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Friday, April 29, 2005
"Oh, my gosh, they’re talking about my burrito."

Strangely hilarious...

A concerned citizen spotted a male juvenile carrying a suspiciously concealed item into Marshall Junior High School early Thursday morning.

Police were called. The school was locked down. Adjacent streets were closed and law officers were perched on roofs with weapons.
The school was locked down — no one allowed to enter or leave and students locked inside their classrooms — until police searched the premises and determined there was no immediate danger.

[Principal Diana Russell] said the [object] was discovered after she brought the school together in the auditorium to explain what she knew about the series of events.

“The kid was sitting there as I’m describing this (citizen report of a student with a suspicious package) and he’s thinking, ‘Oh, my gosh, they’re talking about my burrito.’”

After the meeting, which included students and parents, Russell said the student, Michael Morrissey, approached her.

“He said, ‘I think I’m the person they saw,’” Russell said. “He said, ‘It was my extra-credit project. I put a white T-shirt over [a 30 inch burrito] because I wanted it to stay warm.’”

--Clovis News Journal

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:54 PM in Miscellaneous
Well, whatta ya know?

It seems a "rare, life-size" X-Wing Fighter resides in Dayton and it can be yours for as little as $40,000.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:47 PM in Dayton

Thursday, April 28, 2005
A Slide for Soar Eyes

     "Oil Prices Slide More Than $2.50 a Barrel"--headline, Associated Press, April 27, 3:25 p.m. EDT

     "Bush Lays Out Energy Plan As Prices Soar"--headline, Associated Press, April 27, 5 p.m. EDT

--Best of the Web Today

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:53 PM in Media

Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Downtown Dayton now has free wireless internet

One square mile of Downtown (including Courthouse Square and Fifth Third Field) now offers free wi-fi though the official kickoff isn't until this weekend. If things work out they hope to be able to expand it into the rest of the city.

Personally it won't do me much good but it's still a good idea. Hard to argue against something that will make Downtown more attractive and costs the city nothing.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:26 AM in Dayton , Technology/Internet
VH1 turns down Jaffre

Though he's shopping the idea to other networks it looks like the Cincinnati mayoral race won't be chronicled on reality TV.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:14 AM in Cincinnati , TV

Monday, April 25, 2005
The Pope who didn't want to be
Speaking in his native German, Benedict told the audience that during the conclave, or papal election, when it became clear he was getting many votes, a cardinal passed him a note reminding him what he had preached about Christ calling Peter to follow him even if he was reluctant to go.

Benedict, 78, said he hoped to spend his last years living quietly and peacefully.

"At a certain point, I prayed to God 'please don't do this to me,"' he recalled. "Evidently, this time He didn't listen to me."


Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:01 PM in Religion

Friday, April 22, 2005
Silly Republicans trying to be more bipartisan...
"What [the Republicans are] trying to do is distract," [Minority Leader Pelosi's spokeswoman Jennifer Crider] said. "They're choosing to pass legislation that is bipartisan."

--Washington Times

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:42 PM in Politics/Government
Sony & Toshiba in talks to merge Blu-Ray and HD-DVD
Sony and Toshiba are in talks aimed at adopting a common format for next generation video discs...

The talks... are expected to lead to a unified format for advanced DVDs capable of recording high-quality content, including high-definition movies and video games.

An accord would end years of heated competition between the two camps to win over content providers, particularly Hollywood studios, and gain supremacy.

Sony is supporting Blu-ray disc technology along with most consumer electronics makers including Samsung and Matsushita.

Toshiba is championing HD-DVD with the backing of NEC and Sanyo among others.

...until recently a compromise has seemed unlikely because both camps were in the advanced stages of development and high-end early models have already been introduced. "The physical format was fixed last year and it is technically very difficult to change this," said one official in the Blu-ray camp.
The question now is which of the technologies will dominate in a unified format. HD-DVD offers lower manufacturing costs, since production techniques are similar to current DVDs. But analysts think Blu-ray will be the core of any compromise, because it offers more capacity and is seen as a technological leap forward.

--Financial Times

If they do reach a compromise it should be interesting to see how they work things out technically. Actually merging the two technologies would hardly be a simple thing.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:59 PM in Technology/Internet
Some Thursday night reality TV thoughts

First off, fair warning of Survivor and Apprentice spoilers.

