Bwoglines: Stoned Edition

life is a balancing act, we suppose

It’s been nearly five months since Rolling Stone published the gruesome story of an alleged sexual assault that occurred on the University of Virginia campus, but coverage of the article is far from over. The story resurfaced just yesterday when police in Charlottesville released that they were unable to verify whether the sexual assault detailed in the article ever occurred. (USA Today)

It’s officially Spring!! To commemorate the vernal equinox, numerous individuals gathered at Stonehenge to see the sunrise and to perform various rituals. (BBC)

Stones Throw Records, an independent music label based in LA, truly put on a show this past week at SXSW. Artists signed to the label (such as Mild High Club, Silk Rhodes, and Nx Worries) were all crowd pleasers at the Austin music festival. Homeboy Sandman said it best— “Stones Throw got that funk shit, Stones Throw got that soul, but make some noise for that Stones Throw hip hop!” (

Stoners take note—a study done in Colorado revealed that the medicinal marijuana sold in the state is nearly twice as potent as the illegal pot sold in previous decades. Bud sold currently in Colorado has an average THC level upwards of 18.7% (some strands even contain 30%). (NBC)

lock screen vibez via Shutterstock


Housing Reviews 2015: Schapiro


Here’s to topping off lottery number release day with the start of our annual housing reviews. First up, we’ve got Schapiro and all residence halls will be reviewed in the coming days to help you figure out where to put your money now that your lottery number (actually) sucks. 

Location: 605-615 W. 115th Street.

Nearby dorms: Furnald, Woodbridge

Stores and restaurants: The UPS Store, that one halal cart, Morton Williams, M2M, Vine, Lerner, Starbucks

Cost: $7,640


  • Bathrooms: shared, and decidedly decent, nothing especially worthy of praise or criticism. There is at least one men’s, women’s, and gender neutral designated bathroom per floor, with an additional bathroom alternating between men’s and women’s.
  • AC/Heating: air conditioning (which in the rare and fortunate room comes with temperature control) and heat.
  • Kitchen: shared by hall, including two stoves, two microwaves, relatively generous cabinet space, and a sink that will inevitably fill up with dirty dishes every few weeks or so.
  • Lounge: one per floor, equipped with a flatscreen, general lounge furniture, and a family style kitchen table.
  • Laundry: Large enough laundry room located in the basement, accessible only by two of the three elevators (you will invariably summon the third and this will be surprisingly irritating throughout your year).
  • Computers/Printers: Computer lab on the first floor connected with one printer inside, and one located a few steps out.
  • Gym: Treadmills and elliptical machines on first floor, along with a dance room that is technically not for you but that you will have access to anyway.
  • Intra-transportation: Three insanely fast elevators.
  • Hardwood/Carpet: Hardwood (or the appearance of it at least)
  • Wi-Fi: Yes.
  • Bonus: Practice rooms with pianos in the basement, a new and swanky talking study room, a bleak quiet study room, and arguably the best sky lounge on campus, with a view of the downtown skyline at night and the river in the morning.

But can I get a single?

Field Notes: Spring Break Edition

Bwog <3 slots

The high rollin’ times of Spring Break 2015 have come and gone, and we successfully abused all comps available to us to ensure we don’t remember a good portion of it. You could say we have an addiction, but we took tips from our friends at MIT and got enough bank from counting cards to pay off all our mistakes. Wherever you put your money over break or over the next weekend, let us know how you fare at

Double or nothing

  • “Acquired a lovely pair of casino shoes.”
  • “Went clubbing in Universal Studios and friends got banned for a year. We were escorted out by security.”
  • “Celebrated super pi day with Einstein impersonators.”
  • “Visited my local state school and threw up three times on their campus, woke up early to catch a flight to my actual spring break plans and threw up there as well. In the bag.”
  • “Spiralized every vegetable in sight and ate ‘em raw.”
  • “A woman walked up to me and said, ‘You’re so white I almost have to put on my sunglasses to see you.'”
  • “Saw high school friends. Drove around town for the most part, and got very nostalgic for five years ago, without acknowledging that it was mostly driving around town wondering what things would be like right around now. “
  • “Ate breakfast outside with my parents one day. A baby chick jumped on the table and stole 1/2 a muffin.”
  • “Got a hookah, asked my mom to ship it to me–she freaked out, wouldn’t listen when I said it wasn’t a bong, and is probably going to throw it out :/”
  • “Went to an art class with my mom and got really wine drunk whilst trying to paint poppies. Saw my nephew who just turned 10 months old. He can finally stand on his own but he doesn’t know they move yet!”

