Monday, March 31, 2008

Mark your calendar!

Check out a show on May 23.  Bands include The Pluto Gong, Silhouette Rising, Zephyr, The Yellow Team, and The Appreciation Post.  Proceeds go to Save Darfur!  Good luck, Zephyr!

Man Has Intercourse With Table

Police said an Ohio man has been arrested for allegedly having sex with a picnic table.

Police arrested Arthur Price Jr. after an anonymous tipster dropped off three DVDs that reportedly showed Price in the act.

According to NBC Toledo, Ohio, affiliate WNWO-TV, the videos show Price tilting the metal round picnic table on its side and then laying up against it to have sexual intercourse with the table. Afterward, he can then be seen cleaning the table and the deck.

During questioning, he reportedly admitted to having sex with the table. Police said he also admitted to bringing the table inside his home for sex.

Price faces four counts of public indecency. He was freed after posting $20,000 bond, authorities said. - NBC 10
As one internet commenter added: "This story begs the question, which brand of condom offers the best protection against splinters?"

I don't even know if that is worse than this:
FIA President Max Mosley has been caught on film taking part in a Nazi fetish orgy, a British tabloid revealed earlier today. Although we initially thought it was the world's zaniest April Fool's joke, we were wrong. Sick and wrong. During the five-hour orgy video, which the tabloid also has in possession (and which we have a quick clip from up top) Mosley both dominated and submitted to the five hookers, who dressed both as Nazis and concentration camp prisoners. The 67-year-old, who has been married for 48 years, was at one point whipped so hard that the orgy had to be halted while a bandage was applied to stop his bleeding. - Jalopnik

Myanmar update

The violence in Myanmar has died down, but the military junta is still waging war against human rights.

YANGON, Myanmar — Myanmar's draft constitution perpetuates military domination
of politics and protects junta members from prosecution for past actions,
according to a copy of the document obtained Monday.
The draft was completed
in February and will go before voters in a May referendum. It has not yet been
made public, but a copy of the 194-page text was obtained by The Associated
The draft charter allots 25 per cent of seats in both houses of
parliament to the military.
It also effectively bars pro-democracy leader
Aung San Suu Kyi from becoming president or a lawmaker because she was married
to a foreigner, maintaining a controversial clause from guidelines used to draft
the charter.

Afghan officials hate what's on TV

A popular Afghan television channel, known for its Indian soap operas and "Pop
Idol"-style talent contest, has come under pressure from Afghan officials for
broadcasting what they call "immoral and un-Islamic" programs.
FYI, Pop Idol is the British show on which American Idol is based. Surprising that Afghan officials would hate something so superficial.

Iraq update

When Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki ordered the Iraqi Army to clean out what he
called criminal elements in Al-Basrah a week ago, he offered no
Saying that the central government was duty-bound to bring
security to Iraq's main port and oil-export center, he said that "we will
continue until the end. No retreat, no talks, no negotiations." He also went to
Al-Basrah, vowing not to leave again until the security operation was
But after six days of fighting that spread rapidly from Al-Basrah
to other cities in the south of Iraq and to Baghdad, al-Maliki welcomed a
cease-fire offer from radical Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on March 30. The
street fighting now appears over.
Joost Hiltermann, an Iraq expert with the
International Crisis Group, says the fighting was a test of strength between
Iraq's two major Shi'ite political factions. Its inconclusive end underlines
anew the difficulties Washington will have with leaving Iraq, despite progress
against Al-Qaeda and Sunni insurgents and hopes this progress might be sustained
by the Shi'ite-dominated central government.
"I think it was a dual campaign,
on the one hand, by the Iraqi government, which wanted to impose its sovereignty
over Al-Basrah, which has been lawless, and secondly, it's a campaign based on
the desire by one of the ruling parties, which has its own militia, [the Islamic
Supreme Council of Iraq, led by Abd al-Aziz al-Hakim] with its Badr Corps, to
push back the Sadr movement and its militia, the Mahdi Army, especially since
provincial council elections have been planned for the fall in which the Sadr
movement is likely to do much better than the Supreme Council."
says the political nature of the power struggle quickly became apparent as the
fighting began. The national army units involved were units from southern Iraq,
where the recruiting has been heavily from the Supreme Council's Badr
He says that the other major component of the Iraqi Army,
recruits from the Kurdish militias in northern Iraq, "would not go down to the
south to fight this kind of fight."
As the clashes intensified, the 28,000
soldiers involved in the operation proved unable to quickly drive al-Sadr's Imam
Al-Mahdi Army from the streets, despite U.S. air support. In the interim,
Sadrists in other towns in the south, as well as in Baghdad's sprawling Al-Sadr
City slum, tactically spread the fighting there. That escalated the stakes for
al-Maliki's government to unacceptable levels as it raised fears of a general
insurrection by al-Sadr's forces.
Hiltermann says the sudden end to the
showdown on March 30 seems to have come with Iran brokering a cease-fire between
the two sides. Tehran has close ties with both the Supreme Council and al-Sadr's
movement and wants to see a strong Shi'ite-dominated government survive against
Sunni and Kurdish rivals following any U.S. drawdown in Iraq.
Standoff Continues
That leaves the situation in Al-Basrah very much where it
was before the week of fighting, which claimed some 359 lives across
Hiltermann says Al-Basrah remains divided among three groups. One, the
Shi'ite Al-Fadilah (Virtue) Party, is associated with provincial Governor
Muhammad Wa'ili. It stayed out of the fray while the troops and the Sadrists
Hiltermann says that Al-Fadilah "has done very well for itself, and
they have the governor position and they control the oil company there, so they
have a very good share of the oil trade and the oil smuggling that is going on
there. The other groups are trying to get a cut of that and, of course, have
shared power to some extent, with Supreme Council dominating security
institutions and the Sadrists being involved in the police and being very strong
on the street."
So, what happens next? One player to watch is al-Maliki. The
prime minister, who is from a Shi'ite religious party, Al-Da'wah, t has no
strong militia, has had to ally himself at various times with al-Sadr or the
Supreme Council. Al-Sadr's party helped him win his post as prime minister, but
since then the Sadrists have distanced themselves from him as he has
worked closely with the United States, which al-Sadr wants out of
Al-Maliki has worked hard to portray himself as a national figure able
to restore security and suppress corruption in Iraq. His strong identification
with the Supreme Council in leading a fight against al-Sadr, however, now may
damage that image, handicapping him as a leader.
The other thing to watch
will be the governorate-council elections later this year. In the aftermath of
last week's fighting, the question is whether the rival Shi'ite parties will now
accept the ballot box as the way to balance power between them or will continue
to try force. What they decide will go a long way toward defining the stability
of Iraq.
How often do you see "Iraq" and "Fighting Over" in the same headline? This, my friends, is why the US is still down there. We're trying to prevent violence like this and failing miserably.

Darfur update

(New York, March 31, 2008) – South Africa should use its Security Council
presidency in April 2008 to make significant progress on human rights crises in
Somalia, Darfur and Burma, Human Rights Watch said in a letter to South Africa’s
minister of foreign affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, and members of the United
Nations Security Council.
You know who else should be doing more about these crises?

