Saturday, May 31, 2008

Woman Found In Tokyo Man's Closet

TOKYO - A homeless woman who sneaked into a man's house and lived undetected in his closet for a year was arrested in Japan after he became suspicious when food mysteriously began disappearing.

Police found the 58-year-old woman Thursday hiding in the top compartment of the man's closet and arrested her for trespassing, police spokesman Hiroki Itakura from southern Kasuya town said Friday.

The resident of the home installed security cameras that transmitted images to his mobile phone after becoming puzzled by food disappearing from his kitchen over the past several months. - Chicago Tribune

Band Spotlight: Tokyo Police Club

History: The four members started playing in a basement in Ontario in 2005 -- for fun. Shortly thereafter, they started playing together at festivals and larger gigs. They signed to Canadian indie label Paper Bag Records later in 2005.

Years Active: 2005-Present

Dave Monks (Vocals/Bass)
Josh Hook (Guitar)
Graham Wright (Keyboard)
Greg Alsop (Drums)

Genre: Post-Punk Revival

Musical Style: Nerds playing good rock music. Art and electronics are clear influences in TPC's music. None of TPC's songs are established in the sense that they have an unfinished "indie" sound.

Best Album: "A Lesson in Crime" (2006)

Top Songs:
"Nature of the Experiment"
"Cheer It On"
"Be Good"
"Citizens of Tomorrows"

Influenced By: Modest Mouse, Pixies, The Postal Service

CD Review: Piano Solos

1) The End Of Summer
2) Fall
3) Adventures Of The Heart
4) Whenever I See Her
5) Danielle
6) Racing With The Tide
7) East Hampton Suite
8) Montauk Moon
Want to set a mood? Just play this fine disc recorded by Vince DiCola way back in 1986. The virtuoso pianist and composer will blow you away with the eight emotional tracks.
Like all great instrumental pieces, these tell stories without words. You just have to use your imagination. "East Hampton Suite" sounds like something from an anime soundtrack - the music of a tender moment.
DiCola clearly has a classical background, but his compositions have a modern sound, and even approach jazz territory at times, with some complex chords. However, you won't find any crazy John Coltrane-style solos, just clear melodies backed by sweeping rhythms. This is pop music in a very different form.
Just give "Fall" a listen. Put vocals on top of this track, and it's a soft rock ballad. But instead of cheesy singing, we get some powerful, not to mention technically advanced, piano work.
On the chart of genres, Piano Solos falls in the pop quadrant, but gets close to jazz and classical. Piano players like me will appreciate this disc for totally different reasons than the casual listener. As for the rest of you...just put this thing on when you need to settle down.
***** out of five

CD Review: Crime of the Century

1) School
2) Bloody Well Right
3) Hide In Your Shell
4) Asylum
5) Dreamer
6) Rudy
7) If Everyone Was Listening
8) Crime Of The Century
This 1974 disc clarifies why Supertramp was one of the biggest bands of the 70s. Theirs was a progressive style, one unafraid of creativity. Simultaneously, their songs were melodic and accessible enough for the mainstream.
The album's opener, "School", begins with some bluesy harmonica, then Roger Hodgson's shaky vocals come in, backed by some mysterious guitar. It builds into a jam with a strong back beat and heavy strumming with the keyboards at the forefront. Then Rick Davies and Hodgson's vocals kick in over some horns. The beginning melody returns, but at a much higher volume, and the song ends with a crashing chord. Another of the album's more experimental moments is "Rudy", with its free-form piano intro and spacey effects filling the gaps in Davies' singing.
Then, we get a poppy track, "Bloody Well Right", which starts with some fantastic electric piano and guitar solos before Davies starts singing over another rocking beat. "Dreamer" is another song in this vein, based on an electric piano riff with a straighter rhythm. Things get a little experimental with some conversational vocals between Davies and Hodgson, but this song still manages to be the shortest on the disc.
Tracks like these set the precedent for the rest of the album: songs that are creative without getting too weird for the crowd. "Hide In Your Shell" is another electric-piano based rocker with a pop sound. "Asylum" sounds a little like Elton John, "Crime of the Century" like Billy Joel. "If Everyone Was Listening" talks of actors and jesters over a 70s piano groove.
Think of Supertramp as a more accessible Pink Floyd. Their music is just as technically sophisticated and creative as Floyd's, but their pop sensibility is more pronounced. It's easy to see why they hit it big in the 70s - they don't stand out too much among the other great 70s artists I've mentioned.
***** out of five

Friday, May 30, 2008

Randy Pausch Quotes

We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.

Have something to bring to the table, because that will make you more welcome.

I probably got more from that dream and not accomplishing it than I got from any of the ones that I did accomplish.

You’ve got to get the fundamentals down because otherwise the fancy stuff isn’t going to work.

When you see yourself doing something badly and nobody’s bothering to tell you anymore, that’s a very bad place to be. Your critics are your ones telling you they still love you and care.

Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.

Head fake learning is absolutely important, and you should keep your eye out for them because they’re everywhere.

The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough.

It’s pretty easy to be smart when you’re parroting smart people.

It’s very important to know when you’re in a pissing match. And it’s very important to get out of it as quickly as possible.

Until you got ice cream spilled on you, you’re not doing field work.

I can’t tell you beforehand, but right before they present it I can tell you if the world (his students project work) is good by the body language. If they’re standing close to each other, the world is good.

If you’re going to do anything that pioneering you will get those arrows in the back, and you just have to put up with it. I mean everything that could go wrong did go wrong.

Somewhere along the way there’s got to be some aspect of what lets you get to achieve your dreams. First one is the role of parents, mentors, and students.

And he (Andy Van Dam) said, Randy, it’s such a shame that people perceive you as so arrogant. Because it’s going to limit what you’re going to be able to accomplish in life.

You just have to decide if you’re a Tigger or an Eeyore.

I have a theory that people who come from large families are better people because they’ve just had to learn to get along.

Loyalty is a two way street.

Syl said, it took me a long time but I’ve finally figured it out. When it comes to men that are romantically interested in you, it’s really simple. Just ignore everything they say and only pay attention to what they do. It’s that simple. It’s that easy.

You can’t get there alone. People have to help you and I do believe in karma. I believe in paybacks. You get people to help you by telling the truth. Being earnest.

I’ll take an earnest person over a hip person every day, because hip is short term. Earnest is long term.

Apologise when you screw up and focus on other people, not on yourself.

Don’t bail. The best of the gold’s at the bottom of barrels of crap.

Get a feedback loop and listen to it. Your feedback loop can be this dorky spreadsheet thing I did, or it can just be one great man who tells you what you need to hear. The hard part is the listening to it.

Don’t complain. Just work harder. That’s a picture of Jackie Robinson. It was in his contract not to complain, even when the fans spit on him.

Be good at something, it makes you valuable.

Find the best in everybody. Just keep waiting no matter how long it takes. No one is all evil. Everybody has a good side, just keep waiting, it will come out.

Be prepared. Luck is truly where preparation meets opportunity.

