#the world outside butler
Great Sexpectations for Columbia

These soup dumplings are actually the most relevant image that responded to search keyword "steamy." Seriously. The runner-up was a photo of a man's hands resting on an airplane seat-back table.

It’s late April; soon, it will be May. Finals are approaching. We, too, have been spending most of our waking hours—and a few sleeping ones, too—growing paler and paler in Butler, where the existence of something called “sun” is just a vague rumor we overheard two freshmen gossiping about once. So there are really only a few things on every non-senior’s mind right now: cramming for exams, how to schedule maximum Bacchanal day-drinking in light of three essays due the following Monday, whether or not there’ll be a new installment of Butler Bingo

But—wait! Remember sex? (Note: It’s that thing we allegedly aren’t having.)

Here to help keep it in mind is Columbia’s newest sex magazine, “The Morningside After.” The cleverly titled mag—especially compared to any of our ideas (“CollegeWalk of Shame,” or maybe “In Nipples Tuo, Videbimus Nipples”)—intends to bring sex and sexuality into the mainstream discussion.

Co-founder Leena Charlton (CC’12) told Bwog a little bit about what distinguishes it from sex magazines past. “We aim to be a magazine about sexuality as a whole and bringing it into a popular discussion,” she explained. “As much as C-Spot was one about erotica and languishing in the esoteric nature of sex in our culture, a lot of their pieces ended up being tales of tawdry sex, or erotic fiction that was sometimes a little too imaginative.”

Charlton said that along with short pieces aimed specifically at Columbians, “The Morning After” will include science-oriented articles and longer journalistic features. Its premiere issue hits campus on May 2.

Just saucy enough image via Wikimedia Commons.

AlternaBwog: Your Alternative To The Columbia Way

But what’s the Columbia way? Depends what you want to do. If you want to learn about Plato, but do it decidedly off-campus, there must be a way! In that noble pursuit, Bwog presents a feature dedicated to the alternative ways to learn. All you have to do is take the subway.

Drawing is a delightful break from doing problem sets and reading Bwog comments. It’s just not that easy to actually take drawing classes at Columbia: woe betide us to discover via CULPA that Basic Drawing, offered in the Visual Arts Department, can sometimes come with a heavy burden. An informant who also took the class confirms, “With some teachers you’ll have to do a full-size life portrait within a few days, and during finals week!” Eegad!

The Arts Students League at 215 57th Street. Photo via wikimedia

No one should be discouraged from taking Basic Drawing – you might get a great teacher who will give you very little homework. But you will get homework, and if you tend to stress over your grades, you will probably stress at least a little over your grade. The same is true in classes in other arts methods, especially those you might have no experience in as a non-major. So if you want a low stress way to learn to draw, sculpt, paint, or even weld, Bwog recommends you head to the Art Students League of New York.

Classes at the league range in price depending on how long they are, how often they meet (prices are almost all monthly) whether a live (you know, naked!) model is present, and whether an instructor is present. Drawing classes every evening for five evenings a week will run you 200 for the month, but you can get two evenings a week (one with instructor, one without) for as little as $70 for the month. Some classes are pay as you go – show up at 5 Monday through Friday for a 1.5 hour class with no instructor, but a live model, and draw for only $7. On Friday and Saturday there are walk-in morning, afternoon and evening classes for $8-12.

The League atmosphere is friendly; no one will know you yet, but if you stick with it, they will soon. The student population is completely mixed—students like you, retirees, and people working full time (especially in night classes) who need a creative outlet. No one is judgmental, and being surrounded by an unfamiliar crowd reminds you that you really are not in school. You’re just another real person who wants to learn to draw.

Take the 1 to Columbus Circle and head to 215 57th between Broadway and 7th Ave.

Big Wigs Want You! Sort Of

You, as a Kenneth Cole Scholar

In July, we wrote about Kenneth Cole’s new and somewhat surprising friendship with Columbia. The details were slightly murky, but we knew that it was something to do with community service and a summer internship. Today, Deans Moody-Adams and Peña-Mora sent around an email officially announcing the Kenneth Cole Community Engagement Program. Prospective Kenneth Cole fellows should consult this list of course requirements; CC and SEAS prospies will have to select two courses from separate lists of four. The courses focus on community building, taking the form of Sociology, Urban Studies/Planning, Poli Sci, Science and Society, Engineering for Developing Communities, and so on. You’ll also get a summer internship and summer housing. And unlimited sleek black clothing—because you’re a real New Yorker now!

