overall, I think that Marco Polo Sings a Solo was an interesting play that had many important themes. Any person who watched the play could have taken some aspect of the play for application in his or her own life. Unfortunately, few people came to watch. I was disappointed to find that few students found watching the play a priority, especially considering the theatre is directly below the residence halls. I hope that for the next production, a larger portion of students decide to support the work of their peers.

Marco Polo Sings a Solo. Photo by Dana Livermont

The Book of Revelations Comes to a Theater Near You

Paul Jangula Staff Writer
Interpretations of Revelations in the Christian Bible are as old as the Bible itself. Constantine is not so much an interpretation as it is an addition. In recent years a number of films have been based on the end of the world and demons from Hell coming to the human plain of existence to fight the forces of good. Constantine follows this tradition. Based on characters created in the DC/Vertigo Comics Hellraiser by Neil Giaman, Constantine is a story about a demons policeman. Creatures that are half-human and half Hell-spawned demons exist on Earth to convince people to commit evil deeds. These evil deeds cost them their souls. The Archangel Gabriel makes an appearance to reinforce the idea that a balance between good and evil must be maintained. John Constantine tries to maintain the balance between good and evil by sending the half-human half-demon creatures to Hell when they attempt to tip the scales toward evil. Constantine lost his soul to Satan when he committed suicide as a teenager. He was brought back to life, but his soul still belonged to Satan. He fights the demons of Hell in an attempt to impress God enough to allow his soul into Heaven upon his death. His death is not long in coming, because he has advanced lung cancer due to his love of the cigarette. Myths and legends drawn from the Bible and other occult sources are used as plot devices to keep the story grounded to the classic struggle between Heaven and Hell. The special effects are spectacular. The scenes in Hell simulate what it would be like to be at ground zero during a nuclear explosion. The sky is burning and a wind is blowing ruined buildings and structures into ash that fills the air. Other effects include a demon made entirely out of insects, and a chase through disintegrating walls. The effects match those of the Matrix, but there are fewer of them. Keanu Reeves portrays John Constantine, although not possessing the power of the messiah like the character, Neo in the Matrix trilogy, his performance is adequate. Reeves first taste of demonology was in Devils Advocate with Al Pacino and Charlize Theron. The dark side of religion seems to be a favorite of Reeves. One would think he would get better at it eventually. Rachel Weisz of The Mummy, The Mummy Returns, and Stealing Beauty fame, plays opposite Reeves. She portrays a Catholic, guilt ridden, police officer with psychic abilities that are a necessity to the antagonists plan. Dropping her English accent, she plays the character Angela with conviction. The scene where Reeves drowns her in a bathtub is one of the more intense scenes of the film, and you find yourself wanting to do something to help her. Thats just good acting. Constantine is billed as a horror movie. It lacks the intensity and suspense normally associated with the horror genre. There are few scenes with things jumping out at you that are startling, but I would classify this film as an action-thriller. Despite Keanu Reeves speaking at the speed of a snore, Constantine is a good movie. The special effects are worth seeing on the big screen, but I recommend a matinee. This isnt a movie worth $7.25. If you like demons of shadow and fire, go see this film. If youre looking for a solid plot, and exceptional acting, seek other options.