It’s not about how to achieve your dreams. It’s about how to lead your life. If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you. -; Randy Pausch's Last Lecture

Top Dems Want Hill Hill Out Out

WASHINGTON — Hillary Rodham Clinton is coming under growing pressure from Democratic Party leaders and elected officials to quit the race, while some of her own supporters seem reluctant to rally behind her strategy for salvaging her presidential ambitions.

Intervening in the primary fight, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are sending public and private messages to superdelegates urging them to make a choice once primary voting ends Tuesday.

The push, which began this week, is damaging to Clinton, whose fading candidacy would be best-served by prolonging the contest.

Clinton could use the time to press her case to superdelegates -- the elected officials and other insiders whose votes will decide the nominee -- that she is more electable than her front-running rival, Barack Obama. A delay also would improve the odds of a game-changing stumble by Obama.

The party's leadership seems more intent on bringing the protracted nomination fight to an end, so that Democrats can pivot to the general election matchup with John McCain, who has been the presumed Republican nominee for months. - Los Angeles Times
She is slightly better than Obama in terms of her views, but still sucks.

Concert Review: TV BBQ

And now, an epic three-man review of yesterday's TV BBQ!

Venue: Wakefield High School Courtyard, Wakefield, MA

Ben: Alright...let's start with my band. Be honest, I can handle it.
Glen: What is the name of it?
Ben: We don't have a name at the moment. Brian, Liz, and Ben? Let's go with that. Ha, "Swimmer" went well, so did the funk jam up until the very end, we ended abruptly because we were losing the crowd
Chris: It happens.
Ben: "What'd I Say" went pretty well I'd say.. Got the crowd singing along, that's a good thing.
Chris: Yeah.
Glen: Ben's band offered a fantastic blend of piano rock. Tan was the energy and rhythm of the band, but let us not forget Liz and Brian. They excelled in their individual instruments.
Ben: Bass and drums, respectively.
Glen: "Swimmer" was the best song of their set.
Chris: Call the band the Faux Pas.
Ben: I'll run it by the others.
Glen: The crowd was kind of into it, and paid special attention when Tan shouted (something, what was it) at the end.
Ben: Ha ha, my own version of Ludacris's rap in "Yeah" by Usher.

Ben: Let's talk about the Elephant Man & da White Boyz rap. Funny, not as good as the filmed version, because it kinda fell apart live, but the crowd seemed to like it.
Chris: Yeah that was hilarious.
Glen: John Holmgren, Sean Nadeau, and Tom Calvert did a rather solid job with their rap. The rap, which has gained a considerable amount of fame on YouTube, is creative; something you wouldn't exactly expect from three white boys. It started off great, but then there were some problems at the end. Agreed, the filmed version was better -- but it was incredible hearing it live.

Ben: I've heard Zephyr many times, and this wasn't their tightest performance, but they still did an excellent job.
Chris: Indeed.
Ben: Blame it on the crappy microphone and lack of planning for this gig. "Celtic Song" was great, and I liked the other two songs, which I heard for the first time.
Glen: Zephyr did well. They had some early technical difficulties, but I think they sounded just as good live as they do recorded. It didn't seem like that many people were into them though. I think the fact that people were playing the foot game was a sign of that.
Ben: I've found that with outdoor gigs, it's much harder to tell if you have the crowd's into you. They're always going to be playing Hacky Sack or running around or something, where in a church basement, there's nothing to do but listen.
Chris: True. Each band sounded different; so that is always a plus. Typically, you will get two or three bands that sound the same or at least similar. Zephyr's "Mr. Jones" was catchy.
Glen: Ha, yeah, I enjoyed that one. Reminded me of "Crackity Jones".
Chris: Sounds like that dude spikes his lemonade with acid, but I highly doubt this.

Ben: I thought Jeff was fantastic. Nice guitar work and he's a great singer.
Glen: He did a nice job, acoustic love songs aren't my favorite though.
Chris: Yeah none of the bands played any of my "favorites" so to speak, but clearly there was [is] talent amongst these buzz cocks. When I say favorites I don't mean songs. I mean styles - i.e. low-fi.

Ben: And finally, Billford channeled Tupac. Sort of.
Chris: Oh right, forgot about that.
Ben: Oh, come on, how could you forget? That was great.
Glen: Exquisite memory on Billford's part.
Chris: Indeed.
Ben: Yeah, I think he knew Tupac's song better than I knew my own. It's just too bad he couldn't sing the hook and finish the verse at the same time.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Faculty Spotlight: Mr. McKenna

Mr. Richard McKenna wears many hats. When he's not teaching history or the AP Government class, he serves as vice chairman of the Wakefield Teachers Association, coaches varsity girls basketball, helps out down in Guidance, and spends time with the family in Danvers. Yesterday, he took some time out of his busy schedule to talk about politics in our town and across our nation, and to introduce next year's AP Government students to this challenging, but fun and fascinating course.

: What led to you teaching this course?
RM: Mr. Moscardini retired and I volunteered to teach the class because of my interest in politics. The school sent me to the AP Institute for one week in Connecticut as a refresher and an introduction to the AP Curriculum.

: How would you pitch the class to kids, encourage them to take it?
RM: It is an AP is a fair amount of work. The expectation is that the students will do the work, do the readings, but at the same time will learn about the political process. That's really what the goal of the class is. To introduce kids to politics, the political system, how it works...and how to influence the process and realizing that you can have an effect on the process...
We need good people to be involved in the process - people who care - people who see the big pictures. It's not all about money, it's about helping people...
We have all those First Amendment rights - to exercise our right to free speech, utilize a blog like this one...there's a lot of venues to inform people and influence them. Other thing we do in the class - everyone's opinion is important - we need to listen to both sides even if we don't agree with them...we become empathetic, not sympathetic, in regards. By listening to each other, we acknowledge the fact that their opinion does matter, even if we don't agree with it, so the two parties leave the class respecting one another, understanding why they have that opinion.

We had a copy of the latest Spin on our table, and I showed him the article of the Étudiant's own Chris DeCarlo, whom he will have next year. As he skimmed Chris's piece, I explained his punk rock philosophy - down with the system, up with the underdog...

RM: There's nothing wrong with that, to each his own.

: Chris brings up a great point in this piece - just because a candidate is not embraced by the mainstream, that doesn't necessarily mean that you shouldn't support them. In the early days of Picking the President, I shed light on all the candidates - people like Mike Gravel, Ron Paul, Bill Richardson, what have you.
RM: They're legitimate candidates, and unfortunately, the media doesn't think they'll draw in viewers, so they don't extend their time in the spotlight. Any one of those candidates would make a good president or vice president. In this election, the vice presidential candidates might be more important than the presidential candidates.

: Yeah, just look at John Edwards endorsing Obama - now there's speculation that he'll be his running mate.
RM: A more moderate running mate may win over more moderate voters... He needs to have a moderate running mate to win...those swing states that have been in the balance.

