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Pop Culture

Flashback Fridays: March 1992

Fifteen-year-old American swimmer, and Harrisburg, PA native, Anita Nall breaks the 200m breaststroke world record twice in the SAME day at the US Swimming championships in Indianapolis; Once in the preliminary “heats” to the finals, and then again, when she won the finals in 2:25.35. Nall would go on to win gold at the 1992 summer Olympics in Barcelona as the “breaststroke” leg swimmer in the women’s 4 X 100 Medley relay team, and becoming (at that time) the youngest American gold-medalist in swimming since 1976.

The #1 movie a the box office this week in 1992 was the drama-thriller “Basic Instinct” starring Sharon Stone and Michael Douglas. The movie hit #1 on 22nd of March for one week, only to return to #1 three weeks later, and remain in the top spot for 5 consecutive weeks.

Model, actress, and former Miss America, Vanessa Williams, topped the Billboard charts with her single “Save the Best for Last” this week back in 1992, where it stayed for five consecutive weeks!

Moldova joins the United Nations. The small country nestled between the much-larger Ukraine and Romania, declared its independence from the Soviet Union on August 27, 1991, and was a co-founder of the post-Soviet Commonwealth of Independent States. Moldova became fully independent from the Soviet Union that December 1991, and joined the United Nations three months later, in March 1992.

Mining accidents are common in Turkey, where poor safety conditions have cost 3,000 lives since 1941. The nation’s worst mining disaster was a 1992 gas explosion that killed 263 workers near the Black Sea port of Zonguldak. Minister Taner Yildiz said 787 people were inside the coal mine in Soma, some 250 kilometers south of Istanbul, at the time of the explosion. About 300 were rescued but unfortunately 263 confirmed miners died in the mines. 

The Erzincan earthquake struck eastern Turkey with a moment magnitude of 7.8 Mw and a maximum Mercalli intensity of XII (Extreme). This was one of the largest in a sequence of violent shocks to affect Turkey along the North Anatolian Fault between 1939 and 1999. Surface rupturing, with an horizontal displacement of up to 3.7 meters, occurred in a 360 km long segment of the North Anatolian Fault Zone. The earthquake was the most severe natural loss of life in Turkey in the 20th century, with 32,968 dead, and some 100,000 injured.

The International Atomic Energy Agency orders Iraq to destroy an industrial complex at Al Atheer that is being used to manufacture nuclear weapons.

Writer: Micah Borrelli


Flashback Fridays: March 1979

“Tagedy” by the Bee Gees was one of their final hits (Released: February 1979)

Forty-two years ago, the number one song on the radio was the Bee Gees’ hit, “Tragedy.” “Tragedy” was one of many hits from the musical trio, whose harmonious vocals ruled the airwaves throughout the height of the disco era. They are best remembered for their soundtrack for the John Travolta film, 1977’s Saturday Night Fever. Several hits emerged from this album, including “Staying Alive,” “Night Fever,” “How Deep is Your Love,” and “If I Can’t Have You”; “Tragedy” was just another addition to their long-line of hits. This track, however, would be one of the group’s final hits. After their follow-up single, “Love You Inside Out” topped the charts for a week in June, the Bee Gees became yesterday’s news. By this point in the music industry, the disco genre had become so oversaturated that there was a rapid decline in popularity and support for disco artists. The Bee Gees struggled to find success throughout the eighties, though they remained innovative artists in the shadows of the industry. Their 1981 LP, Living Eyes became the first ever CD to be played in public; leading vocalist Barry Gibb produced and co-wrote multiple songs and albums for different artists, such as Barbra Streisand’s 1980 LP, Guilty, and Diana Ross’ 1985 LP, Eaten Alive. Fortunately, the trio made a comeback during the late eighties with both successful tours and albums.

The peace treaty between Egypt and Israel was signed 16 months after Egyptian president Anwar Sadat’s visit to Israel in 1977, after intense negotiations. The main features of the treaty were mutual recognition, cessation of the state of war that had existed since the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. Normalization of relations and the withdrawal by Israel of its armed forces and civilians from the Sinai Peninsula, which Israel had captured during the Six-Day War in 1967. Egypt agreed to leave the Sinai Peninsula demilitarized. The agreement provided for free passage of Israeli ships through the Suez Canal, and recognition of the Strait of Tiran and the Gulf of Aqaba as international waterways. The agreement also called for an end to Israeli military rule over the Israeli-occupied territories and the establishment of full autonomy for the Palestinian inhabitants of the territories, terms that were not implemented but which became the basis for the Oslo Accords.

Nearly forty-two years ago, American rock band KISS was on the verge of releasing their platinum-selling record, Dynasty. KISS were arguably as popular to the American rock scene as were the Bee Gees to the disco scene, selling millions of records over the span of just a couple of years. The group blew up in popularity with their first ever live-album, 1975’s Alive!, which spawned their iconic rendition of “Rock n’ Roll All Nite.” Despite their overwhelming success, tensions in the band were at a breaking point in 1979. Drummer Peter Criss has been in a major car accident in 1978, leaving his drumming abilities less than mediocre. Filling in for him on this record is future David Letterman drummer, Anton Fig. Dynasty was a massive commercial success, spawning the hit single “I Was Made for Lovin’ You.” Fans of KISS were outraged because the song had a disco instrumentation. Regardless of its disco leanings, the rest of the Dynasty album was full of hard rock anthems. This would be the last album “featuring” the original four members. The tour that followed later in the year was full of animosity and tension between the band members. After their final show in December, the original members would not perform together until over fifteen years later.

The China Syndrome is a 1979 American drama neo-noir thriller film directed by James Bridges and written by Bridges, Mike Gray, and T. S. Cook. It follows a television reporter and her cameraman who discovered safety cover ups at a nuclear power plant. “China syndrome” is a fanciful term that describes a fictional result of a nuclear meltdown, where reactor components melt through their containment structures and into the underlying earth, “all the way to China”.

Ironically, The China Syndrome was initially criticized for being a “character assassination” of the nuclear industry. Just twelve days after its release, the Three Mile Island accident occurred just a couple counties away from Minersville. This partial meltdown at the nuclear facility rose alarm towards this field of energy. The “International Nuclear Event Scale” rated this incident a five on a seven-point scale. The event was so alarming that President Carter himself visited the site just two days after the meltdown. Cleanup of the area began in August of that year and lasted well into 1993, costing over a billion in damages. The undamaged portion of the plant remained in use until its shutdown in September of 2019.

Writers: Micah Borrelli & Lucas Hydock


Flashback Fridays: March 2020

Digital information frequently displayed such messages during the early months of the Covid-19 Pandemic

March 2020: The month the world froze. On this day one year ago, the Minersville Area School District held its last in-person day of school for the 2019-2020 schoolyear. Students were informed about a two-week suspension of classes, which inevitably expanded into four-weeks, then into six-weeks, etc. For the first time in Minersville history, spring sports, the annual musical, and the Junior/Senior prom were cancelled. Seniors were unable to participate in various “rights of passage,” including their senior trip, senior dinner, and senior picnic. Their graduation dates were also pushed back a few weeks later than usual. At the time of Minersville’s shutdown, the school was buzzing with activity. Just days before the closure, Minersville hosted the 2020 Schuylkill County Band concert. Additionally, the A.P. Biology class had recently worked on their spring clean-up project, and practice for baseball, softball, and track & field had commenced; the annual musical was just two weeks away from opening night.

One year later, Minersville has drastically transformed into an entirely different school. Students are required to wear masks, and socially distant throughout the building. Lunch tables are exclusive to a maximum of four kids per table. Wednesdays, the big “hump” of the week now provides a brief break for the students, who are required to only complete their work remotely, from home. Sports have continued, albeit with greater efforts to abide by Covid-guidelines. Just recently, the arts division has reopened, and the Academic League plans to participate in virtual matches later this month. Numerous clubs, however, have failed to return from their hiatus – the Art Club, Diversity Club, the Film Club, Life-Skills Club, S.A.D.D, and Teens Against Tobacco are among the many that have been indefinitely disbanded. Staff changes in the district has drastically changed, as well. A plethora of new teachers have joined the Minersville family, including the likes of Miss. Eremo, Mr. Gonzalez, Mr. Hartman, Mr. Parent, and Ms. S Williams. Despite its dramatic contrast to the building that it was just a year ago, the spirit of Minersville continues to thrive.

Italy was hit hard by the Coronavirus pandemic last March. One of the first things Giuseppe, the prime minister of Italy, did was close off the northern provinces in an attempt to limit the amount of travel between them and neighboring countries. Weeks later it was declared that all commercial activity other than supermarkets and pharmacies would close, before finally it was decided that citizens would be under restricted movement to prevent any more spread of the virus. 

While movie theatres around the world shut down, Pixar was on the precipice of releasing their twenty-second animated film. Onward is a fantasy-comedy starring Avenger actors Tom Holland and Chris Pratt, as well Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Octavia Spencer. The world in which Onward takes place in, is that of a “magical suburbia,” a land where the supernatural once dictated all that was until it gradually shifted into an industrialized community. Themes in the film include that of adventure, embracing heritage, and the power of brotherhood. Despite its creative world full of likable characters, Onward was a financial failure due to the lack of a proper theatrical screening. The film released on then-newly developed streaming platform, Disney+ to a lukewarm response. The studio’s follow-up film in December, Soul, made up for the unenthusiastic reception to Onward, receiving near-universal praise amongst audiences.