A Comic Book Original of Constantine by DC Comics. Image Scanned

Calling All Poets: Sigma Tau Delta Poetry Contest

Anna Johnson Staff Writer
I celebrate myself,/And what I assume you shall assume,/ For every atom belonging to me as good as belongs to you ~Walt Whitman, Song of Myself Do Whitmans poems, the spring weather, or other some influences make your creative spirit thrill with poetic aspirations? Are you currently a student at MSU-Billings? If you answered yes, now is the perfect time to put inspiration into fruition. Sigma Tau Delta, the National English Honor Society, is once again sponsoring its annual poetry contest. The contest is open to all MSUB and COT students. Sigma Tau Delta began sponsoring the contest in the late 80s and seeks to recognize students for poetic excellence. Dr. Rachel Schaffer, the Sigma Tau Delta faculty advisor, points out that serious writers need opportunities to have their work seen and evaluated. The contest offers students just that, as it is completely anonymous and the work is not graded. Five cash prizes, as well as certificates will be awarded to the winner(s). The cash prizes range from $25 for first place to $5 awards for honorable mentions. The judging panel is composed of three English/ Philosophy faculty members and/or poets. As the focus of the contest is excellence, the prizes will be awarded on merit and not simply participation. Winning entries will be published in The Retort and showcased on the fourth floor of L.A. building in conjunction with the English/Philosophy department display. Students interested in participating may submit up to three different poems. Entries should include three typed anonymous copies of each poem accompanied by a single cover sheet. A cover sheet must be included in order for the poet to be recognized and therefore, should include name, address and/or e-mail address, phone number(s), and poem title(s). While the contest is not a fundraiser, an entry fee of $1 is required for each individual entry. The fee is used to encourage serious submissions. Entry deadline for the contest is March 16, 2005. Would-be contestants for the Sigma Tau Delta competition may hand deliver their entries along with the accompanying fee(s) to the English/Philosophy department office, LA 437. For more information about the contest or Sigma Tau Delta, contact Dr. Rachel Schaffer at 657-2954 or

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven is a KO

Olivia Koernig Co-Editor-in-Chief
In his first collection of short stories, Sherman Alexie takes strands from three worlds and twists out one tight braid secured with a leather cord. The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven takes place primarily on the Spokane Indian Reservation northwest of Spokane, Washington. Portions of other stories happen in Spokane and Seattle while others weave in and out of history, flirting with legend and fact, a tightrope walk between hallucination and memory. In the title story, the narrator is wandering the streets late one night (early one morning?) and ends up at the local 7-11. The graveyard clerk watches him accusatorily. He knew this dark skin and long, black hair of mine was dangerous. I had potentialHe swallowed hard like a white man does in those situations Will this be all? he asked meLike adding a clause onto a treaty. Well take Washington and Oregon and you get six pine trees and a brand new Chrysler Cordoba. Alexie illustrates the tension between whites and Indians with examples like the convenience store, another passage where he begins to look at his girlfriend like a criminal, plus several run-ins with Spokanes finest. The whites are not the only ones in conflict with the Indians in this award-winning collection. In Every Little Hurricane, a young boy watches his drunken uncles fight in his front yard. Theyre going to kill each other, somebody yelled from an upstairs window. Nobody disagreed and nobody moved to change the situation. Witnesses. They were all witnesses and nothing more. For hundreds of years, Indians were witnesses to crimes of an epic scale. Alexie writes about the destructive influence of alcoholism on the reservation. He covers the familiar topic of internal conflict in a fresh voice, both loud and funny. What are you going to do with the rest of your life? Dont know,that would have been a perfectly fine answer. But I was special, a former college student, a smart kid. I was one of those Indians who was supposed to make it, to rise above the rest of the reservation like a fucking eagle or something. Alexies book reaches a place within all of us, Indian and non-Indian, while simultaneously giving an uncut peepshow into the inner workings of a modern day tribe members hopes and dreams, failures and celebrations. A few pages into the book I became Olivia Feels-Their-Pain and I wanted to throw my feet up in the air and twirl and dance with my ancestors. So, I did, all the way to the last page.

Introducing the Inter-Tribal Indian Club

Emily Valenzuela Creativity Editor
Name of Club: Inter-Tribal Indian Club Purpose: To assist American Indian Students to adjust to college life at MSU-B, and to encourage others students to attend Colleges and Universities. Also, help build a bond with American Indian Culture within communities. We encourage participation in social activities, as well as the ITIC Annual Powwow. How many members: Varies Requirement to join: None. Just bring yourself. Activities and Goals this semester: To raise money for the Powwow Officers and Names: President: Althea James, Vice President: Denene Denny, Tresurer: Natasha Stump, Secretary: Laquinta Fighting Bear, Business Manager: Danielle Arnoux, Sergeant-at-Arms: Kenneth Douville, Julia Plain Bull, Gordon Plain Bull, Yufna, and Charmayn.