: What's your prediction for the election?
RM: Well, I really am not sure. I hesitate to venture a guess because that's exactly what it will be... I believe that Barack Obama has a lot of unanswered questions which he will have to answer in the time from now to November... John McCain has to pick a running mate who will appeal to his more conservative base.

: Obama is currently considered the front-runner - do you think he's our next president?
RM: I'm not convinced right now that that's the case... If things keep going the way they are going now until November, I think that might happen. But there's a long time between now and November.

: Let's talk about the many changes coming to the school next year. You are obviously very concerned with fighting for the teachers, making sure they don't get screwed over by these budget cuts...
RM: More so concerned about the changes affecting the school climate, the classroom, the atmosphere...because every change will either directly or indirectly affect the students... The students come first and making sure that learning goes on in the classroom is the top priority.

: So, what exactly will change next year?
RM: There was a list of cuts in the paper - 12 elementary school positions, four middle school positions, 9 high school positions, as well as some custodial and clerical positions, meaning there's going to be larger class sizes across the board... The supply budget was cut by 50%. Activity fees are going up... As far as the changes go, for the school, the town doesn't have enough money, so the town has to make some changes in order to fit into the budget they've set for the town.

: Some have criticized the teachers' platform, going as far to say that teaching is a part time job that pays like a full time one. What is your response to this criticism?
RM: I think that, just like the AP class, all people have the right to voice their opinions. It's not my job to judge - we should not judge people based on their opinions. Teaching is not a part time job, I will say that. Most of the criticism that we based on incorrect information. Teachers bring work home, they do things with the students outside of school... That extra time that's put in adds up. The majority of teachers here arrive early and stay late. They don't see that, they only see our work during school hours. We have two months in the summer off and three week-long vacations, leading some to consider teaching a part-time job.

: The role that opinion plays in each AP Government class depends on the kind of people in it. Our class didn't have an Eric Engels or a Chris Morrill, a real passionate, outspoken type. But then again, opinion doesn't play a big role in the test.
RM: Basically, the class is geared to the test, even though it is not straight content all the time. I have become more familiar with the book while bringing in internet content, videos, hand-outs from other sources. A lot of exposure to a lot of different things... Even though there was not a lot of diversity of opinion in the class, there was a lot of discussion. This is an ever-changing, totally ebb-and-flow like type of science.

Again, big thanks to Mr. McKenna!

Myanmar update

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar's ruling junta lashed out Thursday at aid donors who promised millions of dollars for cyclone relief, saying survivors didn't need "bars of chocolate."

At least they got some food.

Iraq update

WASHINGTON: The former White House spokesman Scott McClellan on Thursday defended his critical book about President George W. Bush in which he calls the Iraq war a "strategic blunder," language seized on by Senator Barack Obama as he fights efforts by Senator John McCain to question Obama's familiarity with Iraq.

Of course he's familiar with Iraq - he's secretly a Muslim![/idiot]
In the book, "What Happened," McClellan denounced what he called the "obfuscation, dissembling, and lack of intellectual honesty that helped take our country into the war."

Darfur update

Jewish groups praised the three major presidential candidates for jointly calling on Sudan to end genocide in Darfur.

To read this statement, click here.

Harvey Korman dies

The world has lost a great comedian.

LOS ANGELES, California -- Comic actor Harvey Korman has died at 81, according to the UCLA Medical Center.

Rest in peace, Mr. Korman. I'll be sure to catch Blazing Saddles for the millionth time next time it's on.

Election update

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- With just three contests left in the Democratic primary season, Sen. Hillary Clinton is making a big push for votes. But her presidential hopes may now hinge on a meeting of a Democratic Party panel.

Believe it or not, it's not over, as much as we'd all love to declare Obama the winner. He may have more delegates, but the Democrats of America have yet to strongly declare whom they want in the White House.

Four-alarm fire occurs in Peabody

A four-alarm fire engulfed a luxury apartment building near the intersection of Route 1 and Route 128 in Peabody this afternoon. No injuries were reported, but all the buildings in the surrounding complex were ordered evacuated for the night, displacing 900 to 1,000 people, fire officials said.

Let's hope they can find homes quickly.

Suspect charged in Graveside muder

BOSTON - One man and one man only took the lives of Wakefield High graduates Jason Bachiller, Jihad Chankhour, Edwin Duncan and Chris Vieira in the basement recording studio at 43 Bourneside St., Boston, a little more than three years ago, First Assistant District Attorney Josh Wall told a Suffolk Superior Court jury last week.
It was one man who fired Vieira’s unregistered Glock 9mm again and again and again into the victims’ backs in a bid to steal that weapon and two others – a Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun and an AK-47 rifle – on the night of Dec. 13, 2005, Wall said.
And it was one man who stood over the dying victims shortly after 9:30 p.m. and pumped additional rounds into their bodies so that there would be no witnesses against him, Wall told the panel of 12 deliberating jurors and four alternates.
That man, Wall said, was 21-year-old Calvin Carnes Jr. of Dorchester, whose trial on an 11-count indictment charging four counts of first-degree murder and an additional seven counts of robbery and weapons charges is now under way.
Killed in the Dec. 13 attacks in Boston’s Dorchester section were Edwin “E.J.” Duncan, 21, who lived above the studio; Jihad Chankhour, 22; Christopher Vieira, 19; and Jason Bachiller, 20, all of Wakefield.

Perhaps we are finally closer to justice.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Election update

ABC News' Sunlen Miller reports: Sen. Barack Obama brushed off Sen. John McCain’s recent criticisms of him as more of the same "diversions" that are "standard fare" for the Republicans, but his campaign spokeswoman said he is considering a trip abroad.

McCain has been criticizing Obama for not having been to Iraq since 2006, his only trip to the war zone. The Arizona Republican says Obama can't really know the situation in Iraq if he has not seen it first-hand.

On the plane ride from Colorado to Chicago, Obama told reporters that McCain and the Republicans don’t have much ground to stand as they try to make an issue out of the frequency of his visits to Iraq.

"The Republicans don’t have a strong position to argue when it comes to substance," he said. "Their foreign policy has been a failure over the last eight years. The war in Iraq was a huge strategic blunder, our standing in the world is diminished, we’ve spent hundreds of billions of dollars and lost thousands of lives, Afghanistan is in worse shape than anytime since 2001 and we have [al Qaeda leader Osama] bin Laden sending out audio tapes, so not surprisingly they’re not going to want to argue the substance of what’s happened in their foreign policy, they’re going to come up with diversions."

McCain extended Obama an invitation to go to Iraq with him. According to Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki a trip to Iraq is not out of the question, but a trip with McCain is.

"A trip abroad is under consideration but there are no plans at this point," Psaki said.

I've always wanted to visit Denmark.

Cluster Bomb Ban Treaty

DUBLIN, IRELAND -- In a major diplomatic defeat for the U.S., Britain broke ranks Wednesday and joined more than 100 nations in agreeing in principle to an international ban on cluster bombs, the small, insidious weapons that have killed thousands of civilians in the aftermath of battle.

