Eight Must Read Young Adult Books

1) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins “May the odds be ever in your favor.” This book is one of the most exciting books I have ever read. A long time ago, there was a war. Now every year each … Continue reading

Slope Safety

At every mountain, there will be people that are inexperienced and do not know how to ski or snowboard well. It’s good for people to go to the mountain and learn how to ski or snowboard, but they should be kept on the appropriate slopes.

People that go on trails that they are not ready for are a danger to everyone else on the trail. According to a CNN article, “Every year in the United States alone, an average of just over 40 people lose their lives on the slopes”. Skiing and snowboarding is dangerous because you are riding near cliffs and trees. Hitting a tree or going off a cliff can injure or kill you. This shows that skiing and snowboarding are not easy sports and more safety measures need to be taken. When learning how to ski or snowboard, you should be very careful on the trails you decide to ride and cautious of the people around you.

To keep people from skiing past their abilities, park rangers and ski patrol should have people evaluated before they attempt extreme trails. This will allow people to learn and enjoy skiing and snowboarding in a safe environment.

History of Food: Pasta

The first form of food similar to pasta was in the writings of Horace where thin strips of dough were fried and served with spices in the 1st century B.C.E. A few centuries later, we see an ancient ancestor of modern day lasagna come out in the form of lagana. It was described to be consisted of sheets of dough with meat filling in between. In the second century, the dough started to be made with flour and water instead of juice from lettuce. Later, Arabs adopted a similar form of noodle in the 5th century and lead to the Italians making thin strip noodle pasta.


If we jump to the 15th century, dried pasta was very valued because it could be stored for very long periods of time.That’s why many exploring ships brought dried pasta to the New World. Believe it or not, tomato sauce was only invented in the 18th century! Before this, people would just eat pasta with their hands. Now, people eat it with forks because the tomato would get too messy without it.


Today, the average Italian eats about sixty pounds of pasta per year, while the average American eats about twenty pounds of pasta per year. Writings suggest it originated in Italy, but why is it popular in North America? It’s because Italian immigration to the Americas that we love pasta so much. Italians have also had a mass immigration to South Africa, making spaghetti and meatballs a major part of Italian cuisine.


Do you like pasta? How do you eat yours? Comment, if you want, I guess.


The Evolution of Spain

La Tomatina 2006

photo credits: davidd

Spain is known for its dominance in the 15th century as the “Spanish Hashburgs” and helped Europe to global leaders in the modern era. Spain is a major tourist attraction for their beaches, monuments, and traditions. Spain has some rich, unique traditions you will not find anywhere else. The Running of the Bulls or San Fermin, and the tomatina or the throwing of the tomatoes are two traditions that have been going on for centuries and will be apart of Spain’s culture forever. The Spanish San Fermin (running of the bulls) is a tradition that has been going on since the year 1215. It started from ancient techniques to get the farm cows to the market for selling. The farmers would taunt and rush the bulls to the market with excitement and fear. This soon began to become competitive for many young adults, seeing who could cross this run with bulls without being harmed. Once this fun competition grew, it soon became a tradition taking it to the streets of Pamplona. The festival starts July 6th, with the opening fiesta. This consists of getting the bulls from outside the city into the bullring. The encierro or the running starts the followingmorning (July 7th) at 8:00 am. Two rockets are then fired signaling the start. The first signals the corral gates are opened. The second signals that all of the six bulls have been let loose. The final two rockets signals that the bulls have been “captured” back into the bullring and the ending of the event. With people running from these bulls, there are accidents bound to happen. Fifteen people were killed in the 1924 Pamplona run, which is the most ever in one year. Another famous, messy spanish tradition is La Tomatina in the Valencian town called Buñol. In 1945, while the gigantes y cabezudos parade in the town center, La Plaza del Pueblo was taking place a group of young men created the event of a staged brawl. With a vegetable stand nearby the men picked up tomatoes and used them as weapons, whipping them at each other. The police later had to break up this “fight” and poured the responsibility of fixing the damage upon those who were apart of it. The following year on the same day more people joined these young men in the staged fight, but this time they brought their own tomatoes. The courageous event was later broken up again, but the people did not give up. They kept coming back the same Wednesday in August doing the same thing until this day became the famous Tomatina. The first event of the tomatina starts at 10:00 am and is called the palo jabón. The goal is to climb a greasy pole with ham on top and collect the ham while everyone is dancing and celebrating around you. Then the fun starts, trucks pour into the plaza dumping thousands of tomatoes. All the participants then throw tomatoes for one hour. Spain’s rich traditions could not be duplicated anywhere else. Every year more and more people visit Spain for their great cultural events. On top of that since 2010 Spain has been the fourth most visited country in the entire world. Between the beaches, amazing cities, and memorable traditions who wouldn’t want to visit Spain.

