Nerd Factor: Martial Arts Master

This column contains mild spoilers for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. The spoilers are mostly just things that were in or can be deduced from the movie’s various trailers, but be forewarned. 

By Michael Robinson ~ PhD

Who is Shang-Chi? | Entertainment News,The Indian Express
Shang-Chi and Shang-Chi. Image from https://indianexpress.com/article/entertainment/hollywood/who-is-shang-chi-7482965/

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is the latest successful entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Created by Steve Englehart and Jim Starlin, Shang-Chi first appeared in Special Marvel Edition #15 in 1973. From his very first cover, Shang-Chi was billed as the “Master of Kung Fu.” His initial adventures centered around fighting his evil father, Fu Manchu, a sinister criminal mastermind with racist “yellow peril” overtones that Marvel had licensed after failing to obtain the rights to the popular television show, Kung Fu


Dine With Me: La Vida Coffee + Market

By Alyssa Wilson ~ Assistant Editor

Photo of back, outdoor entrance of La Vida Coffee and Market. Photo taken on Aug. 26,  2021 by Alyssa Wilson. 

A big hit in the city of Lynchburg and among the students at the University of Lynchburg has been the new coffee shop on Langhorne Road called La Vida Coffee and Market

Previously, La Vida was a wedding venue, Southern Provisions before the owner sold it to the owners at La Vida. As a frequent coffee shop lover, I can say that this shop had a great ambiance. 


Beautiful City, Beautiful Campus, Beautiful People:

By: Rylee McDonal ~ Copy Editor

Hopwood. Picture taken from @critograph on Instagram

What does beautiful mean? 

In the easiest description of the word, it is something that is appealing to the eye. In terms of what is exactly beautiful, there are a plethora of answers. And after almost two years of non-stop issues, spanning from global to personal, I think I finally remembered my own answer. 

Before the pandemic, before the world shut down, I went to a little college only ten minutes from here. I was in love with this city, and for the most part, I did love the school I attended.

 Due to unfortunate circumstances at the start of the pandemic, I was unable to return. For the majority of this pandemic, I have been working. 


Nerd Factor: Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Space Pioneer

A Shroud of Thoughts: You Only Live Many Times: James Bond's Archenemy--Ernst  Stavro Blofeld
Many Faces of Blofeld. Image From: http://mercurie.blogspot.com/2015/04/you-only-live-many-times-james-bonds.html

Supervillains fascinate me. I enjoy their variety and their machinations. Their monologuing thrills me. I love their origins and their motivations. I am particularly fascinated by those supervillains so dedicated to a theme that it actually interferes with their success, baddies like the Riddler whose compulsions force him to lure heroes to his every crime or like the Calendar Man who stick to a theme no matter the cost. 

There are other kinds of compulsions beyond just theme though. Another type of villain is so busy trying to do evil things that they fail to realize what they’ve really accomplished. The perfect example of this overachiever is James Bond’s archnemesis, Ernst Stravro Blofeld.

Blofeld is Number One, the leader of SPECTRE (Special Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion). As the anagram so neatly outlines, SPECTRE is dedicated to the destabilization of world powers so that its members may assume control of the planet. Whether they are doing something relatively low level like breaking codes or something epically dangerous like seizing atomic devices, they are a truly ruthless bunch.


A Deeper Look: In Defense of Toy Story 4

By Andrew Wheeler ~ Staff Writer

Toy Story 4 | Disney Movies
Toy Story 4 poster: Image from https://movies.disney.com/toy-story-4

Most of us here grew up on Disney movies. For me personally, and likely many of you, “Toy Story” was among the most noteworthy. With the release of “Toy Story 3” in 2010, the majority of audiences were satisfied. Andy was headed off to college to start his life while Woody, Buzz, and the others were safely passed on to a new life with Bonnie. What better ending could you ask for?

Well, it turns out that Disney had other plans, as it went ahead and released a fourth entry to the beloved series in 2019. This film has garnered much more criticism from viewers, some of which is understandable. Buzz is dumbed down substantially from the point he had grown to, the side cast is entirely underutilized in the narrative, and Bonnie’s screentime mirrored some of Andy’s rather closely.