Though the Bush administration has lobbied hard against the treaty and many U.S. and British officials consider cluster bombs valuable weapons, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown overruled elements of his own military and threw his support behind the prohibition. Brown's decision cleared the way for an agreement that supporters said would lead to the removal of cluster munitions from arsenals around the world. - Los Angeles Times
I don't know how anyone could possibly be against this treaty...

Trolley operator dies in collision

A trolley car on the D branch of the Green Line in Newton smashed into another car from behind this afternoon, injuring multiple people. The operator of one of the trolleys was trapped and died, her father told the Globe this evening.

Our thoughts are with Ms. Edmonds' loved ones.
The operator was Terrese Edmonds of South Boston, said her father, Terry Jones.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

100 Pinochet Soldiers/Police Detained

SANTIAGO, CHILE — Nearly 100 former soldiers and secret police members from Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship were ordered detained Monday in the biggest mass arrest of suspects in abuses during the period, judicial sources said.

Investigating Judge Victor Montiglio ordered the detentions in an inquiry into the kidnapping and killing of 42 people during Operation Colombo early in the 1973-90 dictatorship, during which 119 Pinochet opponents died. Many of the dead were leftists.

Some of those ordered held Monday worked for Pinochet's Directorate of National Intelligence, or DINA, which ran torture centers where hundreds of people were killed or "disappeared" during one of the darkest periods of contemporary Latin American history. - Los Angeles Times
Recap of what happened: Pinochet installed Milton Friedman esque capitalism in Chile after many years of socialist rule. Chaos resulted.

Lead Exposure = Craziness

The first study to follow lead-exposed children from before birth into adulthood has shown that even relatively low levels of lead permanently damage the brain and are linked to higher numbers of arrests, particularly for violent crime.

Previous studies linking lead to such problems have used indirect measures of both lead and criminality, and critics have argued that socioeconomic and other factors may be responsible for the observed effects.

But by measuring blood levels of lead before birth and during the first seven years of life, then correlating the levels with arrest records and brain size, Cincinnati researchers have produced the strongest evidence yet that lead plays a major role in crime.

The researchers also found that lead exposure is a continuing problem despite the efforts of the federal government and cities to minimize exposure. - Los Angeles Times
Remember the good old days of lead poisoning?

WHS Boys Tennis Team Holds Ping-Pong Tourney

The Wakefield High School Boys Tennis Team held its annual banquet and ping pong tournament on Tuesday, May 27. The tournament was hosted at junior Derek Krevat's residence. The first round of action saw Rex Lam handedly defeat Ryan Suh, Dan Lieberfarb take care of Mike Slafsky, Chris Fanikos beat Brian Li, and Krevat seal the win over Kevin Dwyer-Heidkamp. On the other side of the bracket in the first round, Brian Hurley barely won against 2007 graduate Joe Flynn, Coach Robertson easily defeated Joe's brother Tom, Prateek sealed the deal over Steve Parad, and Glen Maganzini barely notched the "W" over Coach Metropolis. In the quarter finals, Lam won against Lieberfarb, Krevat topped Fanikos, Coach Robertson beat Hurley, and Prateek defeated Maganzini. In the semi-finals, Krevat won against Lam while Coach Robertson put Prateek away pretty easily. In the finals, Coach Robertson gave an "A" effort as he took care of Krevat, 21-10.

Picking the President: Environment and Climate Change

Hillary Clinton

Cap-and-Trade System? yes
Support for Nuclear Power? yes
Raise CAFE Standards? yes
Support for ANWR Drillings? no
Sign Kyoto Protocol? yes
John McCain
Cap-and-Trade System? yes
Support for Nuclear Power? yes
Raise CAFE Standards? yes
Support for ANWR Drillings? no
Sign Kyoto Protocol? no
Barack Obama
Cap-and-Trade System? yes
Support for Nuclear Power? yes
Raise CAFE Standards? yes
Support for ANWR Drillings? no
Sign Kyoto Protocol? yes
Points to the Democrats. Global warming exists, and the Kyoto Protocol may help save our icebergs.

Glen: I like to pretend not to believe in global warming to anger people, so I'm going to voice disagreement!

Not that I'm calling anybody out or anything...

Myanmar update

KYAUKTAN, Myanmar--A woman whose village was devastated by Cyclone Nargis early this month whispered about food shortages out of earshot of a government official.

Way to go, junta.

Iraq update

BAGHDAD (AP) — Militant Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called Tuesday for followers to hold weekly protests against a U.S.-Iraqi security deal under negotiation that could lead to a long-term American troop presence.

See, Americans aren't the only ones who want to pull out.

Election update

DENVER -- Sen. John McCain today called for negotiating a new arms control agreement with Russia that would further reduce nuclear weapons, staking out a position on nonproliferation that is somewhat at odds with the policies of the Bush administration.

He disagrees with Bush? Point to McCain!

New 007 novel arrives

LONDON --A catsuited model in stiletto heels strode the deck of a British warship with Royal Navy helicopters roaring overhead. It was not a bout of naval hijinks, but the year's most-hyped literary event -- the publication of a new adventure for super-spy James Bond.

The larger-than-life launch Tuesday of the novel "Devil May Care" proves that 100 years after the birth of 007 creator Ian Fleming, the Bond brand is stronger than ever.

And guess who's coming back to the big screen this fall.
In addition to the Fleming centenary, the latest 007 movie, "Quantum of Solace," is due for release in the fall.

Nobody votes in this town

WAKEFIELD - Early voting was light in today’s referendum on whether or not to reaffirm the April Town Meeting vote of a $27.4 million School Department budget.

Maybe I should go vote...or not.
Polls are open until 8 p.m.

Try out for cheering

Wakefield High School Fall Cheerleading Tryouts for the 2008 Season will be held on May 27 – 30 in the field house at W.H.S. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday between 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.and Thursday between 2:30 – 4:30 p.m.

Go! Go! Go! Go, Warriors! Go! Go!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Attention "j"

Attention, Dickwad. The author of all the posts you are commenting on is Ben, not David. Get it right and stop spamming.

Myanmar update

Aid agencies are pushing to see whether Myanmar's military leaders will open up the country to a much larger relief effort aimed at stemming the humanitarian crisis after foreign governments and top United Nations officials over the weekend appeared to reach agreement with Myanmar to allow more emergency aid into the cyclone-ravaged nation.

We're just trying to help out, guys.

Iraq update

BAGHDAD — The U.S. military said Sunday that the number of attacks by militants in the last week dropped to a level not seen in Iraq since March 2004.

Is the mission accomplished yet?

Darfur update

May 24, 2008 (KHARTOUM) — The Sudanese government denied press reports that it has gave the green light to non-African units as part of the United Nations-African Union hybrid force (UNAMID) in Darfur.
The daily Al-Ahdath has quoted unidentified government officials as saying that Khartoum may take a decision to approve Thai and Nepalese forces in Darfur by year end.

I mean, God forbid any non-Africans join the understaffed and under-equipped force.

