Thursday, June 28, 2007

Darfur update

"Ocean's Thirteen" stars have donated $5.5 million to humanitarian efforts in Sudan's Darfur region, according to actor George Clooney.

Sad how a lot of people learned about Darfur for the first time when George Clooney showed a film about it on Oprah. Good to see someone's doing something about the crisis.

Dubya's plan shot down

The Senate dealt a fatal blow on Thursday to President George W. Bush's planned overhaul of immigration policy, dashing the hopes of millions of immigrants seeking legal status.

It's okay, George. You win a few, you lose a lot. Especially when most of the Senate disagrees with you.

I still miss elementary school.

PRESCHOOLERS and kindergartners at the Woodville Elementary enjoyed the annual Fire Truck Washing.

What starts with "F" and ends with "uck"? A fire truck!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Jog to Martha's Vineyard!

"Be a surfer and ride the waves of your breath," says Emily in a soothing tone. "Drink in the freshness of the morning, smell the scents of the garden, listen to the birdsong, and feel the breeze," she continues.

A good pupil, I do exactly as I'm told in this rise-and-shine yoga class on the grassy shores of a pond at the Winnetu Oceanside Resort . Who needs coffee when you can wake up and slowly rise to consciousness through the poetic prose of a gifted instructor? "Let your feet be planted in the ground and your arms reach the sky, and feel the sunrise of glowing colors spread out from your heart," Emily says during the tree pose. I'm feeling rooted all right, not wanting to leave this spot or state of mind anytime soon.

Yoga is just one of the options being offered at the Winnetu's Island Adventure and Workout Center , which opened last summer. Along with indigenous spa treatments featured across the island at the Mansion House in Vineyard Haven, Martha's Vineyard's upscale accommodations are becoming salubrious retreats in hopes of luring the increasingly popular fitness traveler.

I'm going to jog to Martha's Vineyard after eating my salad. Don't worry about the long jog, I have Vitamin Water to quench my thirst.

Salem Street gets a facelift

Wakefield has only one road work project currently slated for state funding under the MassHighway Transportation Improvement Project (TIP) and that project was in danger of being removed from the list altogether.
But some fast action by DPW Director Richard Stinson, Town Engineer Michael Collins, Selectman Albert Turco and Town Administrator Thomas Butler has apparently not only rescued the project but resulted in its being moved up on the TIP schedule (from 2010 to 2009) with $500,000 in additional funding from the state.
The project, known as “Salem Street and Three Intersections,” will involve roadway work on 1,930 feet of Salem Street in Montrose from the intersection of Audubon Road to the end of the Exit 42 ramp off Route 128.

Go Salem Street! You scored 500 grand for some plastic surgery! woo!

Darfur update

A senior United Nations peacekeeping official said today that the world body is stepping up its preparations for the heavy support package to the war-ravaged Darfur region of Sudan, while efforts are under way to establish a hybrid UN-African Union force.

Hédi Annabi, Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, told reporters, "We have a lot of work ahead of us."

Mitt Romney: A Profile

By the time he saw the black Mercedes barreling into his lane, there was nothing Mitt Romney could do.

He was 21, buoyed by a recent promotion, a young man finally on his way. Two years of getting doors slammed in his face as a Mormon missionary in France had tested him like nothing before in his privileged life, revealing a drive and seriousness that had been absent during his breezy childhood. Now he was the assistant to the president, a top job in the French mission, and behind the wheel of a luxury silver Citroen packed with church officials visiting congregations in southern France.

He knew these roads were dangerous. That very afternoon in June of 1968, on the way from Pau to Bordeaux, he had pulled over to remove a roof rack lying in the middle of the road, a remnant of an earlier accident.

His own crash was swift and brutal. The Mercedes, driven southbound by a Catholic priest, passed a truck, missed a curve, and shot into the northbound lane at a high rate of speed.

''It happened so quickly that, as I recall, there was no braking and no honking, it was like immediate,'' Romney said in a recent interview. ''I remember sort of being hood-to-hood. And then pretty much the next thing I recall was waking up in the hospital.''
Trapped between the steering column and the driver's-side door, Romney lost consciousness. The mission president, Duane Anderson, was seriously injured on the other side. Anderson's wife, Leola, who had been sandwiched between them, bore the brunt of the impact. Crushed in the wreckage, she survived long enough to speak her dying words in an ambulance to a Frenchwoman who couldn't understand what she was saying.
Sister Anderson, as she was called within the small world of Mormons in France, was a beloved den mother to the 200 missionaries. Her husband was physically and emotionally broken, and returned to the United States to bury his wife and salve his wounds.

