Monday, May 28, 2007

Coles down, Wesfarmers up.

Shares in Australia's Coles Group Ltd. fell nearly 4 percent on Tuesday after private equity group Kohlberg Kravis Roberts pulled out of a consortium planning to bid for the retailer.

Buy! Buy! Buy! Sell! Sell! Sell! What you mean Coles is down? Wesfarmers's up? Sell! Sell! Sell!

No autopsies for more than a year?!?

New Mexico medical investigators have not performed an autopsy for the Navajo Nation in more than a year because of unpaid bills for their services totaling a quarter-million dollars.

Hey Navajos, you might want to pay off that debt.

Pelosi talks about global warming

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is on an overseas trip to embrace an audience and a topic for which President Bush has shown scant affection: "Old Europe" and global warming.

Pelosi, D-Calif., and seven other House members left Saturday for meetings with scientists and politicians in Greenland, Germany and Belgium on ways to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

The trip comes shortly before a climate change summit next month involving the leading industrialized nations and during a time of increased debate over what should succeed the Kyoto Protocol, a 1997 international treaty that caps the amount of carbon dioxide that can be emitted from power plants and factories in industrialized countries. It expires in 2012.

Bush rejected that accord, saying it would harm the U.S. economy and unfairly excludes developing countries like China and India from its obligations. Pelosi, who strongly disagrees with that decision and many other of Bush's environmental policies, told The Associated Press on Friday that she said she wants to work with the administration rather than provoke it.

But Pelosi stopped short of condemning the president's call for slowing the nation's growth rate in carbon emissions, an approach that many say is too meek.

"I think there are better ideas," Pelosi said. "I want to keep the door completely open to working with the president on the issue of energy independence and global warming. ... There are plenty of areas where we can find common ground."

Since Democrats took over Congress in January, both the House and Senate have proposed to push the nation more aggressively to reduce carbon emissions.

Pelosi set up a new House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming and appointed Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., as its chairman. The committee cannot write legislation, but was created to study and offer recommendations on how to deal with global warming.

Markey said Saturday that contrary to the Bush administration, Europeans recognize the scientific consensus that the worst effects of global warming are yet to come if no action is taken.

"The administration needs to explain what alternative science it is still hanging its hat on, because most people believe that hat has already been blown away by overwhelming scientific evidence," Markey said.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee recently approved a bill to obligate the administration to send senior diplomats to international meetings on climate change "with instructions to secure binding commitments for reform," according to a committee statement.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is pushing a nonbinding resolution that would press the administration to work on several diplomatic fronts to combat global warming.

Alternative science? Sheesh.

Memorial Day observed

Veterans and active soldiers unfurled a 90-by-100-foot U.S. flag as the nation's top commander in the Middle East spoke to a Memorial Day crowd gathered in Central Park on Monday.

Navy Adm. William Fallon, commander of U.S. Central Command, said America should remember those whom the holiday honors.

"Their sacrifice has enabled us to enjoy the things that we, I think in many cases, take for granted," Fallon said.

Across the nation, flags snapped in the wind over decorated gravestones as relatives and friends paid tribute to their fallen soldiers.

That assembly was a nice reminder that Memorial Day isn't just a day off, or just the beginning of summer. It's also the time to observe those who've given their lives for this nation.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Celtics Land 5th Pick in NBA Draft

Greg Oden? No. Kevin Durant? No. Al Horford? That’s a little bit more like it. In one of the most anticipated NBA Draft Lotteries for Celtics fans in recent years, the C’s were sent home with just the 5th pick. An obvious disappointment, the Celtics had a 20% chance to land the first selection. An immediate effect is that Boston will not be able to select Greg Oden or Kevin Durant, the consensus top two draftees. [Source:]
I did want Oden/Durant in a Celtics uniform...badly. I guess it is time for C's fans to stop fantasizing about the potential and realize that for the next five years we could finish each season with one of the worst records in the league. Yes, future hall-of-famers do have that much impact on a team.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Police kidnapped, mob of troops outside Pakistan mosque

Islamic students seeking to impose tough religious social rules briefly kidnapped three more policemen Monday, officials said, intensifying a standoff that has troops out in force on the streets of Pakistan's capital.

Students seized the policemen during a scuffle in northern Islamabad early Monday evening and took them to a nearby seminary affiliated with the city's fundamentalist Red Mosque, said Zafar Iqbal, a senior police official.

