Atlantis: A Spring Break Favorite

by Josh

___________________

Spring break is a time that every student and teacher anticipates, and since the Rumson Fair-Haven student body was deprived of a winter break during the month of February, this year’s break will be a very appreciated time away from school.  It seems as though this year’s spring break hotspot was the Bahamas, more specifically the the Atlantis Resort . This place is extremely beautiful and has remained the most popular vacation spot during my tenure at Rumson Fair-Haven.

The Atlantis Resort is located in the Bahamas and first opened in 1998. With an average temperature between 70 and 80 degrees, you can spend nearly your entire stay outdoors, and with the countless attractions that Atlantis has, you are guaranteed a good time. The most popular attraction is the Adventure Water Park that covers a total of 141 acres and uses 200 million gallons. It has a combination of slides, a lazy river, and rapids that open into one large waterscape. The four main water slides in the water park are The AbyssThe DropThe Falls and The Surge.

Then there’s The Current which is a mile long water slide complete with waves and artificial tidal surges. Also there’s the Dig which is the resort’s aquarium located beneath one of the hotels. Hundreds of different species of fish can be found here along with varieties of sharks, manta rays and jelly fish.

Another very popular attraction is Atlantis Live, which is simply a chain of concerts hosting a slew of today’s pop icons. Taylor Swift, Justin Beiger, Katy parry, Sheryl Crow and Michael Jackson are only a handful of the big names that have made appearances here.

Personally during spring break I will be staying right here in Fair Haven, I may take a day trip or so to New York but the majority of my time will be spend at home and I’m actually happy about that. It’s nice sometimes to just stay home with your friends and enjoy some of the local attractions and that’s exactly what I plan to do. But regardless of where you travel this spring break is sure to make the most of it!

___________________________

 

“That 70’s Show:” Where Are They Now?

by Josh

___________________
During the summer of 1998, Fox first aired That 70’s Show, a sitcom which seemingly found the perfect blend between comedic displays of teenage angst and “psychedelic” 70’s pop culture.

The plot is set in the fictional town of Point Place, Wisconsin, spanning from May 17, 1976, to December 31, 1979. The show is based around the antics of one group of friends that consists of 4 guys: Eric Forman, Stephan Hyde, Michael Kelso and Fez, and two girls: Jackie Burkhart and Donna Pinciotti. This show was extremely successful and ran from 1998 to 2006, and served as a starting point for all six of the main actors’ careers.

But where are they all now? All of the characters have experienced different levels of success, and each  has gone on to act in other ventures. However, it seems as though only Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher have really solidified themselves as famous actors.
Eric Forman, the series’ main character, is played by Topher Grace, and he actually left the show before its ending so that he could be featured as Eddie Brock in Spiderman 3.   His leaving the show in season 7 directly impacted its ratings and was a large factor for the show’s conclusion after season 8.

Danny Masterson, who wonderfully portrays Stephan Hyde, a scruffy orphaned rebel who keeps you guessing with his subtle humor and witty quips, was on the show for all eight seasons. After the show ended, he kept acting in smaller parts in various movies and TV shows. Now he is immersed in the music scene as D.J. Mom Jeans in Los Angeles.

Laura Prepron, better known as Donna Pinciotti, has not achieved the same amount of success and she did on this show but she has kept busy with a brief stint in modeling and a lead role in the show October Road and a variety of other smaller parts in sitcoms, such as How I Met Your Mother.

Wilmer Valderrama, aka Fez, was arguably the most beloved member of the cast. While on the show, he was nominated for 4 AlMA Awards for most outstanding actor in a comedy series. His most notable work after the ending of the show is being the host of Yo Mamma on MTV from 2006 to 2008.

Mila Kunis has made quite the name for herself after the ending of the show; she is currently the voice for Meg Griffin from Family Guy and has been in a number of successful movies like Forgetting Sarah Marshall, The Book of Eli, Black Swan, and, most recently, she had a lead role on the movie Ted. Interestingly, Kunis was only 14 during the first season of That 70’s Show, even though actors had to be 18 to even audition.  She lied about her age to get the role and once she came clean about her true age, the producers liked her portrayal of Jackie Burkhart so much that they decided to keep her on the cast.

Last, but certainly not least, is Aston Kutcher. During his time on the show he played the amazingly dim-witted Michael Kelso. Kutcher left the show early to pursue other things. Kutcher is the most successful cast member from an acting standpoint and has been able to do many great things after having such success on this show. He created, produced and hosted the hit MTV show, Punk’d, and has been in several popular movies including: Dude Where’s My Car?, Cheaper by the Dozen, Just Married, The Butterfly Effect , Valentine’s Day and No Strings Attached. He is also planning to star in the movie Jobs as Steve Jobs himself. Kutcher has not only found success on the big screen, but he also plays main character Walden Schmidt in Two and a Half Men.

