Why Carmelo Anthony Will Stay in New York

As a Knicks fan, I was shocked when Carmelo Anthony said he will go into free agency this offseason. He will obviously be the most highly sought after free agent this year. I honestly don’t think he wants to leave New York.

Melo said he wants to be a free agent simply because he has never gotten the opportunity to be a free agent in his career. He wants to be evaluated. He compares being a free agent to being in the gym and all of the general managers judging your performance. He wants all of the other teams to evaluate him. We all remember what Dwight Howard did to the Los Angeles Lakers last year though. The only thing that would make Melo leave New York is a substantial increase in the amount of money he is making every year. Even then I don’t think he will leave because he makes 21.4 million from his contract, and and additional 9 million from endorsements (mainly from the Jordan brand).

Melo has already expressed New York is the place he wants to play for the rest of his career. He stated that New York is still where he wants to be when he announced his decision to go into free agency. He hinted that he may choose between the Knicks and Lakers this offseason, but he followed that by saying New York is still the place for him. Another key factor is if they Knicks can keep Iman Shumpert. Melo and Iman are the backbone of the team and the future off the Knicks. If Shumpert goes I think Anthony will too. That being said I don’t see either of the hem going anywhere. Melo is from New York, and he is proud to be a Knickerbocker. He loves the team and his teammates.

The deciding factor in his decision is probably how deep the Knicks can go in the playoffs. I believe Melo is going into free agency to jump start his team this year. He wants to motivate everybody to play well. I’m not saying he is bluffing because if the Knicks don’t go deep in the playoffs he might seriously consider leaving, but I don’t see Carmelo Anthony in another uniform for the rest of his career. I think this will be the best Knicks team that Melo has been on thus far and that will drive him to stay and contend for NBA championships in New York for years to come.




What was Nickelodeon’s best show?

The wonderful world of television with programs and information displayed right into your living room often takes us back to our childhood. Think back to the days when Nickelodeon’s television lineup was among the most important things in your life. Many students today fondly remember their favorite Nickelodeon shows. Read below to see our staff picks and then vote in the poll to cast your vote for your favorite Nickelodeon show of the era.

JimmyNeutronThe Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius
By Ryan Signorino

One of the best shows Nickelodeon has aired is Jimmy Neutron. The show is centered around Jimmy, a boy genius who can invent almost anything, and his friends Carl, a plump, llama-loving boy who is allergic to almost everything, and Sheen, an excitable kid who is obsessed with comic books. The show’s plot is similar to that of Phineas and Ferb.

Most episodes involve Jimmy inventing something useful that falls into the wrong hands or gets used incorrectly. Jimmy then needs to figure out how to stop his invention from doing any harm to anyone or the town. Carl and Sheen, or in some cases Cindy, the second smartest girl in Jimmy’s class, and Libby, a girl that is interested in music and fashion, usually test Jimmy’s inventions and follow him to try to fix the problems. Jimmy is much smarter than Carl and Sheen, who are both usually fairly lost as to what Jimmy is doing.

In order to save the situation Jimmy usually has a “brain blast,” when the viewer gets a look at what Jimmy is thinking, and he saves the day. While each episode followed a similar plot line, every episode was different and had cool inventions that play to the imagination of the viewer.

AngryBeaversAngry Beavers
By Jeremiah Ordos

“…I found something!” -Daggett Beaver.

These words spoken by our beloved talking beaver friend capture the exact reaction I had when first stumbling upon the show. The Angry Beavers is a TV show that appeared on Nickelodeon in the late 1990s that captured all of our hearts. The story of two bachelor, twin brother beavers, Norbert and Daggett, proves to be an erratic, unconventional show for children, but is easily relatable to for kids with siblings.

Norbert, the blonde one, is the eldest of the two by only four minutes, but he uses that to bully around his “younger brother.” He is more relaxed and lazier than Dag, and he is also a lot more responsible and sophisticated. Norb also is very competitive with Dag and hates losing to him, although he rarely does.

Daggett on the other hand is the brown one and is younger than Norbert. I can’t help but feel bad for Daggie. His older brother is always picking on him and enjoys hurting him. Daggett is also the “work horse” of the two and is usually bossed into doing things, such as build the dam, while Norbert just sits there and watches.

Norb and Dag’s humor, sibling rivalry, and tension between the two make for a wild show that has many life lessons to be learned. One that sticks out is how important relationships are. Even though Daggett and Norbert “hate” each other and fight a lot, they’re brothers at the end of the day and almost always forgive one another. The Angry Beavers is one of the top shows Nickelodeon has ever put out and it is truly a shameful thing that it was cancelled.

A short letter to Nickelodeon (me age 6):

Dear Nickleodion,

Pleaz put The Angri Beevers back on my TV becuz it wuz 1 of my favorite shows. i really like Dag and Norbert, they remind me of me and my twin brother. We fight alot but we’re still brothers so we have to like each other just like them. Pleaz put it back on TV so i can wach them fight with each other again.

Sinserly,
JEREMiAH ORDOS 

CatDogCatDog
By Vinny Timpano

CatDog is an animated television show by Peter Hannan that aired on Nickelodeon. The series is based on the life of conjoined brothers, half cat and half dog. It is a comedy centered around the differences between cats and dogs and the struggle of one of each being stuck together. Dog is less than intelligent, loves rock and roll, and eats gross fast food. Cat on the other hand is sophisticated and tries to control his brother most of the time.

They live in a town composed of mostly human-acting animals, but some real humans are in the show as well. Multiple movies and video games were also generated from the plot of the show. The show started airing in 1998 and finished in 2005, but it’s not too late to run over to your local Walmart and pick up all the seasons on DVD. The show will make you laugh, but it can also be serious at times, I think I might have even cried once or twice. At any rate it was definitely the best show to air on Nickelodeon, hands down.