Now then... Survivor... boy did Janu ever throw a wrench in the works. If Stephenie can get the girls together then the guys are in real trouble. Getting the girls together is far from a sure thing though... Katie's one of the original 4 and Jennifer's mixed up with Gregg. The guys are going to need to play up the fact that the other girls don't stand the slightest chance against Stephenie.

Now on to Apprentice... If I were Trump I honestly don't know that I'd want to hire any of these people.

Kendra is... unpolished. She's still green, but she definitely has had some good ideas. Tana's grating. Craig's a know-it-all jerk who's been nothing but condescending to Kendra for the past two weeks while she's been carrying the team. Sure Kendra's not experienced but Craig would not listen to a single thought that came out of her mouth. He treated her like a child and I simply can't imagine him ever being a good leader and getting the best out of his subordinates. Both Tana and Craig should be fired simply for how they acted in the Pontiac assignment. Alex I suppose is the most like Bill and Kelly, he seems like the type of person that Trump would pick but he really wasn't impressive in last night's effort.

I suppose if I had to pick two I'd go with Kendra and Alex. It would actually be interesting to see them as a team. Kendra could stand to get out from under the thumb of Craig and I think her creativity would complement Alex's lack thereof.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:00 AM in TV

Thursday, April 21, 2005

I've got about 5 potential posts, but they can all pretty much be summed up as "the following people are displaying their idiocy" so I won't bother...

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:13 AM in Miscellaneous

Tuesday, April 19, 2005
White smoke

There is a new pope.

--Update-- 12:43

It's Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

--Update-- 12:44
He's taken the name Benedict XVI.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:25 PM in Religion

Monday, April 18, 2005
Speaking of picking a church's highest official...

Not that anybody cares but... my denomination [The Christian Church(Disciples of Christ)] yesterday determined a nominee for the office of general minister and president.

Addressing the General Board on Sunday morning, [nominee Sharon Watkins], a lifelong Disciple, began by talking about her formative years and her love for the church.

"We are a church whose time has come," Watkins said, "because in this day and age, authenticity speaks louder than authority in matters of faith."

"People would rather hear an authentic witness from a modern day doubting Thomas than have some ecclesial authority lay down the law," she said.

In her speech, she lifted up the denomination’s successes in starting new churches and addressing issues of racism.

Watkins, who has been the senior minister of Disciples Christian Church in Bartlesville, Okla. since 1997, sees congregational transformation as the "next big arena."

--Disciples World

Posted by Rob Bernard at 7:53 PM in Religion
A shift in tactics in the Spam War

CNN has an interesting article on how ISPs are shifting from just filtering inbound e-mail for spam to trying to stop it at its source.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:08 PM in Technology/Internet
Conclave begins

I'm betting the tone of the Conclave will be a little different than the lock-ins the church youth groups hold.

As I've said, I'm not Catholic but I do have a certain respect for the Papacy. As a protestant I suppose you could liken my feelings towards the Papacy to those of an American towards the English crown. You want to make sure that (in the words of Homer Simpson) "the King of England [can't] just walk in here any time he wants and start shoving you around" but you can recognize their power, influence and majesty.

May God guide the Cardinals in their selection of a new Pope.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:06 PM in Religion

Friday, April 15, 2005
"Will you look at those morons! I paid my taxes over a year ago!"

Today's tax day. (Personally I got my refunds back 2 months ago.)

Today seems a good day to remind people that if we had the FairTax in place there'd be no tax forms, no receipts to save, no money spent on tax preparation, no late night drives to the post office, no being forced by the IRS to steal the Trillion dollar bill back from Mr. Burns... whoops, slipped into the Simpsons there.

If we had the FairTax today would be just another day.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:12 PM in Politics/Government

Thursday, April 14, 2005
Carnival of the Vanities

The new Carnival of the Vanities is up, or rather the anti-Carnival of the Vanities. The first one was a rather mean-spirited one (including towards my Opening Day post and Baseball in general) so Laurence Simon felt a real Carnival was called for.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:35 AM in Miscellaneous

Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Whoops, CIncinnati lab sends out killer flu
The World Health Organisation is urging thousands of laboratories around the world to destroy samples inadvertently sent to them of the Asian flu virus that killed up to four million people in 1957-58.

Scientists feared an accident could trigger a new global outbreak.

