Category Archives: Opinions

Christmas Albums: A definitive ranking

Writer: Liza Miller

#10: “The Andy Williams Christmas Album” by Andy Williams

This Christmas album is a classic and perfect for a cold day when you just want to cuddle up with a warm drink and get in the Christmas spirit! It is the perfect introduction to the Christmas season that gets you in a jolly mood. 

#9: “A Holly Dolly Christmas” by Dolly Parton

Living in Georgia, every once in a while it’s nice to hear an album with a touch of southern flare. Dolly captures this mood perfectly with the iconic southern twist she puts on the holidays. This album came out a few weeks ago and takes the ninth spot due to its recent entrance into the world of holiday albums!

#8: “The Kacey Musgraves Christmas Show” by Kacey Musgraves

This album is a modern twist on southern style Christmas music that incorporates pop, rock, and holiday tunes. In addition to the music, this album contains great commentary from Kacey and other celebrity friends. Overall, a great modern holiday album!

#7: “Everyday is Christmas” by Sia

This album is great if you’re getting tired of the same old Christmas songs and you want a new, unique and modern album. Sia’s “Everyday is Christmas” includes 13 original songs that are all Christmas themed! In this album you can find tons of new holiday favorites with tracks such as “Snowman” and “Puppies Are Forever.”

#6: “Merry Christmas” by Mariah Carey

This album is simply a classic adored by all. It is most famously known for its track “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” Because this one song is played at almost any holiday party you will ever attend, it completely outshines the other songs on the album. This album takes sixth place because its other songs just aren’t even comparable to the success of “All I Want for Christmas Is You.”

#5: “Christmas Is Here!” by Pentatonix

Pentatonix is an acapella group who first gained popularity from television singing competitions. They have later gone on to make not one, not two, but five Christmas albums. Here I have chosen to discuss their Christmas album from 2018. It has the perfect mix of holiday favorites and religious tunes. They have a variety of holiday songs that they cover and they create a really interesting sound with their lack of instruments that can totally get you in the holiday spirit! Overall, it’s a creative, original, and modern album that still touches on the classics!

#4: “Christmas Kisses” by Ariana Grande

I’m not sure if this is allowed, but I just had to include it. This album contains only 4 songs and I’m not totally sure If it can be classified as a holiday album. But it earns its spot at #4 for its holiday songs that hold the perfect mix between Ariana Grande’s unique voice, catchy beats, and Christmas spirit. Most notable is her song “Santa Baby” which, in my opinion, has become one of the most iconic Christmas songs of the 21st century. Definitely give it a listen!

#3: “Under the Mistletoe” by Justin Bieber

If you’re anything like me, this album is special to you. It doesn’t get much better than 2011 Justin Bieber serenading you with Christmas songs. Justin does a great job of carrying his signature swagger style into this Christmas album. Even while singing the most classic holiday tracks, he is still a heartthrob! Some of his most notable songs in this album include “Mistletoe” and “Santa Claus is Coming To Town.” If you haven’t listened to this album yet, then you’re missing out!

#2: “Sinatra Ultimate Christmas” by Frank Sinatra

If anything has become apparent to me while ranking all of these Christmas albums is that you just can’t top the classics. Frank Sinatra’s voice and renditions of Christmas songs are simply unmatched. This album will make you want to drop everything, pack your bags, and move to a Hallmark Christmas movie. Nothing will put you in the spirit more than Sinatra’s Christmas tracks. I definitely recommend!

#1: “Christmas” by Micheal Buble

You didn’t think I would leave out the king of Christmas did you? No way. Michael Bublé earns the top spot in this Christmas album ranking. His album is the perfect mix of classic Christmas and a smooth modern sound. It just would not have been right to place Michael Bublé anywhere else as he has made guest appearances on countless Christmas albums in addition to the three of his own. This man knows Christmas inside and out and earns my top recommendation for Christmas music!