Shortly after the pandemic began, a riot broke out in a Colombian prison. The panic was prompted over coronavirus fears, leaving twenty-three dead. According to CNN, “there was a ‘massive and criminal escape attempt’ at the Bogota’s La Modelo prison.” This prison is one of the country’s most overpopulated prisons; according to Justice Minister, Margarita Cabello, there were additional revolts at various penitentiary centers throughout the country. The prisoners’ efforts to escape were futile, as nobody successfully broke out.

 North Korea fired an unidentified projectile into the sea off the coast of Japan last march, the sixth launch by the Kim Jong Un regime in less than a month. Japan’s Self Defense Force said in a statement that the missile had landed outside the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone, which extends 200 nautical miles from Japan’s shores. As North Korea and their regime get more and more bold with testing the boundaries with neighboring countries the rest of the world debates on whether it is their responsibility to step in.

Writers: Micah Borrelli & Lucas Hydock


Flashback Fridays: March 1984

Eddie Van Halen, lead guitarist of California rock group, Van Halen, leaps into action (Circa: 1980’s)

On this day, thirty-six years ago, the number-one song on the radio was “Jump” by Van Halen. Van Halen formed in Pasadena, California, just ten years earlier. Sons of Dutch and Indonesian immigrants, brothers Alex and Eddie Van Halen were prominently raised in this area, and began playing music while they were still children. Throughout the late sixties into the early seventies, the brothers would play in multiple bands, often at local backyard parties. It wasn’t until 1974, when a man named David Lee Roth lent them a sound system. Roth’s payment in return, was the opportunity to sing lead vocals for their band. After the hiring of Michael Anthony, the classic Van Halen lineup was formed. After years of growing locally, and gaining a legendary reputation in the underground rock scene, Van Halen was officially signed to a major record label in 1977. Their debut album, 1978’s Van Halen was an instant success, becoming one of the highest regarded albums in rock music. Over the next five years, Van Halen underwent a grueling schedule, producing a new album each year and constantly touring in-between sessions. However, after a year-long hiatus from new material, Van Halen stormed the charts with their highly successful album, 1984. Released on January 9th of that year, it is widely considered Van Halen’s magnum opus, with a plethora of iconic hits such as “Panama,” “I’ll Wait,” “Hot for Teacher,” and their first number-one, “Jump.” “Jump” is arguably Van Halen’s most iconic song, with a catchy synth-hook that easily draws in its listeners.

Speaking of popular music at the time, English rock group The Police were on top of the world. They had only released five albums up to that point, each progressively more successful than the last; their most recent effort, 1983’s Synchronicity played a major role in the New Wave era of popular music. MTV thrived off of music videos for acts that experimented with the futuristic sounds of synthesizers and the classic riffs of an electric guitar; this LP specialized in both. Four successful singles dominated television sets and radio charts over the span of several months, from May of 1983 through early 1984. The Police were recipients of multiple awards at the 1984 Grammy Awards, including the prestigious song of the year for “Every Breath You Take.” Fans of The Police were eager to hear what next would come from the “biggest band in the world.” Unfortunately for them, their wave of success was only short-lived, as their final concerts in March of 1984 would be their last for over twenty years. Lead singer Sting was inspired to commit to a solo career. Two years later, The Police would disband permanently, save for a brief reunion tour from 2007-2008. Like the Beatles before, and Nirvana after, The Police ended their career at the height of their success.

Footloose danced its way into theaters in 1984. An American musical drama film directed by Herbert Ross. It tells the story of Ren McCormack, a teenager from Chicago who moves to a small town, where he attempts to overturn the ban on dancing instituted by the efforts of a local minister. The film grossed $80,000,00 domestically.

In violation of the Geneva Protocol of 1925, the Iraqi Army initiated two failed and one successful offensive chemical weapons (CW) programs. President Saddam Hussein pursued the most extensive chemical program during the Iran–Iraq War, when he waged chemical warfare against his foe. The Iraqi army began to develop an intensive research program to produce and store chemical weapons and used the war fields to test and perfect their chemical warfare prowess. Thus, as the war continued, Iraq’s chemical warfare program expanded rapidly.

On March 6, 1984, the National Coal Board announced its plan to cut the nation’s coal output by 4 million tons, in an effort to stem a $340 million annual loss. The miners began to strike and faced off against police forces backed by the government, in clashes that often turned violent. Some of the worst violence occurred in South Yorkshire, including a standoff at the British Steel coking plant in Orgreave on June 18, 1984 involving 10,000 miners and 5,000 police officers.

On television, the highest rated show at the time was Dallas, a CBS drama that has cemented itself in the cultural zeitgeist of the 1980’s. The series is best remembered for its iconic cliffhanger episode, “Nightmare,” in which main character J.R. Ewing is shot by a mysterious person. For several months, American audiences pondered over the perpetrator of the act. The season four premiere, “Who Done It,” remains the second-highest episode televised during prime time. Over the next few years, Dallas would remain the highest-viewed show on television, with its 1983-1984 season being the last of three to rank first. Their most recent episode at the time was the 22nd episode of the seventh season, “And the Winner is…”

Writers: Micah Borrelli & Lucas Hydock


Flashback Fridays: February 1996

Both released on February 27th, 1996 was Pokémon: Red & Blue

Pokémon Red Version and Pokémon Blue Version are 1996 role-playing video games developed by Game Freak and published by Nintendo for the Game Boy. The game was a hit and had an 89% approval rate from critics and even hit the “Top 100 games of all time”. The game consists of you and your team of pocket monsters traveling the region and battling other trainers while gathering badges. 

If one were to tune into T-102 around this time, their ears would be blessed with the harmonious voices of Mariah Carey & Boyz II Men. Released on November 15th, 1995, the single broke airwaves and held the record for being the longest-consecutive number-one single on the Billboard Hot 100. The R&B staple dominated this chart from December 1995 all the way into March of ’96, for a total of sixteen weeks. The song held this record until 2017, when Luis Fonzi & Daddy Yankee tied it with their hit, “Despacito.” Less than two years later, Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” (Ft. Billy Ray Cyrus) broke the record and extended it to nineteen weeks. Mariah Carey has since enjoyed a plethora of hits on the radio, including “Always Be My Baby,” “Heartbreaker (Ft. Jay-Z),” and “Don’t Forget About Us.” Boyz II Men, however, didn’t fare out as well as Carey did. Their next few albums were fairly successful, but as the 2000’s rolled along, their success dwindled.

While “One More Day” dominated the mainstream music scene, all of Mariah Carey’s nominations at the 1996 Grammy Awards were snubbed. As her losses piled up, her reaction-shots featured a forced smile that became more and more difficult to maintain. Critics had previously declared her ’95 release as “Album of the Year,” and she even performed a live rendition of her current-number-one song during the ceremony. This award show is particularly remembered for the reunion of the original lineup of 70’s rock band, KISS. Introduced by famous rapper Tupac Shakur, who had just released his highly successful All Eyez on Me, just a few weeks earlier, the group made headlines as they reunited in full-makeup and costumes for the first time since 1979.

In theatres, one could find a screening of the recently released Happy Gilmore, an Adam Sandler sports-comedy that has remained one of his most acclaimed films. The movie was drafted by Sandler and his college roommate, Tim Herlihy; both had written Sandler’s first film, 1995’s Billy Maddison. The film centers around the titular character, who is thrusted into a golf competition to raise money for his grandmother, who has committed tax evasion for years. Bob Barker, then-host of the CBS gameshow, The Price is Right, appears in the film as himself, paired with Gilmore in a celebrity golf-tournament. Due to Gilmore’s inadequate performance, Barker gets into a fistfight with the protagonist. Thanks to this scene, the movie won a MTV Movie Award for “Best Fight” scene, the first entry of its kind. Happy Gilmore grossed over forty-million dollars worldwide.

Sid Meier’s Civilization II is a turn-based strategy video game in the Civilization series, developed and published by MicroProse. It was released in 1996 for PCs. Civilization II was designed by Brian Reynolds, Douglas Caspian-Kaufman and Jeff Briggs. Development was carried on in secret for years, with the game only being publicly announced when the team had reached the point of final tweaks and balancing. By mid-January 1997, global sales of Civilization II had surpassed 720000 copies.

ER is an American medical drama television series created by novelist and physician Michael Crichton that aired on NBC from September 19, 1994, to April 2, 2009, with a total of 331 episodes spanning 15 seasons. ER follows the inner life of the emergency room of fictional County General Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, and various critical issues faced by the room’s physicians and staff. ER attracted an average of 19 million viewers per episode, becoming the year’s second most watched television show, just behind Seinfeld. ER attracted an average of 19 million viewers per episode, becoming the year’s second most watched television show, just behind Seinfeld.

