Sharkando’s Second Wind: Sink or Swim?

By Alex York

Last year, I had the “privilege” of reviewing one of the season’s most talked about films, a Syfy original movie by the name of “Sharknado.” Starring main characters Fin Shepherd and April Wexler, portrayed by Ian Zeiring and Tara Reid, respectively, Sharknado’s soul-rending story about sharks and tornados combining forces and devouring L.A. easily made it one of the absolute worst movies I’ve ever seen. Still, the film managed to be so awful that it transformed from a horror film to a comedy worth the watch for no reason other than to mock everyone remotely involved in its production.

So of course, upon seeing their film reach cult status, Syfy went and made a sequel.

A year after the first, the follow-up to “Sharknado” came to television, so similar to the original that the producers went so far as to name it – brace yourself – “Sharknado 2: The Second One.”

Following in its predecessor’s footsteps, “The Second One” is built around the basic premise of sharks falling from the sky and slaughtering the populations of major American cities – in this case, New York. Ziering and Reid return as Shepherd and Wexler, reconciled exes who achieved nationwide popularity after the publication of Wexler’s book on the events that took place in Los Angeles. The film picks up with them on their flight to the Big Apple, which gets torn to shreds by airborne sharks minutes after the cameras start rolling. Wexler loses her hand in the chaos (accompanied by a cry of “My hand! My hand!”), while Shepherd somehow manages to land the irreparably damaged airliner on a nearby runway.

From here, the plot proceeds in basically the same way as the original: Shepherd runs around New York murdering sharks and cracking bad jokes at inappropriate times, while various celebrity guest stars are killed by the aquatic menace. These guest stars are my favorite thing about “The Second One.” While the original “Sharknado” had a cast made up of fairly obscure actors, the sequel actually calls in some bigger names as far as D-List actors go. Viewers can expect to see cameos by, among others, Kelly Osbourne, Billy Ray Cyrus, Al Roker and Sandra “Pepa” Denton of hip-hop group Salt’n’Pepa. Still, while seeing Perez Hilton get eaten by one of the aquatic predators is entertaining, nothing can save “The Second One” from the same bad acting and abysmal plot that plagued the original.

Unlike the first, however, “Sharknado 2” doesn’t manage to make anything out of this. While the original was so bad it was good, “The Second One” is just plain bad. Much of the content in the film seems recycled, as it does nothing to set itself apart from the original. The characters follow the same plan as in the first, in which they play MacGyver and use improvised incendiaries to stop the wrath of nature itself. Shepherd once again wields a chainsaw and splits a flying shark in half just as in the original. The film even goes so far as to crush a guest star with part of a landmark, only this time around, “Shark Tank” mainstay Daymond John falls victim to Lady Liberty’s head in place of Robbie Rist of “The Brady Bunch,” who died at the hands of the Hollywood sign. While the producers tried to incorporate new elements into the sequel (such as three tornados as opposed to two and sharks that catch on fire after a certain turn of events), nothing actually makes “The Second One” stand out from the original.

As it turns out, I went into “Sharknado 2” expecting far too much. I expected it to be on the same level as its predecessor, whose overdramatic narrative, bad acting and corny one-liners made the otherwise dreadful experience fun. In the end, I got far less than I bargained for. The humor wasn’t quite there as it was in the original and most content simply felt like a rehash of the first movie. Ultimately, all of the negative factors combined make “Sharknado 2: The Second One,” a movie about the least mundane idea possible, boring. The first film set up a series with a lot of potential – or lack thereof – that I hate to see go to waste. Unfortunately, however, it seems that the budding “Sharknado” franchise has already jumped the shark.

…Which makes 2015’s “Sharknado 3” all the more terrifying.

A-Z favorites of August

By Lydia Grant  

Hi everyone! Today, I will be giving you an A-Z list of all of my favorite things in the month of August! Let’s get started.

