My name is David Jones, and I have been teaching sexual education at hundreds of academic establishments across the southern United States for over 25 years. People rarely understand the deficit of evidence-based, well-informed sex education programs. Seeing the recent movement to improve sexual education across the nation has inspired me to synthesize a list of the most important elements of a quality sex education that school programs should provide. When I visit preschools and elementary schools, I am astonished by how many people misunderstand even the most basic element of human sexuality — reproductive anatomy. Thus, I’d like to begin sexual education with an introductory biological explanation.
First, reproductive anatomy can be broken into two main components: the penes and the vajina. The first organ, the penes, is a banana-shaped extension of the pelvic region that is essentially a “sperm” cannon. What’s sperm? Sperm is really just a tiny human tadpole. The special thing about sperm is that a man is born with all the sperm they will ever have in their life. That’s right! The penes never makes more sperm, so they must store them in low-hanging hammocks called nutsacks. Whenever a man experiences an “orgasm,” which is a sort of tingly phenomena, the sperms exit the nutsack and swim out of the penes at high velocities.
The vajina is a far more complex system. In fact, it wasn’t until the late 1970’s that scientists finally understood the exact purpose of a vajina, for it was determined that the vajina has no way of producing “pleasure sensations” like the penis. That is to say, women don’t actually experience orgasms, so it’s been determined that it’s actually not a pleasure organ. The vajina’s essential function is to house the ovaries which produce eggs on a monthly basis. Once a month, an egg is produced and then promptly thrown away in a casket of blood after that month has elapsed.
Wait a second, then how are babies made if the eggs are just tossed in the wastebasket? Well, I’m way ahead of you. Now that you’re familiar with the anatomy of the human reproductive system, we can now begin discussing “sex.” However, you should know that if you’re under the age of 21, it’s impolite to use the word “sex.” Instead, you should use euphemisms that make everyone else in the room far more comfortable. Consider “Buttering the biscuit,” “the Poopity-scoop,” “Hot-dogging,” or, my personal favorite, “the beepin’ boopy.”
Now, “sex” (and you young ones might want to read this as “s*x”) is defined as the post-marital conjugation of the vajina and the penes. This means that after two individuals are married, the penes can be inserted into the vajina and shaken vigorously. The monogamous love excites the sperm, and it swims up the vajinal cylinder and destroys the egg. In its place, the sperm grows and swells into a tiny child. Eventually this child exits the vajinal cylinder, and a human child is born.
You might be wondering, what happens if conjugation occurs between the penes and vajina before marriage? Well, this is actually referred to by theologians and philosophers as “Desecration,” and the offenders are traditionally exiled to a small island to think about their actions to protect the rest of society from their nefarious influences.
Now, here’s the most important part about sex education. You might wonder how this act of “Desecration” occurs. Well, some individuals experience dark urges, urges that are unnatural and should be suppressed deep into the trenches of the psyche. If these urges build up too much and the individual needs to seek relief, it is important that they are guided into healthy avenues, namely the anus. Premarital anal intercourse is perfectly acceptable.
“Wow, David. You’ve covered pretty much everything I was wondering about except these three things. I’ve heard some people in dark alleyways talking about them – what exactly are contraceptives, STD’s, and consent?”
Well, reader, I’ll answer that question with another question – do you kiss your mother with that mouth?
Okay, so maybe every state’s nickname is a little biased, but New Mexico dubbing itself the “Land of Enchantment” happens to be extremely fitting. Between the diverse landscape, great food, rich history, and stunning sunsets, it is hard not to fall in love with our neighboring state. The state line is just over 6.5 hours away and two major cities, Albuquerque and Santa Fe, are both within a 12 hour drive. If you have room in the budget to fly it’ll definitely cut down travel time, but no matter what your mode of transportation is there is plenty to do once you get there. Here are my top 10 picks for things to do in New Mexico.
Take a Ride on the Sandia Peak Tramway
Located in Albuquerque, the Sandia Peak Tramway is the longest tramway in the Americas and offers amazing views. A round-trip ticket costs $25 for adults, but there is also a student ticket option for $20 for those aged 13-20. The tram runs every 15-30 minutes but once you’re at the top you can spend as much time as you’d like taking in the view, dining, or hiking on one of the many trails. Plus it’s cooler at the top of the mountain which is a bonus when trying to beat the heat. This was probably my favorite thing I did in Albuquerque and I can’t recommend it enough. More information and tickets at https://sandiapeak.com/.
