Jody – November 2016 

Walk into the service with your head hung low; a sign of misplaced respect for the deceased. Hug old friends and shake the hands of people you only slightly remember in the shadow of stained glass manger scenes.

The deacons, with their long, sombre faces, tell you to pick up a stone from a basket at the entrance. Curious, you think, but you gladly hold the small gray stone in your palm and massage the smooth surface with your fingers.

Smile and wince simultaneously at folks who nod as you pass them by in the tight pews. Too tight, you think, why do they make them so close together?  

Throw the back of your brown, tweed sportcoat behind you. Notice, for the first time, that every man is wearing a black or navy blue suit with a white shirt and a dark tie and every woman is wearing a black dress with white fringe. Is this what she would have wanted? You wonder. So much dark clothing and melancholy? You don’t think so, but that’s what people in Connecticut do at funerals, play pretend; play the part they think they’re supposed to play, the part they think they’re obligated to play.

Organ music swells. You wonder how they build instruments like that. So encompassing, the sound.

The service begins. The minister speaks like poetry. A rhythm that’s unmistakable. There’s no pauses out of place. Each word is as beautiful as the last. Each word carries a cosmic weight.

Friends and siblings speak effortlessly about her kindness, her wit, her writing, her love. Your friends cry when her sons get up to speak. When was the last time you saw any of them cry? You can’t recall really, but it’s been a long time, you’re sure of that.

They get through their short speeches with indelible strength. They pause when they must, to choke back all the things that come rushing forth. You are proud of them and wonder how you will do when you find yourself in their shoes one day.

You feel something hanging all around the room. God? You ask the inside of your head. He doesn’t answer audibly, though, maybe he doesn’t need to.

Her husband speaks. He is a good man and his goodness is profound in that moment. How deep his love is for her. Is not was. Is.

Piano playing, poems recited, favorite blues songs echo from the speakers. All of it quiet reflection for a woman who was like a second mother to you. You cry too, but mostly because it’s beautiful.

The minister tells the congregation to remember the stone they are holding in their hand. This stone is from Rhode Island, the minister explains. She has been going to the beach where the stones were collected since she was a small child. Feel the weight of the stone in your hand. Feel its texture. Cup it in your hands. Now, imagine that in one of her many years at that beach, she may have picked up the stone you are holding in your hands and in that moment think of a word that describes your relationship with her.


That’s the only word in your head. Mother to her sons. Mother to her son’s friends; adopted and brought in to the family.

The minister asks everyone to get up, row by row, and place the stone in a basin at the front; an act of letting go.

You let the stone go and listen to the sound as it hits the rocks below it with a slight thud. It sounds like a final page turning and a book closing. It sounds like closure.

You throw your arms around her sons and her husband. You sing a hymn you’ve never heard and you leave. With your eyes forward and your head up, a true sign of respect for your second mom.

Below is a Q & A I did with the Canadian rapper Shad. He has been called “spiritual without being preachy, righteous without being self-righteous, and human without sounding mundane” by And said of him: “With a discerning, critical eye and disarming sense of humor, Shad is a truly balanced artist, carrying himself with an endearing swagger that’s free of pretense.” Words like witty and clever seem to fall short for this mellifluous wordsmith. He is one of my personal favorites.

Shad’s thoughts on hip hop

1. Please list any music related experience or anything that would give you credibility to talk about music.

Shad: “For the last 3 years I’ve made a living as a musician. I’ve released 3 albums and toured in North America and Europe thus far in my career. My latest album was released in the U.S. through Decon records (chali 2na, acey alone, rjd2).”

2. What is hip hop?

Shad: “Most people would define hip hop as a culture whose defining elements include rap music, graffiti, break dancing, and djing. Beat boxing and street fashion are also commonly associated with hip hop culture. Many people also refer to hip hop also as the sort of essential core of rap music.”

3. Where do you think hip hop fits in the musical landscape amidst other genres?

Shad: “In terms of sales, cultural impact, and critical acceptance, I think it’s up there with the other major genres of popular music.”

4. What is the importance of hip hop?

Shad: “Culturally it’s very important. Hip hop provided and continues to provide a voice and sense of confidence for a lot of young people around the world. It’s also introduced and popularized a lot of new forms of musical creation and re-interpretation (sampling machines, new uses for turn tables, etc.).”

5. What are common misconceptions about hip hop?

Shad: “A lot of people are blind to the diversity of styles and perspectives expressed in hip hop music. A lot of people who are unfamiliar with the music and culture also misunderstand the language of hip hop. They tend to interpret lyrics literally that are really meant to be understood as tongue-in-cheek or satirical. They also fail to see or appreciate the technical sophistication of hip hop production and lyricism.”

6. Are there any negative aspects of the hip hop scene or genre?

Shad: “Hip hop has a more competitive element to it than probably any other genre of popular music, which can sometimes inhibit true creativity and self-expression.”

7. Who are some pioneers?

Shad: “Dj Kool Herc, Afrika Bambataa, KRS-one, Run DMC, N.W.A, Dj Premier”

8. What artists embody “good” or “bad” hip hop?

Shad: “I think one of the best things about hip hop is that it is normal for artists to represent the “good” and “bad” of who they are in their music. It’s not considered contradictory, it just reflects the dynamic and complex nature of humanity (Artists like Rakim, DMX, and Kanye West). Krs-One was a conscious rapper that held a 9mm on his album covers. Tupac made songs like “Dear Mama” and “Keep ya Head Up” and also bragged about his sexual exploits, Kanye West had “Jesus Walks” and “Get ‘em High” on the same album. This kind of complexity is common in hip hop and purposefully makes it difficult to distinguish between “good” and “bad.”

9. What influence does hip hop have on the youth? The masses? In general?

Shad: “I think hip hop has done a great deal of good in terms of giving a voice to youth in difficult circumstances and bringing attention to the plight of marginalized people all over the world. It also speaks to and from the perspectives of people from all different ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. That being said, certain aspects of hip hop music (violence, misogyny) have been at times sensationalized and promoted to an audience that is either unable or unwilling to fully engage with the music and the social realities that created it, which has affected some people – young people especially – negatively.

10. At BGSU, there is a class devoted to the history of hip hop and black music. Does it make sense to have a college class on hip hop? What are benefits or downfalls?