Breaking the bank

  • “Spent the last night of spring break with Sixteen Handles, School of Rock, and my sister’s couch and it was blissful.”
  • “Watched all of Empire. I’m glad I waited to start it so I could binge the whole season. Spent quality time with my dad and learned he once built a whole log house by himself. What a champ.”
  • “Drank a daily piña colada followed by a Bahama mama. Convinced two Chinese vacationers to help me write my Chinese essay. For the last supper of spring break I ate a carb trifecta of waffles, pancakes, and french toast.”
  • “Stayed up late all break, then fell asleep at 9 pm the first night back in my dorm.”
  • “Played Cities: Skylines. Got drunk on godlike power. Realized I was mostly building playgrounds to raise suburban property value. Enjoyed myself anyway.”
  • “Ate a Voodoo doughnut!!! Did not drink at all, ever. Went to Canada and spoke French with the border patrol. Proud of myself. Hit a new personal record for number of different Starbucks patronized in one day.”
  • “Visited 4 airports in less than 24 hours. Learned the Denver airport is haunted.”
Bacchantae And Brown Bear Necessities Perform On Low Steps
brown bear necessities


An a Capella aficionado visited the joint concert of a Capella groups at schools that share “Bears” as a mascot. Alliteration with the letter “b,” punny group names, and a bucketload of talent guaranteed. 

Last night, Barnard Bacchantae and the Brown Bear Necessities took to Low Steps for a short concert, serenading the school back from spring break.

Due to scheduling errors, the concert had to take place outside, so the singers were a little chilly (especially since the Bears perform in button-ups and suspenders–no jackets allowed, apparently), but the two groups’ performances were heartwarming. Backlit by the glow of Butler Library, the Bear Necessities performed Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls,” The Weeknd’s “Wicked Games,” Trey Songz’s “Bottoms Up,” and “The Circle of Life” from the Lion King, and Bacchantae performed “F**kin Perfect” by P!nk, the Civil Wars’ “Barton Hollow,” and Justin Timberlake’s “Mirrors.” The groups drew a small crowd that progressively grew as the sounds of their voices echoed around campus–despite the cold, the Low location was ideal for getting the attention of people walking up and down the steps.

The Bears are currently touring around the East Coast, and as well as performing in New York City, they are making stops in Baltimore, Washington DC, and Chapel Hill. You can check out other songs on their Youtube channel, and be sure to check out Bacchantae’s as well.

Bucket List: We’re Back!
Philosophy and Literature

Philosophy and Literature

Bucket List represents the immense academic privilege we enjoy as Columbia students. After a relaxing break, sharpen your knowledge of local, regional, national and global politics. No, Homeland and Scandal don’t count. Our recommended events are below, and the full list can be found below the jump. As always, if we’ve made a mistake or left anything noteworthy off the list, please let us know in the comments. 


  • “Is Government a Vehicle for Change? A Conversation with Council Member Mark Levine.” Tuesday, 7:00-8:15 pm, Kraft Center (606 W. 115th). Mark Levine. Food provided.
  • “Constructing Godzilla in Mid-Twentieth Century Japan and America.” Thursday, 4:00-5:30 pm, 918 IAB. Yoshiko Ikeda, Greg Pflugfelder.
  • “The Ancient Quarrel: Philosophy and Literature.” Monday, 7:00-9:00 pm, Diana Oval. Rebecca Goldstein.
  • “Annual Zora Neale Hurston Lecture: Reimagining Gender, Race and Place in the Making of Gone With the Wind.” Monday, 6:00-8:00 pm, Journalism Lecture Hall. Deborah Willis.

