Correction

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Dec 122005
 
Authors:

Prices listed for Big Dog Textbooks in the graphic in the “Books for bucks” article in Thursday’s paper were incorrect. The Composition book was listed as $34 and Big Dog is paying $36. Introduction to Psychology was listed as $32 and Big Dog is paying $36. Introduction to Public Speaking was listed as zero, but Big Dog is paying $4 (limited quantity only). The Collegian apologizes for these errors.

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Syriana

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Dec 112005
 
Authors: Ryan Skeels

With the end of the semester at our fingertips and a massive load of studying in our laps, there was only enough time to see one flick during this past weekend of mental enhancement.

With "Chronicles of Narnia" and "Syriana" both releasing Friday it was a toss up as to which one I would subject myself to. Seeing as how this country of ours has some deep seeded issues with the Middle East and gasoline, I thought the best decision I could make as a concerned citizen of America was to check out "Syriana" and maybe gain a little more knowledge.

Basing the screenplay on a book written by Robert Baer, "See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War on Terrorism," Academy Award-winning writer Stephen Gaghan wrote and directed this political fury about the dealings of the global oil industry. Similar to his gold-grabbing flick "Traffic," this one follows several different, unrelated characters through a small piece of their lives and how their position in the oil business affects the different aspects of their lives.

George Clooney plays a CIA operative who begins to find out the motivations behind the directions he has unquestionably followed up until this point. Matt Damon takes the role of an oil broker whose family suffers a great tragedy, and he responds by immersing himself in work and his new business partner in the Gulf. Then there's also Jeffrey Wright as a corporate lawyer in charge of convincing the higher-ups of the success to be had by merging two huge US oil companies.

I've been pretty excited to see this flick since the day the trailer flashed before my eyes and expected a fairly quick-moving, dialogue-intensive, political power stroke of a plot. Everything but that pesky little quick movie deal came true. This was satisfying, but didn't make for too enjoyable of a time with sleep prying at my lids.

The plot is very smart though, and the story flowed a lot like it did in "Traffic," intermingling the different sub-plots sporadically in quite a smooth manner. There were times when I felt a little lost and had a hard time putting it back together. This was due to the amount of characters and locations, combined with the intensive dialogue. One cool thing: the movie was true to the dialects of the people in every different location, with subtitles for those who haven't found the time to learn every language in existence. There's nothing more annoying than a movie where the local Iranians speak perfect English.

George Clooney's character, Bob Barnes, takes the cake for most uncomfortable minute on-screen in this one. We'll just say it involves ol' Clooney secured firmly to a chair, an evil torturing man with pliers and couple of fingernails George apparently doesn't really need. I didn't previously know you could hurt yourself from curling your toes too hard.

It's a very smart and apparently realistic portrayal of the current, behind-the-scenes happenings in the most important industry to this country. Just don't spend the money if you're feeling a bit drowsy, you may not make it though the whole thing.

3 out of 5 ram heads

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Entertainment Calendar

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Dec 112005
 
Authors:

Today

ASAP final exam stress relief

Cookies, drinks and free massages

11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Lory Student Center Sunken Lounge

"Living Legacy in Elegant Tradition" – a Kimono Exhibit

CSU Curfman Gallery

9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Carriage Rides in Downtown Fort Collins

5 to 9 p.m.

$15 per person for a carriage ride

$5 per person for a wagon ride

Old Town Ice Skating

3 to 9 p.m.

Old Town Square

$2 admission

$1 skate rental

Tomorrow

ASAP final exam stress relief

Cookies, drinks and free massages

11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

LSC Sunken Lounge

Storm Mountain Fold Dancers

7:30 to 9:45 p.m.

Empire Grange

"Living Legacy in Elegant Tradition" – a Kimono Exhibit

CSU Curfman Gallery

9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Carriage Rides in Downtown Fort Collins

5 to 9 p.m.

$15 per person for a carriage ride

$5 per person for a wagon ride

Old Town Ice Skating

3 to 9 p.m.

Old Town Square

$2 admission

$1 skate rental

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

All eyes on the Poinsettia

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Dec 112005
 
Authors: Nick Piburn

The Rams are back in the bowl picture with their bid to the first-ever San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, Dec. 22 at 8:30 p.m. MST. They will face the Navy Midshipmen who finished the regular season 7-4.