Close the Book and Lock the Lock:Alicias Diary is all for Naught!
Gloria Colvin Staff Writer
I love Alicia Keys honest, I do. I looked forward to reviewing her long-awaited grammy-winning album, The Diary of Alicia Keys. With reviews that included the words masterpiece, lush, mature, brilliant, spine-tingling, and soulful, I couldnt help but feel the purchase was an investment in a musical magnum opus. The letdown has left me with a harmony hangover. Okay, so I swim against the mainstream, but Keys album is a prime example of the Emperors New Clothes. Someone must admit the chicks naked and exposed. To step into her private diary is to experience the world of the noisome, whiny 13-year-old girl who mistakes immature adolescent angst for soulful insights. If you are able to grasp the philosophically juvenile ramifications of: I love him. He doesnt love me. I want him. Im alone. Boo-hoo, then you have plumbed the depths of Keys shallow psyche. The inclusion of Keys profound, eruditely crooned ooh, oh, oh, ohs, baby, baby, babys, unghs, aahs, yeah, yeah, yeahs, and mmms does its best to mimic well-felt RnB essence, but instead imbibes the album with a juvenile breathlessness overdone to the point of caricature. Id describe these songs in-depth, but, to be honest, the numbness hasnt worn off yet. Now, to be fair, most of these cuts, alone, are worth listening to. As singles, they wouldnt fail to fulfill and, in some cases, even enthrall. It is the never-ending, monotonous drone of generic posing that destroys the intent and validity of the intriguing mix of piano, saxophone and sizzling drumbeat. If, by some unfortunate twist of fate, youve been suckered by the hype and wasted the money on this mind-numbing litany, perhaps play it a song at a time, with full breaks between, in order to appreciate the strength of each. If that doesnt appeal, the album would succeed as good mood music for seduction sex. Its lack of discerning depth, tedious uniformity and thrusting tempos would best be served by candlelight with attention averted to more pleasant endeavors. If, however you seek profound, philosophical insights served with soul, turn to Jack Handey. Youd be better served and more fully satisfied.

Album cover scanned by Niki Porter.

Spring into Fashion: Another Addition to the Dont List

Olivia Koernig Co-Editor-in-Chief
Well its that time of year again. Of course Im talking about changing seasons and changing clothes. The weather is slowly improving and you should be thinking about what youre going to wear when you peel your long underwear back and step out for spring. Last time we began with a few fashion no-nos. This time Im only adding one. The trend or fad (if it ever really was) that Im speaking of is the conversation t-shirt. These are the hideous, annoying, wardrobe equivalent of vanity plates (and guess what, nobody cares on your car either!). This kind of attire is sloppy, self-centered and inexcusable. Here are a few irritating examples Ive noticed around campus: I seem to have lost my boyfriend. I took an IQ test. It was negative. I am stealing your thoughts for the moment it takes you to read and decipher the words written on my shirt. How does it feel? Okay, I did make up that last one, but you know what I mean. The point is, no one wants to read your silly little slogan and no one thinks its funny. As far as the ground rules we laid down last time, Virginia actually tried to pass a law prohibiting visible underwear! Now Im not saying I think this would be a good idea, but the message is clear. Keep your underwear under your clothes!!! For spring 2005, the big new thing is nautical-inspired pieces. The colors navy, white and gold are popping up all over. Pea coats are trading in their traditional wool for lighter weight fabrics like cotton and denim. Sailor pants are a good choice this season, as is anything with rope trim. The skirt for spring is full. This can be circle, A-line, pleated, ruffled or whatever, as long as its big. This look is replacing the pencil skirts of the past two seasons and is a little trickier to pull off. Try to keep the top of your outfit tailored or shrunken to balance the volume on bottom. This style of skirt also looks best when hemmed right at the knee. The shoes to complete the outfit can be flat or heeled. Crochet, straw and eyelet are going to be all over stores for spring. The crochet look is fine for shoes, clothes and handbags. Straw will mainly be handbags, and cotton eyelet lace will look right as a skirt or shirt as long as its lined. The shoes to score are wedges. The hippest wedges for spring are wedged espadrilles. Platforms are a biggie too. One piece of advice, if youve never worn this type of shoe, you might need to practice a little at home. Im not kidding; its not unlike being on stilts, teetering precariously up there so high in the air. New jewelry pieces are going to be a lot less blingy. The focus of springs accessories has shifted to the earthier look of semi-precious stones. Coral, tigers eye and turquoise are all desirable. The freshest way to wear these stones is to match the hues of your outfit to them. Be careful if you try this, you dont want to look like Rainbow Brite or anyones great aunt Hilda. The other accessory youll want to find is bangle bracelets. This seasons are bulkier than those of the past, yet are still meant to be piled one on top the other. If you bought into the embellished bags of fall, sorry, but theyre not gonna work for spring. Nothing should be dangling, or tinkling, or swinging from your bag this spring. Instead try to find something more casual and unstructured. Metallics (especially gold) are an of-the-minute choice. Well, that pretty much covers it. If you need more inspiration, In Style offers wearable interpretations of runway trends as does Glamour. In the meantime, if you could get your t-shirts to shut-the-heck-up, that would be great.