Writers: Micah Borrelli & Lucas Hydock


Flashback Fridays: February 1986

The Soviet Union’s space station, Mir (1986)

On February 20th, 1986, the Soviet Union officially launched their own space station, Mir. While there had previously been low-orbiting stations in the atmosphere, Mir revolutionized the modular design that continues to influence present-day spacecrafts. This station was significantly larger than any previous man-made satellite, allowing for easier usage of the premises for various experiments. Additionally, Mir’s design allowed for a greater longevity than any previous spacecraft, operating for well over a decade. In the early 1990’s, both the United States and Russia officially declared a joint-exploration program that would allow for U.S. astronauts to board Mir, and Russian cosmonauts to board an American space-shuttle. The once thriving “Space Race” between two ideologically different world-powers had been long over, making way for an internationally-lead movement for space exploration. Construction on the International Space Station was announced in September of 1993, and was launched over five years later. Despite being deorbited shortly thereafter, Mir’s legacy remains as a stepping-stone in mankind’s achievements towards adventuring the outer-limits of our world.

In February of 1986, Pixar Animation Studios was officially spun-off as a corporation from its original company, Lucasfilm. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs funded Pixar with well over ten million dollars. The company started small with their entertainment, releasing their first independent short in August of that year. Luxo Jr., as it is called, would be the first of many innovative shorts that evolved the animation medium into the computer-generated era. Two years later, a short entitled Tin Toy would release, winning that year’s “Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.” Tin Toy would further serve as the basis for the production of the 1995 classic, Toy Story. After the release of their first feature-length film, Pixar would become a household name. In the thirty-five years since its founding, they’ve released a multitude of cinematic staples including Monster’s Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, and WALL -E. Their most recent film as of 2021 is Soul, of which is currently nominated for the Golden Globe Awards’ “Best Animated Feature Film” category.

Nearly thirty-five years ago, the first entry in the “Legend of Zelda” franchise was released in Japan. The original game featured a non-linear gaming structure, incorporating elements of the action, adventure, and roleplaying genres. Players have to navigate through the overworld, full of dungeons and mythical caves. Zelda’s main antagonist, Ganon – the “Prince of darkness” – has kidnapped the princess and stole the Triforce of Power, an artifact with the ability to increase its user’s strength. Before being kidnapped, Princess Zelda split the Triforce of Wisdom into eight different pieces; it is up to you, the player, to successfully gather each fragment and defeat Ganon once and for all. The heroic protagonist, Link, is a young boy who was designed to represent a coming-of-age motif that the player could identify with. Since its release, the original Zelda has remained one of the most iconic games from Nintendo’s eighties catalogue.

Writers: Lucas Hydock


Flashback Friday: February 2019

“El Chapo” was declared guilty of all charges on February 12th, 2019 (Picture taken: January
20h, 2017)

On this day two years ago, NASA officially confirmed that the Mars Opportunity Rover had ceased communication. Originally launched on July 7th 2003, the rover accompanied Spirit, as part of the Mars Exploration Rover program. The robot descended onto the surface of Mars several months later. The “little rover that could” was initially supposed to last only 90 sols (Approximately 92 Earth Days). In the end, it well surpassed expectations when it survived for over 5,000 sols. It was able to survive for such a long period of time, due to its continual recharging of its solar batteries. During major dust storms, the robot would shelter away and hibernate, avoiding any physical harm. Unfortunately for the rover, it would succumb to a nasty storm. The rover’s solar panels were unable to generate enough energy to maintain its communications; and within several months, NASA declared farewell to the robot, publicly announcing the end of the program. At the time of its closure, the rover had traveled well over twenty-five miles from its initial landing spot.

Joaquín Guzmán was one of the biggest drug lords of the late 20th century. Perhaps you might recognize him from his iconic nickname, “El Chapo.” At the height of his power, Guzmán was successful in smuggling loads of cocaine shipments into the United States. Additional products under his catalogue included meth, heroin, and marijuana. The drug lord was first imprisoned in 1993; but in 2001, he was successful in escaping via a laundry cart. The elaborate plan completely flew over the guards’ radars, as he was boarded into the trunk of guard Francisco Camberos Rivera (Who has since been arrested for assisting Guzmán in the effort). After over a decade of chaos, including a Mexican cartel war, a manhunt, and a beef with high-profile cartel leaders, “El Chapo” was captured by police at a hotel in Mazatlán, Mexico. Guzmán was previously camping out in the Sierra Madre Mountains for years, occasionally vacationing, while keeping a low-profile. This wouldn’t be the end of “El Chapo’s” notoriety as a wanted criminal. In 2015, Guzmán escaped from prison yet again, this time via an underground tunnel and a motorcycle. Finally, after a several-month long manhunt, “El Chapo” was caught in a relative’s home along the coast of Los Mochis. Once again, Guzmán was prepared, and escaped from the officers, via a series of underground tunnels and a stolen vehicle. The police were successful in locating and intercepting the fleeing trafficker, who was ultimately arrested 20 km south of the home. Over three years later, on February 12th 2019, Guzmán was found guilty under the American court system on all charges. He began serving his thirty-year sentence in July of that year.

Whispers of sightings of the elusive black leopard have long swirled around central Kenya, and scientists have now confirmed its presence there with a series of rare images taken by camera traps. The images were captured by researchers from the San Diego Zoo who have been studying leopards in the Loisaba wildlife conservancy, as well as an independent photographer working in the region at the same time.

On February 11th, 2019, teachers in Denver, CO began their strike for better pay and school funding. According to an article by, the teacher’s biggest concern regarded Denver’s incentive pay system, which paid bonuses to teachers based on their overall performance. However, the teachers’ union argued, however, that the bonuses varied from year to year, creating financial instability. Instead, they opted for their base-salary to be raised, while the bonuses decreased in value. As of recent years, Colorado ranked among the lowest for teacher’s salary in the United States, ranging around an average of $46,155 a year. After three days of striking, the Denver district was successful in negotiating a deal with the strikers. Initial reports concluded that an 11.7% pay hike was in order, as well as an increase in the annual cost of living.

“7 Rings” debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, earning Grande her second number one single (and second number one debut), where it spent 8 non-consecutive weeks atop the chart, becoming her longest running number one single to date. Therefore, it became Ariana Grande’s highest song to crack the Billboard Decade-End in the 2010s.

Writers: Micah Borrelli & Lucas Hydock

Flashback Fridays: February 1994

Albert Matakonis sets the record for most points scored in a single game (February 5th, 1994)

Twenty-seven years ago, on February 5, 1994, Minersville High School’s very own Al Matakonis, (“Mr. M.”, to us!), established a new Minersville High School record for points scored in a single basketball game for the Battlin’ Miners! During the first-half of that Saturday afternoon game versus the Weatherly Wreckers, Mr. M. connected on 11 three-point field goals, a state record which he holds to this day! Ultimately, Mr. M. finished the game with a total of 56 points, setting the single-game scoring record that has stood for 27 years. At that time, Mr. M. was close to wrapping up his senior year as a student here at Minersville Area Jr/Sr High School.

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective was released on February 4, 1994. The movie would go on to gross over $107 Million and catapult Jim Carrey’s stardom into the stratosphere!

Harry Styles, the English singer, songwriter, and actor most famously known as a member of the boyband “One Direction” was born on February 1, 1994.

Sonic the Hedgehog 3 releases to widespread acclaim! – On February 2, 1994, the Sega company released “Sonic the Hedgehog 3” for it’s video game platform “Genesis”. The side-scrolling platformer game, which features the titular Sonic and his side-kick Tails in their adventures against their nemesis, Dr. Robotnik, was very well received by millions of Sega Genesis console owners. The game remains a favorite of nostalgic gamers around the globe.

A lot of excitement was going on in the world of music, at the time. On February 1st, 1994 the critically acclaimed third album from the pop-punk band Green Day was released. “Dookie” was the first from the band to be released on a major record label, a factor that ultimately benefitted the album’s sales. “Dookie” is widely considered one of the first mainstream forays into pop-punk, a genre defined by its raw sound and emotionally-driven lyrics. Various hit singles emerged from this album including “Longview,” which was released at the time of the LP’s release, “Basket Case,” “When I Come Around,” “Welcome to Paradise,” and “She.” Prior to the release of 2004’s “American Idiot,” “Dookie” was the band’s most influential album, paving the way for the success of various other pop-punk bands including the Offspring, blink-182, and Sum 41. Over twenty-six years later, this album remains a pivoting moment in the evolution of rock music.

The highest viewed show on television that week was the hit ABC sitcom, Home Improvement. The sitcom was in the middle of its third season, and would continue to air new episodes for well over six more years. The show centers around the Taylor family, a stereotypical run-of-the-mill portrayal of the American middle class. The series is distinct for additionally containing a “show-within-a-show” segment, in which the main protagonist Tim, portrayed by Tim Allen, presents a new “tool of the week” to his audience. Tool Time, as it’s called, featured an array of physical comedy, usually due to Tim’s ineptitude at handling the various equipment. Not only did this series launch the career of Tim Allen’s, but also that of actress Pamela Anderson, who starred as the original “Tool Time Girl,” during the show’s first three seasons. As a whole, Home Improvement remains one of the most iconic sitcoms of the 1990’s.