Fundamentalist, you say? Funny, because over here in the states, a certain "Fundy" reverend named Jerry Falwell died, and I didn't exactly mourn. It's hard to feel sorry for a guy who supported segregation and blamed homosexuals for 9/11. It seems all these religious radicals causing problems these days are the "fundamentalists." I'm a proud Catholic, because my Christian sect can actually, what's that word, oh yeah, ADAPT to changing times.

Go Brewers!

The Milwaukee Brewers have been Major League Baseball's surprise team this season after making a fast start, but sceptics wonder whether they can keep up the pace and win a spot in the playoffs.

There's a team called the Milwaukee Brewers?

Come on, Glen, you're the sports guy here.

Connecticut prosecutor suspended.

A state prosecutor was suspended Monday for 60 days for his role in the transfer of a case involving a Derby judge's son who was accused of drunken driving.

The prosecutor, Paul Gaetano, transferred the case to the Ansonia/Milford Judicial District.

Our economy rocks.

The Massachusetts economy is coming off its best year since the days of dot-coms and telecoms. Providing a lift this time around: guns, golf balls, and concrete.

The state's economic recovery broadened in 2006, boosted by a rebounding technology sector and renewed strength of some of Massachusetts's oldest companies and industries. This year's Globe 100 reflects this expansion, with a diverse mix of old- and new-economy firms among the state's best-performing, publicly held companies.

Go us.

"Disgusted"? Ouch.

Saying that she was “disgusted with RCN and more disgusted with Verizon,” Selectman Betsy Sheeran told her fellow board members this week that Verizon was in default of its Wakefield cable television license due to its failure to carry local programming channels (WCAT and the high school channel) on its Wakefield system.

Verizon. We never stop working for you.

Seriously, I'm an RCN customer, and channel 15 has no sound at all on my hi-def TV. How can I hear the great music I picked to accompany the help wanted ads?

Another one?

Attention All Peer Leaders: If you are planning to go to the banquet on May 29th, please see Ms. Healey.

You know it's the end of the year when every single group is having a "banquet."

Saturday, May 19, 2007

ATHF Ad Scarers = Awesome

"Our attitude toward everybody is just one of love," Berdovsky said. "We want to be loved, and we want to love other people."
Come on, admit it. Peter Berdovsky and Sean Stevens are geniuses. First, they set off a bunch of middle finger pointing cartoon figures in Boston and second, they held a press conference that discussed only one, irrelevant subject: hair styles. Okay, maybe the first thing was far less genius than their press conference, but come on these guys are great. As the above quote indicates, they are loving people.

If you opened up your Boston Globe to the City and Region section you know that the first article you read was about these guys. You know it.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Math Team banquet

The Math Team banquet is scheduled for May 16th at Prince of Pizza at 6:00 p.m. The cost is $9.00. Please see Ms. Corbett or Ms. Zaramba to pay for the banquet.
Math is a wonderful thing.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Wine online. OH! CHYEAH! I MADE A RHYME!

I lined up six bottles of wine, turned on my laptop, and entered the password that came inside the shipping box. So began a virtual wine tasting, streamed live on the Internet from Waltham.

From my hotel here, three friends and I watched British sommeliers James Booth and Ben Llewelyn as they led a tasting from Gordon's Fine Wine & Liquors on Moody Street in Waltham. The password allowed me to create a screen name. It also gave us access to a chat room filled with other wine enthusiasts who'd ordered the same six bottles of wine.

Within minutes, approximately 100 participants, in groups of four to 14 from around the United States, were getting guidance from the sommeliers, tasting the wines, and typing madly. Some were well-versed in wine lingo, others clearly novices:

Apr 14 20:01:22 Red Oak Red head:

Do you guys find this wine at all vegetal? Apr 14 20:01:43 erin:

definitely vegetal Apr 14 20:01:46 Debra:

what do you mean by vegetal? Apr 14 20:01:57 Red Oak Red head:

Like bell pepper

This is nothing. In a few years, robots will be tasting our wine FOR us.

Grapeseed oil powers cars

Call it the biofuel boomerang. Valentin and Nanette Humer sell their gourmet grapeseed oil to upscale Napa Valley restaurants. Then, they pick up the used oil to run their company cars.

Thanks to this approach, Valentin Humer says, "We haven't seen a gas station in two years."

Two immigrants say they were drugged

Two immigrants who are appealing deportation orders claim they were forcibly sedated as the U.S. tried to fly them out of the country.

According to their attorneys, Raymond Soeoth of Indonesia was injected with anti-psychotic drugs, and Amadou Diouf was sedated while on a plane last year.

