Category Archives: Opinion

Opinion

The Flawed Committee

Robert Burack
Sports EditorCFB-Playoff-Vertical Signature_RGB

Many Michigan fans are still moaning about the loss to their arch rival, the Ohio State Buckeyes, and are still upset about finishing in 6th place. They, however, are not the only fan base dissatisfied with how the committee ranked their team on Sunday. The new college football playoff system that takes the top four ranked teams remains much, much better than the controversial, scandalous system known as the BCS. However, the new system still remains highly flawed.
The most argued point this year is Penn State being left out and placed 5th and Ohio State making the playoffs while holding down the number three spot in the country. The big outcry is that on Saturday, Oct. 22, Penn State, at home, defeated the Buckeyes. Not only that, but this result led to Penn State making and winning the 2016 Big Ten Championship game. Ohio State stayed home. In defense of OSU, they did finish with an 11-1 record, compared to PSU finishing 11-2. (The additional game was the result of the Big Ten Championship). The PSU supporters say, “we won the head to head” and “we are the big ten champs,” leaving out a brutal lost to Michigan (49-10), who OSU beat, and a loss to a Pitt team that finished twenty-second.
The issue with the committee isn’t that they put OSU in. OSU earned it. OSU beat Michigan and they beat non-conference opponent Oklahoma who finished 7th. Beating the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma is not easy. Not to mention that they had the best loss in the country, to Penn State at Penn State. The committee messed up by putting Clemson in over PSU. Yes, that is right, both Ohio State and Penn State should have made the third annual playoffs.
Let’s break it down. Clemson, the ACC Champions, played a weak schedule. The win over Louisville, who was number three at the time, was impressive, but Louisville showed later on that they were actually not very good. Clemson even struggled against Troy. If NC State didn’t miss a chip-shot field goal, Clemson would have also that game. Pitt beat them, they struggled against Virginia Tech, and they lack any dominate wins. Penn State had some flaws, but they were playing much better down the stretch than Clemson.
Washington went 12-1, are Pac-12 champs, and they should not be in either. College football is the only sport to not let teams get better. The Huskies only lost one game, but it was a huge game against their arch-rival USC. Forget the 26-13 score. USC didn’t just beat them, they embarrassed them. USC – 400 total yards, Washington – 276. USC – 113 yards rushing, Washington – 17. USC looked like the best team beside Alabama going down the stretch. All three of their losses came in the first four weeks. That was then, this is now and they are much better than Washington. Don’t forget, that game was at Washington.
Michigan also has a case to be in the ranking because as they outplayed OSU for three quarters and were victim to some outrageous calls.
The college football honchos need to make one change to settle all this on the field: an eight-team playoff. The best way to do it? Give all five of the conference champions a spot and give three wild cards spots. Do not let this be settled by old college football committee members.

Welcome back to a time long, long ago in a Galaxy far, far away

Review of the new “Star Wars” movie

Lauren Schwartz

Staff Writer

This past weekend, I saw “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” and if you liked the original trilogy, and the prequel trilogy, than this classic continuation of good vs. evil across the galaxies does not disappoint.

Not only does this movie catch you up on the rebels, but it also gives you an inside look on the First Order, the new name for the Empire, showing us that although mass-produced and identical in appearance, the Storm Troopers are indeed people too. Which, to be honest, I had never thought of before. I just thought they were sad excuses for soldiers that couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn and got killed with one hit, regardless of the bulky armor they clomp around in.

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” has elements in it that truly make it a “Star Wars” film, as well as providing fresh new faces that give the franchise a renewed energy. J.J. Abrams did a great job reviving the work of George Lucas in this film, seeing as the film reminded me of its processor, “Star Wars: A New Hope.” The writers of the film did a good job providing some comic relief to prevent some scenes from being too suspenseful or scary for younger audiences, similar to that of “The Avengers: Age of Ultron.”

Overall, I, personally, would give “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” a solid eight out of ten stars because although it was an amazing movie with astonishing special effects, there were still quite a few plot holes probably big enough for me to shove my entire body through. With that being said, this movie was defiantly worth the money that I paid for my ticket and I would watch it again, probably even buy when it gets released. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” deserved all of the hype that was built up about it and superseded my expectations I had about the film.

