Advertise Here

The Vox Box

Archive for December 2007

We’re outta here for a bit, folks…

(Left to right…) design editor Megan Brownlee, A&E editor Robbie Weigle, opinion editor Conor Wigert, and editor in chief Tori Dykes.

See here for the most appropriate holiday greeting I could find from the Vox staff…

It might be challenging to load—It might take you re-clicking a few times. But it’s worth it, especially if you want to send some to your friends.

Have a great break—We are signing off here on the blog as well so that the staff can have a break. We’ll be back Jan. 7.

Our next print edition is being put together now before the kids go on break. It will be in schools and around town the week of Jan. 9.

Happy vacation!

Duh of the week: Study: All-nighters hurt students’ grades

I would think this study should have gone into “The Catalog of Studies of the Obvious,” but apparently it needed to be proven.

ALBANY, New York - Students who rely on working at night to improve their grades might want to sleep on that strategy: a new survey in the U.S. says those who never study all night have slightly higher grades than those who do.

Full article…

The study, by assistant professor of psychology Pamela Thacher, is to be included in the January issue of Behavioral Sleep Medicine.

‘Pretty striking’
“It’s not a big difference, but it’s pretty striking,” Thacher said. “I am primarily a sleep researcher and I know nobody thinks clearly at 4 in the morning. You think you do, but you can’t.”

QUESTION: Do you believe all-nighters work for you?

Naked men buy Skittles

Nothing implied, it’s just as it sounds.

Yes, there is video, here you go.

If the fact that there is video doesn’t worry you, seek help.

The most interesting part of the video I thought was the girl at the end. She so casually gets in line behind them and then follows them out of the store. Awkward.

Question: What are better ways of getting attention?


The Title should be sung, like the song in Fiddler on the Roof. It’s much better that way.

Having already had Christmas, a thought came to me:

What holiday traditions do you people have? We have our big dinner on Christmas eve with friends, lay out pillowcases instead of stockings (my mother’s from New Zealand, that’s what they do), and open gifts one at a time with everyone watching. Every time I watch “A Christmas Story” I am shocked by the “have at it” way those kids open their presents.

As much as I love Christmas traditions, I am especially interested in traditions of other faiths. What do you do for Hanukkah? What on earth is Kwanza? What ever happened to Boxing Day?

Improve your vocab… and end world hunger…

Bored? Feeling stupid? Check this out:

How to play:
Click on the answer that best defines the word.

If you get it right, you get a harder word. If wrong, you get an easier word.

For each word you get right, we donate 20 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program.

It is addictive. Challenge your friends…

QUESTION: Go check it out—how did you do?

Kids? Please don’t play with stun guns…

This is my “holy crap” of the day…

Saturday, Jan. 27

A man who used a stun gun on his 79-year-old grandmother-in-law after an argument over how to discipline his son was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence assault.

Aaron de Bruyn, 26, was cited with fourth-degree domestic violence assault Wednesday and was released from the Skamania County Jail on Thursday afternoon, said Calvin Owens, police chief in this town about 30 miles up the Columbia River from Portland.

The argument began Wednesday morning when his 7-month-old son tried to reach behind the family’s entertainment system to grab the electrical wires, de Bruyn told Vancouver’s Columbian newspaper.

Fearing the boy would shock himself, he told the boy “no” a couple of times and gave the child a swat on his diapered bottom.

De Bruyn said his grandmother-in-law, Rosemary Garlock, told him that was child abuse and threatened to have the child taken away. He said he then told Garlock to leave and she refused.

After an argument that lasted several minutes, he pulled out his Taser and told her he would use it on her if she didn’t leave within 60 seconds.

He counted down, and when she didn’t leave, he shocked her on her right shoulder as she sat on the living room couch.

“She yelped, because getting Tased hurts,” de Bruyn said. “She started screaming at the top of her lungs to call 911.”

Garlock did not need medical attention.

De Bruyn said he had the 50,000-volt Taser X26 energy weapon in case he was confronted with a burglar in his house. He said he was the one who called authorities, saying he had a relative in his house who would not leave.

De Bruyn’s stun gun was confisicated.

“If I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t,” he said.

Awwww… It’s a Christmas lesson for us all. Don’t taser Grandma…

My favorite quote: “She yelped, because getting Tased hurts.”

QUESTION: What should the punishment be for someone who uses a stun gun on their grandma?
QUESTION: What should the punishment be for someone who uses a stun gun in this sort of situation? Or did he have a right to be protecting his home?

The world’s most premature living baby

This from the REUTERS PICTURES OF THE YEAR - This handout image from October 24, 2006, shows the world’s most premature living baby, Amillia Sonja Taylor’s, feet held in contrast with adult hands, just after her birth at Baptist Children’s Hospital in Miami, Florida. Taylor, only slightly longer than a ballpoint pen at birth was due to be sent home in the coming days from a Florida hospital after four months of neonatal intensive care, the hospital said on February 20, 2007.


