The problem with TV in America

When I turn on a television, I want to be informed. I want to find out what’s going on in my community and all around the world. Unfortunately, it is getting more difficult to do so in this day and age. From CBS to NBC, nearly every one of the major broadcast networks airs biased stories that have little meaning to anyone other than a person who is trying to be entertained. I find this absolutely unacceptable. Since its inception, news broadcasts were used as a way to inform the public on what is going on around them. TV stations have veered away from this idea and taken a new approach on what is considered an ‘acceptable’ news story. American news stations have begun to air unproductive stories used to increase viewership rather than educational broadcasts that keep the public up-to-date on topics that are occurring all throughout the world and the United States.

Informative broadcasts have been with Americans ever since the invention of the television in the early to mid-twentieth century. These broadcasts aired on the televisions were directly correlated to the immediate success of the device. Never was there a time before then that news could be delivered in such an engaging and informative way in such a short period of time. From the election of JFK in the 1960 presidential election to the broadcasting of the Tet Offensive in the late 1960s, television broadcasts were essentially information machines, providing current news to much of the population of the United States.

The importance of television media was evident up until the past few decades. In-depth broadcasting turned to hastily put together pieces of news segments, informative discussion turned to close-minded debates, and reliable news networks turned to biased companies looking to brainwash their next viewers. Reasoning for this sudden change from diamonds to beads is similar to many others: money talks. The more viewers that a station has, the more money they make. The once informative broadcasts are turning into segments created for entertainment purposes only purely to attract more viewers. Unfortunately, these networks are in it for the money rather than the satisfaction that one gets when they develop the next break-through broadcast that airs to millions of viewers hungry for their next bite of information.

Today’s media has gotten too far out of hand and needs to return back to the time when broadcasts actually meant something and they were not just used for entertainment. The major reasoning behind the development of the television was for its use in informing the public using factual information on important events. Not only do these entertainment broadcasts do the exact opposite of informing the public, but they also show us where our society is going. We were once a society that actually cared about the outside world, wanting to absorb everything we could get our hands on. Now we only care about the news that involves seemingly useless stories such as which celebrity wore the best outfit on the previous red carpet event or whether or not disliking dogs makes you a bad person. While some may find these segments worthwhile to watch, they are merely used to attract the most viewers through popular culture. This does not inform. It only provides us with satisfaction in the short run, rather than access to a vast amount of information that could be applied for the long run. To me, the choice is obvious.




Cathedral Prep hockey team ready for playoffs

image1 (8)The Cathedral Prep hockey team has had a stellar season thus far. They finished the regular season 17-2 in league play and clinched the top spot of the PIHL playoffs. They look to carry this success into the playoffs with them, as they make the push to states.

After dropping two games early in the season, many people began to have doubts about the squad’s abilities. Senior captain Jack Kelly commented, “We were never too worried about it. Those were two hiccups in an otherwise strong regular season. Once we got our bearings, we started rolling, and we hope to keep that momentum heading into the playoffs.” The Ramblers proceeded to go on an 11-game win streak, beating the top team in the other division, Shaler, 8-1. During that streak the Ramblers posted an unreal 80 goals in that span, while allowing just 18.

A huge part of the Ramblers success this year is based around the first line consisting of Trevor Faulkner, Ben Eliason, and Richard Vicary. This trio played a vital role in the the Pens Cup run the team made last year. Together they have combined for 49 goals over the regular season to lead the high powered Prep offense. Even with the high powered offense averaging about 7 goals a game, the goaltending for Prep has been a huge key to their success. All-star goaltender Trent Faulkner has accumulated 10 wins over the course of the year, and freshman goalie Jacob Kucharski has had an outstanding season as well, allowing a mere 7 goals in 6 games.

The Ramblers hope to have a better result thanthe disappointing loss they suffered last season in the Pens Cup. Everything is in place for the Ramblers this year. If they keep their heads they should have no problem bringing home the title.