Romney responded differently. Since birth, his parents had invested great ambition in their youngest child. Yet his sheltered life had given him few opportunities to show himself worthy of such expectations. Now, with tragedy in the French mission, and chaos in the late 1960s air, Romney emerged as a leader.

The Globe's top story today is part five of a series on Mitt Romney. Above is the beginning of that series.

Another regatta

LAKE QUANNAPOWITT was the scene of the annual Galvin Middle School Regatta where students, in their hand-built boats, competed against each other.

Remember when I won an award for Shop?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Darfur update

France hosted a meeting of senior officials from more than a dozen countries yesterday aimed at providing funds and other support for international efforts to stabilise Sudan's violent Darfur region.

Many diplomats doubt Sudan will honor its agreement to a peacekeeping force.

Lost in translation

Mitt Romney could be read as Sticky or Uncooked Rice, Fred Thompson as Virtue Soup, and Tom Menino? Rainbow farmer -- or worse.

That's one translation of their names into Chinese, according to Secretary of State William F. Galvin, and if the US Justice Department's voting rights division has its way, that is how they could appear on many Boston ballots in 2008.

Vote Soup 2008.

Field Day at Woodville

IT WAS A fun-filled field day for preschool, kindergarten and first grade students at the Woodville School.

I miss elementary school.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Darfur update

The situation in Sudan's arid, remote western region of Darfur has changed significantly since fighting began in 2003. Malnutrition rates have now been cut by half since the start of the conflict, according to the United Nations.

International experts estimate that 200,000 people have been killed in Darfur in the last four years and more than two million have fled from their homes.

Attacks against humanitarian organisations and African Union peacekeepers are on the increase. Rarely a week goes by without a vehicle being carjacked and staff abducted or beaten.

Since the widely unpopular Darfur Peace Agreement was signed by one of the three negotiating rebel factions last year, the groups have splintered into numerous fighting forces.

There has been a general breakdown of law and order in Darfur, a region almost the size of France inhabited by about six million people. The recent surge in violent incidents appears to be carried out by criminal groups looking to steal cars and sell them in neighbouring countries, such as Chad or Libya.

The number of people affected and displaced has steadily increased since the start of the conflict, and at the moment there seems little prospect of them being able to return to their villages.

This is a story the BBC used today to help people learn English.

Police focus on family's info on killing

Police investigating the fatal shooting of 8-year-old Laquarrie Jefferson are focusing intently on the family's explanation of how the shooting unfolded, according to a law enforcement official familiar with the investigation.

The family has been extensively questioned about the events leading up to the death at 11:30 at a Seaver Street apartment.

Q and U get married.

THE LETTER “Q” is always followed by a “U.” And the afternoon kindergarten classes at the Dolbeare School held the annual “wedding” of Q and U to quite nicely mix an English lesson with some fun.

The question is: When are T and H going to tie the knot?

Naz's golf tourney

Nazareth's annual golf tournament was held on Monday, June 18th at the Hillview Country Club in North Reading.

About 70 golfers came.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Darfur update

Human rights groups say they’ll call for a boycott of next year’s Olympic Games in China, unless the country does its best to secure a lasting peace in Darfur.

According to Stephen Morrison, a senior Africa analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, China needs to use its leverage in the UN Security Council and help implement the core elements of the peace plan that Sudan agreed to.

Older siblings are teh awesome

Is big sister always telling you what's best? Does big brother seem to know it all?

Instead of stewing in resentment, maybe you should start listening when they dispense smart-alecky advice.

Turns out, they really are brighter than you, by and large.

A massive study by Norwegian scientists appearing in today's edition of the journal Science concludes that a child raised as the eldest has a higher intelligence quotient, on average, than younger siblings.

Ha! Hahaha! HAHAHA! I am going to throw this right in my sister's face!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Internet War

If you are a fan of internet wars, more specifically the kind between two websites (and people), you have to check out the one that is going on between Nyjer Please and Metsblog. In a matter of one hour, a man by the name of Luke Halpert (of Nyjer Please) wrote an article on the racial divide that exists in the New York Mets locker room. Metsblog fired back by saying that a racial schism is non-existent and if there were such a thing, all major media outlets would be on top of the story. Halpert, in his article, insisted that a secret source that he met through Metsblog told him what is happening in the club house. And boom, Halpert's article was created. Metsblog within ten minutes made a post urging Halpert to delete the part of the article that mentions them because they felt no such source was giving him the info. After a little while, Metsblog was removed. The whole controversy hits home to me because I know Halpert fairly well and it doesn't totally shock me that he posted this type of article on Nyjer Please.

