No Red Meat for Mexican Footballers

By Harmony Takhar

World Cup 2014 will start off with the match of Brazil and Croatia. The match will be held on June 12. The match will be able to be viewed on ESPN and all of the matches will be able to be viewed on ESPN news. The rest of the games for the cup will be on ABC, ESPN, and ESPN2.

While all of the players have been in training for a while, certain teams have done more than just practices on the field. Mexico’s team is not allowed to have red meat in their meals. This banning of the beef is to avoid the performance-enhancing drug, clenbuterol, which has been found in red meat. About three years ago, the majority of players on Mexico’s team at the FIFA U-17 World Cup tested positive for this drug. This drug has been used in Mexico to make cattle fatter. Miguel Herrera, the team’s coach, said, “Our training center has determined, based on what happened in the past, that red meat shouldn’t be eaten.”

While this is to keep the players healthy and safe, there is always the controversy of whether or not the coach should be able to monitor and limit what the players may eat. It’s not in the rule book or in any of the players’ contracts. There is always the moral reason of that it is not right and the players shouldn’t have to follow the banning, because red meat is very healthy and contains many nutrients and vitamins that the players would need. They have the right to eat as they please, but if found out the players have eaten red meat, it may cost their position on the team.

Sources: Bell, Jack. “Countdown to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil: Day 20.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 23 May 2014. Web. 23 May 2014.

High school prank leads to 62 student arrests

By Allison Petkoff

An overnight vandalism senior prank left 63 students arrested on May 1 at Teaneck High School in New Jersey. Originally, police had charged 24 students that were over 18 years of age with burglary and criminal mischief. The other 39 students caught in the 2 am prank were charged as juveniles. Recently, the legal adults were downgraded in their charges. They will now be charged for criminal trespassing and mischief. These charges should be less of a problem on their records. The legal adults will not face a grand jury, either.

The prank worthy of a visit from the police had many variables involved. The students put graffiti on many parts of the building. The students put desks and furniture in the hallways. Some hallways could not be traveled due to the occlusion. Urine was found throughout the hallways. Food was thrown everywhere and stuffed into random lockers. Vaseline was put on the doorknobs of the building. Some of the students were using drugs including marijuana during the prank in the school. Most of the pranks were caught on tape because the students set off 3 alarms, which notified the police department. The police department had cameras set up in the school that played directly from the police department. The department saw that things were out of hand and headed over to Teaneck High School and began arrests. Surprisingly, everything was cleaned up the next morning in time for school to start.

NBA Charges Sterling

by Meghna Kumar

On May 19 the National Basketball Association charged Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, for harming the reputation of the league with his racist comments.

A few weeks ago, Sterling’s personal assistant, V. Stiviano, released a video of a conversation between Sterling and herself, in which Sterling made racist remarks against African and Mexican Americans. The video was nine minutes long and in it, Sterling states, “You go to Israel, the blacks are just treated like dogs.” Sterling also asserted that Stiviano was not allowed to bring African Americans to Clippers’ basketball games. An instagram photo of V. Stiviano and Magic Johnson, an African American former  player for the Los Angeles Lakers, instigated their quarrel. At the end of the video, Stiviano accuses him of racism and Sterling denied that he is a racist by stating, “There’s no racism here. If you don’t want to be… walking… into a basketball game with a certain… person, is that racism?”

Sterling is a millionaire and the team that brought him his fame and fortune is predominantly African American. The NBA is currently trying to terminate Sterling’s ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers team and fine him for $2.5 million. The hearing is scheduled for June 3.

Source: http://www.tmz.com/videos/0_wkuhmkt8/

34-Year-Old Texas Woman Arrested for Posing as High School Student

by Emily Engle

Charity Johnson was arrested on Monday, May 12, in Longview, Texas, for posing as a student at a local high school.  Johnson, despite her claims, is actually 34 years old (mistaken police records show her to be 31); she’s being charged with giving officials fake identifying information, including name and date of birth.

Johnson enrolled at New Life Christian School last October under the name “Charity Stevens,” without any prior transcripts, claiming to have previously been homeschooled.  The school fell for the ruse because Johnson was accompanied by a “guardian,” another adult who believed her story.

While working at a McDonald’s inside of a Walmart in Longview, Johnson befriended a coworker, Tamica Lincoln.  She told Lincoln that she was only 15 and then requested a place to stay.  According to Atlanta news source 11alive, Lincoln stated, “[Charity] gave me the same story [that she gave everyone] about being abused by her biological father, then he passed away and her biological mother is dead.”

Johnson rehearsed her story well; she fooled teachers, students, friends, administrators, and coworkers alike for seven months before being caught.  In fact, Lincoln so entirely believed Johnson’s story that she acted as her guardian.  According to International Business Times, Lincoln stated, “I took her in as a child, did her hair, got her clothes and shoes.” At one point, Lincoln even went to visit with Johnson’s 10th-grade teachers.

No one understands Johnson’s motives for such a stunt, including her boyfriend.  She had been dating 23-year-old Rickie Williams since last summer, when she told him she was 18.  When questioned, he stated that he had had no idea of her true identity.

