Thursday, November 17, 2016

Album Throwback: Badmotorfinger by Soundgarden

By: Arianna Grewal

This month marks the 25th anniversary of Soundgarden’s Badmotorfinger album release (October 8, 1991). Industry observers believed Badmotorfinger to be Soundgarden’s breakout hit, however, it was overshadowed by Nirvana’s unexpected success of Nevermind, released the same month. Still, it marked the beginning of the band’s path to fame, and set the band’s brand of alt-infused metal.

Following the release, Soundgarden would soon tour with Guns ‘N Roses, also important for the band’s exposure.  Badmotorfinger was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance.  It captivated fans of grunge with a unique, heavier sound that led to their breakthrough album, Superunknown, released in 1994. In a Loudwire interview, Soundgarden guitarist, Kim Thayil, said “in honor of Badmotorfinger’s 25th anniversary, there will be a reissue of the album.”  In a 2014 interview with Billboard, the band stated that the reissue would include additional material; such as live performances.

One of the album’s best tracks is Rusty Cage, which became Badmotorfinger’s greatest hit. The song uses an impactful tempo and interestingly changes the metre and phrasing later on in the song. Singer, Chris Cornell, tried to leave most of the lyrics on this album rather general.  He did this because he wanted to “create colorful images” for his listeners, however, the lyrics of the fan favorite Outshined, are rather personal to Cornell.  It touches on his fluctuating personality; how he feels like he can be on top of the world at one moment and at rock bottom the next. The main riffs and verses of the song are written in 7/4, instead of the usual 4/4 time but that didn’t prevent it from taking off into the mainstream. When guitarist Kim Thayil was asked about the timing, he said he does not usually even notice he writes songs this way, until he’s done writing.

Jesus Christ Pose was another track on the album encumbered with controversy.  Some listeners felt that the song was an attack on Christianity which led to MTV’s ban on the music video (due to the image of a woman being crucified in it).  People were too quick to judge the song instead of looking and listening for the actual meaning.  It interestingly did not have to do with religion itself, but the annoyance at celebrities who use religious imagery when they want to appear superior to others.  When asked, Cornell used Perry Ferrell from Jane’s Addiction as an example of this.  Jesus Christ Pose merely showed Chris Cornell’s “disdain for ignorance.”

Other favorites of mine are Room A Thousand Years Wide and Slaves & Bulldozers. These are just a few tracks from Badmotorfinger, but overall, the album has great lyrics, riffs, and a heavier sound than the rest. So take some time, put on Badmotorfinger and take a step back into the 90’s.

PARCC: What You Really Need to Know About this “Mandatory” Assessment

By Paige Lippmann

“What do you mean you aren't taking PARCC?” “You won't graduate; it's a requirement.” “Aren’t you worried about getting into college?” These are all valid, yet ignorant questions. As we all know, ignorant is a synonym for uneducated so I'm here to educate you on what you really need to know about PARCC and how “mandatory” it actually is. I’d go in depth on the history of PARCC and standardized tests in NJ in general but that’s a tad boring so you can find it all here:

To sum it up, in 2014-15 PARCC replaced the existing statewide assessments: the NJASK in grades 3-8; and HSPA in high school. According to the same  article above, “New Jersey had been transitioning the NJ ASK to measure higher-level skills for over three years to provide local districts and schools the time necessary to shift practices and prepare students and educators for PARCC.” What really sticks out about this is how schools are being given time to “prepare students and educators for PARCC.”

If schools are looking to find an accurate representation of where students really are in their readiness for college, then students should not be be taught how to answer questions. In the days and weeks we waste being taught how to pass a test, we could be focused on important, relevant information that is vital to our education.

PARCC, The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, is yet another pointless standardized test whose scores are but a number. How important could a test really be if only 8 states actually administer it? Now follow along with me here; PARCC is, according to, meant “to measure student achievement of the Common Core State Standards and preparedness for college,” but so are other tests such as the PSAT, SAT and ACT tests, which are administered and accepted on a national scale and have been used and improved for an abundance of years. The college board’s website ( even describes the PSAT as a test “ to help determine their [referring to the student’s] level of readiness for college.”