Hurt yourself, look great!

She calls it black magic. Every time her jeans start feeling tight, she skips a
few doses of the insulin she needs to treat her diabetes. The pounds slip off -
but there's a price.
Damage from her uncontrolled diabetes is ravaging her
stomach and her eyes. She was hospitalized three times in December and January
when her blood became dangerously acidic.
It's worrying how far some will go to look "good." You know, for those guys who like the disturbingly skinny. Amy Winehouse is, like, so hot.

DPW presents natural disaster plan

WAKEFIELD — The town now has a new Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan. The plan
identifies and addresses mitigation measures for floods, winds, fires,
earthquakes and snow and ice hazards.
Sounds good. What'll it cost?
The plan was presented to the Board of Selectmen this week by DPW Director
Richard Stinson, who explained that the plan is required if the town is to
receive grant funding for future pre-hazard mitigation plans.

Buy your ticket

The Ms. Toohey ALS Benefit is being held on Thursday, April 3 and tickets are
now on sale.
I hope I can get out of pit orchestra practice and go.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sweet Home Alabama

Prepare yourself for this one - maybe with a Stoli martini or two.

Back in the days of the Soviet Union, the Soviet Red Army had an official choir composed of male soldiers and musicians. It still exists. The Red Army Choir performs throughout Russia to this day.

Now consider the Finnish rock band called The Leningrad Cowboys. A little while ago, they held a concert in Russia, in which - to the screaming applause of Russkie teen-agers - they got the Red Army Choir to join them on stage for a performance of "Sweet Home Alabama." In English. You couldn't make this up.

We're talking seriously off the wall here. Better have that Stoli ready when you watch it. - To The Point News
Here is the link:

Saturday, March 29, 2008

There's Always Room For Jello!

Imagine if this guy was our mayor or even better our president!

Video of the Day

Paul Weller - "Whirlpool's End"

The Modfather at his finest right there

Economy, Recession, Et Al

The capitalistic system typically undergoes mild recessions that correct imbalances built up during the expansion. When these recessions are not allowed to occur, the imbalances just get worse and eventually results in a much deeper recession, or even depression. After the country goes through an incredible spending spree financed with debt, there has to be a period of cleansing. And if this indulgence is accompanied by almost everyone moving into homes they cannot afford or buying second and third homes based on unlimited credit, causing an incredible housing bubble that has to be corrected, it makes the problem much worse. There is nothing the Fed can do to stop housing prices from continuing to decline and commercial real estate will be the next shoe to fall.

The period of cleansing is called a recession, but if the government and Fed continue to interfere and maybe postpone it again, the recession might turn into a depression. Let's hope the Fed and the Administration realize what is inevitable soon, or it could really get nasty!!! - Comstock Partners

Raul Castro Says OK To Cellphones

President Raul Castro's government is allowing ordinary Cubans to have cell phones.

The luxury was previously reserved for those who worked for foreign firms or held key posts with the communist-run state.

Friday's decree officially lifts a major restriction on daily life in Cuba.

It's the kind of small freedom many on the island have been hoping Raul Castro would embrace since taking over the presidency from his older brother Fidel last month.

Some Cubans previously ineligible for cell phones already had gotten them by having foreigners sign contracts in their names. - Associated Press

Raul is the man, isn't he?

Darfur Update

To help the process, the U.S. is increasing pressure on the U.N. to speed the deployment of peacekeepers to Darfur, pushing for 3,600 new troops in Sudan's western region by June.

In a letter delivered Thursday to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Williamson criticized delays in sending troops to Darfur, and asked the United Nations' peacekeeping department to be more flexible in its requirements for troops and equipment.

"At this crucial moment, the deployment of new troops as quickly as possible is our best hope to change the course of this tragedy," he wrote in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Times.

In an interview, Williamson said that it was "pathetic" that only 290 new personnel had arrived in Darfur since January, when the U.N. absorbed 9,000 police officers and soldiers from the African Union force already there. He suggested, among other things, that the U.N. pay for the soldiers' equipment and food rather than wait for their home countries to provide the supplies. - LA Times

Alphabet Soup To Be Canned

WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration is proposing a sweeping overhaul of the nation's financial regulatory system, combining what is now an alphabet soup of government agencies into three streamlined regulators.

The proposal is the result of a year of study by Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. and has the support of president, according to Treasury officials who spoke on condition of anonymity Friday.

Under the administration's plan, which will be released in detail Monday, the Federal Reserve would get expanded power to promote stability in financial markets.

The Securities and Exchange Commission and a handful of other federal agencies -- all formed in the Great Depression or earlier -- would be restructured and have their responsibilities redefined. - LA Times
I have a little bit of hatred towards alphabet soup. Thanks, AP U.S History. Oh yeah, and guess who can up with the title of this article? I am good, aren't I?

Friday, March 28, 2008

Songs of the Week

00s- Immortal Technique- Dance With the Devil(2001)

90s- Dinosaur Jr.- I Ain't Sayin'(1993)

80s- Daniel Johnston- Walking The Cow(1983)

70s- David Allan Coe- Masterbation Blues(1978)

60s- The Stooges- No Fun(1969)

50s- The Chordettes- Mr. Sandman(1954)

How To Solve World Hunger

A. Not by criticizing the Church, or so says one Dr. Richard Geraghty:

We try to solve it, knowing that it never will be solved because men will never be perfect but will be afflicted by the results of original sin. Secular Utopians cannot stand hearing this because they feel that if they organize the whole world according to their plans, then perfect justice and prosperity will reign. For that to happen, they argue, the Church will have to quit preaching about original sin and patience under suffering and be as positive in outlook as they are. In this way they come off as much more moral and much more concerned for the human race than the Church. This is pure propaganda which is supposed to make Christians feel guilty for insisting that sin is much more an evil than hunger. Man does not live by bread alone. Of course he needs the bread. But he will be much more apt to get it by saying his prayers and not sinning. This is exactly what a secularist will jump on as a proof that the Church does not really care about the poor and hungry. By their unreal dreams and promises, then, they gain the high moral ground of really loving the human race and would be able to show that love once they got in a position to run the world.

Paul Watts Birthday On Sunday March 30

Paul Watts, 15, of Wakefield Massachusetts will be celebrating his birthday on Sunday, March 30. On Monday, March 31, Paul will be travelling to the Wilmington Registry of Motor Vehicles. There Paul hopes to pass the written exam so that he can get his permit. Everyone wish a happy birthday to the big guy with the blonde hair: "Happy Birthday, Paul"

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Haunted Chair At The Galvin?

I've heard people talk about this at school so I decided to do a google search. Here is what I found:

A young boy locked himself in the basement of the middle school.
He sat in the middle of the room, in a wooden school chair.
While sitting, the boy cut his own throat, and died in that basement.
People say if you go into the basement at night,
you will see the chair placed in the center of the room,
and hear the boy whispering " get out." - Source:

If you have any more information on whatever the hell this is about, please comment.