Take the Train to Santa Fe
The Rail Runner Express is another way to take in some of the scenery New Mexico has to offer. A day pass from Albuquerque to Santa Fe costs only $9 and this online schedule easily gives you departure times and information. Taking the train is a good alternative to driving or using a rideshare because it’s cheaper and allows you to see more of the state. While you’re there, check out The Shed for delicious New Mexican food!
Visit White Sands National Park
Anyone who has been on Pinterest has likely seen photos of this exquisite landscape. The white gypsum sand dunes seem never ending and offer a great backdrop for photos, sledding (yeah, sledding!), and hiking. Although White Sands is about 10 hours from Austin, it is a quicker day trip from destinations in New Mexico such as Ruidoso, Albuquerque, or Carlsbad. If you’re traveling solo the admission is $15 but loading up your car with family or friends will cost only $25.
Ride in a Hot Air Balloon
For the adrenaline junkies out there, going up in a hot air balloon will get your heart pumping while allowing you to take part in a true New Mexican experience. This was at the top of my list the first time I went to New Mexico and I was blown away by the experience! Most balloon experiences happen really early in the morning or at sunset, so either way you’re guaranteed a gorgeous view of the sunrise/sunset. If you’re really into hot air balloons or prefer to see them from the ground, check out the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta! It is an annual event that takes place in October and allows guests to witness hundreds of balloons taking flight. Tickets to attend are also easy on the wallet, where a flight itself will usually set you back around $250-300.
Meow Wolf is another Instagram popular spot in New Mexico. Located in Santa Fe, this unique and interactive art experience is wildly fantastical – and even that is an understatement. The easiest way to describe it is the mixture of a fun house, art exhibit and LSD experience. Student tickets cost $25. More information can be found here.
Shopping in any new place is a great way to see more of the culture and trends in the area. New Mexico is no different! Old Town in Albuquerque is a cute area to bop around in if you’re looking for souvenirs and in Santa Fe all you have to do is head to the plaza to find gift shops and Native American goods for sale. No matter where you are in the state there are fun curio shops and local stores that are easy ways to knock out souvenir shopping while beating the heat.
Tour the Historic Churches of Santa Fe
Downtown Santa Fe is full of churches that are not only architecturally stunning, but also affordable to see. The San Miguel Chapel calls itself the “Oldest Church in the United States,” with origins reportedly dating back to 1610. Another chapel, the Loretto Chapel, features a famous spiral staircase that has mysterious history due to its perfect smooth design. There are a plethora of other churches to visit as well and most still hold services for those who are interested.
Get Far Out in Roswell
Whether you’re a believer or not, visiting the International UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell is a must do while in New Mexico. The museum has an admission fee of $5 and for that price you have the opportunity to take pictures with alien sculptures, look over historical documents, and check out the gift shop. The museum itself is pretty small so while it is an entertaining stop, I recommend visiting as a stop in your trip to another destination.
Explore Carlsbad Caverns
If you don’t know the difference between a stalactite and a stalagmite now- you will once you visit the caverns. Carlsbad Caverns National Park is the home of over 100 caves and on your way into the park you’ll be greeted by the natural beauty and diversity of the desert. These caverns are absolutely huge and, because of this, cave enthusiasts will likely be able to spend an entire day here. Ranger guided tours are offered but must be reserved in advance and most of them are an additional fee on top of the $15 entrance fee. With the entrance fee alone you can go on a self guided tour of the Big Room. An elevator will take you directly from the ticket counter to this portion of the caverns but you can also opt into taking the Natural Entrance Trail for an added workout. I explored Carlsbad Caverns while road tripping back to Texas so for time’s sake I only explored the Big Room, but I feel like that is plenty if you’re wanting to experience Carlsbad without too long of a time commitment. More information can be found by clicking here.