Writers: Micah Borrelli & Lucas Hydock


Flashback Fridays: January 1973

Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” was released on January 6th, 2017

On this day, four years ago, the number-one song in America was “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran. The song was simultaneously released with “Castle,” another leading single to his then-upcoming album, ÷ . However, “Shape of You” would be the most successful song of 2017, topping the charts for eleven weeks from February through April. In the United Kingdom, the single consequently became the best-selling song of the decade. A little less than two years later, “Shape of You” would become the first song on Spotify to surpass two streams. As the 2010s came to a close, numerous charts highly ranked this song as one of the most successful of the decade.

If one were to visit a movie theatre back then, they could view the acclaimed 2016 psychological horror film, Split. At the time, it was the most popular movie in cinemas. The film serves as a standalone sequel to Unbreakable, a 2000 superhero thriller. Acclaimed film director, M. Night Shyamalan directed both features; Split in particular was his first sequel. In addition, it was also the first ever original super-villain origin story to be presented to theatres.

In the world of politics, meanwhile, tensions were slowly arising between political parties. The newly elected President Trump signed an executive order on the 27th, declaring the abolition of entry for refugees of the Syrian Civil War, into the United States. This proclamation came just a little over a year after Trump called for  “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on.” This came after two major terrorist attacks, the first in Paris, the second in San Bernardino, CA. The Muslim ban additionally stipulated that any natives of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen were banned from entry for ninety days, regardless of visa status. Despite being challenged in the courts, and being internationally condemned, the order would be upheld until President Biden revoked the issue on January 20th, 2021.

Finally, the music video for Luis Fonsi’s Despacito was released on YouTube. Despacito would go on to become one of the highest viewed videos online. The official music video on YouTube would shortly topple Psy’s Gangnam Style as the most-viewed video on the platform. Despacito would hold onto this honor until well over three years later, when in November 2020, the official music video for Baby Shark would take over as the highest-viewed video.

Writers: Micah Borrelli & Lucas Hydock


Flashback Fridays: January 1973

Protestors march in favor of legalizing abortion (Nov. 20th, 1971)

1973 U.S Supreme Court case, Roe v. Wade confirmed the right to a safe and legal abortions. The court ruled in a 7-2 decision and is now protected under the fourteenth amendment. The legal precedent for the decision was rooted in the 1965 case of Griswold v. Connecticut, which established the right to privacy involving medical procedures. The date was confirmed January 2nd, 1973.

The Poseidon Adventure is a 1972 American disaster film directed by Ronald Neame, produced by Irwin Allen, and based on Paul Gallico’s 1969 novel of the same name. The film was released in December 1972 and was the highest-grossing film of 1973 and grossed over $125 million worldwide. This movie takes place on the S.S Poseidon and when the ship is hit by a tidal wave the crew and passengers have to band together and fight through flooding, mazes of tunnels, and escape from the slowly sinking vessel. 

On January 22nd, 1973, the 36th President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson passed away at the age of sixty-four. Johnson led the United States after the untimely assassination of John F. Kennedy in late 1963. Johnson passed a multitude of historic legislation, including the core Civil Rights bills. He also strengthened U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, a conflict that destroyed the reputation of the American government. It wasn’t until early in President Nixon’s second term that the first major steps towards ending the war began. The Paris Peace Accords were drafted on this same day by U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and North Vietnamese Lê Đức Thọ. Development on the treaty began as early as May 1972, when Nixon confessed that the U.S. would be willing to accept a cease-fire from the North Vietnam troops. The treaty was first drafted later that year, with Thọ appealing for the sovereignty of Saigon. However, the signing was delayed until South Vietnamese parties could agree with the negotiations. After a plethora of threatening military tactics during the winter, North Vietnam reluctantly agreed to sign the treaty. This officially ended the Vietnam War, yet American troops would remain stationed in the country, until the fall of South Vietnam in 1975.

The 23rd annual NFL Pro Bowl was held on the 21st of January, 1973. The AFC team ended up leading a close victory over the NFC, scoring 33-28. The winning team was coached by Chuck Noll of the Steelers. The all-star lineup included legendary football player, O.J. Simpson, who was named MVP after the game concluded. This would not be the end of O.J’s career, as he’d successfully break the 2,000 yard rushing mark record, the first in Football history to do so. Such an achievement would typically characterize an individual for the rest of their life. However, Mr. Simpson’s infamous 1995 trial for the murder of both his ex-wife, Nichole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman, would distinguish a notable decline in Simpson’s reputation. In the following decades, he’d remain one of the most controversial public figures in recent-history. Despite being acquitted of all charges, O.J. would later be arrested in 2007 for armed robbery and kidnapping. He was granted for parole a little less than a decade later.

Writers: Micah Borrelli & Lucas Hydock


Flashback Fridays: January 1967

Super Bowl I was held on January 15th, 1967

The first ever Superbowl was held on January 15th, 1967. This would be the first standoff between an NFL team and a team of the then-recently developed AFL. The Green Bay Packers, a once terrible team just nine seasons earlier, had turned their failure around. This was due part in the instructions of legendary coach, Vince Lombardi. The Packers were successful in winning four of the seven NFL Championships, that were held in the sixties. The Kansas City Chiefs, were a fairly skilled team as well. They had won both the 1962 & 1966 AFL Championships, and were up to the challenge of beating Green Bay. However, the Chiefs were no match for the Packer’s excellent lineup and coaching; Green Bay ended up beating Kansas City, 35-10, with the Chiefs only scoring during the second quarter. Green Bay has since gone on to win three additional Super Bowls; their second victory would be in the following year, their third in 1996, and most recently, in 2010. The Kansas City Chiefs would go on to win three years later, in 1970. Their second victory would follow, fifty years later, when in 2020 they would beat the San Francisco 49ers. Since 1967, the Superbowl has remained an annual staple among the American culture.

If you were to visit the Golden Gate Park on the fourteenth, chances are you’d run into the Human Be-In festival. This was an occasion that celebrated the ideals of the late 1960s counterculture movement. LSD had been banned by the state of California the previous October, and the event was hosted by various figures of the Hippie movement. A special variant of the drug was distributed to attendees by “underground chemist,” Owsley Stanley; additionally, free turkeys were given to the audience by the radical theatrical group, the Diggers. Various public figures spoke at the event, comedian Dick Gregory, poet Lenore Kandel, and social activist Jerry Rubin among them. American psychologist and strong proponent of the use of psychedelic drugs, Timothy Leary was of attendance, popularizing the phrase “Turn on, tune in, drop out.” Multiple bands also performed at the event, including Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, and Big Brother and the Holding Company,

On the Ed Sullivan Show, viewers could find rock band, The Rolling Stones performing their hit song “Let Spend the Night Together.” However, the song would not be performed as originally recorded. The lyrics of the chorus would be altered to “Let’s Spend Some Time Together,” a difference lead singer Mick Jagger mocked every time it was uttered. Both he and bassist Bill Wyman rolled their eyes for the camera, each time the altered lyric was sung. The event outraged Sullivan, and he swore the band would never perform on his show again. However, they would inevitably return to perform three songs in late 1969.

“The Bible: In The Beginning” is a movie that covers the story of Noah’s arc and his harmonious relationship with the animals as well as the first 22 chapters of genesis. It is an Italian-American movie that was directed by John Huston and produced by Dino De Laurentiis. In 1967 the film’s score was nominated for Best Original Score, and it was included in the “Top Ten Films” list. De Laurentiis and Huston won Best Producer and Best foreign director, respectively.

“I’m a believer” is a song composed by Neil Diamond and recorded by The Monkees in 1966 with the lead vocals by Mikey Dolenz. The single, produced by Jeff Barry, hit the number-one spot in the U.S. chart for the week ending December 31, 1966, and remained there for seven weeks becoming the last No. 1 hit of 1966 and the biggest-selling record for all of 1967. Billboard ranked the record as the No. 5 song for 1967

In 1967 the US military was testing new types of bacteria under the pretense that they could be used in Biological warfare, but the twisted touch to this experiment was that the bacteria was tested on American citizens. The bacteria was sprayed in New York City subways to see how they would survive and spread. Hundreds of mock attacks were conducted over the years including releasing the bacteria at the Main terminal of the Washington Airport. A spokesperson tried to oppose this to congress but even today it isn’t necessarily illegal. 

Writers: Micah Borrelli & Lucas Hydock


Flashback Fridays: January 1993

Site of the $7.4 Million heist

On January 5th, 1993, the fifth-largest robbery in United States history occurred at a Brinks armored car depot in Rochester, NY. The robbers stole nearly seven million in cash, which FBI Agent Van Harp describing as “weigh[ing] about one thousand pounds.” The criminals burst into the facility at around 6:30 in the evening, holding the ten workers at gun-point. One employee, then-53-year-old Thomas O’Connor was kidnapped by the robbers. Thereafter, he was quickly returned in the Rochester suburb, Greece NY. The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reported at the time that the employees were forced to wear bags over their heads, and to lie on the floor. It would later be reported, that year, that the suspects behind the robbery had ties to the Provisional Irish Republican Army. The kidnapped employee was among the arrested, accused of setting up the event as an “inside job.” O’Connor would later be acquitted.

Twenty-eight years ago, the Executive Branch of the United States government was undergoing a lame-duck period. The lame-duck period is generally classified as a brief era between election day and inauguration day, in which the incumbent leader spends their final days in office, before their successor takes over. President Bush spent his final weeks in office signing the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty II, a step closer to demilitarizing the Russian and U.S. governments after the Cold War. For decades, Bush would be the last one-term holder of office, until 2021 when President Trump officially lost reelection.

