Parksville Crabs, A Frequent SEB Partner, Begins Recovery After Fatal Accident

Image Source: News Break

Parksville Crabs, a frequent SEB partner, was involved in a fatal accident on Friday, December 18. 

Shortly after 12:30 PM, a car drove through the front window of the restaurant located on Harford Road in northeastern Baltimore County. Both the car’s driver and passenger, despite extensive damage to the building, did not sustain any injuries. 

Debris from the crash, however, ultimately claimed the life of Deanna Jean Allik, an employee of the restaurant who lived nearby. 

“Parkville Crabs is and has been a great partner of [UB and the SEB] … their number one priority is the community they serve,” said Kevin McHugh, former Student Events Board president who coordinated with Parkville Crabs for last year’s Crab Feast. “What has happened was profoundly devastating, and I hope that they come back better than ever with the support of the Baltimore community.”

This year’s crab feast was cancelled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

A GoFundMe page has been established to support Parksville Crabs and the Allik’s family during this critical time. 

Jennifer Peach, a spokesperson for the Baltimore County Police Department, said that the accident seemed purely accidental but reminded the public that vehicular fatality investigations take at least ‘a month or two’. No arrests or charges have been made at this time. 

Graham Antreasian is a staff writer for The Sting

Friday Groove: Top 10 Albums of 2020

When I used to work at Record and Tape Traders, it was a lot easier to keep track of new releases. After all, if I wasn’t the one organizing them on Thursday after closing, I was the one selling them upon opening Friday. This year has been so long and ridiculous, I almost forgot that some of my favorite records of the year actually came out this year. That being said, over the last week I’ve revisited some of my favorite albums of 2020, and I’m going to offer you my top 10. Give them a shot if you need something to listen to over the winter break.

Fair warning: Taylor Swift’s Folklore is not on this list. The lyrics were okay, but the album overall wasn’t very good. She surprise-dropped another album this morning, evermore. I’ll give it a listen at some point, but I’m not expecting much.

10. The Network – Money Money 2020 Part II: We Told Ya So!

Are they a secret side-project of pop-punk band Green Day? The answer is most likely, yes. We were first introduced to The Network in 2003 when they released Money Money 2020, a decent new wave record that was a stark contrast to pretty much anything Green Day had done up to that point. After a 17-year hiatus, The Network seems to believe that the year 2020 lived up to their expectations. Part II is actually a pretty good record, with a similar sound to the original. If you’re a fan of New Wave, you’ll probably enjoy this. Unlike the original, the tracks on this LP seem to have a greater political message behind them, which may harken more toward Green Day’s American Idiot.

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9. Tame Impala – The Slow Rush

Musical savant Kevin Parker is back at it again. The Australian multi-instrumentalist and record producer tackles a host of issues, from his tumultuous relationship with his father on “Posthumous Forgiveness” to feelings of being trapped in a rut on “One More Year.” “Lost in Yesterday.” a song about being addicted to nostalgia, really hits home for me. While Parker writes and records all the material himself, he has touring musicians perform with him on the road. Last year, Tame Impala headlined Coachella, perhaps signaling to Parker that his solo-project had finally made it.

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8. HAIM – Women in Music, Pt. III

I think the word that best describes HAIM’s third record is “exploratory.” It’s similar to their first two efforts in two regards: harmonizing vocals and heavy guitars. Other than that, HAIM is setting out to explore new territory. Some tracks feel like synth-pop. Others, like “Up From A Dream,” almost remind me of David Bowie’s last record. The guitar playing on “The Steps” almost reminds me of late-Beatles or early- solo George Harrison. It might be a little different, but overall, it’s a good record.

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7. Run the Jewels – RTJ4

Hip-hop duo Run the Jewels’ fourth record was released less than a month after the killing of George Floyd sparked protests across the United States and the world. Self-admittedly, I’m not always the biggest fan of rap, but this album struck a chord with me. The messaging, along with a host of venerable beats and sounds from the rap music of yesteryear is what really makes this effort unique. Joshua Homme of Queens of the Stone Age and gospel singer Mavis Staples are featured on “pulling the pin.” Although it may sound like an unusual pairing, the two really make the track pop.