A – Art: Any kind of art is included. Art is a great way to settle down and relax. Try poetry, watercolors or sketching! Anything that will get your mind stimulated!

B – Back-to-school shopping: School, a great excuse to go shopping. From pastel crayons to pastel sweaters, back-to-school shopping is great! Even if you aren’t going back to school, take advantage of end-of-summer sales.

C – Cool breezes: Fall is around the corner and the cold is coming, although the sun is shining bright. Nothing is better than a cool breeze on a hot day.

D – Donuts: I really like donuts! I know this may be random, but nothing is nicer than sinking your teeth into a glazed donut. What’s your favorite donut? Do you eat yours with coffee? I like mine with water, is that weird? Probably.

E – Excitement: Lately there has been a lot of change. Some seems unbearable and others really nice. I think change is exciting – just everything new and fresh! Try riding a rollercoaster to get that adrenaline rushing or some great music.

F – Flower crowns: I love flower crowns! They go with anything and are great for that cute feeling. I love putting on a crown and dancing and skipping through my day. My flower crown really gives me that great feeling about myself that no other accessory can!

G – Gaming: I am a gamer. I love everything from Outlast to Pokémon. I’m even easily entertained by watching other people play videogames. Try a new app this month or go on your computer for fun!

H – Hugs: I used to love hugs, then I hated them. In August, they started to grow on me again. Nothing is better than a really nice hug. Do me a favor and give out a hug today or tomorrow, it doesn’t matter.

I – Internet: Goodness, I love the internet. I think I like the internet more than life itself. Some would say that’s what’s wrong with our generation, but, hey, that’s who some of us are!

J – Johnny Depp: I recently saw Johnny Depp in “Cry Baby” for the first time. Did you know he has never won an Oscar? Well, I think he’s brilliant and extremely talented. This month try watching a new Johnny Depp movie! I’m sure you’ll like it.

K – Kim Kardashian App: Okay, so my friend told me about this app, little did I know, it was more addictive than flappy bird and candy crush combined. Did you know Kim Kardashian is the second most followed Instagram page? Well, if you are looking for a free fashion game, where you can customize your own character and live the life of a celebrity, go for it!

L – Love and inspirational pictures/stories: A great way to start your day is with a nice happy feeling in your stomach, so try telling yourself something positive every day; you are loved! So why don’t you embrace it?

M – Maxi skirts: Maxi skirts are great for any season and occasion. If you pick the right one and pair it with the right top you have an easily put-together look! Maxi skirts are a must have for any wardrobe.

N – Never Shout Never: My favorite band at the moment is Never Shout Never. They are a cute, fun band, who is great for a summer anthem, background music while reading a book or just something to sing and dance to. For the most part, their songs have great lyrics and meaning with a little bit of ukulele mixed in there.

O – Olive Garden: My family doesn’t eat out much, but when we do, we go to Olive Garden. From the bottomless salad to the chocolates that come with the check, Olive Garden scores a 10 out of 10 in my book.

P – Pokémon: I love Pokémon so much! It has such a brilliant concept and is highly addictive. Pokémon is a video game, TV show and trading card game all in one. I recommend this to all ages!

Q – Quotes: I start my day with a positive quote every day. There is nothing more inspirational than the words of your neighbor. It doesn’t matter if it’s a funny, sad, happy, or strange quote. Try learning some movie quotes, book quotes or celebrity quotes to talk to your crush. A good song lyric always works well too.

R – Reading: To me, there is nothing better than picking up a great book. In August, the temperature was perfect to find a nice tree to sit under. Reading is the best excuse to leave your life behind and become part of someone else’s journey. Just don’t forget that the world is your story!

S – School: On Aug. 25, I returned to school, making my way into eighth grade. The great thing about school is that it not only teaches you school lessons, but also life lessons. This year, as part of student council, I was chosen to take new kids around school. I have made several new friends.

