The Great Debate by Vivian Bowling













I am not an incredibly passionate person. I am willing to hear out any beliefs and more than likely I will totally understand everyone’s perspective. I am definitely opinionated, I am not trying to argue that I’m not, but I am not very heartfelt about my opinions. I put on a good front, but I back down pretty easily when it comes to debates over beliefs. With that being said, there is one hill that I am absolutely willing to die on. It is the only opinion I am zealous and fiery about. I am willing to end relationships and begin long term arguments over this opinion. I honestly should stop calling it an opinion because as far as I’m concerned it is a fact. A true and strong fact and that fact is that Monday is the first day of the week. I am ready to present my case. Are you ready? Monday deserves to be the start of the week. It is a chaotic, restless, stressful and altogether awful day. Most people get through the day running on complete exhaustion, adrenaline or caffeine. The day is honestly a whirlwind of emotions for most. It deserves the place as first because as we all know, first is the worst. Sunday, on the other hand, is perfect. The day is restful and peaceful and truthfully just magical. It brings me joy and reminds me of the sun. It is a perfect way to end the week. It is like the cherry on top of the ice cream. The bow on top of the present. The pat on top of the head. Do you understand my argument? I rest my case. I’m not wrong and I am willing to argue this belief for the rest of my life.

Ponderings by Nora Konrad

Am I really in charge of my own life?

I better be. 

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the trajectory of my life. 

Do I really want to go to college or am I just following the path that’s been laid out for me? At least in my experience, my experience of being a white IB student at Shaker, I think college is just assumed. And I believe the certainty of education is a good thing. Everyone should have the opportunity to be educated. I want to go to college. But I want it to be my choice. I don’t want to go to college just because that’s what’s expected of me. 

Recently I’ve realized how much of my life I have spent following other people and worrying about what other people thought of me. That’s not the person I want to be anymore. 

Maybe this is all just super existential, and proof that I am still living in my head. I don’t really know, but I thought it was worth sharing.

In Defense of Black Cats by Anna Welsh

Free picture: eye, fur, cute, portrait, kitten, black cat, animal, kitty,  feline

My parents got Zoe at a shelter about twenty-three years ago in Columbus, Ohio. She was a black kitten, with ears far too big for her scrawny body. It was during what they call, “kitten season,” when shelters are overwhelmed with stray felines and their children. Oftentimes, shelters are so overwhelmed that they have to resort to euthanization. Black cats are more likely to be euthanized than any other fur color. Zoe was only a few months old, and they were preparing to put her down. My parents adopted her in the nick of time, and she was with my family for twenty years. 

My mom often describes how disheartening it is to see shelters filled with unadopted black cats. Zoe was one of many black cats that people refused to adopt, and therefore the excess faced an unfortunate fate, a fate not unfamiliar to black cats in shelters everywhere. 

I’ve begun to think of myself as an advocate of sorts for black cats. There is a stigma surrounding the cats; that they are aggressive, or unlucky. Every year on Halloween we had to keep Zoe inside, for fear that she would be injured by some hostile pedestrians who prescribed themselves to the belief that black cats are unlucky, especially on Halloween. When my friends would come over, they would refuse to cross Zoe’s path, whining that it was unlucky. I don’t think it hurt Zoe’s feelings, but it certainly hurt mine. 

There is no valid reason that black cats should be associated with poor luck, evil omens, or witchcraft. As a cat-lover, I’ve decided that for the rest of my days, I’ll only adopt black cats. They deserve love just like any other animal, and shouldn’t be disregarded. Go, black cats! 

Bye Week Update and Game Prediction By: Will Welsh

Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens: 10 Things for the Dawg Pound To Chew  On | Bleacher Report | Latest News, Videos and Highlights

Recently, the Browns have struggled. They lost to the Ravens in a game where they handily won the turnover battle, beat the bottom feeding Lions by less than a touchdown, and fell to the Steelers at home in a low scoring affair. It seems like something hasn’t clicked over the last month, and the Browns are hoping to turn it around in December and make a final playoff push.