PrezBo is teaching a new class this fall, but you probably can’t take it. The course is A Free Press for a Global Society, and it sounds awesome, at least to Bwog. The course description:

A Free Press for a Global Society examines both the U.S. experience in developing a system of freedom of the press and the international experience as well.  The course will then consider how a more integrated system might evolve over the coming decades.  This is a pressing issue, for individual nations and for the worldwide community, because the increased interconnectedness of the global economy, the rise of global problems (such as climate change and financial regulation), and the emergence of technologies that make global communication possible all depend upon a free flow of information and ideas.  Students will undertake in depth examinations of First Amendment law, international treaties and principles, public policies affecting the press, and a range of perspectives on these issues.  Miklós Haraszti, former OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, will co-teach the course with President Lee C. Bollinger.  Guest speakers will be invited to address the class.  Students are invited to participate in a variety of ways in the conference of the same name held in November.

Unfortunately, only Poli Sci majors/concentrations were forwarded an email about how to sign up for the waiting list for the class… since only 10 undergrads are allowed in the class and you can’t register online. If you feel like begging, contact the people on this list. Just don’t take our waiting list spot.

2 BR, Prez Ex-Occ: 142 W 109

THE KITCHEN WHERE OBAMA ATE FOOD!!!! Photo via citi-habitats.com

In need of summer housing? Re-thinking that Schapiro walk-through? Rent Obama’s former apartment on 109th between Amsterdam and Columbus. Yessiree: Apartment 3E in 142 West 109th Street is available, and will cost you $1,900 a month, a pretty steep increase from our Commander in Chief’s 1981 rent: $360. Gentrification is a thing!

As David Remnick reported (and told Bwog!) in his recent Obama biography, The Bridge: “the apartment’s charms included spotty heat, irregular hot water, and a railroad-flat layout. They adjusted, using the showers at the Columbia gym and camping out for long hours in Butler library.” Citi-Habitats, which has the listing, describes the apartment a little differently: “PRESIDENT OBAMA LIVED HERE AND YOU CAN TOO !!!Central Park ! Yes just few steps from central Park is this great two bedrooms for only $1900. The unit features hardwood floors,exposed brick, nice bathroom, high ceilings, big windows.”

Peruse pictures and video of the apartment, and call Dalila Bella, the luckiest broker in Manhattan this week, for a tour.

Making Sense of Healthcare Reform

So this thing happened a few days ago. Hate it or love it, it’s here, and it will actually affect you. We’ve compiled some of the most immediate changes the bill creates, student-specific clauses, and a listed a few places to learn more about this extremely messy and important bill.

Here are some of the policies that will be taking effect within the year:

“Young adults will be able to stay on their parents’ health plans until the age of 26. Many health plans currently drop dependents from coverage when they turn 19 or finish college.” (Reuters)

“The federal program that provides Pell grants to millions of middle- and lower-income college students got a $36 billion shot in the arm from part of the health care reform bill…From now on, borrowers will go directly to the federal government for these loans, and not to banks or other lenders.” (Globe)

“Chain restaurants will be required to provide a “nutrient content disclosure statement” alongside their items. Expect to see calories listed both on in-store and drive-through menus of fast-food restaurants sometime soon.” (HuffPo)

“Enables creation of a new website to provide information on and facilitate informed consumer choice of insurance options.” (DPC)

“Provides assistance to States in establishing offices of health insurance consumer assistance or health insurance ombudsman programs to assist individuals with the filing of complaints and appeals, enrollment in a health plan, and, eventually, to assist consumers with resolving problems with tax credit eligibility.” (DPC)

And, unfortunately for those of you looking to GTL in preparation for summer, expect to pay a little extra for your T: “Indoor tanning salons will charge customers a 10 percent tax” (Bloomberg)

Making sense of it all:

Free Food and the Rest of the World

Youri-Djorkaeff-444x575Remember, there is a world out there beyond Columbia. If to you “the rest of the world” means “foreign affairs, please,” head to Pupin 214 at 7pm to hear world-renowned expert Jonathan Adelman discuss American and Israeli relations with Asia, sponsored by LionPAC and accompanied by free pizza.

If, on the other hand, you believe that soccer explains the world, you might head to the Maison Française (yeah, it’s also called Buell Hall) to meet French soccer player Youri Djorkaeff at 7pm and be fed courtesy of the Maison Française and the French-American Alliance.

James Franco Admits, It’s Lonely at the Top

james francoAlumni tipster and Bwog loyalist Ed Hoffman informs us that James Franco has confirmed his exodus from 209 once and for all. After one student accused him of only frequenting the library to check out all the hot young things, poor Franco was forced to study in Dodge, where he had “to sit alone in the dark.”  Hence his move to the inestimably better lit coffeeshops around NYU.

Franco hasn’t been scarred for life by collegiate antics, though — our young scholar also reports that he’s considering heading to New Haven in the near future.  Yale girls are already counting down the minutes.