Above: A breezy summer look from Stella McCartneys Summer Collection

March 17St. Patricks Day Parade and Pub Crawl in Red Lodge March 16Student Recital at Cecil Hall, 3:10 p.m., contact the Music Department for more information March 17Carrot Top at Alberta Bair Theater, 256-6052 March 17-19 Holes at BST, 248-1141 March 18-19, 25-26 House and Garden at Venture Theatre, 591-9535

March 19 Billings Symphony presents Power and Passion form Priests to Princes at Alberta Bair Theater, 256-6052 March 20Senior recital Beth White playing the clarinet at Cecil Hall, 3 p.m., call Music Department for more information March 21The Full Monty at Alberta Bair Theater, 256-6052 March 24Reception for Kevin Red Star and Cordon McConnell at YAM, 256-6804


by: Dan Hansen

Neva Dinova Less Than Gracious to Billings Fans

Jason Corbridge Staff Writer
Neva Dinova is a five-man band from Omaha, Nebraska. They recently played a venue on February 19, at the Cafe 11, which included performances by two local bands; Loopian Zoo, a familiar name in local music; and a group of younger fellows who call themselves Ida who were talented but sounded far too much like Radiohead to me. Ive been pretty impressed with what Ive heard from most of Neva Dinovas studio recordings. They just recently released a new album called The Hate Yourself Change. Last year, One Jug of Wine, Two Vessels was issued as a split between Neva and fellow Omaha residents, Bright Eyes, featuring three non-album tracks from each band. Neva Dinova has rather simple, melodramatic instrumentation, despite a few Whammy bar wailings on a couple tracks. They never get too heavy or fast. The lyricism is usually kind of hopeless and complacently indifferent. This feeling of apathy seemed to come across starkly as lead singer Jake Bellows said to the small, quiet, nervous crowd, Ive had diarrhea all day long, you know, hey, [motioning to the audience] at least this is better than diarrhea. Perhaps I was just feeling especially sensitive, but wasnt at all flattered, and couldnt help but get the impression that Jake and the boys couldnt care less about the show they were delivering. Maybe their admitted and apparent trip to our beloved Rainbow Bar prior to the set encouraged the blatant, yet practically undetected disparagement, as Bellows sarcastically hammed it up on stage while some drunk girl adoringly snapped a photo. Notwithstanding, they played what is, in my opinion, some of the best material off both releases aforementioned, and ended up looking like they were at least having fun doing it. I just think that, especially as a performing artist, the more gratitude you show your audience, regardless of how small or uncool they may appear, the more youll receive in return.

