Monthly Poll – Valentine’s Day: Sweet Hearts or Chocolate?

By: Dillon Myers

Be sure you tell your loved ones that you love them not just on Valentine’s Day, but everyday. With that being said, Valentine’s Day came and went just as quick as high school relationships do… It is a time for couples to love, and a time for loners to party. A time for candy, and a time for chocolate. Of all the Valentine’s Day gifts, there are two that stand out amongst the others: sweet hearts and chocolate. We asked those at PHS which of the two they prefer, and these were the results:

Be sure to have some green clothes handy to be ready for St. Patrick’s Day!

Poem of the Month

Poem of the Month 

Poem-

Love comes in different trends.

Love for your family, or for a friend. 

It makes you feel good and warm inside, 

When you are down, it lifts your spirits high.

It is a feeling you get, when someone cares, 

No matter where you are, it is always there.

I am telling you now, so you will know,

Do not destroy your love, but let it grow.

By: Unknown

Happy Valentine’s Day everybody! I wanted to choose a poem that has a love of any kind and something that’s not cheesy because Valentine’s Day isn’t just for giving it to your wife, husband, girlfriend, or boyfriend. It’s a day where you can show your love to a friend or a family member, and remind them to always be with them through the thick and the thin.

Sincerely,

The Passionate Poet

National Blood Donor Month

By:Wanish Tortes-Mcginnis     

Blood Package

Most people have heard of a blood donor or a blood donation. Although most people don’t know how blood donations came to be or what people can give and take. Blood Donation, or also known as blood transfusion, is when a person willingly draws blood for a patient in need. The blood can be used as biopharmaceutical medication for a certain patient. 

Blood transfusion has been used since the early 1800s but was studied in the 1600s. According to the American Red Cross, the first blood transfusion was recorded in 1665 and it was transfused from dog to dog. The second transfusion was done in 1667 by Jean-Baptiste Denys where he transfused the blood from sheep to human, the human surprisingly survived but he was still ill. The first successful transfusion was done in 1818 by british obstetrician James Blundel, which was human to human.

 In order to donate blood, both men and women who are at least 16 years old and 130 pounds can donate blood. Men and women who have alcoholism or any type of drug related problems can not donate blood.

 Why do we donate blood? Safe blood saves lives and improves health. Blood transfusion is needed for: women with complications during pregnancy, such as ectopic pregnancies and hemorrhages before, during, or after childbirth; children with severe anemia often resulting from malaria or malnutrition; people with severe trauma following man-made and natural disasters; and many complex medical and surgical procedures and cancer patients.

 It is also needed for regular transfusions for people with conditions such as thalassemia and sickle cell disease and is used to make products such as clotting factors for people with hemophilia.  

There is a constant need for regular blood supply because blood can be stored for only a limited time before use. Regular blood donations by a sufficient number of healthy people are needed to ensure that safe blood will be available whenever and wherever it is needed. The different types of blood are +O, -O, +A, -A, +B, -B, +AB, and -AB. O blood can donate to +O, -O, +A, -A, +B, -B, +AB, and -AB. A blood can donate to +A, -A,+AB, and -AB. B blood can donate to +B, -B, +AB, and -AB. AB blood can only donate to their own type which is +AB, and -AB.  

Advice Column

By: Ricky Fabrow

It’s a new year, which also means it’s a new you, and what better way to spend the first month of this year by improving and setting goals for oneself. To start off, we should try to be more positive this year and think a bit more about the things we’re thankful for and lucky to have. Although, it may not be thanksgiving, but a friendly reminder is always good to have, especially in trying times. Second, we should give ourselves goals such as starting off the day smiling and even making sure to eat breakfast, as it is the most important meal of the day. Even though the masks may be a tad uncomfortable, at least they aren’t bland or plain and you can customize yours to whatever you like. So remember this month, all you have to do is think and act positively, not only for yourself, but others too, as it could make a difference, and might even help someone to see things maybe aren’t so bad.

True Crime Vol. XVIII: The Tragic Murders of the Browning Family. 

By: Victoria Chavez

Nicholas (left) and The Browning family (right)

On February 2, 2009 a tragedy was discovered early in the morning. John Browning, 45, along with his wife Tamara, 44, and two young boys, Gregory, 14, and Benjamin, 11, were found dead in their home. Though the community was shocked by such a wicked crime, there was one surviving member of the family who could live to tell the tale. 

Nicholas Waggoner Browning was a 15-year-old sophomore who was an honors student attending Dulaney High School. During the time that his family could have been murdered he was away at a friend’s house playing video games. When he finally came home he found the bodies of his beloved family. He then quickly ran outside and urged for his friend’s mom to call 911. The Baltimore County Police Department showed up and immediately secured the scene and questioned Nicholas on what he witnessed. Nicholas opened up and blamed the crime on a robbery gone wrong. Police were suspicious about his story since he had no way of knowing if it was a robbery due to lack of evidence. This is when his story unfolded. 

