Friday, February 29, 2008

Stocks Fall

NEW YORK—Stocks fell sharply Friday after a series of depressing economic and earnings reports and high oil prices stoked concerns about the health of economy. The major stock indexes fell more than 2 percent, with the Dow Jones industrials at times giving up more than 300 points.

Investors were unnerved by disappointing quarterly results from American International Group Inc. and Dell Inc. And an index of regional business activity that Wall Street regards as a precursor to a broader report registered its weakest reading in more than six years.

Adding to Wall Street's list of worries, oil prices continued to stir concern about inflation after topping $103 per barrel overnight for the first time.

Sorry, stock owners.

More Funny Pictures

Stuff White People Like

Here is a sample of stuff white people like. It is all on this funny little site that you should visit:

#75 Threatening to Move to Canada
#73 Gentrification
#69 Mos Def
#68 Michel Gondry
#67 Standing Still at Concerts
#65 Co-ed Sports
#62 Knowing What's Best for Poor People
#60 Toyota Prius
#57 Juno
#53 Dogs
#52 Sarah Silverman
#51 Living By the Water
#50 Irony
#44 Public Radio
#41 Indie Music
#40 Apple Products (but ONLY the iPod)
#39 Netflix
#38 Arrested Development
#37 Renovations
#36 Breakfast Places
#35 Daily Show/Colbert Report
#34 Architecture
#33 Marijuana
#30 Wrigley Field
#25 David Sedaris
#23 Microbreweries
#19 Traveling
#18 Awareness
#14 Having Black Friends
#13 Tea
#11 Asian Girls
#10 Wes Anderson Movies
#8 Barack Obama
#4 Assists
#3 Film Festivals
Whoever came up with the idea is one awesomely creative person.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Acamademic Application

In today's installment of Academic Application, I will be putting my years of study of the Spanish language to use, attempting to translate a story from Telemundo's website for all you gringos.

TOKIO (AFP) - Científicos japoneses se declararon el jueves convencidos de que existe un noveno planeta, hasta ahora desconocido, que gravita en los confines de nuestro sistema solar, dos años después de que la comunidad científica excluyera de esa categoría.

TOKYO (AFP) - Japanese scientists announced Thursday that they are convinced that a new planet exists, which they did not know until now, and that lies in the confines of our solar system, two years after the scientific community ignored that topic.
Okay, let's see the English version of that article and see how close I got.
TOKYO (AFP) — Scientists at a Japanese university said Thursday they believed another planet up to two-thirds the size of the Earth was orbiting in the far reaches of the solar system.

The researchers at Kobe University in western Japan said calculations using computer simulations led them to conclude it was only a matter of time before the mysterious "Planet X" was found.

"Because of the very cold temperature, its surface would be covered with ice, icy ammonia and methane," Kobe University professor Tadashi Mukai, the lead researcher, told AFP.

The study by Mukai and researcher Patryk Lykawka will be published in the April issue of the US-based Astronomical Journal.

"The possibility is high that a yet unknown, planet-class celestial body, measuring 30 percent to 70 percent of the Earth's mass, exists in the outer edges of the solar system," said a summary of the research released by Kobe University.

"If research is conducted on a wide scale, the planet is likely to be discovered in less than 10 years," it said.

Planet X -- so called by scientists as it is yet unfound -- would have an oblong elliptical solar orbit and circle the sun every thousand years, the team said, estimating its radius was 15 to 26 billion kilometres.

The study comes two years after school textbooks had to be rewritten when Pluto was booted out of the list of planets.

Oh...two years after Pluto was excluded. I got three out of four clauses right...not too bad.

Scrubs moving to ABC

The real-life drama surrounding the fate of my beloved Scrubs just took another wild turn.

Sources are confirming a story in The Hollywood Reporter that ABC is in talks to pick up as many as 18 episode of Scrubs.

Hey, I never watched Scrubs until every channel besides NBC started airing it.

Some news from Russia, with love

Russians are coming under intense pressure to vote in Sunday’s presidential election amid apparent official concerns that the result is such a foregone conclusion that turnout could be embarrassingly low.

One can expect Dmitry Medvedev, Putin's hand-picked successor, to win in a landslide.

Iraq update

Turkey declined to offer any assurances yesterday that its military incursion into northern Iraq would end quickly, despite US calls for the operation to be limited.

And now, a rather ironic quote from the President of the United States.
"The Turks need to move quickly, achieve their objective and get out," Mr Bush said at a press conference.