Bringing the black lives matter movement to riverwood

Writers: Aolani Vann and Nyla Ward

What’s happening and why should it matter to you? 

Every day, African Americans face harsh discrimination and police brutality in a gruesome fight for our rights just to be alive. The systems that promise to protect us are the same sentencing us to death before we get a chance to defend ourselves. Since this pandemic started, and the tragic death of George Floyd, the Black community and allies have used all platforms to fight for justice, spread love, and correct misinformation and slander, now more than we ever could before. We call for all students of Riverwood to do the same, use your voices, and take a stand. 

What are youth doing now and why is it important? 

Three teens from Katy, Texas, raised from 3 different ethnic backgrounds, created an activism group named Katy4Justice fighting for the Black Lives Matter movement. In 4 days, they got most of the youth in their town to join and organize a protest to bring justice to George Floyd. This was a beautiful example of looking past differences and cultural and political adversities to come together to do the right thing. This was especially heartwarming for 16-year-old Foyin Dosunmu, one of the original 3 students, and born to 2 Nigerian traveling engineers. She explained that growing up in schools full of only Arab or white students, it was important for her to feel like her voice was heard and people understood her struggle. It is so important to listen to the struggles of your friends and hear what they need because often our voices are looked over and diminished because of what society thinks of us. The youth must take the movement into our own hands because we are the future and the strongest generation yet. 

Young actress, Yara Shahidi created a summit called Eighteenx18 because youth deserve to understand what is happening in politics before going into the polls. She then founded the WeVoteNext organization to focus on informing eligible voters of the importance of voting as much as they can, knowing their rights, and controversial current political issues. She is also an outspoken activist when it comes to major issues in the Black Lives Matter movement. She’s petitioned for subjects like properly treating black Covid-19 patients, defunding the police, and implementing more money into the healthcare and quality of living in the black community. She is now only 20 years old and working with advocates like Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey. She is proof we can use any influence we have to grow support and speak out about what is important to us. 

Sources: The New York Times 

WeVoteNext 

Kayhan Life 

What can you do? 

The first step is communication and keeping up with what youth in the black community are already doing for the cause and giving them a helping hand. It is vital to make sure we are all heard in an organized, peaceful manner. 

The second step is to filter out media and influencers with false information or negative biases on the movement and seek out primary sources or secondary sources with proven facts. This is a real organization, not an angry collection of riots as some sites may portray. 

Thirdly, you must educate yourself, sign petitions, join protests and donate if you can, create flyers or posters, spread the word on social media, and encourage people to get out there and VOTE!!! We need as much support as we can get which includes that of people in positions of power. 

Additionally, you also have the power to create organizations, fundraisers, and protests yourself to be even more hands-on in your activism journey. You have more power than you may think. 

Here are some more sources for more information and resources for other issues: 

0:00 https://blacklivesmatter.com/ 

1:00 https://marchforourlives.com/ 

2:00 https://www.change.org/t/black-lives-matter-en-us 

3:00 https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/ 

4:00 https://sites.google.com/view/black-lives-matter-masterlist/petitions?authuser=0 

5:00 https://www.futurelearn.com/info/blog/black-lives-matter-resources 

6:00 https://neaedjustice.org/black-lives-matter-school-resources/ 

7:00 https://libwww.freelibrary.org/explore/topic/black-lives-matter 

8:00 https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMJmnMDFt/ 

…and 46 seconds to save a life 

Remember that you have power in your words and power in your individual opinions. Use that to support your peers and create greatness. Each of the students of Riverwood has the privileges and resources to create our own chapter of this movement. This is not the time to pick fights, make excuses, or stay ignorant. It is the opportunity to do actively and consistently what you know is right. 

After reading this article please take the time out to consider our message and take this survey so we know where you stand on this.  

Remember your voice always matters especially when you’re using it for good: 

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdDTgEPRcl9kZKiAxrLx4cWJlcUrBxcMFqcez-Q4GEoB4dqtw/viewform?usp=sf_link

How to have a safe (and fun) halloween!