At the moment, the Browns sit at 6-6 and are in 4th place in the AFC North with a slight chance to make it into the playoffs as a wildcard. In order to make it into the last wildcard slot, the Browns will most likely need to win two out of their last three division games as well as their other non-division matchups. For the playoffs to be feasible, the Browns can only drop one more game down the stretch. Along with this feat, the Browns will need outside assistance and teams like the Steelers, Chargers, and Broncos will need to lose. 

While this seems nearly impossible, it is not entirely out of the question. Over the last month, excluding the loss to the Patriots, the Browns defense has let up 15, 10, and 16 points for an average of 13.7 points a game. This is less than two touchdowns (assuming the opposing kickers make their extra points)! As it gets colder, it seems as if the Browns defense has solidified, like water freezing into ice. This defense has the potential to propel the Browns to immediate success if the offense can convert. The recent offensive difficulties could be attributed to the controversy surrounding Odell Beckham Jr, the injury of Kareem Hunt, Nick Chubb contracting COVID-19, Baker Mayfield’s various injuries, and the revolving door of offensive lineman. As the Browns heal on their bye and transition into the final stretch of the season, many of these problems have worked themselves out. Hunt and Chubb are back at full health and we may see some double back sets, Odell is completely out of the picture, Mayfield has had a full week to recuperate, and the offensive line is solidified (except for at right tackle). It is probable that a healthy, run-heavy Browns offense can propel the team to success on snowy Sundays for the next four weeks. This may be enough to secure the Browns’ second playoff berth in two years. 


Game Prediction: Browns v. Ravens @First Energy Stadium

I think the Browns will begin their valiant playoff push by beating the Ravens in front of a raucous home crowd. It is supposed to be chilly on Sunday and the Browns will use that to their advantage. Expect a heavy dose of run plays and play action with both Chubb and Hunt getting a high volume of touches. I also foresee the Browns attempting to convert some field-switching big plays. I expect a few deep shots to Anthony Schwartz and Donovan Peoples-Jones. The defense will have another dominant performance with at least one interception and multiple sacks, at least one coming from league leader Myles Garrett. The Ravens will be competitive and probably stay within one score throughout, but the Browns prevail.


24-21, Browns

When Is Thanksgiving Break By Lizzy Huang

This week before break has probably been one of my worst weeks of the school year so far. I’m pretty sure I had about a maximum of a one-hour break each day before 9 PM, roughly five to six hours of sleep a night, and constant impulses to nap. With schoolwork, practicing, and after-school activities, my days have been long and tiring thus far, and my overall state of mind and body has been in a constant state of exhaustion.

With this being said, I am looking forward to Sunday, my first official day in a while where nothing happens. Absolutely nothing is planned for this day, and I am beyond excited. Sunday also marks the first official day of Thanksgiving break, which will be a good time for me to get grounded again, and allow my mind to return to a state of content and awareness.

As I trudge through this week of hardships, I think a lot about my break next week. I ask myself: what am I thankful for? What do I wish I could have more of, and what do I hate to lose? To what do I owe my life?

Every time I ask myself, my answer is always time.

I long for the days when I can just jump into my bed at the first second of a break and lay there for ten, twenty, thirty, forty, minutes. I dream of when I could spare time to play just thirty minutes of frisbee with my dog, Pepper, or when I could make bookmarks with my younger sister, Sara. I think back to the little slots in my day when I could get lost in a book, captivated in its world away from my present one. I ponder over the times conversing with my friends late at night, joking about the time one of us ran into a door. I imagine.

I also think about how my state of mind affects others. I know that I can be grouchier when I’m tired, and I can close off easily. I also know that I can’t spend much time with my elementary sister, who wants to have fun and find innovative things to do. I know that I can’t go on runs with my dog, who wants the interaction and who thrives on the exercise. I realize that the amount of things I have to do and the amount of time I have are simply not sustainable in the long-run.

But I know that it will be over soon, and that bursts of activities like this will come every once in a while. I know that I am strong enough to get through it, and that I have people in my life who can help me. I also know that there are hundreds of my peers who are going through a similar situation, if not a harder one, than I am.

