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January 2009

January 30, 2009

Sue Johanson's Sex Talk

10294 Reports of sexting got you worried about the state of sex education today? Sex expert Sue Johanson was certainly hot and bothered about the information adolescents are receiving when she spoke to a packed auditorium a couple weeks ago in the University of Vermont Davis Center.

The 78-year-old sex educator and former talk show host gave a lively lecture and led an anonymous question-and-answer session for an event sponsored by UVM's Center for Health and Well-being. I had the chance to speak with her beforehand, and I had prime viewing of her suggestive and acrobatic antics from my seat in the front row. I know for a fact that my grandmother is not that flexible!

Ms. Johanson started her career as a sex educator after finding that as easy as it was to talk to other people about sex, she preached and moralized to her own kids. Since then, she told me, she has devoted herself so much to improving sex education that she has even taken to the field to learn tips from Toronto prostitutes on how to keep sex both erotic and safe.

Before opening the floor for questions, Ms. Johanson emptied her bag of sex toys onto the table onstage and gave her personal recommendations to the crowd. She travels with them to every lecture she gives, which can make going through airport customs a drag. "Don't ever get behind me at the airport!" she says.

Unfortunately, the talk ended abruptly when the audience and Ms. Johanson were informed that the Davis Center would be shutting down for the night... but not before one male student had the chance to ask if participating in the winter naked bike ride could have caused certain sexual, er, malfunctions. That's certainly one argument that hasn't come up in the debate over shutting down the biannual bare tradition.

Editor's note: Sorry it took so long to bring you this report. Mariah filed it shortly after the talk and I didn't see it until just now! Yikes! Sorry about that. -- Cathy Resmer

Another Snowstorm, Another Orchestra

Last time it was tic-tacs, this time it's vegetables. Presenting the vegetable orchestra! These carrot kazoos just put a smile on the face of one snowed-in intern. Just a friendly reminder that the gardening season might seem far off now, but soon you, too, can whittle root vegetables into musical instruments.

January 20, 2009

Inauguration Fever!

The importance of the swearing-in of Barack Obama as our 44th President was not lost on the students of St. Michael's today. Seems like nearly every campus institution was getting in on the excitement, offering up some way of commemorating this "historic event" (and in such decidedly non-partisan terms, of course). The College Conservatives, however, did not get in the action, at least publicly.

I've heard numerous reports of faculty canceling class today or altering arrangements so that students could watch the inaugural festivities — one of my professors turned today's class meeting into an online course, complete with podcast, and two of my former professors canceled their classes because they're actually in Washington today. Even Sodexo dining services got in on the act with a dinner themed to Obama's hometown of Chicago in the dining hall, with classic Chicagoan dishes like deep dish pizza and sirloin steak on the menu.

But perhaps the most striking quality of all is how excited most students were for today. Lots of Obama t-shirts were out today, including at least one "Tanzanians for Obama" shirt. I overheard so many people talking about watching the inauguration this afternoon, I think it even surpassed the Lost season premiere as the go-to TV event.

There were plenty of places on-campus to watch Obama's oath and subsequent speech with the greater community. One television was set up in the dining hall of the Alliot Student Center, with another out in the lobby. Large viewings were being held in the library, the Center for Women and Gender, and the recital hall in the McCarthy Arts Center. I chose to watch with a small group of friends in the common room of my suite, though — the same place I watched history every night as it unfolded this past fall.

January 16, 2009


Some weather we're havin'.  Nothing makes the morning walk to class brighter like a temperature of -10°F.  A true Vermont welcome back to school, I guess. Not to be too gross, but I think the mucus in my nose froze solid today. Eeek.

It could be worse, though.  According to the National Weather Service, the record low temperature observed in Burlington was a reading of -30°F, set on January 15, 1957. And from February 12 to 18, 1979, Burlington went over six days without seeing the temperature go above zero on the thermometer. By comparison, this is but a light chill. Okay, maybe a medium chill. But once this snap goes away, the typical temperatures in the 20s that we'll have for the rest of the winter will seem downright tropical by comparison.

In the meantime, since it's far too cold to go anywhere, enjoy this video of a guy making a small orchestra of Tic-Tacs, and then wonder why you never had that kind of creativity or ambition (or corporate cash backing).

January 14, 2009

Sex, Politics, and Grandmas

Welcome to the new semester! My name is Mariah and I'll be your tour guide. We'll be stopping at a modest gathering called the Inauguration, so keep your eyes peeled. And of course, there will be some lollygagging in that month of love: February.

It's a strange time to be in college these days. The sad and sorry state of the economy makes discovering the juncture of school and real life less of a side project and more of a pressing need before graduation sneaks up on you. On the other hand, there's never been a time with as many opportunities to make changes or get informed.

So in between moving back in and perusing for textbooks to avoid the gauging prices of your campus bookstore, make sure to check out two events of note this week. On Thursday, January 15, the University of Vermont Student Labor Action Project along with members of the Student, Staff, and Faculty Together Coalition have organized a moratorium on UVM's proposed budget cuts that may include lay offs and salary freezes. Back in December, What's Good reported that UVM President Fogel would be evaluating which positions would be cut to reduce the $22 million budget deficit come mid-January. Well, as the walrus would say, the time has come. The moratorium on the UVM budget cuts will take place from 6:30 to 8 pm in the Sugar Maple Ballroom (4th floor of the Davis Center) and will discuss how the quality of education UVM students receive will be affected by these cuts.

Then, on Friday, all of Burlington is welcome to Talk Sex with Sue Johanson. The Canadian sex educator, registered nurse, and grandmother will be speaking to a likely packed house at 8 pm in the Sugar Maple Ballroom. Tickets are $5 for UVM students and $15 for community members. Bring your burning questions!

Here's a video preview.

But have no fear, if the frigid, Siberian weather or simply previous engagements keep you away, What's Good will fill you in. That is, after all, what we're good for...   

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