Shad: “I think the benefit of a university class on hip hop is that it can help people understand one of the most interesting and powerful cultural forces in the world. It can help us better understand ourselves and our world and ultimately make us more and more reasonable and empathetic people.”

Below are stories I wrote for newspapers in the Bowling Green, Ohio area.

1. Youtube video sparks religious debate

Video description on YouTube:

“A poem I wrote to highlight the difference between Jesus and false religion. In the scriptures Jesus received the most opposition from the most religious people of his day. At it’s core Jesus’ gospel and the good news of the Cross is in pure opposition to self-righteousness/self-justification. Religion is man centered, Jesus is God-centered. This poem highlights my journey to discover this truth. Religion either ends in pride or despair. Pride because you make a list and can do it and act better than everyone, or despair because you can’t do your own list of rules and feel not good enough for God. With Jesus though you have humble confident joy because He represents you, you don’t represent yourself and His sacrifice is perfect putting us in perfect standing with God!”

—Jefferson Bethke

There are two things we are told never to speak of during polite dinner conversation; politics and religion. The two “hot button” issues tend to spark lively and sometimes even hostile debate.

Jefferson Bethke certainly sparked some debate with his YouTube video titled “Why I hate Religion, but Love Jesus.” The video has gone viral, garnering more than 20 million views on YouTube and has been shared on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, across the belief spectrum including Christians and atheists.

Bethke, a cross between a spoken word poet and a rapper, said in the video “Jesus came to abolish religion” and that it has not been successful in helping the masses.

“Why does [religion] build huge churches, but fail to feed the poor?” he said in the video.

For some, the message that Bethke is presenting may seem counterintuitive. He professes the Christian faith, but said he despises religion.

Kevin Crawford, lead pastor of Brookside Evangelical Free Church in Bowling Green, said that Bethke is not in fact contradicting himself.

“It is important to define how he is using [the word] religion,” Crawford said. “The legalist would say that you have to earn credit with God.” Crawford said Bethke is opposing this legalistic view of religion.

“It cannot be Jesus plus anything like good works,” Crawford said. “It is just about Jesus.”

Kevin Stetter, a 2009 University graduate who works in the campus ministry for St. Thomas More Catholic Parish, felt differently about Bethke’s message.

“He is operating off of a biased definition of religion,” Stetter said. “Religion is more than empty rituals.”

Stetter went on to say that Bethke’s view is “misinformed” when he said Jesus came to abolish religion.

“It says in Scriptures that Jesus did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it,” Stetter said. “Maybe he just missed that verse.”

Sam Schmitt, a junior at the University and a member of the Bowling Green Secular Society, is an atheist.

“Where [Bethke] is saying you go wrong is when you believe in an institution more than Jesus,” Schmitt said.

Schmitt added that the number of hits the video has received speaks to how poignant the message is.

“I think the amount of views for this video proves that these are questions that are on the minds of young people,” Schmitt said.

Another reason that Bethke used his cyber platform: to talk about the state of the church.

“The church should not be a museum for good people, but a hospital for the broken,” Bethke said in the video.

There are no perfect people within the church, so it cannot be a museum for good people, Crawford said.

Schmitt agreed with what Crawford said about people’s imperfection.

“Real people are not perfect,” Schmitt said. “All people are flawed. You can’t think you’re good enough to hang out with Jesus.”

While Stetter said he mostly agrees with what Bethke said about the church, he said what Bethke is saying is not a difficult point to make.

“Pointing out hypocrisy is like shooting fish in a barrel,” Stetter said. He added that what is difficult is showing Christ’s love to the masses.

Stetter said Christ wanted unity for the church and that is not happening between different denominations within Christianity.

“The church is divided,” Stetter said. “There are over 44,000 different denominations. Does that seem like unity to you?”

Stetter, Crawford and Schmitt all agreed on a benefit of the video: the creation of a venue for honest dialogue.

“The video causes people to think about the issues and self-reflect,” Schmitt said. “There is also an undertone of challenging authority. When you won’t take the bishop’s or priest’s or pastor’s word for it, you’ll go and seek out answers for yourself.”

While the video sparked debate among people, it vexed others, Stetter said.

“If he is misinformed he can offend people,” Stetter said. “Our pastor was quite offended.”

Crawford also felt that responses to the video were not all positive.

“It’s negative when Christians are being divisive within the Church,” Crawford said. “[Bethke] is communicating outwardly and trying to start a conversation between believers and non-believers.”

Another “hot button” issue addressed by Bethke in the video is politics.

“What if I told you voting Republican really wasn’t [Christ’s] mission? What if I told you Republican doesn’t automatically mean Christian?” Bethke said in the video.

Crawford said politics will not change our culture and only the message of the Gospel will bring about real change.

“Our culture has affiliated Evangelical Christians with Republicans,” Crawford said. “Christians are not always Fox watchers and Rush Limbaugh listeners.”

Stetter agreed that neither political party is necessarily Christian.

“There is no consistent ethic in politics,” Stetter said. “The church has a consistent ethic.”

Schmitt felt Bethke’s message could be an example of younger Christians trying to distance themselves from an older, more conservative generation.

“It could also be that the religious right is embarrassing,” Schmitt said.

Bethke’s video has caused a discussion in the faith community and the wealth of video responses, ranging from praise to staunch objection, as well as commenting in online forums, speaks to that.

Bethke stated on his Facebook page that he welcomes the input.

“I love the responses, suggestions and critiques,” Bethke stated. “I am thankful for healthy discussion.”

2. Abortion Debate Draws Hundreds


Bowling Green – Well over 400 people packed the Olscamp conference room on Bowling Green State University’s campus Thursday March 29th to see the abortion debate held by Veritas, a Catholic student organization. The theme of the night was “You decide” and those words were emblazoned on the flier that each attendee received upon entering.
With the rows and rows of seats entirely filled, participants were left with standing room only, and many lined the corridor into the main hallway of the academic building.

Booths were set up along the perimeter of the ballroom and different groups, like the Pregnancy center, passed out information and gave short prepared speeches to college students huddled around.

The atmosphere around the debate was ripe with apprehension from the anti-abortion exhibit that members of St. Thomas More University Parish put up a few days prior. The exhibit which was titled “Cemetery of Innocence” featured approximately 3,500 wooden crosses in Carillon Park, beside the Education Building on campus.

