The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, August 31, 2000, Page 4, Image 4

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Since 1901
Editor Sarah Baker
Opinion Page Editor Samuel McKewon
Managing Editor Bradley Davis
Not hopeless
UHL needs to take time
to search for new leader
A popular catch phrase has emerged to
describe UNL’s status since the exit of James
We’ve been referred to as a “headless uni
The phrase may seem fitting, considering
the large number of administrative offices
that have been vacated for one reason or
another over the last six months.
But the university’s best and brightest staff
and faculty members have stepped up to the
task of temporarily filling these positions as
search committees assemble and the posi
tions are gradually filled.
We may be a headless university, but we’re
not running around with our head cut off.
Some around the state have wondered why
NU President Dennis Smith didn’t work faster
to form a search committee this summer, after
Moeser departed for the
If we want
to get the
it may take
a while to
them out.
In the
we are still
in the
hands of
tobacco fields of North
Smith promptly respond
ed that he wanted to wait for
the results of a study that
examined why UNL’s admin
istrators come and leave so
But even so, we shouldn’t
be in such a hurry to fill the
campus’ most important
It took the University of
North Carolina eight months
to complete their search
process. Moeser even turned
down the UNC search com
mittee’s initial pleas to apply.
If we want to get the best
candidates, it may take a wnne to searcn mem
In the meantime, we are still in the hands
of capable leadership.
Since Moeser left, Harvey Perlman has
been keeping the chancellor’s seat warm —
and so far, he’s done a good job.
He scrapped the alma mater, which may
seem like a small decision compared with
those that come across the desk of the chan
But the move showed he is responsive to
the opinions of the state’s constituents and
the student body.
Of course, we aren’t ready to give Perlman
our stamp of approval yet. He hasn’t really
been tested in the interim.
He will likely face many more challenging
scenarios that will prove his worth as the uni
versity’s leader. How he handles those chal
lenges will determine whether he is suited for
the job.
Perlman should realize that if he wants to
be considered for the job, he must distinguish
himself as interim chancellor. To do that, he
must not approach the job as a caretaker. He
must be a leader.
But the university cannot rely on Perlman
to lead the institution into the next century.
We don’t even know that he wants the job.
We should be searching the nation for the
person who will continue to strive for the cul
ture of excellence Moeser promoted while he
was here. But don’t forget to consider what’s
already here in Nebraska.
We should take our time doing this. In the
meantime, we can test Perlman out and see if
he's up to the job—if he wants it.
Crljfnrinl P->nrH
canonai Doara
Sarah Baker, Bradley Davis, Josh Funk, Matthew Hansen,
Samuel McKewon, Dane Stickney, Kimberly Sweet
Letters Poicy
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Nature trek
brings wild
I usually vaca
tion in the Rockies,
but now find myself
amidst their stubby
eiders in Great
Smoky Mountains
National Park. I
already note the dif
ferences as Greg and
I unload our packs
from Dave’s pickup.
impossibly green. More varieties of trees
grow here than in Europe. And the humid air
refuses to accept our sweatWfehavent even
started hiking, and I'm soaking my shirt
through. Avetylate start means we wont
reach our backcountry campsite until after
dark. We’d best start our five-mile dimh.
Itiy to dear my mind and focus on the
forest, but distractions creep back in.
Here comes one now
A group exiting the forest hails us, ask
ing ifweVe seen the timber rattlesnake that
was on file trail eadiet Nt* wetae seen nei
ther snake nor sun. Sunset comes eariy to
forested slopes.
Our wefl-wom trail is woven with
Virginity's bleeding channels
Beauty scares me. I know
of it, but I don't know it I look
in the mirror and my features
seem indistinct to me today,
fuzzy to my own naked eye. I
inch closer and closer to my
own reflection until my nose
is touching the glass, and still
what they see, what you see,
is momentarily an unsolved
enigma in my mind.
There was a scene once
when I was 17, in Seattle. A guy, short and skinny,
ldnda phulumphing toward me in this awkward
gait, did a triple take on me. I had my hair up, you
And this awful tragic thing happens when he’s
looking, knowing there’s no sexual thirst to be
quenched, but leering for one last second, to sear
my image into die back of his mind. His knee clips
the comer of one of those newspaper stands for the
Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
And I hear the thud, and I can hear the bone
and I can hear him fall, because he's in pain, and it
sounds serious, like a cracked kneecap and I hear
him toss out a cheap four-letter phrase and I can
hear someone stopping and I can feel the red-hot
embarrassment from 20 feet away, now 21, now 22.