T – “The Fault in Our Stars”: “The Fault in Our Stars” is a brilliant romantic comedy, capturing the time two young cancer patients have together. It has an intelligent point-of-view and wonderful plot. This book shows great honor to John Green, a terrific author with an amazing mind.

U – Umbrellas: The rain is coming again and so are umbrellas. The right umbrella is a great accessory that compliments your personality. Umbrellas are one of those strange things I’ve always loved for no apparent reason. Sometimes I like to think the reason is that it is always taken for granted to have an umbrella. You never think about having one until you need it.

V – Vine: Vine is an app and website known for being “the next YouTube.”  Vine consist of 7-second videos that are usually funny. Vine is something everyone has time for. If you don’t have Vine, I suggest you check it out, it just may be worth your while.

W – Weather: I love August weather. Weather is something easy to become passionate about. Whether you are remembering sweet memories from a special time in your life, or you’re arguing with the weatherman through the TV, weather is perfect.

X – X-men: X- Men is both a superhero comic and movie. There are numerous movies featuring the X-Men. If you are ready to have a down right nerdy marathon full of awesome excitement, I suggest the X-Men series.

Y – YouTube: YouTube is a wonderful website filled with videos. Anything you can imagine is on this website in video. Feel free to get engrossed in your subscriptions. It is a totally free app. It’s also free to make an account and subscribe to others. If you are looking to keep up on the times, YouTube is for you! You can also listen to music from almost any time period.

Z – Zippers: I have, personally, been fascinated  with zippers lately. When not overdone, zippers can be a simple, modern accessory that will look great when added to any outfit. From high-waisted shorts to sweaters with zippers vertically up the sleeve, zippers are fantastic and functional. Well that’s my list of my favorite things in August!


What was your favorite thing in August? Hopefully September will give us 26 more things to be proud of. Have a nice day!

Interviewing and writing with a deadline

Thursday’s Young Observers meeting focused primarily on a writing activity where the students were paired off. From there, they came up with seven questions to ask the other and formulate some type of story from the interview and answers.

As one can see by the stories, the Young Observers had fun with the activity.

Flipside interviews


By Nicole Bakaitis

Julia (Felton) is a 14-year-old student who attended Canon-Mac. In her free time, she enjoys karate. Julia’s favorite time of the year is spring and, because she doesn’t know names of many cat species, her favorite breed of cat is Siamese. Also, she likes the color purple and her favorite book series is the Hunger Games trilogy. Though I don’t know Julia very well, I think she is an interesting person.

By Julia Felton

Nicole (Bakaitis), a student at Washington Junior-Senior High School, is an only child. Her favorite subject in school is currently science, but she is not a fan of math class. After reading The Hobbit last year, she says it is one of her favorite books, but there are many books she considers to be among her favorites. Though is not currently involved in any sports. Nicole enjoys coming to Flipside meetings on Thursdays.

By Soma Hannon

Once there was a girl called Sarah. (Flipside advisor) Sarah (Bell) was a dog person growing up, as there was never a moment there wasn’t a dog in her house. When faced with the responsibility of feeding and caring for a small animal, she became a cat person. Her favorite color is Crayola’s battery-charge blue, and in keeping with that, her favorite Pokémon is Squirtle. She prefers horses over all other land mammals, and, when pressed, revealed her secret favorite constellation is Orion. She likes to hand out with her twin sister, watch movies on Netflix and dance awfully alone in her room. Sarah works for the Observer-Reporter, where she pours her bitter, dogless feelings into her ruthless editing.

By Sarah Bell (Flipside advisor)

Soma (Hannon) is distracted, uncomfortable and fidgeting.

It might be because, as she said, she’s “weird around other people.”

Or maybe it’s because her friend, Nicole, is touching her – she “doesn’t like to be touched unexpectedly.”

She’s trying to focus. We have to switch seats.

Soma is still fidgeting, bit this time under the pressure of a question – “Who inspires you?”