The exhibit sparked protest of students on campus and even prompted one student to rip the crosses out of the ground late one night.

The tension in the room before the debate began was almost palpable and attendees nervously shifted in their seats with bated breath, waiting patiently for the opening remarks.

Deborah Novak, assistant dean of students at the University, opened the debate.

“I am not taking sides on this issue,” Novak declared from the podium on stage. “However, I do feel that this is a great opportunity for different beliefs to come together.” The two belief systems certainly came together, but perhaps not as diplomatically as Novak would have hoped.

As to be expected there was some mud-slinging between the two sides, and backhanded compliments were hidden behind fake, toothy grins of the speakers.

The speaker for the pro-life side, Scott Klusendorf, is the founder and president of the Life Training Institute in Atlanta, Ga. His opponent James Croft, vice-president of the Humanist Graduate Community at Harvard, spoke for the pro-choice stance.

Croft spoke first and he made his two points clear to the audience from the beginning:
“a zygote or fetus is not a person or a member of the human species and secondly, that women matter.”

The reason Croft gave for the argument that zygotes are not people, hinged on the fact that, “personhood is based on personality, and fetuses do not have a personality.”

Because a fetus has not developed a cerebral cortex, Croft assimilated it to a brain dead person that, “cannot be killed because is already considered dead.”

Croft added that a fetus is, “not worthy of the same moral concern.”

In conclusion of his opening remarks, Croft said that the pro-life side often overlooks the existence of the pregnant mother, who risks her life during pregnancy, according to Croft.

Klusendorf walked to the podium following Croft and asked two main questions of the audience: “What is the unborn? And do only some human beings have a right to life?”

During the first 15 minute segment afforded each speaker for opening remarks, Klusendorf showed a video clip of the aftermath of abortions.

“It is necessary to use something this provocative to make a case,” Klusendorf said of the video.

Klusendorf argued that from the earliest stages of development, one is a unique individual.

“It begins at fertilization,” he said.

Klusendorf concluded his opening statement by saying that Croft’s argument states that, “only some humans have the right to life.”

During their rebuttals, each speaker used metaphors, corvettes being assembled in a factory and cake’s baking, in an attempt to paint a picture in the minds of the audience.

At the end of the rebuttal period, Croft said that Klusendorf was avoiding one of his main points about women.
“What are the rights of women?” Croft asked. “Scott systematically avoided this question.”

Klusendorf called Croft out for an ad hominem, or attacking the person, fallacy and in closing said, “being pro-life does not mean I hate women.”

During the question and answer period, a long line of college students and community members snaked to the back of the conference room. However, there was only time for a handful of voices to be heard.

While Deborah Novak implored attendees to, “refrain from applauding or booing” at the beginning of the debate, the question and answer portion evoked some loud jeers and disagreement from the crowd.

When the debate concluded, many attendees remained in the conference room, and the babble of discussion rose to a crescendo as the speakers left the stage.

“I think [Scott’s] argument kills at the Iowa caucus,” Craig Flack, assistant pastor at Brookside church said. “It’s not going to work on a college campus.”

Bryan Mcgeary, a student at the University, was also underwhelmed by Klusendorf’s performance in the debate.
“I was disappointed with Scott,” Mcgeary said. “I felt like he repeated a lot of the same points. Rather than addressing James, Scott was evasive about the equality of women.”

Stephen Duraney, on staff with St. Thomas More, helped to organize the debate and helped to bring Klusendorf in to speak on the pro-life side.

“I am pro-life,” Duraney said. “But James did a really good job. He responded more to Scott and you could see his emotion.”

Duraney also said he was disappointed with Klusendorf’s performance.
“When you don’t tailor your message to the situation, your answers don’t seem relevant,” Duraney said.

[View the story “Abortion Debate ” on Storify]

3. Daughter Project Builds Home For Sex-trafficking Victims


Bowling Green – The cement foundation has been poured, the wooden frame built, windows set and the carpet lain. Jeff Wilbarger’s dream has become a reality. The Daughter Project is putting the finishing touches on the home it has been building for women rescued from sex trafficking.

Awareness of sex trafficking has been promoted by numerous anti-trafficking groups throughout the country and even in the blockbuster film “Taken” starring Liam Neeson. However, many in Wood County and the neighboring counties are unaware that trafficking is taking place in their area.

“John Kasich signed an executive order creating a 90-day task force to develop a coordinated game plan for attacking modern-day slavery in Ohio,” reported Jim Provance, Columbus Bureau chief, in an article for The Toledo Blade published March 30.

The “slavery” Provance refers to is sex-trafficking, and in this category Toledo ranks third in the nation.

When Wilbarger, a math and physics instructor in Bowling Green, first read about this “modern-day slavery” taking place all throughout the world, he felt compelled to help women unfortunately stuck in this position. What Wilbarger did not know initially was that Toledo marked a major hub for sex trafficking, due in large part to the intersection of two major highways: Interstate 75 and Interstate 80.

“About three years ago I began to sense that God wanted me to do something more with my life,” Wilbarger said. “This was not ‘midlife’ crisis or simply a time for a career or life change. I was very content with my life, my family and my career. Rather, this sense of calling was to continue in my career but to also step up and do something more.”

During this time his son-in-law gave him the book, “Not for Sale” by David Batstone, which documented the stories of the lives of people who had been trafficked for labor or sex, both internationally and domestically, Wilbarger said.

“I only read the first two chapters because the reality of the stories was too intense for me and that was all I needed for motivation,” he said.

His response to this motivation in his life was to create a home for women rescued from sex trafficking.

The home will house six women at a time. There will be house moms who will prepare meals for the women and mentors.

What makes The Daughter Project different from other organizations is that the mentors in the home will teach the women the Gospel of Christ.

Many people have become involved with the mission of the Daughter Project throughout this past year, joining committees and giving time and energy to help the cause.

Megan Metzger joined the spiritual mentorship committee, which is in charge of interviewing the house moms and mentors that will be staying with the rescued women in the house.

“It will be a Christian home that the girls can receive counseling in,” Metzger said. “We want them to go out and live normal lives, have good marriages and build good families.”

Metzger said that the response to the home has not been all positive.

“Some people in the community were not happy about the home being built,” Metzger said. “They didn’t understand the purpose of it and were afraid that pimps were going to come to their community looking for the girls.”

Metzger said a lot of this negative reaction has died down since a year ago.