Junk food in schools…

Says an editorial in the New York Times:

As America’s youth have grown fatter and the number with adult diabetes continues to rise, there is one obvious way to help. Public schools should stop selling students so much unhealthy food. A worthy but imperfect amendment pending in Congress would help curb junk foods sold in too many of the nation’s schools.

QUESTION: How do you feel about ditching junk food from your schools’ vending machines? Is it the solution to U.S. obesity problems?

The World Says Merry Christmas

Check out this link to photos of how Christmas is celebrated around the world.

QUESTION: Have you ever spent the holidays overseas?

One woman’s sorority experience: She “swore off sisterhood”

I stumbled across what I felt was one of the best pieces of personal writing I’ve seen in awhile in the NYT the other day.

“My life’s greatest sorrow stems from my inability to feel close to other women,” wrote Kelly Valen. Full article…

She goes on to write about her distrust of women, especially “women in packs” and how it all stemmed from an experience with her sororiety sisters at a dance in college.

“After the usual alcoholic overindulgence, I followed him upstairs, where I soon passed out on his sofa. There, I assumed the starring role in a garden-variety “ledge party,” my deflowering on display for anyone desiring a peek.

Ledge parties, for those of you who didn’t attend party-school universities, featured fraternity boys luring their unsuspecting companions to a lair of choice, where they engineered some semblance of sex for the viewing enjoyment of their voyeuristic brethren, who watched from the window’s ledge. Unlike typical fraternity houses, these were contemporary buildings with plate glass windows and wide ledges that formed perfect viewing platforms.

I suspect mine was one of the duller productions, but, alas, I remember none of it. I learned later that some sympathetic brothers had objected to the spectacle and pulled me from the wreckage, which, to me, was remarkable.”

The girls shunned her. Even though what happened to this woman was nothing short of rape—and the young man who took advantage of her while she was unconscious was blackballed and dropped from the university—her sisters treated her like a tramp, gossiped about her, and eventually kicked her out of the house.

The author is frank in her responsibility about getting drunk and losing control, but says the “more searing lesson would be about women.”

It’s an excellent piece. I highly recommend everyone, especially those leaving for college, read it.

2 questions…

ONE: Girls, do you ever make sure you are in a group when out to watch each other’s backs in this sort of situation?

TWO: How do you feel about the author’s view on “sisterhood.” Do women really often treat each other the way she describes?

“Mr Bush? Is your Refrigerator running?”

An Icelandic teen claims he was questioned by police after dialing an apparently private White House number and posing as Iceland’s president. (ABCNEWS)

When Vífill Atlason, a 16-year-old high school student from Iceland, decided to call the White House, he could not imagine the kind of publicity it would bring.

Introducing himself as Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, the actual president of Iceland, Atlason found President George W. Bush’s allegedly secret telephone number and phoned, requesting a private meeting with him.

“I just wanted to talk to him, have a chat, invite him to Iceland and see what he’d say,” Vífill told ABC News.

Full article…

Vífill was questioned on where he got the number, and says he cannot remember. He claims he was told that the leak to the number needed to be found, and if he didn’t tell where he got it, he could be prevented from ever entering the U.S.

Atlason’s mother Harpa, who was not home at the time, said she was shocked to find her son had been taken away by the police but could not quite bring herself to be angry with her son.

“He’s very resourceful you know,” she said. “He has become a bit of a hero in Iceland. Bush is very unpopular here.”

QUESTION: If you could call President Bush, what would you say?

For Muslim girls, Scouts offer a chance to fit in

Farheen Hakeem, right, with a predominantly Muslim Girl Scout troop she leads in Minneapolis Allen Brisson-Smith for The New York Times

MINNEAPOLIS — Sometimes when Asma Haidara, a 12-year-old Somali immigrant, wants to shop at Target or ride the Minneapolis light-rail system, she puts her Girl Scout sash over her everyday clothes, which usually include a long skirt worn over pants as well as a swirling head scarf.

She has discovered that the trademark green sash — with its American flag, troop number (3009) and colorful merit badges — reduces the number of glowering looks she draws from people otherwise bothered by her traditional Muslim dress.

“When you say you are a girl scout, they say, ‘Oh, my daughter is a girl scout, too,’ and then they don’t think of you as a person from another planet,” said Asma, a slight, serious girl with a bright smile. “They are more comfortable about sitting next to me on the train.”

Full story…

The article is a neat one—about girls in Muslim communities forming Girl Scout troops and the struggles. It’s an interesting read.

“They are afraid you are going to become a blue-eyed, blond-haired Barbie doll,” said Asma, the girl who at times makes her sash everyday attire. Asma noted that her mother had asked whether she was joining some Christian cabal. “She was afraid that if we hang out with Americans too much,” the young immigrant said, “it will change our culture or who we are.”

QUESTION: Have you ever been a part of an organization that you felt helped you better fit in with society?

Six states sue R. J. Reynolds over cartoon use in marketing


Six states sued the maker of Camel cigarettes yesterday, contending that a promotion in Rolling Stone magazine violated a 1998 agreement not to use cartoons in its marketing efforts.

The suits focus on ads for the Camel brand, produced by the R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, which appeared in a nine-page foldout section in the Nov. 15 issue of the magazine.