Detectives decided to take Nicholas Browning to the station to further the investigation. Once they began to turn up the heat it only took 6 hours to get the truth out of him. In the videotaped confession, Nicholas Waggoner Browning told investigators that in the early hours of February 2, 2008, he grabbed his father’s gun and shot him in the head while he was sleeping on the couch. He then realized he had already “gone so far” so he continued to murder the rest of his family. 

After the murders he walked down a road and tossed the gun in some bushes and walked towards his friends house where he stayed for the rest of the day. Before leaving this friend’s home, Nicholas apparently told both the friends and others that he was going to throw a party that night. When police asked why even murder them in the first place, Nicholas told them that he just wanted the inheritance money. However, police found out that Nicholas actually had a bad relationship with his father. Other students that knew him said he would make jokes about murdering his dad yet no one believed him. They also said Nicholas had a problem following his dad’s rules, which led to many arguments between the two.

Nicholas Waggoner Browning was formally arrested at Baltimore County Police Department around 1 a.m. on February 3, 2008 and charged as an adult with four counts of first degree murder. He pleaded guilty to all charges in January 2009 and was sentenced to four life sentences but will be eligible for parole after serving 23 years with good behavior. 

Jan. Poll of the Month

By: Dillon Myers

Two major motivations: power and love. Everyone wants to be powerful, and everybody wants to be loved. William Gaddis said, ¨Power doesn’t corrupt people, people corrupt power.¨ Karl Menninger once said about love, ¨Love cures people – both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it.¨ The question is though, which of the two would people prefer if they could have only one? Well now you can see for yourself! The PHS campus had 75 people who voted, and of them, a whopping 63 said they would rather be loved than powerful, whereas 19 chose that they’d rather have power…

“To become truly great, one has to stand with people, not above them.” – Montesquieu

“It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both.” – Machiavelli

Happy 2021, everyone!

Sweet Treat

By: Kiarra Sanchez

Lemon squares

Lemon squares are an easy, delicious treat you can make with your family! Especially if you like lemon sweets. 

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup butter, softened
  2. ½ cup white sugar
  3. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  4. 4 eggs
  5. 1 ½ cups white sugar
  6. ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  7. 2 lemons, juiced
  8.  powdered sugar (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, blend together softened butter, 2 cups flour and ½ cup sugar. Press into the bottom of an ungreased 9×13 inch pan. Bake for 15-20 min in the preheated oven, or until firm and golden.
  3.  In another bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 ½ cups sugar and ¼ cup flour. Whisk in the eggs and lemon juice. Pour over the baked crust. Bake for an additional 20 minutes in the preheated oven. The bars will firm up as they cool.
  4. After the pan has cooled, cut into uniform 2 inch squares and arrange in a checkerboard fashion.
  5. Sift some powdered sugar over the cooled squares. (optional)

Poem of the Month

New Year Poem On Life

Another fresh New Year is here…

Another year to live!

To banish worry, doubt, and fear, 

To love, and laugh, and give!

This bright new year is given to me

To live each day with zest…

To daily grow and try to be

My highest and my best!

I have the opportunity 

Once more to right some wrongs,

To pray for peace, to plant a tree,

And sing more joyful songs!

William Arthur Ward

Happy New Year everybody! I choose this poem because we all had very difficult times this year with all of the Covid-19 and we have been stuck at home for more than six months. Let’s make this year a better year and keep wearing your mask and stay positive this new and bright year.

Sincerely,

The Passionate Poet

Horoscopes

By: Adriana Clark 

Aries (March 21-April 19)-  Chase your ambitions from the recent past and get things right this time. Monday 17th is your stand-out day where your leadership qualities come to front and make sure to listen to your instincts. 

Taurus (April 20-May 20)- 2020 left you a lot of time to think and this month to act this will likely be seen in your professional life, so don’t be surprised if you leave one job for another that better feels your soul. Practice self-care and don’t forget your worth, or else you could risk missing out on an opportunity made for you. 

Gemini (May 21-June 20)-  After 2020, this month will offer you opportunities to rebuild and grow. The hard work and effort you put in last year will pay off, but you’ll need to keep up some momentum. 

Cancer (June 21-July 22)-This month asks others to take care of you, although, this may be hard to do especially to admit you’re vulnerable but it is for your own health and happiness. 

Leo (July 23-August 22)- As the world begins healing this year you might feel trapped and wanting to be free. When you do, you’ll want to say yes to any opportunity but beware this month your mission is to practice patience. 

