Monday, November 14, 2011

Frank Miller: Occupy Wall Street 'Louts, Thieves & Rapists,' Comic Writer Says

                                             (Huffington Post &, Nov 11, 2011)

Frank Miller has spent much of his famed comic book writing career creating dark, urban dystopias, but the groundbreaking scribe has little regard for the chaos he says reigns at Zuccotti Park.  The man behind such famed comic series as "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns," "Sin City" and "300," in fact, is entirely against the Occupy Wall Street movement.  "'Occupy' is nothing but a pack of louts, thieves, and rapists, an unruly mob, fed by Woodstock-era nostalgia and putrid false righteousness," Miller wrote in a blog entry last week. "These clowns can do nothing but harm America."

Though, for the most part, the participants in the now-global Occupy moment have protested the imbalances of the economy, corporate fiscal abuses and government officials' close ties to Wall Street, Miller mentions the War on Terror in his slamming of the nascent movement.  "Wake up, pond scum. America is at war against a ruthless enemy," he later continues. "Maybe, between bouts of self-pity and all the other tasty tidbits of narcissism you've been served up in your sheltered, comfy little worlds, you've heard terms like al-Qaeda and Islamicism."  Miller then implores protestors to join the military, or otherwise, to go "back to your mommas' basements and play with your Lords Of Warcraft."

In his work, Miller's protagonists often face off against corrupt government officials. Batman, in both "The Dark Knight Returns" and "The Dark Knight Strikes Again" is faced with heavy governmental opposition, with the latter featuring an especially oppressive and corrupt government.  In 2006, Miller announced that he would have Batman take on Osama bin Laden in "Holy Terror, Batman!" but later dropped Batman from the book; it became "Holy Terror," and has been highly criticized for being hatefully anti-Islam.

In a blog entry on his own site posted in September, Miller calls the book "propaganda," a sort of throw-back to when Captain America punched Hitler, rips the news media as slanted propaganda in its own right, and says, "3000 of my neighbors were murdered. My country was, utterly unprovoked, savagely attacked. I wish all those responsible for the Atrocity of 9/11 to burn in hell."

Friday, November 11, 2011

David Mamet: Why I Am No Longer a 'Brain-Dead Liberal'

(By David Mamet, An election-season essay, March 11, 2008)

John Maynard Keynes was twitted with changing his mind. He replied, "When the facts change, I change my opinion. What do you do, sir?"  My favorite example of a change of mind was Norman Mailer at The Village Voice.  Norman took on the role of drama critic, weighing in on the New York premiere of Waiting for Godot.  Twentieth century's greatest play. Without bothering to go, Mailer called it a piece of garbage.  When he did get around to seeing it, he realized his mistake. He was no longer a Voice columnist, however, so he bought a page in the paper and wrote a retraction, praising the play as the masterpiece it is.  Every playwright's dream.

I once won one of Mary Ann Madden's "Competitions" in New York magazine. The task was to name or create a "10" of anything, and mine was the World's Perfect Theatrical Review. It went like this: "I never understood the theater until last night. Please forgive everything I've ever written. When you read this I'll be dead." That, of course, is the only review anybody in the theater ever wants to get.

My prize, in a stunning example of irony, was a year's subscription to New York, which rag (apart from Mary Ann's "Competition") I considered an open running sore on the body of world literacy—this due to the presence in its pages of John Simon, whose stunning amalgam of superciliousness and savagery, over the years, was appreciated by that readership searching for an endorsement of proactive mediocrity.  But I digress.

I wrote a play about politics (November, Barrymore Theater, Broadway, some seats still available). And as part of the "writing process," as I believe it's called, I started thinking about politics. This comment is not actually as jejune as it might seem. Porgy and Bess is a buncha good songs but has nothing to do with race relations, which is the flag of convenience under which it sailed.  But my play, it turned out, was actually about politics, which is to say, about the polemic between persons of two opposing views. The argument in my play is between a president who is self-interested, corrupt, suborned, and realistic, and his leftish, lesbian, utopian-socialist speechwriter.