So why are we adding additional standardized tests that will tell us what existing tests already do? Maybe it’s because Pearson, the company that created PARCC, publishes educational material? This fact suggests a conflict of interest because this company created a test that solicits a need for more educational materials at schools. If a student were to fail a Pearson administered exam, have no fear because they offer a series of remedial learning products! Dropping out? Pearson also partners with the American Council of Education to offer the GED exam (for a profit, of course). The creators of PARCC don’t actually have an interest in how well we’re doing in school or if we’re ready for college or not, they want to test and see how much money we will pour into their bank accounts before we realize they're creating an artificial monopoly on an unnecessary service.

Now to answer the question you’ve all been waiting for; is PARCC mandatory? And the answer you’ve been hoping to hear; no. PARCC is NOT mandatory, I personally will not be taking it, PARCC is not a graduation requirement (more on this later), and if you do not take PARCC you will still graduate and get into college. Before you start jumping for joy and text your mom “i don't have 2 take parcc” know that there are some exceptions. If you are part of the class of 2017, 2018 and 2019 (sophomores, juniors and seniors) and chose not to take PARCC, you must complete one of the graduation requirements as there are many to chose from, which you can find both listed below and here;

ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS (ELA); PARCC ELA Grade 9 or PARCC ELA Grade 10 or PARCC ELA Grade 11 or SAT Reading or ACT Reading or ACT PLAN Reading or Accuplacer WritePlacer or Accuplacer WritePlacer ESL or PSAT10 Reading or PSAT/NMSQT Reading or PSAT10 Reading or PSAT/NMSQT Reading or ACT Aspire Reading or ASVAB-AFQT Composite or Meet the Criteria of the NJDOE Portfolio Appeal.

MATHEMATICS; PARCC Algebra I or PARCC Geometry or PARCC Algebra II or SAT Math or ACT or ACT PLAN Math or Accuplacer Elementary Algebra or PSAT10 Math or PSAT/NMSQT Math or PSAT10 Math or PSAT/NMSQT Math or ACT Aspire Math or ASVAB-AFQT Composite or Meet the Criteria of the NJDOE Portfolio Appeal.

If you took the PSAT you most likely met the score requirement which means you have met the graduation requirements and do not have to take PARCC. Even if you did not take the PSAT or did not meet the score requirement I urge you to opt out of PARCC and choose one of the many other graduation requirements because you only need to meet one for math and one for english. There is no punishment for refusing to take PARCC and you gain nothing from taking it so why let yourself go through a test like that? Spend your time focusing your study time on tests such as the PSAT, SAT and ACT because those tests matter and will get you into a good college.

***Class of 2020 (current freshmen), if eligible you must take PARCC but if a passing score is not met, you have other options such as the PSAT, ACT and Accuplacer. Class of 2021 and beyond (8th graders and younger), it pains me to say this but you must take PARCC to graduate, but sophomores, juniors and seniors as long as you take the PSAT or complete any of the above requirements (one for math and one for english) PARCC is something you won't ever need to take.


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Last Thoughts on Donald Trump in the 2016 Election

By: Tommy Baran

        Donald Trump is running in the 2016 United States Presidential election. He is a character with no shortage of media coverage, strong beliefs, and most importantly, care for the American people. Mr. Trump is a man who has clearly defined values. Some of the key perks of a Donald Trump presidency include a strong immigration policy, constitutionally supported gun control regulation, and an “America-first” foreign policy. Mr. Trump takes a look at America and sees that in its current state, America is weak. He sees people flooding in through our borders with minimal vetting and very limited surveillance. His plan is to strengthen our borders, by removing illegal immigrants, ending our “catch-and-release” policy on immigration, and by building a wall.

        Mr. Trump is not against the Mexican people being in the United States. Mr. Trump’s stance against Mexicans is that he wants to deport illegal immigrant Mexicans, primarily the ones that come to our country and break our laws. He has also clearly explained that he wants to secure our border. He states that he wants to triple the number of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents, and secure our borders. In order to secure our borders, he plans on building a large, reinforced wall. This wall’s goal is to not only stop bad people and items from coming into our country, but to keep them out, as well.