Virgo (August 23-September 22)- You became an emotional net for your friends and family and most likely you over-extended yourself. This month may be helpful to work through anything you went through. Doing things that will make you feel calm and balanced may just help.

Libra (September 23-October 22)- Your ambitions seem far away but not everything is achieved all at once your journey is as important as your destination. Maintaining your profile is not everything, do the task which fate required but don’t steer out of control.

Scorpio (October 23-November 21)-  Work behind the scenes gives you precious freedom to concentrate on your own goals and find space to operate in your own way.

Sagittarius (November 22-December 21)- After endless thoughts of relocation, the moment arrives this month you will find your purpose. This month will ask you to prioritize your mental and emotional health. This will make you feel much better when you start listening and tend to your needs.

Capricorn (December 22-January 19)- Think carefully about any new purchases and wait for your moment, when it comes to striking a deal you will need your business instincts. This month will benefit from learning what you love and whatever it is that will bring you satisfaction.

Aquarius (January 20-February 18)- The events of 2020 gave you many chances to keep busy by lending a helping hand you likely spent most of your time tending to others that you forgot about yourself but this month you will be able to focus on yourself.

Pisces (February 19-March 20)- Time to stretch your horizons and expect a little more confidence, expansive feelings take over and try your luck in places you wouldn’t before.

Riddles!

By: Dillion Myers, Ariana Johnson, and Kiarra Sanchez

I’m light as a feather, but the strongest person can´t hold me for five minutes. What am I?

[Answer]

This one is accredited to J.R.R. Tolkien’s character: Gollum…

Voiceless it cries,

Wingless flutters,

Toothless bites,

Mouthless mutters.

Answer- [Answer]

The more of this there is, the less you see…

[Answer]

What has 13 hearts, but no other organs?

[Answer]

The more you take, the more you leave behind…

[Answer]

What is so fragile that saying its name breaks it?

[Answer]

What word of 5 letters has one left once two are removed?

[Answer]

I speak without a mouth and hear without ears. I have no body, but I come alive with wind. What am I?

[Answer]

What is seen in the middle of March and April that can’t be seen at the beginning or end of either month?

[Answer]

The Gift of Giving

By: Heaven Marquez

For the eighth consecutive year, the Pleasanton Police Department is hosting Blue Santa on December 18th, but due to COVID-19 things are a little different. Instead of having a big celebration, the Police Department is hosting a drive-by for those who need gifts on Christmas. Blue Santa is a program funded by the community to provide gifts to children in the Pleasanton city limits. Last year, Blue Santa received over 500 presents to give to 180 children and supplied around 60 families with gifts. “Every year we get a lot of families… who are in need of a little assistance,” said Patrol Sergeant Jessi Chia. “[Due to COVID] We definitely have more families in need this year.” 

The pandemic has taken a toll on everyone in the community, whether it be in a business sense, or health issues, but the Police Department is still doing business as usual with the annual Blue Santa. Chief Ronald Sanchez stated, “That is our main focus-it’s the children… It’s very important to us that these children have a Christmas.” The Chief has said that every year, the Department averages at least 200 children that the Blue Santa will provide gifts to in the community. 

Unfortunately, because of COVID-19, there will not be any festivities where people can wrap the gifts with the officers. “Usually, we collect all these bags of gifts and we have kind of like a wrapping party…and that’s going to be different this year, too,” sadly announced Sergeant Chia. “ [Now] We’re kind of wrapping them as we go.” The Department has adapted to the harsh pandemic and will carry on with helping the community like normal, and they are willing to take donations at the Station. Thank you to the Pleasanton Police Department for the very generous Blue Santa during this time, and be sure to donate if you’re able to. The staff from “The Quill” wish you a merry Christmas!

‘Tis the Season

By: Hayden Schmidt

Merry on Main 2020 comes to a close with the spectacular firework display

The first week of December marked the true beginning of the Holiday season, with cold weather finally setting in and the first festivities being held. The annual Merry on Main was held Friday the 5th and Saturday the 6th on Main Street in Pleasanton, and was met with huge success.

Though it was up in the air how everything would occur with the looming presence of COVID-19, the event was held without troubles and had just as many participants as it always has. Businesses along Main Street opened their doors to hundreds of customers Saturday morning, and many people set up booths down the street. Homemade foods, crafts, and antiques were sold to passersby. I had the opportunity to interview Noel Wilkerson Holmes, a member of the Merry on Main planning committee, about this year’s event. 