ChalkZoneChalkZone
By Caleb Futscher

ChalkZone was a great show. It starred 10-year-old, Rudy Tabooty who likes to draw cartoons. The problem is the school bully, Reggie, always teases him about it and gets Rudy in trouble because Rudy’s school teacher hates cartoons. One day Rudy discovers a piece of “White Lightning” chalk, which allows access to the ChalkZone, a place where everything and everyone that has ever been drawn in chalk and erased takes form as living. He also made his friend Snap who was a small, blue, drawing made by Rudy when he was 8 years old. Snap wears a superhero uniform and is very adventurous. Rudy only lets one other person know about ChalkZone, his best friend and crush Penny Sanchez who acts as the genius of the group and comes up with all the ideas. This is a great show, and I definitely recommend it to the younger audience.

DannyPhantomDanny Phantom
By Eli Chase

The year was 2004. I was 7 years old, and the long winter nights were driving me to insanity. The one thing that helped lift my head and drop my shoulder through the final months of the horrid season was anticipation for the show Danny Phantom. The story of a boy with ghostly powers mesmerized me. When it finally aired on April 3, 2004, it did not disappoint. The high school loser/ghostly superhero kept me an avid fan through the depressing finale in 2007. Danny Phantom, you will be remembered.

DrakeJoshDrake and Josh
By Hayden Clarke

“Drake and Josh” was a teen sitcom that aired from 2004-2007. It centered around two teens who suddenly became stepbrothers after Josh’s father marries Drake’s mother. Most of the humor comes from the complete differences in the personalities of the stepbrothers, Drake is a popular musician and Josh is an awkward geek. They often have very different views and opinions on things, which causes them to feud a lot. Occasionally they will have a joyful moment together in which they will proclaim, “Hug me brother!”

In almost every episode, Drake and Josh get themselves into an awkward or difficult situation, and there are many conflicts that they face. In one of my favorite episodes, Drake and Josh have to rebuild their neighbor’s treehouse after they destroyed it with a bottle rocket. They are very anxious to get the project done because they have dates with twins that night. After they put up the last wall, they realize that they forgot to cut out a door, trapping themselves inside. Their little sister Megan, who continuously gives them trouble, refuses to help them because they made her miss a sleepover that night. They try everything to get out, including throwing themselves against the wall of the treehouse, but everything fails. This is just an example of the many frustrating but entertaining problems that they face.

I loved this show so much because I could really relate to the characters. Many of the shows I watched as a kid were cartoons, but I always felt like I could relate more to the sitcoms. The show was filled with so many great moments, including watching Josh transform from a chubby geek into a very slim cool guy. While I loved most of the shows on Nickelodeon when I was a kid, I especially enjoyed “Drake and Josh.”

FairlyOddparentsThe Fairly Oddparents
By John Hilbert

The Fairly Oddparents have been on Nickelodeon since 2001, and they are still going strong. As a child I always looked forward to coming home from school and seeing what magical wish Cosmo and Wanda would grant Timmy. The plot of the show is that there is a 10-year-old boy who has an evil babysitter named Vicky because his parents work all the time. His parents don’t realize that Vicky is evil so that is when Cosmo and Wanda come into Timmy’s life as his Fairy Godparents.

Together they face some pretty sticky situations with Mr. Crocker, Tootie, Jorgen the Fairy General, and plenty of other crazy people. One of the most memorable episodes is when Timmy goes on stage with Chip Skylark, the super famous, totally cute, pop sensation. In this episode Chip releases his new song called “Icky Vicky,” which became the best song of his career. Even today I sing the lyrics in my head, “Hey, hey Vicky. You’re so so icky. Just the thought of being around you makes me oh so sicky.”

HeyArnoldHey Arnold!
By Connor Van Hove

Everyone that grew up in the 90s remembers the hit TV series Hey Arnold! This cartoon was based on Arnold, a 4th grader who lived with his grandparents in a big city. Arnold and his friends Gerald, Sid, Helga, Harold, Eugene, Stinky, Phoebe, and Rhonda gave the viewers important life lessons in the midst of humorous adventures through the city. Arnold also had a funny “relationship” with Helga where she was very spiteful to him in person. However, she had a huge crush on him and created sculptures of him in her house. All the lessons learned and funny adventures made this series the best cartoon on Nickelodeon.

InvaderZimInvader Zim
By Sean Taylor

Invader Zim stands out as the most redheaded stepchild of a scarlet-haired family. It was weird, completely idiosyncratic, and in my opinion, showed the most potential of any program on the Nickelodeon roster. In its odd color palette, absurd voice work, and disturbing plots, Invader Zim promised something more to its viewers than the average yuck-yucks provided by other shows.

The plot, exceptionally creative and dark: Zim, the most idiotic of a species of hostile aliens is relegated to Earth, an incompetent conqueror for an incompetent planet. He brings with him a brain damaged robot, one of the defining reoccurring jokes of the series being said robots failure to disguise itself as a dog. Zim’s ostensible purpose on our planet is to assimilate with the populace, learn our ways, and inform his home world of Earths intergalactic pugilistic weakness. He attempts to do so by attending a local school, where he is generally accepted by his fellow students. The only individual who has even an inkling of suspicion is young conspiracy theorist Dib, whose otherwise complete unlikableness leaves his claims falling on deaf ears.

The series built itself around this cat and mouse conflict with Zim attempting to fulfill his mission, and Dib trying to expose him. The world in which they engage in their struggle is off kilter, grimy, and very uncomfortable, with an almost existential bent. It is, I believe, one of the first attempts at making surrealism palatable for children.

I very much love this show. It was brilliant and completely uncompromising, not afraid to tell the story it wanted to tell. Despite what its audience may have wanted. One can see its influence in a whole new generation of animated shows, from Regular Show to Adventure Time to Gravity Falls. It continues to inspire me, as an example of what can be done when an artist attacks a project with a lack of fear and an excess of ambition.

Legends of the Hidden Temple - John Sutter's Map to the Lost Gold MineLegends of the Hidden Temple
By Lucas Buseck

There was this great channel that I would watch when I was growing up, Nickelodeon’s GAS (games and sports) channel. On this great channel was a really awesome show, Legends of the Hidden Temple. Featuring a talking stone head, a host that would repel down into the center of the stage seemingly out of nowhere, the shrine of the silver monkey, and those temple guards that still scare me, if Legends of the Hidden Temple wasn’t in your childhood, I’m really sorry. Maybe it’s on Netflix or something.