CD Review: Crash

1) So Much To Say
2) Two Step
3) Crash Into Me
4) Too Much
5) #41
6) Say Goodbye
7) Drive In Drive Out
8) Let You Down
9) Lie In Our Graves
10) Cry Freedom
11) Tripping Billies
12) Proudest Monkey
Years ago, wrote, "It's tempting to label the Dave Matthews Band as torchbearers of the Grateful Dead's moderate rock fusion and send them off on the next summer tour featuring either Blues Traveler or the Spin Doctors." It's a shame that this fine band has yet to enjoy the stardom that those two have to this day. Kidding aside, Crash is a classic album, a perfect blend of accessibility and quirkiness.
Any jam band with a violinist, a saxophonist, and a squeaky-voiced South African front man is bound to be at least a little weird - like all great ensembles. However, the Dave Matthews Band wasn't too weird for pop radio. Take a listen to "Two Step" - it has shades of REM and a feel that screams of the 90s.
Good thing the mainstream could also embrace some more original songs, tracks that display the band's unique style. "Crash Into Me" is their signature song, a masterpiece of mellowness that crescendos to a frantic combination of thumping drums, falsetto vocals, and blasting sax. Then we get the familiar, but still powerful riff of "Too Much", and we hear the band at its most energetic.
"Tripping Billies" kicks off in a similar fashion, but sets a more upbeat mood, largely thanks to Boyd Tinsley's country fiddle. Then things calm down for "Proudest Monkey", a quirky closer with clicking percussion and playful lyrics. There's all sorts of other surprises throughout the disc - the jazzy flute, congas, and bass that introduces "Say Goodbye", a more orchestral intro to "Drive In Drive Out", and the waltzing rhythm of "Let You Down" among them.
All in all, Crash serves as a fine introduction to a great band. Become familiar with the unusual elements before moving on to less poppy material, like Busted Stuff. This disc gives you the hits and the jamming, along with plenty of unexpected don't complain.
***** out of five

New York observes Memorial Day

Let us not forget just why the Item got a day off today. New York didn't.

People throughout the city and the nation are honoring those who died while serving our country on this Memorial Day.

Several Memorial Day tributes are planned throughout the five boroughs today. They include a number of parades, and a special ceremony at the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument in Manhattan.

Election update

Both Democratic presidential contenders are using the holiday to address potential supporters, although Illinois Senator Barack Obama's schedule is again focused on the general election.

Just give it up, Hillary.

Item takes day off

WAKEFIELD - The Wakefield Daily Item will not publish on Memorial Day, Monday, May 26.

To quote my friend Chris Morrill - Good. To. Know.

8 Bands You Should Check Out

Tokyo Police Experiment - Sounds like: Independent Post-Punk Revival

The Trash Can Sinatras - Sounds like: Britpop

The Hives - Sounds like: Garage Punk

The Swans - Sounds like: Heavy Experimental Rock

Muse - Sounds like: Alternative

The Modern Lovers - Sounds like: Proto-Punk

Les Breastfeedeers - Sounds like: French Garage-Rock

Art Brut - Sounds like: Garage Punk

Obama and McCain Lobbyists

Obama is well ahead of McCain in restricting lobbyist participation in his campaign. But the history of both candidates is peppered with campaign operatives, policy advisors and others who have clear links to the long-standing but often scandal-tinged practice of making money by trying to influence politicians.

The campaigns have begun attacking each other about lobbyist ties -- and who is doing the most to limit them -- after the resignation of several senior McCain advisors in the last two weeks due to their lobbying involvement, including work for foreign regimes.

Two McCain staffers who have lobbied on behalf of controversial foreign clients are leading the high-profile drive to rid his campaign of lobbyists. And Obama's reformer image has been fostered in part by a Chicago political consultant with a sideline in so-called grass-roots lobbying for corporate clients -- though the consultant vehemently denies being a lobbyist and says he never provided access to nor approached an officeholder. - Los Angeles Times
Restrictive lobbying is a start; no lobbying is better

Sunday, May 25, 2008

CD Review: Ken Burns Jazz - Herbie Hancock

1) Watermelon Man
2) Cantaloupe Island
3) Maiden Voyage
4) Speak Like a Child
5) Tell Me a Bedtime Story
6) Chameleon
7) Actual Proof
8) RockIt
9) You Got It Bad Girl
The Ken Burns Jazz series does a fantastic job celebrating the legends of the genre. In this installment, we get a well-selected overview of the career of a great pianist and composer, Herbie Hancock. He's been in the business for many years, and his music has changed with the times.
With each track, one can chart the many stops Hancock has made on his career path. It kicks off with the distinct piano riff and blasting horns of "Watermelon Man", and those stylistic motifs occur again in "Cantaloupe Island". Things calm down for the laid-back title track to one of Hancock's finest albums, Maiden Voyage.
Then things start to get interesting with a turn towards Latin in "Speak Like a Child" and the funk of "Tell Me a Bedtime Story". The latter track is the first sign of fusion on the disc, with Hancock bringing the cool on an electric piano. Then, we get an electric funk masterpiece, "Chameleon", representing another classic album, Head Hunters.
We continue down the funky road with the frantic "Actual Proof" before entering the 80s with "Rockit". You know that song. You love that song. The same guy who made all that cool jazz in the 60s, now with vocoder, synthesizers, and turntables? And then they end the album with a return to classic grooves, "You Got It Bad Girl"?
Over the decades, Hancock has dared to expand and experiment. This retrospective summarizes the many different styles he has played his cool tunes in. Introduce yourself to a legend, and be amazed.
***** out of five

Concert Review: Billy Joel

Venue: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Connecticut
It takes a decent artist to please the crowd in a church basement, a great one to do so in a theater, and a legend to do it in an arena. Ignore the fact that, by that logic, Miley Cyrus is a legend. Focus instead on just how far Billy Joel's come from that cocktail pianist job that inspired "Piano Man".
Now he's playing his originals at the Mohegan Sun Arena. Crowds can't get much bigger than that, and the legend delivered. The packed house spent the show dancing, singing along, and throwing their fists in the air.
That's because Mr. Joel has many, many more talents than Miss Cyrus. He doesn't need a platinum blond wig to bring down the house - his opener, "Prelude/Angry Young Man" did that just fine. He kept the momentum going with hits like "My Life", "Zanzibar", and "Keeping the Faith".
The energy never died down all night, only reaching new heights with the biggest surprise of the night - a cover of "Highway to Hell", with a roadie named Chainsaw on lead vocals and Billy on guitar. After a few more piano-less songs, "We Didn't Start the Fire" and "It's Still Rock and Roll to Me", Billy and the band teased us with a short break before busting out the two heavy-hitters, "Scenes From an Italian Restaurant" and "Piano Man", with "Only the Good Die Young" thrown in the middle to calm things down just a little. Just a little.
This master musician is worth seeing any day. He gives the people what they want - the best of his many compositions, with surprises, comedy, and "Highway to Hell" in between. Billy doesn't play in bars anymore, because that kind of room can't contain the explosion of entertainment he delivers.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Energy Survivalists

Convinced the planet's oil supply is dwindling and the world's economies are heading for a crash, some people around the country are moving onto homesteads, learning to live off their land, conserving fuel and, in some cases, stocking up on guns they expect to use to defend themselves and their supplies from desperate crowds of people who didn't prepare.