The Merry on Main planning committee has a very important task each year, as they must organize what is arguably the largest community event of the year in Pleasanton. Noel, who handles advertisements and promotions for the event with the Pleasanton Express, spoke highly of the committee and the work they do. “There are 14 people on the committee, and we stay very organized. Each of the members has specialties that we use so we’re able to be ready and hit the ground running.” The committee doesn’t stop once the year’s event is over, either. “We begin planning the event almost immediately after the previous occasion. We meet again next Tuesday to start the process for next year.” Noel’s comments show that this group puts in a great amount of time and effort to give the community this event.

Noel also spoke on the troubles the committee faced this year with the issue of COVID-19 protocols. “We were already well into planning Merry on Main for 2020 when COVID hit back in March. The committee meets monthly, and so every meeting we met with the Pleasanton Emergency officials to go over protocols and safety we would have to implement.” Noel said that protocols were followed with the help of health officials and law enforcement, and that there were no issues. 

All in all, Merry on Main was a huge success this year, and Noel highly agrees. “Without hesitation, I think it was phenomenal. We faced a pandemic, rain, and the coldest day of the year so far, and still thousands came out to show. Vendors didn’t close down, either. They stuck it through and showed great spirit.” The entire community thanks Noel and the Merry on Main planning committee for the hard work they put in to plan this event, and cannot wait for next year’s!

National Drunk & Drugged Driving Prevention Month

By: Eileen Jaksik

National Drunk and Drugged Prevention Month

Every year during the month of December over 800 people have died due to drunk/drugged driving. In 2018 it was reported that there were 839 deaths due to drunk driving. Most of the crashes are on December 24th and December 31st. The month of December is the  time of the year where drunk and drugged driving is the most severe. While driving your vehicle you need to be aware of your surroundings, just because you aren’t the one drinking and driving does not mean there aren’t others out there on the road.  

There are many different options to take instead of drinking and driving, you can call a taxi, an uber, a friend, and even a parent to come pick you up. Don’t be the person that ruins a family’s life because you chose to drive while intoxicated. The numbers of deaths daily due to drunk driving are tremendous. There are 29 deaths every day due to driving while under the influence. There is one death every 50 minutes every day. 

Drunk/drugged driving is not only harming yourself and others, but it is also a huge crime. If you are caught driving under the influence then you can get something called a “DUI” (driving while intoxicated) or an “OUI” (driving under the influence). These consequences stay on your record your entire life, after getting caught it is very hard to get a job or even get into college. You can also get your license revoked, license suspension, fines, fees, ignition interlock device (IID) installation, and even jail time.

The month of December is supposed to be the time for family and friends, don’t ruin that happiness by making a wrong choice. So remember before you chose to get in your car and drive home while under the influence, remember the families and people you are going to harm. Call a friend or even call a family member, just do the right thing. 

Movie Recommendation: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

By: Kori Miller

As the winter days and their cold embrace take their toll on us this December, most of us like to get comfortable on the couch with a Christmas-y romance. Most of us, excluding those like myself. I feel like the absence of warmth is an important token of the holiday season, and accompanying that should be films that strike you cold, perhaps in a good way. Taking a trip down memory lane, this month I’d like to remind you of an older flick.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a classic romantic film, but not in the ways you may expect. Joel, a sad, lonely man, is taking a train to nowhere after skipping work on a fluke. On the train he meets Clementine, a bubbly young woman who believes they have met before. He doesn’t think so, but she persists. The two hit it off extremely well, likely because they have met before, and were in love. However it ended poorly, and they both underwent a procedure to erase their memories of one another. 

This film’s movement through chronology and locations demands your attention throughout its runtime. Gondry and Kaufman utilize qualities of cinema that are easy for us to understand, all the while being captivating and complex. Considering a significant portion of the film takes place inside Joel’s mind, we see larger than life events unfolding to remind us that what we are seeing is entirely subjective. The memory “flashbacks” and their utility within the film gives us a look at Joel’s character from perspectives that are unconventional and raw. It’s strikingly enthralling, and you quickly become addicted to Joel and his attachment to the quirky Clementine. 

Moreover, the aesthetic of this picture is easily considered phenomenal. The universe we’re inserted into, albeit a bit campy, is easy to adapt to, almost as if you’ve lived in it your entire life. The colors, the costuming, the lighting, and every ounce of worldbuilding feels comfortable. It’s best described as organic. The events feel consequential, everything feels deliberate and natural. The pain the characters experience is your pain. And when you cry, you cry hard.

Rather than throwing on a Christmas classic, maybe this season would feel more appropriate with Eternal Sunshine. It’s a beautifully spun tale of cut ties, lost romance, and sincerity. I’d recommend it for just about every kind of person. 

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is available for streaming on Netflix, and currently holds a rating of 93% on Rotten Tomatoes as well as an 8.3/10 on IMDB.