She’s takes a few deep breaths, then decides on her answer, “My cousin, I guess. She’s been through a lot and she’s really strong.”

Soma focuses long enough to say she likes cats, science and “Doctor Who.”

She’s distracted again. Nicole’s looking at her. In fact, she made it clear that if she were to update her Facebook status right now, it would say, “Nicole is being really annoying at the moment.”

But, Soma said she would mess up Nicole’s name (and call her Noelle) to bother her right back.

Sweet revenge.

By Julia Vilencia

Green, black, white, red, orange, gold, blue, pink, brown. These are the colors of the bracelets that cover Jenna Elizabeth Ronto’s right arm. She is a left-handed, Eragon-referencing, ten-shoe wearing girl with a blue toothbrush. She loves to read, listen to music and jog.

Jenna parts her hair to the side and she ties her shoelaces like bunny ears. Her bracelets are memories from camp and friends, presents and things she made herself. She would love to be a dragon and she met her best friend in – wait, let her count her fingers – fifth grade. She has a soft smile that crinkles her eyes a little and when thinking, she puts her right thumb under her chin.

By Jenna Ronto

Julia (Vilencia) is a girl. She enjoys boats. I believe she is a Doctor Who fan. She prefers llamas over alpacas. Her favorite book, after contemplating her infinite choices, is The Memory of Darkness on Julia’s favorite beverage is virgin Shirley Temples, a drink that is a mixture of sprite and cherry juice. If she could live anywhere, she would live in a home with two floors, an attic and a big yard. Julia, if given a chance to own one, would rather have a dragon than a unicorn. This person recognizes the word zar’roc, which mean misery, from a book named Eragon. Julia’s favorite celebrity would be Tatiana Meslany.

By Brittany Tender

When I asked Alex York about where he goes to school, he excitedly responded, “Home!”

York is a typical high school student, but rather than attend a school every day, he logs onto it. Cyber school has afforded him full control of his lesson plan – something public students don’t have.

He says he wouldn’t go to a public school, even for a day. “I wouldn’t want to wake up any earlier than I already do,” he replied.

When not “at school,” York spends his time playing video games, taking karate lessons and writing for Flipside – though he adds he doesn’t have much free time. He doesn’t have a solid plan for his future, but he is thinking about a career in writing or law.

By Alex York

Japan: The place on Earth where Brittany Tender would most like be and home to the internationally popular Pokémon, any of which he would immediately take the chance to interact with in some way if he could. If he were to ever go there, Tender states that he would want to explore the country’s culture and meet new people with his sister, Corrina, at his side. “I think it’s interesting, diverse and different from the United States,” claims Tender. Tender also stated that he would most like to eat Pocky while in the country, along with waffles, a personal favorite, if given the chance.

By Grace Scofield

Amanda Reilly’s ideal week consists of art, acting, dancing, reading, writing, action movies and kids movies like “Frozen.” Her favorite day of the week is Wednesday, keeping up the true Hump Day spirit. She loves going on vacation to Florida and going to her favorite restaurant there, Post Corners. In the future, she would like to live in either Florida, England France or Greece.

By Amanda Reilly

Today, I interviewed Grace Scofield and found out some very interesting things about her. I have hardly talked to herm, so getting to interview her was a lot of fun. I found out her favorite memory is of her and her sister playing with Barbie dolls. When I asked her about her favorite book, she answered, “Cinders and Saphires.” Her hobbies include writing, cross-stitch, doing her nails and shopping. She joined Flipside because she thought it would be really cool. Her middle name is Elizabeth. She has two pets, a cat and a gerbil. Lastly, I found out her favorite color is pink. Getting to interview Grace was really cool because I got to find out some interesting things about her.