“The FBI told us that we would have no problem filling the house,” Metzger said, in relation to how rampant sex trafficking is in Toledo.

Metzger spoke of how the build process has been going as of late.

“Basically, they are just finishing up putting appliances in,” Metzger said. “We hope to be up and running this summer.”

Metzger mentioned that the contents of the house, from rugs and bedsheets to wood and concrete has been fueled by donations.

Chelsea Groenewegen, a University alumna and staff member with H2O Church on campus, recently hosted a shower for the Daughter Project home.

“I have friends involved with The Daughter Project,” Groenewegen said. “It really disturbed me what these girls go through.”

Guests at the shower brought appliances, lamps, pillows, gift cards and anything that would create more of a home feel for the interior of the rescue house.

“Being a woman and seeing girls trapped breaks my heart,” Groenewegen said. “I wanted to shower them with blessings so the home looks beautiful. Even contributing a lamp to The Daughter Project is awesome.”

4. Longboarders gain culture, catch thrills 

Between a longboarder and the pavement there is a board (otherwise known as a deck), there are trucks, which are used when turning, four urethane wheels, metal or ceramic bearings and riser pads to prevent “wheel bite” during a turn.

It is almost identical to a skateboard except for the size and perhaps the shape depending on the board.

For some in the longboarding community, there is a definite culture surrounding the hobby, so much so that the word “hobby” could easily be replaced with “lifestyle.”

“Longboarding has a calming effect, and it is not so focused on tricks as, say, skateboarding. Instead it is focused on simply riding,” Craig Snyder, a junior at the University, said. “Plus, it makes commuting to class fun.”

Mark Musgrave, owner of Red Sky Surf and Snow in Toledo, said the culture of longboarding is not the same as that of skateboarding.

“It is almost like the difference between skiing and snowboarding because there are two completely different mindsets,” Musgrave said.

Red Sky sells longboards instead of skateboards because there is more of a crossover between longboarding and snowboarding,

The value or purpose of longboarding varies depending on the rider. However, there seems to be some elements that are universal.

“Adrenaline is a huge part of it,” Janelle Stout said.

Stout writes for a publication called Longboard Steeze Magazine and used to live in Bowling Green.

“I love speed. I like to go fast. I do it for the rush and the feeling of not knowing what will happen at the end of a hill,” Stout said.

Tyler Thompson, a member of the BGSU Longboarding Association, an organization which is not yet a legitimate student group on campus, wants more people to get involved with longboarding, he said. Currently, the group has roughly 20 core members.

“We are having our Second Annual BGSU Longboard Association Slide Jam and Clinic on April 14, and it would be great if people came out to support us,” Thompson said. “Our overall goal with the event is to get more people interested in downhill or sliding and just longboarding in general.”

Thompson said the event will contain other aspects, such as teaching new riders different techniques and safety tips.

You can get involved with the group by joining the BGSU Longboarding Association on Facebook by clicking here.

Learning how to longboard should not seem like a daunting task to any beginner, Snyder said.

“I never envisioned myself on a longboard, but now I love it,” Snyder said. “I am about 6’5″ and used to play football, and I managed to pick it up quick. When you start out, have someone with you who has boarded before. Find an empty parking lot with not a lot of cars, so you don’t bump into anything.”

Learning how to ride may come with challenges, yet Stout encourages beginners to keep riding even when there are trials that make it difficult.

“No matter what, don’t give up,” Stout said. “It will be challenging, especially when other people progress faster than you. Whether you are riding for fun or want to make it to the Gravity Games, you can’t hang your board up.”

5. Hockey games yield low turnout


With a full house, the Falcons could be back at full strength.

“When an athletic stadium is packed, it has a totally different dynamic,” said senior Shawn Gilbert. “It is easy for the players to draw inspiration from a huge crowd.”

 Gilbert went on to say that a massive crowd acts almost as an extra teammate because of the energy generated from the fans.

At hockey games, that extra man seems to be missing.

The maximum capacity for the University’s Ice Arena is 5,000 people. This year the average home attendance is 1,772, which is about 35 percent full. The attendance this year is down from last season’s average of 2,167 and from 09-10 campaign’s average of 2,247, said Jason Knavel, assistant athletic director for athletic communications.

“There has been a dip.” Knavel said referring to attendance numbers, “There is no doubt about it.”

Knavel said the hockey program is in a phase of rebuilding, and attendance is really based on wins and losses.

Chris Bergeron, the head coach of the varsity hockey team, weighed in on the low attendance numbers.

“People want to follow a winner,” Bergeron said. “They want a team they can be proud of.”

The team is still rebuilding, but has been making some headway the last couple of weeks, sweeping Ohio State and splitting the series with Notre Dame, Alaska-Fairbanks and Western Michigan, he said.

Bergeron agreed with Gilbert about the importance of a packed stadium.

“No coach can fully express how important a full house is,” he said. “It is so valuable in creating atmosphere for the players. The Ice Arena has a low ceiling so it can get real loud in there with a lot of people.”

Apart from winning games, there are other ways to fill the seats, Bergeron said.

“We have to have a presence both on campus and in the community,” he said. “People have to see that our guys are good guys who go to class and are students as well as athletes.”

The University does the best it can to market for athletics, and getting people in the stadium is “more on us than anyone else,” he said.

Knavel said that while winning is perhaps the best way to increase attendance numbers, the University must do its part to help get people in the doors.

“We are always trying to find ways to improve attendance,” Knavel said. “We have to build a fanbase regardless of wins and losses.”

Gilbert hopes more people will start attending hockey games.

“The hockey team has been playing solid, and in the last few weeks they have beaten ranked opponents,” Gilbert said. “Plus everyone that I take to a game says, ‘That’s the best live sporting event I’ve ever been to.'”

Gilbert said there is an organized group on campus aiming to boost school spirit, called the Falcon Fanatics.

“They set the tone for the rest of the students because they are always on their feet,” Gilbert said. “They’re crazy.”

Gilbert said that well-organized groups of students, like the Falcon Fanatics, can change a culture that will lead to more excitement and better attendance at sporting events.

“People are more likely to cheer when a whole group is cheering too,” he said.

6. BG Film Festival


Just The Facts

Friday at 7:30 p.m. the 13th annual BGSU Film and Media Festival gets underway at the Gish Theater.