Unless the blog posts got deleted, you can view the controversy here:


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Darfur update

PRIME Minister John Howard says he will not send troops to the troubled Darfur region of Sudan because Australia already has heavy military commitments in other parts of the world.

The UN has reportedly asked Australia to contribute military personnel to an international operation to help quell fighting that has killed more than 200,000 and created 2.5 million refugees in Darfur since 2003.

Australia currently has 1,100 troops in East Timor, 970 in Afghanistan, and 1,575 in...guess where? Iraq!

eBay business

If you buy a pair of shoes from Jon Kuhlmann, expect to pay for them before you try them on.

Kuhlmann, cofounder of Grapevinehill Inc. of Danvers, sells major-brand shoes by mail through the Internet auction service eBay Inc. He's already shipped over 100,000 pairs so far this year and over half a million since the business launched in 2002, all without touching a shoehorn.

"It's one of those shockers for people who don't know the eBay world," Kuhlmann said.

But it wouldn't shock the roughly 10,000 people who've come to the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center this week for eBay Live. It's a yearly festival for the people who sell merchandise through eBay's auction service and online storefronts.

Arthur Rabson, a pathologist at Tufts New England Medical Center who sells silver napkin rings on eBay in his spare time, considers himself an eBay hobbyist. "I make pocket money from it," he said. "It's just a bit of fun."

But he still invested the $100 fee to attend eBay Live. "I'm hoping they'll teach me things," he said. And if he sells just a few more napkin rings this year, the visit will pay for itself.

As eBay as a website has matured, sellers are faced with challenges they didn't face 10 years ago, said Jim Griffith, eBay's dean of education. For instance, many eBayers have no idea how to provide customer support, keep financial records, or back up their data.

I'll give piano lessons to the highest bidder. Kidding! $10 a lesson. You pay for books. Once a week. Only during the summer, though, since I'll be too busy once school starts again. >:(

Also, since when was "eBayers" a word?

Tribute to the firemen

FIREFIGHTERS Relief Association President Sean Curran, left, and Chief David L. Parr placed a wreath at the Firefighters’ Memorial during services Sunday.

Good to see people paying those firemen respect.

Chamber auditions

Auditions for the Wakefield High School Chamber Singers will take place June 11 – 15. Any students interested in auditioning should pick up an audition form in the Front Office.

I'm the piano player for the chamber singers starting in the fall. :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Darfur update

A joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping force could be in conflict-torn Darfur by October, depending on how quickly the two organizations are able to get troops and funds, a Sudanese diplomat said.

Akuei Bona Malwal, the deputy head of Sudan's diplomatic mission in Ethiopa, also said that Sundan was willing to accept peacekeepers from anywhere in the world.

Today's top story at

Pink ties are apparently in this summer. comment.

Wally visits G-Wood

WALLY the Green Monster, the beloved Red Sox mascot, contributed an added bit of fun to the Greenwood School Field Day last week .Here he’s with Andrea Consentino's first grade class.

Elmo couldn't make it, so they got his green adopted cousin.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Darfur update

Sudan has agreed to a combined United Nations and African Union peacekeeping force of more than 20,000 troops and police to be deployed in its troubled Darfur region after months of intense diplomacy.

Khartoum agreed to a force of between 17,000 and 19,000 troops and 3,700 police.

LEDs light the MIT dome

Tiny red lights know as LEDs revolutionized the calculator in the 1960s and '70s, creating a boxy digital display of numbers that became a hallmark of the early hand-held adding machines.

In a fitting coincidence that brings mathematics full circle, the same type of tiny lights have begun illuminating the Great Dome at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in a white, energy-efficient glow.

Let's hope Boston doesn't freak out over THESE LED lights. Remember this?

Last night at town hall...

Tensions surfaced at last night's meeting of the Board of Selectmen, as a motion by John Carney related to the Capital Planning Committee was seen by John Encarnacao as an attempt to effectively remove him from that committee.

The Daily Item described the motion as a "vote to change CPC's makeup."

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Red Sox Select Hagadone, Dent

The Red Sox selected Nick Hagadone and Ryan Dent with picks 55 and 62 respectively in the MLB draft. I probably should be doing my homework, but here are how each of the Red Sox first selections over the past ten years have done.

John Curtice (1997) [Age Now: 27] Curtice turned out to be a bust of all busts as he was never able to play past Single A ball.

Adam Everett (1998) [Age Now: 30]
Everett has been a serviceable player for the Houston Astros over the last six years, but with a career average of just .247, Everett has not lived up to the potential many scouts were drooling over back in '98.