And ultimately, I am thankful that there is time in the world for me to do the things I love, and for me to have times like these where I just need to focus and get through it. I am thankful for what I can learn from harder circumstances like these because they teach me to be strong.

I am thankful for time.


The Common Cold By Carrington Hughes

As I recover from my most recent disease known as the common cold, I reflect on all the thoughts that consistently plagued my mind during that god-forbidden time. Considering that this was my first cold in two years, I found this experience to be particularly daunting due to my crippled immune system. I have decided to share these thoughts with you all in an attempt put my suffering into words and provide hope for anyone else going through such trauma. Sorry in advance.


Day 1: Dang, my throat is a little sore. I probably shouldn’t have left my window open before bed while it was literally snowing. I guess I’ll just take a Covid test and some medicine so that I’ll be better by tomorrow.

Day 2: I don’t have Covid but…my throat…is more sore than yesterday…no worries haha. I’ll just take more medicine and I will definitely not be sick tomorrow.

Day 3: *Loses Voice* Okay. I don’t remember the common cold being this bad lol hahaha hahahaa it’ll all be fine. *starts mixing medicine*

Day 4: Golly gee this cold is really kicking my buttocks. It’ll be better soon I am sure.

Day 5: Dying. Death. Deathbed. Can’t breathe. Death.

Day 6: *googles the symptoms of tonsillitis* *Convinces myself I have tonsillitis*  *Mother completely ignores me because she knows I do not have tonsillitis* *Finds out I indeed do not have tonsillitis*

Day 7: *acceptance*


My Odyssey By Claire Borden

The Odyssey (Barnes & Noble Signature Editions) eBook by Homer - 9781435141209 | Rakuten Kobo United States

I had to get out. That was all I could think. I couldn’t even be bothered to put on shoes before rushing out the door. During that time, meltdowns like this were a common occurrence, whether over a fight with my siblings, or a limit my parents set. I had no experience with the typical “run away” that most people can tell a story of their own about, though. 

I started out at a run, emulating a character in one of the books I loved to read. I did things fairly theatrically, because I read a lot and acted in plays, so playing the part of a wild child runaway was right up my alley. Of course I never meant to stay away, only to satisfy my classic middle child thirst for attention by making my entire family sick with worry and ashamed for antagonizing me in the first place. 

As night began to fall, I started to regret not bringing shoes or something warmer, but I couldn’t turn back now. In reality, I probably hadn’t been gone for long, but to a fourth grader with adrenaline pumping through her veins, it felt like hours. I deliberately took wrong turns and tried to get myself lost; my old, safe neighborhood grew dull and tiresome. I especially didn’t want to run into any nosy neighbors. Soon I passed a couple I didn’t know walking their dog. 

“You alright sweetie? Need any help?” the lady asked. I stopped abruptly, embarrassed and guilty, as if I had been caught doing something I shouldn’t.

“No I’m fine, thanks. My house is right up there.” I said hastily, pointing vaguely. I walked away quickly. As it got darker and darker I started to get uneasy. Why didn’t I ask the couple for directions? In reality I was probably within a mile of my house and having always been granted free range of my neighborhood, I knew I would never face any real danger. My real problem was getting back home. I kept taking more and more turns, thinking I recognized street names, but I only got more and more lost. Then, I saw it: CVS. I had been walking or biking to CVS with my sister for years to pick up candy and snacks, so to me, that fluorescent drug store sign was like an oasis in the desert. 

As I quickly made the trek home, the guilt started to set in. I felt sure that my parents had filed a missing persons report by then, and when I walked in the house I would be met with tearful hugs and kisses. This always happened; I would do something I couldn’t take back in the heat of the moment and then regret it once I had cooled down. Why couldn’t I ever control my temper? My cheeks and neck started to burn bright red. I took a deep breath and got ready to face the music, certain that I deserved whatever punishment my parents decided on. I walked through the door and into a dark living room. Hearing the door shut, my mom came downstairs and I braced myself for some sort of reaction.

 “Hi sweetie, were you on a walk?”