The Rams haven't won a bowl since beating North Texas 45-20 in the New Orleans Bowl in 2001 and haven't participated in one since 2003. The only players that could have been at CSU in 2001 are fifth year seniors, who would have red shirted, and therefore not played in that game.

"We've all gone to some bowls since coming here, but a lot of us seniors never played in those games," said senior safety Travis Garcia. "The seniors have been huge contributors, this game means a lot to us."

The seniors and the entire team will be seeing an offense they've had to become familiar with in the triple option.

The triple option is somewhat similar to the offense run by Air Force. But one difference in the two attacks is the percentage each team runs the option.

"Navy has a good rushing attack," said head coach Sonny Lubick. "Navy runs option about 70 percent of the game. This will be a real challenge for us."

One reason the Midshipmen offense poses such a challenge to the Rams is due to the Rams' inability to consistently stop the run. The Rams run defense is ranked 104th in the nation, and last in the Mountain West Conference, while Navy boasts the nation's top rushing attack, while averaging 305.9 yards a game.

One key for the Midshipmen is their fullback, sophomore Adam Ballard. Compared to other players at his position, Ballard gets the ball often. He has rushed 94 times this season, and averages 5.7 yards a carry.

"Their fullback is good and their quarterback is quick as can be. We've got to get our secondary involved in stopping the run," Lubick said.

Offensively the Rams will be as healthy as they've been since the start of conference play, as the entire offensive line should be ready to play. Senior offensive tackle Mike Brisiel began practicing last week, and senior center Albert Bimper is also practicing in preparation for Navy.

With the combination of a healthy offensive lineman and workhorse second-team all-Conference running back Kyle Bell getting nearly a month of rest, the Ram rushing attack should be strong.

The team will practice up until Saturday, then head to San Diego, where they will practice a few times before the game.

 

Check out Collegian.com Dec. 23 for results and photos from the game.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Rams’ Road Woes

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Dec 112005
 
Authors: Stacey Zynen

The road has proven to be a struggle for the Rams who lost their second straight away game of the season to San Jose State over the weekend with a score of 78-66. Head coach Jen Warden, however, was convinced that the game only made the team better.

"I've always been impressed with our team and now I want them to be perfect. We have progressed every game and now we are seeking perfection," she said in a CSU press release.

Senior captains Lindsay Thomas, Melissa Dennett and Vanessa Espinoza contributed 49 combined points in the loss. Dennett ended with a team-high 24 points, followed by Thomas who added 13 points and a game-high of 12 rebounds. It was the 17th double-double of Thomas' career.

While the Rams' starting five put up solid performances, the bench players mostly struggled in their playing opportunities. The entire bench recorded only six points of the team's total.

Sophomore guard Sarah Hunter made two baskets from behind the three-point line, breaking her 0-15 streak for three-point attempts. She ended the game with eight points and three assists.

San Jose's lead forward, Lamisha Augustine proved to be the Rams' biggest challenge. Augustine put out a career-high 35 points for the Spartans, shooting five-for-five from beyond the three-point line, four-for-five from the free throw line and grabbing 11 rebounds.

"For someone with that kind of performance, you almost want to get a box of popcorn and sit in the stands to watch," said Warden of Augustine's performance.

Amber Jackson was San Jose's second leading scorer with 16 points and 10 rebounds, followed by Anetero Uiagalelei who added 12 points to their final score.

The Rams, now 4-3 for the season, will be back in Moby Arena on Dec. 18 to face the UNC Bears.

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J Smooth : Larger Than Life

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Dec 112005
 
Authors: Nick Grammer

Out on the wind-swept plains east of Greeley, Jason Smith grew up on desolate prairie lands, where he shot baskets into a rickety hoop nailed to the side of a house his father built.

Instead of a polished hardwood floor, Smith, now 19, pivoted on loose bits of gravel in his attempts to bag letters in games of "h-o-r-s-e" with family members.

"I lived out on a farm without any cable," Smith, the starting forward on CSU's basketball team, said in a recent interview while relaxing on a black leather chair at his girlfriend's condo. "Our court was nothing special, but it was the place where I grew up."

Basketball, he said, "became my life's entertainment."

It's not as if the now 7-footer didn't know organized basketball would be such a strong presence in his future, but he probably never imagined being an NBA prospect.

Inklings may have started by growing up in a home where the kitchen counters had to be custom-built high enough to strike most people in the chest.