True Crime Vol. XVII: Murder of the Lawson Family

By: Courtney Henson & Victoria Chavez

The Lawson family portrait taken shortly before their death.

Although Christmas day is one of the most festive and happy days of the year, for one family, things could not have gone worse. The Lawson family consisted of Charles, age 49, Fannie, Charles wife, age 37 and their 7 children, Marie, age 17, Arthur, age 16, Carrie, age 12, Maybell, age 7, James, age 4, Raymond, age 2, and Mary Lou, 4 months old. Shortly before Christmas, Charles took his entire family into town and instructed them to buy new clothes and have a portrait done of the 9 person family. Charles also took a trip to the bank and withdrew all the money in his account, which was only around $60. This was unusual behavior for the working-class family but not too much thought was put into it by the community. 

 On the afternoon of December 25, 1929, in Germaton, North Carolina, Charles sent his son Arthur into town to, very ironically, purchase ammunition while the rest of the Lawson family carried on with their normal Christmas activities. Shortly thereafter, as 2 of his daughters, Carrie and Maybell, made their way to their aunt and uncle’s house Charles waited for them down the road by their tobacco barn. As they got in range, he shot them both with a 12-gauge shotgun, then bludgeoned them to ensure their death. Their bodies were placed in the tobacco barn to risk the discovery of them as he continued his vile plans. 

When he returned home from this, he shot his wife Fannie, who was outside on the porch. The shot was heard by the remaining children in the house and struck terror in them which caused James and Raymond to run and hide. Charles made his way inside and quickly shot Marie, his eldest daughter, who had just finished baking a Christmas cake which would never be served to the family. He then found, shot and killed his sons James and Raymond before bludgeoning young Mary Lou to death. Leaving Arthur as the only living member of the family.

The bodies of all of the children and Charles’ wife Fannie were found in the house with their arms crossed and their heads propped up on pillows. Carrie and Maybell were found in the tobacco barn with their arms crossed and rocks propping up their heads. 

After completing all of this, Charles retreated into the nearby woods with 2 shotguns and the family dogs, Sam and Queen. After pacing around a tree for a few hours, Charles shot and killed himself. The shots rang out in the town and were heard by a crowd gathering at the house of the already discovered bodies of the family. Officers standing with Arthur rushed to the woods and discovered Charles’ body with 2 notes in his pocket, one reading “Trouble can cause…” and the other “No one to blame.”They also recovered the money Charles previously pulled from the bank and used it towards funeral funds to bury the family. 

There are many theories surrounding the murders and why Charles committed this heinous act. The most believed and supported being that Charles had received a head injury on his farm shortly before Christmas time and had not been the same since. Neighbors and friends reported that Charles had been acting strangely in the weeks following the injury and leading up to Christmas day. After his death, an autopsy and analysis was conducted on his brain, but to their surprise, they found no abnormalities. Another theory with lots of evidence to support it, is the theory that Charles’ eldest daughter Marie, was pregnant by her father, Charles. Marie had a boyfriend at the time of her murder and had reportedly told her boyfriend, some friends, and neighbors that she was pregnant. After the family’s death, one of her closest friends revealed that Marie claimed the baby was her fathers, not her boyfriends. Shortly before the murders, Charles’ wife had also confided in a close friend that she had worries of an incestuous relationship between Marie and Charles. 

As for what happened to the lone survivor of the family, Arthur who was merely 16 at the time of the murders attempted to continue forward with his life. After efforts to keep the farm for himself, he eventually lost it and later picked up an unhealthy drinking habit as a result of the trauma. He unfortunately died in an automobile accident at the age of 32, after drinking behind the wheel; leaving behind a wife and four children of his own. Arthur was buried next to the rest of his family.

Currently, the family’s home is a tourist attraction for all to see, with each day bringing in new people to view the horrors within the walls. The owners of the museum have tried their best to keep every original item in good condition, even the cake Marie made for her family is used as a souvenir of the massacre. This tragic event has made its mark in American history and is still haunting to those who read about it. Although these murders will forever be a mystery to us and the reason behind them has gone to the grave, we do know that an innocent family was robbed of the chance at a beautiful life. 

Dec. Poll of the Month

By: Dillon Myers

Which of the three Grinch Movies Do You Prefer?

