Tag Archives: FC Bagpiper

Ordinary Man Marks A Victorious Return

By Daniel Anderson

By all accounts, it is a miracle that he has gotten this far.

From his days as a scraggly youth in Birmingham, England to his firing from the band that finally gave him success and prosperity, there have been countless times where people thought his career to have hit a dead end, like many who inhabited the sunless, industrial city from which he came. But such was not the case for the Prince of Darkness.

If someone were to ask who defines metal music, the name Ozzy Osbourne will inevitably be among the first to be mentioned. Whether it be with his synonymous band of origin, Black Sabbath, his illustrious solo career or even any of the various ventures in popular media over the years, the extent of Ozzy’s influence seemingly knows no bounds.

Of course, as is with many who spend time in the limelight, there has been no shortage of hardships, what with notorious substance abuse and legal scrapes being a constant association. In recent times, especially last year, things have unfortunately not fared well either.

In late 2018, several tour dates ended up postponed due to a hospitalizing staph infection accidentally contracted from a fan, but this was merely the beginning of his troubles. Early the following year he wound up in a brief skirmish against pneumonia, and while recovering he suffered a fall which resulted in nerve damage, thus requiring neck surgery (and the postponing of all 2019 tour dates, which all have since been canceled). And to top it all off, in February that same year he revealed that he had recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

Ozzy called 2019 “…the worst, most painful, miserable year of my life.” Considering the countless mishaps throughout his previous decades in existence, it was quite the statement for fans and the public to process.

At this point in his life, there is very little that he has left to prove to the entertainment world. With all the record sales, awards, and accolades he has accumulated along with his shortcomings, Ozzy seems to have realized that time may be closing in for him, however fast or mid-paced it may seem. It is only logical that, if such is the case, then going out with a whimper would be least apropos.

With two teaser tracks released in the latter half of the year, it was soon revealed that the decade-long gap between studio albums would at last be closed in late February with his twelfth full-length project: Ordinary Man.

Even on a cursory glance, this record is an absolute blockbuster. All throughout the tracklist, there are guest musicians and features galore. Tom Morello (of Rage Against The Machine) and Slash (of Guns N’ Roses) on guitars, Chad Smith (of Red Hot Chili Peppers) on drums, plus features from Post Malone and even the Rocketman himself, Elton John, the personnel list is beyond stacked.

Yet still, I went into this album with a fair amount of reservation, as I find that the majority of Ozzy’s works past his 1991 release No More Tears to range from average to lackluster. With so much hardship endured and with such an all-star ensemble to back him, I wanted to see if the ends truly justified the means. Thankfully, this was the case for the most part.

Opening with one of the teaser tracks from last year, the anti-drug rager “Straight to Hell” the bar for what is to come is already set at a decent height. Following a short, angelic choir intro (which is quite a fitting tone-setter considering how long the absence was), a blazing riff enters and the record takes off. While the drum fills and bass certainly do justice, I particularly admire the guitar tone here. The heavily distorted and fuzzy effects added make it nearly akin to the numerous stoner and doom metal acts that follow in Black Sabbath’s footsteps, like Sleep or Windhand.

Despite restraints in his age and conditions, Ozzy’s delivery is surprisingly solid on this track as he devilishly spews lyrics of crippling addiction: “I’ll make you lie, I’ll make you steal and kill / I’ll make you crawl until your final thrill / Enjoy the ride, I’ll plant my bitter seed / You’ll kill yourself and I will watch you bleed.”

Highlights do not end with the intro, as there are other tracks and moments worth listening to. “Under the Graveyard” (another teaser track), is a throwback to 80s arena rock, with its thunderous presentation in its chorus and blazing guitar solo near the tail-end.

 Track 6, “Eat Me” has a reverb-drenched harmonica intro that harkens back to the Black Sabbath classic “The Wizard” before a savory bassline lets loose. Plus, the chorus melody ranks among one of the catchiest in the tracklist. 

The lyrics revolve around campy, macabre perspective of something, or someone being eaten. The true intentions for this are unknown, but in a Reddit AMA Ozzy made a cheeky remark claiming that it is about a golf match.