 

A different kind of Internet and TV

Google promises to join the world in the best possible way
Jenelle Kalaf
Photo Editor

Google brings us many services, such as search engines, social media, email services, online storage, video sharing capabilities, smart phones, and smart glasses.
While all of these services are helpful and used by many, what do they all require?
Internet. And does Google have plans.
The Google Fiber project was made with one idea in mind: Connect the world.
It’s an Internet and TV service that starts with a basic price of free for up to seven years. To receive the service, you’d have to pay a one-time $300 fee for installation. This only covers just a basic, steady Internet connection.
For $130 a month (and a waived installation fee) you get 1000 Mbps (Megabits Per Second) of download speeds and a DVR box for on demand services through Google.
The Blue Water Area is dominated by high prices controlled by Comcast. While they offer good service, the highest mbps offered is 105, costing $90 a month. That’s not even including any TV package.
Cheap to free Internet, cheap, great cable service, what the catch?
Google is only offering the service in about four cities right now. Google’s idea, to connect everyone, is expensive, and the low cost don’t cover much.
While it’ll take a while for the service to get to us, it serves as a lesson to all who think they aren’t being swindled.
Google has their hands in many, many projects, and make most of their money off of web ads, they have shown the world that your Internet, which has become a basic need in our world, can be fairly priced.
Comcast and Time Warner own many networks and studios, and yet feel the need to rack up the price of something we can’t find another supplier for, which means more money for them.
Don’t fret, these amazing deals and prices are on their way. Google just needs to take their time to do it right. Google’s looking to see who will offer already existing fiber network, certain population ranges, places out of Verizon’s coverage (biggest competitor), or a willing city government.
So, interested? Check out Fiber.Google.com for more information and call your local government. Right now, making the idea known to the Blue Water Area is the largest step into making the world a little less stressful and a little more connected.

Toilet paper for a cause

toilet
Business Club collects t.p. for charity
Jamie Koebke
Business Editor

There is a toilet on the first floor of the Main Building! However it is not a toilet for use…
The Business Club of SC4 is collecting toilet paper for MidCity Nutrition. You simply put your donation inside the toilet. Donations will be accepted until November 30.
The Business Club has previously volunteered at MidCity in October and they also donated the items they had left from their bake sale that was held in late October to raise awareness for multiple sclerosis. They want to help in another way, after talking with MidCity, they decided on a toilet paper drive.
The President of the Business Club, Justin Comer said “They need 250 rolls of toilet paper for their Christmas care packages, they go to help low income families. I said we’ll get those for you!”
MidCity Nutrition is also known as the soup kitchen. MidCity does more than just feed people in need, they also offer substance abuse counseling, health clinics, counseling, accepts clothing donation and much more. It is located in the basement of St. Martin’s Lutheran Church on Chestnut Street in Port Huron.
The Business club is brainstorming more ways they plan to help out in the future. They will have more information posted on their Facebook page. Comer said, anyone who wants to volunteer with MidCity Nutrition is more than welcome to volunteer with the Business Club.
“We try to focus our energy toward helping those immediately around us in hopes that the pay it forward philosophy will keep the good vibes spreading outward,” Comer said.

Humans without rights

gender
How society treats those who are Trans, genderqueer, or genderfluid
Jenelle Kalaf
Photo Editor