However, the biggest criticism this movie gets revolves around its characterization of Woody and his final decision to separate from the gang to live a life of freedom with Bo Peep. This feels very different from his choice to stay with the gang in the previous movie, but despite what some people believe, I would argue that “Toy Story 4” justifies its own existence with this very decision. 


Historic Hysterics #4: Floridian UFOS

By Alyson Draper ~ Web Editor

Image by Ed Walters: Image from History.com

Florida is known for its crazy news stories and the Mystical Florida Man, which is something I can probably write an entire book about. The Florida Man we’re spotlighting today is not a crazy criminal, he is the eye witness of one of the most interesting UFO sightings, Ed Walters.

Ed and his wife Frances were your normal everyday Floridian folk, living in the little town of Gulf Breeze. But in 1987 something happened to Ed that made him become one of  the UFO world’s most credible eyewitnesses. 

When a craft came down and began to hover over the road in front of his house, Ed took a picture, resulting in what you see above. He also claimed that the craft hovered over his yard and shot a blue beam at him that cemented his legs to the ground and nearly evaporated his wife. 

When this blue beam came into contact with Ed, he claimed to hear the plans of the aliens in the ship before blacking out. He then woke up on a beach with sand in his mouth. Believing to be a victim of an abduction. But these sightings weren’t just exclusive to Ed, the entire town of Gulf Breeze had UFO fever, with a city council member claiming to have seen a craft in 1988. 


Mystic Magic: Detox Masculinity

By Em Maxey ~ Staff Writer

Tea Witch – Witchcraft & Pagan Lifestyle Blog, The Magick Kitchen
A witchy tea set. Image from: https://www.themagickkitchen.com/tea-witch/

The true witch’s brew of mystic magic, handcrafted by Grace Cavanaugh, has been blissfully passed down into my ownership. I simply hope to live up to the expectations artistically set in place by the witch that wrote before me. 

This week, I would like to introduce a concept of balancing energies. Like yin and yang, feminine and masculine energy create a balance within the universe. 

Without association to gender identity or presentation, feminine energy is a representation of intuition and creativity, whereas masculine energy is a presentation of action and logic. Everyone has both masculine and feminine energy, but the issue is finding a balance that works for you. There is a greater yin where the energy released is perfectly feminine and a greater yang in which the energy is entirely masculine. There are a variety of mixtures of the two energies that can lead to finding balance. 


Hungry or Thirsty? Try Nelson 151

By Hunter Epperson ~ Copy Desk Chief

Photo of München On Pumpkin and bone-in wings at Devils Backbone on Nelson 151. Photo taken on Aug. 28, 2021 by Hunter Epperson. 

September is officially here which means local breweries have summer and fall flavors in stock!

Located about an hour away from University of Lynchburg, near Wintergreen Resort, Nelson 151 offers an array of fun activities ranging from delicious wineries, breweries, cideries, and distilleries. 

This weekend, me, my grandma, and my parents made a trip to Devil’s Backbone, Bold Rock, and Wild Wolf Brewing Company to try their delicious seasonal flavors, and enjoy some craft beers and food . 


Watch With Me: Cruella! Cruella! Cruella!

By Hunter Epperson ~ Copy Desk Chief

*Article contains spoilers 

On Saturday, my friend Rose and I went to Venue Cinemas to see Cruella

Picture of the flyer for Cruella. Photo retrieved from Wikipedia.org on Aug. 22, 2021.

Rose and I enjoyed the movie.

For me, what I enjoyed about Cruella is that it gave a backdrop to why Cruella from 101 Dalmations became the evil, cold-hearted, controlling woman that she is. 


Watch With Me: The Owl House

By Andrew Wheeler ~ Guest Writer

Flyer for “The Owl House”. Photo retrieved from IMDb.com on Aug. 24, 2021 by Hunter Epperson

I am sure that the majority of us in this day and age were brought up with Saturdays watching episodic cartoons, enjoying the silly antics of classic “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “Scooby Doo”. For those with more relaxed parents, perhaps there was even a dash of something like “Family Guy” mixed in. Good or bad, these memories stuck with us and will always be looked back on fondly as a result. However, the cartoon age is changing.