The virus, known as H2N2, killed about four million people worldwide during the Asian influenza pandemic of 1957-58 before disappearing in 1968.

"Therefore, persons born after 1968 are expected to have no or only limited immunity to H2N2," which is not contained in current trivalent influenza vaccines, the WHO warned Tuesday in a statement.

The US government on April 8 asked the College of American Pathologists (CAP) to instruct 3,747 laboratories in 18 countries that received samples containing the H2N2 virus to destroy them, the WHO said.
The H2N2 samples were shipped to the laboratories -- most of which are in the United States with only 75 located in Canada and 16 other countries -- by Meridian Bioscience Inc. of Cincinnati, Ohio as part of "routine quality-control certification conducted" by the College of American Pathologists.

Stohr called the private company's decision "unwise and unfortunate," while Robert Webster, a flu expert at St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, called the incident "a terrible, terrible mistake."

--Yahoo! News

Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:17 PM in Cincinnati

Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Gen Y and religion

Reboot, a Jewish youth organization just released the findings of a poll of Generation Y (Gen Y includes those born between 1980 and 2000 but the poll only polled those age 18-25) which focused on their feelings about faith and religion.

"The religious establishment is failing to connect with Generation Y, the most diverse and individualist group in American history," Bennett said. "iTunes, Tivo, and MoveOn have shown this generation that it is possible to bypass the 'middleman' and take control of their own experiences, whether it's a song list or politics. Religious institutions have to recognize this reality if they want to be more meaningful to them," he said.

According to the survey, many 18-to-25 year olds express their faith in informal ways that are either communal or individualistic, such as praying before meals (55%), talking with friends (38%), or reading religious magazines, books, and newspapers (33%).

While they enjoy "a genuine attachment to religious life," younger people are "more disconnected from traditional denominations than their older counterparts ... [and] favor more informal ways to practice their faith as opposed to attending services, classes, or formal activity," the report says.

The survey, however, reveals that young people who identify as highly religious (27%) tend to be more self-aware and significantly more connected to family and community.

"One of the most remarkable findings of the study is that on every measure, highly religious youth better understand themselves and their place in the community more than less religious youth," said the report's author, Anna Greenberg, vice president of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research.

"The results send a clear message: Demand for meaning and community is there, but few in Gen Y are finding it in churches, mosques, or synagogues," Bennett said. "The question now is whether established institutions will adapt or innovate to meet this generation's particular spiritual needs."

--Reboot press release via Yahoo!

The poll itself can be downloaded here.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:03 PM in Religion
Cancer and cell phones

A new study finds no correlation between the two.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:58 PM in Technology/Internet

Monday, April 11, 2005
Add one more to the steroid pile

This time it's Rockies outfielder Jorge Piedro.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:29 PM in Baseball

Friday, April 8, 2005
Busy, busy, busy

At least I'm managing to knock some nagging stuff off my to-do list.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 3:56 PM in Miscellaneous

Thursday, April 7, 2005

Come on, how can you not like this Reds team?

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:16 AM in Cincinnati

Monday, April 4, 2005
Extended thoughts on Opening Day

My brother drove in from West Virginia last night to go to the game. This was our fourth straight Opening Day. (Methods of obtaining tickets: 02 - waiting in line failed, got off of ebay 03 - online 04 & 05 - waiting in line) He had to go straight back afterwards so we each drove. We got Downtown at about 10:45 and had no problem parking. $10 a couple blocks from GABP. We got lunch at Empress Chili's new downtown location and, not really caring about the parade headed down to the ballpark.

We had great seats, somewhere between Center and Right Center, front row below the smoke stacks. We watched the Mets take BP for about 40 minutes and then went to check out the new Hall of Fame. ($5 admission if you've got a ticket.) It's really pretty cool.

We got back to our section just as the National Anthem started and the B2 flew over. Things started badly with Matsui homering but Dunn answered in the bottom half of the 1st with a 3-run shot that with a few more feet would have cleared the Sun Deck. (I'm visible in this picture.) Mets came back to tie things up and things were quiet for a while. Pedro struck out quite a few Reds, but the score remained 3-3. Then Weathers and Mercker came in to promptly give up 3 runs in the 7th. (Piazza doubled off the wall pretty much right in front of me. If I'd wanted to get thrown out I probably could have touched it.) The Reds came back with one run in the bottom of the 7th and Wagner and Graves came in to shut the Mets' bats down for two innings.