Then there is the title track, in which Elton John makes his feature appearance. An old-school, lighter-worthy ballad, this song is where both men, especially Ozzy, truly take time for introspection, as they reflect back on their past decisions, triumphs and tragedies, stating that the lives they have lived warrant a legacy that they can be satisfied with, “Yes, I’ve been a bad guy / Been higher than the blue sky / And the truth is I don’t wanna die an ordinary man / I’ve made momma cry / Don’t know why I’m still alive / Yes, the truth is I don’t wanna die an ordinary man.” Considering all the troubles Ozzy has endured in the past year make the sour melodies and guitar lines particularly gut-wrenching.

Unfortunately, aside from specific moments of decency, I did not think that much of the album could climb over the peaks which these songs did. I find that there is not much separating tracks like “All My Life” and “Today is the End,” as the record seems to be defined by the slow or mid-paced ballads thrown about. “Holy For Tonight,” while good in execution, is not far removed from what the title track sets to achieve; it is practically a second attempt.

Curiously, I find that many of this album’s pros and cons parallel with those of Kirk Windstein’s solo album Dream In Motion from last month. Both celebrate and lament the past and present lives of their leads, but sadly suffer from pacing issues in their tracklist. Much like with the closer on Kirk’s record, the decision to make the smash hit Post Malone and Travis Scott collaboration “Take What You Want” the curtain call for this album is quite disappointing, considering the same song closed out Post Malone’s album Hollywood’s Bleeding last year. By no means is it a bad song, it just feels like it was placed in here to pad out the runtime.

The same can be said with the preceding track “It’s a Raid” (also featuring Post). Again, it is not terrible at all, but if “Take What You Want” was left as a bonus track, then it would still amount to a rather anticlimactic finish, despite the ferocious performances it has.

Also, once more like Dream In Motion, the production was quite underwhelming most of the time. The best tracks on the album seem to be the least applied to this (especially the opener), as the guitars and drums are compressed beyond belief in nearly every song. And of course, as I expected it would be, Ozzy’s vocals seem to hinge on the effects used for enhancement, which can make them feel robotic.

Still, I did not let this record’s shortcomings impede that which I enjoyed, which was thankfully present in several moments throughout. If anything, I, like many others, am just grateful that he was even able to get this album finished and released. With all that has happened to him recently, it is nothing short of a gift, a miracle.

If Ordinary Man ends up being the swansong for the Prince of Darkness, then this is a fine note to end on. Cheers to you, Ozzy, I too hope that they serve tea in heaven.

Standout Tracks: “Straight to Hell,” “Under the Graveyard,” “Eat Me,” “Ordinary Man”

Verdict: 7/10

Tracklist:

  1. Straight to Hell
  2. All My Life
  3. Goodbye
  4. Ordinary Man (feat. Elton John)
  5. Under the Graveyard
  6. Eat Me
  7. Today Is the End
  8. Scary Little Green Men
  9. Holy for Tonight
  10. It’s a Raid (feat. Post Malone)
  11. Take What You Want (feat. Post Malone and Travis Scott)

Link to album: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_n3lOLF85jSMEMjDLqYAoiISkQCiv23H1w

 

Addiction stigma overshadows humanity

Art by Sam Haney

Story by Chloe Finn

The War on Drugs is a well known topic in American politics, ever since President Nixon declared it in 1971. Every political candidate has a plan, and for the past 40 years the government has been fighting back against drug use and its effects. 

And yet, nothing has changed. 

Drug addiction is still a major problem, and if the government continues to simply throw the offenders into jail instead of helping them, it will always be. 

The United States has the highest incarceration rates in the world, and that is not a good thing. With 2.2 million citizens in jail or prison, there has been a 500 percent increase in arrests in the time since the war on drugs officially started. According to Criminal Justice Facts, the number of people incarcerated for drugs in 2017 outnumbered America’s total prison or jail population in 1980. 

This goes without mentioning the racism that is all too common in our system, especially concerning arrests. The idea that black people or other people of color are more likely to abuse substance is a myth, and yet the disparity in incarceration is glaringly obvious. 