By Noelle McKinney

Lydia (Grant) was sitting in Mrs. Fronzaglio’s room, pondering the incident with Amanda’s water bottle cap at lunch. you see, there was a black thing in the cap, about which she said, “What is that?” Then, she was launched out of her flashback because the bearded boy, Brandon, sat down next to her. She wouldn’t deal with this today. “Get out,” she said, and he surprisingly went away. Slowly getting over the shock of Brandon’s beard, Mrs. Fronzaglio’s lecture was becoming clearer over time. “Wow,” she thought, “this class would be so much better if I had a Fiji water.” And soon after, she began daydreaming about living in her favorite state, South Carolina. If only she could leave this school.

By Lydia Grant

Michael Cera is in its 30s. Its birth name is Noelle McKinney. Michael Cera is an obsessive fan of the real Michael Cera. While Michael Cera is a man and Noelle McKinney is a girl, she prefers being called an it since she believes she has been fused with the famous and real Michael Cera. Michael Cera’s top three wishes are: to have money, to be Michael Cera and to know what is in Amanda Reilly’s water bottle. It would like to rule over the real Michael Cera. If she rules over a kingdom, she would like to be called Michael Cera. Goodnight everybody.

Documentary days



Our primary focus with the Young Observers is print journalism, but we spent the previous two meetings looking into documentary film making. The class watched the film “Blackfish” – released in 2013.


The film took an in-depth, if not unbalanced look at killer whales and their interactions with humans while in captivity.





Weeding out ‘unnecessary’ letters

By Soma Hannon

Recently, I was thinking about letters, and it came to mind the letter C is unnecessary.

It makes the same sounds as K and S, and is really only useful for CH. So, maybe we could just use K and S where the unnecessary C’s are, and use the pictogram for C for CH.”

Are there other unnecessary letters? It turns out there are.

J is only said as a soft G, and could be replaced by that letter. X is just an amalgamation of KS, without any real value. Y is also useless. Replace it with E or I.

Basically, eradicate any letters that can be made with other letters. This leaves room on a keyboard for more important buttons, such as “next” or “previous” or “save.” Exterminating unnecessary letters from the English language would also make spelling easier and typing/writing faster. This is why we should seriously revise the original twenty-six letters of the alphabet and only keep the necessary ones.

A Flipsider takes part in Catholic Schools Week

Many current and former Flipsiders attended Catholic school, including Lexie Zaugg, a seventh-grader at St. Patrick’s School in Canonsburg. Lexie joined Flipside midway through the first half of the 2013-14 school year. Here, Lexie cleans St. Patrick’s Church along with the help of not-pictured classmates Jan. 27 for service to their community during Catholic Schools Week.


Breaking down the new season of “The Bachelor”

The season premier of “The Bachelor” kicked off in early January, and what an interesting and drama-filled season it is already.
Let me get one thing straight before I go on with my ranting and raving – I am well aware “The Bachelor” is a cheesy reality television show, but lately, it’s getting a lot of press. The tv show always draws attention, but the amount of publicity this season it is receiving is unusual and a larger number of people are tuning in. This all might have something to do with who “The Bachelor” actually is.
Athletic, single-father Juan Pablo has a lot of ladies turning heads and, as usual, going absolutely insane, even on the first night.
My opinion of Juan Pablo is simple: he’s different. I have watched season after season of “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” and I can honestly say that he is unlike any of them. I can’t say Juan Pablo is just different because he has a young daughter either, because there have been single parents on the show before. He’s just very considerate of his daughter and expectations for a family and he’s very selfless and mature about the entire ordeal.
However, I can’t say the same about all of the women. Two episodes of “The Bachelor” have aired and, already, there have been tears shed, followed by emotional downward spirals, crazy mishaps, and the potential for falling in love, but this is nothing new.
There are a few touching, heart-felt stories in the bunch, and I think some of these women are both mother and Juan Pablo material, but you can’t expect anything when it comes to The Bachelor.
I’m excited to see what else this season has in store. I like Juan Pablo as the new bachelor and I wish him all the best on this “too-staged-to-be-completely-real” journey of rose after rose that can – and has – lead to a grand finale of true love for years to come.