Society can be unkind to those who are different from them; just look at how we treat Native Americans, African Americans and now the refugees from Syria.
Society can be just abrasive to those who do not identify as their assigned gender at birth.
Those who are transgender, genderqueer, or genderfluid.
The issue was brought to the forefront, on Nov. 3, in Texas when a bill, named Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), was voted down.
The ballot question read “Are you in favor of the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, Ord. No. 2014-530, which prohibits discrimination in city employment and city services, city contracts, public accommodations, private employment, and housing based on an individual’s sex, race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, familial status, marital status, military status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, genetic information, gender identity, or pregnancy?”
The problem started at “gender identity.”
To clarify, according to dictionary.com transgender means “a person whose gender identity does not correspond to that person’s biological sex assigned at birth.” Genderqueer as, “a person who does not subscribe to conventional gender distinctions but identifies with neither, both, or a combination of male and female genders.” Genderfluid is defined as “a person may at any time identify as male, female, neutrois, or any other non-binary identity, or some combination of identities.”
This mouthful aside, all 3 terms are ways of defining genders without the cookie cutter male/female. While it seems complicated to those who are cis-gender (a person who identifies with their assigned gender), that doesn’t give anyone the right to criminalize any person who identifies as trans or other just for being who they are.
These three terms blanket the idea of gender identity.
The main idea of the HERO bill itself was to protect all citizens in Houston, Texas, reading “The city council finds that all persons living in, working in or visiting the City are entitled to be treated with equal dignity and respect and have the right to be free from discriminatory and unequal treatment.”
The bill was voted down due to a series of advertising campaigns claiming that this law would allow any man posing as a woman (even sex offenders) to use the women’s restrooms in public to sexually harass and rape women. That idea came from the section in the bill that stated “The City Council finds that discrimination on the basis of Protected Characteristics in privately owned and operated public accommodations, including… public conveyances “”Public Accommodations”) results in the unjust exclusions of persons…”
So, if they identify with a gender, they can use that restroom in public.
This made a lot of people uncomfortable, and I don’t blame them. It’s different and that makes a lot of people uncomfortable. But that doesn’t mean a group should be shunned because they make you uncomfortable.
According to Alfred Adler and Colin Brett’s book, “Understanding Human Nature: The Psychology of Personality,” its human nature to be uncomfortable when presented by unknown information. Their findings state, “We must not blame bearers of a physical disability or a disagreeable character trait for their indignation. They are not responsible for it.”
While I don’t agree with the term “disagreeable character trait,” the statement states that we shouldn’t make people feel bad for how they were born or how they feel.
This bill is just the tip of the iceberg.
Probably the most relevant example of back lash on any part of the trans/genderqueer/genderfluid community was the news about Caitlyn Jenner. She recently came out as Trans and stated that her name is no longer Bruce.
Now, there are many reasons why people had such a hard backlash. For one, so many grew up with “Bruce” Jenner, Olympic star, and immediately freaked when she came out. A Facebook war ensued, defining who is “brave,” and what it means to stand up for your rights.
But she isn’t the only trans person to gain the spotlight.
In 2014, Leelah Alcorn, 17, committed suicide after her parents tried to push her into something she’s not.
According to the police report, she died from blunt force trauma after she stepped in front of a semi-truck.
She posted a suicide note to the website tumblr.com stating ‘If you are reading this, it means that I have committed suicide and obviously failed to delete this post from my queue.
Her note was lengthy, stating, “I feel like a girl trapped in a boy’s body, and I’ve felt that way ever since I was 4.”
“When I was 14, I learned what transgender meant and cried of happiness. After 10 years of confusion I finally understood who I was. I immediately told my mom, and she reacted extremely negatively, telling me that it was a phase, that I would never truly be a girl, that God doesn’t make mistakes, that I am wrong,” Alcorn said.
Alcorn explained that when she came out at school, her parents pulled her out, taking away her laptop, cell phone, forced her to stay away from social media, and didn’t allow her to see any friends. “They wanted me to be their perfect little straight Christian boy, and that’s obviously not what I wanted,” Alcorn said.
“I was completely alone for 5 months,” Alcorn said.
The last line of her note begged for others to fix what caused her to end her life, so others wouldn’t follow, saying, “I want someone to look at that number and say ‘that’s fucked up’ and fix it. Fix society. Please.”
Her parents had her buried as Joshua.
This is the point where I usually give any information about our great state for gender questions and laws, but Michigan really ignores the issue.
One of the few pieces of information I did find was at MichiganTransgender.gov, stating that “There is no law in Michigan restricting restroom use. However, the use of the wrong restroom does fall under ‘disturbing the peace.’”
That being said, a few states are trying to put in place the “all gender” restrooms, where anyone of any identity can use the facilities.
The issue isn’t just one of what bathroom you can use.
The words of Leelah Alcorn are left in my head, “The only way I will rest in peace is if one day transgender people aren’t treated the way I was, they’re treated like humans, with valid feelings and human rights.”
And for transgender people, genderqueer people, and genderfluid people that may be reading this: You are valid.