November Music Review By Jaimee Martin

Winter is practically here in Northeast Ohio, and it’s time for a catch-up and chill-out moment. For this top 10 mix, it means R&B and steady electronic with a little bit of alternative and subtle accents mixed in. On the interpretive side, I’m bringing all the emotions – some melodramatism, a lot of complex, beautiful love, nostalgia, and a drop of that winter depression for comfort. You should definitely feel on the page if you listen to all of them, and maybe even open your mind to making them regular shuffles. The last mention, there’s no hiding it, this month’s review is dominated by Australians and Black people, so celebrate….I’m not sure what but it feels a lil celebratory to me. Obviously, I love every song on here, so they aren’t in any particular order just displaying my current loves for the readers (and listeners, of course). Happy listening!

1. Free Time – Ruel

I know I said these go in no particular order…..but this is definitely, hands down the number one song of the month. While a lot of Ruel’s music is categorical into a singing, dancing, or montage playlist, this song isn’t – it’s uncategorical in the best way. Free Time glows in this gray area that’s all emotions and love, making you think ‘I want to be wanted that way’. Its alt-pop with rock undertones quality reminds me of 5sos music – I mean Australian men, what can you do? – but with a different punchline in knowing that the feelings are all him. No co-writers to fall back on, when you listen you feel the love Ruel feels, you want with the intensity that he wants. Free Time is a repeat, solo listen, and/or fitting into any metaphorical playlists you have.

2. Session 33 – Summer Walker

The follow-up to Walker’s Session 32 released as an add-on to the Over it (Complete Set) version gives an emotional, deeply vulnerable look into her life as a single Black parent who is also simply a heartbroken young woman. It’s a beautiful balance she showcases on a classic studio ‘session’ style guitar melody; I picture her sitting on a barstool inside the box with her eyes closed as she feels the music flow instrumentally through her fingers and spiritually through her energy. At least, that’s how she makes me feel each time I hear her voice combined with her smooth R&B tones. This one is a must to check out, especially when you want to feel what you’re listening to.

3. Summer Insecurity – KIAN

Ok so here is Aussie #2, KIAN, who is also beautiful and stunning and wonderful. The entire Bliss EP encapsulates him so well as others’ perception of him work in combination with his perception of himself. Summer Insecurity is the height of it: a poetic, blissful piece about the unique depression that can settle in summer, set on neo-R&B instrumental. And that is exactly how it reads, a ‘windows down, night drive in the summer’. Purposelessness is its own vibe. All of Bliss is an aux must, but if you’re particular about your car listening, this is the one to add.

4. 16 – Baby Keem

21-years-old and opening a specific piece of the rap industry for himself, Baby Keem is growing more authentic with each release. In a way, being underrated adds a line of connection for the listener in his music, especially 16. It’s the kind of song you associate with a person while simultaneously seeing yourself and feeling the artist come through. There’s ‘young love, young life’ value in the song alone as well as in the context of the greater album’s theme. It only adds dimension to it as a safe place, with an underlying desperate calling you hear even in his young love when put in the context of his trauma. 16 is a song that exposes, but only if you look for it, and even if you don’t it can still fit almost any mix.

5.  Where Did I Go – Park Hye Jin

The best aspect of music is that it is the universal language in itself – not just in the instrumental, but in the way artists articulate themselves. While some of Jin’s music is in English, most of her non-instrumental songs are in Korean, sung with a low tone EDM vibe. Her latest album, Before I Die, sounds like what you would expect, while also bringing a new and fresh alternative autotune variation. Where Did I Go is easily my favorite song on the new release because of its versatility as well as a connectedness to Jin as an artist. The repeat of a simple question shows her mental self and makes you end up asking the same question when you’re laying around listening to it. To diversify your mix, add Jin to an ‘in my room’, ‘on a walk’, or ‘skating’ playlist.

6. Everything Has Changed (Taylor’s Version) – Taylor Swift ft Ed Sheeran

Swift’s Red of 2012 was everything you wanted it to be, and to have Taylor’s Version only makes it better. That being said, Swift and Sheeran together then was my favorite on the album, and it’s no different now. The combination brings out this ‘I click with your passion, but we just get how it has a simple and real meaning’ in each other that is not only rare but changes the song itself. I hear Taylor when Ed is singing and vice versa as they express the value in people that is so unmatched to other parts of life. The acoustically modern twist she’s added to much of her Taylor’s Version songs has only enhanced their nostalgic and ‘personal to Taylor’ quality. Checking out Red (Taylor’s Version) will only bring you more and extend your already existing love for her.