CD Review: Love

11) Help!
The Beatles' catalog deserves the special treatment it gets.  Many great artists have come and gone before and after this band was active, but none produced such a quality array of songs.  And someone made a remix album?
Thankfully, that someone was George Martin, the guy who produced most of the Beatles' songs.  He had some help with all these modern technological do-hickeys from his son, Giles.  So, don't worry, my fellow Beatles fanatics.
Just check out "Drive My Car/The Word/What You're Doing".  The Martins created a seamless mash-up of the three songs, embellished with the horns of "Savoy Truffle", the guitar solo of "Taxman", and the backing vocals of "Helter Skelter".  Any obsessed fan who read those last two sentences is now salivating with delight.
It doesn't end there.  The circus sounds of "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!" segue perfectly into the raw jamming of "I Want You".  The familiar finger-picking of "Blackbird" introduces another beautiful ballad, "Yesterday".
I could go on forever about all the cool moments.  Just check this CD out, if you haven't already, and listen to it all the way through, like a truly great album.  THIS is how to treat the Beatles' catalog.
****3/4 out of five

Think This: Were the 1980s A Period of Greed?

Conservatives think it is odd that economic growth when a conservative is president is called "greed," while economic growth when a liberal is president is called "prosperity."

Nonetheless, here are facts about the 1980s:

From 1982 through 1989, the years President Reagan's economic policies were in effect, corporate contributions to charities grew an average of 10 percent per year, outstripping inflation by over 6 percent.

Throughout the 1980s, the average income of all economic segments of the American population rose: the poorest fifth by 10.4 percent, the second poorest fifth by 9.5 percent, the middle fifth by 11.7 percent, the second-wealthiest fifth by 12.2 percent and the top fifth by 13.6 percent. Poverty fell by 1.1 percent. - What Conservatives Think

Except right now we do have a conservative President and we are heading into recession.

Martin Ends Campaign For Mayor

Former Suffolk District Attorney Ralph C. Martin II today ended his flirtation with a campaign for mayor, instead accepting a promotion to run the Boston office of his international law firm.

His ascension appears to make him the first black managing partner of a major Boston law firm, a historic milestone in the city's legal community, where minorities have historically struggled to rise in the ranks. The management committee of Bingham McCutchen voted Tuesday to name Martin managing partner and announced the decision internally this afternoon.

"I've been joking with Ralph that I see his new job as mayor of the firm's Boston office," said Bingham McCutchen's chairman, Jay S. Zimmerman. "What that means is he's charged with listening to people, understanding their needs and concerns, and making sure our Boston office remains a vibrant internal community."

It would have been nice having a non-mumbling mayor.

Darfur survivor visits WHS

Marwa Abdalla, 19, grew up in Darfur.  Before the war began, "It was really peaceful and beautiful."  However, she saw first-hand the causes of the current conflict.

"It was difficult," she says of her life before the fighting broke out.
Darfur was a region populated by farmers of African, not Arabic, descent.  Marwa's father was one of those farmers.
"One of my family went to school," because they could not afford to educate all nine children
"So we have to stay home and help my father with his stuff...We had little but we were happy with it."
But Marwa knew her hometown was poor compared to other areas of the Sudan, particularly the wealthy area around the capital, Khartoum.  The other regions of the nation had, as she puts it, "everything."
"How come we don't have everything?" wondered the people of Darfur.
Two groups arose, the Sudanese Liberation Army and the Justice and Equality Movement, and the rebels criticized the Sudanese government for neglecting the region.  The government responded with the violence that continues today.
"They start burning the houses and then they kill you."
Marwa was horrified at the violence that engulfed the region.
"They want to kill us slowly," she says of the Janjaweed, who attacked each village with fire, rape, and murder.
"When everything started, I ran away.  Everyone ran away...I don't know where some of them are," referring to her family.
"I don't know if my brother or sister is alive.  My mother is alive."
Marwa and her family members first fled to Chad, then Khartoum.  They later lived in Egypt for a time, where Marwa learned English.  One of her sisters was living in the US, and paid for her family's trek there.
Marwa currently attends Portland High School in Maine.  This afternoon, she came to Wakefield High School to tell her story, accompanied by Catherine Wagner, a Student Outreach Coordinator for Save Darfur.  They encouraged the students not to ignore the story like the mainstream media.
As Marwa puts it, "The more you talk about it, the more people are going to know."
"More people are going to learn about what's going on."
Save Darfur pressures powerful nations to take action in the region.  Catherine called UNAMID a "mostly ceremonial" changing of the guard from the previous African Union peacekeeping force.
"The guys changed their helmets from green to blue."
As regular readers of this site's Darfur updates know, UNAMID has encountered many problems since its deployment.  President Bush has condemned the violations of human rights, but the US has yet to help the UN in its mission.
"They do need to do more," Marwa says of the US government.
But even this pressure group knows the possible consequences of American intervention.  Catherine explained that an American invasion of Darfur would be against international law.  The UNAMID force has struggled to keep the peace without help from a superpower, but has managed to provide some relief.  There are several rebel groups in Darfur, all of whom need to agree with the government and each other on terms of an end to the war.  Meanwhile, armies continue to burn down villages, rape young women, and kill the civilians of the region.
Marwa is tired of constantly relocating, frequently starting a new life in a new part of the world.  She misses her hometown, the home of her family, the place where she grew up.  Once this conflict dies down, she "would love to go home."
But, as she puts it, "Back home is going to take a long time."

Tour reveals Saddam's last days

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The guards at the Baghdad detention facility called their
prisoner "Vic," and let him plant a little garden near his cell.
The rest of
the world knew him as Saddam Hussein, a man blamed for the death of hundreds of
thousands of Iraqis during more than 20 years as the country's president.
nickname and the garden are among the details about the former Iraqi dictator
that emerged during a tour of the Baghdad cell where Hussein slept, bathed, and
kept a journal in the final days before he was executed in December 2006.
Well, at least the Iraq War got rid of this guy.
Though authorities executed Hussein for his role in killing about 150 people, he
was on trial at the time of his death for genocide. Those charges implicated him
in the killings of up to 100,000 Kurds during the 1988 Anfal campaign against
Kurdish rebels -- a campaign that included the use of poison gas against Kurdish
towns in northern Iraq.

Iraq update

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Forty-two people were killed Thursday in Kut, southeast
of Baghdad, Iraq's Interior Ministry said, the latest casualties in three days
of clashes between militias and Iraqi security forces.
I guess this is the war the government will continue fighting.

Darfur update

Relief agencies in Sudan have expressed concerns over an alarming increase in
the number of attacks by bandits against people carrying out humanitarian work
in the strife-torn region of Darfur, and warned that violence is threatening to
disrupt aid delivery to thousands of needy people.
It's a shame that even those who aren't taking sides in this war are in danger.
Emilia Casella, head of public information at the UN World Food Programme
(WFP-Sudan), said there had been "very alarming rates of banditry" directed at
WFP convoys and it was now taking longer for WFP contracted trucks to deliver
food to the agency's warehouses in Darfur.
"All parties must realise that
humanitarian personnel and their cargo are there to carry out a neutral
humanitarian task," said Casella.