The exact number of people taking such steps is impossible to determine, but anecdotal evidence suggests that the movement has been gaining momentum in the last few years.

These energy survivalists are not leading some sort of green revolution meant to save the planet. Many of them believe it is too late for that, seeing signs in soaring fuel and food prices and a faltering U.S. economy, and are largely focused on saving themselves. - Yahoo! News
I guess their idea isn't too bad.

LoL Jack Thompson

According to a report from GamePolitics, the judge who presided over Miami lawyer Jack Thompson's Bar trial has recommended to the Florida Supreme Court that he be found guilty on 27 of 31 charges of professional misconduct. Of the 27 recommendations of guilt, twenty-one are from a suit related to Grand Theft Auto and four are from an attempt by Thompson to have Rockstar's Bully declared a public nuisance.

The Bar trial judge, Dava Tunis, found the violent video game activist guilty of misconduct such as "Engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation." The state Supreme Court will have to make a ruling based on those recommendations, with a disciplinary hearing planned for the first week of June. - Kotaku

Red Sox Statistic Projections

Catcher: Jason Varitek - .295, 23 HR, 70 RBI
Catcher: Kevin Cash - .314, 0 HR, 36 RBI

First Base: Kevin Youkilis - .317, 30 HR, 116 RBI
First Base: Sean Casey - .355, 0 HR, 53 RBI

Second Base: Dustin Pedroia - .300, 10 HR, 83 RBI

Shortstop: Julio Lugo - .292, 0 HR, 47 RBI
Shortstop: Alex Cora - .409, 0 HR, 9 RBI

Third Base: Mike Lowell - .285, 26 HR, 83 RBI

Left Field: Manny Ramirez - .280, 27 HR, 93 RBI
Center Field: Jacoby Ellsbury - .297, 14 HR, 66 RBI
Center Field: Coco Crisp - .295, 8 HR, 45 RBI
Right Field: J.D Drew - .289, 15 HR, 85 RBI

Designated Hitter - David Ortiz - .245, 34 HR, 128 RBI

* All projections come from

Part Two (Pitching Projections) Will Come Soon!

Friday, May 23, 2008

White House Dismisses Iran Attack

The White House on Tuesday flatly denied an Army Radio report that claimed US President George W. Bush intends to attack Iran before the end of his term. It said that while the military option had not been taken off the table, the administration preferred to resolve concerns about Iran's push for a nuclear weapon "through peaceful diplomatic means."

Army Radio had quoted a top official in Jerusalem claiming that a senior member in the entourage of President Bush, who visited Israel last week, had said in a closed meeting here that Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were of the opinion that military action against Iran was called for.

The official reportedly went on to say that, for the time being, "the hesitancy of Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice" was preventing the administration from deciding to launch such an attack on the Islamic Republic.

The Army Radio report, which was quoted by The Jerusalem Post and resonated widely, stated that according to assessments in Israel, the recent turmoil in Lebanon, where Hizbullah has established de facto control of the country, was advancing an American attack.

Bush, the official reportedly said, considered Hizbullah's show of strength evidence of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's growing influence. In Bush's view, the official said, "the disease must be treated - not its symptoms."

However, the White House on Tuesday afternoon dismissed the story. In a statement, it said that "[the US] remain[s] opposed to Iran's ambitions to obtain a nuclear weapon. To that end, we are working to bring tough diplomatic and economic pressure on the Iranians to get them to change their behavior and to halt their uranium enrichment program." - Jerusalem Post

I wouldn't doubt that they are strongly considering this, but in all likelihood it will not happen.

More Anti-Global Warming Stuff

Gore’s movie trumpeted that 1998 was the warmest year on record. This is wrong. An error was found in the NASA GISS data and when corrected made 1934 hottest year on record, not 1998; 1921, became the third hottest year on record not 2006; three of the five hottest years on record occurred before 1940; Six of the top 10 hottest years occurred prior to 90 percent of the growth in human produced greenhouse gas emissions during the last century. If it was a genuine error then somebody should be fired, if it wasn’t there are more serious implications. Suspicions are raised by a pattern of ‘adjustments’ that make earlier years cooler thus making more recent years warmer. The procedures that cause this are explained in an article titled, “Rewriting History, Time and time again.”

The pattern of adjustments and failure to disclose methods is deeply disturbing and requires much more investigation. It parallels too closely what has happened at the IPCC and makes a mockery of their claim that, “Eleven of the last twelve years (1995-2006) rank among the twelve warmest years in the instrumental record of global surface temperature (since 1850).”

The 66% error factor is sufficient in itself to reject the argument that Jones’ figure represents an unusual increase. It is definitely inadequate to serve as the basis for a global climate and energy policy. But there is a more serious problem. - Canada Free Press

I don't feel like searching the archives, but sometime last year I made a post commenting on the correction.

Gays in the Military

SEATTLE (AP) — The military cannot automatically discharge people because they're gay, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday in the case of a decorated flight nurse who sued the Air Force over her dismissal.

The three judges from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals did not strike down the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. But they reinstated Maj. Margaret Witt's lawsuit, saying the Air Force must prove that her dismissal furthered the military's goals of troop readiness and unit cohesion.

The "don't ask, don't tell, don't pursue, don't harass" policy prohibits the military from asking about the sexual orientation of service members but requires discharge of those who acknowledge being gay or engaging in homosexual activity. - Associated Press

"Anyone dumb enough to join the military should be allowed in" - Bill Hicks

Presidential Power-Tripping

In our history and civics classes, we're taught that the genius of the Constitution is the checks and balances it imposes on the three branches of government. The founders understood that each branch — the president, the Congress and the courts — would seek to expand its power. They then set up a system that not only acknowledges man's desire to accumulate power but also one that harnesses that desire and uses it to keep any one branch from becoming too influential.

That system has mostly served us well. But an important new book details how the delicate balance of power in the federal government has been unraveling for nearly a century now, and underscores how important it is that we elect a president this November who understands the constitutional boundaries of the office.

Obama and McCain aren't too sure what to do apparently:

While both Barack Obama and John McCain have in some way acknowledged that the Bush administration has dangerously pushed the limits of executive power, neither has indicated exactly what powers, if elected, he would give back or what steps he'd take to make sure those powers aren't later invoked by a successor. - Fox News

Current Gas Situation = Good Old Days?

It may be the mother of all doom and gloom gas price predictions: $12 for a gallon of gas is “inevitable.”

Robert Hirsch, Management Information Services Senior Energy Advisor, gave a dire warning about the potential future of gas prices on CNBC’s May 20 “Squawk Box”. He told host Becky Quick there was no single thing that would solve the problem, due to the enormity of the problem.