It was probably a little clearer at Platte Valley High, where the combo forward-center was named "State Player of the Year" and "Most Outstanding Player" at the Colorado High School All-State game.

But even those barely conveyed the potential.

Smith received scholarship offers from Gonzaga University – home of some of the country's greatest basketball – and the University of Wyoming. Instead, he chose to enroll at Colorado State University to stay close to home, the tiny town of Kersey where his parents, Jack and Roberta, still live.

"I'm really close to my family," the brown-haired sophomore said. "I want them to see me play, see me succeed."

Succeed, indeed

The game clock blares as the CSU men's basketball team walks off the court into the locker room after defeating Northern Colorado, 70-57, in the first game of the regular season in mid-November.

The players, including Smith, are all smiles. Those grins would eventually grow wider as the team progressed to a 7-1 record as of this week.

After a short meeting with coach Dale Layer, the players go their separate ways for the remainder of the evening. Many may hit the party scene, but not Jason.

The self-proclaimed "homebody" instead is sprawled on his king-sized bed, focusing on the team's next game.

In the UNC game, Smith scored a career-best 26 points, grabbed nine rebounds and blocked seven shots. Single-game achievements like those prompt Smith to call home – something he does often.

Born March 2, 1986 in a town of about 2,000 people, Smith said he remembers becoming interested in basketball around the age of seven.

Unlike many young college and professional athletes with war stories from the suburbs, Smith's youth was even-tempered and fun.

"My childhood was very good with lots of love in my family," Smith said. "But I still had to work hard to get where I am now."

While sandlot-style basketball started as a way to cure boredom, Smith grew eight inches between eighth and ninth grade, prompting him to try several sports.

"I was too skinny for football, and was told that I was too lengthy to run track," he recalled.

Ultimately, Smith remained loyal to the sport he believed would offer him the most rewards: basketball. And in addition to family loyalty, attending CSU was also part of a legacy. His parents are both CSU graduates.

Smooth as silk

In his first year at CSU, Smith was named Mountain West Freshman of the Year after averaging 10.5 points and 5.8 rebounds a game.

Current teammate Mike Harrison recalled Smith's first-season triumphs, and how Smith's nickname of "J-Smooth" came to be.

"I was watching Jason play and he made a move on the baseline that only a 6-foot guy could make," Harrison said. "I said 'That was smooth.'"

Smith continually strives to do his best, even when people may assume that a 7-footer will always be really good and really clumsy.

"I like proving people wrong," Smith said. "I am 7 feet tall but I'm just as agile as any other player. A big guy like me can move."

Off the court, Jason can be pretty smooth too.

Despite some initial reluctance, Smith admitted he was the best dancer at the Fort Collins home he shares with teammates Mike Harrison, Ryan Brown and Andrew Patterson. In fact, the star player has even taken his moves to a local dance club with his girlfriend.

"He's the goofy, comical boy-next-door," said Ashley Prothe, a sophomore speech communications major, who Smith has dated for more than a year.

A smiling Prothe recalled times when Smith was too loud in movie theaters or acted silly in public.

Goofiness aside, Prothe, who met Smith her freshman year in the dorms, said her boyfriend is "one of the most driven people I know."

To explain this, Smith describes his obsession with constantly maintaining the strength of his immune system – something that doesn't come without a price.

"A lot of people don't know that my protein shakes aren't very forgiving to my digestive system, or to my girlfriend," Smith said.

This is not to say there haven't been bumps.

Since arriving in Fort Collins, he's had three traffic citations and a nasty battle with mononucleosis.

These events are what Smith describes as strong reality checks in an environment that can often over-inflate egos or make players feel "untouchable."

Smith has emerged this season as a team leader, posting double-doubles in three consecutive games early on.

For his efforts, Smith was even named MWC Player of the Week after the Rams won their first three games of the season.

The progress hasn't come easy though. Smith compares his first season struggles to the 7-foot Dirk Nowitzki of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks.

"Like Dirk, I struggled early on but have come back stronger every year. (Last season) was a learning experience because the team had injuries, and we didn't have enough leadership. We needed to improve in a lot of areas."

Although he admits to being shy at first, Smith believes the basketball court is the one place where he can truly be himself and unwind after something like a "horrible microeconomics class."

"I'm not a vocal leader, but I lead by example," Smith said. "I let my teammates know that I want to win and that I care about them."