Iraq PM rules retreat out

BAGHDAD—Iraq's prime minister vowed Thursday to fight "until the end" against
Shiite militias in Basra despite protests by tens of thousands of followers of a
radical cleric in Baghdad and deadly clashes across the capital and the oil-rich
Iraq needs to be split into three nations. One for Shia, one for Sunnis, one for Kurds. Keep them apart, and they'll leave each other alone.

The Waiting List Just Gets Bigger and Bigger

Like jittery investors scrambling to hedge their bets, selective colleges and universities are placing far more applicants than usual on their waiting lists this spring as a safeguard against an unusually murky admissions season. But while the policy gives colleges some peace of mind, it plunges students into an admissions purgatory that could string out the stressful selection process for weeks to come.

Colleges have typically been able to estimate the percentage of accepted students who will enroll in the fall with a fair degree of confidence. This year, several factors have conspired to thwart their projections: a shaky economy, record numbers of applications, and sweeping financial aid expansions that make it harder to predict what colleges middle-class families will choose.

Faced with so many variables, colleges are wait-listing more students to fine-tune the numbers and makeup of their incoming freshman class. Lengthening the waiting list creates a crucial buffer of students in a year of deep uncertainty about how many will eventually show up, college officials say. - Boston Globe
Waiting lists aren't fun.

Rant on Celebrities

*Warning: Very explicit language

This bitch celebrity left jail. Who gives a flying fuck about the experience in jail. We all know what jail is like. OMG, I havent been in his arms for awhile. Fuck you bitch, love's for people who are actually good looking. Not these ugly fucks like me. Love is an unrealistic dream for a lot of people. I am meant to be alone. I am meant to be military material. I am meant to hate celebs. Seriously woman, don't describe your experience at jail. It isn't like the life I experience everyday, or the rejection Glen gets every fucking day. I hate celebrities with a passion. Why do we care about the shit they talk about a lot? Why do we care about their personal life more then politics? It won't help us to care about a celeb's jail experience. Being an actor is a useless job when in a depression or a "recession." They are all fucking whores or bitches who can't even get a normal job. - Cammy from CA
Great job, Cammy.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Étudiant Advertisement

One poll closed, another opened...

It's official...  Glen is NOT a raving lunatic.  But how about the only Étudiant writer who's posted more than he?  He has a harmonica in his pocket.  He has a handkerchief in his other pocket.  He's been called everything from "nut job" to "total goon", "funny", "the weirdest kid I know", and "alien."  He writes about himself in the third person.  Is Ben Tan, no, enough of this...  Am I insane?  Vote in the poll on the right, because if I'm declared insane by the people, I'll check myself in.

He's.......Not Insane!

In a recent WÉ poll, writer Glen was deemed not crazy. Even though 6 out of 16 voters did vote the 17 year old junior as being insane, the other 10 obviously did not. Glen wants to take this time to extend his appreciation to the 10 people who voted "No." In the end, radical viewpoints and insanity were found to be not at all directly correlated.

Iraq update

BAGHDAD (AFP) — Iran could do more to help end violence in Iraq, the US military said on Wednesday, calling on Tehran to use its influence to help end lawlessness in the southern city of Basra.
Wow, it's a shame the US is in there all by its lonesome.  Oh, wait, almost forgot about the coalition.

Darfur update

26 March 2008 –Attacks against aid workers in western Sudan have reached unprecedented levels, jeopardizing vital relief operations in the war-wracked Darfur region, the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator said today.
This disgusts me.  Whatever happened to regard for human life?  And read the snippet below.
More than 200,000 people have been killed in the past five years in Darfur and at least 2.2 million others forced to flee their homes because of the fighting, the inter-tribal clashes and the attacks by bandits.
Five years.  The US would be in Darfur if not for another war we started five years ago.

Protesters storm Bear Stearns HQ

NEW YORK—About 60 protesters opposed to the U.S. Federal Reserve's help in bailing out Bear Stearns entered the lobby of the investment bank's Manhattan headquarters Wednesday, demanding assistance for struggling homeowners.
It's those struggling homeowners who could use the help.
The agreement has raised concerns that the U.S. government is prepared to help rescue a failing Wall Street bank while declining to bail out millions of home owners facing the possibility of foreclosure.

Local officials can't spell

WAKEFIELD — The School Department's proposed policy governing commercial advertising on school property will go back to the drawing board after the Board of Selectmen this week voted to table the policy until some of the language and grammar can be cleaned up.
Them Étudiants don't never use no improper grammars.

Syria Is The New Big Brother

DAMASCUS, Syria - Syria is cracking down more on Internet use, imposing tighter monitoring of citizens who link to the Internet, as well as jailing bloggers who criticize the government and blocking YouTube and other websites deemed harmful to state security.

The grip is tightening even as Syrian officials show off a center with fast Internet access and wireless technology for journalists covering this weekend's Arab League summit. The clampdown doesn't appear to be tied to the summit.

In recent days, authorities extended restrictions on use by requiring owners of Internet cafes to keep detailed logs on customers.

The rules, conveyed orally by security agents, require Internet cafes to record a client's full name, ID or passport number, the computer used, and the amount of time spent on the device. The logs must be available to security agents upon demand.

"It's a new form of psychological pressure and part of the state's systematic intimidation of Internet users," said Mazen Darwish, a journalist who heads the independent Syrian Media Center. - Boston Globe

This is the kind of stuff that makes Chris DeCarlo angry.

The Slopes Are The New Greens

WINDHAM, N.Y. - At the top of the D chairlift at Windham Mountain, no one was talking about the 2,000-foot trip to the bottom or the ski conditions. It was all about interfaces, revenue streams, and business plans.
For a day, the mountain had turned corporate boardroom, with aspiring moguls pitching their electronic-security technology or efficient oil filters to investors on the ride up the chairlift before racing to the bottom to do it again... - Boston Globe
Then take a look at this article:
Over the past decade, the leisure activity most closely associated with corporate success in America has been in a kind of recession.
The total number of people who play has declined or remained flat each year since 2000, dropping to about 26 million from 30 million, according to the National Golf Foundation and the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association.
More troubling to golf boosters, the number of people who play 25 times a year or more fell to 4.6 million in 2005 from 6.9 million in 2000, a loss of about a third.
The industry now counts its core players as those who golf eight or more times a year. That number, too, has fallen, but more slowly: to 15 million in 2006 from 17.7 million in 2000, according to the National Golf Foundation. - New York Times
I think it is safe to say that the slopes are the new greens.

A Tokyo Split

TOKYO -- Days before his start against the Red Sox on Wednesday, Oakland pitcher Rich Harden bought an ancient samurai sword. The purchase was purely for recreational purposes -- Harden is a collector -- though given the way the Sox have treated him in the past, any inclination to arm himself was defensible.

Harden didn't need any accessories today. His strong right shoulder, finally healthy after two years of assorted miseries, was sufficient to bend the Sox to his will in a 5-1 Oakland win that sent both teams back across the Pond with a split of this two-game exercise to create some global warming for Major League Baseball.