Friday night: Showcase of stand-up comedians and judges will take questions from the audience after a screening of their work.

Saturday: Student film exhibition, student work will be screened in two blocks, the first from 3-6 p.m. and the second from 7-11 p.m.

Sunday night: 7:30 p.m. The awards ceremony (has been moved from the Union theater to the Gish)

A night of stand-up comedy, student film and awards are in store this weekend as the 13th annual BGSU Film and Media Festival gets underway. The event is dually hosted by BG Reel and the University Film Organization.

Quinn George, University Film Organization president and senior, said he hopes the festival will do two things.

 “I hope that it brings attention to the high quality of work being created by BGSU students,” George said. “And that student’s work will be recognized and rewarded amongst their peers.”

George discussed why they have decided to show some of the judges’ work to start the festival.

“It will help the participants know who they are being judged by so they have a point of reference,” George said. “We brought in an alumnus, Matt Smith, as one of the judges to show the work that BG film graduates have been able to accomplish outside of college.”

Jordan Salkil is the other judge, and he is a local film-maker who runs Eye Open Pictures.

More than 30 student films will be shown on Saturday, the number was difficult to come to, George said. Last year there were only 30 submissions, but this year submissions included 50 films, and it was difficult to cut a lot of them, George said.

As president, George has had a lot on his plate the last month. He aided in selecting the student films and making sure all are “up to par,” secured the judges and locations, tracked down prizes and awards and basically took care of any of the organizational minutia that goes into an event of this size.

“It has been quite stressful,” George said. “This is the second year I have helped organize the festival, and I would not have been able to do it without all the help of the UFO officers. They have been a huge help.”

George discussed why the festival is so important to the film community and the campus in general.

“We want to have a big blowout event for all the film students at the end of the year,” George said. “So they can see other work that has been going on outside their circle of friends and can have their work recognized.”

Ethan Roberts is the treasurer of UFO and is on the planning board for the Film and Media Festival. He also discussed the festival and its significance.

“Any university with a film production program needs a venue for students to showcase their work,” Roberts said. “There is an important tradition of viewing film.”

This year the Festival opened up for students all over Ohio to submit their work, and while it was only University students who submitted work this year, Roberts explained why they decided to make it available to everyone.

“We are hoping to increase our size and name brand,” Roberts said. “That way, winning the festival will have more weight and create as much diversity as possible.”

Not all of the students who submitted films are film majors, and Roberts said anyone interested in media production, including telecommunications, visual communication technology and broadcast, should get involved with the festival.

Richard Sanders, a sophomore film student, submitted two films, but neither was accepted into the festival.

“It is a very strong year for the media festival,” Sanders said. “There were strong submissions in the drama and comedy category and overall a very competitive year.”

While Sanders did not have any films accepted, he is hopeful for the future.

“You learn better for the following year, and it allows you to work on your craft more,” Sanders said. “Not getting in was disappointing, but hopefully I‘ll be there next year. It is a great opportunity to grow as a film-maker.”

Sanders said he is really looking forward to two films; “Funeral Procession” by Courtney Hutton and “Razorblades” by BG Reel.

“[Razorblades] looks to be a pretty killer film,” he said.

Cynthia Baron, an associate professor in the film department, has seen the progression of the festival.

“It’s a neat process to see the evolution because I’ve seen all thirteen years of the festival,” Baron said. “It is part of a continuing tradition and builds on past ones.”

7. New Irish Pub brings swigs, jigs 


The old Buffalo Wild Wings location is under new ownership and will be transformed into an Irish pub and restaurant.

The owners of City Tap, a bar and grill on Main street, purchased the wing franchise’s former location on the corner of East Wooster street and South Prospect street.

Eric Pelham, one of the owners of City Tap, said that they are hoping to open the new location this summer in May.

“It will be a similar business,” Pelham said in comparison to City Tap. “It will be a town-oriented place during the day, and at 11 it will turn into a bar.”

With the new pub having multiple functions, Pelham expects everyone in town will be happy with it.

“From diners to drinkers, we want to provide options for people in town and college kids,” Pelham said.

A name for the establishment has already been agreed upon: The Stones Throw, Pelham said.

“What makes it an Irish pub is the fact that we will serve Irish staples like shepherd’s pie and different whiskey and beer options,” Pelham said. “We also want to provide an atmosphere with lots of stone, to present [the pub] feel to customers.”

Pelham said the new location is currently a work in progress, as they are doing a lot to the interior and exterior. He said when they are finished, it will look like a completely different place.

Outdoor dining will be provided for customers on the patio, and Pelham said they want to incorporate live musical entertainment, specifically acoustic performers.

Cory Breth, a senior at the University who has played at different bars downtown, said he is excited about the possibility of another venue to play his style of music, which is an acoustic, singer-songwriter style.

“This sounds like a good place for acoustic acts to get their names out and share their music,” Breth said. “I think people will respond well to this type of venue.”

Breth said a lot of the downtown music scene is centered more on dance clubs with hip hop music and rock shows that are more “amped up.”

Breth said he may not be able to reap the benefits of the new location, as he is uncertain he will remain in Bowling Green after graduation; however he feels this new venue “will be a perfect place that caters more to acoustic music.”

“I hope that it goes well,” Breth said. “I want singer-songwriters to have more opportunities to play than I did.”

You can check out Breth’s music at or on Facebook at

Nick Williams, a senior at the University and one of the head bartenders at Granite City in Maumee, said that an Irish pub could add something different to the downtown bar scene.

“An Irish pub brings a different atmosphere that’s more relaxed,” Williams said. “From what it sounds like, this new place could be similar to The Blarney in Toledo.”

Williams said he hopes the new pub in Bowling Green will have a better and more diverse beer selection than just the typical domestic beer choices at some bars.

For more information and pictures of the renovation process visit The Stones Throw on Facebook

This is my collection of journalistic stories pertaining to maintaining, fixing and playing guitar. I also reviewed some guitar related gear.

Crushed a 1960s Gibson

I have been doing nothing over the past few days other than filling my head with information about guitars. I’ve been researching what guitar is the best band for your buck. I have looked high and low. Virtually and in the store for my perfect guitar…my baby.

I’ve played $5,000 Gibson Hummingbirds. I’ve played $3,000 Martin D-28s with Indian Rosewood back and sides, sitka spruce tops, and mahogany necks. I’ve played 50 year old instruments with more character than an old, smokey-lady’s face.