CYO regular season comes to an end

As the Christian Youth Organization (CYO) regular season comes to a close, the playoff seeds are set and the teams are ready to get to business.

The regular season champions were the Crusaders of Our Lady of Peace. They were one game away from having a perfect season with a record of 11-1. They are led by Matt Falconer, a former team member of Cathedral Prep’s varsity team. Falconer, Jeremy Hill, and Mike Douds are all standouts in the league and for OLP. Other key contributors for their squad are Alex Ventrello, Timmy Beverage, Connor Robbins, Tyler Madura, Jake Mays and Chris Callari. OLP will be the first seed in the playoffs and will receive a bye.

In second place, with a record of 9-3, the Lancers of St. George. They are led by Mike Carrara and Hunter Horn. They also receive big contributions from Mike Spizarny and Koran Williams. The Lancers will be the second seed in the playoffs and are rewarded a bye.

Taking third place were the East Side Apostles, formerly known as Our Lady of Mount Carmel. They finished with a record of 8-4. They are known for how serious they take CYO, which may lead to success for them in the playoffs. The Apostles have many threats including Dillon Wolbert, Hunter Neimeic, Bryce Vogel, and Noah Vroman.

Tied for fourth were St. Peter’s and St. Jude’s at 5-7. The Dukes of St. Peter’s are led by Justin “JP” Perez and Oliver Wiesner. The Raiders of St. Jude’s are led by three beasts: Ryan Podufal, Jack Kloecker, and Samuel Sweny. The Raiders look to defend their title, but will need to grind harder than ever in the playoffs if they hope to make a return to states.

The Bulldogs of Blessed Sacrament took sixth place with a record of 4-8. The Bulldogs leaders include Jake Galla and sixth man of the year, Sean Reed. Harborcreek Youth Services unfortunately went winless this season and did not make the playoffs.

The playoffs start Sunday with both games at 8:30 pm. The Bulldogs will have to travel to the east end of town to face the Apostles at Schefner Hall. The St. Peter’s Dukes will play at St. Jude’s. Admission to every CYO game is free.




Michigan and Ohio State set to meet in Big Ten rivalry game on Sunday

The Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan Wolverines basketball teams face off this Sunday, Feb. 22. They will face off at the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Ohio State leads the basketball rivalry between with 87 wins and 70 losses. When they both were ranked they played six games; Ohio State won four times and Michigan won twice. The average game in the rivalry is Ohio State 62 and Michigan 61.

Some of the best Ohio State vs. Michigan basketball games occurred in the early 1990s. In 1989, as Michigan marched to a national championship, the Wolverines defeated the Buckeyes twice, 99-73, and 89-72. In 1960, Ohio State won the national championship, and along the way beat Michigan 99-62.

In 2002 the Buckeyes beat Michigan three times. Then Michigan won the next three, but after that Ohio State won the next six. The Ohio State vs. Michigan basketball rivalry doesn’t get nearly the attention the football rivalry does, but it is still very intense. It has had many historic meetings and deserves more recognition. The players take it seriously as do the fans of the two rival schools.

Ohio State has a freshman, D’Angelo Russell, who plays point guard who leads the team in scoring with 19.1 points per game and rebounds per game with 5.8. Michigan’s leading scorer was have Caris LeVert with 14.9 points per game, but he is out for the season with a foot injury. Michigan has Zak Irvin who is trying to step up  and fill in for LeVert, Irvin is the second leading scorer for the Wolverines with 13.5 points per game. The team has also been without sophomore point guard Derrick Walton Jr. for the past several games who also can shoot from the perimeter.

Michigan has struggled early on the season, especially after losing LeVert. Michigan lost games against New Jersey Institute of Technology and Eastern Michigan in non-conference play. They also got blown out at Ohio State, but they played one of the worst basketball games of their season. As of late, however, Michigan has been playing better basketball, even though they haven’t gotten the results that coach John Beilein would like.