“[T]he prices that we’re paying at the pump today are, I think, going to be ‘the good old days,’ because others who watch this very closely forecast that we’re going to be hitting $12 and $15 per gallon,” Hirsch said. “And then, after that, when oil world oil production goes into decline, we’re going to talk about rationing. In other words, not only are we going to be paying high prices and have considerable economic problems, but in addition to that, we’re not going to be able to get the fuel when we want it.” - Business and Media Institute

For many that would mean spending a couple of hundred bucks at the pump.

Human-Animal Embryo Use

British scientists will be allowed to research devastating diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s using human-animal embryos, after the House of Commons rejected a ban yesterday.

An amendment to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill that would have outlawed the creation of “human admixed embryos” for medical research was defeated in a free vote by a majority of 160, preserving what Gordon Brown regarded as a central element of the legislation.

The Government is braced for defeat today, however, on a separate clause that would scrap the requirement that fertility clinics consider a child’s need for a father before treating patients. MPs will also consider amendments tonight that would cut the legal limit for abortion from 24 weeks to 22 or 20 weeks. - TimesOnline

In the words of Ryan Suh, what is this world turning into?

Songs of the Week

00s- System Of A Down- Soldier Side (2005)

90s- Rage Against The Machine- Bullet in the Head (1992)

80s- The Pogues- Body of an American (1985)

70s- The Who- Won't Get Fooled Again (1971)

60s- Peter, Paul, and Mary- Where Have All the Flowers Gone (1962)

50s- Johnny Cash- I Got Stripes (1959)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Band Spotlight: Les Trois Accords

*This is the second of multiple band spotlights that feature French-Canadian bands.

History: We don't know a lot about the early beginnings of Les Trois Accords, but we do know that they started recording collectively in 1997.

Years Active: 1997-Present

Olivier Benoit - Singer
Pierre-Luc Boisvert - Bass
Charles Dubreuil - Drums
Alexandre Parr - Guitar
Simon Proulx - Guitar

Genre: Yé-yé Punk Revival

Musical Style: If Les Trois Accords hailed from America, they would probably be considered a pop bunch. By all Quebecois accounts, they are considered "punk" and this is definitely noticeable -- but not in all of their songs. Many of them are piano-y and slow, but not like those stupid Delilah songs.

Best Album: Gros Mammouth Album (2003)

Top Songs:

Influenced By: Bérurier Noir, Parabellum, and Ludwig von 88

Sample Song: "Lucille"

Lucille quand tu t'approche de moi
la chaleur de ton coeur me fait secher les dents
et je me met du
lipsyl quand tu regarde vers léclat de ta beauté me donne de l'exzema
et je m'étens tout
plein d'huile quand tu t'approche de moi
que se passe-t-il Lucille
que se passe-t-il

Saying "No" In Groups

NEW YORK - For years, smokers have been exhorted to take the initiative and quit - use a nicotine patch, chew nicotine gum, take a prescription medication that can help, call a help line, or just say no. But a new study finds that stopping is seldom an individual decision.

Smokers tend to quit in groups, the study finds, which means smoking cessation programs should work best if they focus on groups instead of individuals. It also means that people might help many more than just themselves by quitting - stopping can have a ripple effect prompting an entire social network to break the habit.

The study, by Dr. Nicholas Christakis of Harvard Medical School and James Fowler of the University of California in San Diego, followed thousands of smokers and nonsmokers for 32 years, from 1971 until 2003, studying them as part of a large network of relatives, coworkers, neighbors, friends, and friends of friends. - The Boston Globe

How is that nicotine gum stuff anyway?

UN Freaking Over High Prices

Rome—World rice prices that have tripled in Asia over the course of the year may come down but overall food prices will remain high for years to come, leaving millions more hungry, a U.N. food agency warned Thursday.

High oil prices, growing demand, flawed trade policies, panic buying and speculation have sent food prices soaring worldwide, trigging protests from Africa to Asia and raising fears that millions more suffer malnutrition.

On Thursday, tens of thousands of workers in Senegal -- from teachers to tax officials, fishery and port workers -- stayed home as part of a strike staged by unions to protest the spiraling cost of rice, fuel and other basic goods.

Surging food prices have also sparked riots in Haiti and fed worries about supplies in the Philippines. - Associated Press

Looting is imminent.

Picking the President: Torture and Guantanamo Bay

With respect to U.S. policy towards enemy combatants, Sen. Clinton generally opposes violations of the Geneva Conventions on torturing detainees, but has said that she might make an exception if use of such techniques would guarantee the safety of American lives. She also co-sponsored a bill that would have closed the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, and voted against suspending the writ of habeas corpus for captured suspected terrorists.

Sen. McCain argues that the U.S. should be a “champion of the Geneva Conventions” in order to show its full support for international human rights, and when pressed has refused to say he would authorize the use of torture, even in the “ticking time-bomb” scenario.He also sponsored an amendment in the Senate that would establish limits for the techniques able to be used for interrogation by American troops and officials. While McCain has lauded the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, he also has said that the military prison there should be shut down.

While he has not been questioned on the “ticking time-bomb scenario,” Sen. Obama is an opponent of violating the Geneva Convention regulations on interrogation techniques. He also voted against the 2006 Military Commissions Act, which would have suspended the writ of habeas corpus for Guantanamo Bay inmates and allowed them to be tried in military tribunals. However, he supports the ability to use military tribunals for enemy detainees in general. He has pledged to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay.

Point to McCain, who voted for the Military Commissions Act. In certain situations, safety takes priority over civil liberties. Suspected terrorists should not have habeas corpus.

EU cracks down on illegal immigration

Europe has an illegal immigration problem, too.

New European Union rules have been approved against illegal immigrants. They could be held in custody for up to 18 months now, children included.

Myanmar update

The UN secretary general has been stepping up the pressure on Myanmar's secretive military leaders, to open the country's doors to international aid for the two-and-a-half million cyclone survivors.

After visiting the Shwedagon pagoda in Yangon, regarded as Myanmar's spiritual heart, Ban Ki-moon signed the book of condolence at the Foreign Ministry.

Cyclone Nargis has left 134, 000 people dead or missing, and millions more homeless, hungry and vulnerable to disease.

Ban's aim is to convince the generals to accept more foreign expertise and aid. The regime says the situation is under control.

He spent an hour and a half with Prime Minister Thein Sein, telling him, according to a UN official at the meeting, that the crisis had gone beyond what Myanmar could handle.

Maybe this junta will finally open up to interaction with other nations. Maybe.

Iraq update

Damien Cave covered Iraq between July 2006 and December 2007. He is now the Times’ Miami bureau chief and we asked him to explain what it’s been like readjusting to home.

Read more here.

Darfur update

KHARTOUM (AFP) — The Sudanese authorities said on Thursday they had captured a top member of the Darfur rebel group that staged a daring attack on Khartoum this month in which more than 220 people were killed.