7. Introspection Reimagined – UMI

When a title track is what makes the album, it enhances both the individual song and the entire release. Introspection Reimagined does just that, but then on a whole new level because it’s the title track of, UMI’s alternative EP to the original Introspection. Both releases are incredible in their own right, but the jazz, soul, and rhythm remix in the ‘reimagined’ version makes it go crazy. Above all this song is very, very artistic when you see the layers unfold, not to mention all of its ‘normal’ great music qualities. UMI’s abstract, poetic lyrics put you in the jazz scene perfectly, giving a Black speakeasy and cocktails sound with the youth that never fails to bring life into her tone. Introspection Reimagined the song is a diversify-the-mix must, and you might as well get to know the EP stories while you’re at it.

8. courage – Ruel

Anddd…Australian appearance #3. Although to be fair, this time it’s an artist repeat which could mean worse or better depending on your music taste. Ruel’s third studio EP, Bright Lights, Red Eyes really taps into his 70’s vintage, alt-pop sound, complete with grain in every dull but colorful music video. courage, however, hits this bull’s eye of catchy Am, Em chords, with lovely layered lyrics – it’s so unexplainably addicting. Ruel sings with a certain simplicity, that is consistent with courage as well but takes it to an entirely new level where you feel his humanity in not only knowing, but just being ok with himself. It’s a repeat listen, that you’ll never stop relating to.

9. Moth To A Flame

The Weeknd is my favorite music artist, which any who continue reading will soon come to know. This isn’t my favorite by him, but of course with a bias, that I allow myself to have, he sets the bar so high that average still gives me chills. For those that know his style well, you can feel the horror-alt quirks woven into what is now seen as a pop-R&B version of The Weeknd. His ‘sex, money, drugs’ theme never becomes old because it’s too vulnerable and him to be old; He’s unfeeling while knowing he feels, and he avoids while knowing he can’t help himself. All of it comes through, albeit, at a basic level, but still comes through in the way he calls to this mysterious girl who’s ultimately as melancholic as he is. It wraps you up in this love complex with also giving you the modern, winter music vibe.

10. New Rules (SG Lewis Remix) – Dua Lipa

New Rules is the only true oldie on here, but you gotta mix it up sometimes; Catching up doesn’t always mean literally current songs, it’s more of a mental satiating. Lipa’s Remix combination radiates just that, but SG Lewis’s version is unique in that it’s timeless. We know the original song and the original lyrics, so there’s no escaping the 2018 vibe completely – it’s inside your brain – but Lewis’s mix practically achieves it in itself. The chill EDM mix is perfect for any energy level, while still maintaining the Dua Lipa and 2018 music we love. If you haven’t sought out the remixes EP before, now’s the time to go back and see the song in a new light, but make sure SG Lewis’s version gets saved.

Scaredy-Cat Struggles by Sonali Khatri

As we move past Halloween and into the holiday season I’ve started to reminisce. The memories I’m starting to recall are related to me being scared. I used to be scared of everything. A class A scaredy-cat. Here are a few instances that stand out to me:

  1. Evil Furby: I remember when I was eight years old I got a bright blue Furby for Christmas. We were practically inseparable until my brother told me he watched a video that said Furbies had the ability to record your voice and spy on you… Without even giving it a second thought I threw my Furby into a drawer (the farthest empty vessel from my room). Even though I disposed of the Furby, the fact that I knew it was still under my roof sent chills down my spine. 
  2. Horror Movies: My fear of horror movies growing up was so bad that even seeing the movie poster of Annabelle would keep me up for hours. The dark mass next to my closet? Annabelle. The random floor creaks? Annabelle. Who would grab me if my arm was dangling off my bed? Annabelle. You get the point. I didn’t even have to see the movie to be scared straight.
  3. The Dark: I’m sure this was a universal experience. There was just something about the dark that would give me cold sweats. I have some core memories of turning off the lights and sprinting up the stairs to my room in the middle of the night. Yeah, my heart would be pounding out of my chest, and I could barely catch my breath, but at least I outran whatever monster was magically conjured up when I flicked the light switch.
  4. Urban Myths and Ghost Stories: I was scared but also unreasonably gullible. Whatever urban myth you can think of, I definitely believed in it. Ouija boards, Bloody Mary, the random chain mail messages that would threaten you with a haunting if you didn’t send it to ten other people before midnight…  The list goes on.