The play, while being a laugh a minute, is, when it's at home, a disputation between reason and faith, or perhaps between the conservative (or tragic) view and the liberal (or perfectionist) view. The conservative president in the piece holds that people are each out to make a living, and the best way for government to facilitate that is to stay out of the way, as the inevitable abuses and failures of this system (free-market economics) are less than those of government intervention.

I took the liberal view for many decades, but I believe I have changed my mind.  As a child of the '60s, I accepted as an article of faith that government is corrupt, that business is exploitative, and that people are generally good at heart.  These cherished precepts had, over the years, become ingrained as increasingly impracticable prejudices. Why do I say impracticable? Because although I still held these beliefs, I no longer applied them in my life. How do I know? My wife informed me. We were riding along and listening to NPR. I felt my facial muscles tightening, and the words beginning to form in my mind: Shut the fuck up. "?" she prompted. And her terse, elegant summation, as always, awakened me to a deeper truth: I had been listening to NPR and reading various organs of national opinion for years, wonder and rage contending for pride of place. Further: I found I had been—rather charmingly, I thought—referring to myself for years as "a brain-dead liberal," and to NPR as "National Palestinian Radio."  This is, to me, the synthesis of this worldview with which I now found myself disenchanted: that everything is always wrong.

But in my life, a brief review revealed, everything was not always wrong, and neither was nor is always wrong in the community in which I live, or in my country. Further, it was not always wrong in previous communities in which I lived, and among the various and mobile classes of which I was at various times a part.  And, I wondered, how could I have spent decades thinking that I thought everything was always wrong at the same time that I thought I thought that people were basically good at heart? Which was it? I began to question what I actually thought and found that I do not think that people are basically good at heart; indeed, that view of human nature has both prompted and informed my writing for the last 40 years. I think that people, in circumstances of stress, can behave like swine, and that this, indeed, is not only a fit subject, but the only subject, of drama.

I'd observed that lust, greed, envy, sloth, and their pals are giving the world a good run for its money, but that nonetheless, people in general seem to get from day to day; and that we in the United States get from day to day under rather wonderful and privileged circumstances—that we are not and never have been the villains that some of the world and some of our citizens make us out to be, but that we are a confection of normal (greedy, lustful, duplicitous, corrupt, inspired—in short, human) individuals living under a spectacularly effective compact called the Constitution, and lucky to get it.

For the Constitution, rather than suggesting that all behave in a godlike manner, recognizes that, to the contrary, people are swine and will take any opportunity to subvert any agreement in order to pursue what they consider to be their proper interests.  To that end, the Constitution separates the power of the state into those three branches which are for most of us (I include myself) the only thing we remember from 12 years of schooling.  The Constitution, written by men with some experience of actual government, assumes that the chief executive will work to be king, the Parliament will scheme to sell off the silverware, and the judiciary will consider itself Olympian and do everything it can to much improve (destroy) the work of the other two branches. So the Constitution pits them against each other, in the attempt not to achieve stasis, but rather to allow for the constant corrections necessary to prevent one branch from getting too much power for too long.

Rather brilliant. For, in the abstract, we may envision an Olympian perfection of perfect beings in Washington doing the business of their employers, the people, but any of us who has ever been at a zoning meeting with our property at stake is aware of the urge to cut through all the pernicious bullshit and go straight to firearms.  I found not only that I didn't trust the current government (that, to me, was no surprise), but that an impartial review revealed that the faults of this president—whom I, a good liberal, considered a monster—were little different from those of a president whom I revered.

Bush got us into Iraq, JFK into Vietnam. Bush stole the election in Florida; Kennedy stole his in Chicago. Bush outed a CIA agent; Kennedy left hundreds of them to die in the surf at the Bay of Pigs. Bush lied about his military service; Kennedy accepted a Pulitzer Prize for a book written by Ted Sorenson. Bush was in bed with the Saudis, Kennedy with the Mafia. Oh.