Darfur update

On March 4Th 2008, a long list of Seattle restaurants and coffee shops will be donating 25% of proceeds to aid relief efforts in Darfur.

Great idea. Hope it gets around to other cities.

CD Review: Smile

1) Our Prayer/Gee
2) Heroes and Villains
3) Roll Plymouth Rock
4) Barnyard
5) The Old Master Painter/You Are My Sunshine
6) Cabin Essence
7) Wonderful
8) Song for Children
9) Child Is Father of the Man
10) Surf's Up
11) I'm in Great Shape/I Wanna Be Around/Workshop
12) Vega-Tables
13) On a Holiday
14) Wind Chimes
15) Mrs. O'Leary's Cow
16) In Blue Hawaii
17) Good Vibrations
Around the same time he was making Pet Sounds, Brian Wilson made "Good Vibrations", one of the most innovative pop recordings of all time. He soon started work on Smile, a symphony of an album that would be made in the style of that song. It was a great idea, but one that just couldn't come to fruition in 1966.
He couldn't do it then, so he did the next best thing and waited until 2004. He didn't have the Beach Boys or the Wrecking Crew of top-notch session players, but his current backing band is just as good. Cocaine and cigarettes have destroyed the voice Brian had back in the 1960s, but he can still sing decently enough in the studio. But when he tries to hit those high notes live...plug your ears.
But I digress. Smile was an ambitious project even by 2004's standards, but the superhumanly talented Wilson and his friends managed to pull it off just fine. It is a true symphony, one that required the addition of strings and horns to what was previously a ten-piece band.
The album was composed in a style somewhere between classical and pop, one employing Beach Boy-style harmonies throughout an album one must listen to all the way through. The album is divided into three movements, each with a lyrical and musical theme. The first six tracks center on "Heroes and Villains", with Van Dyke Parks waxing poetic on American culture and history. Tracks seven to ten discuss childhood, adulthood, and death, with "Surf's Up" as the centerpiece. The remainder, based on "Good Vibrations", focuses on nature, with tracks about vegetables, fire, wind, and water.
Whoa, a song about vegetables? Smile is an odd album, like all the truly great ones. Symphonies may not be your cup of tea, but Smile is so well written, performed, arranged, and produced, one can't help but appreciate it.
****1/2 out of five

Faulk passes drug test

According to a report in The Daily Advertiser newspaper in Louisiana, Patriots running back Kevin Faulk, who was cited for marijuana possession last Friday, passed a drug test and will not have to enter the NFL's substance abuse program.

Cool. I mean, as plenty of comedians have already told you, marijuana isn't exactly a performance enhancer.

Bruschi renews contract

Linebacker Tedy Bruschi isn’t ready to retire just yet.

Bruschi and the Patriots have agreed to terms on an undisclosed contract, ensuring that the fan favorite will return for his 13th season with the club, according to a league source.

Bruschi, who turns 35 in June, started all 16 regular-season games and all three playoff contests. He led the Patriots in tackles during the regular season (99), as well as solo tackles (69).

In the days leading up to the Super Bowl, Bruschi said: "After every season I sort of reassess things. I look at people who put it off to this offseason already like coaches Tony Dungy and Mike Holmgren. What they do is they sit back. They sort of reassess and make decisions with their families. That’s what I’ll do.”

Bruschi was voted as a defensive captain by his teammates in 2007.

Brookfield townie cracks me up

BROOKFIELD - It's hard to miss the vitriolic slogans by the side of Route 9, the
busiest thoroughfare in this bucolic Central Massachusetts town. And Dave
Holdcraft likes it that way.
Holdcraft, a landscaper and self-proclaimed
civic watchdog, spells out a new allegation on the garish yellow billboard he
has erected every time he feels that the public needs to know the truth. Or, at
least, to know the latest local issue to get him riled.
"Why are we having
fights, chaos and noise in our library?" demanded the billboard, in capital
letters, after Holdcraft was upset by reports of unruly behavior at the town
library. "Why the Green Party?" the sign queried, after Holdcraft decided he was
unimpressed by a candidate for selectman from that party. "You can't gavel me
silent," screamed the sign, after a selectman did just that to Holdcraft at a
Hurling a new attack or allegation every week, the sign has provoked
amusement and outrage in this town of 3,000 people west of Worcester, split by
the rushing Quaboag River.
This is awesome! An article all about a townie in Brookfield. He kind of reminds me of Sign Lady.
Known by some in Brookfield as "Dump Man," he said, he fought for years for a
permit that would allow him to run a small rubbish business on the land where
the sign now stands.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Sizing Up The Candidates Part 6

Poverty/Health Care/Jobs

My Take: Everyone deserves to be paid a fair and just wage for their work. The minimum wage should gradually be raised. Social Welfare Programs aren't exactly known to promote hard work and independence. They generally should not be increased. Health care should be made more affordable (available to everyone), but the government shouldn't fund the system. The idea of subsidiarity works great here: leave matters to the smallest competent authority.