I’ve talked to salesman from big chain stores, I’ve talked to techs from small mom and pop shops at great length and learned everything I could from their expertise. I really want to find a guitar that speaks to me and I’m doing my due diligence.

You might look at the guitar pictured above and think that I’ve found the one. But I haven’t. The Martin Streetmaster above is an all-mahogany guitar with a “distressed” finish, which makes it look bad ass in my opinion. I might still pick it up one day, but I haven’t yet and this is why.

I got the idea, as I headed to my 4th guitar shop during my quest, to bring my Yamaha FG-203 along with me to compare its sound with the other guitars in the store. To give you an idea, my Yamaha acoustic is currently selling different places online for about $150. Thats $150 for a basically brand new acoustic.

Well, I got to the shop and set up all these beautiful (and expensive) guitars all around me. I played my Yamaha first and played a simple chord progression rather loud. Then I tuned one of the instruments next to me and played the exact same chord progression and compared. I repeated this process with all the acoustics in the room and it was quite a big room.

You know what I found out? I liked my $150 Yamaha’s sound as much, or in some cases, more than I liked the supposed grander and definitely more expensive guitars. I had a thick wad of cash in my pocket when I entered the store – burning a hole like you might expect. I wanted so badly to throw my money on the table and buy a superior instrument.

But that didn’t happen.

I came downstairs at the shop feeling a little dejected. The guy at the front desk looked at me and said, “Your guitar won didn’t it?” He was right, my little Japanese acoustic beat all those flashy name brands.

I might still get a new guitar, but not right now it seems.

I have so much knowledge in my head about body sizes and wood tones it’s coming out my ears. But it doesn’t matter what experts tell you. It doesn’t matter how much better a guitar is supposed to sound? All that matters is what YOU like. What YOU think sounds the best and fits what you’re trying to play. Don’t let anyone bully you into thinking because its got a name brand and flashy inlays that it’s a better sounding instrument.

I got so caught up in having the Martin name across the headstock of my guitar that I almost made a rash decision.

I’m a person who has never been up on the latest trends, but I remember in school wanting the new black Nikes or a Easton baseball bat with the big barrel or getting older and envying the kid down the street’s BMW M3. I want to pay attention to the bullshit of brand names and remember when my $150 Yamaha crushed a 60s Gibson.


Many modern genres must tip their hats to the blues. Since the start of blues music, jazz, rock n’ roll and alternative music have come to fruition. If you want to start playing the blues there are certain characteristics in a guitar to look out for.

“Most blues music requires a lot of bending or pulling the strings to add that soulful vibrato sound,” Ken Strittmatter said, who builds his own guitars. “Larger radius necks make string bending easier.” Chris Baney, a guitarist and worship leader at Basic Truth Church said that he finds semi-hollow bodied guitars to be the best for the blues. He said that Gibson and Gretsch provide a full, rich and deep tone that is perfect for the blues. Baney also noted that many blues greats used a solid body Fender American Stratocaster because it can provide a raw cut through solo sound. In his opinion the Strat has the fastest fret board around the guitar world.

“With blues music there is a really raw sound that is made from the guitar itself whereas other genres use multiple amp effects to sculpt their sound,” Baney said.

No matter the style played or the level of skill, finding the right guitar does not have to be a daunting experience. Find out what you want to use your guitar for and what kind of music you will be playing. Pay close attention to the wood used to make the guitar and how it is set up. And the first few times you play get a bunch of buddies to play along with you so you cannot tell the mistakes you are making.

“If a lead guitarist is on stage with a drummer, percussionist, keyboard player, rhythm guitarist, four horn players, three backup singers, and a lead singer, you really cannot tell if he is playing a $189 Fender Squire or a $2,000 Fender American Stratocaster,” Corky Ballard, a longtime guitarist said half joking.  “The important thing is that you are playing man, experiencing music.”


Setting Up Your Guitar


So once you have your guitar, what is next in the process? Setting up the guitar is vital once you have the model or body style that you like.

Lowering the action is an easy way to make the guitar easier to play. The action of a guitar is the amount of space between the fret board and the strings on the guitar. You usually want a lower action if you want the playability to increase. If you go to any guitar store that does set ups and ask to lower the action, the guitar technician can usually do it for relatively cheap. What they do is file down the bridge of the guitar, so that the strings sit lower, making it easier to press down on the strings.

Chris Baney, a local musician, said that once you have the desired electric guitar, the first thing you should do is get new pickups. Pickups send an electronic signal to an amplifier to create the sound we associate with electric guitars and give it a distinctly different sound than an acoustic.

“New pickups are relatively inexpensive and can enhance the sound of a guitar tremendously,” Baney said.

Making sure the action of the guitar, the bridge, the pickups and electronics are all set up correctly is huge according to Ken Strittmatter, who has been building his own guitars and amps. “Many beginners give up because the guitar is set up wrong and they cannot figure out why their guitar sounds bad,” Strittmatter said, “You have to make sure that your guitar is mechanically solid.”

Finding Your Guitar

Guitar is the medium that Hendrix used to define a libratory dream better than any 1960s theorist. What Chuck Berry used to give birth to rock n’ roll and what B.B. King used to revitalize the blues. Their signature licks ring out rock nostalgia over car speakers and amplifiers the world over. The classic American sound stays alive today within listeners RCA chords. These great names make any beginning guitarist feel like a mere mortal staring up at the faces of gods, but at the genesis of their career they were alike; unknowing and naïve. What sets them apart from the masses was their persistence to stick it out through the years of trial and error and hours of practice. They had to start somewhere however; and it began with finding the right axe.

Chris Baney is a junior at BGSU majoring in music, has a minor in recording technology and knows a lot about guitars. Baney has been a part of a band that has won numerous battle of the bands in Pennsylvania and Ohio. He has opened for well-known bands such as Sanctus Real and House of Heroes. He works as a recording technician at Back Road Studios and is the Music Director for Basic Truth Church in Cygnet, Ohio.
Baney said that the first step for someone trying to find the right guitar is to determine what they want to use the guitar for. Determining whether you will jamming at home in your pajamas or playing at live venues is what you should consider first according to Baney. Also the style (blues, rock, country) of music you want to play will affect your purchase of a guitar.