Rick Asadoorian (1999) [Age Now: 26] Since 2003, Asadoorian's batting average has hovered around .200 - certainly something you wouldn't expect out of a first round selection. In 2005, the Worcester native had a decent half of season in AA with Chattanooga, but has struggled at AAA.
(2006 1st Round Pick Jason Place Has
Struggled in Single A thus far in 2007)

Phil Dumatrait (2000) [Age Now: 25] Dumatrait actually was having a decent minor league career until he got promoted to AAA in 2006. He struggled mightily (4.75 ERA) and there are no records of him pitching in 2007 yet.

Kelly Shoppach (2001) [Age Now: 27] Finally a player that has potential! Shoppach hit for plenty of power in 2005 at AAA for the PawSox (26 HRS). The Red Sox had no place on the roster for Shoppach and shipped him out to Cleveland in the Coco Crisp deal. In 24 games this year for Cleveland, Shoppach is hitting .352.

Jon Lester (2002) [Age Now: 23] Finally a player that is on the Red Sox as of right now! Lester is currently in Pawtucket (AAA) on a rehab assignment, but should be promoted to the big league club any day now. Lester was considered by many to be the Red Sox top prospect since he was drafted.

David Murphy (2003) [Age Now: 25] For Pawtucket this season, Murphy is batting .295 with 5 HRs and 29 RBIs. The Red Sox would love to have Murphy on the MLB roster in a fourth outfielder capacity but Wily Mo Pena currently occupies that role. With Pena's raw power, the Red Sox might just have to deal Murphy.

Dustin Pedroia (2004) [Age Now: 23]
Everyone knows that Pedroia is this year's success story for the Red Sox. After hitting below .200 in April, Pedroia is hitting .319 as the starting second baseman. If he keeps on playing the way is right now, Pedroia will be a mainstay in the organization for years to come.

Jacoby Ellsbury (2005) [Age Now: 23] After absolutely tearing up AA earlier this year (.452 average), Ellsbury is currently at .277 for the PawSox. Ellsbury, who bears a resemblance and a hitting style similar to Johnny Damon, seems as though he won't have a spot on the team come 2008 (like Murphy.) With obvious starter potential, the Red Sox have to be wondering what to do with Ellsbury and current starting CF Coco Crisp

Jason Place (2006) [Age Now: 19]
Place hasn't made a name for himself in 2007 because of his lack of performance. Hitting only .220, Place has obviously struggled at the plate, but the does have 8 SB on the year. It is too early to call him a bust, but the Red Sox did expect many things out of the young man.

Wheelchaired Man Goes On Ride

A man was taken on a wild ride when his wheelchair became lodged in the grille of a semitrailer and was accidentally pushed down a highway for four miles at about 50 mph, authorities said.

Isn't that what everyone secretly wants to accomplish in their life? This guy is a genius although there wasn't much for him to do about the situation in the first place. The poor man was probably panicking and crap, but oh well he managed to escape safely.

Darfur update

In addition to the top stories at the local schools and papers, the Wakefield Étudiant will now be spreading the news of the conflict in Darfur, an event that is sadly neglected by the media, while Paris Hilton getting out of jail is breaking news.

Amnesty International is asking web surfers to get involved in monitoring genocide in Darfur by checking images of villages taken by satellite cameras.

More info here:

Bill Gates finally goes back to college

Bill Gates attended to a bit of unfinished business Thursday.

Gates, who dropped out of Harvard in his junior year before co-founding Microsoft Corp. and going on to become the world's richest person, stopped off at his former stomping grounds to collect an honorary law degree.

Now his parents can stop being so ashamed of that son of theirs who could've been a lawyer, but went and dropped out instead. Congratulations, Bill! You're not a loser anymore!

Oh, and I KNOW Ms. Lopez will mention this tomorrow. "Last time we were talking about Bill Gates, quiet please, and I was reading the news today, and he was in it. I'm talking, don't talk. Proof that, yes, what we learn is relevant. Shut up!"

Seven girls who decided to not go bowling. Pity.

LOOKING FASHIONABLE for the Prom are Theresa Hurton, Colleen Barry, Allyce DiNapoli, Courtney Foley, Ellen Perry, Jen McManama and Katie Kennedy.

I heard that prom was fun. Since they went to Park Plaza, I bet theirs was more fun than ours. But I didn't go to either, so what do I know?

Naz seniors graduate

Celebrating 60 years of educating young women, Nazareth Academy proudly graduated 39 students in the class of 2007.

*sniff* Those kids grow up so fast...

Monday, June 4, 2007

I'd call honors English stupid, but that would be an oxymoron.

Students who have elected Honors or AP English for next year must attend a mandatory meeting after school on June 5 to pick up summer assignments.

Ha ha. You stupid kids decided to take honors/AP and have to do summer homework. Good thing I didn't take honors...oh...shit.