Mike Huckabee - Republican -

Raise Minimum Wage Maybe
Universal Health Care

Increase Social Welfare Programs


Ron Paul - Republican - 70%
Raise Minimum Wage No
Universal Health Care
Increase Social Welfare Programs No

As much as I love Ron Paul as a candidate, he is starting to lose some ground. His almost totally laissez faire economic policies don't impress me. This is going to be an extremely tight race. Stay tuned.

Picking the President: More Crime

Keep marijuana illegal Clinton, Huckabee, McCain
Let individual states decide Paul
Legalize medical marijuana nationwide Richardson L.O.L
Decriminalize the possession and use of marijuana Obama
Legalize marijuana entirely Gravel
I think marijuana should be treated like alcohol. I suppose that's what Obama will do. I'm not encouraging the use of marijuana, though. Those who possess and use other, more dangerous drugs, should be punished for doing so. The prohibition of marijuana is distracting the law enforcers from busting people for those worse drugs. Obama's tied for second with McCain, with Gravel in the lead.

Think This?

Excessive use of computers in the classroom can actually hinder learning, is the
conclusion of a report put out Tuesday by the Frontier Centre for Public Policy,
a conservative think tank based in Winnipeg.
The key term here is "excessive." Take everything in moderation.
Mary Jean Gallagher, director of education for the Greater Essex County District
School Board, said the report's assumptions are out-dated and make sweeping
"I guess what I can say about computers is they are this
generation's TV sets of 40 years ago," Gallagher said. "It's an aid. Computers
now bring the real world into the classroom in a way that you can't bring
students into the world. It's not about teaching a kid to use a computer, it's
about using the computer to enrich learning."

Darfur update

KHARTOUM, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir Wednesday told
the Chinese government's visiting special representative for Darfur, Liu
that Sudan was grateful for China's unremitting efforts to push
forward the
settlement of the Darfur issue, Liu said.

At least one member of the Chinese government has been working hard for Darfur.
Liu, who arrived in the Sudanese capital early Sunday after visiting
Britain, is currently on a four-day visit to Sudan. It is his fourth visit to
Africa's largest nation since his appointment last May.
On Tuesday, Liu
flew into South Darfur's capital city Nyala fora one-day visit to assess
security and humanitarian situations there. It was his second visit to Darfur
since his appointment.
Liu, a 62-year-old veteran diplomat and former
Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe and South Africa, has been engaged in African
affairs for more than 25 years.
Since assuming his current post, he has
paid three visits to Sudan and also shuttled between the United States, Britain,
Egypt and other countries concerned, making unremitting efforts to resolve the
Darfur issue.

William Buckley dies at 82

NEW YORK—William F. Buckley Jr., the erudite Ivy Leaguer and conservative herald
who showered huge and scornful words on liberalism as he observed, abetted and
cheered on the right's post-World War II rise from the fringes to the White
House, died Wednesday. He was 82.
Glen would've liked this guy.

Sox go to Washington

Members of last year’s Red Sox team will fly to Washington, D.C., today to meet
with President George W. Bush at the White House, an honor that comes with
winning the 2007 World Series.
"My fellow Americans...I love me some o' them Red"

Wakefield man gets 18 years

BOSTON - A former Evangelista Way man was sentenced Monday in federal court for
an investment scheme that defrauded more than 400 victims out of $20 million.
Frank J. Russo, 52, who pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 18 years in jail.
18 and life You got it/18 and life you know/Your crime is time and it's/18 and life to go

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Faulk Realizes That All Matter Is Merely Ener....

Patriots running back Kevin Faulk has been charged with marijuana possession after he was found with four hand-rolled cigars filled with the illegal substance while attending a concert in his home state of Louisiana, Capt. John Babin of the Lafayette (La.) Metro Narcotics Task Force said today.

Faulk, who has played nine seasons in the NFL, all with the Patriots, was issued a citation after he was found with marijuana while attending a Lil' Wayne rap concert last Friday night at the Cajundome in Lafayette.