And now we come to the ninth. This folks is why you NEVER leave a ball game early. Brandon Looper comes in to save the game for the Mets with a 2 run lead. Kearns singles. Dunn launches yet another into the Right-Center stands. Tie ball game. And then Randa comes up.

High drive to Left Center field!


Go home, you're done. Hit the showers, but thanks for the runs. You bum, you got rocked, so just beat it. You got the hook so go home.

Hey pitcher, so I guess that was your fastball, I don't think you could get it past my grandma.
I'm confused, was that your changeup or your slider.
Doesn't matter because you couldn't get it by her.
Ball 1, outside.
Ball 2, up high.
You threw a strike and he yanked it out of the yard.
Yeah, now you gotta go home, you're done.
Hit the showers, but thanks for the runs.
You bum, you got rocked so just beat it.
You got the hook go home.

--Blessid Union of Souls - Go Home

It's odd, earlier in the game a hit had skittered between Randa and Aurillia and the people near me were ready to give up on him. He hits the first walk-off homer in Reds Opening Day history and suddenly he's a king. :)

It took a while to get out of town. Ended up taking Central Parkway north, zigged around the ole' Alma Mater and got on 71 at McMillan.

The one downside of the whole thing is that when I got home I found that my Tivo had recorded the game on ESPN instead of FSN so I ended up with the Pirates-Brewers game. Really would have liked to have the game to watch again. :(

All in all though it was an absolutely fantastic experience. It was soooooo worth the hous spent in line waiting for tickets. I wouldn't trade this experience for anything. If you haven't been to Opening Day in Cincinnati you haven't really been to an Opening Day.

On WLW after the game someone noted that Baseball is sometimes thought of as an older person's game, a game that teens and 20-somethings have just lost touch with and observed that the turnout at today's game just didn't show that. And I have to agree. In my entire row I don't know that there was one person over the age of 30.

This should be an exciting year of Reds baseball. Can't help but get a '99 vibe off this team and the excitement surrounding them.

The names have changed but the game's the same... so grab your glove and let's play ball!
Everybody's coming downtown to watch them play... America's past time
Everybody's coming downtown just to say... hey, hey!
Everybody's coming downtown to watch them play... America's past time
At Great American Ball Park
There's a whole new game in town, everyone's invited down.
Because where one generation ends there's a new one about to begin.

--Blessid Union of Souls - Play Ball

And now a few pics.

View from our seats/Mets BP

B2 Flyover

First Pitch

The Outfield Trio

The traffic on the way home

Posted by Rob Bernard at 9:11 PM in Baseball , Cincinnati
38 minor leaguers suspended for steroids

In addition to yesterday's suspension of Alex Sanchez, 38 minor leaguers have been suspended for violations of the steroid policy. All but one were given the 15 game first-timers suspension. David Castillo in Oakland's org was given the 60 day suspension reserved for 3rd offenders.

All told, players from Seattle, the Cubs, th Angels, Oakland, Texas, San Diego, Colorado, St. Louis and the ChiSox.


Posted by Rob Bernard at 8:00 PM in Miscellaneous
Quick post game, stuck in traffic thought

The game rocked,

Posted by Rob Bernard at 6:12 PM in
"The names have changed but the game's the same... so grab your glove and let's play ball!"
Everybody's coming downtown to watch them play... America's past time

Everybody's coming downtown just to say... hey, hey!

Everybody's coming downtown to watch them play... America's past time

At Great American Ball Park

No city does Opening Day like Cincinnati.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 9:12 AM in Cincinnati

Saturday, April 2, 2005
Movie Review: Dallas 362

Just got out of Dallas 362, the film starring, written and directed by Scott Caan. It had its world theatrical premiere here at The Neon last night. I enjoyed it. The tone brought to mind Clerks and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. I'll flesh this out later but for now I have to get back into the theater, Gunner Palace is about to start.

The film stars Caan as Dallas. He and Shawn Hatosy's Rusty are two twenty-somethings living in California and basically waiting for their lives to make a turn either for the better or the worse. As things stand they're two hard-drinking guys who collect for a bookie and get into a LOT of bar fights. Dallas seems happy with this and is looking to make the move to full-blown criminal. Rusty on the other hand isn't so sure. Trying to work things out he starts seeing Bob, a therapist and the boyfriend of his mother (Kelly Lynch).