Essentially, Legends of the Hidden Temple pitted six teams composed of one preteen girl and one preteen boy against each other in competition to get a chance to enter the sacred temple and race to get the treasure hidden within. The teams are weeded out via preliminary competitions testing physical and mental strength, as well as camaraderie. I was always curious as to how one was chosen to partake in Legends of the Hidden Temple (still am, actually). I always wanted to partake in Legends of the Hidden Temple (still do, actually).

Once one team remained, that team was given specific instruction as to where in the temple they could find the episode’s hidden treasure. This treasure was always something really curious, like the Dried Ear of Corn of Sojourner Truth, the Lost Hornpipe of the Pirate Captain, or the Snow Cone of Mt. Kilimanjaro. In the temple were these really muscular, really scary looking temple guards. The temple guards would come out of nowhere and snatch the hopeful competitors and take them, somewhere. I don’t know where. It’s just really frightening to think about.

So the boys and girls didn’t always win, but they were always rewarded. Even those that were ousted in the first round still got points for trying, and major points in that they came in the form of really cool stuff like chocolate milk. When a team somehow managed to make it through the whole temple and out with the hidden treasure without being kidnapped by a temple guard, they got something really awesome, like a trip to the Bahamas, or, if they were really lucky, a trip to space camp. Thank God for the 1990s.

Rocket_PowerRocket Power
By John Dill

Throughout our entire childhood and still going on to this day, Nickelodeon has dominated the category of children television shows. Nick has continuously produced great show after great show, but the best TV show that Nickelodeon ever aired was for three seasons back when we were all quite young. That show is Rocket Power. Rocket Power is based around four friends: Otto, Maurice “Twister”, Sam “Squid”, and Reggi. These four kids loved to play sports, do extreme stunts, surf, and always get into trouble.

Otto and Reggi are brother and sister and live with their father Ray, who is a great surfer and owns the shore shack. Then there is also Tito who is Ray’s best friend and helps him out at the shore shack. Tito is also a great surfer and a man full of wisdom and wise words that the four kids come to in order to gain insight. This show was always very entertaining because of all the action-packed events and sports that went on during these four kids’ summers.

RockoRocko’s Modern Life
By Steve Bretz

When we were growing up, Nickelodeon was in its prime. Producing benchmark titles such as Spongebob Squarepants, CatDog, Rugrats, Angry Beavers, and the list goes on and on. Somewhere at the very end of that list, you’ll find the show Rocko’s Modern Life. It was never the most popular during its time, but it is nonetheless an original Nickelodeon classic.

It was an outlandish series with probably the most catchy intro ever created. The show was based around the surreal adventures of the Australian-immigrant wallaby named Rocko, who recently moved to America from Australia. His best friend was a horse named Heffer, and his faithful dog was Spunky. Together these three were always a part of crazy adventures, getting in trouble or aggravating Rocko’s neighbor Mr. Smitty.

The show doesn’t receive enough recognition for a few reasons. Number one, the last year it aired was before many of us were born (1996). Number two, because it last aired in 1996 all we could see were re-runs, which primarily aired at early hours in the morning. And number three, it was more “edgy” compared to the other Nickelodeon cartoons during this time, and it contained a lot of adult humor that went over our heads.

It also made many parallels to the real world that kids our age wouldn’t have understood. For instance, Rocko and Heffer’s favorite place to hangout was “Chewy Chicken,” made to parody a KFC. And Conglom-O Corporation was the biggest company in town and basically had control over the city. It was meant to mimic mega corporations in modern day America.

Although the show was never the most popular, I still believe it should rank among Nickelodeon’s best ever created. Its personification, wacky animation, and experimental adult humor make for arguably one of the greatest cartoons in the 1990s. Growing up, I watched the show every day at 6 in the morning. And I would say that it is a must watch for anyone who is a fanatic for Nicktoons.

RugratsRugrats
By James Fleming

Rugrats is a show that follows the everyday lives of Tommy, Chuckie, and the twins Phil and Lil. All of the main characters are babies. The show follows their everyday lives and how normal events become little adventures in a baby’s mind. They use their imagination to change an everyday task into a whole adventure. They usually run into problems during these adventures and have trouble completing the task. This was one of my favorite shows growing up. The show premiered on Aug. 11, 1991 and won 20 awards in its 13-year tenure. The 65th and final episode aired on May 22, 1994. I think it was one of the better cartoons of all time.

SpongeBobSpongeBob SquarePants
By Joe McCafferty

One word can define our generation as far as cartoons are concerned: SpongeBob. It’s the most iconic cartoon since Scooby Doo. The theme song opening, “Are you ready, kids? Aye-Aye Captain!” is familiar to all ages as soon as it hits the TV screen. Who ever could have thought that a yellow sponge, a pink starfish, a squid, and a squirrel could make such a great television show?

Whether it was the first episode when the anchovies attack the Krusty Krab, or the latest episodes they have been making to date, SpongeBob has done it all. This show has been going on for nearly 14 years, longer than any other cartoon on Nickelodeon. This show has represented a generation of kids and gone above and beyond anything ever expected. This show is clearly the show of the decade, and it’s really not even close.




2013 World Series Preview

It’s finally come, the moment baseball fans have been waiting for since the first pitch of the season on Sunday, March 31, 2013. Probably one of the most unpredictable World Series yet will begin tonight between the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals. Both of these teams have had amazing seasons and have played great baseball since March. Although neither of these teams were pre-season picks to make it to the show, they are here and ready to make history.

Let’s start by recapping the ALCS between the Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox. Despite Detroit’s impeccable pitching by it’s starting rotation, they came up short as the pitching staff was given no run support. The Tigers led almost every batting category with the exception of a few, including the two most crucial, runs batted in and home runs. But Boston had four home runs in the series, including two grand slams delivered by David Ortiz in Game 2 and Shane Victorino in Game 6.