Eat at El Pinto
Established in 1962, El Pinto is both an Albuquerque must and a New Mexico favorite. It is the largest New Mexican food restaurant in the state and seats over 1,200 guests in one of their nine different dining areas. On a good weather day, enjoying El Pinto salsa on one of the patios is a must! Their menu is expansive and features everything from margaritas to stuffed sopapillas. If you look carefully on the walls you’ll see El Pinto is a popular spot for celebrities who are visiting the area, too. This family owned spot is a must if you’re looking for tasty local cuisine and a good atmosphere.
For these 10 things to do and more, New Mexico should definitely be on your travel bucket list. Amazing food, beautiful sunsets, and fun activities for art enthusiasts and outdoor lovers alike make this a great and (fairly) close travel destination for Texans. Let us know if you try anything on our list or what your favorite things to do in New Mexico are in the comments below.
Monsters born in the Golden Age of Universal Pictures get a new breath of life with Leigh Whannell’s new film
IT’S ALIVE! Director Leigh Whannell (“Saw,” “Upgrade”) has already been praised with multiple reviews for his latest film’s fresh take on a classic story. “The Invisible Man,” a remake of the 1933 film of the same name, was released on February 28th. The original film was a part of the classic Universal Pictures monster brigade, which featured several legends in horror, including Frankenstein’s Monster and Count Dracula.
Recent attempts have been made to revive the quintessential monster universe (“Dracula Untold, “The Wolfman”) but Whannell’s film is the first of those films projected to do well critically and in the box office. But why try so hard to reanimate the dead? Unlike Victor Frankenstein, it’s out of love, respect and paying homage to the birth of the horror industry. The classic monster movies deserve their time in the spotlight, even if it must come almost 100 years too late.
The Invisible Man (1933)
Director: James Whale
Starring: Claude Rains, Gloria Stuart, William Harrigan
Is there a remake? Yes! “The Invisible Man” (dir. Leigh Whannell, 2020)
Based on the classic H.G. Wells novel of the same name, “The Invisible Man” follows scientist Jack Griffin as he works to reverse an experiment that has left him invisible. But the chemicals have made his mind warped and twisted, leading him down a path of madness, death and destruction.
Why You Should Watch It: James Whale was one of the only openly gay directors during his career as a filmmaker (1930-1941). This was essentially unheard of at the time and his bravery and solidarity in his sexuality were partially responsible for a movie being made about his last days. Whale was a groundbreaking director with a vision for the macabre. The film itself has also been hailed for its achievements in visual effects. Claude Rains (the actor portraying Dr. Griffin) was applauded for his vocal skills, as his character was either unseen or bandaged for the entirety of the run time. Overall, it’s one of the more critically acclaimed of the monster universe.
The Mummy (1932)
Director: Karl Freund
Starring: Boris Karloff, Zita Johann, David Manners
Is there a remake? Two loosely based remakes are “The Mummy” (dir. Stephen Sommers, 1999) and “The Mummy” (dir. Alex Kurtzman, 2017)
British archeologists uncover the mummified remains of the Egyptian prince Imhotep and one of the men reads from the ominous Scroll of Thoth found in his tomb. The mummified royal rises, causing the man who read the words to go mad. Ten years later, Imhotep returns, enamored by a woman who looks like the reincarnation of his long lost love.
Why You Should Watch It: Boris Karloff is an absolute legend. His reputation eventually led to him simply being credited as “Karloff.” The man needed no introduction. In addition to the incredible talent, the film does some really astonishing stuff with makeup and costumes, especially considering the time period. The scene in which Imhotep crumples back into his mummified state would be impressive even if it were done today. Even though the film revolves around British archeologists, the titular character is a person of color. (Karloff was of South Asian ancestry.) Yes, the film about Egypt is mostly whitewashed but sometimes you have to celebrate the wins no matter how small they may seem.
The Wolfman (1941)
Director: George Waggner
Starring: Lon Chaney Jr., Béla Lugosi, Evelyn Ankers
Is there a remake? A convoluted answer: a direct remake is “The Wolfman” (dir. Joe Johnston, 2010) but it has inspired many other werewolf films including “An American Werewolf in London” (dir. John Landis, 1981), “The Howling” (dir. Joe Dante, 1981) and “Wolf” (dir. Mike Nichols, 1994)
Following the death of his brother, Larry Talbot returns to his hometown of Llanwelly, Wales, to mourn and reconcile with his father. Talbot soon becomes smitten with one of the women in the town and while taking her out for a stroll, he kills a wolf that is attacking another man. Terror and mystery ensue when Larry finds out that the animal he killed was no mere wolf and the bite he’d received during the scuffle will have much more dire consequences than he could have ever expected.