 

Education first

Although a typical day during the basketball season is jammed with Smith attending classes and practices, he still makes time to be an active member of the community. In fact, he has previously volunteered to read to children at local schools.

"I tell little kids that I'm 5 feet 24 inches tall and they can't believe it," Smith said.

Smith also uses those visits to remind young people they shouldn't place all their hopes on athletics alone and that academics are even more important.

A business major with ambitions toward real estate sales, Smith strongly recognizes the need to excel in academics.

"My parents always stressed education first, and it's easier for me to focus on school this year now that I'm out of the dorms. I have fewer distractions," he said.

Paying attention to studies can't be easy when Web sites like NBADraft.net are predicting him to be selected eighth overall in the 2007 NBA Draft. The prospect of being a pro has crossed Smith's mind, but he uses the thought to fuel his ambitions, rather than take it easy.

"My focus right now is CSU. I'm in the moment. Making the NBA is all about 'what-ifs' at this point, but it's definitely an accomplishment to be recognized," he said.

"If everything works out right, and if I have the opportunity, I'd probably enter the draft. I just want to play as long as I can. I love the game."

Head coach Layer said Smith may have what it takes to succeed in the big leagues, but must continue to work on his game.

"I think that anyone who sees Jason will realize he has great potential but he must continue to improve in order to have success at the next level," Layer said. "It is unusual to have a good skill set, great passion for the game, athleticism and versatility – all in a 7-foot frame. He has a chance to be special."

Smith's mother, Roberta, said during halftime of a recent home match against IUPUI that she is also aware of the NBA's interest in her son and the effort he needs to put forth.

"I think he will be (in the NBA) someday but he has a lot to work on," she said. "I'm definitely very proud of him."

Jason Smith knows the sky is the limit for his aspirations, yet he remains humble and grateful for his opportunities.

"Basketball has given me an education, and something I love to do," Smith said while still in that black leather chair. "I'm focused."

 

 

 

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Welcome to the block party

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Dec 112005
 
Authors: Trevor Edy

The CSU men's basketball team offered another record-tying performance (the first being a 6-0 start to the season) in Saturday night's 71-56 win over Pepperdine University. The Rams recorded 12 team blocks, tying a regular season school record en route to a 7-1 record.

Sophomore Jason Smith was the clear host of the block party in Moby Arena, registering five. Fellow big-man Michael Harrison added three.

CSU traded baskets with the Waves early, beginning with a Cory Lewis three pointer to start the game. The junior guard did not miss any of his three attempts from behind the arc and while shooting a perfect 100 percent from the field, registering 16 points, two assists and three rebounds.

"I thought Cory was the best player on the floor tonight," said head coach Dale Layer. "He continues to make great decisions down the stretch; I am thrilled with his play."

The Rams went on a 15-2 run midway through the first half to pull away from the visiting team 32-19. CSU's full court press proved to be too much for the Waves, as it created multiple turnovers before the half and fueled the Ram offense.

The crowd of nearly 4,000 erupted into a frenzy right before the half when Harrison threw down a dunk off a Sean Morris assist. The highlight play put an exclamation point on the Rams' 41-28 halftime lead.

The Waves' Michael Gerrity led the Pepperdine offense by scoring 17 points in the contest and seemed to give the CSU defense trouble at the guard position.

"Gerrity is the best point guard we have seen so far," Layer said.

Gerrity fouled out in the second half due to the relentless defensive pressure of Lewis and freshman guard Chris Harris.

The Rams came out of the locker room strong in the second half by stretching their lead to 50-30 with a Stephan Gilling three-pointer. The freshman guard finished the night 3-for-4 from three-point range with nine points. Smith showed he has some range on his shot as the 7-footer hit multiple jumpers on the night and finished with 16 points and eight rebounds.

Pepperdine put together a run of their own outscoring the Rams 15-2 to bring them within seven points. But it was CSU's deep bench that pulled the game out of reach for the Waves.

The Rams' bench outscored Pepperdine's 22-10.

"I thought our bench gave us a big lift, we had fresh legs when (Pepperdine) was tired…I thought that was the difference tonight," Layer said.

Sophomore Sean Morris led the charge off the bench with 10 points, along with fellow sophomore Stuart Creason's six.