And the last thing I was about to do was turn
I’m a weekday virgin. There was one time, in a
Denver hotel, when an assistant concierge, a glori
fied bellboy with rotting teeth and booming pec
torals, nearly stole it away from me.
I called late, for some lemon Jell-O, and he was
there, smiling weakly to hide his big brown gopher
And I thought, at that moment, there it would
be, my Monday morning innocence shattered
amidst die darkened hallways and mini-soaped
accommodations of out-of-town living. Then I
faked an orgasm and tried to rush him out, after
which he tossed a tantrum as he, booming bellboy,
hadn't yet received his taffy treat for the aborted
He looked at me, penis hanging out, half limp
and getting deader, and pointed at my thighs, stfil
spread wide open and tinged with tiny pock marks
of fat Hair draped everywhere on my face; I could
hardly see him.
"You've got bad legs," he said. "Hail damage.”
I call Jayme to talk to her about the assignment
in my Shakespeare class. We’re reading Henry V
I’m in silk pajamas. I’ve got a pimple on my arm
so I roll up my sleeve and pop it to finger the gooey
substance. I wipe it on my pillow. But not before I
use it to moisturize a dry spot on my lower cheek.
And I ask Jayme what’s up and she prattles on
about this newtoyfriend she has and her two cups
of multi-name coffee she had for a pick-me-up for
the let-me-down of swimming pasta she swamped
down for lunch.
Jayme is my friend. She’s a sweet-natured ass
cow. She bravely sports a single, tiny fold of glub
around her tum-tum, typically concealed by die
latest fashion of the millisecond.
We talk about my tomorrow wardrobe. And I
tell her, I just do not know. Will it be my yellow but
tercup dress or my playful lavender outfit?
She mentions a compromise of sheer genius
my ensemble wear of subdued maize widi teeny
weeny violet patterns hardly discernible unless
you’re right up on me. Sorta like an optical illusion.
But I hit a mental hiccup and wonder - maybe
my plum outfit is better for a day like tomorrow. I
have two plums - a wild plum and a blackberry that
might well be the same thing under a cloudy sky. I
have a dress that is opalescent plum, and it shim
mers one color, then another, like the rainbow.
I think about this in silence, thanking Jayme for
her sensible tutelage (lying fashionably is a
woman’s God-given gift) and allow her to prattle
more on this boy.
Some guy, I think. TWo free finger lubes to any
girl who can guess if her new man will sport a
dodgy marijuana necklace like the sweet bo-hunk
country rebel he must be.
m me wora-mmy supermancei mey can a mod
em bookstore there are rows and rows of how-tos,
what-ifs, secrets to, 10 rules to, ways to and means
to a happier end for your home, your children, your
parents, your pets, your business, your brain and
your checking account
With a lai^e enough library shelf and a valued
customer card, you can secure an energy-saving
All these books, with their glossy covers and
snazzy simple text designs, an* the pew mndwp
works of written art the CEO version of literature.
The sentences are neat and concise and in sec
ond person. Learn how to organize the workplace
for maximum, effective teamwork Become skilled
in management-related fields such as problem-solv
ing and efficiency training. Streamline the nature of
how office products disperse amongst coworkers.
Make a calendar of sharing time with your teen.
Find the proper diet for your parakeet Make sure to
caulk all upstairs windows to prevent a winter draft
I hear stock traders. I hear how to get ahead
without even fdUingfl hear 85 percent of casual
readers are asscows like Jayme or babes like me, so
we want release. We want to drift away. We work
now. We don't want to think or read complex sen
We want valium, in words.
We want light, airy, trite formulaic plots.
We want to relate.
We want Cute.
We want punctuation.
our channeled existence. It’s easier to flip that way.
To go from bloody violence to public broadcasting
with a push of the button. As if you actually
thought you could do that - end one sentence with
a period and start the next line with a new para
graph, new thought, new set of facts to devour,
new 20-minute lesson in life for your tape player.
As if that’s how life worked. As if nothing stayed
with you. As if they really were just words on a
Is that what you think?