However, I’m proud to say that my fear tolerance has since improved. Horror has become one of my favorite genres, I walk up the stairs in the middle of the night, and Halloween is my favorite holiday. I think if my six-year-old self saw me now she would be relieved. Life without irrational fears is so much better.

Dungeons & Disaster by Ella Szalay

About a year ago, the Shaker Theatre Arts program put on a virtual production of She Kills Monsters, most of which takes place in a Dungeons and Dragons campaign. A friend and I were both in the show, and after a few weeks of rehearsals, they asked me if I wanted to actually play D&D. They said I could join a campaign with some of their friends, even though it had been running for a few months. I had never thought about trying it, but since the opportunity came up, I was like “Why not?” I got a character sheet made, and Haruko Crispina, my first ever D&D character, was born. Since it’s been about a year since her creation, I thought now was the perfect time to look back on the, for lack of a better word, interesting things she’s done.

Originally, I imagined Haruko as a book-smart voice of reason for the campaign who also makes a few questionable decisions on occasion. Until she started traveling with the rest of the party, she was a major bookworm who had never left her hometown, which is a safe haven for magic-users like herself. However, if there’s one thing I’ve learned after being in a few campaigns, it’s that your character will often end up being a bit different than you originally imagined. I’m not sure what exactly it was that made me change Haruko’s personality, but chances are that it was the very first session. As I said earlier, I’d joined this campaign a few months after it started, so the rest of the party had been traveling together for a bit. At the point Haruko was introduced, everyone else arrived in her hometown, and they were taking tests so they could be protected by this city in the future. While three people still had to pass their combat-based tests, two others were finished and decided to go watch the others. On the way, they met Haruko and invited her to come with them. They then proceeded to drink excessive amounts of chocolate milk as they watched the rest of the party complete their combat trials. Because of this incident, not only did Haruko join the party, but the group decided to call themselves the Chocolate Milk Club.

Fast forward about six months (in campaign, not real time), the Chocolate Milk Club found themselves “forcefully employed” by the government, which is a very long story. They had been there for about three months at this point, and Haruko gained the position of a junior researcher, as well as an intern under one of the main researchers of the institute, Lia Amakiir. Haruko had noticed that Lia hadn’t been coming to dinner for the past few weeks, and she decided to use her pager to tell Lia to come eat. There had been a few incidents with the Chocolate Milk Club and poorly sending messages, so the DM thought it would be funny to have me say exactly what it is Haruko was going to say to Lia. I have no clue what possessed me while I was improvising this message, but I started it with “hey shawty,” which greatly confused everyone there. I decided to roll with it, exclusively referring to Lia as shawty the entire session. Eventually, one of the party members asked why Haruko was calling her that, and I panicked because I didn’t have a reason that made sense in character. On the spot, I created the story of a book from Haruko’s childhood where the main character was a half-elf wizard who worked for the government as a scientist, much like Lia. This character happened to be named Shawty, and Haruko saw the similarities between her and Lia, and that’s how it all started. However, the best part of the shawty incident has to be when Haruko attempted to check out a book from the library, but she was too low-ranked to check it out, and so sirens started blaring and she was taken by security guards. Seeing her badge, the guards asked who her superior was, to which she replied, “Lia Shawty Amakiir.” This led to a lecture from Lia herself, not about setting off the library alarms, but about when and where Haruko can call her shawty.

So the moral of the story here is  1) try new things, because otherwise you’ll never know if they might click, 2) not everything will always turn out the way you imagine, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad, and 3) don’t call your boss shawty. At least, not in front of government officials.