War may not change, but Fallout does

fallout
New and improved take on wasteland life
Nick “Chico” Hernandez
Managing Editor
Following total atomic annihilation, the rebuilding of this great nation of ours may fall to you. That’s why Bethesda has prepared this educational video game series for you to better understand the future!
Fallout 4 comes from the minds and hearts of Bethesda Softworks, makers of The Elder Scrolls as well, packed with more to do than some could comprehend. In an article by Official Xbox Magazine, Bethesda’s Lead Producer Jeff Gardiner said, “I’ve played the game for probably 400 hours, and I’m still finding stuff that I haven’t seen.”
I can say I’ve played the game for 60+ hours and everything still feels new. Everything about the game has been revamped; the enemies move in a more realistic, less clunky way (ghouls shamble and scurry like zombies, rather than running straightforward), the scenery will often leave you gazing into the horizon, and everything is useful.
Old fans of the Fallout series will appreciate the opening to the game, as it takes place before the bombs fell and created the post-apocalyptic world seen in the series. After you crawl out from the fallout, you’re free to do whatever you want. You could play for days and never touch the main storyline, or bust out said storyline without doing anything else.
Aside from the massive overhaul of enemies, graphics, and useful ‘junk’, you’ll encounter more Non Player Characters (NPCs) than previous installments. Most NPCs have a unique look to them and with over 13,000 lines of dialogue, (more than Skyrim and Fallout 3 combined) players aren’t expected to hear the same rabble from one settlement to another.
Workshop settlements are something completely new to the Fallout world. It takes elements from Minecraft and Sims and allows to build up a town you find or, in some cases, tear everything down and start anew. You can add anything from crops (which play a role in running supply lines between settlements), machine guns (adds defense), or simply aesthetic items like paintings of cats.
Power Armor has been given an upgrade too. No longer is it worn like a piece of clothing, but actually as a suit of armor. You power it up with a fusion core, and then jump into it. With being able to modify the armor and change the paintjob, comes the responsibility of maintaining it. During a fight, the armor can become damaged and fall off; however, it does stay in your inventory, but cannot be used unless repaired.
The large majority of the in-game weapons can be customized in some way. This ranges from adding nails to a wooden board, to transforming a pistol into a fully automatic sniper rifle. The possibilities here are endless, but the junk needed to make these enhancements are not. Chico tip: Vegetable Starch breaks down to adhesive, a rare and extremely useful crafting item. Starch is renewable through growing crops.
In Fallout 4 (the very beginning being the only exception) everything is optional. The amount of player freedom can be staggering. The best way to play any game is your way and the Game Director for Fallout 4, Todd Howards, agrees, ““Let’s have our cake and ice cream. The more we can say yes to the player, the better we are.”

The Silence in the Snow is here and the silence will fall

tylerthing
New Trivium album review
Tyler Smith
Guest Writer
This fall has been very eventful from the political debates to the Starbucks Christmas fiasco. One thing went unnoticed to most people. An American heavy metal band release their seventh album, for two years Trivium worked the most anticipated album fans have been waiting for.
From leaked tracks from the band themselves the band final release their newest album “Silence in the Snow,” a melodic masterpiece truly we cannot get enough of it. Oh the catchy riffs can stay in your head for days on end, and the clean vocals. No screaming, beautiful clean vocals, a first for Trivium.
Even someone who listens to anything such as Imagine Dragons or Fall Out Boy could like this album. Ferris State student Amy Salaski says, “This is heavy metal? I could listen this all day.”
An album of radio friendly songs but also hard rock’n’roll at the same time is miracle bestowed by the gods. If you’re worried about cost, don’t worry the album costs $17.99 for a hard copy and $11.99 on iTunes, buy it and enjoy this wonderful masterpiece of music.