 And I began to question my hatred for "the Corporations"—the hatred of which, I found, was but the flip side of my hunger for those goods and services they provide and without which we could not live. 

And I began to question my distrust of the "Bad, Bad Military" of my youth, which, I saw, was then and is now made up of those men and women who actually risk their lives to protect the rest of us from a very hostile world. Is the military always right? No. Neither is government, nor are the corporations—they are just different signposts for the particular amalgamation of our country into separate working groups, if you will. Are these groups infallible, free from the possibility of mismanagement, corruption, or crime? No, and neither are you or I. So, taking the tragic view, the question was not "Is everything perfect?" but "How could it be better, at what cost, and according to whose definition?" Put into which form, things appeared to me to be unfolding pretty well.

Do I speak as a member of the "privileged class"? If you will—but classes in the United States are mobile, not static, which is the Marxist view. That is: Immigrants came and continue to come here penniless and can (and do) become rich; the nerd makes a trillion dollars; the single mother, penniless and ignorant of English, sends her two sons to college (my grandmother). On the other hand, the rich and the children of the rich can go belly-up; the hegemony of the railroads is appropriated by the airlines, that of the networks by the Internet; and the individual may and probably will change status more than once within his lifetime.

What about the role of government? Well, in the abstract, coming from my time and background, I thought it was a rather good thing, but tallying up the ledger in those things which affect me and in those things I observe, I am hard-pressed to see an instance where the intervention of the government led to much beyond sorrow.  But if the government is not to intervene, how will we, mere human beings, work it all out?  I wondered and read, and it occurred to me that I knew the answer, and here it is: We just seem to. How do I know? From experience. I referred to my own—take away the director from the staged play and what do you get? Usually a diminution of strife, a shorter rehearsal period, and a better production.

The director, generally, does not cause strife, but his or her presence impels the actors to direct (and manufacture) claims designed to appeal to Authority—that is, to set aside the original goal (staging a play for the audience) and indulge in politics, the purpose of which may be to gain status and influence outside the ostensible goal of the endeavor.  Strand unacquainted bus travelers in the middle of the night, and what do you get? A lot of bad drama, and a shake-and-bake Mayflower Compact. Each, instantly, adds what he or she can to the solution. Why? Each wants, and in fact needs, to contribute—to throw into the pot what gifts each has in order to achieve the overall goal, as well as status in the new-formed community. And so they work it out.

See also that most magnificent of schools, the jury system, where, again, each brings nothing into the room save his or her own prejudices, and, through the course of deliberation, comes not to a perfect solution, but a solution acceptable to the community—a solution the community can live with.  Prior to the midterm elections, my rabbi was taking a lot of flack. The congregation is exclusively liberal, he is a self-described independent (read "conservative"), and he was driving the flock wild. Why? Because a) he never discussed politics; and b) he taught that the quality of political discourse must be addressed first—that Jewish law teaches that it is incumbent upon each person to hear the other fellow out.

And so I, like many of the liberal congregation, began, teeth grinding, to attempt to do so. And in doing so, I recognized that I held those two views of America (politics, government, corporations, the military). One was of a state where everything was magically wrong and must be immediately corrected at any cost; and the other—the world in which I actually functioned day to day—was made up of people, most of whom were reasonably trying to maximize their comfort by getting along with each other (in the workplace, the marketplace, the jury room, on the freeway, even at the school-board meeting).

And I realized that the time had come for me to avow my participation in that America in which I chose to live, and that that country was not a schoolroom teaching values, but a marketplace.  "Aha," you will say, and you are right. I began reading not only the economics of Thomas Sowell (our greatest contemporary philosopher) but Milton Friedman, Paul Johnson, and Shelby Steele, and a host of conservative writers, and found that I agreed with them: a free-market understanding of the world meshes more perfectly with my experience than that idealistic vision I called liberalism.