In the report “Report to the United Nations on Racial Disparities in the U.S. Criminal Justice System,” from The Sentencing Project, it states, “Of the 277,000 people imprisoned nationwide for a drug offense, over half (56%) are African American or Latino.” 

This is despite the fact that there is not a lot of variation in percentages of people who abuse drugs in each race, and there have been studies, especially covering the opioid crisis, to show that white people may actually abuse drugs more, and get away with it.

The National Institute of Drug Addiction’s article, “Access to Addiction Services Differs by Race and Gender,” outlines the prejudiced disparities in treatment for addictions, showing that while white men are the biggest offenders for opioid abuse, people of color continue to be judged and receive less assistance than their white counterparts. The article states, “Even though whites and men continue to bear the heaviest brunt of opioid addiction, overdose deaths are rising at higher rates among certain minorities such as American Indians and African Americans, reflecting the ever-transforming nature of the opioid crisis.” 

The incarceration of people for drug offenses is a biased system that does little for the victims of addiction, and may even make it worse. This is because of one simple fact; our country does not understand addiction. 

Addiction is something that is largely misunderstood and mistreated in our society, and it can happen to anyone. One time may end up a lifestyle, and there are few ways to know ahead of time whether it will set in. 

Rehabilitation is supposed to be the world’s saving grace when it comes to addiction, but this can also be misleading. In The Washington Post article, “We’re addicted to rehab. It doesn’t even work,” Bankole A. Johnson goes into the ineffectiveness of rehab, saying, “That 100 percent rate turns out to apply only to those who “successfully completed” the program. Well, no kidding. The 30 percent rate applies to patients’ sobriety immediately after treatment, not months or years later.”

This is besides the fact that rehab is expensive, and a lot of people facing addiction cannot afford it. That begs the question; if not rehab, and not jail or prison, then what will stick?

Several countries have tried something different, the Netherlands being one example. Instead of throwing drug offenders into jail, they supplied free drug clinics and free heroin to addicts. The patients take a regulated dose, with clean needles, while being supervised by professionals at the clinic. Despite heroin still being illegal in the Netherlands, they are not punished. 

It worked. Overdose rates went down, HIV rates due to dirty needles dropped. The pure, government regulated heroin was better and safer than what the drug market supplied, and they did this all by dropping a system that made everything worse instead of better.

So maybe we should follow the example. Maybe we should treat people who suffer from an addiction like people, instead of pretending that it is all their fault and throwing them in prison. Maybe we should take steps to actually fix what has been broken. 

The truth is, there will always be drugs, and there will always be people who take them. Drugs are a dangerous substance, and their effects on people can be unpredictable. We will never truly live in a drug free world, but that does not mean we cannot make our country a safer, better place for everyone. 

 

Sports scorecard from March 13

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

Last game: Win vs. Jennings County in sectional championship

Next game: Tomorrow vs. Bloomington South at regionals @ 12 p.m.

 

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

Last game: Loss vs. Jeff at sectionals

Final record: 5-18

 

GIRLS’ SWIMMING & DIVING

Last meet: State championship meet

Results: 27th in the state

 

BOYS’ SWIMMING & DIVING

Last meet: State championship meet

Results: 18th in the state

 

WRESTLING

Last meet: State championship meet

Results: Jonathan Kervin 1st place, J Conway 6th place

 

Girls’ Track seeks to continue dominance

Photo by Brooke Miller

Story by Brady Beam

The warm spring weather gives an euphoric effect on the team as they realize that soon the preseason will be over and they will be competing as a team once again. The new members start to discover their niche on the squad with the help of older members pushing them every day.  Sophomore pole vaulter Annalise Zeinemann has prepared for the changes to the lineup by conditioning to become more athletic while also increasing her leadership skills.

“I have been preparing for this upcoming season by pole vaulting over the summer and doing conditioning to get stronger and faster while also trying to be more socially involved with the team,” said Zeinemann.

The team also recognizes that it will be important to make everyone feel included in order for the team to act as a unit.