Faulk, 31, was not taken into custody, but as part of the citation agreed to appear in court to face the charge of simple possession of marijuana. No court date has been established yet.

Faulk is the second Patriots player to be cited for marijuana possession this off-season.

This is a top story on That is sad.

Gov't To Monitor Video Games

Be careful who you frag. Having eliminated all terrorism in the real world, the U.S. intelligence community is working to develop software that will detect violent extremists infiltrating World of Warcraft and other massive multiplayer games, according to a data-mining report from the Director of National Intelligence.

The Reynard project will begin by profiling online gaming behavior, then potentially move on to its ultimate goal of "automatically detecting suspicious behavior and actions in the virtual world." -

Hey, United States about no.

Picking the President: Crime

Supports death penalty with no more restrictions Huckabee, McCain
Supports death penalty, with more restrictions on its use Clinton, Obama
Opposes death penalty Paul, Gravel
"You shall not kill." That phrase sound familiar? It's one of the Ten Commandments. One a lot of non-Jews and non-Christians can get behind. Points to Paul and Gravel, who's back in the lead.

Funny Picture of the Day

Water voles to receive protection

Concerned about animals? Here's a story you'll like.

Water voles are to be given protection from persecution and accidental
disturbance to try to stem the decline in their population.
More here.

Iraq update

The Iraqi Government demanded today that Turkey withdraw its army from Iraq's
snowbound northern mountains.
Let's hope the Turks get out soon. They're only exacerbating the situation in Iraq.
Confirmation of exactly what the Turkish troops are doing in Iraq is difficult
because the combat zone is a remote, mountainous area, much of it still covered
in deep snow.
And now, a snippet of death and destruction.
Firat, a pro-Kurdish news agency, said that Iraqi Kurd peshmergas had found the
bodies of three Turkish soldiers who died of exposure during combat operations
on Sunday, and turned them over to the Turkish military. This afternoon the
Turkish army reported the deaths of two soldiers.
Firat also said that PKK
guerrillas in winter camouflage had shot down a Turkish helicopter at the
weekend, taking up positions under cover of darkness and waiting hours on the
snowbound hillside to target the aircraft as several helicopters were flying
low. It said the Turkish military stopped operations in the area for a while,
and guerrillas were able to return to their bases without suffering any losses.
Turkey has acknowledged that a helicopter crashed in Iraq, and said that an
investigation was under way. Two pilots were killed.
The Turkish military
has reported the deaths of 17 military personnel and more than 150 rebels, while
the PKK claims that only a few rebels and 81 soldiers have died. Neither report
can be confirmed.
The PKK is fighting for autonomy in predominantly Kurdish
southeastern Turkey, where the Turkish authorities have suppressed Kurdish
culture. It has carried out attacks in Turkey from bases inside northern Iraq.
The conflict started in 1984 and has killed up to 40,000 people.

Darfur update

KHARTOUM (AFP) — The deadly conflict in Darfur entered its sixth year on Tuesday
with no solution in sight, as Khartoum continued to resist the full deployment
of a peacekeeping force amid a fresh wave of bombings.
UNAMID has provided a little relief, but until that force gets a bit stronger, there's no end in sight.
Bush and US officials have expressed increasing impatience at the slow
deployment of a new UN-mandated peacekeeping mission, which merged with a poorly
equipped African Union force on January 1.
The new mission, the UN's largest,
will eventually consist of 26,600 troops and police but only 9,200 such
personnel are currently deployed.
Khartoum however lashed out at Western
criticism of the slow deployment, criticising UN chief Ban Ki-moon's expression
of alarm over renewed violence in Darfur as "unfortunate."
presidential aide Nafie Ali Nafie pointed the finger at Britain, France and the
United States for the peacekeepers' slow deployment.
"Lack of funding is the
reason behind the delay in the deployment of the hybrid operation," Nafie said
on Sunday.

New York Philharmonic performs

PYONGYANG, North Korea - Cold War foes the United States and North Korea enjoyed
a rare moment of harmony on Tuesday that could bring them closer together, when
the New York Philharmonic played an unprecedented concert in the hermit state.
Perhaps music is the universal language. Of all things, a concert is bringing two nations closer together.

Sign up for baseball. Or not.