Dallas 362 is a snappily written coming-of-age story. It takes the growing rift between Dallas and Rusty seriously but doesn't get overly dramatic or bogged down in the woe-is-me-where-do-I-go-from-here aspects of it. Caan manages to get very solid performances out of his actors and the still-photo montages, which could easily be overused, work and add a great deal to the film stylistically.

Overall Dallas 362 is a very solid first feature from Scott Caan.

3 out of 4 stars.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 5:19 PM in Movies
Pope John Paul II is dead

I'm not Catholic, but I am one of those people who have known only one Pope. He was Pope longer than I've been alive, he's been something of a fixture on the world stage. He's done a lot of good works in his time and it's sad to see a man of such faith pass.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 4:57 PM in Religion
T-Minus 48 hours...

...till the start of the baseball season. :)

...whoops... daylight savings time... make that 47 hours.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 2:10 PM in Baseball , Cincinnati
Best Buy to eliminate mail-in rebates

Thank God, it's about time. Say what you will about Best Buy but they do get a good many things right.

Retailers' love affair with mail-in rebates may be coming to an end.

In response to customer complaints, Best Buy Co. Inc., the world's largest electronics retailer, promised Friday to eliminate mail-in rebates within two years. Best Buy's rivals, including Circuit City Stores and CompUSA, are expected to follow suit.

"Our customers are telling us they just hate the process," said Ron Boire, executive vice president and general merchandise manager at Best Buy.

It remains to be seen, however, whether the decision will translate into better deals for consumers. By eliminating the promotion, consumers may end up paying more for certain products than if they received the rebates, Baker said.

"If you don't do a rebate, that gives the retailer and the manufacturer money to spend in other ways," Baker said. "It doesn't necessarily mean more money back to you."

Yet most analysts said they expect Best Buy to drop its prices to compensate consumers, and that will force other consumer-electronics retailers to eliminate their mail-in programs.

"I can guarantee you that there are five executives in a room at Circuit City trying to figure out what to do next and when to do it," said McGranahan of Sanford Bernstein. "If they're smart like Best Buy, they will realize that there are probably other promotions that would be a lot more effective and less frustrating."

--Star Tribune

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:12 PM in Technology/Internet

Friday, April 1, 2005
Sandy Berger to plead guilty
Federal prosecutors will recommend that former national security adviser Sandy Berger be fined $10,000 and lose his security clearance for three years, but receive no jail time, sources said.

The Justice Department announced Thursday that Berger would plead guilty to illegally removing classified documents from the National Archives.

Berger, adviser to former President Clinton, was expected to enter the plea in U.S. District Court in Washington Friday to a single count of "unauthorized removal and retention of classified material," officials said.

The misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.
An associate of Berger told CNN the former national security adviser admitted to the Justice Department he originally took five copies of an after-action report -- one during his September 2003 visit to the Archives and four during his October 2003 trip.

When he returned to his office and compared the copies he had, he believed several were basically the same, the associate said.

He admitted to officials that he then used scissors to cut up three copies that night while at his office, they said. At first he had said he had either misplaced or unintentionally thrown them away.

When Archives officials contacted him after they realized documents were missing, he told them about the two copies he had and returned them, along with the handwritten notes he had taken, they said. He did not say anything about the three copies he had destroyed.


Looks like the long national nightmare that is Pantsgate has finally come to an end.

Posted by Rob Bernard at 1:09 PM in Politics/Government
The Pope's condition continues to worsen
"The general conditions and cardio-respiratory conditions of the Holy Father have further worsened. A gradual worsening arterial hypotension has been noted, and breathing has become shallow," the Vatican press office said.

"The clinical picture indicates cardio-circulatory and renal insufficiency. The biological parameters are notably compromised. The Holy Father, with visible participation, is joining the continual prayers of those assisting him."

Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said earlier that the pope was in "very serious condition" Friday afternoon, but he is "lucid, fully conscious" and "very serene."

Navarro-Valls also said earlier that the pope's blood pressure was "unstable" and that he "... asked for the Holy Scriptures to be read to him."


Posted by Rob Bernard at 12:45 PM in Religion


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