Album cover designed by Jadon Ulrich

Beth Kern A&E Editor

Adventure awaits! Well, maybe not in the classic sense. I dont know too many students in college or otherwise, that would call sitting in a lecture hall for one to three hours an adventure in anything but staying awake. At this point, Id bet that a majority of students are dreaming, mulling, or stewing over spring break and its wonderful freedom from pencils, books, and professors dirty looks. Come to think of it, sandy beaches, warm sun, and rolling waves did sound rather tempting two weeks ago, but how many of

us made it to Florida or Hawaii for spring break who didnt live there in the first place? Not too many, and those that did, Id like to know what sort of racket theyre running for the extra money: Crack, coke, or con artistry? As for me, I spent my vacation as a recluse. Hiding from the local law in a land from which Ive been banished is not my idea of a vacation, especially when there arent water-washed lake shores or a shining sun to speak of. One of these days I vow to burn the bridges to my hometown and leave it as an island in the middle of the world; a sovereign nation unto itself where the local churches will vie for territory

and souls with their socially sanguine struggle. Not that there would be many bridges to burn, or ties to sever. The only reason I keep returning to my hometown is my poor family, who must endure the hardships of a tactless community without me. Looking at it objectively, things could be worse, I just havent figured out how. Then again if this quiet, innocent, Godfearing community suddenly decided to resurrect the witch trials and executions (the hunts have been going on for years) then, Id literally have to run for my life since I have at least reserved faith in evolution. Yeah, I think thats about the only way

for life on break to be worse. And dont think its all that farfetched! There are still city laws against witchcraft where Im from, believe me, Ive seen it. Ignorance is bliss and some prefer bliss overwhatever the other thing is. But whats to say the enlightened arent ignorant? Thats a discussion for another time. So, adventure awaits!? Yeah, a month and a half away when the semester ends, summer begins, and Oh What a Beautiful Mornin will be a justifiable way of greeting the day. Until then, let us content ourselves with long naps, long nights, and never-ending lectures. Welcome back to school all!

Sports Update
Patrick Olp Columnist
The Yellowjackets Golf team is in full swing for the Spring season. The mens team has upcoming events: March 14-15 in Billings at Briarwood at the Billings Collegiate Golf Cup March 21-22 at the CalState Monterrey Bay Invitational in Seaside, CA. The womens team also plays: March 14-15 at Briarwood March 24-25 in Phoenix at the Grand Canyon Invitational in Arizona. The womens softball team is back in business with a loaded lineup of nine seniors. The Jackets, who were picked third in a preseason coaches poll, have been led thus far by senior pitcher Joey Ehnes, who continues to add to her records for pitching at MSU-Billings (she owns all of them, including wins and strikeouts). Heres a look ahead at the womens schedule: M a rc h 1 3 @ h o m e against Dickinson State March 24-29 in Hawaii vs HPU and BYU-Hawaii.

No Football Team for Us

Emily Valenzuela Creativity Editor
Much concern from students and faculty has been voiced concerning the fact that the athletics department has created a baseball team for Fall 2005, but what about a football team? The main reason the football idea was rejected was money. Just to create a football team would cost the students at least $1 million. To maintain the cost of a football team is extremely high at this time. Fee waivers for all the players, equipment, and coaches are a price that not all students are ready to pay. Also, considering MSU-B does not have a field for practices or games poses another big obstacle that is not ready to be overcome. Students invest so much into student fees, the cost of a football team would skyrocket the amount students have to pay. When it comes to introducing a new sport, the Athletics Department examines all angles. They considered every sport from womens bowling to ice hockey. Baseball seemed to have the most advantages. One advantage is having a team that is parallel to girls softball. Also, the athletic conferences in this area offer more competition for baseball. There was only one conference that offered a competing football team. Students only pay $1-$2 more dollars under the athletics fee payment to have baseball. So instead of having money as the greatest obstacle to implement, for baseball it is trying to find the best coach and players, in order to bring in a new quality sport to this university.