Representation in media

Why fans are ruining any hope for good minority characters
Jenelle Kalaf
Photo Editor

Representation of minorities are important in media, but it’s time to realize we’re doing it wrong.
And getting too excited about it.
I guess this coming from a straight, white, woman that grew up with a lot of good role models in media (Wonder Woman, Sailor Moon, etc.) probably makes this seem laughable that I somehow know how minorities would like to represented.
But as a writer and a consumer of media, you should all be ashamed of how you’re being represented.
From the extreme stereotypes of gay men in “Glee” to the disgusting lack of any asexual characters, Hollywood seems to think if we just shove a character in randomly and put a label on them, they are set for the next six seasons.
Or worse, the changing a character from straight to gay because it’s easier then writing a whole new character and somehow make the story still work.
You know, you could write a character, and just sort of mention that they are gay or transgender and move on with life and not make a big deal about it.
Because if that’s how straight characters are written, can’t you just do it that way with everyone else?
I guess this leads to other minorities such as persons-of-color, or just women in general.
The current (and most annoying, in my opinion) stereotype of women is the “tough or girly” thing where either the girl has to be surprisingly strong and tough compared to the men she interacts with or she has to be girly and needs to be saved by the others.
Why not “I need to survive so I just do it,” or “I’m normal, but I just so happen to have an interesting plot spark something that makes me grow as a person?”
And for POCs? I’m sorry, but not every black man needs to either be super tough or a teddy bear. Why can’t we have a middle ground? Same with anyone with an Asian background; they’re either super smart or lame and nerdy, no “I just so happen to be Asian.”
Writing minorities isn’t hard to do. Really. Just stop making them a flat character just to bait newcomers to shows or movies or books or whatever. Writing characters with different gender identities and sexual preferences isn’t hard either. Just don’t bring it up when it has nothing to do with the plot. Be subtle and tactful. You’d be shocked how much more interesting the character is in the long run.

Family owned fall favorite

A review of Blake’s Apple Orchard
Jamie Koebke
Business Editor
Blakes2The first things I think of when I hear the word “fall” are sweaters, apple orchards, pumpkins and haunted everything. Another thing I think of is Blake’s Apple Orchard.
Located in Armada, MI, Blake’s Apple Orchard offers not only apple picking, but they also offer array of other fruits for picking, pumpkin picking, and a variety of haunted attractions including a new attraction Zombie Paintball. They also offer a cider mill with freshly made doughnuts and apple cider.
They have also started offering over 10 varieties of hard cider. I recently tried Flannel Mouth, which is a hard cider also available at Meijer. It was very sweet, yet crisp. If 21 or older I would recommend giving it a shot. They also offer a variety of other flavors, one being El Chavo. El Chavo is a mixture of Habanero peppers, mango and, of course, apples. According to the website, it has a kick. All of the “beer” type ciders are based at 6.5% abv.
The cider house is open Sunday through Wednesday 11am-6pm and Thursday through Saturday 11am-11pm. They offer ½ off drinks during happy hour from 4pm-7pm. They also offer ½ off all drinks during Tigers games Monday-Thursday and Sunday starting May 1st.
Blakes1Now what started my investigation into Blake’s was me seeing post after post on Facebook about people going there. I was curious if Blake’s was really the place to go during autumn. So I dragged my boyfriend there as a date.
The prices for the haunted attractions were reasonable and they even offered package deals that I thought were more than fair. Spooky Land 3D Maze cost $10.95, the Three Story Haunted Barn cost $13.95 per adult and $9.95 per child, the Haunted Hayride cost $16.95 per adult and $12.95 per child. The final haunted attraction is Zombie Paintball Safari, this is priced at $19.95 and lets you shoot at real life zombies! The package deals range from two attractions for $22 per adult and $18 for children (with a lower price on Sundays) to the VIP special (includes all four attractions) for $49.95 (with a lower price on Sundays.) They also offer a $5 off discount on Halloween night for any combo pack.
The apples, on the other hand, I felt were a bit over priced at $1.49 a pound. I did however have the most fun while picking them, and they were delicious. In the end it was worth it. I had a blast, and got some really cool experiences, plus some pretty tasty doughnuts!
What I really found cool about Blake’s is that while they offered the typical haunted stuff, but they also offered a petting zoo, face painting, a fun maze (that wasn’t haunted) for the kids, so that a family could go and not have to worry about the kids being freaked out.
Blakes3Joshua Drouillard, 20 of Fort Gratiot, said, “It was a great environment for both family and friends. They do a great job every year, I’m glad I got to experience it this year.”
If you’re looking for something to do in the next few weeks, be it fun for the family, or spending time with someone special in your life, Blake’s Apple Orchard should be on your list of things to do.