Boston didn’t have the best team batting average, but they delivered runs when they needed them. They took full advantage of Detroit’s weak bullpen and made veteran pitchers look like rookies. They also shut down Detroit’s offense with runners in scoring position and had Tigers fans turning off their televisions in the 8th inning.

The NLCS was contested between the Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis Cardinals. St. Louis started off the series by winning the first two games and had the Dodgers on their heels the entire time. The Cardinals starting pitchers carried them through the regular season and are a big part of the reason as to why they are going to the World Series for the fourth time in ten years.

The Cardinals dominated the series in almost every aspect of the game. Despite late efforts by the Dodgers in Game 5, trying to win some momentum and take back the series the Cardinals did not let up. In Game 6 St. Louis made a statement by scoring 9 runs, sending the Dodgers back to L.A. with their heads down.

The Cardinals enter this World Series with a chip on their shoulder hoping to avenge their loss to the Red Sox in 2004. However, the way both of these teams are playing it can go either way. They are quite evenly matched on paper, having similar statistics in almost every category. They both beat two heavy World Series favorites to make it here and tied for the best record in baseball during the regular season.

A World Series has not been this evenly matched in a long time. Both of these teams have played incredible baseball all season and are red hot entering the game tonight. Each team has their own arsenal of big name stars as well as secret weapons, giving neither team a decisive edge entering this series. Right now it is anyone’s series to take and should make for one of the best of all time.

Prediction: Boston will take the series in six games.Their ability to score in key situations will give them the runs they need to win games. Their bullpen will not let up, and their closer, Koji Uehara, won’t give up any runs late in the game. Not to mention the luck they receive from their playoff beards.




The Candy Crush Craze

You’ve seen the advertisements. You’ve heard the buzz about it. It’s been the top app in the iTunes App Store for months. It is Candy Crush. You may see people playing it on their iPhones or on their iPads and think to yourself, “That looks like a cheap knockoff of Bejeweled,” or, “That doesn’t look hard at all.”

I myself thought the game looked lame and had no point. I kept hearing my mom and my sister talking about Candy Crush, so I finally decided to give it a try. The premise of Candy Crush is similar to Bejeweled. Match three of the same colored candies to gain points. It differs from Bejeweled since there is a storyline to Candy Crush as well as having different goals for each level. Each level has a different objective, ranging from getting a certain number of points to bringing ingredients to the bottom, to getting rid of jellies.

candycrush1The game begins simply enough. A cute little girl with pigtails teaches you the basics of the game, how to match candies, and how to get special candies like striped candies and wrapped candies. Starting the game is easy. I don’t think I dropped a life through the first 10 levels. Jellies are introduced in level 6. Jellies are basically a square glazing behind a piece of candy. Levels that have jellies require the player to remove all the jellies from the board. Some levels include double jellies, which are jellies that require the player to get rid the jelly twice in order to remove it.

All was well and good as I continued playing. The levels remained simple enough as I made my way through Candy Town. Level 11 introduces ingredient levels which require the player to maneuver cherries and hazelnuts to the bottom of the screen. These levels start out pretty easy but get difficult quick, especially when the ingredients have meringue and chocolate too.

Each level has a specific color so before playing you know what kind of level to be expecting. Orange levels ask you to get a certain number of points in an allotted amount of move. Blue levels require you to remove all the jellies. Pink levels make you fill orders of specific candies to get. Green levels need you to get all the ingredients to the bottom. And purple levels make you get a certain number of points in a limited amount of time. Timed levels are by far the easiest since you don’t need to do anything specific.

As the game progresses, it becomes more difficult to get the high amounts of points required. To compensate, the game has special candies that you get for combining more than three candies. There are three special candies that are obtainable by combining candies. Combining four candies gets you a striped candy, moving a candy that matches two groups of three gets you a wrapped candy, and combining five candies of the same color gets you a color bomb.

Each special candy has a unique ability that clears more candy from the board. Striped candies take out an entire vertical or horizontal row of candies depending on which way the stripes face. Wrapped candies blow up a 3×3 area of candy, then blow up another 3×3 area. Color bombs take out all the candies of one color on the board. When special candies are combined they create even bigger reactions. Two striped candies clear a vertical and horizontal row of candies, two wrapped candies explode an 8×8 area of candies twice, and two color bombs clear the entire board of candy. A striped candy and a color bomb makes all of the candies of one color turn into striped candies, and a wrapped candy and color bomb detonate all the candies of one color, and once the board settles down, detonate another random color.

There are also obstacles that make the levels more difficult. Meringue is introduced in early levels and can be removed by matching a group of candies adjacent to it. Chocolate is introduced later and is one of the most difficult obstacles in the game. In order to remove chocolate the player needs to match candies adjacent to it. However, every move the player doesn’t remove a chocolate, another chocolate will grow adjacent to an existing chocolate. Chocolates can quickly overtake the board and make the level difficult to beat. Another difficult blocker is the licorice swirl, which is immune to all special candies, with the exception of a color bomb and color bomb combo. Licorice is removed much like the other blockers, by matching candies that are adjacent to it.

As the game progresses more levels become available to play. Levels are separated into episodes which contain 15 levels each. Every episode has a unique, candy-themed name like Minty Meadow or Bubblegum Bridge. In order to continue on in the game and unlock new episodes the player has a few choices. The player could connect the game to Facebook, which gives them the opportunity to ask for help from their friends on Facebook in order to unlock the next episode. Connecting to Facebook also shows the progress other people on Facebook have made and what level they are currently playing. Another option is to complete quests which are randomly selected levels that the player must beat. To unlock a new episode a player needs help from three Facebook friends or complete three quests. There is also an option to immediately unlock a new episode by paying $0.99.candycrush2

There are many elements of the game that can be bought. Candy Crush is almost always the top grossing app in the App Store, which means it is the app that has made the most money. What is amazing about Candy Crush is that the game is free, and all the money that is made from it is through in-app purchases. For example, every time the player fails a level the game offers them five extra moves for $0.99. I myself am guilty of utilizing this once or twice. When there is one or two moves that need to be made in order to beat a level but you run out of moves, the urge to continue is sometimes too great, especially if the level is difficult. Boosters are able to be purchased like Lollipop Hammers, which allow the player to smash one specific candy. This is useful in situations when there is one jelly left in the level but no moves that will remove the jelly. Other boosters include starting the game with striped candies, wrapped candies, and color bombs, and getting to have jelly fish as part of the game board, which pop candies when they are paired with matching colors.

candycrush3The question I continue to ask myself is, “Why is this game so popular?” It is similar to other games that have been around, notably Bejeweled. The thing with Candy Crush, though, is that it has an almost unlimited amount of scenarios to keep players frustrated. The life system limits the play time, meaning every time a player fails a level, they lose a life. Players have five lives, and each life takes 30 minutes to regenerate. The only flaw with that system is that the game runs via the devices internal clock, so anyone playing on a mobile device could change the time settings on their phone or tablet to move time forward, thus giving them more lives.