McDonald’s in Scotland

Scotland is rich in culture and food, making it the perfect place for a McDonald’s. Scotland’s culture and food are very unique. Scottish people like to participate in lots of activities and events. Scottish people eat many different types of food and are not afraid to try anything. Because of Scotland’s great culture, McDonald’s would prosper greatly in Scotland.

Scotland is known for it’s upbeat culture. People there competes in many different sports such as soccer, golf, rugby, and tennis. It has many scenic golf courses and clubs, which host lots of tournaments. In Scotland there are lot’s of languages spoken such as Gaelic, English, and Polish. Because of these different languages, you will meet a lot of different people there. They also create interesting pieces of art, such as carvings, whittlings, and cloth making. They enjoy folk music and Irish step – dancing. The interesting culture and diversity in Scotland makes the country very unique.

    Scotland has a variety of cuisine that is very different from most countries. People eat meats such as lamb, salmon, venison, sausage, and Ayrshire bacon. They eat many types of stews and broths such as haggis. Haggis, which is sheep lungs and spices mixed in a broth, is the national dish of Scotland. You will see Haggis in many households served in a large bowl. After Scot’s eat their main course, they begin making homemade desserts. They enjoy desserts such as shortbread, scones, dundee cake, scottish fudge, and oatcakes. The restaurants in Scotland are mostly casual. Pubs and diners are some of the most common eating venues you will see in Scotland. Scottish people eat at a very fast pace. In Scotland, some restaurants can get you in and out in 10 – 15 minutes even with a full house.

Scotland could very much benefit Mcdonalds because it is missing the uniqueness that Scotland is. If McDonald’s were to start business in Scotland, it would create a new eating experience for Scottish people. Therefore, many scottish people would come and enjoy their nations food in a new way.

Around the World from A to Z: Oman

Resting at the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula, Oman has long been forgotten by the Western world, yet boasts of natural marine beauty and a rich history and pure culture.

The capital city of Muscat houses more than a quarter of the country’s population, 735,000 out of a mere 2.8 million. The main language spoken in Oman is Arabic, and the government is an absolute monarchy (and an Islamic state). The Sultan of Oman has ultimate authority but parliament also has some power as a legislature as well. Like most middle-eastern countries, its economy is mainly driven by oil, but agriculture, fishing, and tourism are all rapidly growing industries.

The climate of Oman is very hot and dry in the center, regularly reaching temperatures of 120 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer, but is humid by the coast of the Arabian Sea. The north is mostly covered by mountain ranges, and the center and southeast coast are largely desert. The country is bordered by Yemen to the southwest, Saudi Arabia to the northwest, and the UAE to the north. It is also bordered by the Gulf of Oman on the west.

In Oman’s early history, it was ruled by four different empires: the Persians, the Parthanids, the Achaemenids, and the Sassanids. Oman was one of the first countries to accept Islam, becoming an Ibadhi state in 630 AD. It was colonized by the Portuguese from 1507 to 1650, when they were driven out by rebels. After that Oman grew into its own empire, which in the early 19th century stretched from the Strait of Hormuz down the coast of Africa to what is now Tanzania.  However, the empire lost power in the 20th century as the UK became a greater influence on the country.

The main attractions in Oman are its expansive, beautiful beaches. Many fjords filled with coral reefs line the waters of the coast, and diving to see them is a very popular activity. However, other attractions include whale watching in the North and deep sea fishing. Since Oman also has some of the oldest cities in the world, the tourism industry there is steadily growing, and desert tours around the country are offered as well.

Oman truly is a hidden gem of the Middle East. With its relative safety and high level of development, unknown yet wonderful natural beauty, and intriguing history, Oman is a very interesting country and a place that none of us should miss.





Around the World from A to Z: Norway

When most people imagine a place widely considered to be the best and most developed country in the world, a place that is one of the largest producers of oil and has the fourth largest per capita income, they probably aren’t thinking of Norway. Settled so far north the sun barely rises in the winter, this sparsely-settled country is one of the most prosperous and naturally beautiful places known.

Norway, officially referred to as the Kingdom of Norway, is home to just over five million people, almost a million of whom live in the capital city of Oslo. The main language spoken is Norwegian. Their government is a parliamentary constitutional monarchy, and although it is not a member of the European Union, it has very close ties to the region. Norway’s largest industry is by far its natural resources – it produces the most oil of any country outside of the Middle East, and also has noteworthy amounts of natural gas, lumber, fresh water, seafood, and minerals.

Norway is bordered by Sweden to the east and Finland and Russia to the northeast. It has over 25,000 kilometers of coastline along the Norwegian and North Seas, most of which is islands and fjords. The northern parts of Norway are mostly covered in frozen tundra, while the more southern parts have mountains, plateaus, and valleys. Around the country, the winters can vary from mild to very cold, and the summers are mostly mild, except in the lowlands near Oslo.