See, it's not just one side killing the other.

Election update

WASHINGTON (AP) — Likely Democratic nominee Barack Obama has begun a top-secret search for a running mate, fresh signs that the general election campaign is well under way and the primary race against Hillary Rodham Clinton is basically over.

Ever notice that mole on the left side of his nose?

Planning begins for July Fourth

WAKEFIELD - Spring is in the air, trees are in bloom, the Annual Spring Carnival celebrated an unprecedented five days of sunshine and Wakefield has a full calendar of upcoming community events. The annual Fourth of July Parade is the last major event before the town settles down for the hazy days of summer.
From the first blasts of sirens from the approaching fire engines, the parade conjures up images of marching bands, Caribbean dancers with fantastic plumage, equestrians, the best drum corps in the world, honor guards, balloons, pop corn and, of course, floats!
The Committee is busy reviewing bands and other entries and it is time to put out a call for floats.

Hope you like our entry.

Sign up!

If you are interested in registering a team, joining a team or want more information on the Relay for Life go to the Mac Lab after school Tuesday or Thursday.

Better hurry up, too.
This week is the last week to register and the deadline is Saturday.

Another One Lost...

Another one was lost last night to the treacheries and dreads associated with winning American Idol. David Cook, 25, won the competition on Wednesday night and effectively will be made into a tool owned by the producers of the show.
- Image designed by me

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Band Spotlight: Les Cowboys Fringants

History: Not too much is known about the beginnings of Les Cowboys Fringants. The group recorded their first album, 12 Grandes chansons, in 1997.

Years Active: 1997-2007 (Currently on one year hiatus)

Karl Tremblay - Vocals
J.F Pauze - Guitar
Marie-Annick Lepine - Alternative Instruments
Jerome Dupras - Bass Guitar
David Jesperson - Trombone

Label: La Tribu

Genre: Neo-trad (Quebec alt-folk)

Musical Style: Les Cowboys Fringants play a minimalist type of folk music. In their music, Les Cowboys encompass topics such as Quebecois culture, politics, and art.

Best Album: La Grande-Messe (2004)

Top Songs:
"La Reine"
"Les Etoiles Filantes"
"8 Secondes"

Influenced By: Renaud, Pierre Brault, Robert Charlebois

Sample Song - "La Reine"

On n’avait jamais su de quel pays qu’a v’nait
Ni meme l’âge qu’a l’avait ou comment qu’a s’appelait
Mais tout l’monde la surnommait La Reine
Dans l’bout d’la rue Ste-Catherine et d’la Main

A’ s’promenait dans l’quartier depuis au moins dix ans
Cotoyant les putains et les itinérants
Mais quand on entendait son accent
On s’doutait qu’à v’nait pas du Lac-St-Jean

Common Themes (Chris D. Take Note): Solidarity, Sovereignism, Environmentalism, Poverty, Anti-Consumerism, Anti-Corporatism, Anti-Gambling, Anti-Political Apathy

Final Comments: This band is the real deal. I started listening to Les Cowboys in 9th grade after researching Quebec on Wikipedia (yes, I loved the Quebec trip that much). Anyway, there is a high probability that even the best French students won't be able to understand these Quebecois, but that shouldn't stop one from listening to these guys (and gal). Give these spineless liberals a try, you may be impressed.

Funny Article In Today's Daily Item

Well, whoever wrote "If you've got it, flaunt it?" in today's (May 21) edition of the Daily Item probably wasn't going for funny when he/she composed the poorly written piece. Overall, the article itself isn't terrible (it has decent intentions/obvious observations), but then again it kind of is. I feel the need to break the beginning of the article down completely by paragraph:

It's prom gown season and it cannot be ignored. Not when teenage girls are wearing gowns cut so low you can practically see the top of their thongs.
I don't see what the author is going for by saying "thongs" instead of the less specific "underwear". I sense a stereotype here already, do you?
Maybe it's an old-fashioned point of view to cluck your tongue over such attire. Maybe it's even prudish. But why do these girls feel the need to wear such revealing prom gowns? And why are parents allowing it? Some teen girls are so voluptuous, their breasts spill over the top of their gowns. Other dresses are cut so high on the leg that...well it's hardly ponderable. If a teen boy exposed on a fully hairy chest on the night of his prom, would he not be deemed inappropriately dressed? Should it be any different for girls?
Girls that wear so called "revealing prom gowns" usually end up being the center of attention. Not many other teenagers nor parents actually care if their friend/daughter is dressed in scantily clad garments. The teen boy exposing a hairy chest comparison is just awful (and highly uncreative).
Comb through the pages of any newspaper in the next few weeks. The girls, some as young as 14, will be lined up for photo ops in their silk, satin, and lace prom dresses. Forget the dazzling colors and sequins, oversized bows and flouncy petticoats. They don't get noticed but cleavage sure does.
There are people in this world that aren't sexually perverse, author. These people don't go looking for cleavage like you inevitably do.
What's a teenage boy to do? Ignore the fact that testosterone is roaring through his veins? Take an oath to look but not touch? Confess his lustful desires to a priest?
All these generalizations! Again, some people can survive without any kind of temptation on their part.

The rest of the article discusses - none other than - teen birth rates! How the author makes a sexy prom gown and teen birth rate connection -- I just haven't quite figured out. The article does correctly indicate that teenage girls in modern times are having more urges to look "hotter" and older. Hollywood and television are two things that certainly aren't helping cleanse these seemingly licentious young'uns, no doubt.

In conclusion, I have no clue why the author says this:
If they flaunt what they've got in prom gowns, why not their pregnant bellies?
Do any of you, the readers, see a connection?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Picking the President: Human Rights and Darfur

On the issue of human rights, Sen. Clinton was one of the strongest advocates for U.S. involvement in Kosovo during her husband’s administration, and in general has argued for more U.S. involvement in humanitarian issues like primary school education in Africa. She also favors greater U.S. involvement in the crisis in Darfur, though she has stopped short of calling for U.S. ground troops to be deployed to Sudan, arguing instead for the use of NATO forces to secure a no-fly zone in the region.

Sen. McCain has made a point to emphasize the importance of democracy to places like Latin America and Africa, and argues that the “greatest honor is to serve the cause of human dignity.” Sen. McCain has called for much greater U.S. involvement in the Darfur conflict, including pressuring the EU for greater economic sanctions, the UN for more peacekeepers, and the use of its own logistical and intelligence equipment to aid the conflict resolution process.

Sen. Obama argues for great U.S. involvement in Darfur – while stopping short of calling for U.S. ground troops to be deployed to the region, he prefers a strong diplomatic approach combined with U.S. pressure on the UN to deploy a peacekeeping force of at least 20,000 to the region. He has also pledged to double U.S. foreign investment in programs to supply clean water, safe food, shelter, and education to the world’s poor, especially in Africa, where he says the U.S. should focus beyond simply the Darfur situation.

Point to Obama. What he proposes is exactly what we should be doing in Darfur, and we should shed a little more light on other problems in Africa.