Another question that many people probably wonder daily is, “Why is Candy Crush so addictive?” Some of the reasons that come to mind are that the levels seem easy, and you would think they can be beat in one or two tries. When you can’t beat a level in a short period of time it starts to bug you and create a force between you and the level that makes it seem like the level needs to be completed. The implementation of showing where your Facebook friends currently are in the game also adds to the addictiveness. People always want to win and be better than other people, and in Candy Crush it is no different.

I did some research into the addictiveness of Candy Crush. According to the websites I looked at, the game is almost too simple and people feel dumb that they can’t beat some levels. According to others, the game is designed to be a habit and not a game. If the game is played at similar times of the day then eventually it will become a normal part of people’s everyday lives. It seems like it has even developed beyond being a habit for some and has turned into an obsession.

Whether you’ve played it or not, be forewarned that the game becomes very addicting and difficult to quit. Connecting the game to Facebook shows just how many people have played the game. Playing Candy Crush does develop a habit, and many habits are very difficult to break. The developers continue to create new levels for both the Facebook game and the mobile app, which currently have 500 and 440 levels, respectively. The game continues to grow in popularity each day, and it seems as though it will never stop being popular.

I’d like to end with some advice for everyone playing Candy Crush. Every level is possible, even if you’ve played it hundreds and hundreds of times. Even if the level doesn’t require skill and is only based on luck, there is still some way to beat the level and continue on. And if a level is so difficult that you want to quit playing because of it out of frustration, I’d tell you to keep on trying until you finally beat it, then quit. You’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you beat the level, then you can quit the game. For those of you who continue to play and keep unlocking more levels, I wish you good luck and happy Candy Crushing!




“Live the Life” in NHL 14

I am an avid NHL gamer for the Xbox 360, and even won the title of intramural champion during my sophomore year at Prep as the best player in the school on a team with my brother. We played some great players. We won a game in a shootout, overtime, blowout fashion, and even got a last second regulation win in the championship game. I have the shirt to prove it.

EA Sports’ newest installment of the game, NHL 14, recently came out and is the best yet by far.  I have played each of my brothers a couple of times, winning by a lot as if I were playing on rookie level difficulty. I really like this year’s “Live the Life” game mode. It is where you are the player. You get drafted and interviewed, hangout with teammates and go through the daily life of a pro hockey player. I have some high expectations for my player this season and decided to share them through a letter I received from the team’s manager.

Hello Mr. Ordos,

On behalf of the Philadelphia Flyers organization, I would like to welcome you to the team!  We have very high expectations for you after taking you first overall in the 2014 draft. Our team has some very talented players in the likes of Claude Giroux and Scott Hartnell, and we are very excited to have you on board.

Being the first overall in any draft is not easy; there is a lot of hype surrounding you right now and we are going to help any way we can. We do have some season expectations for you and want you to at least accomplish three:

    • Score 25 goals
    • Get 36 assists
    • Be in the Top 5 for the Calder Memorial Trophy
    • Take 267 shots
    • Play in 59 games

Accomplish three of these and you will be well on your way to superstar status. We also would like you to make good decisions on and off the ice. Any and every decision you make will effect your relationship with your family, teammates, fans, and management; also your decisions will come with consequences.

We would like to at least make the playoffs this year and we think you have some star potential to help us do so. We are looking for you to be a leader of the team, even though you won’t wear a letter on your sweater and you are only a rookie. This is a lot to put on an 18-year-old kid, but we think you have the ability to do so.

I look forward to getting to know you, Jeremiah. If you ever have any comments or concerns don’t be afraid to bring them to management. We want to help you learn and grow any way we can so you become a premier hockey player and the face of our franchise. I hope you are with the organization for many years to come and bring many championships back to Philadelphia.

Sincerely,
The Philadelphia Flyers

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Buctober: The Letdown

I’ve never cared about baseball in October. I’ve never been a fan of a baseball team that had a winning record either. That all changed this year, though.

The Pittsburgh Pirates, my beloved Buccos, hadn’t had a winning season since 1992. I was born in 1995. Call it the curse of Barry Bonds, or call it “trading your best player every year,” or call it just really poor managing. The fact is the Bucs have been bad, really bad. And they were really bad for a really long time, until this year.

My relationship with the Pirates has been threefold. As a young child I would live and die by the Pirates. I remember waking up and crying upon learning of a Buccos loss. I cried a lot.

As I grew older and matured, I began to realize it may be in my best interest to not be so attached, if only for my emotional health. I began to truly not care, often times scoffing at the Pirates’ very existence. Just how bad they were was at times, to me, funny. So, go ahead, tell me I’m not a true fan.

My interest in the Pirates began to spike with the beginning of the 2012 season. At one time the Bucs were leading the division, and it really looked like that year could have been their year. But it wasn’t. Of course it wasn’t.

Still, at the beginning of this season, there was hope. Granted, it was a small amount of hope, but it was hope nonetheless. Enough hope too, I’d say, to leave me curious. How would the season play out?

I’ll admit it, I was a skeptic. I was a skeptic the whole way. Probably out of caution, I never would let myself believe this was the Pirates’ year. I remember going to a Pirates game in June and hearing the announcer speak during the post-game show about what the Pirates were doing good that would lead to success in the postseason, and I thought he was absolutely nuts. I wouldn’t believe the Pirates would make the playoffs until it was certain they would and had clinched mathematically, until it was impossible for them to fall short.