At the same time, I was writing my play about a president, corrupt, venal, cunning, and vengeful (as I assume all of them are), and two turkeys. And I gave this fictional president a speechwriter who, in his view, is a "brain-dead liberal," much like my earlier self; and in the course of the play, they have to work it out. And they eventually do come to a human understanding of the political process. As I believe I am trying to do, and in which I believe I may be succeeding, and I will try to summarize it in the words of William Allen White.

White was for 40 years the editor of the Emporia Gazette in rural Kansas, and a prominent and powerful political commentator. He was a great friend of Theodore Roosevelt and wrote the best book I've ever read about the presidency. It's called Masks in a Pageant, and it profiles presidents from McKinley to Wilson, and I recommend it unreservedly.  White was a pretty clear-headed man, and he'd seen human nature as few can. (As Twain wrote, you want to understand men, run a country paper.) White knew that people need both to get ahead and to get along, and that they're always working at one or the other, and that government should most probably stay out of the way and let them get on with it.

But, he added, there is such a thing as liberalism, and it may be reduced to these saddest of words: " . . . and yet . . . "  The right is mooing about faith, the left is mooing about change, and many are incensed about the fools on the other side—but, at the end of the day, they are the same folks we meet at the water cooler. Happy election season.

Springfield’s Jaxx Rock Club Sues Gunnar Nelson, Alleging Slander

(By Tom Jackman, Washington Post, August 31, 2011)

When it comes to heavy metal and hair bands, you just can’t top Jaxx, the Springfield club that has hosted more ear-bending, mind-warping hard rock shows than any other in the D.C. area. Owner Jay Nedry is the longtime owner, he loves the music, and he brings in bands like Jackyl, Kix and Nelson even when they don’t make big money, just to keep the rock rockin’. He’s also been a longtime supporter of local headbangers.  So Nedry was mighty shocked when he read on last year that Gunnar Nelson, half of the brother act Nelson, had slammed the daylights out of Nedry for a show two years earlier. “Jaxx was probably the low point of my career,” Nelson told writer Kimberly Reed, and he proceeded to claim that Nedry didn’t pay the band, ran out the back door with the proceeds, and is known for ripping off bands.

Nedry has responded with a defamation suit against Nelson and Reed, filed Aug. 18 in Fairfax County Circuit Court. He filed documents from Nelson’s own records that show he did pay the band $4,000; Nedry’s attorney notes that no band gets on stage without being paid first; and Nelson never made any subsequent demand for any unpaid fees.  Nelson, both the band and the singer-songwriter Gunnar, are not backing down from Gunnar’s remarks, such as, “Jaxx has gotten into a habit of booking national bands who don’t know any better, they might not come back again but he gets to rip them off once”and that Nedry “didn’t pay us.”

“That’s just an outright lie,” said William B. Crockett, Nedry’s attorney and longtime friend from Northern Virginia.  Jaxx, in the basement of a Rolling Road strip mall next to an excellent Afghan kabob place, has been banging heads since Bad Company opened it up in 1994. John Entwistle from the Who, John Paul Jones from Zeppelin, Blue Oyster Cult, Foghat, Warrant, Peter Frampton, Twisted Sister, Molly Hatchet — the list of rock’s greats and once-greats fill up its history. Great White was scheduled to play there the night after their fireworks torched a Rhode Island club, killing 100 people. The gig was canceled.

The Nelson twins — sons of Ricky Nelson, grandsons of Ozzie and Harriet Nelson — had played Jaxx many times, and Nedry had become friends with them. They were lined up again to play in September 2008, for a fee of $7,500, and here’s where a crucial event did or didn’t happen.  Ten days before the Nelson gig, according to Nedry, only 16 tickets had been sold. Nedry claims he called the band’s tour manager, Obi Steinman, and that Steinman “agreed to reduce the contract price to $4,000.”  Steinman now says that never happened. In a sworn statement filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, where Nedry first sued, Steinman states, “At no time did I agree to reduce the price for Nelson’s performance.”