Johnson’s charade finally was revealed when she tried to join a group for needy children and the leader, suspecting her of falsifying information, ran a background check.  The leader, still suspicious, then called Lincoln, who in turn called the police, requesting help removing Johnson from her home because she believed her to be lying about her age.

New Life Christian School sent home with its students notice of the incident on Thursday, May 15.

Johnson’s bail is currently set at $500.

Book Review: Hush, Hush

by Dru Hunsaker

As a general rule, I like to review books that I actually enjoyed and so inspire readers to pick them up and bask in their mildewy pages the same way that I did. However, the young adult genre seems prone to some serious clunkers that really just make me reassess what, exactly, such books are teaching the thirteen-through-eighteen year olds that are reading them. Of course, I’m sure that there are plenty of clunkers amidst the adult genre. I just generally don’t read them so I don’t really know. I know there are clunkers in the juvenile genre because been there, done that. What I’m getting at is simply this: there are some YA books that make me question the genre as a whole because I really don’t understand how they can be on the same plane of reading as the books that line my bedroom walls. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick is one of said books.

Now to be fair, the book was fairly well written. And, to qualify, I read three of the four books (the fourth was not yet published when I read the series). I have this ridiculous problem where I cannot put down a bad book unless it really just becomes appalling in some manner (writing, content, ridiculousness to a degree that you cannot even fathom, etc.). I kind of hate this about myself. Even as I cringe and wail and desperately wish the book would put me out of its misery, I still don’t want to put it down. I have this thing about stopping in the middle of a book. Sometimes I just skim to the end. Sometimes I actually finish it. And then read the next two in the series. Yeah, I know.

Hush, Hush is about Nora Grey, a super average sophomore whose life suddenly becomes worth living (I hate these kinds of books) at the appearance of Patch Cipriano, the ridiculously attractive (but apparently incredibly dumb because he keeps failing Biology) and mysterious bad boy who Nora feels drawn to despite all of her common sense (red flag!). Patch reciprocates her random feelings that are not at all based in reality and they begin the trite, obligatory YA “romance dance” where they ebb and flow like the stupid tide until they fall headlong into each other’s arms. A note to all authors everywhere: this dance should not take up 300 pages of a 350 page book (this is just an approximation). Seriously, I am not at all adverse to character development and shifting relationships and that whole shebang, but I am so sick of YA heroines whose entire lives revolve around mysterious boys whose existences threaten said lives. I’m just going to say it: it’s stupid and horrendously overused. Please give me a reason to like/understand  your characters beyond their weird romance that doesn’t really make any sense to me! I get it: he’s good looking and she is self-deprecating and strangely alluring, but I’ve already read that story seventeen times.

Anyway, it turns out that Patch–I don’t understand his name, either. I know horses named Patch–is a fallen angel who was cast out of Heaven for… Any guesses? Yes, that’s right. Lust. He wanted some human girl so he gave up Heaven for her and then she died and he was cursed to roam the earth forever in corporeal form but without any ability to feel… blah, blah, you get the picture. Of course, the only way he can get a human body (I really don’t want to explain why this works the way is does but it was all a little deus ex machine if you catch my drift) is if he kills Nora. So that’s why he’s been borderline stalking her. And that’s why her instincts have been screaming at her to stay away. Go figure.

One night they are trapped together and Nora finally figures all of this out (in a way that is almost comedic) and she flips out but he insists that he’s in love with her and it’s all very ridiculous and just so Twilight I wanted to gag. It didn’t even get the points for originality. Anyway, Nora has no sense of self preservation, so they start this romance and then Patch’s ex jumps into the picture and some more stuff happens that I don’t even want to get into. If this is appealing to you in any way, you really shouldn’t feel bad. I read three of them. Sometimes we are weak.

I suppose I should mention that the book itself really isn’t all that bad. Honestly, as far as books go I have read far worse. The thing about Hush, Hush that I really hated was the message that I feel it sends to teenage girls. Nora Grey is just so flat. She has zero character depth. I’m not really sure what the author ever tells us about her besides the obligatory family drama and her bizarre relationship with Patch. Girls everywhere: there are things that you should focus on other than boys. And if one of them starts creepy stalking you, he is not in love with you! Call the police. I hate that YA romance tends to create these ridiculous relationships that are codependent and unhealthy. It is okay to craft a strong, interesting, dynamic female to play opposite the dreamy hero. Nora was so weak and helpless throughout this entire book. To be fair, she becomes a kind of plot-essential hero in the later books, but it was just so grating to have her completely devoid of redeemable qualities for most of this one. In the end she is noble and self-sacrificing and he gives up everything for her, but I just kept thinking that these people had known each other for only two weeks (it might’ve been longer than that but that is what it felt like).

If you read YA books solely for the romantic components (healthy or otherwise) this could be a good book for you. It is very romance-centric (which is not always a bad thing) and there is enough drama to keep you turning the pages. However, I was not a big fan of this book. If you decide that you do want to read it, I think it’s important to note that there are several parts of this books that are completely unrealistic (I’m not referring to the supernatural elements) and unhealthy. This book is not a good example of appropriate romance.