Putting limits on happiness is kind of a silly thing. Something will never result in absolute happiness; we’re humans and were always going to want more. Throughout the season I constantly said I would be happy if the Pirates just managed a winning season. They made the playoffs, though. When your team makes the playoffs, just having a winning record won’t suffice. The Pirates had to win their wildcard game. Then they had to win the NLDS. Then they had to win the NLCS, and then they had to win the World Series. They did not, though.

There were many times throughout the season that could have led one to believe this was the Pirates’ year. The National League Central is one of the toughest divisions in baseball; both wildcard teams out of the National League came from this division, the Pirates and the Reds. At times, though, the Buccos looked to be the best team in this division, the best example of this coming when the Pirates took 4 out of 5 from the Cardinals in that rare five game series in the middle of the year. When it was finally certain the Pirates and the Reds would face each other in the winner-take-all wildcard game, the Buccos went to Cincinnati for the last series of the year and took all three games to earn the right to host the first game of the 2013 playoffs. This game was on Oct. 1.

PNC Park was constructed in 2001. It is a beautiful stadium. Situated right on the Allegheny River, there isn’t a bad seat in it from which to watch baseball. Walking over the Clemente Bridge to the stadium and enjoying a Primanti Bros. sandwich from your seat, all while enjoying baseball—America’s favorite past time—and the iconic Pittsburgh skyline, with the glass castle building standing out, makes for quite the experience. The irony was that despite being one of the nicest stadiums in baseball, hardly anyone was there to enjoy it. Over the past decade, attendance at PNC Park had been incredibly low for obvious reasons.

With the recent success of the team, attendance has picked up. Turning on the TV to a Pirates game and seeing the stadium sold out was something really neat, and it almost made me proud to call myself a Pirates fan. What was maybe even more neat was when I would turn the TV on to ESPN, and the Pirates game was on there. A team that was once always just assumed to be bad was now in the national spotlight.

The response the Pirates received from their fans was phenomenal. Maybe this should have been expected though, as any team who has been stagnant for so long will be greeted with excitement when they finally start doing well. Regardless, the success with which the Pirates played unveiled a new dimension of PNC Park, an absolutely thriving, loud, attentive, and overall exciting venue from which baseball was being watched.

When the Pirates earned the right to host that wildcard game against the Reds, the city of Pittsburgh responded profoundly. PNC was blacked out, and it was loud. This was, after all, the first playoff game played in the stadium, the first game played in the stadium in October. So, as with everything these days, a phrase to embody the experience was concocted and, in lots of venues, preceded by a hashtag. The phrase #Buctober was all over Twitter.

#Buctober sounded awesome. That first game between the Reds and the Pirates may have been the best game to be at, but the following two, a win and then a loss against St. Louis, had to have been quite awesome as well. Ultimately, all three games, if just for the overall experience, were games one would pay great money to be at.

I myself was prepared to pay money for the experience. My dad and I had tickets to game four of the NLCS (which would have pitted the Pirates up against the Dodgers.) These were standing-room-only tickets, but I was beyond excited to go and to experience what had been coined “Buctober.”

I will not, however, be able to experience Buctober, and this makes me very sad. The Pirates lost Wednesday night in Game 5 of the NLDS to the Cardinals in St. Louis. I suppose the home field advantage did benefit the Cardinals, as the Pirates didn’t play quite as well as they had played in the previous games. We’ll never know if the outcome of that game would have been different at PNC Park, full of its youth and general excitement over this new experience.

So, as I watched Game 5 on Wednesday, it slowly dawned on me I would not get to experience Buctober, and I was slowly let down. Freese hit one out early, and I knew the game was over. The Pirates showed slight glimmers of hope, but nothing to get too excited over. Ultimately, my Buccos let me down, again. This was nothing new.

I want to be proud of the Pirates, I really do. I’ve had the taste of postseason success, though, and I want more.

There’s plenty to be excited about in the future. The Pirates are young, and their players are, as opposed to the players of previous years, committed to their team, their city and bringing the city of Pittsburgh a World Series.

As was the case in my childhood, when I was simply waiting for that winning season, there’s always next year.




What You Need to Know About the Government Shutdown

Alarms are going off as we enter the second week of the government shutdown. The shutdown started on Oct. 1 when Republicans and Democrats couldn’t agree on a spending plan for the fiscal year. The governments fiscal year started on Oct. 1, 2013. The central debate revolves around the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare.

Republicans in Congress are desperately trying to derail Obamacare, and they feel that it is worth disrupting the government to do so. There has recently been a cycle of proposal and rejection in Congress. The Republican-dominated House recently passed two spending bill amendments, one that would delay Obamacare for a year, and one that would repeal the plan’s medical device tax. On Monday, Sept. 30, the Senate rejected the House proposals, making way for the government shutdown.

One of the key duties of Congress is to pass spending bills. If it fails to do so by the start of the fiscal year, many functions of the government will be stopped. This is what caused the government shutdown. Many government-funded agencies are now shutdown, including national parks and agencies like the CDC and the FDA. Some limited government services like Social Security, air traffic control, and military pay will continue to be funded.

Mr. Frank Mezler, one of the more politically savvy teachers at Cathedral Prep gave his thoughts on the government shutdown. “I think it is a shame that our leaders have to resort to a shutdown in order to achieve what they want,” he said. “Our country should be built on compromise.”

In terms of how he thinks it will be resolved, Mezler said, “Hopefully it will be resolved before Oct. 17 when we basically run out of money. The debt ceiling needs to be raised in order for us to pay for things like Social Security and Medicare. Neither party will budge, and the longer it goes on, the worse it will get.”

This shutdown is the first one since late 1995, which lasted 21 days. Hopefully this shutdown will not have a huge impact on innocent Americans, many of whom find themselves taking an “unpaid vacation” during the shutdown. Let’s just hope that our government can come to an agreement by Oct. 17, when our government will run out of spending money if the debt ceiling isn’t raised.