Baney recommends Ibanez electrics for the beginning guitarist. “Basically it is the most cost effective guitar and will give you the same playing capabilities as Gibson or Fender,” Baney said. “Ibanez uses the same ideas to make their guitars as more famous and expensive companies but they use less expensive materials, yet this does not detract from their durability.”

Corky Ballard lives in Newtown, CT and has been playing guitar since 1967. He has been purchasing and trading guitars for over thirty years and has a recording studio attached to his home. He sneaks away while the rest of his family sleeps and the minutes soon become hours in the old barn that he converted into a studio. Ballard said for a beginner guitarist, he recommends an acoustic guitar with nylon strings, which is also considered a classical style guitar.

“Learning guitar is all about practice like any other instrument,” Ballard said. “The problem is that your fingers can get very sore from pressing down on the strings. This leads a lot of people to get frustrated and quitting. The nylon strings are very soft and more comfortable for beginners.” Baney added that a Samick brand acoustic guitar is also good for beginners.

The type of wood that is used in the body, neck and head of the guitar also can affect the sound of the guitar as a whole. Ken Strittmatter has built his own guitars over the past ten years as well as his own amplifiers out of the tubes from Hammond organs. When he plugs into his amp his says he can hear his wife and two daughters slam their doors methodically.  Strittmatter owns over a dozen guitars and has modified all his guitars himself to create a different sounding guitar altogether from the original purchased model.

“The wood that the neck and body is made from can really effect the sound,” Strittmatter said. “Maple, mahogany, rosewood and solid maple are all great for the neck specifically.”

Strittmatter said that for the body of an acoustic guitar, spruce and cedar are good choices. “The tighter the grain on the guitar the better the sound will be,” Strittmatter said. “Tight grains are caused by short growing seasons which are a result of a cold climate.” Swamp ash and koa wood are some of the best options for the body of an electric guitar according to Strittmatter.

Baney agreed with Strittmatter that a spruce body was a good bet for acoustic guitars. “I like a Sitka spruce top for my acoustic because it is a really hard wood,” Baney said. “This type of wood actually plays better the longer you have it. The sound increases overtime and responds well to the resonance of sound waves.” Baney went on to say that for the fret board, a maple or rosewood is the best.

All three of the guitar aficionados came to the same conclusion about underrated guitar companies. Ibanez, Washburn, Takamine, Squire and Epiphone are all companies that will provide a great sound at a cheap price.

Adjusting/Fixing Your Guitar


Photo from

Adjusting, modifying and fixing your guitar can seem like an overwhelming experience at first. There are many factors that can greatly change the overall sound quality of your guitar; for better or for worse. It is important to take your guitar to someone who knows how to handle the subtle nuances that can improve your playing experience.

Larry Wagner, based out of Maumee, Ohio has been playing guitar for over 50 years and has been customizing and fixing guitars for the last 30 years. Wagner owns his own guitar shop and is known in the area as one of the best at handling all questions and problems related to guitars. You can visit his website at

Wagner has a few tips to fixing and maintain your guitar:

1.      Set up is very impotant

  • Intonation and string length have to be correct.
  • Factory set ups leave much to be desired and often need work.
  • The truss rod should be checked and adjusted, along with the action and bridge.
  • Fresh strings will always help the sound.

“All this will help the guitar sound better because it is in tune with itself and the player will be much more comfortable with it,” Wagner said

2.      How to fix fret buzz

  • First step is to adjust the action.
  • After that, the problem could be that the frets are uneven.
  • Commonly, there could be fret wear due to a groove created from pressing down on the strings.
  • Sometimes on a well-used guitar the frets come out of the fret board, especially if it has binding.
  • Frets then need to be reseated and high spots need to be filled and re-crowned.
  • Frets that are coming out of the fret board may need to be entirely removed and replaced.

3.      Fixing Cracks

  • Moisture needs to be introduced to the guitar using a humidifier.
  • A humidifier will swell the wood and will close the crack as much as possible.
  • If the crack is not too bad, glue or a tape clamp might work.
  • Small cleats of spruce may be added to the inside to reinforce the wood.

“Other times you may need an inside caul and a piece of Plexiglas on the outside along with a spreader clamp across the body of the guitar to hold things together while gluing,” Wagner said.

4.      How to care for your guitar regularly

  • Proper humidity of 45 to 50% is key.
  • Avoid extreme temperature changes.
  • When finished playing, wipe the neck, strings and body of your guitar with a polishing cloth.
  • When not in use, keep you guitar in the case or on a proper stand, this will prevent accidents
  • When changing strings, clean the fret board and oil it once a year.

5.      Strings make a difference

  • Strings can greatly change the sound from mellow to heavy.
  • The gauge, outer wrap and inner core all affect the sound.
  • There is old flat wound, nickel round wound or stainless steel wound.
  • There is hex core or round core.
  • There is light gauge or heavy gauge.
  • GHS strings have a tone chat on their packaging. (

6.      Pickups

  • Pickups will sound like they look.
  • Single coil will sound thinner and brighter.
  • Humbuckers will have more output and mid-range.
  • Cheap guitars usually have bad pickups that can be replaced to get a much better sound

All these factors will help your guitar sound better and help to keep it sounding great for years to come.





Have you ever wondered how to make your guitar sound like a violin, or if you could play with a bow? Well, the EBow is a tool for guitarists that combines some of these concepts and ideas. The EBow is a hand-held electronic device for changing the sound of the guitar. Instead of using a pick to pluck the notes, the guitarist holds the EBow in his or her hand and is able to mimic the sound of strings and woodwinds with incredible accuracy. The EBow can only be used while a guitarist has a guitar amped. The EBow differs from plug in effects in that the sound is created from interaction with the strings.  According to a website selling EBows, the device was invented by Greg Heet in 1969. There is an internal pickup within the device that works like a regular guitar pickup. The signal goes through the amplifier and drives the other coils, which amplifies string vibrations.

Many great guitarists have used the EBow to create a unique and different sound. Billy Corgan, Zakk Wylde, Eddie Vedder, and Peter Frampton have all used the EBow on at least one of their records. Two of the most notable companies that specialize in making the EBow are Gizmotron and Moog Guitars. The price of the EBow ranges from $50 to about $100.