Nedry’s suit states that he paid the Nelson brothers $2,000 in cash and then gave them a $2,000 check. Nelson’s own records, produced in the lawsuit, confirm this. Nedry believed all was well, though only 75 people showed up for the concert. He never heard any complaints from Nelson or got any bill for unpaid fees.  Then came the August 2010 article on by Reed, the “D.C. Concerts Examiner.” is not the same as the Washington Examiner or other publications of the Clarity Digital Group empire. It is an opportunity for local citizens to post articles in their area of passion or expertise.  Justin Jimenez, a senior director of marketing for, said the local Examiners are carefully selected after an in-depth selection process, a review of their writing samples and a background check. But after that, their articles are “written and posted solely by the authors themselves.”

So Reed did a telephone interview with Gunnar Nelson and opened her article with the hypothetical, “Imagine your boss ran out the door with your paycheck. Imagine that happened two years ago and you are still owed that money.”  But Reed never called Nedry to see if the claim was true, which is what actual journalists do. She is a defendant in the lawsuit, and declined comment.  Reed proceeded to misspell Nedry’s name in every reference, after a quick visit to the Jaxx Web site, and then quoted Nelson’s lengthy blast. “Jaxx was a nightmare,” Nelson said. “I highly recommend that no one goes to Jaxx, ever. That club owner still owes me 8 grand. . . . Jay Nedrey ducked out the back door with the bar til under his arm while we were on stage. . . . and he didn’t pay us. I actually got ripped off playing Jaxx on my birthday. Jaxx was probably the lowpoint of my career. . . . I would rather play a community fair for free . . . than get ripped off playing another club like Jaxx.”

Nedry was flabbergasted. His attorney sent a letter to Reed, who pulled down the story and replaced it with a note which said the article was “retracted completely and unqualified.”  Nedry sued Nelson and Reed in Los Angeles earlier this year, but it was dismissed because Nelson doesn’t live in Los Angeles and there was no jurisdiction there. So the suit was refiled recently in Fairfax.  Crockett pointed out that if Nelson didn’t get paid, they would never have taken the stage. There’s an old show business saying, “No dough, no show,” he said, but Nelson played their Jaxx show. He also pointed out that Nelson never claimed they weren’t paid until the Examiner article.

Vicki Greco, Nelson’s Los Angeles attorney, said the band played because “they took it upon Mr. Nedry’s good word that they would get paid. There was no reason to believe he wouldn’t be good for his word.”  She said there was no subsequent demand for payment because the band wasn’t interested in the trouble of going to small-claims court for $3,500. Greco acknowledged that the claim that they weren’t paid at all isn’t exactly accurate but that there was a debt outstanding and that Nelson’s statements are true. (Nelson said in his sworn declaration that Reed misquoted him about the “8 grand.”)

Crockett said Nelson’s statements about Nedry were still defamatory, whether the band was playing for $7,500 or $4,000. And if Nedry had a reputation of ripping bands off, Crockett said, why did Nelson agree to play in the first place?  “You wonder why he would say that,” Crockett said of Nelson’s diatribe, which ended a longtime friendship between Nedry and the twins. “Jay will stand up and tell anybody, ‘If I don’t have my good name, I don’t have anything.’ ”  And to preserve his good name, he is going to court.

College101: Freshman Year Bucket List

(By Jenna Johnson, Washington Post, August 8, 2011)

Last week I shared a list of tips for surviving freshman year and asked you to share your tips for incoming freshmen in the comments section, on Twitter using the hashtag #College101, my Facebook page and during an online chat.  The response was overwhelming. I combed through hundreds of tips and edited them into this 50-item “bucket list.” I suggest that you print it out, tape it to the back of your closet door and cross things off as you do them.

1) “Make a resolution to meet one new person each day your first two months there,” tweeted @pgersty.