CSU's defense once again rose to the occasion by holding Pepperdine to a dismal 29 percent shooting from the floor. The Rams are holding opponents to 36 percent shooting on the season.

"We are going to get better," Lewis said.

CSU will have a week off during finals and then will travel to Hawaii to compete in the Rainbow Classic. They will face Western Michigan on Dec. 20; all other games will be announced at a later date.

"We are looking for quality wins to get to the championship round…we know we can do it if we play our game," Lewis said.

 

CSU PU

Points 71 56

FG% 43% (24-56) 29% (19-65)

3 FG% 44% (8-18) 16% (3-19)

FT% 83% (15-18) 60% (15-25)

Assists 15 7

Steals 5 8

Blocks 12 5

Points in paint 20 18

Turnovers 11 10

 

CSU Points Rebounds Assists Blocks

Jason Smith 16 (6-15) 8 4 5

Michael Harrison 6 (3-6) 3 2 3

Cory Lewis 16 (4-4) 3 2 0

PU

Michael Gerrity 17 (6-16) 1 2 0

Tashaan Forehan-Kelly 12 (4-8) 8 0 0

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

SPORTS CALENDAR

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Dec 112005
 
Authors:

Today

Colorado Avalanche vs. Ottawa Senators, Pepsi Center, 7 p.m. ALTITUDE(TV)

Tuesday

Denver Nuggets vs. Charlotte Bobcats, Charlotte, N.C., 5:30 p.m. ALTITUDE(TV)

Wednesday

Colorado Eagles vs. Oklahoma City Blazers, Budweiser Events Center, 7:05 p.m.

Thursday

Denver Nuggets vs. Cleveland Cavaliers, Cleveland, Ohio, 6 p.m. TNT(TV)

Friday

Colorado Eagles vs. Youngstown Steelhoungs, Budweiser Events Center, 7:05 p.m.

Denver Nuggets vs. New Jersey Nets, East Rutherford, N.J., 5:30 p.m. ALTITUDE(TV)

Saturday

Colorado Eagles vs. Amarillo Gorillas, Amarillo, Texas, 6 p.m.

Colorado Avalanche vs. New York Islanders, Nassau Coliseum, N.Y., 5 p.m. ALTITUDE(TV)

Sunday

CSU Women's Basketball vs. Northern Colorado, Moby Arena, 2 p.m.

Colorado Avalanche vs. New York Rangers, Madison Square Garden, N.Y., 3 p.m. ALTITUDE(TV)

Denver Broncos vs. Buffalo Bills, Buffalo, N.Y., 6:30 p.m. CBS(TV)

Denver Nuggets vs. Atlanta Hawks, Atlanta, Ga., 12 p.m. ALTITUDE(TV)

For a look at complete schedules for all Rams' athletics, go to www.csurams.com.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

In response to Brett Okamoto’s column

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Dec 112005
 
Authors:

Brett Okamoto's column on Friday was right on…in more ways than one. Being from Austin (home of the University of Texas), it gave me great pleasure not as much to see the 'Horns win, but instead it was the fact that CU lost so pathetically.

That was the sweetest part of it all. As much as I would like to say that I don't harbor any ill will to our pretentious neighbors down in Boulder, over my four years here in Fort Collins, I have developed an almost uncontrollable disdain for all things black and gold (I think green is a much friendlier color), and the situation with CU's football team is merely a microcosm of what is really just an ugly situation that is currently going on at the base of the Flatirons.

It is amazing to me how that university (and the parents who send their kids and money there) can continue to tolerate the obviously scandalous activity that goes on in Boulder, both in the athletic department and in the community as a whole.

Brett got it exactly right when he implied that CU would be willing to put up with activities deemed undesirable by the majority of America if their football team was winning, and that is the saddest thing about this whole situation.

Max Appling

senior

business administration

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

In response to Meg Burd’s column

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Dec 112005
 
Authors:

Thank you for your article about puppy mills. My family has been pet owners forever and recently we decided to start adopting our animals instead of contributing to puppy mills. After my most recent dog died, we decided to adopt our next dog at a non-kill shelter named Max Fund in Denver. They feature cheap spaying and neutering and also offer low cost vaccines. We adopted one of the goofiest, fun-loving dogs ever to occupy our house at this great organization. His name is Sammy and he is a German Shepard with a floppy ear and short stubby legs.

Thanks again,

Josh Petre

freshman

open option

 Posted by at 5:00 pm