If anything on this show is memorable it is the extremely catchy theme song “In the Street” by Alex Chilton and Chris Bell of the band, Big Star. However, Big Star’s version of the song was not used in the theme;  instead, the show used a cover by Todd Griffin, and only then for the first season. For the next 7 seasons it was the band Cheap Trick that performed the rendition that any true fan has come to love. That 70’s Show captured the hearts of millions over its tenure and despite being cancelled almost a decade ago, it is still  aired from time to time on television. Now with the innovation of Netflix and Hulu anyone has access to the full 200 episodes in eight seasons. Every time the show comes on I can’t help but sing the last line of the theme song “Where all alright was all alright, Hello Wisconsin!

___________________

Restaurant Review: JR’s in Red Bank

by Josh

______________________
If you want absolutely delicious food at a reasonable price, JR’s is the place for you. Outfitted with a diverse selection of entre’s and a variety of desserts, you can easily frequent the restaurant and never lose interest.

At $6.50 for two medium sized sliders, the value is hard to beat. Some may think the price is a bit steep but the quality of the burgers is second to none so the price is more than fair.
Located on 17 west Front Street, JR’s is right in the hub of Red bank. The place has a nice, welcoming feel that is noticed upon entry.  ESPN is almost always on, which a big plus for  sports fan is looking to get the latest updates. JR’s hours run from 11 am to 4 am each and every day, so the food is available even before the break of dawn!
During my first trip to JR’s, I purchased a Original Junior which consists of 2 ground sirloin burgers with American cheese, green leaf lettuce, and burger sauce, as well as Crinkle cut fries and a small drink.  This came  to about $13. The burger was well cooked, yet flavorful, and the burger sauce  made the flavor very unique. The fries and drink were standard as expected and every facet of the meal was served in a relatively quick time frame.

Check out JR’s in Red Bank–long story short, it’s hard to beat!

_____________________

Thoughts on the NFL Draft

by Josh

__________________

The NFL draft is an exciting time for football fans.  During the spring season, they are left yearning for the first kickoff to come back around. Once the draft coverage begins and mock drafts begin to be thought up, fans latch on to whatever inklings of information they can find to help fill the void that the sport has left in them. Every mock draft is different and no matter how smart professional sports analysts think they are, there is no way to guarantee that their mock draft is the correct one. So knowing this you must be sure to take every draft evaluation with a grain of salt and not let them convince you that your team will undoubtedly draft a certain player. For the rest of this article I will give my analysis and mock draft of the first four picks in the 2013 NFL draft. This includes the Kansas City Chiefs, Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders and the Philadelphia Eagles.

  1. With the first overall pick comes the Kansas City Chiefs, who posted a disappointing 2-14 a number which is almost embarrassing for a roster that sent a staggering six players to the pro bowl during this season? I see the Chiefs drafting Luke Joeckel out of Texas A&M. He’s a strong powerful tackle that can play on both the left and right side. It makes a lot of sense for him going #1 because he is one of the few prospects coming out this year that are viewed as a sure plug and play starter going into the 2013 season.
  2. With the 2nd pick in the draft, little is known about what the jaguars will be doing with it. Many sources have shared that Jacksonville has narrowed down their draft board to less than four people. I’m fairly confident that the Blaine Gabbert era is coming to an end and that they will be taking a quarterback with the number two overall pick. That means Geno Smith out of West Virginia will be on his way in. People say that this draft class isn’t as high quality as in years past, but with Geno posting 42 touchdown passes with a mere 4 interceptions and a 163.9 passer rating to boot, he seems more than ready to take on the challenge of being in the NFL.
  3. At number three I see the raiders picking up Sharrif Floyd out of Florida.  He’s an athletic defensive lineman that can be a three down player from day one if put in a coaching scheme that fits his style of play. The Black hole could use a pass rusher with longtime veteran Richard Seymour seemingly on his way out, Floyd would be a nice addition to a struggling defensive unit.
  4. The number four pick is one that is particularly special to me because it is held by the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles have been my team since I began following football as a sophomore in high school, and seeing them struggle posting a 4-12 record during the 2012 season was pretty upsetting. With long-time head coach out the door and now in Kansas City, there was a large amount of uncertainty with how the Eagles would look during the 2013 season. With head coach Chip Kelly, there’s a lot of anticipation to how he will try to run the team. This draft is a major part of how his regime will be viewed years to come, so he has to be sure to nail this draft pick. Line backer Dion Jordan seems like a perfect fit for Kelly’s 3-4 defensive schemes and since he played under Kelly at Oregon last year he would already be accustomed to Kelly’s fast style of play that made him so successful in the college ranks.