2) Invest in shower shoes, a caddy that won’t fill with water and a heavy-duty robe. (Suggested by @washingtonpost and a bunch of other tweeters.)

3) Arrive at your dorm as early as possible on move-in day, said Chris Pollack, a George Washington University senior, during the chat. As soon as your stuff is unloaded and you have sent your parents on their way, volunteer to help your new neighbors haul in their duffel bags, televisions and mini-fridges. This is a great way to make friends.

4) Join an intramural or club sports team. These teams are booming with popularity on many campuses, so sign up as soon as possible to ensure you get a spot.

5) Sample a local delicacy. Like crabs in Maryland, baked ham in Virginia, half-smokes in the District, peaches in Georgia, barbecue in Kansas City — you get the idea.

6) Leave your dorm room door open whenever you are there. “It makes it easier to meet people on your floor,” tweeted Emily Cahn, a.k.a. @ec2011, a recent college grad who works at The Post.

7) Explore campus — and not just the buildings where you have classes. Spend an entire afternoon wandering, finding cool, out-of-the-way spots and becoming enough of an expert that you could help your clueless roommate find her/his classes at the last minute.

8) And explore your college town. Learn the bus route, find a funky coffee shop, shop at the farmers’ market and locate the best spots for late-night food. (Also find the closest emergency room and 24-hour pharmacy, just in case.)

9) Enjoy your student ID. Sure, it won’t get you into bars if you are under 21, but it can save you so much money on so many things: student rates on movie, theater or concert tickets, 15 percent off full-price merchandise at J. Crew, stand-by tickets on Air Tran flights, and a bunch of other things.

10) Attend a campus sporting event. (Bonus points for rooting on a team that gets less attention than football or basketball.)

11) Join a club. Any club. If you can’t find a club that meets your interests, than create one.

12) Visit the career center. If you think you know what you want to do with your life, learn what you need to do now to get an internship next summer or during your sophomore year. If you are still searching for a dream career, ask one of the counselors or advisers for assistance.

13) Get to know an upperclass student, such as your resident assistant, teaching assistant, student organization member, coworker or a classmate. Don’t hesitate to ask that person questions, check in throughout the year and draw inspiration from the fact that he/she made it through freshman year alive. (Suggested by food blogger Laura Kumin, a.k.a. @MotherWouldKnow.)

14) Rush a sorority or fraternity.

15) Volunteer in the community near campus. Many schools now have service offices or clubs that can help you find an opportunity.

16) Take charge and organize some sort of outing for everyone on your floor. It could be dinner in the dining hall, opening night of a movie or a Sunday afternoon hike.

17) Visit the library. Seriously. Your professor will be impressed to see cited sources that aren’t attached to a URL.

18) Play some sort of sport on the quad. Some ideas: ultimate Frisbee, touch football, soccer, hacky sack, tag or quidditch.

19) Attend a lecture, concert or cultural event on campus that’s not required for class.

20) After the drop date, make a friend in each class, tweeted @bluecykel. That way, if you have to miss a class, you have someone who can share what happened — and vice versa.

21) “Resist the free water bottle and credit card that it comes with,” tweeted @akilbello.

22) Embrace campus as your new home. “Don't go home until fall break. You should really try to get adjusted before going home. No weekend trips early,” tweeted @EGMerritt.

23) Mix up your study habits. If you always study in a quiet room, try a bustling coffee shop. If you always type your notes on a laptop, try an old-school notebook for one class. If you rely on study groups, try studying alone. You might discover new things about yourself and the way you learn.

24) Raise your hand and ask a question. In every single class. At least once.

25) Introduce yourself to someone sitting alone in the dining hall or in your first-period class. Who knows? That lonely person could be your new BFF.

26) Stay healthy. If you start to feel sick, eat healthy foods, get lots of sleep and visit the health center.

27) “Don't forget to call home every now and then!” tweeted @thecadvantage.