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6. Jason Isbell – Reunions

Jason Isbell unpacks so much in his latest record. The former Muscle Shoals studio musician continues to reflect on those he’s loved and lost, and his struggle for sobriety, now almost a decade ago. “Only Children” dives into his regret that his parents, mainly his mother, never had a chance to experience coming of age properly, since they had him so young. While he expresses feelings of regret on a few songs, he’s hopeful for the future. Isbell tells us in “It Gets Easier” that things were difficult for him, but they certainly got better, even though things may never be easy.

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5. The Weeknd – After Hours

The Weeknd is really one of the only modern-day R&B artists I thoroughly enjoy. After Hours gives us a bit more of an 80’s synth sound, but I’m all here for it. I listened to the single, “Blinding Lights” on repeat for a solid hour of my five-hour drive to Cooperstown, NY back in March. I was lucky that the entire album was released the following week for my listening pleasure. “Scared to Live” might be the most upbeat track on the album, but it still has some dark undertones. Overall, very fitting for what this year became.

THE STRUTS RELEASE NEW ALBUM STRANGE DAYS, OUT TODAY | Umusic

4. The Struts – Strange Days

The Struts were the only big name I had the chance to see in concert this year. Their third record, Strange Days, will serve as a bit of a time-capsule in the years to come. Recorded over 10 days during quarantine, the album is quite intimate with a huge sound. It perfectly captures the experience of living through 2020. “Science fiction I believe, has become reality,” really just couldn’t be more fitting. 

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3. Machine Gun Kelly – Tickets to My Downfall

Tickets to My Downfall is my favorite pop-punk album in years. Featuring the drum power and production of Blink-182’s Travis Barker, MGK takes a break from the rap music he’s usually known for. It’s loud. It’s bombastic. It’s the perfect album to listen to at full-volume with the windows down. “title track” is a great, blustering opening to the album, beginning with acoustic guitar and vocals, then ripping into Barker’s verbose drumming. “concert for aliens” seems to call back to the sound of Blink’s 1998 effort Enema of the State. This record fits right in with the pop-punk albums of the early 2000’s perfectly.

A man leans over a jukebox while a couple dances beside him

2. Bob Dylan – Rough and Rowdy Ways

Bob Dylan has the unique distinction of being the first to release a top-40 record in every decade since the 1960’s. His latest, Rough and Rowdy Ways, doesn’t miss a beat. Dylan is as honest as he’s always been. It’s a meditation of who we are and where we’ve been as a society. He likens himself to Anne Frank, Indiana Jones and the Rolling Stones, proclaiming the he too, “[has] multitudes.” He remembers blues musician Jimmy Reed in “Goodbye Jimmy Reed,” a thumping blues track that just might be my favorite on the record. Rough and Rowdy Ways ends with the 17-minute “Murder Most Foul,” magnum opus about President John F. Kennedy’s death, and all the things the slain president never had the chance to witness

A photo of Springsteen's face with him standing in the snow
  1. Bruce Springsteen – Letter to You

My favorite album of the year was also my favorite Springsteen album since 1978’s Darkness on the Edge of Town. It’s brutally honest, focusing on the intricacies of life and death in a way only The Boss could aptly do. Three tracks on the album predate Springsteen’s 1973 debut, but they still fit in with the songs he’s written over the last few years. Springsteen and the E Street Band recorded the album at his New Jersey farm last November, long before the pandemic threw a wrench in many artist’s recording plans. If you’re interested in learning more about the recording and stories behind this album, Springsteen released a documentary on Apple TV+. Here’s to hoping we’ll get to see them out on the road in 2021.

Tony Sheaffer is managing editor for The Sting and writes Friday Groove, a weekly music column.

SGA Makes A Last Ditch Effort to Bring Pass/Fail Option

University of Baltimore’s Student Government Association has made a last ditch effort to reverse the university back to an alternative grading model. 

Although administration, faculty, and students have deliberated on the issue since earlier this year, little progress has been made as the university has gone without the option since the summer semester.