Baseball Sign-ups will be held on Thursday, February 28 at 2:15 in the field
Ah, yes, baseball. America's pasttime. Yeah, right.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Picking the President: Gun Policy

Opposes banning assault weapons Huckabee, McCain, Paul
Supports banning assault weapons Clinton, Gravel, Obama

Between believing we should stay the course and what I'm about to say, I'm going to sound like a radical Republican. But the Second Amendment is not one that should be repealed. Points to the elephants. McCain and Gravel tied for first?!?

Iraq update

AMADIYAH, Iraq (AFP) — The Turkish army said it killed 41 Kurdish rebels Monday, taking the overall toll in its offensive in northern Iraq to 170, as the US renewed calls for restraint and a swift withdrawal.

So many wars. So many rebels. So many deaths.

New York Philharmonic arrives in North Korea

PYONGYANG, North Korea: Nearly six decades after U.S. troops were pushed back down to the 38th parallel in the Korean War, the New York Philharmonic and a delegation of 175 journalists, staff and patrons alighted Monday in the capital of this isolated state.
It was the largest contingent of Americans to appear here since the conflict ended in 1953.

Perhaps this wirr read to...sorry...perhaps this will lead to a better relationship between America and North Korea.

Fluorescent bulbs pose small mercury risk

Compact fluorescent lights -- those energy-efficient bulbs popular as a way to combat global warming -- can pose a small risk of mercury poisoning to infants, young children and pregnant women if they break, two reports concluded today.

Don't get too scared, though.
But the reports, issued by the state of Maine and the Vermont-based Mercury Policy Project, urged homeowners to keep using the bulbs because their energy-saving benefits far outweigh the risk posed by mercury release from any broken light.

No Country wins big

No Country for Old Men was the big winner at the 80th Annual Academy Awards, winning four Oscars including Best Picture.

That's cool, I guess. Still haven't seen that movie. I couldn't get to bed last night, so I flipped between the Oscars and Adult Swim.

DPW hurt by cuts

And now, the latest on Wakefield's budget crisis.

WAKEFIELD - Citing rising fuel and material costs, Department of Public Works Director Richard Stinson explained to the Finance Committee Thursday night that his budget for the FY’09 has been reduced by a gross total of $98,902, to $3,393,285, resulting in a loss of two positions.

Bruce Andrews Gropes Erin Andrews

Going into halftime of Saturday night's #1 versus #2 showdown between Memphis and Tennessee, ESPN sideline reporter/sports nerd fantasy Erin Andrews asked Vols coach/sweatiest man alive Bruce Pearl how Memphis was containing Chris Lofton. Pearl answered with a demonstration. Apparently the Tigers were grabbing Lofton's ass with both hands and rubbing their erect penises on his leg. Weird defense, but it sounds effective. - With Leather
People are making a big deal out of this. All he apparently did was grab her shoulders, but some dumb ass titled the video (which is here) "Bruce Pearl Molests Erin Andrews."

By the way, Erin Andrews =

High School Forums/Étudiant

The Étudiant forums are back. They are no longer located at proboards, but instead they have a spot on an already established website: A few sophomores run it and they've certainly done a great job in building the boards. But perhaps what they are known the most for over there is their public radio. The server isn't up 24/7 (hopefully it will be at some time!) but at select times during the day, you can listen to the semi-live radio. Admin at WHS forum, P-Stick, helped me out with becoming a DJ so in the very near future look for Chris Decarlo and I to start the radio show back up. Right now, the DJs seem to play a mix of classic rock, hard rock, and techno. They are very open to requests so be sure to post them on the forums or simply e-mail or IM them to the DJs. So make sure to listen in sometime (or all the time)!

More information on our radio show will follow in the imminent future.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Few Minor Changes Here At W.É.

So many features, so many labels. We value our features so much here at the Étudiant. If you don't know what I am talking about then take a look at the poll which is to the right of this post. Anyway, I think in order to make things easier on you guys (the readers), we should categorize each feature/label under a big heading. The goal is to eliminate the "Links List". Instead of clicking on "Music" and fishing through that page to find archived Songs of the Week, you can now just click "Songs of the Week" under the "Étudiant Music" heading. I think you get the idea. Hopefully Ben will be able to assist me in allocating these labels to a spot under a larger heading. This project shouldn't take too much time. One other thing that we will be doing is minimizing the number of posts that appear on the front page of the site. We haven't determined an exact number of posts to be displayed, but I will sure you that there will not be too many visible. Why do this? Well, think of it this way: The front page is an overview of the days news, opinion pieces, and features. There might be a little music, a little news, and a little rant. If you want to find older/specific articles, you will be able to by utilizing the headings on the right panel of the site.