“I Will Always Love You “ was originally written by Dolly Parton in 1973, and was then covered by Whitney. This song scored ten consecutive weeks at the number one spot on the charts, and in the UK this song still holds it’s popularity when in 2014 it was revealed that this was streamed  100 million times.

David Letterman leaves NBC and joins CBD after signing a deal that gave him 40 million dollars and an 11:30 time lot on the top of a 16 million in salary. He stated “We divide and concur, and as I divide from my old station I will concur a new one.” 

In the world of sports, legendary basketball player, Michael Jordan continued to set records. with his up-and-coming stardom. Jordan had been playing with the Chicago Bulls for nine seasons up to that point, and was arguably one of the most iconic players in the NBA. He substantially helped with the Bulls’ numerous victories over opposing teams, such as the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Portland Trail Blazers. Jordan had already won three MVPs in 1988, 1991, and 1992. By this point, Jordan had played over six hundred different games. On January 8th, 1993, Jordan successfully finished his game between Chicago and Milwaukee with a 35-point lead, giving the great basketball player exactly 20,000 points under his career.

The first stamp of Elvis Presley was released on his, would be, 58th birthday. Thousands of people cast votes for the musical legend to have a stamp and with an overwhelming majority they won. The postal service at first printed 300 million stamps and then began to prepare another 200 million upon release, and upon release collectors and fans alike had bought out the first batch in just over a single day.

Writers: Micah Borrelli & Lucas Hydock


Flashback Fridays: December 2009

Avatar debuted in theatres on December 18th, 2009

On this day, eleven years ago, James Cameron’s Avatar was released into theatres. Development of the film was lengthy and strenuous, with work on the project commencing as far back as 1994. Avatar was a technologically innovative film, breaking new ground with motion-capture technology. The film was universally praised for its technical effects, as well as its captivating storyline. The film centers around a universe in the mid-22nd century. It is here where humans are colonizing into the habitable moon of Pandora, a satellite inhabited by humanoid creatures referred to as the Na’vi. Lead protagonist, Jake Sully is given the opportunity to walk a mile in the shoes of the alien creatures. He becomes well acquainted with love interest Neytiri, and the rest of her tribe. For nearly a decade, Avatar boasted the record of being the highest-grossing film in cinema history, until being surpassed by Avengers: Endgame in 2019. Still, it boasts a record $2.7 billion in total revenue (Around $3.3 billion, adjusted for inflation). 

The first ever exoplanet to support liquid water, GJ 1214 b, was discovered on December 16th. This planet is believed to have an earth like atmosphere, but has an appearance that resembles Neptune. GJ is reported to be approximately 40 light years away and orbits the star Gliese 1214.

In the world of music, Jay-Z topped the charts with his iconic single, “Empire State of Mind.” This would be the last number-one of the 2000’s, closing the decade during its final weeks. The track features an incredible performance from Alicia Keys, who sings the song’s main hook. Originally written by singer-songwriter Angela Hunte and Janet Sewell-Ulepic, the song was intended to be an homage to their beloved hometown of New York City. The track was submitted to Jay-Z’s label, Roc Nation, who initially did not favor the track. Fortunately, with the approval from an associate of EMI Music Publishing, the song would end up in the hands of Jay-Z, who would rewrite many of the verses, while keeping the catchy chorus. Interesting to note, a parody of “Empire” would be released just a few years later by rapper Matty Fresh. Fresh would rework the song into being an homage to his home area, Schuylkill County

The Popular app “Angry Birds” had just released and it’s popularity skyrocketed. Originally released by Chillingo it was intended to be a small game but it’s popularity caused several spin off games, TV shows and even movies.

The most viewed video on YouTube at the time was “Charlie bit my finger – again!” The iconic video has become a staple of early internet history, boasting well over 870 million views as of December 2020. The video features then-three year old Harry Davies Carr and his then infant brother Charlie Davies-Carr. What exactly happens in the video? The title is fairly self-explanatory. Despite its simplicity, “Charlie bit my finger” became a global phenomenon; according to a 2017 CIA report, even Osama Bin Laden had it downloaded in his files. “Charlie bit my finger” is symbolic of the early years of YouTube, where just about any creator could go viral. The Davies-Carr family weren’t pre-existing celebrities, or well established creators; they were just a family who happened to blow up over the Internet, thanks to their humorous home-video.

NigaHiga, also known as Ryan Higa, was the most subscribed to person on the platform YouTube, and held that record for 677 days. He was born June 6th 1990 in Hawaii, and studied medicine before abandoning this to start his YouTube channel. He was best known for his comedy and later went onto become a comedian, actor and musician.

Writers: Micah Borrelli & Lucas Hydock


Flashback Fridays: December 1981

Muhammad Ali’s final fight with Trevor Berbick (December 11th, 1981)

Muhammad Ali’s last fight was the “Drama in the Bahamas.” His opponent was Trever Berbick and despite pleas from fans and doctors to retire Ali decided to go on with it anyways. After losing ten rounds he had finally retired after absorbing 20,000 blows. People still today believe that this fight and the one prior with Ken Norton should not have taken place because these fights caused permanent damage, and although he didn’t end on a high note he’ll always be remembered as a legend. 

We entered a new era when STS-1 shot into orbit from NASA’a Kennedy Space Center in Florida. John Young, a vetran to four previous space flights was the leader of this mission. This shuttle was the first of its kind, a reusable space shuttle. The two rockets used to launch the ship were also able to be reused, after being recovered from the ocean. Only the massive fuel tank would be discarded after burning up and falling back to earth. 

The El Mozote Massacre occurered in the village of el Mozote in El Salvador. The massacre was a result of the ongoing Salvadorean civil war. The tragedy cost an estimated 800-1,200 lives. Men, women and children of the village were abused, robbed, and murdered. Reports of the massacre weren’t made public until weeks later, when Raymond Bonner of the New York Times wrote “the charred skulls and bones of dozens of bodies buried under burned-out roofs, beams, and shattered tiles.” The Salvadoran government and military denied the reports; officials of the Reagan administration denounced tham as “gross exaggerations.” Multiple investigations have been attempted to uncover the murderers of the case; however, an amnesty law was passed in 1993, exonerating the army from potential prosecution. Fortunately, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ordered the country to investigate the massacre, in 2012, explaining that the amnesty law did not cover the killings.

The biggest song hitting airwaves at the time was Physical, the lead single from Olivia Newton-John’s twelfth studio album of the same name. The track became an instant smash hit, spending ten weeks at number one. Interestingly, the song was turned down by multiple artists before Newton-John landed the gig. The song was elevated by its iconic music video, which would become one of the most iconic music videos of the early MTV era.

Rollover, an American political thriller film turns thirty-nine today. Despite being the number-one movie in the box office that weekend, Rollover would be nominated for a Razzie Award. Leader actor, Kris Kristofferson was nominated for “Worst Actor” in the second annual golden raspberry awards; but he would lose to Klinton Spilsbury, for his performance as the Lone Ranger in the 1981 “The Legend of the Lone Ranger” film.

Writers: Micah Borrelli & Lucas Hydock


Flashback Fridays: December 2018

Vice-President Bush accepts his Republican nomination for President of the United States, August 18th, 1988

Two years ago, America was mourning the death of former President, George H.W. Bush. The president gave his life to public service, beginning in 1942, when he enlisted into the military as a naval aviator. During an attack on the Japanese installation of Chicijima, Bush’s plane was successfully shot down by enemy aircrafts. Bush fortunately survived the crash, upon which he asked himself “Why have I been spared and what did God have for me?” Evidently, George had a lot going for him; he would be one of the co-founders of a successful oil business in the 1950s, he would serve as a representative of Texas in the 1960s, and in the 70s, he held a plethora of jobs, including U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Chairman of the RNC, and the director of the CIA. In the 1980s, Bush would serve as President Reagan’s vice-president, after which he would serve as president, himself, for four years. Bush helped mold the United States into what it has become today, a rare achievement not many can take credit for.

The world’s first birth by uterine transplant was reported by a surgical team in Brazil. The team was located at the University of Sao Paulo, and using an organ from a deceased donor, although this was technically still an experiment, it validated that this is possible, and has paved the way for other successful operations like this.

Speaking of history, a notorious 1954 letter written by the late-Albert Einstein was about to be won at an auction – $2.9 million worth. The then-74 year old wrote to German philosopher, Eric Gutkind, in response to his religious book, “Choose Life: The biblical Call to Revolt.” The letter saw Einstein denouncing his faith, while still respecting his Jewish heritage. The letter would be sold at Christie’s New York, a well respected auction house.

The next edition of the Smash Bros. franchise would release, shortly thereafter. Super Smash Ultimate is a popular crossover fighting game that takes characters from all different types of games and has it’s participants fight in an all out brawl. Super Smash Ultimate is the fifth instalment in the series, coming out on the Nintendo Switch. It has gained The Best Fighting Game Award.