Michigan has lost their last 5 games against Big Ten opponents. Michigan is definitely not a tournament team this year, and they are fighting for a spot in the NIT, so they need to win this big game. On the other hand, Ohio State has had a pretty good season behind freshman of the year candidate, D’Angelo Russell. They won games against Maryland and Indiana, but they also lost tough games too against Louisville and North Carolina. Our prediction is a close game in Ann Arbor, but Ohio State is a much better basketball team and will win 76-67.




Prep, Villa students brave sub-zero temperatures on Vermont trip

While Erie residents braved the arctic air over President’s Day weekend, 60 students from Prep and Villa made their way over 9 hours to the north to ski and snowboard in Stowe, Vermont. The two buses, one made up of Prep students and the other students from Villa, departed from Prep on Friday the 13th at about 11 a.m.  The ride to the hotel was pretty uneventful, and the buses pulled into the Hampton Inn around 10 p.m. While at the hotel, students enjoyed two continental breakfasts, got to splash around the hotel pool, and hung out in the lobby until they had to be in their rooms.

The first day at the resort, Valentine’s Day, was fantastic.  The buses left the hotel and skiers were on the trails by 9. The temperature may have been in the single digits, but because of the hills being so long, the cold was no issue. The snow was amazing, as were the terrain parks and trails through the woods. The views from almost anywhere on the hill were breathtaking, and kids risked the cold in order to grab pictures of the mountain. After hours of great skiing and riding, the buses picked students up at 3:30 to make it to Blessed Sacrament Church for mass. They then got treated to dinner at another hotel because the one they were staying at was renovating the area the kids usually eat.

Day two was brutally cold, with the temperatures falling under 0 degrees, getting down to around -10 degrees. That didn’t stop the Prep and Villa students from enjoying their last day in Vermont, however. While many more breaks were taken today, the conditions were just as good, despite the cold. The day was not perfect, though, as Davis Nies suffered a broken tibia, Mr. Ladouceur needed stitches in his head, and Emily Weibel had an allergic reaction. Frost bite was also a major concern, so students made sure to cover every bit of skin to protect themselves from the cold. The cold also made it more difficult to take pictures, and made the batteries drain quickly in some students’ GoPros.

The ride home was much longer than originally planned due to having to swing by the hospital to get Davis, then going to dinner next to our hotel for some reason. The itinerary planned for the buses to get back at Prep at 2 a.m., but it was much later than that, as they rolled into Prep at almost 6 a.m. Regardless of the arrival time and the frigid temperatures, the trip was no doubt worth it for all the skiers and snowboarders that were on it.

Check out the photo gallery below for photos taken by students on the trip:




Rivalary Week: Duke-UNC basketball preview

It’s that time of the year again with the clash of the two ACC titans, the Duke Blue Devils and the North Carolina Tar Heels. It seems each year the games between these two get even more heated, and the fans are even more rowdy. In this article, we will be discussing which team has the advantage in the first game of the season between the two heated rivals

Why Duke Will Win by Edward Ruff III

The Blue Devils are riding high as of late, winning their last five games this season, most notably against the previously undefeated Virginia Cavaliers and a huge statement beating a top-10 Notre Dame team. In the past 11 match ups since 2010, Duke has gone 8-3 against the Tar Heels, including winning the last matchup between the teams 93-81 at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

A great loss to the Duke squad was the dismissal of junior guard Rasheed Sulamon on Jan. 29. However, since his departure, the team is undefeated and sophomore guard Matt Jones has doubled his average from 4.7 PPG in the first 20 games of the season to 9 PPG in the past 5 games, including a breakout 17-point game against #10 Notre Dame.

Also, the play of the freshman trio of Tyus Jones, Justice Winslow, and Jahlil Okafor have shown to be reaching their strides, averaging 43.2 PPG between the three of them over the five-game winning streak. On the other side of the spectrum, North Carolina is slumping, losing three of their last four games. They lost their last time out on Valentine’s Day to Pitt 89-76, in a game that was already a double digit beating by halftime.