Norway’s long history has been mostly characterized by the Vikings and a later alliance with Denmark. After unifying the country in 872 AD, the Vikings ruled until 995 AD, when Christian influence increased and the first King of Norway was crowned. Norway later joined the Kalmar Union with Sweden and Denmark in 1388. They tried to rebel along with Sweden, but they failed and stayed in an alliance with Denmark until 1814. In 1814, they declared their independence and adopted a constitution inspired by those of France and America. They stayed neutral in World War I, and attempted neutrality again in World War II, until Germany invaded in 1940 and they were under Nazi occupation for five years.

While many may view Norway as a cold and desolate place, it is far from it. Norway offers some of the most stunning scenery in the world. The fjords that dot its coastlines are dramatic and unmissable. National Geographic ranks the West Fjords as the number one World Heritage site.

Something else Norway is well-known for is its outdoor activities. Anyone who loves nature would never be bored in this country. The hiking trails through mountains, valleys and fjords attract tourists from all around. The mountains of Norway are also home to many quality ski resorts with hundreds of challenging trails.

One of the, by far, most interesting events that draws people to Norway is the midnight sun. Because of the country’s position so near to the North Pole, in the summer there are often up to twenty hours of sunlight per day. In the far northern parts, such as North Cape, it never even sets.

It’s the things like this, along with the natural beauty and booming economy, that make Norway one of the world’s best countries. Even if cold isn’t your thing, Norway is a place that you truly have to see before you die.






New York City

It’s New York City! Home to many famous sports teams, fascinating tourist sites, holiday parades and the all famous New Year’s Eve ball drop. Although New York City is not the capital of America, it is its most populated city. New York City is also known as America’s “melting pot,” America’s most diverse city. New York City is unique in so many different ways, about 800 languages are spoken there, it is the America’s largest city, and is the location to the Statue of Liberty where many families first came to America in the 19th and 20th centuries.

The Statue of Liberty is one of New York City’s most famous tourist sites. It is located on Ellis Island near lower Manhattan. The statue represents the Roman goddess of freedom, Libertis, it is 126 years old. It is a symbol of freedom to America and a welcome sign to immigrants. It limits to only 240 visitors per day and no more than 3 three groups of 10 per hour. Currently, the statue is under construction from hurricane Sandy and will reopen by July 4, 2013. The balcony has been closed since 1916 due to safety reasons but will also be reopened by July 4, 2013 as well. One of America’s most important monuments, The Statue of Liberty symbolises many great things for American citizens.

New York City is home to many good professional sports teams. However, their Major League Baseball (MLB) team the New York Yankees is by far their best team both historically and with amount of World Series won. The Yankees have won twenty-seven World Series Championships and have won eighteen east division championships. The Yankees play at Yankee Stadium, one of the newer stadiums in the MLB, in the Bronx of New York City. The Yankees have some of the best fans in sports and obtain a major rivalry with the Boston Red Sox. If you are ever in New York City and there is a Yankees game, I suggest checking out their beautiful stadium to go and watch them play.

Overall, as you can see, New York City is a magnificent city that is very important to many Americans. New York City is a place of opportunity and diversity, as said before, a “melting pot”. If you are looking for a little extra fun yet options to make a living, New York City is the place for you. New York City is a place where risks are encouraged as it sends off a message that anything is possible. Life is short, but make sure to fit in a visit to New York City, you won’t regret it.




Weekly Dish: Best Big Men in NCAA

As the end of the college basketball season approaches, you start to look forward to the NBA draft. The one thing that almost every team wants to add is a skillful big man. The only problem is that it is very hard to find one. The draft class of 2013 has 5 players of that height who have moves inside that are outstanding. These players all have potential. As all basketball coaches say, “You can’t coach height.”


  • Mason Plumlee of the Duke Blue Devils is a senior and has improved every year under Coach K. This Duke team has little depth, so Mason plays almost the whole game. Mason and Ryan Kelly make up the most feared frontcourt in the nation. Mason has the ability to beat his defender off the dribble, or to go in the post and use his array of moves there. He is having an incredible senior season, averaging 17.2 points per game and 10.3 rebounds per game.


  • Alex Len of the Maryland Terrapins is from the Ukraine, and has made this Maryland squad a “bubble” team for the NCAA tournament. He is already built like an NBA player, weighing 255 lbs and all muscle. The scary thing is that he is only a sophomore. He is averaging 11.8 points and 8.1 rebounds per game. He has accomplished this being his team’s only “real” post presence. He is double teamed almost every time he catches the ball. Also, Maryland is a guard dominated team, meaning that the offense is based on three-pointers and isolations for various guards.