Philosophy and Literature hop in the ring

Housing Lottery Numbers Released

Someone pet us and tell us it’s gonna be okay

Nothing says welcome back from spring break quite like the worst part of the Columbia experience — housing. If you haven’t checked already, your lottery number is ready for grand reveal just in time to brighten up ruin your first Monday back on campus. Approach the Housing Portal with caution, and take sudden breakouts of hysteria all around campus as normal activity. Maybe you just woke up; maybe you’re just leaving class. Either way, your sucky situation is mutual and know that you are about to behold crucial information that will determine where you’ll be living your happiness level for the 2015-2016 academic year.

As usual, Bwog’s prepared for all the coverage you deserve during the worst season of them all, so report back for updates and what your number really means in the grand scheme of Res Life. Simple things to remind yourself as your shaky fingers enter the Housing Portal:

  • Numbers go from 1-3000
  • Lower is better; higher is worse
  • Not every number is used (!)
  • 10 means rising sophomore; 20 means rising junior; 30 means rising senior
  • Groups’ shared point values are averaged based on the above

Godspeed, and may you remain friends with everyone you were going to live with.

It’ll be okay, right??? via Shutterstock

Bwoglines: Don’t Mess With Texas Edition
Drive friendly - it's the law!

Drive friendly – it’s the law!

Another Republican candidate is announcing today his desire to run for President in 2016, and if he wins come the fateful day, there will be a long-established pattern of Democrats being President in between Texan Republican administrations. (NY Times)

The Lone Star state has been paying the way for veterans enrolled in in-state colleges, but now the state government is reconsidering this high of educating a state that holds a large population of vets. (Fox News Latino)

A dozen train cars transporting methanol and other gasoline-associated chemicals derailed this weekend in Valley Mills, Texas, but — hold on to your hats — there have been no reported injuries. (CBS News)

Hot on the lineup at Austin’s South by Southwest music festival this past week: Riyaaz Qawwali. (NPR)

Crossing the state line via Shutterstock

Barnard Professor Catharine Nepomnyashchy Has Passed Away

This afternoon, Barnard students received an email from Provost Linda Bell in regards to the passing of former Barnard professor Catharine Nepomnyashchy this past Saturday. Nepomnyashchy served on the Barnard faculty for 28 years as both a professor in Russian Literature and Culture and the chair of the Slavic Department. We send our deepest condolences to all those affected. Please find the email sent to students below.

Dear Members of the Barnard Community,

It is with tremendous sadness and a very heavy heart that I write to inform you of the death of Catharine Nepomnyashchy, a much beloved member of our faculty for twenty-eight years. Cathy died Saturday morning in her home after a courageous battle with lung cancer. She is survived by a beautiful and loving daughter, Olga Nepomnyashchy, and a brother, James Theimer. Her husband, Slava Nepomnyashchy, who she met as a teenager in the summer of 1970 on her first trip to the Soviet Union, passed away in 2011.

Cathy, the Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Russian Literature and Culture and Chair of the Slavic Department, joined Barnard’s faculty in 1987. In addition to her teaching duties for the Slavic Department, for which she was renowned for an inclusive and engaging classroom, she was affiliated with Barnard’s Comparative Literature Program and Human Rights Program. She also served on the Executive Committee of the Harriman Institute at Columbia University.

Cathy’s research and teaching interests were as fascinating as she was—twentieth- and twenty-first-century Russian literature and popular culture, Russian women’s studies, and the works of Alexander Pushkin, Andrei Sinyavsky, and Vladimir Nabokov. She approached these subjects with true passion and devotion, and her love of Russia and its history were boundless.

She was the author of many books including “Abram Tertz and the Poetics of Crime”; “Strolls with Pushkin,” which she translated with Slava Yastremski and for which she wrote the introduction; “Under the Sky of My Africa: Alexander Pushkin and Blackness,” which she edited with Nicole Svobodny and Ludmilla Trigos; and “Mapping the Feminine: Russian Women and Cultural Difference,” which she edited with Irina Reyfman and Hilde Hoogenboom. Cathy also published extensively on Soviet and post-Soviet literature and popular culture, Pushkin, Russian ballet, Russian émigré literature and culture, and the future of regional studies.  At the time of her death, Cathy was working on a book entitled “Nabokov and His Enemies: Terms of Engagement.”