Oh yeah and anonymous. I know you only check here every four days or so, but there is yet another new comment for you beneath the "...Blues" article. I just thought you'd like to know that.

A Horrific Tale of Myspace Obsession


Band Spotlight: Kasabian

History: Formed in 1999 as Saracuse. In 2000, they changed their band name to Kasabian. The band was relatively unknown between 99' and 02', but with the help of online promotion from Tom Meighan, the lead singer, the band took off.

Tom Meighan - Lead Vocals
Sergio Pizzorno - Guitar/Back-Up Vocals
Chris Edwards - Bass
Ian Matthews - Drums

Genre: Independent Electronic British Pop

Musical Style: Kasabian combines elements of electronica with the catchy elements of British Pop. Most of Kasabian's tunes are energetic, rousing, and artistically stylish. You can almost sense a little neo-psychedelia infused in some songs.

Best Album: Kasabian (2004)

Top Songs:
- "Club Foot"
- "Cutt Off"
- "I.D"
- "Shoot the Runner"

Influences: Primal Scream, The Stone Roses, DJ Shadow, and The Rolling Stones

Influenced: Aloud, Major Morgan, Low Sea Roar, Autumn Stone

Why You Should Listen To Kasabian: I usually reference specific songs in my "Why You Should Listen To..." and I will again here. One song that really captures all aspects of the band is "Cutt Off". Just listen.

Slanted and Enchanted* (Part Two)

*This is a lengthy one

Why are professional sports players paid so much money?
A. This question surprisingly gets asked a lot. First, there is so much money in professional sports it is kind of disgusting. Let me just quickly run through an example. Take the Boston Red Sox. They are one of the biggest spenders in Major League Baseball. You ask how can they possibly afford it? One of the largest streams of revenue comes from ticket sales. Fenway Park is the smallest stadium in MLB, but the Sox don't need to worry because they are charging some of the highest prices for tickets. The fact that people are willing to dish out the big bucks every single home game literally pays off for the team. I was just looking up ticket prices and in 2003 the average ticket price was $42.34. There are approximately 38,805 seats at Fenway. The math is quite easy. The Red Sox bring in $1,643,004 per game. Multiply that number by 80 home games each year and for one given year the total amount of ticket sales is $131,440,320. That amount is almost enough to cover the entire Red Sox 25 man roster payroll which is currently somewhere around $143,123,714. Another major source of income is television. The Red Sox own a major portion of NESN, which is obviously the most watched Boston sports television station. They definitely allocate income from there to the players. Also, just by watching NESN or whatever station, people are being exposed to the team. And we all know that once you start watching and becoming a fan, you "must" buy merchandise to show your support. And merchandise is, by the way, a microcosm of another major source of income for teams: licensed items. These items include aforementioned merchandise (hats, clothing, bats, and toys) as well as video games, food, and beverages. The numbers can get outrageous in this category. Just say that 500,000 fans own $100 worth of total Red Sox related goods. There is another 50,000,000 there. In summary, the fans of the Boston Red Sox are paying the players by supporting them. If you think that they should be payed less, then stop buying Red Sox related shit and stop buying tickets. If you don't mind how much they are getting paid, then keep on doing what you are doing. Always remember that professional sports teams are corporations and businesses.

Songs of the Week

00s- Arcade Fire- Ocean of Noise (2007)

Beat Happening- Teenage Caveman (1992)

The Vaselines- Molly's Lips (1988)

Dead Boys- Sonic Reducer (1977)

Patsy Cline- I Fall To Pieces (1961)

Frank Sinatra- I Left My Heart In San Francisco (1954)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

CD Review: The Covers Record

1) Satisfaction
2) Kingsport Town
3) Troubled Waters
4) Naked If I Want To
5) Sweedeedee
6) In This Hole
7) I Found A Reason
8) Wild Is The Wind
9) Red Apples
10) Paths Of Victory
11) Salty Dog
12) Sea Of Love
The best artists have two things: a diverse body of work, and a unique style that sets that body apart from all the other music out there. When James Taylor sings, Elton John plays piano, or Keith Moon plays drums, you can tell it's them. Cat Power has such a style, the one in which this diverse array of covers is rendered.
But to call The Covers Record a great album is a stretch. Cat's style is a double-edged sword. It is a truly original, unique sound, but one marked by sparse, amateurish, and sometimes just clumsy work on piano or guitar.
"Satisfaction" is barely recognizable. The only element of the song Cat retains is its lyrics. In doing so, she brings out the dark side of that song.
Gone are the rich melodies of "Kingsport Town" and "Sweedeedee", replaced by vocals just as minimalist as the instrumental work. But her style is perfect for "Salty Dog" and "Sea of Love." Gone is the cheese, in focus are the songs' pleas for love.
Cat has a great sound, but it is better suited for her own compositions. You can't just play any song in her style and expect it to sound good. She picked great songs to cover, but her renditions are either hits or misses.
***1/2 out of five

Band Spotlight: The Editors

History: The Editors began when all four members met at Staffordshire University in 2003. They eventually signed to Kitchenware Records in September 2004. A year later, the band released their debut album The Back Room.