The Tar Heels are also mourning the loss of a legend in Dean Smith, which may be causing a bit more of a distraction than the team would like to admit. Garnering some outside feedback from around the school, senior Antonio Frisina predicts Duke will win. When asked why, he said ” Jahlil Okafar. Enough said.”

My prediction: The contest will be a hard fought, grind it out game, but Duke comes out on top 86-72.

Why UNC Will Win by Sean Reed

The Tar Heels are coming off losses in three of their last four ACC games. Consequently, the Tar Heels have had one of the hardest in-conference schedules and two of those past three losses have come against nationally ranked teams. They also lost a trap game against a very tough Pittsburgh Panthers squad only four days before the big Duke game.

I believe that they were preparing for the Duke game and just didn’t play with the right amount of intensity and passion against Pitt. UNC leads the all-time series against Duke 133-105. The Tar Heels have been beaten lately in the Duke series, which means that Roy Williams will have his team fired up for this matchup on the road. UNC has won the most regular season titles in the ACC with 29, and Duke is second with 19.

But, let’s not talk about the past, the present is what matters. UNC has a potential ACC Player of the Year candidate in junior guard Marcus Paige. He is an all-around scorer, but his numbers have declined this season. Paige is averaging 14 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals per game. A key player for the Duke game is sophomore big man Kennedy Meeks. He must be able to guard Okafor in the post and slow him down on offense. Also, Meeks needs to hold Okafor to only one shot, and not let him get offensive rebounds.

UNC has had key victories against Davidson, UCLA, Florida, and Louisville. Despite Duke being on a roll as of late, UNC should be able to compete throughout the game. Duke is bound to play bad one of these games, just like they did in their first meeting against Notre Dame this season. Duke wasn’t playing hard defense and they weren’t making their usual shots that game. Hopefully, UNC will have the same luck in their rivalry game against Duke tonight.

My prediction: The contest will be a low-scoring, defensive game, but UNC will get transition buckets and eventually win 56-52 in overtime.




In Memory of Monty Oum

Monty Oum, the fight choreographer and lead animator of the web series Red vs. Blue, has died. Monty was going to the doctor for a simple procedure and suffered an allergic reaction, putting him in a comatose state for 10 days. Then, on Feb. 1, after a long battle, Monty passed.

Testimonials from his friends paint him as a hard working individual who was always innovating, working, and as he would put it, moving forward. Monty’s friends have already made multiple videos remembering who Monty was. I would suggest if you are interested to watch the Rooster Teeth Podcast #309, and rooster teeth’s tribute to Monty Oum, both of which can be found on YouTube as well as roosterteeth.com.

Monty wouldn’t want us mourning his passing. His visual flair and intricate animations made his work stand out as amazing. He worked tirelessly to create it. Monty wanted to spread that creativity he had to others. No words can explain the amazing work he did for rooster teeth, which drove me to watch that next episode of RWBY or the next episode of Red vs. Blue. In his memory Burnie Burns of Rooster Teeth has challenged everyone to do something creative: work with your hands, draw, create. That’s what Monty stood for, and that’s the person he was. Instead of mourning, take up Burnie’s offer, create something, be unique, stand out.

You can support Monty’s family using GoFundMe. And in lieu of flowers, do something creative. We love you, Monty.




The threat of ISIS to the U.S. and the rest of the world

The fearsome threat of ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) continues to grow everyday as we continue to normally live our lives. We hear about their terroristic movements all of the time, but we subconsciously ignore the threat. As you read this, they are growing stronger and killing more people. Middle Eastern countries are currently fighting the threat that endangers their existence, but how long can they last against ISIS? For how long will the U.S. and its allies continue their neutrality tactic? These are questions that are asked each day, but what are the answers.

Cathedral Prep social studies faculty members Mr. Flanagan and Mr. Parsons agreed to share some of their knowledge about the situation. They first started by acknowledging some of the basic facts. ISIS is not a current threat to the United States because they are aware of the military gap between them and will not do something to threaten us.