Cathy served as Director of the Harriman Institute, Columbia University, from 2001 to 2009 (the first woman to hold that position) and was honored as the Institute’s 2012 Alumna of the Year.  As Director, Cathy was credited with broadening faculty engagement in the Harriman Institute by expanding its scope of activities to arts, literature, and culture, and in deepening its connections to Central Asia and the Caucases. In addition, she served as President of the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Language (AATSEEL), as well as on the Advisory Council of the Kennan Institute and on the Board of Directors of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies. She chaired the Executive Committee of the Slavic Division of the Modern Language Association and served on the editorial boards of “Slavic Review,” “Novyi zhurnal,” and “La Revue Russe.” In 2011, she received the AATSEEL’s Award for Outstanding Service to the Profession.

Above all, Professor Catharine Nepomnyashchy was a true Barnard treasure. She was an inspiration to countless students and an example to her colleagues. She knew how to find joy and excitement in any situation, and loved being part of, and central to, the action. People were drawn to her for good reason—for her energy, enthusiasm, and commitment to leading the fullest possible life, unencumbered by convention. Her smile could fill any room, and she continued to smile even as her name was, repeatedly and with all good intent, being constantly misspelled.

We are deeply saddened by this loss and know that Cathy will be dearly missed. It was Pushkin who said, “The illusion which exalts us is dearer to us than ten thousand truths,” and for now we will let ourselves imagine that Cathy is still very much here at Barnard, her smile and enthusiasm pushing us, as always, forward.

My very best,

Linda Bell
Provost and Dean of the Faculty

Please note that funeral details, as well as information on a Memorial Service at Barnard, will be forthcoming.

Bwog Out Presents: Bwog Weather
Bwog rn

Bwog rn

Sometimes, Momma Bwog needs to have a little “me-time.” She needs to put on some soft music, light some candles, pull up the Bulgarian erotica, and get to work. For the next week, Momma Bwog is gonna be doin’ her thang, and y’all ain’t invited.

Enjoy this complimentary video from CUSS and see you on the other side.


Spring Break Forecast ’15 from Bwog on Vimeo.

Michael Gordon Makes A Nice Satellite
Stick to the staff

Stick to the staff

Bannerman of the baroque Henry Litwhiler revisits Bach with Miller Theatre’s “Bach, Revisited” series.

The title of the series is troublesome. “Bach, Revisited” implies that we had, at some point, left behind one of the greatest composers to ever put ink to paper. It implies, further, that the world had at some point deemed Bach’s works exhausted, that it falls to modern composers to refocus our attention on the old master’s works.

This viewpoint is self-indulgent in the extreme, but is probably a curse endemic to those who seek to compose atop Bach’s shoulders (though they end up in in his shadow, all the same). American composer and Yalie Michael Gordon is no exception. His prose is pompous, his intentions no less so, but there is beauty and originality in works that could have been so easily derivative.

The night began with two works by Bach himself, his Concerto for Harpsichord in G minor, BWV 1050 (via YouTube), and his Concerto for Violin and Oboe in C minor, BWV 1060 (via YouTube). Notable harpsichordist Kristian Bezuidenhout gave a tremendous and expressive performance, joined by Ensemble Signal under equally notable conductor Brad Lubman.

Ensemble Signal was underwhelming on these pieces, for reasons I couldn’t quite pinpoint. It may have been an issue with the acoustics of the theatre or of my position in the audience, but the sound balance bordered at times on laughable. Bezuidenhout was often left desperately hammering away to keep the pieces on track, at once testifying to his skill and casting Signal in a dim light.

All was forgiven, however, when intermission came and went and Ensemble Signal moved into its wheelhouse. The pieces performed, Dry and Hyper, are as well-named as they were well-composed and well-performed. I have to admit that a pang of concern went through my mind as I saw a harpsichord replaced by an electric guitar at a concert in the spirit of Bach, but Gordon’s illustrious reputation sustained my hope.

I was not disappointed. In hindsight, it isn’t easy to see the spiritual succession between Bach and Gordon (though, unsurprisingly, Peter Griffiths disagrees: “Energized lines playing over one another in a mirror maze: this could be referring to Bachian counterpoint or equally to the music of Michael Gordon”), but nor could it be conclusively argued that none exists. There are certain structural threads to be seen running through all four works of the evening, and so even if the association is a stretch, it isn’t quite incoherent.