College Life: Advice From A College Senior- Study Abroad

By Hunter Epperson ~ Copy Desk Chief

Photo of the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. Photo was taken by Hunter Epperson on Jan. 4, 2020. 

Prior to college, I was a seasoned traveler. In fact, I have had the opportunity to go to South America, Mexico, Europe, almost all of the Caribbean, and ten out of the fifty states before going to college. 

Almost every winter, my family and I would plan some sort of vacation. Hence, traveling the world has been a tradition within my family. In fact, my cousin had the opportunity to live in Bermuda, Guatemala, Belize, Mexico, and Scotland (once for graduate school, and once for study abroad) twice. Hearing her stories and experiences motivated me to study abroad while in college, and I looked into study abroad opportunities when choosing a college.


Nerd Factor: Drop Into the Multiverse

By Michael Robinson ~ PhD

The Spider-Man No Way Home Trailer Can't Possibly Live Up to the Hype
Spiderman: No Way Home poster. From https://collider.com/spider-man-no-way-home-trailer-hype-explained/

Falling is just something Spider-Man does. It’s part of his job description really. When he’s not having his web line cut by a supervillain, he’s getting knocked off a Goblin glider or being thrown out of a helicopter. If he can’t shoot a web to a nearby building or catch a flagpole at the right moment, fear not. By this point in time, our hero is so used to this that he is adept at making web parachutes to save himself. Once he even made a hang glider out of his webbing. 


Watch With Me: Manifest

By Jessica Head ~ Media and Marketing Manager

Warning: mild spoilers

Photo of Manifest flyer. Photo retrieved from RottenTomatoes.com on Aug. 24, 2021 by Hunter Epperson.

Imagine coming back from vacation and seeing your fiancé now married to your best friend. That is in a way what happened to Michaela Stone, one of the main characters in Manifest. 

Manifest is the story of flight 828, a commercial flight going from Jamaica to New York. Once it lands, the flight team and the passengers are informed that six years have passed for the rest of the world and everyone on the flight was presumed dead. 


Nerd Factor: Hulk Smashed

By Michael Robinson ~ PhD

Picture (above) of Hulk flexing as it is about to enter a battle. Photo retrieved from ap2hyc.com on Aug. 17, 2021.

Many activities pose a challenge for superheroes, particularly social drinking. The Human Torch needs to be careful because alcohol is flammable. The Flash metabolizes alcohol so quickly that it has no affect on him. Of course, any metahuman runs the risk of harming another should they become drunk. One particular superhero though runs into a surprising risk. 

When Dr. Robert Bruce Banner was exposed to a massive dose of gamma rays, his body was transformed dramatically. If certain conditions are met, then Banner becomes the Incredible Hulk. As we know, the Hulk has vast levels of strength, endurance, and invulnerability. However, there are some important questions about the Hulk that need to be considered. Can the Hulk become intoxicated? And what happens if a drunken Hulk turns back into Banner?


Historic Hysterics #2: Teleporting Boats!

By Alyson Draper ~ Web Editor

Photo (above) of USS Eldridge during World War II. Photo retrieved from https://www.military.com/off-duty/2020/05/04/truth-behind-wwiis-creepy-philadelphia-experiment.html on Aug. 17, 2021. 

It’s known today that the U.S military is no stranger to weird experiments, especially during WWII and the Cold War. Today’s story is about the Philadelphia Experiment and the USS Eldridge. According to witnesses, the USS Eldridge was able to turn fully invisible and teleport to Norfolk, Virginia, all while returning to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, within the same day. 

The story first came to light in 1955 when Carl M. Allen, a former merchant marine, wrote about his experience in a book that was sent to a known ufologist by the name of Morris K. Jessup who published the writing in “The Case of the UFO”, in 1956.