In the world of movies, Ralph Breaks the Internet was confirmed to be the number one movie that weekend! A sequel to Wreck it Ralph where Ralph and Vanellope travel to the world wide web in an attempt to “go viral”. This movie gained a 88% review on Rotten Tomatoes, and is currently available on Netflix. Additionally, British artist and filmmaker, Charlotte Prodger would win the 2018 Turner Prize. Her nominated short film, BRIDGIT (2016) was distinct in its technical production, given it was short entirely on an iPhone. The film itself explores deep subjects as gender identity, landscape, and mythology.

In Italy, police arrested an alleged leader of the Sicilian mafia along with 46 other members. 80 year old Settimo Mineo who was thought to be the new leader and kingpin of the Cosa Nostra, the most prominent organized crime group in Sicily. Mineo has already served 11 years in prison after he was arrested and the 46 others faced charges of mafia activity, exportation, illegal possession of weaponry, and more.

In the world of sports, meanwhile, Texas billionaire, Davis Bonderman was unanimously granted an NHL license by the NHL Board of Directors. This license granted the formation of the Seattle Kraken, the first hockey franchise from said-region since the 1970’s. The affiliate is currently set to begin playing during the 2022-2023 NHL season, postponed a year from its original date, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Finally, Tavis Scott’s “Sicko Mode” would top the charts for a solid week, during early December. It was a mere blip in the powerhouse single, Ariana Grande’s “Thank U, Next.” Simultaneously, Scott’s junior LP, Astroworld would top the charts; it would sustain the second-biggest first-week sales of the year, selling over 537,000 units. The album would win the 2019 “Album of the Year” award for the BET Hip Hop Awards.

Writers: Micah Borrelli & Lucas Hydock


Flashback Fridays: November 2011

(Early screenshot of Minecraft, 2011)

November 18th, 2011 marked the official launch of Minecraft on iOS, Windows, Linux, and Mac. The 3D sandbox remains as one of the most iconic videogames of the 21st century. The game boasts a multitude of activities including mining, farming, combat, fishing, and building. Minecraft is easily accessible to a broader audience than most videogames, thanks to its open-world gameplay. As of October 2020, Minecraft boasts over 131 million active players.

The Twilight Saga- Breaking Dawn: Part 1 is number-one movie in theatres. It would go on to be third-highest grossing film of 2011, and to date has made 400 million USD.

Regis Philbin mostly known as the co-host of the New York City-based nationally syndicated talk show Live! after 28 years, stating, “I was leaving because I was getting older and it wasn’t right for me anymore.” He passed away of a heart attack this year in July on the 24th.

Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword releases for the Wii, gaining a 7.5 out of 10 review from GameStop. It is the first game in the Zelda timeline where the battle between the forces of good and evil begins, and establishes key characters such as Zelda, a reincarnation of a goddess and Link, the main protagonist of the series.

The 39th American Music Awards was also held 9 years ago. The ceremony awarded Taylor Swift as Artist of the Year; the winners of the best male and female artists were Bruno Mars and Adele. One could hear We Found Love by Rhianna (Ft. Calvin Harris) on airwaves at the time, as it was the number-one song that week. The Number-One Album was Blue Slide Park, the debut studio album of Pennsylvanian rapper Mac Miller. It was the first independently distributed album to top the charts in over fifteen years. Additionally, the second studio album by Nickelodeon boy band, Big Time Rush was about to release into stores. Elevate would be their second of three studio albums, selling over two-hundred thousand copies in the United States.

Writers: Micah Borrelli & Lucas Hydock


Flashback Fridays: November 1999

Toy Story 2 promotional image

On this day in 1999, Toy Story 2 premiered at the El Capitan theatre in Hollywood. The film would be the second of four movies in the Toy Story franchise. Unlike most animated sequels, Toy Story 2 was praised just as much the previous film. This film is known for its world-building and introduction of iconic characters including Jessie, Bullseye, Emperor Zurg, and Stinky Pete. A little over a decade later, Toy Story 3 would be released in 2010; in 2019, Toy Story 4 would be released just five months short of Toy Story 2’s twentieth anniversary.

Speaking of animated films, Pokémania was at its all-time high in the United States. Pokémon: The First Movie (Mewtwo Strikes Back) debuted in American theatres on the tenth. According to news journals, many children skipped school on the date of the film’s release. The media referred to this incident as the Pokéflu. The film became to be the highest-grossing movie that weekend, grossing well over thirty-million dollars. Just a little over a week later, the first installment in the second generation of Pokémon videogames launched in Japan. Pokémon Gold & Silver would launch in American markets on October 14th, 2000.

Starting on the twelfth, kids across America shook in terror as the Cartoon Network program “Courage the Cowardly Dog” lit up television screens. The show would grow notorious reputation for being both a petrifying and simultaneously hilarious experience. Despite the occasional childhood trauma that is has instilled on a generation of viewers, it has gone on to be regarded as one of Cartoon Network’s most acclaimed programming. A lesser known show, “Mike, Lu & Og” debuted on Cartoon Network that same day. Unlike Courage, which became well-known for its distinctive style of writing, Mike, Lu & Og was significantly tamer than the horror-comedy. Both shows would air their final episode within the follow three years.

In the world of video games, NBA 2K for the Sega Dreamcast launched on November 10th. The release of NBA 2K would be the start of a franchise full of yearly installments. As of November 2020, there are twenty-two different 2K video games.

The Number-one album for the week of November 13th, 1999 was Rainbow by Mariah Carey. The album had an R&B flair, with numerous features from renowned hip-hop artists including Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, and Usher. The album would garner an array of successful singles, including the number-one “Heartbreaker” and “Thank God I Found You.” Speaking of number-one singles, the number-one single at the time was “Smooth” by Santana (Ft. Rob Thomas). The behemoth radio giant topped the charts from October 23rd 1999 through January 8th 2000. “Smooth” and the single “Maria Maria” would elevate Santana to a commercial comeback; their 1999 LP Supernatural became their first number-one record in nearly twenty years.

Writer: Lucas Hydock


Flashback Friday: November 2000

Al Gore and George W. Bush at the 2000 Presidential Debates

The number-one song twenty years ago was Come on Over Baby (All I Want is You) by Christina Aguilera. Meanwhile, the number-one album at the time was “Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water” by Limp Bizkit. It was their 3rd album.

Bush defeats Al Gore in closest election in history, nobody knows results of election because of FL. This was the first time the supreme court had decided an election. Hillary Clinton is also elected to the Senate, she is the first 1st lady elected to public office. She would later serve as the 67th United States secretary of state.

Tiger Woods becomes the youngest player to win a Grand Slam in Golf at the age of 24. Charlie’s Angels (2000) was also the number-one movie at the box-office that weekend. This remake was poorly received critics stating it was “Unoriginal” despite grossing $264 million worldwide

Writer: Micah Borrelli


Flashback Fridays: October 2003

(The Cannon House Office Building, a federal facility on Capitol Hill, opened 1909)

Seventeen years ago today, the U.S. Capitol was flooded with paranoia because of a toy gun. The so-called weapon was a part of a Halloween costume. Former chief of the Capitol Hill Police dept. Terrance Gainer described how the event unfolded, to the public. Two employees had placed plastic bags, containing Halloween costumes, through a security system. The officer operating the X-Ray noticed the projection of a revolver, prompting the building to shut down. As it turns out, the revolver was a mere prop for a costume of a character named “Sydney,” from an ABC action-thriller, Alias.

In the world of theatre, meanwhile, Wicked made its premiere on broadway. The musical is a twist of the traditional story of the “Wizard of Oz.” The story is told from the perspective of Elphaba, better known as the Wicked Witch of the West. The musical portrays the iconic villain sympathetically. Instead of being a dastardly, heartless witch, Elphaba is a misunderstood antihero. The story was originally published as novel by Gregory Maguire, in 1995. Seventeen years later, and Wicked remains one of Broadway’s most successful musicals. It currently holds the title as Broadway’s fifth-longest running show.

Beyoncé ruled the charts in late 2003. Her debut studio album, Dangerously in Love, was released in June. The album featured four hit-singles, including “Crazy in Love” and “Baby Boy,” which both topped the pop charts. Seventeen years ago, Baby Boy (Ft. Sean Paul) was the number-one song in the United States. In 2005, the single would raise some controversy, after singer-songwriter Jennifer Armour filed a copyright-infringement suit against Beyoncé. Armour claimed “Baby Boy” featured lyrics and the musical hook from her own song, “Got a Little Bit of Love for You.” The district court judge, however, couldn’t spot the similarities between the songs, and the lawsuit was ultimately dropped.

The number-one album at the time was Measure of a Man by Clay Aiken. The pop LP was the first released by the American Idol superstar, and would be the highest-selling debut album since Snoop Dogg’s in 1993. The album would achieve multi-platinum status within five weeks of its release.

The 2003 MLB season ended in a major upset between the Florida Marlins and the New York Yankees. Despite outscoring the Marlins, the Yankees ultimately lost the series 2-4. The final game was held at Yankee Stadium on the 25th, marking the one-hundredth World Series game to be hosted in the Bronx, NY. The Marlins would not return to the postseason until 2020, in which they would lose to the Atlanta Braves.

The original Call of Duty was released on October 29th, 2003. Developed by American video game developer, Infinity Ward, Call of Duty takes place during World War II. The game’s mechanics were based on infantry and combined arms warfare, emphasizing on-foot and multiplayer combat tactics. The game would launch a successful line of sequels and spin-offs, over the years.

