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I love my summer. I cherish the slower pace, longer days, better weather, and free time the season provides me. Every summer I like to read more books and go to more movies than I normally would be able to. The only exception this summer is that I've had even more free time than normal. In addition to movies and books, I also taught my dog how to fetch and sharpened my cooking skills.

I've already been to more movies in the last couple of months than I did in the preceding year. Best of all, each one was entertaining; which is nice because like everything from gas to White Castle Sliders, the prices have gone up. The very least I expect when I fork over $10+ is to be entertained for a couple of hours. Just recently I checked out Wall-E which was really good. I find it hard to stay away from Pixar movies. They make one movie a year, and it's usually exceptional. I didn't find Wall-E as great as most of the reviewers, but it was cute and enjoyable. Not so cute, but equally enjoyable was the new Indiana Jones movie-Crystal Skull. It's impossible not to like Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones, but overall the movie was closer to Temple of Doom than Raiders of the Lost Ark. The problem Lucas and Spielberg have is that Indy will never have a more compelling villain to deal with than the Nazis. My favorite movie of the summer so far has been Iron Man. Each element of the film was quite good from the actors, to the plot twists, to the open ending letting me know that there will undoubtedly be a second and third movie.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I did not mention a movie I recently saw on cable: Surf's Up. It is, without a doubt, absolutely and unequivocally, the greatest movie ever made about surfing penguins. It has been a while since I saw a movie that was so head and shoulders above every other movie in its category. The last movie I saw of that caliber might have been Vision Quest which set a new standard in High School Wrestling movies.

When not watching movies I try to catch up on my reading. I recently read Chuck Klosterman's book "Fargo Rock City" which celebrates his own youth, growing up listening to Heavy Metal Music in a small North Dakota town. Klosterman has a great voice and tends to make some very unique points, some of which are profound and other equally idiotic. His main point in Fargo Rock City is that Heavy Metal was the dominant musical style from the early 80's to early 90's but has never been considered a serious musical genre by writers. The onset of Grunge and collapse of Guns 'n' Roses amongst others obliterated Heavy Metal. This book celebrates Klosterman's love of a musical era and an attempt to cast new light on music most people took for granted.

The most interesting book I read this summer had to be "Freakonomics" by University of Chicago Professor Steven Levitt. Professor Levitt has a way of examining old issues in light of new statistics and interpreting them in surprising ways. Chapter by chapter he examines abortion, gun control, the economics of drug dealing, sumo wrestling, standardized testing, and even the long term affects of baby names. One of the more interesting facts I came away with is that swimming pools kill more children every year than handguns. It's a fact, but so little known that there is no swimming pool lobby yet.

And, just so no one thinks I've been completely slacking all summer long, next week I will report on some things I learned over the summer when it comes to financial aid.

By: Dan Russell

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