Why You Should Watch It: Werewolves are one of the best monster species in the horror genre. They’re grisly, terrifying and have many tropes already living about what they are and how to kill them. They’re as legendary as Dracula (arguably). To make it even better, this film features the wild fun of werewolves and the Dracula. (Béla Lugosi stars as Bela, one of the Roma people sharing fortunes with Larry.) It’s the best of both worlds. Lon Chaney Jr. had horror in his blood; his father was the iconic Lon Chaney, who played The Phantom in “The Phantom of the Opera,” Quasimodo in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” and the Hypnotist in “London After Midnight.” It’s wonderful to see the legacy live on.
The only thing harder than the transformation scene to sit through is the unflattering representation of the Romany people. It’s a very dated film and it’s important to recognize the problematic representation.
Director: Tod Browning
Starring: Béla Lugosi, Helen Chandler, David Manners
Is there a remake? The closest to a direct remake is “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” (dir. Francis Ford Coppola, 1992); both films drew from Bram Stoker’s original novel.
After hypnotizing a British soldier to be his slave, the darkly charming Count Dracula makes his way to Carfax Abbey in London. Once settled in his new home, Dracula terrorizes the town. He has his eyes set on Mina, leading her friends and family to battle this force of darkness in order to save her soul.
Why You Should Watch It: Bram Stoker’s renowned novel has been the source of nightmares for centuries. The only thing possibly more famous than the subject material is the man who brought the count to life. Béla Lugosi was essentially unheard of when he was offered the role of a lifetime. It jump started his career, leading to his roles in multiple horror films including “The Black Cat” “The Raven” and “Son of Frankenstein.” Dracula is the king of horror and this film was the first kingdom he ruled on the big screen.
Director: James Whale
Starring: Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, Mae Clark
Is there a remake? There have been lots of renditions/inspirations but the most direct remake is “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” (dir. Kenneth Branagh, 1994)
Based on the esteemed novel by Mary Shelley, this film follows a power-hungry scientist looking to use his own godly powers to create life. Despite warnings from his loved ones and colleagues, Dr. Victor Frankenstein brings a creature to life. The creature is innocent and childlike but society refuses to accept the “monster” they’ve deemed horrendous.
Why You Should Watch It: Mary Shelley birthed the legend of Frankenstein’s Monster whilst at a lake house with two of the most prominent male writers of her time (Percy Shelley and Lord Byron). Although her immortal tale has problematic elements, Shelley persevered against her male counterparts and won the writing competition they held between them. To me, she was a strong woman and writer in a time when women were supposed to be seen and not heard. Even today, her stories are resounding around the globe. In addition to the source material, the film is another by our dear friend Mr. Whale and Boris Karloff got his big break in horror with this film. Plus, both Frankenstein and the Creature are quite a bit more likable than they were portrayed in the novel. Overall, it’s a wonderful ode to Shelley and the dark world of horror.
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Director: James Whale
Starring: Boris Karloff, Colin Clive, Elsa Lanchester
Is there a remake? Not really; the closest adaptation was “The Bride” (dir. Franc Roddam, 1985)
Following the events of “Frankenstein” (1931), Dr. Frankenstein is recovering from his injuries as his Creature aimlessly wanders the land, longing for a friend. Dr. Frankenstein’s old mentor, Dr. Pretorius, returns to the disgraced Frankenstein and urges him to continue his experiments. The Creature finds his way back to his creator and gives him an opportunity to create again; he wants a mate.
Why You Should Watch It: In my opinion, I’ve saved the best for last. Of all of Whale’s films, this one is by far the closest to my heart. The Bride is arguably one of the most iconic movie characters ever and Elsa Lanchester is absolutely stunning. The only downside to this film is the fact that the Bride only has about five minutes of screen time, if that. But it’s fun, beautiful, innovative and features a glimpse of Lanchester as Mary Shelley herself! It checks a lot of boxes for me and, hopefully, it will for you, too.
Unfortunately, none of these films are available for free on any online platform (at least that I’m aware of). But you can rent them on YouTube, Google Play or iTunes anytime. There is also a bundle you can buy that contains all of the movies on this list!