Genre: Post-Punk Revival (I guess)

Musical Style:
The Editor's music echoes the early 80s British Post-Punk sound. Best represented by bands such as Joy Division. Most of their songs are extremely catchy with danceable beats. But don't be fooled by my little analysis, they're not just some "pretty boy, fairy prince pop act." Their music is passionate and riveting. Best exemplified on "Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors." Now, since I just discovered the Editors last month my knowledge of their musical style is limited. Well actually my comrade asked me to attend one of their shows with him( the day of the concert) and I had never heard of them. It turned out to be a spectacular night, and I must say one of the best shows I have seen.

Best Album: The Back Room (2005)

Top Songs:
"Dust in the Sunlight"
"All Sparks"
"An End Has A Start"
"Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors"
"The Racing Rats"

Influences: Joy Division, Echo & The Bunnymen, Interpol, U2,The Chameleons, and several others.

Influenced: ? Since the band formed merely five years ago, it is hard to determine what influence if any they have had on other artists. If any fans/journalists know of any artists the Editors have influenced, by all means post them on here. Thanks in advance. Only time will tell with whom they inspire; with their amazing music, I am sure numerous young, aspiring lads will enter the rock circuit.

Why You Should Listen To The Editors: Do you like to dance? If you say yes, well instead of hopping around to teeny boppers like Justin Timberlake and Hanna Montana, check out the Editors and 'cut a rug' to thought provoking music. Just a thought. And of course if you don't like to dance well, I assure you tracks such as, "Munich" and "All Sparks" will have you singing along in no time(no dancing required!).

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Hey, Anonymous

"... Blues" got bumped off the page, but there is a new comment directed towards ya. Click here to check it out.

CD Review: Greatest Hits

1) Something In The Way She Moves
2) Carolina In My Mind
3) Fire And Rain
4) Sweet Baby James
5) Country Road
6) You've Got A Friend
7) Don't Let Me Be Lonely Tonight
8) Walking Man
9) How Sweet It Is
10) Mexico
11) Shower The People
12) Steamroller
James Taylor can do it all. Check out Byron Berline's fiddle and Dan Dugmore's steel on "Carolina In My Mind." Do I smell a hint of country? Right after that, there's the beautifully simple "Fire And Rain", with James backed only by bass, drums, and Carole King on piano. A few tracks later comes his version of "How Sweet It Is", the perfect background music for a dating site's commercials.
But everyone knows this guy's style. James Taylor is the definition of mellow, a smooth-voiced storyteller strumming his acoustic guitar. That's how he rolls.
Which is why "Steamroller" is a shock. A slow blues? Solos? The king of mellow is a closet blues man?
Well, whoever chose the tracks for this album sure did a great job. I would've put "Steamroller" before "Shower the People", shock the listeners with this anomaly of a song, only to follow it up with a peace and love anthem they might actually, you know, expect. Either way, that's the track mom's gonna skip.
But believe it or not, James Taylor pulled it off just as well as he did all the other songs on this disc. He's the best kind of musician - a versatile one. This collection has country, soul, jazz, blues, and soft rock, all sung by that instantly recognizable voice. And he pulls it off, too.
***** out of five

Picking the President: Social Security

Opposes privatization Clinton, Obama
Supports individual accounts, but no individual investment choice Gravel
Supports partial privatization Huckabee, McCain
Supports privatization, with full individual investment choice Paul
I'll go with the non-Gravel Democrats and oppose privatization. I can understand the Republicans' sentiment that the individual ought to control where his/her money goes. But overhauling the system would cost a trillion dollars. Our deficit's big enough, thank you very much. Obama's now tied for second with McCain...

Acamademic Application

The last book we read in English was Henrik Ibsen's play A Doll's House. I've found a nice article about a production of that play over in the Midwest.