  • Kelly Olynyk of the Gonzaga Wildcats from British Columbia is the main reason that his team is currently ranked #1 in the nation. Teamed with Elias Harris in the frontcourt, Kelly is a force on the glass. He is averaging 17.3 points per game, and 7 rebounds per game, while maintaining an unheard of .665% shooting percentage. The most intriguing aspect of his game is that he runs the floor like a guard, constantly beating opposing forwards down the court for easy hoops.


  • Nerlens Noel of the Kentucky Wildcats is the next prodigy of the “one and done” rule. His draft stock has dropped significantly because of a torn ACL injury that cost him the rest of his freshman season. The #1 prospect in 2012 ESPN 100, he has not lived up to the expectations. He had just begun to take control of the Wildcat squad when he went out with the season ending injury. He powered his team to a victory over then ranked #16 Ole Miss team, with 14 blocks. Nerlens averaged 10.5 points per game and 9.5 rebounds per game. He has been valued so highly because of his uncanny leaping ability and his overall defensive presence.


  • Cody Zeller of the Indiana Hoosiers was considered the best player in the draft by many before the season started. He and Christian Watford have become one of the top 1-2 punch duos in the nation. While standing 7 feet tall, he can still hit the mid range jump shot, and is fairly consistent from the free throw line. The Hoosiers team has so many options on offense that it is simply outstanding that Cody is still averaging 16.8 points per game and 8.1 rebounds per game. I believe that Cody will surprise people with his immediate impact in the NBA.

While none of these players will be the next “LeBron James,” any NBA team would be very happy if they fell to them during the draft. These players could all take an NBA team to the “next level”. Of this group of players, none are the same as the next, but they are all worthy of a lottery selection in the upcoming draft.

Weekly Dish: Best Wings in the Draft

Every coach says that defense wins games, but honestly someone has to score. The usual scorer breed are shooting guards or point guards. As the NBA draft approaches, teams begin looking in the college landscape for players who can put the ball into the hoop for their team. I believe that there are 5 players that will provide an instant impact in the NBA in the scoring department.

  • Victor Oladipo of the Indiana Hoosiers is the best defender of shooting guards and small forwards in the nation. He constantly draws the assignment of guarding the opposing team’s best player. As a junior under Tom Crean, he has been compared to Dwayne Wade on numerous occasions. He is averaging 13.7 points per game, while shooting an incredible .614% from the field, and .464% from outside. On the defensive end he has been averaging 2.2 steals per game, and as a guard he has grabbed 6.2 rebounds a game. With great jumping ability, a great basketball IQ, a rapidly improving outside shot, and great defensive ability, Victor will be a presence in the NBA for a long time.

  • Brandon Paul of the Illinois Fighting Illini is the true definition of a scoring guard. He has improved his game every year at Illinois, and as a senior he has had a breakout year. Brandon is averaging 16.3 points per game. His defining game of the year came against the Gonzaga Bulldogs. He had 35 points, shot 10-11 from the charity stripe, and propelled the Fighting Illini to a victory over the now ranked #1 team in the nation. In a victory against Indiana he scored 21 points while Victor Oladipo was guarding him. With a quality jump shot and the ability to score inside, I believe that Brandon will make a career in the NBA.

  • Erick Green of the Virginia Tech Hokies is a senior on one of the worst teams in the ACC. This means that he is constantly receiving double and sometimes triple teams. Teams know that he is the Hokies’ only real scoring option, but he is still scoring 25.4 points per game, which is the best in the nation. Because of Erick Green opposing teams don’t want to face the Hokies. He has done all this shooting .482% from the field and .392% from three point range. He can score from anywhere on the court, and any way possible.

  • Shabazz Muhammad of the UCLA Bruins can score with any shot in the book. Pull up jumpers, three pointers, dunks, or floaters, it doesn’t matter. He can take his man off the dribble or spot around the three point line and make them. As the #2 rank in the 2012 ESPN 100, a lot was expected of him. He is averaging 18.3 points per game, while shooting a .417% from outside the three point line. Maybe the best features of his game are that he isn’t afraid of the pressure and he demands the ball in pressure situations.

  • Ben McLemore of the Kansas Jayhawks is the only starting freshman on the Kansas team. The other 4 starters are all seniors, and all of them want to score. As a freshman he is on pace to break scoring records for Kansas freshman of all time. Ben is averaging 16.7 points per game, while shooting .501% from the field, and .434% from deep. Even though he is only a freshman, he has taken over a leadership role to lead the Jayhawks into the Big 12 and the NCAA tournaments. In a game against Iowa State earlier in the season, while being double teamed with 3 seconds left in regulation, he banked in a three pointer to send the game into overtime, where he led his squad to victory.

These guards are all fun to watch play, and they all have room to continue improving in the NBA. As they get more mature, any of these players could have an immediate impact on a team in the NBA. These players can all play within a system, create for others, or get their own shots.