Vets criticize Bush

Three retired generals targeted a dozen members of Congress in a new ad campaign Wednesday, saying they can't support President Bush's policies in Iraq and expect to be re-elected next year.

Retired Maj. Gen. John Batiste told reporters, "I am outraged, as are the majority of Americans."

Patriots cheerleaders swimsuit calendar. That is all.

Alyssa had to fly home early for her graduation from Northeastern University, where she earned a degree in mechanical engineering. Ando missed her mother and called her twice a day. Dinna speaks three languages and can get by in two more. Lindsay graduates from Boston College soon and will start graduate work at Boston University. Sandra brought her laptop and finished a paper on poetic elegy for a class at Babson College . Stacey went to Iraq and Afghanistan to perform for the troops over Thanksgiving, mortars ringing in her ears. Julie holds down four jobs.

Meet some of the New England Patriots Cheerleaders who spent last week in a tropical resort to shoot their 2008 swimsuit calendar.

Wanna see the photo shoot?

Teacher shortage

The teacher shortage has hit the town hard.
The School Department has to fill at least 12 slots by Sept. 1 and, according to officials, there are not enough highly qualified teachers to go around, especially in the critical math and science subjects.

You know those help wanted ads on channel 15? Right now, there's a ton.

Naz donates to children's home

Junior Rachel Malinowski spear-headed a project during Lent that had students and faculty donating their spare "junk food" change at lunchtime that was sent to Asha Niwas, a children's home run by the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth in Guragon, India.

More than $500 was raised.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Disturbia review


** out of five

Directed by D.J. Caruso

Starring Shia LeBeouf, Sarah Roemer, and Carrie-Anne Moss

Way back in 1954, a great director named Alfred Hitchcock made one of the greatest movies of all time, Rear Window. It was a thrilling, innovative, and, most of all, original work of art, and I highly recommend it to all of you. I wish the story ended there.

Decades later, someone realized that they could make a movie just like Rear Window, cater it to teenagers who had never seen that movie, and make money. So they cloned it, right down to the characters and the theme of voyeurism, and their sinister plan succeeded. Why? Because nobody told all you naive teenagers about Rear Window until it was too late. Maybe cloning is immoral after all.

I knew what Disturbia was ripping off the moment I first saw the trailer. No trailer could have told me what was in store for me once I’d walked into the theater. Whatever wasn’t taken from Rear Window was culled from every teen movie ever made. The leading characters are defined by their angst, and not by much else. Kale’s (LeBeouf’s) excuse is his grief over his father’s death a year ago. Ashley’s (Roemer’s) is…er…she argues with her parents. Inconceivable! Add to that a horndog best friend/sidekick, plugs for iTunes, Bikini Destinations, Xbox Live, and countless other brand names, all in the first hour, and the word “gnarly”, and you have the most unoriginal movie ever made. The movie’s only saving grace is Shia LeBeouf’s acting. He deserves much better than this. I could see him as Holden Caulfield. What a waste.

Disturbing, isn’t it? So much so, I decided I would rather quell the disturbance in my stomach by going home and eating dinner before the movie was over. Between Spider-Man 3’s slow 140 minutes, and the painful hour of Disturbia, maybe I should have brought more snacks. Once I got home, I had a delicious dinner of steak, rice, and apple pie. All in all, I don’t regret the decision to spare my eyes from forty-four more minutes of pure disturbance. After all, you know you snuck into a bad movie when you walk out wanting your money back.

Spider-Man 3 review

Spider-Man 3

**3/4 out of five

Directed by Sam Raimi

Starring Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, and James Franco

“With great power comes great responsibility.” This is the motto Spider-Man lives by. If only movie studio executives did the same…

“What? Silly Ben, movie studio executives aren’t superheroes!” you exclaim.

“Don’t interrupt me,” I reply.

I then go on to explain that these executives indeed wield great power in their sweaty, greedy, disgusting palms. This power comes in the form of green pieces of paper. Their responsibility is to use this power for the good of mankind. In their position, the least they can do for the good of mankind is to make a decent movie. Calling Spider-Man 3 an abuse of this power is a stretch, if only for the action and effects, but it is an omen of worse things to come.

I would love to go in-depth about all the little things that made Spider-Man 3 disappointing, but I’d hate to take away space from the other talented writers who make this newspaper possible. I’ll just describe one flaw, for example’s sake.