Writer: Lucas Hydock


Flashback Fridays: October 2012

Originally released to manufacturing jobs in April, Windows 8 was about to make its launch into retail in late October, 2012

Yesterday, eight years ago, the third Presidential debate occurred between President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney. Most of the debate focused on foreign policy, the then-recent attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, the Arab Spring, Iran’s nuclear program, the Syrian Civil War, and the ongoing War on Terror. Eight years later, the second and final Presidential debate between President Trump and Obama’s Vice-President, Joe Biden would be hosted in Nashville Tennessee.

On the same day, Red by Taylor Swift was released. The album would be a departure from her earlier country-heavy sound, and instead would focus on a more pop-oriented style. Hit singles including “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” “I Knew You Were Trouble,” “Red,” and “Begin Again.” As of today the album stands as one of Swift’s most acclaimed work, going 7x platinum worldwide. As for the biggest album at the time, Babel by Mumford & Sons held the mantle. A blend of folk and indie with a contemporary twist, Babel would be a critical and commercial success, winning the 2013 Grammy Award for Album of the Year. “One More Night” by Maroon 5 led the charts as the band’s third number-one single.

In the world of technology, Microsoft was on the verge of unveiling their next computer system, Windows 8. The system would be drastically different from Windows 7, with its “home” no longer being a side-tab, instead being an entirely independent menu. Skylanders: Giants was released in North America, as well.

The highest viewed show on television at the time was Dancing with the Stars, with NCIS generally being the highest viewed television show of the season. Argo, an historical drama thriller staged around the Iran Hostage Crisis, lead theatres as the number-one grossing movie in late October 2012. It would be the only weekend the film would reach number-one, though the film would win three Academy Awards, including one for Best Picture.

Writer: Lucas Hydock


Flashback Fridays: October 1989

(Cast of Roseanne, Season 2, 1989)

On this day in October of 1989, Janet Jackson ruled the charts with her hit single, “Miss You Much.” It would be the first of eight singles off her successful senior LP, Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814. The single would achieve great success, garnering the most airplay over the radio that year. It received two Grammy nominations, two AMA’s, and the Billboard Award for Top Hot 100 Single of the Year. As for the number-one album at the time, Mötley Crüe lead the charts with their highly successful fifth album, D℞. FEELGOOD. It would be the most successful of Mötley Crüe’s LPs going sextuple platinum in the U.S.

Television was dominated by the Cosby Show and Roseanne, as they’d both tie for the highest viewed shows of that television season. While Cosby peaked in viewership three years earlier, this would be the peak of Roseanne’s success. Short-lived Mancuso, F.B.I. debuted on NBC as part of their fall line-up, and would only last a single season with twenty episodes. Surprisingly, lead actor Robert Loggia received an Emmy nomination for “Outstanding Lead Actor in a dramatic series.”

In the world of sports, Wayne Gretzky had recently become the leading scorer in the history of the NHL. Gretzky’s record-setting goal ultimately tied the Kings’ game against the Oilers. In overtime he would score the winning goal, 5-4. In baseball, the San Francisco Giants had recently defeated the Cubs 3-2 in the National League Championship. The Giants had not been to the world series in nearly thirty years. The Cubs held a lead of 1-0 well into the seventh inning, until the game would be tied in a tripled hit from Will Clark. Clark would bring the team to victory, driving a single to center, giving the Giants a 3-1 lead over the Cubs. Clark would earn the MVP honor for the Giants.

In the world of politics, future representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was born on the thirteenth. She currently represents New York’s fourteenth congressional district. On the same day, the U.S. economy experienced a mini-crash in the stock market. After a net growth-rate of zero percent through the summer, as well as a series of failures among savings and loans associations, the economy would undergo a recession in the early 1990’s.

Writer: Lucas Hydock


Flashback Fridays: October 1986

Michael Crawford (left) and Christine Daaé

On this day in 1986, Andrew Lloyd Weber’s iconic interpretation of The Phantom of the Opera debuts at the West End theatre in London. Weber’s version of Phantom would go on to be incredibly successful, winning the 1986 Olivier Award and the 1988 Tony Award for best musical. Michael Crawford, the original phantom would win both the Olivier and Tony Awards for “Best Actor in a Musical.” These wouldn’t be the only awards Phantom would receive; the musical would win 24 of the 30 total nominations. The original soundtrack would go quadruple platinum in the U.S, alone.

As for the top album at the time, the Top Gun soundtrack led the charts. The film topped the box-office charts sporadically through 1986. The film’s soundtrack would go on to be one of the most successful soundtracks in film history. Hit singles from the film included Kenny Loggins’ “Danger Zone,” “Take My Breath Away” by Berlin, and Loverboy’s “Heaven in Your Eyes.” Speaking of hit songs, “When I Think of You” by Janet Jackson was the number-one song at the time. It would be the third hit single off her successful junior album, Control. The late John Lennon would’ve turned 46, as well.

Crocodile Dundee was the highest-grossing movie in theatres at the time. The film grossed over ten million at the box-office on the four-day weekend of October 13th, its third week at number one. In the world of entertainment, Fox launched on television. The Late Show with Joan Rivers was the network’s launch title. A frequent guest host on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, Rivers would now compete head to head with the revered talk show host. Ultimately, it wasn’t meant to be; The Late Show would last a little over two years on the air. Guest host Arsenio Hall, however, would prove to be quite popular and would go on to host his own successful talk show.

The big name in politics was Claiborne. Harry E. Claiborne was a federal judge appointed under the Carter administration. He was found guilty of tax evasion in August of 1984, and would be the fifth person to be impeached by the United States Congress.

Writer: Lucas Hydock


Flashback Friday: October 2008

(Senator Biden and Governor Palin shake hands at the Vice-Presidential debate, October 2nd, 2008)

Around this time, twelve years ago, the number-one song in the country was Whatever You Like by Clifford Joseph Harris Jr, or T.I. It would be the second single off of Harris’ sixth studio album, Paper Trails. Whatever You Like would remain at the top of the charts for three more nonconsecutive weeks, with his seventh single, Live Your Life (Ft. Rhianna) topping the charts as well. Metallica would top the charts with their eighth studio album, Death Magnetic. It would be their last album for eight years before Hardwired…to Self-Destruct in November 2016.

As for the highest grossing film in the United States, that prestigious title went to Disney’s Beverly Hills Chihuahua. Starring Drew Barrymore, Andy Garcia, and George Lopez, Beverly Hills Chihuahua grossed over twenty-nine million on its first weekend alone.

In the news of videogames, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed was the current best-selling videogame on the market. The game followed Darth Vader’s secret apprentice, Starkiller, a killer of both rebels and imperials. He is tasked with the mission of hunting down the last Jedi, only to begin redeeming himself with the light side of the force. The game would go on to be incredibly successful, launching a sequel in 2010, before being scrapped after the Disney-Lucasfilm purchase of 2012.

CSI: NY was the highest viewed show on television at the time, entering its fifth of nine seasons. In the world of online entertainment, nigahiga was the number-one subscribed YouTuber. He would only hold it for a few more days until FЯED took the mantle on the sixth. As for the most popular website, that honor went to Google, averaging around 120 million visitors that month. Facebook had not yet taken its title as the most popular social media site; Blogger, instead was trafficking the most amount of visits. Back then, most teenagers spent their time listening to music on iTunes. On the seventh, a little streaming service called Spotify would make its launch.

In the world of politics, the vice-Presidential nominees would debate on national television. Governor Sarah Palin and Senator Joe Biden would debate on issues of the War on Terror and the economic crisis. The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 was passed shortly after; the act established TARP, an organization meant for bailing out banks that would be in serious financial trouble, amidst the late 2000’s economic crisis.

Writer: Lucas Hydock


There’s an imposter Among Us!

The latest craze to sweep Minersville is the popular online multiplatform game, Among Us. Released on June 15th, 2018, Among Us has experienced a recent worldwide surge in popularity. The game is enjoyed by students of all grades, some play together in large discord servers. One particular student, Braeden Jones (Sophomore), owns a server where he and his friends frequent the game.

When asked about why he loves the game so much, Braeden responded “What draws me to the game is easily the imposter aspect of the game. It’s so fun to try and blend in with the crowd and deceive your friends.

The game features two different modes. The “Crewmate” mode and the “Imposter” mode. Each server boasts up to ten players; it is the crewmates’ job to deduce who the imposters are. Imposters are given the job to blend in, sabotage the map, accuse innocent players as imposters, and ultimately take out each player at a time. Crewmates, meanwhile are given an array of tasks to complete. These tasks are menial jobs, themed around the game’s “Sci-Fi” aesthetics. If all the crewmates successfully complete their tasks before the imposters remove them, the innocents win. However, if the imposters are successful in outnumbering the crewmates, they win. 