Also be sure to catch Leigh Whannell’s “The Invisible Man,” now in theaters!
The Texas Union Film Festival displays the best creative, moving and hilarious films student filmmakers have to offer.
The 11th annual TUFF ceremony was held on February 20 at the Texas Union Theatre. The audience was treated with snacks, a judges panel and of course the films. A wide array of films were shown at the festival. An Italian style horror, a comedy following a man with OCD’s quest to talk to his crush and a social commentary on mass incarceration. All fantastic films showcasing the hidden talents of film’s up and coming creators.
“It’s interesting how people at [The University of Texas at Austin] can really express themselves,” history major Ashley Gelato said. “I think it’s a great medium to really capture the hidden perspectives in a world that you don’t normally see.”
In today’s society people are more likely to spend their buck at a professional film from Hollywood’s biggest studios, or stay at home with Netflix. Student films are unfortunately underlooked, despite being just as important.
“It’s just another form of art it has just as much worth as anything else. It doesn’t matter if it’s student or professional, it’s still worth something,” Gelato said.
A striking black and white representation of jazz. A haunting stop motion feature showing the effects of childhood trauma. A jolly look at a run in with Santa and a couple of home burglars.
These students have definitely proved their worth, but there’s more to TUFF than giving these filmmakers an audience. It’s also about forging opportunities and connections in the film industry.
TUFF allows student filmmakers to get inspiration from their peers and get networking opportunities, said co-director Andrea Olivares.
“This is just another opportunity for them to potentially grow into [Austin Film Festival] and [Austin Film Society], to have the platform to get their films and message into a much larger picture,” Olivares said.
Co-director Norma Perez Duran recalled a time when a judge or guest offered a filmmaker a job.
“It’s definitely the opportunity to create something and have someone you might not have even heard of that can start your career or move your career up,” Duran said.
Three winners were awarded plaques for their hard and brilliant work. 3rd place was given to Joseph Marks for “Shut-In”, a mysterious film about an agoraphobic computer programmer beginning to feel his home is no longer safe after receiving strange messages. 2nd place went to Emmanuel King for “Solo”, a beautiful film following the story of a dancer and how she uses dance to express herself. 1st place went to Alex Fleck for “Warm Milk”, a surprisingly hilarious film about a man and his desire for warm milk.
“I feel like especially with student films there’s such a diverse student body and a lot of different minds,” senior Joseph Banda said. “I was just really curious to see what stories our UT students had to tell.”
Luisa Gonzalez is the filmmaker behind “Natal”, based off a true story, it centers around a father grappling with his traditional values and accepting his son for who he is. For Gonzalez, the Q&A session was the most helpful part of her experience with TUFF.
“Those questions are really fun to get, and really think about because they might be a perspective that you didn’t think about before,” Gonzalez said.
This year was Duran’s second time directing TUFF and Olivares’ first, both agree that it is a very special and fun time for the Showtime committee.
“It’s also a fun event for us because we get to dress nice, take pictures and we really get to interact,” Duran said. “It’s like our own mini party.”
Sometimes even the hectic moments can add to the excitement and sense of community.
“The event created the opportunity for everybody to have this night where we were all helping, we were all working but it’s really our committee event and that was a lot of fun,” Olivares said.
“Natal” was a personal favorite from the festival. Filming with children surrounded by expensive equipment was a challenge, Gonzalez said. She also worried about critical reception, but the film was welcomed with heartfelt reactions from audience members.
“I also liked Natal, just because I feel like I related to that story more on a personal level,” Banda said.
TUFF is a very unique and exciting event. You never know what can come out of a student’s head and then be turned into film. It’s this feeling of not knowing that makes this event different and fresh. Showtime is known for showing typical Hollywood blockbusters every week, but TUFF gives UT students a chance to see something new from someone they can see just walking down Speedway.
“We really try to encourage non student filmmakers or guests to come and join and see what our students are,” Duran said. “Show them there is more to just the big films, there’s people that are beginning their careers.”
As they say, everything is bigger in Texas, and its incredible forecasts are no exception. As a Delawarean myself, it is an honor and a privilege to experience Texas weather firsthand. My appreciation, however, does not rival my native counterparts, who are quite vocal in their celebration of the weather.