In early November, the Student Government Association unanimously passed a resolution titled “Resolution 11, Resolution Providing Students with Academic Relief” asking for an extension of the option. At the November 25 SGA meeting, Treasurer Camilla Canner said, “The idea was that during this COVID-19 pandemic, there are a lot of extenuating circumstances that would perhaps make it difficult for a student to finish a class with a grade that would allow them to pass. The Pass/Fail grade gives an option to continue working on their degree.” This was a sentiment shared by all of the SGA, as they felt this was the best way to advocate for students.

Nevertheless, this resolution seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Many faculty members believe that this option not only hampers the ability to track student progress and accurately report information for financial aid requirements but is a blow to the reputation of the institution. 

“Data shows that a pass/fail option is unnecessary,” says interim provost Catherine Anderson. An internal report from the registrar shows similar distributions between spring 2019 and spring 2020 grades with the latter actually being higher and showing fewer withdrawals from courses. 

“Only 5 percent of undergraduate and graduate students used the no credit/credit option and distribution shows that most of those grades were Cs and Ds,” said Anderson. “About the same percent of grades were Fs in the no credit column. In other words, the alternative grading did not greatly boost academic performance.”

She adds, “Ultimately, doing what faculty felt was in the best interests of students, we did not support a Pass/Fail option for students this semester nor did any other USM schools for this fall.” 

Students like senior Zachary Romer believe that a pass/fail option is essential to his ability to graduate without having to incur the cost of a three credit semester in the spring.  To assuage his worst fears, he took 18 credits but did not anticipate the myriad of pandemic-related consequences for this decision.

“When [professors] are not giving full attention to students or even making an effort to try to help students meet their learning objectives,” said Romer. “Ultimately, there is a disengagement from students because they see the disengagement from their professors.” 

“Professors,” he says, “have not abided by their office hours,” citing personal challenges without extending the same leniency to students while also occasionally dropping “ridiculous” grading curves to push them through. 

For the past few months, SGA members have been in negotiations with members of the Faculty Senate and administration in hopes of garnering support for the legislation. Beginning in the summer, attempts to pressure the Faculty Senate to make a recommendation fell flat. Michael Kiel, Faculty Senate president, explained that the Board of Regents’ report addressing UB’s finances released earlier this year has occupied the minds of faculty members.

“I could have probably brought it up sooner and maybe I should have,” said Kiel. “Not a single faculty senator was in favor of discussing it. It gave even more reason to avoid it among other more dominating topics.” 

On December 3rd, SGA president Daniel Khoshkepazi and SGA vice president Kevin McHugh were invited to a Faculty Senate meeting in hopes of being able to speak. Kiel, however, argues that they were under the wrong impression and rather wanted them to simply have a presence in the room. 

The Faculty Senate had passed a resolution encouraging members to “be imaginative, compassionate, and kind in response to student crises,” in hopes that this would ease student minds. 

With time running out and the pass/fail option seeming less likely, some SGA members are seeking better ways to help students. On Wednesday, “Resolution 23, Asking the University of Baltimore to extend the academic probation period due to the COVID-19 pandemic as an academic relief accommodation,” passed unanimously, signaling SGA’s willingness to continue to compromise in the near future while alleviating some of the fears of risk and reputation damage that come with alternative grading. 

The Fall 2020 semester ends on December 18.

Graham Antreasian is a staff writer for The Sting. 

A Tale of Two LSATS

Months after the start of a pandemic and lockdown, we have begun to take steps toward returning to normalcy.  

Enter the LSAT Flex here. This is a fun little test administered by the LSAC, or Law School Admission Council, who has been continuing efforts across the country for people to take the LSAT even as large testing centers are forced to remain closed.  

A friend of mine and I took our tests this year at the same time. Not only do we both attend the UB, but we have also taken on the task of studying three times a week for the three months prior to our test. We, finally, decided to settle on taking the test in November since it was the final test offered in 2020.  

Originally scheduled for Saturday, November 14th, we planned to take our exams online. Interestingly enough, unlike in-person exams, ours would be an hour shorter with only 3 portions instead of 5.  