        Guns are a vital part of American culture. Mr. Trump supports the ability to own and carry a weapon, and he believes in the banning of guns for people on terrorist watchlists. With the current system, anyone who is on a terrorist watch list, in states other than New Jersey and Connecticut, can go ahead and purchase a firearm. Donald says that this is part of his plan to combat terrorism. He says, and believes in, law abiding citizens owning and using guns to defend not only themselves, but also others, in times of peril.

        Another important part of Donald Trump’s plan is his stance on foreign policy. He is all about ending American involvement with other nations, if it means we are spending resources, with little to no financial gain. He sees this as the US being used by other countries. As a prominent businessman, this is very important to him. He will put an end to this. Some other parts of his foreign policy include plans to stop nuclear deals with Iran and end hostage negotiations. Iran previously had nuclear facilities that caused many sanctions placed by the UN and the EU. The US, however, decided to sell nuclear resources to this country, when they had no supervision, and a number of facilities where they can make weapon-grade uranium. The United States has a strong motto: “The United States does not negotiate with terrorists.” This, however, isn’t always true, and, we have negotiated with terrorists in hostage situations where tactical options are not possible. Mr. Trump has decided that this will end with him.

        Donald Trump surely is an interesting candidate. He isn’t a politician, that’s for sure, but is a very good businessman. He doesn’t take crap from anyone, and wants to save America from the precarious situation that we are in now. He has strong beliefs, that go deep into the traditional American values, and wants to do what’s right for America. He is supported by many groups, notably groups representing ICE and the NRA. He is in it for the long run, and wants to shape this country into something that we can be proud of, and simply wants for us to be safe. Who can argue with that?

Last Thoughts on Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Election

By: C.J. Ashton

        Going to the polls to vote for the candidate who meets the approval of their party and the people is a freedom and a privilege for American citizens; it brings about a feeling of civic pride and accomplishment by voting for the candidate who will govern in a fashion that meets our qualifications. The wish of Americans is to take pride in the constituents and the country.

        This does not seem to be the case in 2016. The mood and the temperament of the country has evolved into one that would seem to be voting for “the lesser of two evils.” People are trying to weigh the accomplishments, merits, and promises of the candidate, but it becomes difficult when campaigns are driven by hatred for an opposing candidate.

        Even though the general opinion of the election is not favorable, there are some things that can be noted about Hillary Clinton to show voters not all hope is lost. Clinton has been a public servant and political figure for around forty years. In the past ten years she has gained admiration of many people, in and out of her public life, for different reasons. She has portrayed herself as a strong woman with lots of stamina.The recognition of her ability came in small doses but left a big impact.

        During her eight years as a senator in New York, and as Secretary of State, she showed the ability to listen and to be bipartisan. She used this ability to work with Congress in order to push for comprehensive immigration legislation to protect law abiding, undocumented immigrants. Hillary has the respect and backing of the democratic party unlike Trump, whose party is divided.

        She seems to have sensible judgement when it comes to selecting a running mate, Senator Tom Kaine, from Virginia. He uses his Harvard Law degree to work towards justice and equality for all. His ability to act as an attack dog will complement Hillary’s personality without a doubt.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Recipe Of The Week: Pumpkin Spice Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting

By: Sam Liegner

        This cookie recipe is by far my favorite fall recipe (courtesy to Pinterest).  It’s simple, delicious and leaves everyone wanting more. These cookies are soft and sweet and give you all the fall vibes in just one bite. They’re great to give to friends, family and teachers. The recipe yields up to 3 dozen (depending on the size of your cookies  (I got 2 dozen because mine were bigger). If you want an amazing new fall sweet, I suggest for you this one.