A Love Story of Sorts: MSU-B Student Hails From China

Miranda Breding Guest Writer
I went out walking yesterday. Its the first time in a long time this winter that Ive really had a desire to just go out and wander around. I think that the weather finally getting a few degrees above zero had something to do with it. On Christmas Eve I took a walk that left my legs feeling like frozen pieces of meat hanging in some butcher shops locker. Yep, the continual -7 to -15 weather with a bitter cold wind from Inner Mongolia giving you an icecream-headache (minus the ice cream) can dampen the leisurely walk experience. So, I got on the semi-crowded bus and rode for about 30 minutes to reach the top of the main street in this city, Renmin Dajie (The Peoples Street). I brought my camera along and went for a walk. I was surprised to find that I had actually become familiar with this section of town that is quite a ways northeast of where I live and go to school. Nothing particularly amazing occurred, but as I walked the streets and went into the below-ground market it was as if I was savoring the interaction with the people I met. I went to a sticker-pictures booth run by two ladies. My mums birthday is coming next week and really, what says love Chinese-youth-style more than a batch of sticker pictures? The older lady of the two wanted to chat, Ni shi na ge guo jia de? (Where are you from?) I told her that Im American. When she found that out she began telling everyone, Look, she speaks Chinese pretty well for an American. A lady selling scarves somehow talked me into buying one. The first price she offered me was 65 yuan. I wasnt really interested. What do I need with a frilly little scarf? Maybe for mums birthday? Naw. I decided to pass and told her in Chinese that I was going to think a little bit and be back. I forgot that that translates into, Im interested but the price is too high. I began to walk away which translates into, Bargain with me. Within one minute her price had dropped four times (without me even offering another pricebody language, though misread, does wonders) down to 10 yuan (about 1. 25 USD). I bought the scarf because it was cheap. Times must be rough in the frilly scarf industry. Maybe deep down I had a longing for a frilly scarf. Could it be maybe the sales ladys perfectly shaved and shaped eyebrows drawn in with pencil, accompanied by the bright pink lipstick on her lips, and the look pulled together with a plastic hairclip with rhinestones mesmerized me? Whatever. Now I am the proud owner of a white (ish) frilly scarf with roses on it. I guess, Happy Birthday Mum! Walking down the street outside the market, I saw one of the numerous men who do calligraphy writing for a living. Often I had thought of stopping to get my name written in beautiful script but, alas, the driving wind, nipping at everything and anything on my body, kept me from doing so. This time I stopped. I asked the price. Four cards for 10 yuan. I only wanted twoone with my name and one with my mums name. The man answered by writing out seven cards each in a different style and charging me 10 yuan. It was fair. Somehow, things in China become justified by social interaction. If you sense a feeling of kinship with someone then they can get away with a lot more. I sensed kinship with this guy for some reason. I spoke Chinese with him. He answered. I didnt understand much, but was able to give him the impression that I fully understood what he was talking about. I realized that the main reason why he was out there was to advertise for calligraphy lessons he gives in the evenings. A couple of hours of learning how to write beautifully in Chinese for 20 yuan. I have his card. Maybe Ill give him a call. Walking back to the bus stop is when it hit. I just began laughing. Overwhelmed with how happy I am to be in Dong Bei (Northeast), China. People ask me what Dong Bei people like to eat. I dont really know. Okay, I guess I sort of know. But, I definitely know what they like to drink. They like to drink alcohol. They like to drink a lot of it, and they like to drink it strong. Apart from the fact that at around 11 a.m. you can find most Dong Bei taxi drivers a little bit tipsy, at least these people are my sort of people. Theyre real. The city I live in is like the Detroit of China (minus the gangs and crime). Its a car factory city. Its also a Provincial Capital. People are about business here, but theyre blue collar so they know how to relax a little bit. Here, have a beer is the common feeling I get. So, I just fell in love with China again this week. My relationship with this country and its people is kind of a love story of sorts. Ive wanted to come here since I was five-years-old. I came here when I was nineteen, returning again right before I turned twenty. On the return trip I asked the girl whom I was sharing a room with, How does it feel for you to be back here in China again? She answered, I feel like Ive come home. I couldnt have agreed more. I had come home. Maybe not my official homebut I had that impression. Coming home. The long cold winter studying here has done a lot to challenge my faithfulness to this relationship with China. During Spring Festival holiday I was headed south on a train and I took a look out the window at the various landscapes that make up this countrythe cold, snowy plains; the green southern rice paddies; the desert wastelands and apologized, I still love you China. I know it seems weve been quarreling lately, but when I look at you, I still love you.