Writer: Liza Miller

Hello all Halloween lovers! October 31st is approaching, and here are some absolutely terrifying costume ideas: You could be a vampire, a ghoul, or possibly a beheaded monster. Or… you could be the scariest of all, the terror that is haunting this upcoming holiday, Coronavirus. 

Oh, sorry, I actually don’t think you can be that, but you can certainly catch it! So how do we stay safe from this monster that’s making its way through every neighborhood on Halloween night?  

Well, I’ll let you in on some helpful secrets about this monster’s methods. Its invisible, so we can’t hear when its coming, and once it gets you, you’re pretty much doomed for the next few weeks. Ok, those probably weren’t so helpful. I advise you instead to take tips from the professionals: the CDC. They encourage mask wearing, social distancing, and remaining outside in open spaces. Luckily, Halloween is the time of year where mask wearing is socially accepted by all, no matter your stance on the virus. I say we look at the bright side of this virus and get a little creative with our mask wearing. I encourage you to see how well you can use your CDC certified mask to contribute to your costume as a whole. Decorating your mask is a fun way to get in the holiday spirit and add a fun touch to your costume.  

At Riverwood, I know many people love a good Halloween party. Music, food, costumes and more all contribute to an unforgettable Halloween night. With Halloween falling on a Saturday this year, there are no limits to the fun in store! Well, except for the obvious one, a pandemic making its way around the world causing massive devastation. But, it doesn’t have to ruin anything! Let’s just all agree to keep these parties to 10 people or under. And hey, nothing compliments a crisp October night like an outdoor event. A fire pit, smores, carving pumpkins, and outdoor movies are all safe ideas to get in the spooky spirit while outside! Get creative with your friends and see who can have the scariest costume. No one’s going to want to come within 6 feet of you if  you’re covered in fake blood!  

If you prefer to observe the holiday from home, in sweats watching Halloween movies and eating your weight in candy, then I’ve got some tips for you as well. Try making little bags of candy that you can hand out to trick or treaters individually. This will help you avoid all the sticky hands touching to desperately get candy from a bowl. Ewww! A line that is around 6 feet from your doorway allows some space between others and yourself. There are many ways to get creative with a line. Maybe it marks the start of deathly lava? The entrance to a graveyard? Either way, you can be safe without losing any of the fun of Halloween night. Remember to stay safe Raiders, or else you’re in store for a visit from the Corona Monster! 

Best Kobe Bryant Moments

By: Bradley Friedrich and Mat Fluker

Recently, former NBA star Kobe Bryant passed away in a tragic helicopter accident. Kobe provided us basketball fans with a plethora of memorable moments, so we ranked our top 10 favorite Kobe Bryant moments in his honor.

10. 1 on 1, to 100: He made his high school teammates play 1 on 1 with him to 100, instead of the typical 11 or 21, so Kobe could get as much practice as possible.

9. Kobe don’t Flinch: NBA player Matt Barnes attempted to make a fool out of Kobe by pretending to throw a basketball at his face from point blank range. Kobe, to Barnes’ surprise, did not flinch even a bit, leaving Barnes labeled as the fool and fans with one of the memorable moments of Kobe’s career.  

8. Left Handed Kobe: He hurt his right hand, and trained himself to shoot left handed so he could play. Later in his career in 2015, Kobe checked into a game and proceeded to shoot left handed in order to help his team win. 

7. Playing through pain: Kobe averaging 40 points per game in the month of March despite having a torn labrum

6. 62 points in 3 quarters: Kobe Scored 62 points in three quarters; the team he played against, the Dallas Mavericks, only scored 61 during that time. 

5. Kobe… TO SHAQ!: Alley Oop Game: In the win or go home game 7 of the 2000 Western Conference Finals, Kobe Bryant threw an iconic alley oop to teammate Shaquille O’neal, who promptly threw it down to go up by two scores on the Trail Blazers with 30 seconds left in the game, effectively sealing the series. 