The section, titled Indie Rock Universe, was intended to look like doodling in a student’s spiral-bound notebook, with drawings of planets made to resemble animals and characters. It featured Camel’s name and logo.

The law stems from the use of the infamous “Joe Camel” some of you may remember. Critics said the cartoon appealed to children.

QUESTION: What do you think of the law? And is R.J. Reynolds in violation of it with this advertisement?

Tracking teenagers for $9.99 a month…

Ed Gray bought phones with G.P.S. to track the locations of his daughters, Tiffany, left, and Jasmine. C. J. Gunther for The New York Times

Also from the NYT:

ED GRAY’S two teenage daughters wanted cellphones, but the answer was a firm parental no — until Mr. Gray learned about a service that changed his mind.

Sprint Nextel and Verizon Wireless offer G.P.S. tracking to let parents know the location of their child (as long as the child has a cellphone and it is turned on). Then, if the child doesn’t show up at school or other location at a certain time, parents can arrange to receive an e-mail or text message alert.

So far, the deal is working well. “The girls have cellphones, and we foot the bill in exchange for peace of mind,” said Mr. Gray.

All parents have to do is log into a computer and see where their kids are. Of course, kids can find ways around this… Which I’m sure many of you will list here…

QUESTION: Does anyone have parents who use this? How would you feel about it being used by your own parents?

Blurring the line between a college application and a slick sales pitch

Chioma Isiadinso, left, counsels Jasmine Rebadavia, center, and Hannah Lindsell on how to make their college applications compelling. Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times

The language is pure Madison Avenue, but it is richly in vogue among paid counselors who advise students on how to make strong impressions with top-flight colleges. Package yourself, they say. Brand yourself.

One Manhattan boutique firm specializes in “the development of each client’s personal brand,” and other coaches adopt similar approaches, if in more discreet language. The price for their counseling services can be $4,000 and up.

Branding is a buzzword among corporations, and colleges, too, are desperate to distinguish themselves. And so the philosophy — some might call it an affliction — has filtered down to those applying to the most selective colleges. Full quote

Some say that applying for a selective college is becomming a “marketing exercise.”

Still, private coaches striving to get students to define themselves may push them to the edge, or sometimes overboard. Jon Reider, director of college counseling at San Francisco University High School in California, tells of a counselor who, aware of campus politics, urged an Eagle Scout to volunteer for an AIDS telephone help line to prove that he defied the Scouts’ gay-hostile image. “I think it’s disgraceful advice,” Mr. Reider said. “It matters whether you’re doing the activity for the right reasons.”

“I don’t like the idea that a kid is a box of cornflakes,” he added.

QUESTION: How do you feel about the possibility of needing a coach to market yourself for college? Would you use one?

Teen pregnancy rates rise

As reported by the AP,

ATLANTA - In a troubling reversal, the nation’s teen birth rate rose for the first time in 15 years, surprising government health officials who had no immediate explanation.

The birth rate had been dropping since its peak in 1991, although the decline had slowed in recent years. On Wednesday, government statisticians said it rose 3 percent from 2005 to 2006.

U.S. health officials said it was possibly a one-year statistical blip and not the beginning of a new upward trend.

But several experts said they have been expecting a jump. They blame the increase on increased federal funding for abstinence-only health education programs that do not teach how to use condoms and other contraception.

What do you think is the best method of sex education in high school? Abstinence-only, safe sex, or something else?

Best Kissing Scene Ever

It’s from Psych. The mistake they are talking about is from an error the girl made that allowed a felon to escape. Not that it really matters. Just in case you were curious.

$330,000 for a truffle

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Oh yeah… I know. Here’s the story.

3.3 pounds of fungus, sweet.

What would you buy with $330,000?

Evel Knievel

The legendary stunt rider has finally died. At the age of 69 he finally gave in to a bout of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. It’s some sort of lung problem.

Finally, after 40 years of death defying stunts, a legend who didn’t give in to gravity, pain, or physics, submits to a lame disease.

On a related note, Ghengis Kahn died when he fell off his horse during a hunting trip. Not even a battle, just some lame hunting trip.

Have any other incredible conquering tough people died lame deaths, it seems like “you-pick The Great” died from some disease instead of a sweet intense battle.

Maybe it’s just because nothing intense could kill them, they had to be taken by surprise from something common.

Either way, Evel’s dead, here’s a web site praising him. Pretty sweet, eh?

Get blog updates by email

About this blog

In 2006, then-editor Steve Smith of The Spokesman-Review had the idea of starting a publication for an often forgotten audience: teenagers. The Vox Box was a continuation of the Vox, an all-student staffed newspaper published by The Spokesman-Review. High school student journalists who staffed the Vox made all content decisions as they learn about the trade of journalism. This blog's mission was to give students an opportunity to publish their voices. The Vox Box and the Vox wrapped up in June 2009, but you can follow former staffers' new blog at

Latest comments »

Read all the posts from recent conversations on The Vox Box.

Search this blog
Subscribe to this blog
Advertise Here