_____________________

 

Frank Ocean: Smart Lyrics, Great Sound

by Josh

_________________

I was raised to the sounds of Donny Hathaway and Stevie Wonder echoing throughout my household. Both artists’ music have changed the lives of many over the past few decades, and vocally are unmatched. But there is one thing that sets their musical prowess far above the majority of other R&B and soul artist that also occupy these genre: their ability to express themselves not just with through their voices, but with lyrics.

If you listen to the lyrical content of the majority of songs come on popular radio stations there is a trend: overall terrible lyrical meaning and content. But one artist who goes by the name of Frank Ocean seems to have broken this unfortunate trend. His chilling falsetto, vivid descriptions and the variety of topics he covers have let him create types of songs that haven’t been seen in recent years. Nostalgia Ultra (his first mix tape) and Channel Orange (his first studio album) have both been received well by all critics and he has gained respect from all stretches of the music industry.

Ocean’s ability to wear all of his feelings on his sleeve, regardless of what the topic is, has helped him start a following of fans that is exponentially growing. Whether it be telling a story about a girlfriend in the song “Novocain” to speaking about his life growing up in a rich family without much family presence in “Super Rich Kids” and “Sweet Life” or maybe in “Crack Rock,” a song about his family member who has fought addiction, he always gets his point across well.

His best song I have to say is “Thinking Bout You,” the basic yet very deep lyrics of the chorus and the catchy, thought-provoking verses gets me every time. Frank Ocean is bringing lyrical talent to the music industry that hasn’t seen them in years, and hopefully he can continue to produce on such a high level for years to come.

__________________

Movie Review: “Flight”

by Josh

________________

Being an avid movie watcher, I have come to realize that some movies are just plain awful. Also you begin to see a trend forming that some talented actors consistently find themselves acting in a genuinely terrible films. Nicolas Cage, Samuel L. Jackson, and Robert De Niro are all examples of great actors wasting their skills on movies such as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Snakes on a Plane and Frankenstein. No actor can win an Oscar with every performance, but if Denzel Washington is in the movie, you know that it is at least watchable. Don’t agree with me? Try to think of a movie where he plays a significant role that isn’t a decent movie… exactly there isn’t one.

The Movie Flight although it was not the greatest movie ever watched, but it was defiantly high quality. The main character, Airline Captain William “Whip” Whitaker, is a tremendous pilot that has been doing high quality flying for over a decade. But unknown to all of his peers, he has an intense drug and alcohol problem, so much that he even resorts to the consumption of alcohol during one of his flights.

Whip is so accustomed to flying that he actually began to take a short nap mid-flight. Shortly after he began his slumber he is awakened by his engines failing, resulting in a tail dive and with no other choice, he rolls the plane upside down to bring it out of the dive and maneuvers the plane right-side up just before crash-landing in a field. He loses consciousness upon impact.

Afterwards he is treated as a hero, saving 96 out of the 102 people on the plane. But once a drug test shows that he was intoxicated on not only alcohol but also cocaine during his flight, his life is sent into a tail spin. He then has to face his alcoholism and drug addiction head on and the end of the movie he is sent to prison but is sober and healthy. Denzel did a wonderful job depicting the emotion that went along with “whips” problems and really evoked emotions out of all the movie goers.

______________

The NFL: To Fine or Not to Fine

by Josh

______________

Recently in the National Football League, the referees have been cracking down on illegal hits and anything that seems to have even a whiff of foul play. This has caused thousands of dollars in fines to be dealt to various players. Clearly the rules should be followed and illegal hits should be penalized, but there should be some leeway for the plays that can be argued for either side.

A little leeway could potentially affect the quality of play for the athletes and viewing quality for fans. For most, football is supposed to be a hard-nosed , tough sport where people lay themselves on the line for the sake of the game .  This recent influx in penalties is slowly but surely gravitating the game away from that.

When a player has to worry about whether or not they’re going to get penalized and fined for certain hits, it can cause them to change their style of play entirely. This just is not good for the game as a whole , with players not playing to their full potential.  It partially takes away the “all or nothing” state of mind that defensive players tend to have.

Many players in the NFL are frustrated this season.  Poor James Harrison has somehow racked up $125,000 in fines–in a single season.  It must be frustrating being penalized so frequently. Maybe for a player making league minimum “$375,000 which in no joke of a salary” would have to worry, but for a star player who won defensive player of the year two years prior I would assume really isn’t worried about the money aspect, but more so the suspensions that he faced. But think about this: $125,000 is just more money than a good portion of the United States makes in an entire year.

Yes, some hits definitely deserve to be punished, but there is a large grey area where it really could go either way depend who you ask. Ask any player and ask them how hard it is to change their style of play after many years of playing. Yes, no player should lead with his helmet or make other foolish decisions like that because than puts both sides in danger. But not all helmet-to-helmet contact is purposeful.  Again, a little leeway will prevent the majority of those hits being unnecessary fines.

______________________