See, Harry thinks Peter killed his father, since he saw Spider-Man bring the dead body to the house. Peter, the brilliant physics graduate student, has no idea what to tell Harry when he sees him one night. He hesitates. Apparently, he got a lot dumber since Spider-Man 2 a few years ago.

Below is how that conversation would have sounded if written well…i.e., written by me.

Peter: Hey Harry!

Harry: Hello. My name is Harry Osborn. You killed my father. Prepare to die.

Peter: Dude, I didn’t kill your father.

Harry: Hello. My name is…wait, what?

Peter: Yeah. He killed himself by accident. Stabbed by his own glider.

Harry: You mean I’ve been obsessing over getting even with Spider-Man for the past five years for no good reason?

Peter: Dude, didn’t you see the first movie?

Harry: The what?

Peter: I’ll explain…let’s go to Blockbuster and rent it.

Boom…Harry’s character arc, which took up a good hour of the 140 minute movie, could have begun and ended in a minute, shortening that length considerably, and thus greatly improving the movie’s pacing. How could the filmmakers get away with such irresponsibility? My spider-sense tells me they’re simply exhausted. They have spent more than half a decade making Spider-Man movies, and thus have no qualms about passing in a faulty script if it means Sony will let them go home and sleep.

Of course, Sony will be working these poor people for even more years, since Spider-Man 3 will be a hit regardless of its quality. Sadly, the studio will not do the responsible thing, which is to let them take a few years off, and then get everyone together for Spider-Man 4. Nope. Instead, shooting on the next one will begin tomorrow, and then a few years later, it will come out, stink, and tank at the box office. Oh, how irresponsible the powerful can be!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Drainage report facing review

The Conservation Commission last night again continued the hearing for a Notice of Intent to build a 12-lot development at 120 Main St., because members said they would feel better informed if they could first review the drainage report from the town’s Engineering Department.
John Ogren of Hayes Engineering presented the completed plan for 120 Main St. last night and pointed out that all the water drainage would collect in two large holding basins at each side of the project.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

French presidential candidates debate

From the Boston Globe:

For more than two hours, France's presidential front-runner needled his challenger during a debate Wednesday -- a little sarcasm here, a comment about her partner there -- all wrapped in a veneer of chivalry and always addressing her as "Madame."


Shooter used dead woman's home

From the Boston Globe:

A man who opened fire at a shopping mall and killed two people this week had been using the home of a next-door neighbor while her dead body lay on the floor, police said Wednesday.

The man, David W. Logsdon, was shot dead by police.

Les Otten sells his share of the Sox

From the Boston Globe:

Les Otten, the former ski industry mogul who became a part owner of the Boston Red Sox, has sold his share back to the team ownership group he helped form, he said Wednesday.

Otten said he wanted to pursue other ventures, not specifying exactly what.

Monks - 1, Corporation - 0

From the Boston Globe:

The monks prevail.

The Teresian Carmelites, a tiny religious community in Worcester, have won their lawsuit against American Tower Corp., which the monks had accused of breaching its agreement to sell them a 99-acre site in Central Massachusetts where they want to build a monastery and wind farm.

Don't mess with Catholics.

Ellie in China

From the Wakefield Daily Item:

The organization calls itself the Chinese Education Initiative (CEI), and they organize trips for school principals to learn about each other’s education system. But if you listen to Wakefield High School Principal Elinor Freedman the program is all about kids, Chinese kids looking for opportunity through education.

I bet an entire high school in China is now laughing at our six-minute breaks and indoor graduations.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Flavored meth aimed at first-timers

From the Boston Globe:

Arkansas police officers had seen leftover methamphetamine ingredients just like the mess they found in a suspected cook's trash can last month. What gave them pause this time were the packets of strawberry-flavored children's drink mix next to the bin. It was among the officers' first encounters with "Strawberry Quick," the latest version of methamphetamine, a drug authorities say manufacturers are constantly remaking to keep their customer base growing.

From lollipops to high-sugar sodas, law enforcement officials say they've found meth cut with a variety of candies, drinks and other materials over the years. Officials say the "designer meth" can smooth the ingestion of the drug, making it easier for first-time users to try.

So kids, don't accept "candy" from strangers.

Demonstators support illegals

From the Boston Globe:

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in New Haven Tuesday as part of nationwide marches demanding a path to citizenship for an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants, who many said have been unfairly targeted in raids and deportations.

Can't anyone immigrate the legal way?

Rare turtle born

From the Boston Globe:

Zoo Atlanta has hatched a rare Arakan forest turtle, a victory for researchers trying to save the endangered Asian species -- one shell at a time.