The game’s marketability can be traced to its ingenious structure. Unlike most video games, communication is prioritized when playing Among Us. The game’s key hook comes through the form of emergency meetings. These meetings bless the crewmates with the opportunity to remove a potential threat. Players can use the in-game chat, or an external voice chat to discuss theories on who the imposters are. These meetings, however, are a double-bladed sword. Imposters have the opportunity to frame an innocent player. The game’s essential mechanic lies in each player’s ability to read through lies. It’s a game of deduction. To win Among Us, players not only have to be efficient in accomplishing their goals, they also have to be smart in judging other players. Everybody is guilty until proven innocent, you cannot trust anybody, even your own friends. 

While communication is a big chunk of Among Us’ gameplay, I enjoy it for the on-your-toes moments. I love walking in on the imposter popping out of the electrical vent or trying to be sneaky as the imposter and avoiding the security cameras.” says Braeden. It is true, there are a multitude of factors in regards to Among Us’ appeal. One of the more unique mechanics is the relationship between the player and death.

Unlike the other game fads that have happened over the years…it’s actually not frustrating to die. Dying as a crewmate doesn’t necessarily mean game-over…for the game allows you to continue playing and carry out your assigned tasks,” says Braeden. Indeed, neither crewmate, nor imposter are given the advantage from the get-go. Either side’s ability to win is dependent on each player’s actions. If at a disadvantage, the crewmates wield the potential for a comeback.

A culmination of these features has made this game incredibly popular among the students of Minersville. Children of all ages are currently playing Among Us, each sharpening their abilities to either twist the truth, or recognize a lie. It’s a common consensus that videogames “rot children’s brains.” In the case of Among Us, however, each student’s comprehension of communication sharpens, as they continue to frequent the game.

Full interview with Braeden.

Writer: Lucas Hydock


Flashback Fridays: August 2015

(Pictured Above: Jake Arietta, after his first no-hitter game, August 30th, 2015)

Seniors, it’s been five years since we’ve began attending the high school. In that time, the world has drastically changed. Social trends have come and gone, but pop culture as its core remains a central part of our lives. What exactly was popular when we started seventh grade? Let’s take a look a little over five years ago, to late August 2015.

The number one movie in America at the time was Straight Outta Compton. Directed by F. Gary Gary, the film bioptic of notorious rap group N.W.A made well over two hundred million at the box office. The film would influence the release of Dr. Dre’s third album, Compton. However, the album would fall short from number one, with Luke Bryan’s Kill the Lights topping the charts, instead.

The number one song at the time was Cheerleader by OMI. It was the single’s fifth week at the top, with Can’t Feel My Face by the Weeknd briefly dethroning it the week prior. Initially written in 2008, the single would remain unsuccessful until its 2014 remix. Upon which, a year later, it would top the charts of multiple countries, worldwide. Cheerleader remains the only song by OMI to chart in the United States.

Speaking of music, Kanye West had then-recently announced that he was running for president in 2020. West made the statement at the thirty-second MTV VMA’s. Needless to say, five years later, West would launch his campaign under the so-called “Birthday Party.” His first and currently only rally was held on July 19th. As for the politics of that time, President Obama had redesignated Mt. McKinley as Denali, its native name. The 2016 Presidential election was also underway. According to a national survey from Quinnipiac University, Donald Trump held the lead in favorability among the Republican candidates, boasting a 28% approval. Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton held 45% approval. However, despite not running, Vice President Joe Biden was polled more favorable against Republican candidates than Secretary Clinton. Biden and Trump would end up competing five years later, with Quinnipiac polling Biden 52% to Trump’s 42%.

In sports, Jake Arietta of the Chicago Cubs pitched his first no-hitter against the Dodgers. It would be the fourteenth no-hitter in the Cubs’ history; the Cubs, with Arietta pitching, would go on to win the world series a little over a year later. This victory would break the Cubs’ century plus absence from claiming said title.

As for videogames, the highest selling videogame of the month would be Madden NFL 16, released on August 25th. Minecraft remained popular at the time, with DanTDM boasting the monthly highest views for an independent YouTuber. Pewdiepie, of course, was still the highest subscribed channel on YouTube. As for the most viewed video on YouTube, that honor was held by the Gangnam Style music video, clocking in at well over a billion views. Speaking of videos, Netflix at the time released Narcos, a series about drug kingpin, Pablo Escobar.

Writer: Lucas Hydock


The Ultimate Prom Guide: 2019

Prom night may be one of the most memorable events of your high school career, but it can also be one of the most overwhelming. Sidestep all your worries as you follow this 9 Step Prom Guide that will ensure your prom to be the best one yet!

1. Plan The Expense

In the mix of all the prom excitement, it’s very easy to forget that the cost of prom can add up quickly. To manage your money, set your priorities first. Your priorities are where you’re going to spend the most money for prom. Whether that be your dress/suit, your hair or makeup, it’s important that you budget properly. Start saving money ahead of time so you can have the best night of your life. This way not only are you and/or your guardians happy, but your bank account is too!

2. Every Outfit Counts

The hardest part of prom is probably choosing a dress or suit. You must incorporate the many aspects like color, body-type, theme, and latest trend when choosing a dress or suit. At all cost, try to avoid purchasing these apparels online to prevent being scammed from phony websites. If you’re wearing a suit, be sure to complement your date’s attire with a matching suit and tie/bow tie. If you’re going with friends, no worries! Create a style with your prom squad.

3. Where Tradition Meets Fashion

Flowers may not seem important at first, but they are the ultimate prom accessory. Throughout the years, prom dates typically incorporate flowers by exchanging corsages, bouquets and/or boutonnieres. Pick flowers that complement both you and your date’s outfit. This way, you can create epic Snapchats and Instagram photos to post later!

4. Look Famous

The time it takes to get ready on the day of prom is extremely long, but the most time consuming part is probably your hair and/or makeup. Your hairstyle and makeup can influence your overall look, which is why you should choose a hairstyle that works best with your hair type and makeup best for your skin type. If you plan to go to a professional, family member, or friend to do your hair and/or makeup, be sure to have a picture of what you would like so there’s no confusion. You could also schedule a trial run to be a bit more on the safe side. To save a little money, you could do your own hair and makeup. You can always practice your look multiple times before the big day. This will ensure a hairstyle and makeup choice to your liking.

5. Nailed It!

When it comes to your nails, it can be very confusing on what you want done. Nails are imperative to a successful look, especially in close-up photos. You may be thinking that I’m just talking about the color, but that’s not all you should be worrying about. The shape, style, patterns, and decorations are vital to a nail look too. If you’re having trouble on what you want your nails to look like, Pinterest is the best place to look at thousands of nail designs. Whether you plan to have a professional manicure or you plan on doing it yourself, be sure to keep your nails cared for, cleaned, and shaped. Don’t want to paint your nails? That’s totally up to you boo! 😉

6. Fashion Fit

Body confidence tends to lack in many teens nowadays. However, to me beauty is about being comfortable in your own skin and accepting who you are. If you don’t feel your best, or think you can improve, it’s always a good idea to start establishing good eating habits and an exercise routine, especially one or two weeks before prom. You’ll surely be able to dance the night away if you feel your best on prom night.

7. Feel Pretty, Feel Classy

Getting ready for prom includes skin care. Having a good skin care routine may take weeks to build upon, which is why you should start really early. Using cleansers and face masks can help you achieve that gorgeous glow you are looking for. Once you find a skin routine that works for you, you are guaranteed perfect prom photos and a perfect night.

8. Single Savvy

Staying home because you don’t have a date? Why!? Who better to take to prom than yourself? Spread your wings and embrace your inner social butterfly on the dance floor. Not to mention, it is so much easier when you only have to work with your time schedule. You make all the plans and nobody will make a fuss!

9. FFF – Fashion, Fun, and Friends

Before you leave for prom, make sure you are prepared to prevent any unexpected tragedies that may fall in your path. So before you rush out the door, if necessary grab makeup for possible touch ups, comfortable shoes, a camera and/or your phone, bobby pins, and photo money. If you plan to keep the party going afterwards, bring spare clothes that are comfortable and a bag to carefully put your prom attire in.


Keryn Corby

Mario Kart Tour Making Its Way To Minersville

If you were to ask any student what their new favorite mobile game is, it’s a safe bet that they are going to say Mario Kart Tour.  As of its release September 23 of this year, almost everyone you talk to is playing. Mario Kart Tour is a kart racing mobile game and a spin-off game of the Mario Kart series, developed and published by Nintendo for Android and iOS devices. Mario Kart is quickly becoming one of the most downloaded games in the nation. Mario Kart Tour was downloaded more than 90 million times in its first week.  To compare, Nintendo’s previous mobile game, Animal Crossing Pocket Camp, was only downloaded 14.5 million times in its first week according to CNN.  

It is not a surprise however, as Mario Kart is one of Nintendo’s largest side IPs. Bringing it to smartphones would allow players to compete with computer controlled characters, with a multiplayer update coming soon. 

While most are enjoying this new entry in the Mario Kart series, others are skeptical about its quality and business practices. Minersville local math teacher Frederick Reed had some issues with how the game’s subscription would allow players to unlock new characters and rewards for a monthly fee of $4.99 and the idea of microtransaction, a business model where users can purchase virtual goods with micropayments.

Despite these issues, Mario Kart Tour is still leading the charts as the most downloaded game on the Google Play Store. The following weeks will determine if it can maintain its first place hold, or if it will fall behind like other previous Nintendo titles.

Writer: Caleb James Primeau

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