Emil Brown, whose base-running gaffe in the 10th inning snuffed out any hope of an Oakland comeback in the opener, hit a three-run home run in the third off Sox starter Jon Lester, who also was touched for a run in the second.

Lester was lifted after four innings. The Athletics added a fifth run in the eighth on a two-out double by Kurt Suzuki and a single by Jeff Fiorentino, the young Athletics' center fielder who had been made to dress in a pink kimono before departing the Tokyo Dome over the weekend. - Boston Globe

Damn, how many of you predicted the Sox would go 162-0 in '08?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Un-Butchered Beatles: 1969

"Get Back" - The band's experimental phase was done, but they were still making classic rock.  Their work during this year sounds very different from that done in the early years.  Almost a decade had passed, and the guys had matured greatly, though they were still in their twenties.  With help from keyboard master Billy Preston and legendary producer Phil Spector, they made the classic album Let it Be, and "Get Back" is certainly one of the highlights, what with its sweet guitar and electric piano solos.  These guys can jam!
"Don't Let Me Down" - Enjoy this soulful tune by John.  It may be an ode to Yoko, but his are the feelings we all get when we've fallen for someone.  I dare one of those Idol finalists to match the greatness of John's passionate vocals.
"Let it Be" - From the guys who brought you "Hey Jude", it's another lighter-waver.  This song may be the closest the Beatles ever got to gospel.  Note the inspiring lyrics from the eternal optimist, Paul McCartney, and awesome organ work from the late great Preston.
"The Long and Winding Road" - Paul also happens to be one of the greatest ballad-writers of all time.  Around the same time John and Yoko hooked up, he got hitched to the late Linda McCartney, the love of his life who inspired many a tender ode.  This is a great tune, whether you prefer this subtle version from a five-piece or Phil Spector's epic remix.
"Here Comes the Sun" - George's compositions are among the very best moments of the amazing Abbey Road.  He spent the 60s in the shadows of John and Paul, but his songs are every bit as good as theirs.  His guitar work was also a key element of the band's sound.
"Something" - For further evidence of George's greatness, check out this song.  Doesn't get any better than this beautiful ballad.  Gorgeous melody and lyrics, done justice by a superb performance by the band.
Next: The band breaks up, but does some damn good solo work.

"Dead" Man Walking In Texas

OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma (AP) -- Zach Dunlap says he feels "pretty good," four months after he was declared brain dead and doctors were about to remove his organs for transplant.

Zach Dunlap, 21, said he has no recollection of his crash.

Dunlap was pronounced dead November 19 at United Regional Healthcare System in Wichita Falls, Texas, after he was injured in an all-terrain vehicle accident. His family approved having his organs harvested.

As family members were paying their last respects, he moved his foot and hand. He reacted to a pocketknife scraped across his foot and to pressure applied under a fingernail. After 48 days in the hospital, he was allowed to return home, where he continues to work on his recovery.

On Monday, he and his family were in New York, appearing on NBC's "Today."

"I feel pretty good. but it's just hard ... just ain't got the patience," Dunlap told NBC.

Dunlap, 21, of Frederick, Oklahoma, said he has no recollection of the crash.

"I remember a little bit that was about an hour before the accident happened. But then about six hours before that, I remember," he said.


Iraq update

WASHINGTON (AFP) — The US death toll in Iraq had just passed 4,000, but on Monday the most viewed story on Yahoo News was "Oil fluctuates as dollar, stocks rise."
Well, that's why you don't go to Yahoo News for the latest on Iraq.  I'd like to think that, here at the Étudiant, we cover stories the mainstream media, you know, SHOULD be covering.

Darfur update

KHARTOUM (AFP) — Canadian Foreign Minister Maxime Bernier, paying his first official visit to Khartoum, on Tuesday urged the Sudanese government to stop attacks in the war-torn region of Darfur.
Wouldn't an end to the violence be nice?

Sox win in Japan

TOKYO -- Having already gone to great lengths to start their season, the Red Sox went into overtime in the first regular-season game they have ever played outside of North America.

The Sox gave Japan its first taste of what has made them World Series champions twice in the last four seasons with a 6-5, 10-inning win over the Oakland Athletics before 44,628 in the Tokyo Dome.
Sweet Caroline!  Good times never seemed so good!

School Committee calls out selectmen

WAKEFIELD — They were at last night's Selectmen's meeting to discuss another matter but School Committee Chairman Christopher Callanan and other members of the School board also got to hear first hand the reactions of several selectmen to recent charges that they have refused to meet with the School Committee to discuss the current budget crisis.
Oh!  What now?
“I'm appalled,” Good said. “That really bothers the hell out of me. I don't think we've ever refused to talk to you people.”

Monday, March 24, 2008

Greatest President of All-Time?

  1. Abraham Lincoln
  2. Ronald Reagan
  3. Franklin D. Roosevelt
  4. John F. Kennedy
  5. Bill Clinton
  6. George W. Bush
  7. George Washington
  8. Theodore Roosevelt
  9. Dwight Eisenhower
  10. Jimmy Carter
  11. Thomas Jefferson
  12. Richard Nixon
  13. John Adams
  14. Andrew Jackson
  15. Lyndon Johnson
Those 15 received at least one vote in the 2005 Washington College poll. The question is who do you guys regard as the greatest President (U.S) of all-time?

The Case Against Good Ole' Noam

"...So Chomsky is not qualified to speak on anything outside of linguistics or else we run into the logical fallacy of

We shall run into our nemesis Mr. Fallacy quite a few times reading Chomsky's "Case against..." which is somewhat disturbing. If Chomsky is willing to commit such crimes here, what then is he willing to commit elsewhere?

So Chomsky's arguments are widely cited as compelling "because" he is an MIT professor of linguistics, but this is clearly a fallacy of an appeal to authority since that gives him the ability to credibly speak to issues of language and linguistics, but not much else.

Then we are simply left with his opinions as uneducated and compelling based on their own merits or lack thereof. I think they are quite uncompelling and a stroll down the lane might find you agreeing.

Chomsky uses this reference to British racism and imperialism and the demise of "racist anthropology" to smear Skinner with the tainted brush of racism, not once but twice, although Skinner has - to my knowledge - never been accused of racism directly or indirectly by anyone else. Chomsky alone seems to have the keen insight to smell the whiff of racism in theories he doesn't like. In this sense he demonstrates what I call "psychic powers". Chomsky does this repeatedly throughout this essay. He sees futures that others cannot see. He sees meaning that others cannot see. He sees intent and motivation that others do not see, and he can discern real from false whether others have come to the opposite conclusion. Truly, Mr. Chomsky is akin to the Oracle at Delphi or some comic book super hero..." - Read Full Article Here

The "appeal to authority" argument against Chomsky is definitely legit.

Red Sox Begin Title Defense @ 6:07 AM

TOKYO -- They are the defending AL East Champs, American League Champs, and World Series Champs.

Tuesday morning, they can be Champions of Breakfast.