2013-14 Initial NBA Power Rankings

The new NBA season is quickly approaching. Opening night is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 29. With the preseason already having started, here are our power rankings to start the season.

30. Charlotte Bobcats
The Bobcats are bad. Really bad. And it doesn’t look like they’re going to get any better any time soon. The only glimmer of light is Kemba Walker, but he can’t single handedly carry them. They added Al Jefferson, but he is a liability on the defensive end, and we don’t see him being a difference maker on such a bad team. Expect them to be a lottery team again this year.

29. Orlando Magic
The Orlando Magic are atrocious. They drafted a great talent in Victor Oladipo, but there is no way he can carry a team. He doesn’t have that much offensive firepower. He is a great defender but only an average scorer. They need to add more pieces before they even have a chance to contend.

28. Washington Wizards
With two young, high caliber guards, the Wizards are improving. They still have a long way to go though. As of now they are one of the worst teams in the NBA.

27. Phoenix Suns
Their best player is Marcin Gortat. That is all.

26. Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks had two of the best scoring guards in the NBA a year ago. This year they don’t. They lost their two leading scorers. Even though they acquired a solid offensive talent in O.J. Mayo, they will be a low-tier team in the league this year because of a lack of scoring.

25. Philadelphia 76ers
The Sixers traded their best young player this offseason, Jrue Holiday. This was a head scratcher for many, but we think it shows the confidence they have in the rookie out of Syracuse, Michael Carter-Williams. When they traded Holiday they also acquired rookie defensive specialist, Nerlens Noel. We believe they will be a good team in the future, but they need time to develop these players.

24. Utah Jazz
They have talent, but their talent is very young. In a few years they will be much closer to contending for a playoff spot.

23. Sacramento Kings
The Kings are essentially the same team they have been for the past five years. They replaced Tyreke Evans with rookie Ben McLemore, who will most likely be their go-to scorer. The rookie won’t be able to handle the load, at least not this year.

22. Detroit Pistons
The Detroit Pistons acquired two big names this year in Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith. We don’t think this combo will mesh well. They both have a reputation for poor shot taking and being selfish. With that being said we don’t see the Pistons doing much this year.

21. L.A. Lakers
Kobe Bryant is hurt, Dwight Howard is gone, and Steve Nash isn’t producing like he used to. The Lakers are taking a huge step back this year and for years to come. Buckle up for the ride, Lakers fans, because the glory days are over.

20. Dallas Mavericks
The Mavs would be higher up if they had a better outlook on the season. Dirk Nowitski wants out, and he’s been the face of their franchise for years. This offseason they acquired Monta Ellis, but he is shot happy and shoots a low percentage.

19. Atlanta Hawks
The key for the Atlanta Hawks is Jeff Teague. If he can take the next step forward, so will the Hawks. Sharpshooter Kyle Korver has made a reputation as one of the most productive shooters in the league, but it takes more than that to win games. They lost their best player, Josh Smith. That will hurt them this year.

18. Minnesota Timberwolves
The Timberwolves can do good things. The only thing that would hold them back is health. Kevin Love seems to get injured every year and so does Ricky Rubio. If those two can stay healthy good things will come, but we don’t think they will stay healthy.

17. New Orleans Pelicans
The Pelicans traded their draft pick, Nerlens Noel, for All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday. They have three solid guards in Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon, and newly acquired Tyreke Evans. The only question is how they are going to fit all three of those guards into the rotation.

16. Boston Celtics
Boston traded away the heart and soul of their team when they traded away Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Is Rajon Rondo next? They won’t make a huge splash this year, but don’t expect them to be terrible. They drafted (in our opinion) one of the better prospects this year, Kelly Olynyk. He is a 7-footer with a great offensive game. Maybe there is some hope in Boston still.

15. Toronto Raptors
DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay are great centerpieces for this franchise. They have a solid point guard in Kyle Lowry as well. If they can add one more big name they will be a serious contender, but until then they are a middle of the road team.

14. Portland Trailblazers
The Blazers young stud Damian Lillard is going to have another great year. They will be good and make the playoffs, but we don’t think they have any legitimate chance to win it all.

13. Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavs are a head scratcher. They have the potential to be very good this year, but the key is health. If Andrew Bynum and Kyrie Irving can stay healthy, this will  be their best year in the post-LeBron James era.

12. Denver Nuggets
The Denver Nuggets are facing a lot of challenges because their management is awful. Who fires the Coach of the Year? Even though their management is awful, their talent is pretty solid. Once Danilo Gallinari comes back they might have a shot at being a solid team this year.

11. L.A. Clippers
They are now the face of Los Angeles. They have the best point guard in the league and two young, talented big men. They just never seem to get over that hump. They always make an early exit from the playoffs. Maybe this year will be different. We shall see.

10. Memphis Grizzlies
The Grizzlies are arguably the most overlooked, underrated team in the NBA. They play a slow game and have this era’s version of the “Twin Towers” in Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. This team will make a run this year.

9. Houston Rockets
Houston made the biggest splash this offseason, adding the best center in the game in Dwight Howard. Howard is going to come into this season a force. With James Harden and Chandler Parsons playing the wing and taking on most of the scoring load, this team has the potential to be very dangerous. The only question is who will play power forward?

8. Golden State Warriors
All I can say is watch out. The “Splash Brothers” Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are going to have a year to remember, and now they added talent in the form of wingman Andre Iguodala. They will contend for a title this year. You heard it here first.

7. Chicago Bulls
With Derrick Rose back and Jimmy Butler getting better and better, the sky is the limit for the Chicago Bulls. But how far can they go with D-Rose on a minutes restriction? We think they will win more than one playoff series, but only time will tell.

6. San Antonio Spurs
Every year people overlook the Spurs as title contenders. We’re not going to be those people. We think the age of their team will be a major factor this season. The fundamentals and chemistry they possess will take them far again this year

5. New York Knicks
The Knicks didn’t do anything big this offseason, but they did trade for Andrea Bargnani. They drafted Tim Hardaway Jr. who has been coming on strong as of late. They have one of the deepest—if not the deepest—benches in the NBA. With returning scoring champ Carmelo Anthony and defensive specialist Tyson Chandler, we expect good things out of the New York Knicks this year.

4. Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder are going to be a solid squad again this year, but will they finally get over the hump and win it all this year? Durant has to step it up, Westbrook has to facilitate and take smarter shots, and Ibaka needs more offensive touches if they are going to win it all.

3. Indiana Pacers
The Pacers are an absolute powerhouse in the East. Roy Hibbert is one of the best centers in the league, and Paul George really came on strong last year. David West was a very solid starting forward last year as well. With Danny Granger returning and the signing of Chris Copeland, they have added elements to their team. They will also be very good this year.

2. Brooklyn Nets
There are high hopes in Brooklyn this year. They had an absolutely huge offseason, trading for Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jason Terry from Boston. They also made a quiet pickup of Andrei Kirilenko and signed new coach Jason Kidd. They are expected to finish among the best teams in the league.

1. Miami Heat
The Miami Heat are looking to three-peat this year, a feat previous accomplished only by Shaq & Kobe’s Lakers, Jordan’s Bulls, and Russell’s Celtics (who won eight titles in a row). Miami added some talent such as Michael Beasley and Greg Oden. It’s also the contract year for their big three. Expect them to go very deep in the playoffs. They are the favorite to win it again this year.




Ramblers Defeat Trojans, Break Record with 21st Straight Win

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The 12th Man provided support from the stands

On a night filled with promise and passion, the Cathedral Prep Ramblers football team took on their crosstown arch rival, the McDowell Trojans. However, the promise of a competitive game did not last. The Ramblers had a chokehold on the game from the get-go and defeated the Trojans 45-17 in front of 5,700 people at Gus Anderson Field.

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Quarterback Billy Fessler had a record-setting day against the Trojans

Billy Fessler hit little brother Charlie Fessler to kick off the festivities with a TD pass. From that point on, it was all Prep. McDowell was unable to get anything going on offense. McDowell (2-4) (1-1) failed to complete a pass the entire game and mustered less than 150 yards of total offense.

Billy Fessler set one record and tied another one during the evening. He broke current Michigan State quarterback Damion Terry’s record for most yards in a single game with 438. He also tied Terry’s record for most touchdowns in a single game with 6.

Fessler spread the wealth throughout the Prep receiving corps to 5 different receivers on the 6 TD passes. Jake DeHart (30 yards), Marlon Tyree (17 yards) Felix Manus-Schell (17, 75 yards) and finally Alex Greenawalt (52 yards) all found the endzone for the Ramblers.

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The Rambler defense kept the McDowell offense in check the entire game.

Prep improved to (6-0) overall and (2-0) in region 6 games. Prep also eclipsed a record of winning 21 straight games which is a new city record and the longest current winning streak in the state. The real highlight of the night for the Ramblers was after Manus-Schell’s 75-yarder in the 4th quarter. The entire team joined him to celebrate in the endzone. Although the team was flagged, it was understandable given the emotion of the game against McDowell.




#AJO Inspires Others to “Pay It Forward”

The Erie community suffered a heartbreak with the tragic passing of Penn State Behrend freshman Alyssa J. O’Neill in September as a result of an epileptic seizure. Alyssa clearly touched the lives of everyone she met. The community, country, and parts of the world have embraced her death with a “Pay it Forward” campaign inspired by Alyssa.

During one of the last conversations between Alyssa and her mother she spoke about going to Starbucks to purchase a pumpkin spiced latte. In honor of their daughter, Alyssa’s parents purchased 40 pumpkin spice lattes for the next customers who ordered them, adding the simple request that #AJO, for Alyssa Josephine O’Neill, be written in purple marker on the cups to raise awareness for epilepsy.

Prep students show their support for the cause

Prep students show their support for the cause

This started a local and now global “Pay it Forward” movement (with #AJO spreading virally on the Internet). Citizens from all over the world from South Korea to California and Germany to Alaska have  participated in this “Paying it Forward” movement, honoring Alyssa with #AJO. Starbucks patrons have especially embraced the movement by leaving money at the counter for clerks to purchase the next customer’s beverage; hence this random act of kindness makes their day. As the #AJO movement has grown, “Paying it Forward” has spread far beyond Starbucks coffee. People are performing random acts of kindness everywhere in her honor.

“Pay it Forward” is a 2000 American drama film based on the novel of the same name by Catherine Ryan Hydee. It is about a boy who launches a good-will movement that created a wave of “good deeds” across the world. The story unfolds when 11-year-old Trevor McKinney begins seventh grade in Las Vegas, Nevada. His social studies teacher, Eugene Simonet gives the class an assignment to devise and put into action a plan that will change the world for the better. Trevor’s plan is a charitable program based on the networking of good deeds. He calls his plan “Pay It Forward,” which means the recipient of a favor does a favor for three others rather than paying the favor back. Trevor does a favor for three people, asking each of them to “pay the favor forward” by doing favors for three other people, and so on, and a long branching tree of good deeds transpires.

#AJO has even caught the eye of popular, influential figures such as Senator Bob Casey, Ellen DeGeneres, and  SNBC. In a big way Alyssa’s legacy has united people from all over the world, reminding us that “Paying it Forward” brings out the best in each of us.

Today her spirt, her kindness, her generosity lives on in all of us. So, “Pay it Forward” today for Alyssa. She has taught us well.

For the latest on #AJO, follow @AJO4EVER on Twitter, like AJO Forever in our Hearts on Facebook, or visit ajoforever.com.

AJO/Epilepsy Awareness Flag Football Tournament

AJO flag footballThe 1st annual AJO/Epilepsy Awareness Flag Football Tournament will be held Saturday, Nov. 2 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Cathedral Prep Events Center in Erie, Pa.

There are three divisions for play: high school, open, and co-ed. Teams may consist of six or more players, and the cost is $5/player. All teams are guaranteed at least two games and will play more if they keep winning.

A live DJ will be on site and other activities will make this an event for the whole family to attend. Contact AJO4EverFootball@gmail.com to sign up or for more information.