One of the most recent bands to use the EBow is a band by the name of Sigur Ros. Georg Holm is the bassist for the Icelandic post-rock group and often uses a EBow during songs. The band has both classical and simplistic elements. They are known for their ethereal sound, which is a subgenre of dark wave music or more simply a gothic style. A video example of how to use an EBow is below.

Fretlight Guitars

Learning guitar can be a very complicated thing. Your hands hurt from pressing down the strings and contorting in ways that you are not used to. Hours of practice when you first start out can seem like nothing more than running in circles.

Having your own private teacher can get expensive after only a few lessons. There are many things stacked up against you when you want to learn or get better on the instrument.

The Fretlight Company attempts to easy some of these tensions and provides you with your very own tutor. Fretlight guitars use software on your computer and a unique fret board that lights up, illuminating where to play and what notes to hit next. It is almost like guitar hero with a real guitar.

On each fret, there are six tiny LED lights (one for each string) which light up and tell the guitarist when to play a certain note. Once you download the software onto your computer and plug the guitar into the USB drive with a special cable, you are ready for your guitar lesson to begin.

You can pick any number of songs to learn from the massive library that Fretlight has and play along. First the song will play with the guitar part in it, so that you can get used to how it sounds and the feel of the song.

Then the background music will continue to play when you want to play along, but the guitar part will cut out and you will follow along, being guided by the LED lights that flicker on and off. You can adjust the tempo of the song if it is too fast for you and slow it down to something more manageable.

There are numerous types of software that you can download from the company to suit the style you want to play. If you just want to learn chords, there is software which teaches only chords.

There is also software to develop skills at improvising, soloing, using different scales, and finger picking. The sound of your guitar plays through the speakers of your computer along with the background drums, bass and other elements.

Fretlight guitars are perfect if you are just starting out and want to get used to playing simple notes and holding down the strings. The guitars are also great for guitarists who have been playing a long time and want to get better at a certain style. The Fretlight guitars are well made and sound great to play even when you are not using the teaching functions.

I have had an acoustic/electric Fretlight guitar for 5 years and would highly recommend it. I can really notice an improvement in my soloing technique.

Roland Micro Cube

The Roland Micro Cube amplifier is no bigger than the lunch box you brought everyday to elementary school. The power output is only two watts and the speaker is only five inches in diameter.

Yet this tiny amplifier packs quite a punch for how small it is. Many of the reviews left on (a review site for instruments and equipment) and other sites like it, describe how the sound of the Micro Cube is just as loud as its 20-watt or 30-watt competitors.

The amp is also portable, meaning it runs on batteries (6 AA). If a guitarist wants to bring his or her electric guitar out to a bonfire in the middle of the woods, the Micro Cube will work to bring the sound to the great outdoors.

One Micro Cube amp has seven completely different settings and sounds. These settings range from a simple acoustic setting to more distorted, heavy rock sound. The seven are:


-JC Clean

-Black Panel

-Brit Combo

-Classic Stack



Along with the different settings, the amp also has six BOSS effects to choose from. There is chorus, flanger, phaser and a tremolo effect. A separate delay/reverb processor allows for long delays and heavy reverb.

The Micro Cube also has a digital tuning fork, making tuning your guitar a breeze. In addition, there is also an auxiliary input and a recording/headphones output on the back of the amp.

Roland has been a trusted name in amplifiers for many years and the quality of their products can be seen clearly in the Micro Cube. The amp is a perfect practice or small gig amp for guitarists at any level. The Micro Cube is small, durable and has a great sound.

How To String Your Guitar

This is a video tutorial on how to string your guitar. It is a step-by-step process from taking off the old strings, adding new ones, and finally tuning your guitar. I used Ernie Ball coated phosphor bronze acoustic strings in the video on my Martin guitar. Enjoy!

Worship Music


Everyone knows the lead guitarist in their favorite rock band. Next to the lead singer, the guitarist is often the most popular and well known figure in the band. The guitarist usually gets all the ladies and young kids idolize their heroic axe men with posters that cover the entirety of their walls. Bevan Binder and Kees Groenewegen are both guitarist yet they are taking a different approach than the glamorous fantasies of most aspiring musicians.

Binder and Groenewegen are both seniors at Bowling Green State University who believe that praising God with their music is more valuable than achieving commercials success and becoming famous.

“After I transferred to BGSU from the University of Cincinnati, I met the Lord,” Groenewegen says. “And music provided the medium for me to express my joy.”

Groenewegen is involved in a campus ministry at BGSU called Impact. The ministry provides men and women’s bible studies, a hangout night, an outreach to teens in the juvenile detention center and a large group meeting on Thursdays during the semester. The Thursday night meeting is where Groenewegen gets to play worship music.

“When I first got involved in Impact, we would worship to YouTube videos and sing along with them,” Groenewegen says. “I thought live music was so much more passionate. So, in my junior year I introduced live music to Impact.”

Groenewegen added that the response from students attending Impact to the live music has been very positive and that people seem to really enjoy the full band sound created by multiple guitar players and a drummer playing simultaneously.

Bevan Binder had similar sentiments about the importance of worship music, or music sang and played to praise God. “It’s a way to connect with God,” Binder says. “I don’t fully understand how, but it is some sort of conduit to get close to God.”

Binder plays guitar for H2O church, an on-campus church that has a service at 11 a.m. on Sunday mornings and also has small group sessions throughout the week called Fusion groups.

“I look at H2O as my ministry,” Binder says. “I do not get paid for it and there are plenty of times when I would rather sleep in on a Sunday. But I think those are the times that really count, the times when you are sacrificing of yourself.”

Both Binder and Groenewegen shared their excitement for when there is a large group of people praising God.

“It is really awesome to hear everyone singing to God in a unified voice,” Binder says. He also added that it was really cool to be a part of allowing people the chance to do that with his music.

Groenewegen echoed Binder’s comments. “When you get a group full of broken, passionate people who are searching for the truth worshiping together, it is a beautiful thing,” Groenewegen says.

Groenewegen also shared one of the modifications he made to his guitar. His Mitchell acoustic, came with a name brand sticker on the headstock. “I took the sticker off and used my wood burning tools to burn a cross into the wood,” Groenewegen. “Then I burnt in Ephesians 5:19.” The verse reads ‘Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making music to the Lord.’

Groenewegen concluded in saying, “I hope this guitar can be used to play hymns and spiritual songs and share the love of Christ through music.”

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