Aesthetically, Dry and Hyper are engaging and entrancing listens and well worth an evening’s attention in the context of Bach. Unfortunately, Gordon’s description of the latter strays so shamefully from the borders of modesty and reason that it may be the most memorable feature of the evening; such excess as this should not be allowed to hide behind a piece of art, no matter the merits of the artist. It has been reproduced below that we may never forget the sullied corners of the man behind the music:

In Hyper, I attempt to create the musical equivalent of an impossible object, an optical illusion in which an impossible geometry is represented. Impossible objects fall up, open in and out, and twist irrationally in space. One impossible object is the Penrose Stairs—stairs that climb upward but somehow loop in a circle, so that no matter how far one climbs they always return to the same place. Similarly, music can travel through keys and end up where it began. These types of illusions, which are common in the art of M. C. Escher, are taken to absurdist ends in literary works like Alice in Wonderland: ‘Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.’ In Hyper I create quixotic geometries without concern for the laws of physics.

The artist himself via Miller Theatre

GS Student Francheska De La Cruz Has Passed Away

15b8b27This afternoon, Senior Associate Dean Rosner emailed GS students news of the death of Postbac Premed Student Francheska De La Cruz, who began her studies last fall.

We send our condolences to all affected by her passing and join Dean Rosner in reminding members of the Columbia community of the resources available to them in difficult times: Counseling and Psychological Services, Furman counseling, the Office of the University Chaplain, and Nightline Peer Listening, among others.

The text of the announcement is as follows:

Dear Students,

It is with great sadness that I must share with you the news of the passing of Postbac Premed Student Francheska De La Cruz, who first enrolled in the Postbac Premed Program in the fall of 2014. Born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and raised in Bronx, New York, Francheska earned her B.A. from the City College of New York in May of 2014. I know that all of you join me in sending our deepest condolences to Francheska’s family and friends.

Whenever we lose someone within the Columbia community, we are all affected by it, whether or not we know the person well. Such a loss can bring about feelings of grief and may bring back memories of other painful losses. Please know that your academic advisor, the staff at Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS), and members of the Office of the University Chaplain are all available to provide you with any additional support you might need at this time. We have listed their contact information for you below.

With sympathy,
Victoria Rosner
Senior Associate Dean
School of General Studies
Columbia University
Counseling and Psychological Services
8th Floor Lerner Hall
Office of the University Chaplain
GS Office of the Dean of Students

Photograph via LinkedIn

Defeating DOMA With Roberta Kaplan
Hero of marriage equality for everyone

Hero of marriage equality for everyone

Marriage maven Max Rettig dives into DOMA with Columbia Law adjunct professor and prominent lawyer Roberta Kaplan.

“On the long road towards equal rights in this country, there are few milestones as significant as the decision in United States v. Windsor,” said JTS Executive Vice Chancellor Marc Gary in his introduction to last night’s event, “Defeating DOMA: The Changing Nature of Equality Under the U.S. Constitution.” In 2004, Gary continued, Massachusetts became the first U.S. state or commonwealth to legally recognize same-sex marriage. In 2013, when U.S. v. Windsor was decided, only 12 states allowed same-sex marriage, but following the decision, 25 more states joined. Before formally welcoming the night’s speaker to the podium, he shared a joke: “Among the honors bestowed upon Roberta Kaplan, and there are many, the one she will cherish the most is the honorary degree JTS will give her during commencement this May.”

Roberta Kaplan began by providing the context for the Supreme Court case. Edie Windsor and Thea Spyer met in New York in the early 1960s and, while in Israel in 1967, Thea pulled over to the side of a road and proposed to Edie. As Kaplan put it, this was a bold act: The couple “had the self-esteem, dignity, courage and foresight to even imagine getting engaged.” In 2007, with New York still not hospitable to same-sex marriages (a case that Kaplan herself lost), the couple married in Toronto. In 2009, Thea Spyer died of multiple sclerosis after dealing with the neurodegenerative disease for many years. She left Edie with her entire New York apartment, which Kaplan says had appreciated in value into the millions of dollars.

What happened afterwards? Keep reading to find out.