Name: Olivia Koernig Age: 27 Major: English Minor: Spanish Hometown: Billings Dream Job: travel writer, novelist, or heiress Top of celebrity make out list: David Beckham Famous person youd most like to kick the crap out of: George W. Bush Recurring nightmare: This one where my teeth are crumbling and falling out of my head in bloody shards. I think Freud says it represents a fear of loss. About your photo: I was a bridesmaid in my sisters wedding.

Name: Betsy Harris Age: NO WAY ! Major: Communications Minor: English Hometown: Billings Dream Job: Best selling Author Top of celebrity make out list: Mathew McConaughey Famous person youd most like to kick the crap out of: Paris Hilton Recurring nightmare: The one where I married my high school sweetheart. About your photo: I was hot when I was younger

Neil Diamonds Influence: Views On How To Handle Life

Mike Schrage Columnist
I hate Neil Diamond. This hate is more than someone would hate, say, canned spinach, but less than someone might hate Hitler. You can say that, up until recently, Neil Diamond, while the object of much of my subconscious scorn, was not a factor in my everyday life. Then...the neighbor. I recently got a new neighbor, and all was well. He is a pleasant, twenty-something such as me, and while Im not going to invite him over for fruity-mocha-frappucinos or some crap like that any time soon, I didnt harbor any ill will to him until a few days ago. But then, that fateful day I awoke, hung over (as is the norm anymore) to the sounds of, get this, Cracklin Rose. To those of you not familiar with this song or with Neil Diamond, I envy you. Oh, how I envy you. My mother, dont get me wrong, is a wonderful woman. With the music she subjected me to, its a wonder that I didnt end up like that guy that tried to shoot Ronald Reagan. That, my friends, is sick. Ill bet his mother made him listen to Neil Diamond AND Andy Gibb. As a matter of fact, to the best of my knowledge, I think Neil is why my parents got divorced in the first place. In fact, I have a great idea for Neils next tour: Neil Diamond-Creating Broken Homes Since 1971. In fact, given enough time, and perhaps enough hallucinatory drugs, I could connect Neil Diamond with everything! The assassination of Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand in 1914? Neil. That Uruguayan rugby team in 1972 whose plane crashed and they had to eat each other? Neil. The Pequot Indian Wars of 1637? (Thank you, Professor Edgerton.) Guess. Thats right Neil-Freakin-Diamond. At this time, Im not sure how he is involved in events that took place hundreds of years before his birth, but believe you me, fellow student, he is. In fact, Im sure that in the bowels of the Vatican in Rome, right this minute, Pope John Paul and his super-secret Vatican Ninja Strike Team are uncovering solid, undeniable evidence that Neil Diamonds 1993 album Up On the Roof-Songs From The Brill Building, when played backward, gives directions on how Armageddon will finally find us. And it wont come from the Middle East; no, no, no, it will come from Brooklyn, and one guess who was born in Brooklyn. Uh-huh. You, my friend are correct. I dont care how many Gold records he has, and I dont care about how hip he was in the 1970s ( or, as my older sister calls it: The time before taste), and I certainly dont care how many middle aged women driving Volvos swoon at the sight of his revolting chest hair sticking out from his ruffled shirt. Neil Diamond still sucks. Ponder this, if you will. Im going to go home and stuff stale pancakes into my neighbor s mailbox.

What Will You Do for a Grade? had a couple errors and exclusions regarding Philosophy 105: ERRORS Readings: weekly (not daily!!) of roughly 50-60 pages. Meetings: In February meetings lasted a total of 1.5 hours for the entire month, and students are not required to attend all meetings. The estimated meeting time per student for this term will probably be about 5 hours (not 12!) OMISSIONS There are no exams. Students do service instead of cramming for and taking exams. There are no full-length papers (though there is an op-

tion to write an informal paper on visits to local churches). In short, I wouldnt say that Philosophy 105 requires more time from students, it just uses the same time differently. For some it requires less time, since each student can choose which grade they wish to work toward. Furthermore, as I explore alternative ways of learning, I find that the general response from studentsonce they open up to the idea of different possibilitiesis overall very positive. The same has been true this term. Thank you Nicole Livermont, and the Retort in general. lisa





by: Dan Hansen

Photos by Beth Kern