Tickets are now available for the IPFW Department of Theatre production of A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen, directed by Jeff Casazza.

Read more here.

Iraq update

And now, a follow-up to yesterday's Iraq update.

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Powerful Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr is expected to extend a six-month truce by his militia, two officials in his movement said on Thursday, a move Washington says is important for maintaining security gains.

Serbs burn U.S. Embassy

BELGRADE, Serbia --Serb rioters set fire to an office inside the U.S. Embassy Thursday and police clashed with protesters outside other embassy buildings after a large demonstration against Kosovo's declaration of independence.

And now, a history lesson. Kosovo is 90 percent ethnic Albanian, and that big group has been clashing with the other ten percent, the Serbs, for years. Serbia controlled Kosovo until 1999, when NATO launched airstrikes to halt a Serbian crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatists. A U.N. mission has governed the land ever since.
Kosovo recently declared independence, effectively pissing off all the Serbs in and around the area. The U.S., along with many other nations, has recognized the declaration. And that's why you can now add Serbia to the ever-growing list of nations that hate America.

Insurance budget drops

WAKEFIELD - The town can expect to pay $315,269 for General Insurance in FY’09, $84,731 less than it paid in FY’08.
John Spinello of Chas. F. Hartshorne & Son Insurance presented the town's General Insurance budget to the selectmen last Saturday morning during a special budget session at Town Hall.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Spiderwick Chronicles review

The Spiderwick Chronicles
Rated PG
**** out of five
Directed by Mark Waters
Starring Freddie Highmore, Mary Louise-Parker, and the voice of Nick Nolte
Go see it in IMAX while you still can. This is the kind of film you must see in a theater, and IMAX only enhances the experience. You can see the beautiful photography and animation of this movie in a way you never could on your TV, let alone a regular theater.
The Spiderwick Chronicles is full of C.G.I., which is well done overall. The goblins don't quite look convincing, but all the other magical creatures sure do. IMAX proves just how good the camera work in the movie is. Right at the start, there's a shot of title character Arthur Spiderwick's eye that will blow you away.
There's a lot more this movie did well than just shots and C.G.I. I haven't read the books it's based on, but they sure picked some good books to adapt to film. The script has a few questionable moments, but overall I enjoyed the dialogue, foreshadowing, action scenes, and asense of humor.
The acting is superb all around. If you've seen Finding Neverland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, you know Freddie Highmore can act. But in this film, he convincingly portrays twins with distinct personalities. He also pulls a Hugh Laurie on us, dropping his natural British accent for a dead-on American one.
All in all, The Spiderwick Chronicles will surely satisfy moviegoers of all ages, whether they've read the books or not. The movie has tight pacing, a snappy script, and great acting. Future fantasy filmmakers should take note.

CD Review: Madman Across the Water

1) Tiny Dancer
2) Levon
3) Razor Face
4) Madman Across The Water
5) Indian Sunset
6) Holiday Inn
7) Rotten Peaches
8) All The Nasties
9) Goodbye
Elton and his team take Bernie Taupin's stories and turn them into classic tracks. This album is just great from top to bottom. It still sounds fresh 37 years after it was made.
Any album with a track like "Tiny Dancer" would be worth a listen. It starts with the instantly recognizable piano stylings of Elton John and crescendos into an epic, courtesy Gus Dudgeon's production and Paul Buckmaster's arrangement. But don't stop there.
"Tiny Dancer" is followed by an even better song, "Levon", which is structured somewhat similarly, but has a different tone. Check out Elton's singing! This is back before he messed up his voice with drugs, and he belts it out and hits those high notes as only a master can.
"Razor Face" is another track that stands out, featuring great double-tracked vocals and a face-melting accordion solo from Jack Emblow. The title track packs plenty of punch. My favorite track may be "Indian Sunset", featuring a haunting arrangement that begins a capella and builds to feature an entire orchestra that comes in and out over Elton's voice and piano.
This album explains why, by the 70s, Elton was one of the most successful musicians of all time. Each track is different from the last, from the folk-tinged "Holiday Inn" to the country-flavored "Rotten Peaches". Yet all throughout, Elton retains his distinctive style that made him a superstar.
***** out of five

Picking the President: Guest Worker Programs

Supports guest worker program McCain, Gravel
Does not support guest worker program Huckabee, Paul, Clinton, Obama
I support guest worker programs, further supporting my theory that I'll support anything Mike Gravel does. They give immigrants an opportunity without breaking any laws. The government just has to be careful to kick them out once they're done with their job.