The Ingredients:

Cookie dough
½ cup of Butter (preferably sweet cream,, salted but any butter can work)
1 cup Sugar
2 Eggs
1 cup of Canned Pumpkin (15 oz)
2 cups Flour
4 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
2½ teaspoon Cinnamon
½ teaspoon Nutmeg
¼ teaspoon Ginger (dry or fresh, both work)

Cream cheese frosting
½ cup Butter (Sweet Cream, Salted)
8 oz. block of Cream Cheese
3 teaspoons Vanilla
4 cups Powdered Sugar
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
½ teaspoon Nutmeg
½ cup Chopped Walnuts or Pecans (optional)



  1. Beat butter and sugar until fluffy texture. (electric beater makes process much easier, but if you don’t have one, a whisk can work just as well; it will just take longer).
  2. Add pumpkin and eggs and mix well. 
  3. Mix all dry ingredients together in separate bowl.
  4. Add the dry ingredients into the wet mixture by folding in (this is simply “folding” the wet over the dry and slowly mixing it in so you don’t lose the fluffiness).
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Scoop cookie dough with tablespoons and put onto baking sheet (spray sheet with oil so they don’t stick) .
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes (varies on size of cookie). When you poke the cookie, it should be stiff and not collapse. 
  8. Allow cookies to cool while making frosting.


  1. In stand mixer, beat butter, cream cheese and vanilla until smooth.
  2. Add in sugar, one cup at a time, on a low speed (or else you’ll have a big cloud of sugar and that’s not fun to clean up).  
  3. Finish up the frosting with the cinnamon and nutmeg.

When the cookies are done, decorate them however you like. I frosted them and placed walnuts on top and sprinkled a bit of cinnamon. By the time you bite into one of these you’ll love them, trust me.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Ask Alex: Beards

Need advice on school, relationships, life in general? Ask Alex. Submit your letters to the Patriot Press advice column and see your response posted on our blog! 

Where do I submit my letter? Letters can be dropped off the the multi- colored bucket located in the media center. 

Dear Alex,

I am having beard troubles. What shampoo will soften it? I also have trouble keeping things out of my beard. What can I do?

Dear Furry Friend,

Beards are a great way to show masculinity; no one wants to see a raggedy old beard though. I’m going to teach you how to make that beard blossom! The first thing is to know how long you've started growing before shaping. Shaping is what style you might want. So here’s how to start: Ideally you want your beard to go untouched for roughly four weeks. This means do not touch it with a razor or scissors.

        To help grow your facial locks, you should after a hot shower, put a small amount of JoJoba oil with some peppermint essential oil on your face. Why? Jojoba helps encourage hair growth and keeps acne away. Cold pressed jojoba is the best, while hot pressed does not have all the vitamins your beard needs. If your face begins to break out, look for a face wash that does not have any alcohol in it. Alcohol rubs can ruin your beard. Peppermint essential oil will help to open pores and let your skin breathe, feel fresh, and smell great!

        After about four weeks your beard can start to look gnarly and wild. At this point, you can start shaping. You may start to notice your beard feels like steel wool. Don't worry; get yourself coconut conditioner to help soften your hair.

        You may also have the problem of food getting into your masterpiece! You definitely do not want this to happen, so use a comb that you use for your hair or purchase and beard comb. If you are still finding food in your beard you might want to think about trimming it. Growing a beard takes discipline, patience and time. Your beard will not be amazing the first time you start growing one. If you have the problem of thickness or bald patches, I recommend shaving every Friday rather than any time it becomes long. If you have any other questions feel free to ask me!

Best of Luck,

Beard secrets!!

Horoscopes for November 2016

By: Samantha Kulek

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Attempt to resist pursuing physically attractive people who pique your interest

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): You should stall for time if asked to make an important commitment or promise.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Flattery could be a sign that someone is trying to influence your opinion for their own gain.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): The person who is completely predictable is your best bet. 

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): You can’t make an informed decision until a minor controversy is cleared up. 

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Someone who is offended or irked might hide their animosity.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Some problems are caused by saying yes too quickly and not saying no soon enough.

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): A consensus of opinion might not provide a useful answer. 

 SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Stay in touch with those who share your vision of the future but take promises with a grain of salt.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): This isn’t the time to shoot the rapids. It may be tempting to take a chance on a new romance, project or deal.

 AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Focus on your strong points rather than masking your weaknesses. 

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Brief misunderstandings with loved ones could disrupt harmonious relationships.