It will be 6:07 a.m. back home in Boston when Dustin Pedroia steps into the batter's box to face Oakland righty Joe Blanton at the Tokyo Dome.

It's a odd way to start a title defense. When the 2005 Sox resumed work after the wondrous winter bacchanal of 2004, it was Johnny Damon digging in against Randy Johnson in Yankee Stadium on Sunday night prime time with all the trappings of the Sox-Yankees' 100-year-war. It felt like the World Series.

This feels ... foreign. The Sox are on the other side of the world, celebrities in a strange land, bringing Major League Baseball to a country where the sport is revered. While even the most devout seamhead must admit that football is America's most popular sport, baseball is truly still the national pastime of Japan. And so a Boston-based baseball Nation rises to watch the Red Sox in the land of the rising sun. - Boston Globe

All y'all non-sophomores can watch the game in its entirety.

Un-Butchered Beatles: 1967-1968

Before we begin, I'd like to dedicate this post to the Beatles' road manager, Neil Aspinall.  Rest in peace.  And now, some highlights of the Beatles' work from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band up until Let it Be.
"Strawberry Fields Forever" - This song was a major turning point for the group.  The band was suddenly crafting music radically different from anything they'd done previously.  This track boasts some impressive production from George Martin, who took a slow take with just the Beatles and a fast one with an orchestra and combined the two into the final product.
"Hello Goodbye" - Can you say "power pop"?  This song is chock-full of riffs, from the backing vocals during the chorus, to the killer guitar motifs, to Paul's melodic bass line.  Cheesy?  Sure, but a well-crafted tune nonetheless.
"I Am the Walrus" - Proof of my obsession with this band: during the ski club's trip to Waterville Valley back in January, this song played on the lodge speakers, and I might have been the only person in the entire resort singing along.  Who but a fanatic would know every nonsensical lyric?  Hell, I also might be the only one in the world who likes Jim Carrey's cover, where he's hammy to the max, making the song every bit as silly as John intended it to be.
"Helter Skelter" - Enough psychedelia.  Let's go back to rock, starting with this White Album cut that put blisters on Ringo's fingers.  It rocks THAT hard.
"Hey Jude" - Sadly, John never spent much time with his first son, Julian, who was closer to Paul than to his father.  Here, Paul assures Jules that life is good, even after the nasty divorce of John and Cynthia.  Blast this anthem while waving a lighter.
"Revolution" - John was both a friend and a foil to Paul, countering Paul's optimism with cynicism.  Perhaps nowhere else is this more evident than here, John's B-Side to Paul's "Hey Jude".  Whichever personality you prefer, they are both legends, two of the greatest musicians there ever were, and these two titans made their band the greatest of all time.
Next: The band makes two classic rock albums, then...NO!  SAY IT AIN'T SO!  IT'S ALL YOKO'S FAULT!

Iraq update

Death had been taking something of a holiday in Iraq, but it seemed to come back from vacation with a vengeance on Easter, with ominous implications for American strategy. Sunday dawned in Baghdad's Green Zone with a barrage of mortars courtesy of Shi'ite militiamen. Several more mortars poured in throughout the day. Meanwhile, attacks across Iraq on Sunday killed dozens of people, including four American soldiers in a deadly roadside bombing in southern Baghdad. That last incident raised the number of U.S. military fatalities in Iraq to 4,000.
Way to go, Bush administration.

Researcher discovers Cold War escape route

MUNICH: Two dangling strands of barbed wire have haunted Olaf Hetze for more than a quarter-century, since his failed attempt to escape from the Communist bloc, not by going over the Berlin Wall but around it, by a little-known route through Bulgaria.

Thanks to the work of a German researcher, the full extent of the escape attempts through Bulgaria - and the dangers - is just now coming to light.

At least 4,500 people from various Communist countries tried to flee to the West over the Bulgarian border during the Cold War, said the researcher, Stefan Appelius, a professor of political science at the University of Oldenburg.
Ah, yes, Communism.  An idea great in theory, but that managed to flop in practice.  Flop off a cliff, where it's been hanging ever since the Wall came down.

Darfur update

ABU SUROUJ, Sudan: As Darfur smolders in the aftermath of a new government offensive, a long-sought peacekeeping force, expected to be the largest in the world, is in danger of failing even before it begins its mission because of bureaucratic delays, stonewalling by the Sudanese government and reluctance from troop-contributing countries to send peacekeeping forces into an active conflict.
You know what would be nice?  If the UN was powerful enough to adequately carry out this mission, and didn't need to beg for help from the US and China.  But since the UN isn't that big...COME ON, GUYS!

Jordan's betting on Sox again

Jordan's Furniture is betting again on a Red Sox win, this time a sweep of the World Series. Jordan's chief executive Eliot Tatelman revealed today at Fenway Park that if the Boston Red Sox sweep the 2008 World Series by winning the first four games, customers who make a purchase between March 25 and April 27 will receive sofas, sectionals, dining room tables, beds, mattresses, and rugs for free as part of its new "Monster Sweep" promotion.
Quick!  Buy some furniture, and hope the Red Sox use steroids and don't get caught!  Or, you know, win without the aid of dangerous drugs.  They can do that, too, right?

WHS hosts benefit for Ms. Toohey

WAKEFIELD - Kate Toohey, a math teacher at Wakefield High School, was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) this past year. “Kate is an absolutely amazing individual, teaching math at Wakefield High School because it is what she loves to do. Kate maintains a positive spirit and upbeat personality throughout each day. She has been an unbelievable role model and mentor to her students. Kate is the mother of two sons and has just recently become the proud grandmother of a beautiful baby boy. Kate is living her life to the fullest, enjoying every moment with her family and loved ones,” said a colleague.
In honor of Toohey, the Wakefield High School community is hosting a benefit on Thursday, April 3 from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the Wakefield High School cafeteria.
Good to see the community pitching in to help Ms. Toohey out. Please go to this if you can! Those medical bills don't pay themselves.


Update (3/9/2009): Kate Toohey has passed away. The Étudiant sends their prayers and thoughts to the Toohey family.

Information so important, it must be yelled




I heart MCAS.  Easiest test ever, besides maybe the ones in Journalism and Asian Studies.  Yes, I took Asian Studies!

"Chocolate Rain" A Winner At YouTube Awards

NEW YORK - And the winner for best music video: "Chocolate Rain."

Tay Zonday morphed from an unknown musician to an Internet superstar who got booked on national TV shows after his song "Chocolate Rain" — an amateur clip of his baritone crooning — went viral last year. Now he’s among the 12 winners of the second annual YouTube Video Awards, recognizing the top user-created videos of 2007.

YouTube users voted on six nominees for each category: music, sports, comedy, instructional, short film, inspirational, commentary, creative, politics, series, eyewitness and "adorable."

"It’s the new Emmys," Zonday, 25, said of the video-sharing site’s awards in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. "It’s the next Oscars. The next People’s Choice Awards. It’ll be interesting to see what happens five years, 10 years (from now)."

His competition included comely singer-songwriter Mia Rose and "the vegetable orchestra," featuring a jam session with a carrot flute and squash drum. - Associated Press

Gas Price Update

CAMARILLO, Calif. - A survey says the national average price for gasoline rose 7 cents over the last two weeks.