Book Review: The Goose Girl

by Dru Hunsaker

Shannon Hale is actually one of my favorite authors so it probably comes as no surprise that I am a tremendous fan of The Goose Girl. This charming novel is what I would label realistic fantasy. Now, Goodreads has a bookshelf set aside for books with such classification; however, I am not actually sure that this is a real genre. Consequently, I will do a little bit of explaining. Realistic fantasy, at least in my mind, is a “genre” for books that contain magical or otherworldly elements that are muted enough and logically explained enough as to make them seem plausible in the real world. Essentially, there is some discussion of the origin and mechanics of the fantastical element beyond, “I have magic. Watch me save the world.” The Goose Girl is such a realistic fantasy and I simply adored it.

The Goose Girl is the first in Hale’s Books of Bayern series, which I really can’t recommend enough to young adult, adult, or juvenile (with some adult help) readers who love fantasy with a medieval feel. The first book centers around Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee (and you thought your name was a mouthful), the crown princess of Kildenree. Like Hale, we’ll just call her Ani for now. Ani was born into a small kingdom that frequently clashes with its larger, more powerful neighbor, Bayern. In Ani’s universe, there are three kinds of “speakers” (this is where the fantasy element comes in). There are animal-speakers (this seems fairly self explanatory so I’m going to move on), people-speakers (basically they are just persuasive to the point that people kind of become mindless drones), and nature-speakers (nature-speakers can “communicate” with the elements like wind, water, and fire and essentially “control” them), who supposedly no longer exist in society. Ani’s mother is a people speaker and Ani is terrified of her because she knows that she is not the person her mother wishes she was. Ani is small and prone to illness and even as she gets older and stronger she wilts under her mother’s disappointing stare. She has four comforts in life: her story-telling aunt, her doting father, her horse Falada, and her lady-in-waiting Selia. Ani’s aunt is more of a mother to her than her real mother could or would ever be. She becomes something of her care taker and from a young age tells her stories of magic that prompt Ani to try animal-speaking with her dog and then birds down by the palace lake. Quickly, the aunt and the dog disappear at her mother’s behest and Ani is confined to her room for some time. News soon reaches the palace that Ani’s aunt passed away. This is really just the beginning of a downward spiral, because you have to realize that, at some point, all four of those things are going to be ruined some way or another.

Ani’s father, her only relative who really loves her, is killed during a riding accident. Then Ani is told that she is no longer the crown princess and will instead be shipped off to Bayern to wed their prince so that Bayern does not slaughter Kildenree. Her brother is going to take the crown that she simultaneously hates and has desperately been trying to accept/deserve her whole life. In return, her mother gives her a handkerchief with three drops of blood on it in some public display of motherly love, or something. Yeah. Her mother is a real winner.

Like Grandma’s home, Bayern lies over the river and through the woods, so off they go. Tagging along for the ride are Ani’s childhood guard friend, who first found her speaking the language of the birds, several men who wished they were guards, a few dozen mercenaries, and Ani’s lady-in-waiting turned evil-mastermind-who-always-wanted-her-crown, also known as Selia, who is going to try to kill Ani and take her place because they are both blonde and apparently the king of Bayern will accept whatever blonde girl with an army arrives in his country to marry his son (but really, he isn’t to blame. Who could’ve anticipated the crackpot friend?). Now, contrary to what you might be thinking, we’re only about a third of the way through this book at this point, but I’m going to stop and let you find out the rest on your own. Suffice to say that this is a charming coming-of-age tale about a girl who learns her own strength and uses is to save her kingdom from being ravaged by war.

The book has a few slower parts and the occasional moment that made me want to put my head under a pillow and hide, but I firmly believe that most good books do and those moments are no deterrent to finishing the book. I highly recommend The Goose Girl to lovers of realistic fantasy everywhere!

The New York Philharmonic: Jawdropping in D Major

by Mitch Powers

The New York Philharmonic is, as I was told, the best group of musicians I was ever going to see in my life. Granted, my knowledge on philharmonics is limited to about two, so I don’t really have room for comparison. So when I went to see the Phil this past weekend in Lincoln Center, NYC, I was experiencing perfection. The piece being performed was Symphony No. 3 in D Minor by Gustav Mahler. It had six movements that spanned just under two hours with no intermission. Yes, that’s right, I said No Intermission. I can’t sit still for that long, let alone play a complicated piece of music. That alone made the performance stand out. Movement four featured a solo vocalist, and the sixth movement featured the Women of New York Choral Artists and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. The sound quality of everything was fantastic, even to someone who lacks much knowledge of symphony.

I have, however, been in many concert halls in my life and the Lincoln Center definitely takes the cake. I had never seen a hall where every seat is great. I sat in the very top balcony and trekked up five flights of stairs to get to my seat. From my high perch I could see every musician clearly, which was wonderful because the piece featured tons of solos.

The whole experience was really perfect. There is something about going to a symphony that makes you feel classy. Even more so when that symphony is in the Lincoln Center in New York City. Add this one to your bucket list because, trust me, it’s worth it.