There are three Grinch movies: one from 1966 (cartoon), another from 2000 (live-action), and the last one from 2018 (cartoon). The main theme from the Grinch is community. The Grinch, a hater of Christmas and all things cheery, decides to steal all the presents in Whoville. Later, he hears they are all still singing, even though they have no Christmas presents. After both the Grinch and the Whos come to the realization that Christmas is not just about gifts, but about those around them, many hearts are warmed. “Well, in Whoville they say that the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes that day.” So as we approach the holiday season this crazy year, I, along with all of PHS, hope that you too will remember what Christmas is truly about…

Sweet Treat

By: Ariana Johnson

The time to celebrate Christmas is back. This treat is a sweet and salty mix that everyone will love to eat. Chocolate covered pretzels are a delicious and fun dessert to make.

Ingredients

  • 2 bags of chocolate chips (dark or milk chocolate)
  • 1 bag of pretzels (logs work and you can try different varieties of twist)
  • Chopped nuts, for garnish (optional)
  • Colored nonpareils, for garnish (optional)
  • Sprinkles, for garnish (optional)
  • Crushed cookies, for garnish (optional)

Directions

  1. Melt chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat on stove top.
  2. Using tongs, or fingers, quickly dip the pretzels in chocolate allowing the excess to run off.
  3. Placed dipped pretzels on wax paper lined cookie sheets.
  4. Sprinkle with chopped nuts, sprinkles or other toppings.
  5. Allow to harden. You may need to refrigerate.
  6. Once hardened, remove from sheets and store in a cool location, with wax paper between layers.
  7. Package pretzels in clear cellophane bags or a vase for festive gift giving!

Poem of the Month

By: Ariana Johnson

Frigid

And suddenly, the woodland has bared its branches

The days now cloth the new season, like a bride.

And though cold and pale, its exquisite beauty 

Fills my eyes with such incomparable warmth.

I shall carry this grace with me; in my soul.

Until she–frigid, in the last hours;

With my frosted lips, kisses the newly born Spring.

By: Clairel Estevez

This poem helps to bring in the Christmas vibes, because of all the beautiful white clouding the fields and plants. I don’t like the cold that much, but I love to look at snowflakes falling to the floor. I hope you guys are still wearing your mask to protect your friends and the people you love.

Sincerely,

The Passionate Poet

Horoscopes

By: Eileen Jaksik

Aries (Mar. 21-Apr. 19) – The month of January is going to bring you much-needed healing and an optimistic approach to life. During this month you may discover that your relationships with your peers, colleagues, and even siblings are transforming radically. These eclectic lunations speed up the inevitable, so don’t be surprised if you end up leaving certain bonds in the dust. No change is never easy, but trust that there’s a method to the madness. As long as you honor your truth, the cosmos will take care of you!

Taurus (Apr. 20-May 20)- For a Taurus, life as you know is about to change forever. I know you can be hesitant about change, but this is important! By the end of the month, you’ll want to jazz up your resume, chat with your boss about a promotion, or even start a business venture of your own. Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself, you deserve success!

Gemini (May 21-Jun. 20)- This is an excellent month to reflect on your values and make sure that your personal philosophies are infused in every aspect of your life. In order to do this, you’ll need to focus not just on the present, but also the past. Don’t be surprised if you suddenly return to school, relocate to a different country, or dive deep into spirituality. Embrace your curiosities, the more you’re willing to step outside your comfort zone, the more luck, abundance, and fortune you will find!

Cancer (Jun. 21-Jul. 22)- Cancer you may be biting off more than you can chew, so take a breather and reassess your energy levels, be kind to yourself as you evaluate how you’d like to move forward. Take the chance to build up your sense of independence and self-esteem during this powerful transit. If you’re in a relationship, you might notice that your priorities are being shifted and that you need to strengthen your confidence, it’s time to toughen up that shell. So remember your worth and you will begin to find yourself again! 

Leo (July 23- August 22)- Leo someone very appealing isn’t trying to hide their feelings for you. Of course it’s great for your ego, but don’t fall too short for a sweet talker. You’re only interested in someone who is going to treat you like a queen/king, and anyone whose intentions aren’t honorable will not even be in the question for you. Too easily charmed could mean too easily harmed, the opposite of what you want!

Virgo (August 23- September 22)- Virgo Keep your nose to the grindstone and avoid spending beyond your means. Your confidence could take a down fall, so keep that chat window open with supportive cheerleaders. Just because one of your ideas gets hard doesn’t mean you should pack up the whole show. If you’re always the first one to leap up and offer an opinion, this is a golden chance to practice self-restraint. 

Libra (September 23- October 22)- Libra this is a wonderful opportunity to practice saying no. Instead of rushing in for the save, let someone else play problem solver. Don’t let a little bit of shyness or shaky confidence stop you from taking a bold step. Speak from the heart, even if it takes people a few minutes to understand you.

Scorpio (October 23- November 22)- Scorpio be vigilant about cutting out distractions and setting clear boundaries with chatty friends who keep texting. A needy person may try to guilt trip you, and it will be hard to say no. For the sake of self preservation, avoid emotional manipulation. Do your part and say what you mean, with as much kindness as you can muster!