New brewery has landed in Marysville

Harsens Island Brewery
Nick “Chico” Hernandez
Managing Editor
harsens2Breweries are an increasingly common thing around the nation and Michigan is no exception. Harsens Island Brewery opened August 14 in Marysville, occupying the former Wonder Hostess Bakery Outlet, which closed due to Hostess Inc. going bankrupt.
Harsens has four beers on tap, with at least four more in works. The current beers on tap are The Mighty Marysville, The Hump, CIT, and Tashmoo Streamer.
All pints are $5, and Flights are $6. Happy Hour is Monday to Thursday from 3pm to 7pm. Harsens offers 10% off food for military, firefighters, police, and Border Patrol Agents. Harsens does not offer student discounts at this time.
The menu is simple and small, containing flatbreads three salads, brat sausages, sliders, appetizers, and even a kids sections. Brats and sausages come with either kettle chips or fries, patron’s choice.
The interior carries a theme of one part industrial, and another part sailing; the latter matching the name of the brewery and the location for which it is named for. After stepping through the front doors two things become apparent: the small size of the brewery (max occupancy 99 people) and the large window that allows patrons to peer into the brewing area, much like Thumb Coast Brewing Company does.
However, it is unfair to compare Harsens Island to Thumb Coast due to Harsens being the new kid on the block and Thumb Coast the grizzled veteran. That being said, Harsens has some good things going for it.

The Beer
The following beer review is courtesy of Paul Jacques, 23 of Fort Gratiot, and Angie Stoecklin, 25 of St. Clair, both lovers of craft beer and general beer enthusiasts.
The Mighty Marysville – 5.5% alcohol content, a Belgian Ale.
“It’s very smooth. I feel like its missing something on the aftertaste, but other than that it’s smooth. It lives up to what it should be: a Belgian Ale.” –Stoecklin
“The Belgian is kind of flowery, but it is good. There isn’t anything wrong with it.” –Jacques
The Hump – 5.8%, Helles Bock
“The Hump is my favorite because when I want something tame and unique, I go for a Bock. It is very well done for what it done.” – Stoecklin
“It’s light. Just the right amount of spice in the aftertaste.” –Jacques
CIT – 4.3%, American Wheat with an orange peel
“Definitely not my favorite beer here. It’s not that it is a bad beer, but it’s not a good beer either.” – Stoecklin
“I wouldn’t recommend the CIT to anyone because there is much better beer on the menu.” -Jacques
Tashmoo Streamer – 5.1%, California Common
“The taste is bland; nothing special about this one.” – Stoecklin
“I’m only drinking this beer because I paid for it. Not a good choice.” -Jacques

The Food
This section is a critic of a few food choices as eaten by Nick “Chico” Hernandez, Angie Stoecklin, and Paul Jacques.
Beer Brat with fries
“The brat is simply amazing. Very tasty and the bun is crisp.” –Jacques
“I want to marry these fries. These are going in my top ten of best fries ever.” –Stoecklin
“Simply put, the brat is cooked with skill and the fries leave you wanting more. More fries, that is.” –Hernandez
House Salad
“It’s pretty hard to screw up a salad, in my opinion. The greens are fresh, the cheese is thick, and crunch well with the carrots shavings and crotons. The ranch is oddly watery, but equally tasty. A good, healthy alternative.
Margherita Flatbread
“Six slices of well-baked flat bread that comes together to create a satisfying, and filling, meal. The seasoning is just right, and the tomatoes are not overpowering. Not often will you find that combination. My personal favorite.” –Hernandez
Cuban Slider
“A little sweet, but add some sriracha and it’s good.” –Angie
“I would have substituted the sweet mustard with either a honey mustard or maybe a light BBQ sauce. Nonetheless, the burger is made in proper slider form; a little crispy, but full of flavor.” –Hernandez

Note: The views and opinions in this review do not reflect the views and opinions of the Erie Square Gazette or St. Clair Community College. The life experiences and work experiences of Angie Stoecklin, Paul Jacques, and Nick “Chico” Hernandez do not qualify them as professionals in any sense.