The main threat to the U.S. by ISIS is Middle Eastern oil. “As long as the oil supply is safe,” says Mr. Flanagan, “we do not have to go to war with them.” Even though the U.S. gets most of its oil from Canada, countries like Saudi Arabia give us a good amount that will cause a huge impact on the economy if the oil production from them is disturbed. Mr. Parsons believes that Saudi Arabia will also have a part of this scenario. “They have many human rights violations,” Mr. Parsons said. “They mistreat women, public executions, etc. We would have to go after them eventually. ISIS is well aware, from the war with Iraq, that U.S. will take actions if necessary.”

“However, we are looking at a possible World War III if we have to go to war with ISIS and the Mid East oil supply is threatened” says Mr. Flanagan. ISIS has a unique, yet disturbing method of intimidation. “Their ways to handle hostages are a variation of militancy,” Mr. Flanagan says. “Some may choose to kill, torture them publicly to spread the message and to intimidate, while others may use hostages to gain a political or military advantage against enemies.” With the recent video released by ISIS of the Jordanian pilot that was burnt alive Jordan began to take an active role against ISIS. They are currently at war with ISIS. “Jordan and the U.S. share an expedient nature of alliance,” says Mr. Flanagan. “It is a flux kind of alliance meaning we aid each other if needed.”

Now to answer one of the  biggest questions: What should the  U.S. do at the present time?

“The U.S. should provide air support, technology, and whatever else is necessary to help our allies and prevent ISIS, or any other group of that nature, from taking control of Middle East,” Mr. Flanagan says, “The only time we need to commit combat troops is if ISIS is about to seize control. Attempting to force feed other countries our style and method of government isn’t something we should do.”

For a bit of a historical background, the U.S. has faced two similar situations where they have been dragged into conflict in a different continent: World War I and World War II. In World War I, it was the Zimmerman Telegram, and in World War II, it was the attack on Pearl Harbor. Is there any repetition of events?

“Yes,” Mr. Parsons says, “the whole situation with Putin and the purification of Russians is similar to the actions of Hitler and protecting the purification of Germans. It is also a repetitive situation with ISIS and Middle East. How long can we watch and not do anything?”

The U.S. could be taking a lot of heat due to ISIS’s power expansion, but Mr. Parsons believes that it’s not only the United States to be blamed. “We would ideally avoid boots on the ground to avoid the loss of U.S life, but we have to do something. Whether that be air support, financial aid, humanitarian support, or more, we have to help destroy a major threat to world peace ad stability. The entire world community is also a part of this and need to take action.”

“This is a never ending war against terrorism,” says Mr. Parsons. “We are not fighting just a group of people; we are fighting an ideology that cannot be simply defeated by a matter of annihilating the enemy. For every man we kill, another 10 join. It is just a matter of how long can we stand and watch as they grow stronger day by day. A situation that no one wants to be involved in”.




The best player you’ve never heard of

Stepnoski2Throughout the years, Prep has had a mass of D1 athletes walk through its halls. Only a select few of those players, however, get to chase their dream after school and into the pros. Bob Sanders is one of the most well-known players, having been named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year a mere 7 years ago, and winning a Super Bowl with the Colts in 2007.  He is still not the most decorated Rambler alumni however. Little heard of Mark Stepnoski takes that award as a 5-time NFL Pro Bowler and two-time Super Bowl winner with the Dallas Cowboys.

Stepnoski was born in Erie, Pa., on Jan. 20, 1967. He graduated from Prep in 1985 as a highly touted offensive lineman and had offers from all over the country. Chris Grychowski, affectionately known to students as “Coach G” called him unblockable and nearly impossible to get around on offense. Stepnoski was named a third-team All American as a sophomore and first team during his junior and senior seasons. On the field he was a beast, but off of the field he was quieter than many would expect. Rick Grychowski, a coach at Prep at the time, said he kept back to himself and wasn’t one to run around and scream before the game.