Because my picture bleeds from one channel to
the next
Jayme never stops breathing. And so she never
hears me. She just prattles on, about the boyfriend,
while I subject myself to a 15-minute self-gratify
ing single-finger massage, thinking of the bellboy
and his half-limp penis drawing its trunk in my
It is by no coincidence that her enchanted sigh
regarding the new prince meets my climaxing
groan, breath for breathless breath. All is well
again. It is, after all, 2:37 on a Sunday afternoon.
And Jayme, she’s moved on now, to talking
about her mother, which makes me think of my
mother, which makes my head throb uncontrol
lably, which makes me want to shrink into a secret,
silent universe where daughters don't have a Nadia
and penises stay dead. Where sentences don't end
and emotions have dimmed to the point of trans
gnaried roots. In the railing light, it seems to
be threaded with copperheads and iattfen
instead. A display in tire Visitors Center
reports that some claim copperheads smell
like cucumbers. I wonder how Fd ever
notice amidst the largest tossed salad of
biodiversity east of the Rockies.
Daylight^ fading. Brown and green
drain away into gray tones, as contrast
replaces color Our calves cany us across
the fanged forest floor We march to the
sawing song of the dcada.
The mfachoid breaks our step. All three
of us see a quadruped shadowrace through
the ravine before vanishing.
Now the tales begin.Vfe tefl ofX-FOes,
Blair Witch and the fatal bear attack in these
woods three moons ago.
A ghostly pallor filters through canopy
skylights. Shadows lengthen. Outlines dif
fuse and blend together Your eyes begin to
play tricks on you.
I look back and imagine foe%semite
National Park murderer has moved east
That the bobbing light now rapidly closing
in is held by ahand other than the one that
uncorked foe bottle last light.
We all know that the danger of starting
foe car exceeds that of hiking any national
park, but “ghost stories” of wilderness woe
are entertaining. After aU, everyone who
assumes risk does so amidst foe unfamiliar,
not the commonplace
We soon run low on “When Animals
Attack" material andp^tfangprinrltfaing
foe parks greatest dangers, using behavior
as our standard. They are:
Oneself (Exhibit A: dimbing waterfalls
is commonplace here) Others. WDd boars.
Bears. Snakes.
It is now pitch dark Starlight doesn't
survive foe stabbing stalks of suffocating
I can't believe I brought two half-dead
flashlight batteries and no spares. I'm usu
ally a careful packer and prepared for
nnmemns cnntingpnctea, hiit somehow
forgot the obvious this time around. Itfe
called “simple shock.”
Suddenly, the inky curtain parts, allow
ing us to hear the surge of living water
Backcountry campsites are almost always
near water We must be near
In confirmation, a couple pair of elec
tric eyes flash to life and probe u&
“Vail are arrivin'a little late, aintya?”
Before us, atop a too-litde tarp^ lies a
shirtiess six-pack o’students. Their neat
row invites comparison to a string afballle
“Are foe mosquitoes bad here?” I ask.
“Nah, they ain't bad.”
But the adjacent tent disagrees.
Through sealed seams it replies: "Unless
you ask the girls.”
We withdraw a ways and sup on sum
mer sausage and cheese-our first meal
since breakfast However, that's nothing
compared to what the Christian group we
just met has planned. After tonight they
plan to spend the next two days fasting and
tentless as part of a spiritual exercise.
I admire the motive, but question foe
method. Wilderness isn't the ideal place to
go wanting fbrfbod and shelter The next
two days will prove to be wet but they don't
know that
We goof around before retiring for the
night Ybu know, take turns hoisting each
other 15 feet up with the steel bear cables,
that sort of thing.
We, too, choose to sleep beneath foe
stars. I feel spiders crawl across my skin. I've
never encountered this many. Riders seem
a fitting symbol for foe Smoky Mountains.
Gazing into the heavens, I note how the
wispy fog webs together the surrounding
Appalachian ridges. In their passing, foe
mists draw a cataract across the sky.
Similarly clouded are the reasons why
this August eve doesn't recall goals set in
May. Summerb coming to foe end of its
trail. If foe journey is more important than
foe destination, maybe I should review how
I've chosen to travel now that the endpoint
looms large.
That can wait For now my presence in
a wooded wonderland among friends fe
achievement enough as I fade into the for
getfulness of sleep.