Sagittarius (November 23- December 21)- Sagittarius obviously if something sounds too good to be true it probably isn’t, but watch for false promises spoken by good friends. Anyone who trash-talks mutual pals in your company is likely to be doing the same about you to them. Rule of thumb. When they go low, do everything in your power to keep your vibe high!

Capricorn (December 22- January 19)- Capricorn this month encourages you to pace yourself and evaluate the long-term commitments first. While you love the rush of hitting the jackpot, a slow and steady approach will serve you better here. This is a good day to polish up your image and presentation. 

Aquarius (January 20- February 18)- Aquarius while you enjoy treating your crew, you might be bothered by the fact that one or two folks in your circle conveniently never have cash when it’s time to pay the bill or consistently ignore your Venmo requests. It’s time to speak up. It may be awkward in the moment, but the alternative is letting their debt continue to build up.

Pisces (February 19- March 20)- Pisces you’re in perfectionism overdrive. Your to-do list could quickly expand, so do your best to stay organized amidst the chaos. If you start to feel overwhelmed, call for backup! Don’t try to do everything alone, ask a friend to come and help you out. 

Veterans Day

By: Wanish Tortes-Mcginnis

 People still to this day are confused about the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Memorial Day is a day of remembrance of people who fought and have fallen in wars; we honor and mourn for their courageous acts and bravery for this country. Wars that can be tied to Memorial Day are World War 1, World War 2, Vietnam, Korea, and the Afghanistan and Iraqi Wars.

 Veterans Day was not always called Veterans Day.  On November 11, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the day as Armistice Day, in honor of the anniversary of the surrender of Germany the year before. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the Germans came to an armistice with the Allied Powers, thus effectively ending the war. In 1954 the holiday changed from Armistice Day to Veterans Day because America had already been in two wars, World War 2 and Korea. Instead of just honoring veterans of World War 1, the U.S Congress decided to honor veterans of all wars.  

Here at Pleasanton High School, there are at least three veterans who have served and are now teaching in the classroom. First, Chief Danny Pitts, who teaches law, served in the United States Army for 21 years and retired as a Sergeant First Class.  Mr. Steve Wusterbarth served in the United States Army Reserves as a PFC Specialist for two years. COL(Ret) Chris Wynder Chris Wynder served 27 years in the United States Army and retired as a Colonel. Finally, COL(Ret) Elvin J. Nuells served in the Army for 30 years as a Command Sergeant Major. Thank you to you all and any others that were missed for your service and the things you sacrificed so that we could be free. 

In closing, it is hoped that by knowing a little more about Veteran’s Day, perhaps we can all act a little kinder, and smile and thank a Veteran when you see them in a store, at a game, or just enjoying the sunshine. 

Socially-distanced Thanksgiving

By: Libby Sanchez

Thanksgiving is a time when families travel long distances to be with their loved ones and celebrate together. It’s a day full of good times and usually ends with a turkey dinner and whatever sporting event is being broadcasted. Unfortunately, under the strict circumstances of Covid-19, this year traveling increases the risk of getting infected and spreading the virus to your loved ones. Although it may be hard to just stay home this year with immediate family, it may be the best idea. 

Staying home shouldn’t prevent you from having a great time with your family and doing yearly traditions. Try preparing annual recipes for family and neighbors, especially those at higher risk of catching Covid-19, and delivering them in a way that doesn’t involve direct contact with others. Maybe consider having a virtual dinner and sharing your recipes and visiting with the rest of your family that way.

Although, it’s understandable to still attend a large family dinner and celebrate like you do every year. If this is the route you plan on taking, make sure you and your family take the proper precautions. Bring along hand sanitizer and apply before and after touching someone, that way you and the person you’ve touched are less likely to be spreading germs. It’s also highly suggested to still be wearing a mask when not 6-feet apart, especially if you have family who travels from far places. This helps prevent your germs from spreading onto loved ones. Another great idea is to wipe down places you’ve sat at, that way germs are less likely to be passed onto clothes. 

Even though holidays aren’t the same this year because of the virus, it’s still important that everyone has a great time. That being said, we also need to make sure that we’re doing that in the safest way possible. Have a safe break! 

Love and Monsters: A Post-Apocalyptic (Almost) Romance

By: Kori Miller

 

With a year as chaotic as this one has been, it’s not exactly easy to find a feel-good film that’ll take you somewhere new. Between the seasonal horrors, aimless cartoons, and senseless action films, where’s the originality? Fortunately, director Michael Matthews decided to break the trends and give us a well-deserved post-apocalyptic quest film. With Dylan O’Brien and Michael Rooker, Love and Monsters might be what you’re looking for.