Get Out While You Still Can

Bwog’s fancy shmancy weather predictor tells us that this beautiful day is the last one we’re to see in a while (and by a while, we mean, 10 days).  The steps are looking nice and warm, and this would be a great opportunity to indulge a little before the workload (and the cloud cover) gets heavy.  Go outside!  Or look at the photo in a larger size below and pretend you did.  (more…)

The Sweet, Sweet Sounds of Semi-Amateur Music

You’ve eaten your fill from three, count them — three feeding opportunities this morning.  Now, put a cap on this glorious day with four, yes, four campus concerts.  There’s something for every cynic.

For those who’ve had enough of the sun or music written after 1950, there’s the air-conditioned Senior Choice Concert in Roone, put on by the CU Wind Ensemble at 2:00 PM.

On the sun-scorched steps, there’s the acoustic side of Bacchanal’s bagel shebang.  Neal Goldberg of Miss Distress will be playing.

Postcrypt has crawled out of the catacombs into the bright light.  They’ll be in front of EC until 6:00 PM tonight with new acts every half hour, should you tire of a particular strum-and-moan ensemble.  Sweetheart Anthony Da Costa will be wrapping things up at 5:10.

After you grab a quick dinner, head on over to Philosophy Hall for the Music Performance Program’s end of semester concert.  Starting at 8:00 PM, it features undergraduate ensembles playing works by Beethoven, Dvorak, and other lesser-known composers.  No worries if you can’t make it — the second part of the concert will be Monday night at the same time.

Photo via MySpace

Evidence of A Pre-Butler Universe

Today, as you sit in your lecture and scour the internet for something, anything, to distract you, Bwog suggests browsing the treasure trove of old time-y Morningside Heights and Columbia campus photographs here. Aside from the terrifying image on the right, one can find dozens of pictures of a Columbia your blessed legacy-bearing great-grandparents told you about, including South Field as football field, Low rising from some sort of forest-y marshland, and, more recently, Philip Petit on the high wire above St. John the Divine. Harken back to the days where you could park on College Walk, and marvel at the 1990 plans for East Campus Towers and the never-built Riverside Park Stadium.

The website was created by West 112th Street Block Association in 1996 and is maintained by Barbara Hohol, Jack Arbo and Ian Fletcher, who have collected and taken many of the site’s pictures. If class still drags on and Facebook hasn’t provided a status update for minutes, look at the list of the Heights’ famous residents. Like, Dustin Hoffman lived on 109th Street! That’s, like, the same street as Obama!

Students’ Minds Begin to Snap

The Lerner boardroom group sends us another photo, this time “as proof that not all hope it [sic] lost.” We’ll let you be the judge of that.

Again, remember to send us the best of your study space/group, and/or any slightly insane sleep-deprived shenanigans. Good luck on today’s finals!

Competitive Suffering: Only at Columbia

Bwog’s received the following photos of students who’ve “camped out in the boardrooms on the 5th floor of Lerner for days on end.” These people, who apparently moonlight as Red Bull company employees, believe that their misery rivals that of their Butler-bound peers.

If you think your study space is better/worse, send us the photos to prove it and we’ll add to this post. Winner will receive our condolences. 


The Great Hibernation Begins

An hour of strolling through Butler these days is generally a fruitless mission: you are not guaranteed even one lonesome seat. Your classmates have resorted to cozy nooks on the floor, windowsills, and perches along the main stairwell to spread out their research and write papers, or drown themselves in textbook photocopies for finals prep.

Bwog has offered you several Butler-alternatives and little-known study spots in the past: check out our reviews of The Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library, the Math and Science Library, the Social Work Library, the TC Library, and Lincoln Center’s Performing Arts Library.

Also, the Columbia Library mafia also has some vague interest in helping you out this week! Extended hours for all the campus’ libraries and Lerner are posted here. Best of luck, its only Monday! 

LibraryHop: Math and Science Library

Bwog continues its tour of Butler alternatives today with an excursion to the Math and Science Library.

Everyone knows that Avery is the Paul McCartney to Butler’s John Lennon: the second-most-famous one, the arguably better looking (or more aesthetically pleasing) one. Avery is gorgeous, it’s close, it’s quiet, there’s Brownies in the basement, there are scores of attractive Italian people sitting outside smoking clove cigarettes, you get the picture. The Math and Science Library, visible if one squints from a cushy seat in Avery, separated only by Uris and the B-schoolers who hate us, is a far cry from Avery’s glitz and glamor. The Math Lawn and Mathematics itself are both generally acknowledged to be lovely spaces, but, at least at first view, the Library on the 3rd floor of Math doesn’t quite match the building’s external glory.


LibraryHop: Gottesman Libraries at TC

The trek to the Gottesman Library at Teacher’s College was arduous, and TC itself a seemingly impenetrable maze.  Initially arriving at the wrong entrance, Bwog stood for several moments at an automatic door that refused to open. The bells at Riverside Church chimed ominously. Bwog eventually sheepishly located the entrance to the building, perhaps 15 feet to our left.