4. “This was your fault”: Scored 61 points in Madison Square Garden after Spike Lee berated him, so he sent Lee the scorecard with his signature saying “This was your fault” 

3. Achilles game: Kobe Bryant got fouled, and tore his achilles.However, he proceeded to shoot, and make, both free throws and walk to the locker room on his own power before getting medical attention.

2. Kobe’s Final Game: In Kobe Bryant’s final NBA Game, he scored 60 points on 50 shots against the Utah Jazz, leading the Lakers to a win in a game that epitomizes Kobe Bryant and his play style.

1. 81: On January 22, 2006, Kobe Bryant scored a whopping 81 points against the Toronto Raptors. This is a Lakers’ team record for points in a game, and is the second most points anyone has scored in a single game in NBA history. 

Rest in peace Kobe, and thank you for everything you did for the game of basketball.

The Bachelor

By Liza Miller

*SPOILERS FROM THE FIRST TWO EPISODES*

It’s that time of year again: Bachelor Season! This season is full of competition, drama and love, all in the hopes of scoring Pilot Peter as a hubby. Out of 25 women, it seems America has already picked their favorites, so let’s review.

Kelley – Kelley claims she met Peter before the season started at a hotel during a wedding, and coincidently, the show kicks off its premiere at that same hotel. Kelley and Peter reenact their first meeting and Peter continues to explain his “special feeling” about her. 

Hannah Ann – At first, Hannah Ann was the obvious winner: pretty, outgoing and ruthless when it comes to stealing Peter away for time. Whether it’s painting a picture, walking the runway or stealing champagne, more on that later, Hannah Ann seems able to entice Peter every episode

Kelsey – As previously mentioned, Hannah Ann stole someone’s champagne, but whose? Kelsey’s! Kelsey couldn’t wait to share the bottle of champagne she brought all the way from her hometown of Des Moines with Peter. Come to find Hannah Ann has opened it with Peter, and Kelsey isn’t hesitant to share some pretty aggressive words with Hannah Ann. This was followed up with a good bathroom cry sesh. As the night goes on, Kelsey cools off and agrees to share a new bottle of champagne with Peter. It obviously isn’t Kelsey’s lucky day, as she continues to spill the champagne all over herself, creating the moment bachelor nation refers to as “champagne gate.”

Victoria P – Our first introduction to Victoria P was on the first group date – a little look into Pilot Pete’s profession which could ultimately result in Victoria winning a private flight with Peter himself. However, Victoria P stood out in the challenge as she recounted her traumatic childhood experience on the spinning tea cups when the girls were required to do a motion simulator. She remembers how nauseous the spinning ride made her feel as a child and got nervous as she did not want Peter seeing her in such an ill state. After a few runs on the flying simulator, Victoria P. was on her way to the bathroom with Peter close behind. Thanks to the producer’s editing skills and Victoria P’s weak stomach, this dramatized yet humorous moment went down as one of the highlights of the season so far.

Madison- Lucky contestant Madison Prewett got up close and personal when it comes to Peter’s strong family ties. Madison scored the first one on one date with Peter, and where does Pilot Pete take her? You guessed it! His parents wedding vow renewals. How romantic! Although, many are criticizing the act. Bachelor nation has pegged the date as too personal, too soon! Either way, Madison had fun dancing it out with Pilot Pete’s eccentric family.

These are just a few of the passionate contestants after Pilot Peter’s heart! Looks like there’s much more romance and drama to come!

UPDATE: This recap was just on the first few episodes, so don’t worry. Things have only gotten more complicated and intense as they travel all over South America from Costa Rica to Peru (looks like Pilot Pete’s skills are coming in handy)! 

Healthcare

*Disclaimer: This is an opinion and these views do not necessarily reflect the views of the entire newspaper staff.