The average price of self-serve regular gasoline on Friday was $3.26 a gallon, mid-grade was $3.38 and premium was $3.50. That’s all according to the Lundberg Survey of 7,000 stations nationwide released yesterday.

Of the cities surveyed, the cheapest price was in Newark, N.J., where a gallon of regular cost $3.03, on average. The highest average price was in San Francisco at $3.66. - Associated Press

You Watch "The Hills"? The Psychopath Is You!

Lauren Conrad fans - brace yourselves.

LC and “The Hills” return tonight at 10 with new episodes on MTV.

When we left the unscripted series in December, LC was finally taking the opportunity to represent Teen Vogue in Paris; her ex-friend Heidi Montag was driving back to Colorado for time out from fiance Spencer Pratt after a nasty blowout that put their wedding plans on ice.

Those searching for spring spoilers need look no further than the gossip blogs.

Perez Hilton and the crew at, among others, have kept tabs on the quarrelsome young ladies, LC and her close friends Audrina, Whitney and of course, the are-they-or-aren’t-they-together mystery of Heidi and Spencer. - Boston Herald

Okay, we know that California girls are quite good looking, but we don't need a show about them. This kind of stuff makes me wonder if there is any hope left for humanity. Refer to my rant on "Super Sweet 16" for more info on my disdain towards reality TV shows.

Famous Muslim Allam Converts

VATICAN CITY - Italy’s most prominent Muslim, an iconoclastic writer who condemned Islamic extremism and defended Israel, converted to Catholicism at a Vatican Easter service.

An Egyptian-born, non-practicing Muslim who is married to a Catholic, Magdi Allam infuriated some Muslims with his books and columns in the newspaper Corriere della Sera newspaper, where he is a deputy editor. He titled one book “Long Live Israel.”

As a choir sang, Pope Benedict XVI poured holy water over Allam’s head and said a brief prayer in Latin.

“We no longer stand alongside or in opposition to one another,” Benedict said in a homily reflecting on the meaning of baptism. “Thus faith is a force for peace and reconciliation in the world: distances between people are overcome, in the Lord we have become close.” - Boston Herald

A great addition to a shrinking team.

UMASS Elite =Commonwealth College

It doesn't appear in the US News & World Report annual college rankings or in the box scores. Students don't wear sweatshirts bearing its name, or sing its fight song at the homecoming game.

But with a 600-student freshman class that boasts an average SAT score of 1,315 and a 4.0 grade point average, Commonwealth College, the state's honors college at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, stacks up favorably against selective colleges throughout New England and increasingly competes for a caliber of high school graduate typically bound for more prominent schools.

"It is the jewel of our university system," said Aaron Spencer, a former chairman of the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education who spearheaded the creation of the college. "I think the public is beginning to recognize Commonwealth College as almost Ivy League in its quality. It's virtually the equivalent of [University of California] Berkeley." - Boston Globe

This is a great article. I know a lot of people think of UMASS Amherst as being full of average students, but as the article says there is a fairly large crop of well performing individuals.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter To All

Easter is the most important religious feast in the Christian liturgical year.[1] It is belived by the Christians to be the resurrection of Jesus, which Christians believe occurred on the third day after his crucifixion around AD 33. Many non-religious cultural elements have become part of the holiday, and those aspects are often celebrated by many Christians. - Wikipedia

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Hey! Look At This!

This is just part one, but you can check out the other parts on Youtube. Peace.

Un-Butchered Beatles: 1963-1966

Anyone who knows anything about me knows that I'm a Beatles fanatic.  To the chagrin of fanatics all over the world, the Beatles' songs are back in the spotlight in a very bad way, and we've been bombarded with the following two questions...

1) Did you see Across the Universe?
No, but I've heard good things about it, so I'll rent the recently-released DVD one of these days.
2) Did you hear [insert bad singer here] sing [insert Beatles song here] on American Idol?
Yes, no thanks to my mother and sister, who blast the TV while I'm just trying to not do my homework.
In case you haven't figured it out, I'm picky when it comes to Beatles covers.  Theirs was the greatest band of all time, and if one is to even touch one of their songs, it better be damn good.  If not, I will grow muscles and turn green.
Each song has a story to tell, a mood to create, you know, all that good stuff.  And over the past two weeks, these amateurs have been completely missing the mark, just to garner screams from the teenage girls in the audience anyway.  And God forbid Simon or Randy say anything bad, or else they'll get booed, those meanies.
It's clear to me that these kids have no idea how these songs should sound.  So, as a public service to the youth of America, the Wakefield Étudiant presents Un-Butchered Beatles, a crash course in Beatles history.  With the help of YouTube, I will be presenting a few classic tracks from each period.  This first post in the series focuses on the early years, i.e. everything up until Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.
"Love Me Do" - Witness the world's greatest band in its infant state.  This is a simple love song at first listen, but musicians can appreciate just how tight this band already was.  Love the bluesy harmonica and soulful two-part harmonies.
"And I Love Her" - Bossa doesn't come to mind when thinking of early Beatles, which makes this ballad stick out.  Thusly, it put the band's versatility as songwriters and performers on display.  Check out the guitar solo, where George Harrison's clean, melodic style shines through even on an acoustic.
"Help!" - The lyrics sound like Dylan: "Help me if you can, I'm feeling down/And I do appreciate you being round/Help me get my feet back on the ground".  The guys were maturing rapidly over these early years.  This is more famously exemplified by the following song...
"Yesterday" - Each member had a public persona, and Paul's was "The Cute One", the naive optimist whose heart was prone to injury.  This was his saddest song yet, and stuck out like a sore thumb on the album Help!  This song paved the way for emo, a genre with the same lyrical themes, sans sincerity, so Pete Wentz can thank Paul for his millions and millions of dollars.
"In My Life" - Here's a love song of a different color.  The boys look back on the past with their 60s garage band sound, with a little help from a sped-up piano solo.  Between this and the strings on the studio version of "Yesterday", the band was getting much more ambitious in the studio, leading to songs like the next one...
"Eleanor Rigby" - The band had come a long way from "Love Me Do", creating stories like this, about old age, death, and loneliness.  Gone is the traditional garage band instrumentation, replaced by strings right out of the Psycho score.  The Beatles were done with the same old and ready to really branch out and experiment.  This was one of 14 classic tracks on Revolver, one of the band's very best albums.
Next post: A song about a walrus, and more!

What Are ______ More Likely To Eat?

ATLANTA—If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, then Mars is a land where the refrigerators are stocked with meat and frozen pizza and Venus has a bounty of yogurt, fruits and vegetables, a new study suggests.

The study of eating habits of adults -- called the most extensive of its kind -- was a telephone survey of 14,000 Americans. It confirmed conventional wisdom that most men eat more meat than women, and women eat more fruits and vegetables.

But there were a few surprising exceptions: Men were much more likely to eat asparagus, brussels sprouts, peas and peanuts. They also were bigger consumers of frozen pizzas, frozen hamburgers and frozen Mexican dinners.