Bathroom Reviews: Lerner
Don't judge a book by its cover

Don’t judge a book by its cover

Contrary to popular belief, our beloved administrative behemoth student center has bathrooms. You might have to navigate contradictory signs and even the odd ramp, but for the intrepid pooper lie porcelain thrones beyond your wildest dreams.

Privacy (is this a poop or pee bathroom?)

Equally stellar for either option. The urinals are deep to prevent splash-back and to provide privacy above and beyond what the generous dividers can do. The stalls are well-guarded from outside peepers—if you’re the kind of guy who likes to set up a game of solitaire while he drops bombs, look no further.

The view (windows? scribbles on the walls?)

There are no windows here, but the walls are immaculate and the stalls free from graffiti. The lighting inside the bathroom is a bit harsh, so don’t expect a spa experience, but there’s something to be said for a bathroom that doesn’t seem to hide anything in darkness.

Convenience (is it easy to find, or out of your way?)

A little tricky to get to (up a ramp, through some doors—you figure it out), but this can work in your favor when it comes to…

Traffic (are there a lot of people using it?)

Don’t expect to be much disturbed here, even during peak Ferris hours. If you come at night, you can probably expect to have the place to yourself for upwards of fifteen minutes. Not that we would know.


Immaculate. The door is a bit grimy, but everything else about the bathroom screams diligent maintenance. Next time you can’t score a seat in Ferris, consider moseying down to your new favorite shit spot; nothing says bohemian like eating on a toilet.

Overall ranking (1-5 stars)

4 stars. Annoyingly out of the way, but that’s part of its charm. Could use some slightly warmer lighting, but we wouldn’t want things to get too romantic, would we?

Nobody Asked Tats: Housing Part 2
Bread will never betray you in the battlefield of housing.

Bread will never betray you in the battlefield of housing.

Housing is more than dramatic enough for a double Tats feature. So the shithead you weren’t even entirely sold on having in your housing group just bailed last minute. Here, your favorite dipshit gives you six fun last-minute replacements for that sixth person in your EC suite/Ruggles suite/whatever building all your hopes are set on and will inevitably be dashed to the ground.

Dear Tats,

It’s housing, and my six-person group was doing just fine, until the last girl decided to go for a single instead. Now we find ourselves in desperate need for a last person. What do I dooooo?

Hungry for Housing

Dear Hungry,

Odd, but I’ll run with it. There are a lot of different options you could pursue. Here, six things that Housing will definitely let you count as your last roommate.

1. Your leftover Milano sandwich. Just try to tell me H17 doesn’t love me more than my family, okay!!!!!

2. One of the Sprouse twins. So what, they don’t go here? They live somewhere in the city, and they have rather large… presences. How large? Takes up the whole city, I guess.

3. Netflix.

4. An animal counts as a roommate. Just tell Housing you’ve got a ferret or a cow or something, and they’ll allot you an extra room. Seems reasonable.

5. Big Sean.

6. The collection of books you’ve amassed from four semesters of Lit Hum and CC. God only knows you need easy access to them, for you’ll read them every night for the rest of your life. Who doesn’t love the Core??

Awesome. Sleep well.

XOXO, Tats

All’s fair in love and war housing via Shutterstock

Bwoglines: Reputable Sources Edition
Hot hot hot

Hot hot hot

Everyone’s favorite boot manufacturer, LL Bean, plans to triple its U.S. stores by 2020, citing strong sales growth in—you guessed it—their footwear division. Whether this sets them up to find out the hard way about the existence of Zappos and the idea of a “fad,” only time will tell. (NYT)

Art Basel Hong Kong, an Asian offshoot of the Swiss original, will this year feature nearly $3 billion in art and antiques available for private purchase. Among the offerings are works by Picasso, Basquiat, and Warhol, all of whom have devoted (i.e., billionaire) followings in the region. (Bloomberg)

Just in time for global warming to drown it again, a new island (pictured above) has been formed by a volcanic eruption in the South Pacific, near Tonga. Roughly half a kilometer across and “highly unstable,” the island features a sulphurous lake and rocky beaches for the adventurous vacationer. (BBC)

The New York State Assembly is set to consider legislation banning powdered alcohol over fears that product, known as Palcohol, would increase the chances of accidental overdose and prove difficult to regulate. Palcohol predictably argues that the product’s convenience justifies what little risk it poses. (NYT)