By Ben

Government controlled healthcare, or a socialist medicare system, sounds good in theory: all citizens get access to healthcare regardless of their socioeconomic background. Medical care has become increasingly expensive and many are unable to afford it. The market driven care system creates a dilemma. We have the ability to choose from various doctors, medicines, and hospitals because our medical market is so profit driven; however, we lose that choice if we give into government controlled healthcare. Yes, healthcare will be available to everyone nationwide, but that doesn’t mean we will have it when we need it as we will have to wait long periods of time for any care according to The Hill. Medical innovators will no longer have the motivation to create the “next best thing”, like a universal flu vaccine that kills all forms and mutations of the virus, something we are currently trying to develop. When we pay our doctors and scientists minimum salaries without incentives, they will lose a significant percentage of motivation to innovate as claimed by The Hill. Additionally, supporters of this system have re-marketed this service to sound better to consumers. While most Americans would fear a socialist medical system, a “Medicare for all” system might not sound as bad according to Investopedia.

With government controlled healthcare, all of our medicines will become the bare minimum; instead of receiving medicine that treats our illness, the government will give us a cheaper alternative that only masks the symptoms so that we just feel better. When the government monopolizes our healthcare, they benefit from the cheapest option and raising taxes as found in The Hill. And with a fixed, low salary for medical professionals, the quality of our doctors will plummet as cited in Investopedia. Without the incentive to be the best doctor and get the most clients, they won’t care because they know how much money they will be receiving, regardless of the quality of their care and quantity of patients treated. This could even result in a scarcity of medical professionals The Washington Post argues. Take Canada, for example. Canada is currently using this system and their healthcare quality is much below standard for a modern nation as cited in The Toronto Sun, a Canadian media source. They are also facing an extreme scarcity of medical professionals The Toronto Sun reports. Patients in need of care are having to wait long periods of time: weeks if not months, to get below-average treatment as claimed by The Toronto Sun. Imagine waiting three days for a diagnosis and treatment of a simple broken arm, which only takes only a few hours right now in America. The wait time is atrocious, let alone how agonizing it would be to wait that long in immense pain. If you doubt this reality, I encourage you to read this Canadian news article from the Toronto Sun that speaks about this issue from the Canadian perspective while also presenting the facts. These are only some of the underlying problems with this ideology. Government controlled healthcare sounds good in theory, but it is ultimately detrimental to ourselves and the country overall.

Biggest Trends of the Decade

Writers: Sydney Fox, Emily Taylor, Bradley Friedrich, and Mat Fluker

Editor: Lauren Cohn

2010: Kik, Wii, Angry Birds, Silly Bandz

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 39a02-file.png

2011: Call Me Maybe, Temple Run

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 80099-file.png

2012: Vine, Candy Crush, Gangnam Style, Snapchat Filters

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 1ec42-file.png

2013: Selfie, Dumb ways to Die

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 487d2-file.png

2014: ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, Frozen, Black and Blue Dress

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 6fe0d-file.png

2015: The Dab, Hoverboard, Whip Nae Nae

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is e97bc-file.png

2016: Mannequin Challenge, Pokemon Go

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 59555-file.png

2017: The Fidget Spinner, HQ

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is fd924-file.png

2018: God’s Plan, Fortnite, Juuls, Tide Pods

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 0e86d-file.png

2019: Tik Tok, Vsco Girl + E-boy

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 568a7-file.png

Citations:

“Call Me Maybe.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 11 Dec. 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Call_Me_Maybe.

ET Bureau. “Why the Angry Birds Is Making Headlines.” The Economic Times, Economic Times, 8 May 2016, https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/magazines/panache/why-the-angry-birds-is-making-headlines/articleshow/52166855.cms. Accessed 11 Dec. 2019.

“Fidget Spinner.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 11 Dec. 2019, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fidget_spinner.

“God’s Plan Starts Playing.” Know Your Meme, 22 Nov. 2019, https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/gods-plan-starts-playing.