My hope in writing this guide is to provide you with the knowledge and the tools you need to enjoy the climate of our beloved state. Each season is an adventure and a journey that is sure to enhance your mood and make your life more convenient in the long run.
Summer 1.0 (A.K.A. Spring)
No need for a light jacket; unless you find armpit sweat fashionable. Temperatures quickly climb to the 80s. If you like rain, this may be your only chance to experience the rare, celestial droplets as they cascade from the sky. Unfortunately, the rain comes with a curse in the form of raging cyclones that eat houses and trees for breakfast. Not to worry, every storm cloud has a silver lining; the humidity making it impossible to breathe will keep you hydrated, allowing you to reach for less often for water. That’s how it works, right?
Wardrobe Tips: Polyester is your best friend. Avoid cotton at all costs. Google said it so it must be true, but I know you’re all going to wear cotton anyway. Fine, if you must insist on wearing cotton, wear lighter colors that won’t absorb as much as the sun. Don’t wear white unless you want the world to see your slowly staining armpits.
PS: The word “flash flood” gets thrown around like it’s going out of style, so maybe invest in an umbrella? Some rain boots?
Summer 2.0 (A.K.A. Summer)
If you like wearing clothes (if you’re into that sort of thing) then this is not the season for you. The ultraviolet rays that tear through the ozone layer have reached full power, ready to fatally bombard you with the nourishment you need in the form of Vitamin D. Sunburns are all the rage, as are the intricate tan lines that criss-cross down women’s backs and outline your sunglasses. If you close your eyes, you can fully immerse yourself in your wildest fantasies of traversing the Sahara desert. Prepare yourself for an amazing season full of rattlesnakes, fire ants, and giant wasps!
Wardrobe Tips: Temperatures exceed the 100s, so go commando whenever possible. To blend in with the kids, wear shorts that barely cover your butt. Bring a jacket to grocery stores to combat a/c units set to teeth-chattering lows. If you don’t want to part with your skin anytime soon, consider investing in some sunscreen.
PS: To avoid heatstroke, seek shelter in the shadows of trees and nearby buildings whenever possible to instantly experience the world 20 degrees cooler.
Mother Nature’s Mood Swings (A.K.A. Fall)
The true joys of living in a bipolar state is that you never know what to expect. Prepare to be spooked, and I ain’t talking Halloween. It’s not uncommon to experience jarring 45 degree drops in temperature overnight. Fear not, the cold only lasts a few days, then it’s back to sipping pumpkin spice lattes in the 80s again. Just kidding, there’s another cold front on the way! Isn’t this fun?
Unlike other states, it’s rare that the leaves in Texas change colors. Instead, keep your eyes peeled for their spectacular metamorphosis as they shift from green to brown before they shrivel up and die.
Wardrobe Tips: The good news is, indecisive fashionistas have multiple chances for success, as separate outfits are needed for the morning, afternoon, and evening. While temperatures sometimes begin in the 40s or 50s, they quickly spike into the mid 70s. Don’t get caught in the heat wearing that suffocating cable-knit sweater; layering is your best friend!
PS: Don’t trust the weatherman. He’s not good at predicting when it rains anymore. Or anything for that matter. Just, whatever you do, don’t trust the weatherman.
This Needs to Stop (A.K.A. Winter)
At this point, Texas has exhausted its logical faculties and resorts to finish out the year in the most sporadic ways imaginable. Texas skipped the chapter of the textbook on Winter, so it throws a few 14 degree lows and ice storms into the mix and calls it a day. If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, please move to Vermont. Or Alaska. Or Canada. Or literally anywhere north of here.
The good news is, if anyone sees any of the white stuff floating down from the sky, it’s a get out of jail free card. No school. No work. Roads shut down. Absolute chaos ensues because winter is coming.
Wardrobe Tips: Throw all of your clothes into the hamper and close your eyes. Draw articles of clothing at random. The chances of pulling out something that works are higher than if you put conscious thought into your outfit. It’s like Russian roulette, but with laundry! Invest in a pair of fuzzy socks. Be prepared for none of your shoes to fit with them on.
PS: Your Beats Studio 3s can protect your ears from the cold. Using this versatile, $350 gadget can save you as much as $8 on earmuffs from Target.