Women are more likely than men to eat eggs, yogurt and fresh hamburgers. - Boston Globe

I don't remember the last time I saw a guy eat yogurt.

Devoted Filipinos Re-Enact Christ's Death

SAN FERNANDO, Philippines—Philippine devotees re-enacted Jesus Christ's suffering Friday by having themselves nailed to crosses in rites frowned upon by church leaders in Asia's largest predominantly Roman Catholic nation.

Fernando Mamangon, 37, was among the first of some 30 men scheduled to go through the Good Friday rites in three villages in northern Pampanga province's San Fernando city. Five other devotees, including a woman, were nailed to crosses in nearby Bulacan province.

It was Mamangon's 13th straight year for the rite, which penitents endure to fulfill a vow or pray for a cure for illnesses.

"I started having myself nailed to the cross in 1995 because my eldest son got sick and almost died," Mamangon, clad in a maroon robe with a crown of vines and thorns, said minutes before he was nailed to a wooden cross on a dusty mound in Santa Lucia village. - Boston Globe

If Church leaders are starting to say "knock it off", then they probably should.

Four Safely Pulled Out of Cave

TOWNSEND, Tenn.—Rescuers found four cavers cold and wet but otherwise safe on Friday after they didn't return as planned from an overnight spelunking trip in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The four were brought out of the cave in good condition shortly before 8 p.m., about six hours after searchers made contact with them. The men had descended about 500 feet into the cave from its entrance, park spokesman Kent Cave said.

"They were at the bottom of the third of three major vertical drops in the cave," Cave said earlier Friday. "It's like rock climbing, but rock climbing in the dark with water falling over you. The vertical drops are basically waterfalls."

Rescue squad members had warm clothes, blankets and hot food waiting for the four.

Kent CAVE. Anybody think he changed his name?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Bill Richardson Endorses Obama

Tuft University's own Bill Richardson, the current Governor of New Mexico, announced today his support of Barack Obama. The moderate liberal and Democrat said "Obama will make a great and historic president."

Isn't it tragic that nobody cares? [/sarcasm]

Band Spotlight: The Walkmen

History: The Walkmen consists of three members from the now disbanded Johnathan Fire*Eater and two members from The Recoys. In 2000, all five of The Walkmen started playing together and in 2002 the group recorded their first album. In total, The Walkmen have recorded three albums and a fourth one is scheduled to be released within the next few months.

Years Active: 2000-Present

Hamilton Leithouser (Lead Vocals)
Paul Maroon (Guitar, Piano)
Walter Martin (Organ, Bass)
Peter Bauer (Bass)
Matt Barrick (Drums)

Label: Record Collection

Genre: Independent Post-Punk Revival

Musical Style: Garage rock with a lot of piano. The Walkmen are NOT your typical poppy piano rock band, but the fuse of guitar and piano is very evident in their music. As I recently read on AMG, The Walkmen even combine elements of Christmas music in their songs. In the end, the sound is uplifting and catchy.

Best Album: Bows + Arrows (2004)

Top Songs:
"Little House of Savages"
"Revenge Wears No Wrist Watch"
"'The Rat"
"Thinking Of A Dream"
"What's In It For Me"
"We've Been Had"

U2, The Pixies, Tom Waits, The Velvet Underground, The Smiths, The Pogues, Joy Division

Tapes N' Tapes (Unconfirmed, but I hear similarity)

Why You Should Listen to The Walkmen: This is definitely not a reason why you should listen to The Walkmen, but I want to first mention that The Walkmen were featured in "The O.C." I hate to admit stuff like this, but I did indeed watch "The O.C" for a short time in 7th grade mainly to listen to the music (mostly independent rock). Anyway, The Walkmen are a premier "indie" band of the 2000s and if you listen to them you will know what a mean. If I had to recommend one song, it would be "Thinking Of A Dream" without a doubt. On a related note, I contacted the band manager of The Walkmen and he said they should be in Boston sometime in August (hopefully not at an 18+ only show!)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Belgium swears in new PM

Belgium's King Albert has sworn in a new government, finally ending the
country's nine months of political deadlock. The new Prime Minister is Yves
Leterme, the Flemish Christian Democrat, who emerged from last June's elections
the winner.

Check this out.

He will lead a five-party coalition.

Five? That's three too many! I kid. If anything, our system should be more like theirs. If parties are going to dominate, give us more than two.

Iraq update

George Bush might be enthusiastic for the Iraq war now, but in less than a year,
there will be a new President. And undoubtedly the conflict will be a defining
legacy of the Bush administration. "The battle is noble," Bush told military
officials at the Pentagon, "it is necessary and it is just and with your
courage, the battle in Iraq will end in victory."
And though the Presidential
campaign is taking over from Iraq in the minds of Americans, the conflict is
still playing a major part in the campaign itself.
There was an ad for John McCain on the page I got this from. I agree with him that we should finish what we started. However, I don't think that we should have gone in in the first place.

Beijing vs. Tibet

Beijing is mobilising troops and the paramilitary across the Tibetan plateau to
crush anti-Chinese sentiment, sending in huge reinforcements towards Lhasa and
deploying soldiers around many villages as unrest flares in far-flung corners.
Whoa, what?
In the capital, Lhasa —where last Friday Tibetans vented their pent-up anger
against Beijing by attacking and stabbing ethnic Han Chinese and burning shops
and offices — paramilitary People’s Armed Police and People’s Liberation Army
soldiers were checking the papers of anyone moving around the city.

Darfur update

The United Nations today accused the Sudanese government of being directly
involved in the mass-rape of girls and women in the crisis-hit region of Darfur
— a damning indictment of the part played by the country's Islamist dictatorship
in the humanitarian catastrophe.
So, why isn't the US doing anything about THIS Islamist dictatorship?

Waltham Library finds homes for photos

His picture arrived in the mail at the Waltham Public Library in a small manila
envelope. The well-dressed stranger wore a dark pinstriped suit -
late-19th-century vintage. His hair was parted sharply at the left temple, his
starched collar crisp and white.
His photo carried the trademark of a Waltham
studio, called Brown, L.C. on Main Street, which hasn't existed for more than
100 years.
"Hello," the handwritten note accompanying the picture said.
"Don't ask me how I wound up in Sasser, Georgia! Would you please put me on
display in your library so my family can find me? Thanks! Sincerely, A Lost
No! Now those embarassing photos from the Senior Show afterparty will get out! I'm off!

Alumni reunite for March Madness

During the March 8 game between Duke University and the University of North
Carolina, Blue Devils basketball fans camped out in Game On!'s cavernous
One group in particular, a collective of about 20 fans sitting
against the bar's back wall and dressed in royal blue, rooted in solidarity.
They looked like old friends, but in reality, the university was the only thing
they had in common.
At a competitive time like this, they said, Duke people
need to be around other Duke people. Which is why these fans, members of the
school's local alumni association, the Duke Club of Boston, chose to watch the
pre-NCAA Tournament March Madness matchup with fellow graduates instead of with
their usual Boston-area friends.
Only makes sense.