Hamburger, Ellis. “Indie Smash Hit ‘Flappy Bird’ Racks up $50K per Day in Ad Revenue.” The Verge, The Verge, 5 Feb. 2014, https://www.theverge.com/2014/2/5/5383708/flappy-bird-revenue-50-k-per-day-dong-nguyen-interview.

Jones, Gary. “Pokemon Go: How to Get Smeargle Catching Tips Revealed with Warning.” Express.co.uk, Express.co.uk, 28 Feb. 2019, https://www.express.co.uk/entertainment/gaming/1093575/Pokemon-Go-How-to-get-Smeargle-easy-tips.

lee23j. “Some YouTube Commenters Argue PSY’s ‘Gangnam Style’ Is Japanese.” Soompi, Soompi, 13 Aug. 2012, https://www.soompi.com/article/415986wpp/some-youtube-commenters-argue-psys-gangnam-style-is-japanese.

Litman, Laken, and Like. “Cam Newton Says It’s Time to Let the Dab Go.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 9 June 2016, https://ftw.usatoday.com/2016/06/cam-newton-says-its-time-to-let-the-dab-go.

Mahler, Jonathan. “The White and Gold (No, Blue and Black!) Dress That Melted the Internet.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 27 Feb. 2015, https://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/28/business/a-simple-question-about-a-dress-and-the-world-weighs-in.html.

Mix. “TikTok Is Testing a WhatsApp Shortcut to Share Videos with Close Friends.” The Next Web, 18 July 2019, https://thenextweb.com/apps/2019/07/18/tiktok-whatsapp-instagram-youtube-snapchat/.

Top Ten Things to do During the Winter Holiday Season

Writer: Hayden Jacobs Editor: Lauren Cohn

10. Go Shopping for the Holiday Season

The holiday season is a great time to purchase items for your friends, family and even yourself. We all know about black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, but there are sales from now through the end of December. Right now is a fantastic time to save money, so go shopping, and if you hate crowds (or people in general) stay at home and browse online for equally great deals.

9. Watch holiday movies/shows with friends and family

The holiday season is home to some of the most iconic movies and shows of all time. It’s a great opportunity to spend time with your friends and family and embrace the holiday season.

8. Exchange gifts with friends and family

It is the season of giving, so show your appreciation toward your friends and family with gifts. They don’t have to be expensive or nice; it is the thought that counts. (Plus, giving now most likely means you’ll receive something in the future)

7. Bake holiday-themed treats and share them with neighbors, friends and family

Everybody loves holiday treats, and the reaction received when showing up to an event with a batch of freshly baked holiday cookies is like no other. Embrace the holiday season and find some festive recipes online to share with your friends and family.

6. Go to Snow Mountain (tubing)

Snow Mountain is not just a tourist attraction designed to interest your annoying relatives in town for the holidays, it is also a great thing to do during the “winter” in Atlanta.

5. Celebrate the new decade

It’s the end of an era, the end of the glorious 2010’s. New years is always a great holiday, but it is especially special this year, since we will be beginning a new decade. Have a 2010’s movie marathon, throw a 2010’s themed party, and definitely listen to the top songs/artists of the decade.

4. Make new year’s resolutions

The beginning of a new year is close by and what better time than now to finally get all your stuff together like you keep saying you will. Use the new year as an opportunity to enter the new year as a new and improved person. Write down all the things you want to do, this way you are twice as likely to accomplish them.

3. Learn about a holiday you are not familiar with.

The holiday season is a wonderful time to learn about someone else’s culture since there are so many holidays from different religions taking place during this month. If you are interested in another culture you have not heard much about, there is bound to be a place to observe it.

2. Decorate your home in style of the holiday season.

Buy a Christmas tree and/or wreath to make your house more festive for the holiday season (if you celebrate Christmas or just enjoy the holiday, of course). Also, what better place to buy a new decoration for the holiday season than from your Raider softball and baseball teams!

1. Help someone in need

It is the season of giving back and your help can go a long way. Find opportunities in your community to help out those in need. ‘Tis better to give than to receive!