It was running smoothly until it wasn’t.  

A week before the exam, we received an email from LSAC telling us to choose between the 7th, 9th, 10th, or the 11th, effectively making the test a week earlier than expected and costly as we had already taken off of work for the original date.  This was only the beginning.  

My friend chose November 10th and I chose November 11th .  

On November 10th, her computer and desktop fail the necessary processor run to take the test. An hour later, after waiting on hold, she is informed that she has missed her test time and will need to take the test in January before ultimately her to take the test later in the day. 

On November 11th, scarred by my friend’s story, I decided to take 3 computers with me to avoid the same issue. Thankfully, this isn’t where my problems lied.   

The test, however, was similar to practice tests taken previously with similar structure and timing. Let’s just say that months after highlighting and other strategies at my disposal, taking the exam via computer was a change of pace.  

In case you’re curious as to how I did, let’s say that I’ll be definitely taking it again.  

Charles Rhem is a staff writer for The Sting.

Friday Groove: Fells Point’s not-so-hidden gem

Soundgarden in Fells Point, Baltimore.

Looking for a not-so-hidden gem in Fells Point?  

Fells Point’s SoundGarden record shop has a unique vibe that just invites you in to browse the isles for hours. As coronavirus restrictions are loosening, the friendly and helpful staff is eager for customers to come in and browse the stacks.  

Since 1993, the store has grown to become a prominent part of the Fells Point’s commercial scene earning numerous awards, including recognition from Baltimore magazine and Billboard in 2013. It has also never having changed owners or being sold, a rarity for Fells Point. It’s wide selection, of both new and preowned products, include vinyl records, CDs, DVDs, video games, board games, and other collectibles.  

During this holiday season, Soundgarden is putting on its own 25 Days of Christmas showcasing merchandise available for purchase this month. Air freshners, boardgames, and candles are at the heart of this deal. 

Take my word for it,  you should go to the SoundGarden and browse the selection and support small business this holiday season.  

Photo copyright: Baltimore Business Journal

Get Ready for the Next Stock Market Crash

Editor’s Note: This article was written by Kevin McHugh.

There will be a stock market crash in the future.  This could be tomorrow, next week, or next year, but do know that I properly warned you!

Before selling my investing book regarding my fortune telling abilities, I must let you in on a secret (it’s actually industry wide!) I don’t know when a crash will be and neither does anyone else because they are sporadic and unpredictable.  

In 1987, portfolio insurance, which was intended to protect investments from crashes actually caused a 20% one in a single day known as “Black Monday”. 

Homeowners, in 2008, were defaulting on their mortgages and caused a massive crash that decimated the banking industry and any portfolio with such holdings. 

In 2020, investors were quick to sell their investing holdings after COVID-19 disrupted brick & mortar businesses, dismantled supply chains, and seized global trade.  

All of these crashes have two things in common: first, every crash is exacerbated by fearful investors selling off their positions. Second, no one accurately predicted when and why such crashes would occur. Third, anyone claiming they did is an opportunist in the similar vein of someone trying to sell you a retirement plan with the new and improved Enron company. 

This is not to discredit warning signs or indications that could cause stock market crashes, but it is important to not blindly rely and trust the expertise of stock “experts.”  

To further show the ineffectiveness of stock analysts, there was a study, showing that blindfolded monkeys picked better stocks and performed better than actively managed portfolios run by experts.  This is not to discredit experts or stock analysis, but to show you how stochastic the market can be.

With many professional investors having trouble beating the returns of the S&P 500, it may behoove investors to invest in the benchmark index instead of trying to beat the market.  With the average annual return of the S&P 500 being about 8%, an investment of $100 a month would yield you over $150,000 over a 30 year period.

Skip the headlines and invest in what works, trust data not people.  

Kevin McHugh is an M.B.A. student at The University of Baltimore, received his Bachelors in Finance at University of Baltimore, and is the founder and CEO of Bloombox. 

*This article is for informational purposes only and does not intend to replace professional advice.  It is important to consult with a financial planner and conduct your own research before investing.