“Our team will encourage new members and value what they contribute to the team,” said senior long distance runner Carley Conway.

For the older members, the experience of being on the elite teams from the past few years has given them the confidence to help replace the previous waves of past graduates.

“I think we have gained the confidence to smoothly transition from the past seniors because the older you get the stronger and faster you become, so we know what we are capable of, and some of us have also raced with them as freshmen, so they were able to push us,” said junior long distance runner Grace Suer.

The team is looking to keep building off of 10 straight sectional titles, where much of the core group is returning to possibly create one of the better squads in recent history.

“On the distance side there was only one senior who heavily contributed and our team was already young last year so we are all looking to develop and mature as a team to reach our goal as one of the top teams in the state,” said junior long distance runner Sydney Baxter.

To prepare for the toll of the season, many runners are staying conditioned throughout the year by playing other sports or running during the offseason.

“Our upperclassmen have done a multitude of things to prepare for this season, some of them play other sports so they stay in good shape. I also know that some of the girls have been running during the offseason or they are working extremely hard during practice to get back in shape,” said sophomore sprinter Keegan Kaiser.

It can be a challenge for the runners to stay mentally and physically healthy in a tedious sport such as track and field where you need a strong mind and body, but with the help of the school’s facilities, the team can find relief.

“For me, I like to take an ice bath everyday to heal my muscles after a tough run,” said long distance runner Natalie Claire.

The keys to success for most of the runners are preparing properly and keeping a positive mindset. Preparing for a race, according to the runners, can consist of eating healthy, staying in shape, and visualizing their upcoming races.

Conway said, “My key to having a successful season is being with my teammates and having a good time, while staying physically and mentally healthy.” 

Having successful seasons leads to many memorable moments. This year’s squad looks to continue the memories from the past few seasons, while also creating new ones.

“The most memorable moment of last season was everyone standing around after the conference waiting for the announcement, and when they announced we won, we shouted and cheered and took a picture with an official; we want to make it to that point again, ” said Zeinemann.

With the continued work ethic and confidence displayed from the girls, the team looks to put up one of the best performances in school history.

 

Basketball looks to beat Bloomington South this weekend at regionals

Photo by Brock Kennedy

Story by J.D. McKay

We finally did it. After 31 years the Highlanders are sectional champions in basketball.

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Senior Seth Burks drives around Jennings County in the fourth quarter. Photo by Brock Kennedy

But looming ahead of them is a very tough task in Bloomington South. They are ranked 25 in the country by ESPN and have 3 D-1 players in their roster. However, FC lost to them on a buzzer beater earlier this year and gave South their closest game of the whole year. So even though South is very good I think FC could win this Saturday. 

First, we need to keep the score low. South is incredibly explosive and are very good from 3. If they are able to do what they want, beating them will be a very tough task. But if our defense plays as well as it did earlier this year and we can keep them around 50 points, then we have a good shot to win. 

Next, defensive rebounds will be key. When you play a team that shoots as well as South

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Senior Ben Purvis embraces his mom after winning the sectional championship. Photo by Brock Kennedy

does, a game where they miss a lot of shots is big. However, it does not really matter how many shots they miss if they get a lot of offensive rebounds. It would hurt us even more if they are able to kick them back out and hit a 3. Not only does that give them points, but it can be a major momentum killer.

Lastly will be a second scorer to step up. That could be sophomore Cole Harritt, who played well last weekend and ended his shooting slump. It could be freshman Caleb Washington, who has been a force in the paint the last few weeks. However, I expect it will be senior Grant Gohmann. Gohmann was a force in the paint and knocked down a lot of shots. If he plays like he did against Jennings County it will

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Senior Grant Gohmann fist bumps Sturgeon while being taken out when the game was sealed. Photo by Brock Kennedy.

be tough to stop him.

Bottom Line: Bloomington South is very good. If they beat us I would be a little surprised if it was a close game. But I think FC is playing with a chip on their shoulder. They played extremely well last weekend, and with head coach Todd Sturgeon’s game plan the Highlanders will get it done. Final score: FC 50 BS 48