28) “[A]lthough this is a prestigious campus bustling with some of the world's greatest minds . . . we are NOT in a bubble. Please lock your doors (room & vehicle if you have one). Do NOT leave ANYTHING unattended. NEVER open your door for strangers. Take time to prevent crime.” — Commenter on the Tufts University Facebook page.

29) Buy a bike and a heavy-duty lock.

30) Try as hard as you can to earn a high GPA your first semester. Your junior and senior self will thank you.

31) “Be careful of what you post online — it only seems anonymous,” another online commenter wrote.

32) “The transition from high school to college might be harder than the actual classes. Take an easy load in your first semester to make sure you get used to it without the pressure of difficult classes. You can always make it up in sophomore year,” online commenter DCCubefarm wrote.

33) Get locked out of your dorm room. It’s going to happen. But try not to make it a regular thing, or you will annoy the housing staff.   — eabgarnet

34) Call home at least once. (Bonus points for a Skype session.)

35) If you plan to have sex, stock up on condoms so you will be prepared to be safe. You can usually find them for free at the campus health center. Sexually transmitted infections can quickly spread through a college campus, so protect yourself.

36) Become the person who says something if another person is in danger. Never assume that someone else will take action — because when everyone makes that assumption, nothing happens. Don’t try to handle these problems alone. Call 911, your RA, an administrator or your parents. In most situations, your identity can be concealed — and even if it’s not, it’s the right thing to do. (This tip was included on a list of advice I wrote for the WP Magazine.)

37) Learn how to do your laundry.

38) “[I]f you party and drink every night, or even just binge drink most nights, congrats! You will graduate an alcoholic! Just because it’s college doesn’t mean you are immune from developing a bad habit — and just because you graduate from college doesn’t mean you can turn off the tap after 4 years of constant drinking. You won't be able to — you will be on your way to a lifetime of hard drinking. So don't do it!” wrote online commenter davetheman.

39) Go on a date. A real, true date that involves planning ahead and hours of talking to each other.

40) Read your student newspaper every single day that it’s published. Not only will you learn more about your college or university, you will also stay on top of upcoming concerts and local events.

41) “Set one-year, four-year and ten-year goals and align your decisions with attaining those goals,” wrote online commenter topwriter.

42) Make time to exercise. Go for a long walk, visit the gym, go swimming, take a yoga class, do anything. “[T]hey aren’t kidding about the Freshmen 10 — it can actually be more than that — and it helps with the stressful situations,” wrote online commenter annwhite1, who also suggests taking gym classes for academic credit.

43) Take a class that has nothing to do with your major but sounds interesting.

44) Learn to be invisible. When it gets late at night, you need to learn how to work without disrupting your sleeping roommate or fellow studying dorm mates. Get your own desk lamp so you don’t rely on the overhead light, and invest in some quality headphones. Along those lines, @trove tweeted: “Earplugs. Muted roommates = best roommates.”

45) Visit someone else’s home or invite them to visit yours during fall or winter break. (Bonus points if your visitor is an international student.)

46) Delete some “friends” on Facebook. Maybe it’s people you met at orientation and then never saw again. Maybe it’s a high school classmate you never really liked. Narrowing your definition of friendship will help you focus on real friends who matter most.

47) “Get to know at least one of your professors well. Visit him or her during office hours even when you don’t have any particular issues and talk about the course, the news, or whatever is on your mind. Having one go-to professor will help you enormously when situations do arise. And a lot of times professors will bring you in to their research efforts or work with you on other projects.” — Advice submitted by a reader during the chat.

48) Visit your high school friends at their campuses, suggested online commenter das0213. This is an opportunity to visit other parts of the country and meet people from different backgrounds.

49) “Best way to ensure success at college? Show up to all your classes. Yes, all of them,” tweeted @kevfor84.

50) Have fun. You are only a college freshman once. Enjoy the experience. Good luck!

Jeez — that’s a lot of advice. But if you have even more, please share it in the comments section below, on Twitter using the hashtag #College101 or on the Campus Overload Facebook page.