Stepnoski’s time at Prep was very successful on and off the field. He graduated ranked very high in his class and was beloved by most teachers. Coach G, who was a freshman when Mark was a senior, shared a story he heard during his time at Prep of Mark’s strength and respect. Mrs. Mullen, a legendary math teacher and former principal at Prep, was reaming out one of her students one day during class. That student had had enough and took it upon himself to make a move towards Mrs. Mullen. Out of nowhere, Stepnoski stepped in, tackled the student, and held him down until administration got there.

He showed that he wasn’t the stereotypical student and had everything he needed to be successful after college. After Prep, he attended the University of Pittsburgh, and was a four-year starter there.

Stepnoski was primed to go to the NFL; however, many scouts thought he was too undersized to be successful. His size didn’t stop the Dallas Cowboys from picking him third round in the 1989 draft, however. He was quickly switched to center and started the last four games of his rookie season. He ended up being able to use his size to an advantage to gain leverage on bigger defensive lineman.  He had an extremely successful career playing in Dallas for six seasons, then the Houston Oilers for 4 seasons, then back to the Cowboys for three to finish his amazing career.

After his career in the NFL he was elected to the National Football League 1990s all-decade second team. He was in line to be elected into the Cathedral Prep Hall of Fame, but it came out that he had been using marijuana and advocating its legalization. Many people began criticizing his drug use and his reputation as a player was deeply hurt. Mr. Flanagan, Father Jabo, and Stepnoski got together and came to the collective decision that the world wasn’t ready to have someone with his stance on marijuana in the hall of fame. Stepnoski accepted the decision and ended on good terms with the school.

Stepnoski had one of the most successful careers for a Rambler in the pros, even though he isn’t in the hall of fame. But who knows, maybe one day with the drug issue behind them, he will be able accept his place in the hall of fame.




Small computers are all around us

smallcomputerWhen you think of a computer, what comes to mind? To most people, the answer would be a laptop, desktop or even a tablet to most people. What most people don’t think of, however, is that computers these days come in all shapes and sizes. Another common example would be your phone. Inside of that little case, is something called an ARM processor doing all the calculations that a full blown computer would do. Pocessing code, doing math, the only difference between a tiny processor in your phone and a supercomputer is the speed that it’s able to perform the calculations.

The members of society who heavily are into computers have ingenuously developed many different kinds of systems to do different operations, all of which can be considered a computer in the end. For example, there exists a little board called an Arduino. An Arduino is a little computer board designed so digital devices and the physical world can interact with each other. Here at Cathedral Prep, an example of where we would use a little system like this would be in a projector controller. A touch screen wired into an Ardunino, which has been pre-programmed to display different options. With each selection, it sends a digital signal out which activates other devices, such as a projector.

Next up in the world of smaller computers, is a little device called a Raspberry Pi. Running a little operating system called Raspberries usually, for more technical users, this being a version of the Debian OS. What is an operating system? When you boot up your laptop, you usually see a statfus screen saying “Starting Windows.” You are using the Windows operating system. For those who use Mac or iPad, you may have the OS X or iOS operating system installed on your device.

Each of these are a little different, but have their own perks. The big difference that you as a user might not see, is how these systems are programmed, and how you’re able to work with them from a developer standpoint. The Raspberry Pi was made specifically for when you’re given an environment which has high flexibility for creation. Webpages, scripts, even something more on the simple chain of things such as getting the weather and displaying it to you on a screen of some sort.  While being the size of about a credit card, the board is used quite often in teaching people who are getting introduced to computers, allowing them to get some experience of their own, while having the needed hardware to accomplish a wide variety of things without a large computer. Once you finish up with the project for the day, you merely slip it into your pocket and walk onwards.

There are endless amounts of computer variations, all made to do a task more efficiently than something else. The list could go on and on, although what’s important is to understand that there is always more to computers than you see. Advertisement companies love to recycle the same system over and over again, which isn’t a bad thing necessarily. Users who use them for recreational purposes, or even for basic operations such as word processing could probably do very well with what is being advertised. There’s always more tools for specialization however. If you’re interested in that sort of thing, there’s a huge market existing to sate your digital needs. You never have to look far.