Love and Monsters follows a burned-out colony dweller, Joel, seven years after the monsterpocalypse took over the world and forced humanity underground. His life has been less than exciting since he gave up everything he once loved for safety. That is until he contacts his highschool sweetheart’s colony over the radio and falls for her all over again. Desperate to rekindle the flame he lost in his teen years, Joel ventures on to the surface with a sole mission: find Aimee. 

Films like these have a very important responsibility; they have to build a convincing universe for our characters to explore. The monsters in this movie are spectacular, each extremely unique and with their own strengths and weaknesses. They blend seamlessly into the world around them. The characters, albeit a bit campy, all have unique motivations and personalities. O’Brien doesn’t hit every time, but his emotional scenes have you hurting for the character in ways you wouldn’t expect.

Other than being good fun for two hours, there’s not a whole lot of comprehensive substance to Love and Monsters. We’re led to believe it’s a romantic quest, but it ends up being less than that. It’s bittersweet with minimal payoff. The universe and its diverse creatures end up being more interesting than the plot itself, reminiscent of similar films like Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them from 2016. It’s a perfect example of filmmakers who put their hearts in the wrong places, making the movie in itself an identity crisis on the big screen.

If you want a quick getaway from the painstakingly boring reality we live in, Love and Monsters is the perfect way to elicit a smile. It’s cute, heartfelt, and genuine when it needs to be. However, if you want something challenging, I’d politely redirect you to another film.

Love and Monsters currently holds a rating of 90% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7/10 on IMDB.

History and Origins of Thanksgiving

By: Kiarra Sanchez

Native Americans and Pilgrims first Thanksgiving.

Many people know the origins of Thanksgiving. However, it has been slightly forgotten due to the media industry putting their own twist on it. Here is the true history of this well known holiday:

The American concept of Thanksgiving was developed in the colonies of New England. Its roots can be traced back to the other side of the Atlantic as well. Both the pilgrims who came over on the Mayflower and the Puritans who arrived soon after brought with them a tradition of providential holidays—days of fasting during difficult or pivotal moments and days of feasting and celebration to thank God in times of plenty.

In September 1620, a small ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, carrying 102 passengers—a group of religious separatists seeking a new home where they could practice their faith and others drawn in by the promise of prosperity and land in the New World. After an awful and uncomfortable crossing that lasted 66 days, they dropped anchor near the tip of Cape Cod, far north of their intended destination at the mouth of the Hudson River. One month later, the Mayflower crossed Massachusetts Bay, where the Pilgrims began their work of establishing a village at Plymouth. Through the first brutal winter, most pilgrims stayed on the ship, where they suffered from exposure from the elements and contagious diseases.

In March, the remaining settlers moved to land, where they met an Abenaki Native American who greeted them in English. He came with another native american, Squanto, who was sold into slavery. He taught the pilgrims how to catch fish, cultivate corn, extract tree sap, and eventually helped forge an alliance with the local tribe Wampanoag.

In November of 1621, the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful. Governor William Bradford called for a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit. Now remembered as America’s “first Thanksgiving”.

2020 Presidential Election

By: Kori Miller

If 2020 wasn’t hectic enough, it’s election year in the United States. Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States, ran for his second term this year as the Republican candidate. He ran against former Vice President and Senator Joe Biden, who ran as the Democratic candidate. Biden’s name is not one that is unfamiliar in politics; he has served a total of 44 years in our government. Trump, on the other hand, served his first four years in politics as the leader of our country after a career in business and as a television personality. The two have faced off against one another in debates and interviews, but what it really comes down to is the votes.

As of November 17th, Joe Biden has taken the popular vote with 79,046,356 votes, Donald Trump following with 73,320,694. The electoral college currently sits at 290 votes for Biden as opposed to 232 for President Trump. As of today, Georgia has yet to submit its official ballot counts. 

Suspicion of voter fraud due to the increased use of mail-in ballots has called for multiple recounts and lawsuits. While Georgia has currently issued a recount to ensure accuracy, Trump’s team has filed lawsuits against Michigan and Pennsylvania to stop certifying their election results until later this month to give more time for the campaign to handle its legal challenges prior to the federal deadline of December 8th. Because of this, we may not have confirmed or accurate results until much later into the month. 

As it currently stands, Joe Biden is projected to be the US president-elect, and he and Kamala Harris are set to take office on January 20, 2021. Biden has expressed big plans for his term, including a stimulus proposal, a reversal of Trump’s immigration policies, lowering the Medicare eligibility age, a full-fledged COVID-19 team & plan, rejoining the Paris agreement, and many more.