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Archive for the ‘Interesting Article’ Category

This is a place where I will post other interesting articles that I’ve found online.


Posted by kerenmelissa on July 1, 2008

Boy decapitated by roller coaster at Six Flags Over Georgia
Victim from Springfield, S.C., identified

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 06/28/08

The popular “Batman the Ride” rollercoaster at Six Flags Over Georgia remained closed Sunday while authorities continued investigating the death of a teenager who jumped over two fences and was struck by the ride.

The 17-year-old South Carolina teen who died was identified as Asia Leeshawn Ferguson, of Springfield, S.C. He was on a church outing when the incident occurred about 2 p.m. Saturday. It was the second Batman ride-related death at the Cobb County park.


People board a MARTA bus at Six Flags Over Georgia.

According to police and the amusement park, Ferguson and a friend climbed over two 6-foot fences — a wrought-iron style park perimeter fence and a second chainlink fence around the Batman ride — as a shortcut to get back into the park after lunch. Signs about 40 to 50 feet apart on the outer fence warn that it is a “restricted area” for “authorized personnel only.”

According to park officials, a sign on a locked gate at the chain link fence also reads “Danger zone” and “Do not enter.”

Ferguson was decapitated when the ride struck him, police said.

“It is still unclear why the two men were trying to gain access to this unauthorized area,” park spokeswoman Hela Sheth told reporters Saturday, reading from a prepared statement.

She declined to answer questions at a news conference and did not return calls seeking more information.

The teen was with a group from Oakley Spring Baptist Church in Salley, S.C., a small town about 50 miles east of Augusta. He had been in Six Flags earlier in the day, but he and another boy left the park property to get some lunch, according to Cobb County police spokesman Sgt. Dana Pierce.

Rather than returning to the park through the regular entrance, the pair took a shortcut, Pierce said.

“The area’s clearly defined with signs,” Pierce said. “It’s very tragic that these individuals would decide to jump over the fence. It would be hard to imagine somebody not seeing the signs and jumping two fences.”

No one on the ride was injured, Six Flags said in the statement. Ferguson’s family was at the park at the time of the accident, according to the amusement park.

Pierce said there were many witnesses, and the county’s 911 center was almost immediately flooded with calls from people reporting what they had seen.

The park’s statement said one of the first to call for help was an Marietta police officer who had been in line for the Batman ride.

“Six Flags security and safety personnel responded immediately, and Cobb CountyFire [Department] was on site just minutes after the incident occurred,” Sheth said. “The medical examiner arrived on scene and confirmed that the 17-year-old male was killed instantaneously.”

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family,” she said.

The Batman ride was run briefly after the accident so police investigators could take measurements. It was closed to the public Saturday evening. The rest of Six Flags remained open. The park said the ride likely will resume operating on Monday.

Batman riders dangle beneath a track and travel up to 50 m.p.h., climbing and dropping the distance equal to an 11-story building and going through two vertical loops and two single corkscrews.

The first fatality involving the Batman ride in Georgia occurred six years ago.

A 58-year-old park worker, Samuel Milton Guyton of Atlanta, was killed May 26, 2002. Guyton was in a restricted area on a platform when he was kicked in the head by 14-year-old girl on the front car of the ride. The girl was hospitalized with a leg injury.

Over the years, several ride-related deaths have been reported at Six Flags parks nationwide.

Last March, a worker dismantling a ride at Six Flags Great America near Chicago fell 40-feet to his death. In 2004 at the same park, a maintenance worker was hit by a roller coaster and killed.

A 55-year-old disabled man was killed in May 2004 when he was thrown from a ride at Six Flags New England near Springfield, Mass. Five years ago, a grandmother strapping her 4-year-old grandson into Six Flags New Orleans’ Joker’s Jukebox ride was hit by a spinning car when the ride began operating before she was out of the way.

— Staff writer S.A. Reid and news researcher Joni Zeccola contributed to this story


Posted in Interesting Article, Random | 1 Comment »

Stars real names

Posted by kerenmelissa on June 30, 2008

I saw this and thought it was interesting ….


1. Tiger Woods Real Name (Eldrick Woods)   11. Bow Wow Real Name (Shad Gregory Moss)
2. Madonna Real Name (Madonna Ciccone)   12. Soulja Boy Real Name (DeAndre Ramone Way)
3. Lil’ Wayne Real Name (Dwayne Carter Jr.)   13. Triple H Real Name (Paul Michael Levesque)
4. Miley Cyrus Real Name (Destiny Hope Cyrus)   14. Bono Real Name (Paul Hewson)
5. Coco Crisp Real Name (Covelli Crisp)   15. Sting’s Real Name (Gordon Sumner)
6. Hilary Banks Real Name (played by Karyn Parsons)   16. Jay-Z’s Real Name (Shawn Carter)
7. Gene Simmons Real Name (Chaim Witz)   17. Tila Tequila Real Name (Tila Nguyen)
8. Hulk Hogan Real Name (Terry Bollea)   18. Marilyn Manson Real Name (Brian Warner)
9. Larry the Cable Guy (Daniel Lawrence Whitney)   19. John Wayne Real Name (Marion Morrison)
10. Ray Stevens Real Name (Harold Ray Ragsdale)   20. Prince’s Real Name (Prince Rogers Nelson)

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The Do-It-Yourself Tax Cut

Posted by kerenmelissa on June 6, 2008

I found this article at The Wall Streat Journal Online .. it’s something to think about!



The Do-It-Yourself Tax Cut April 21, 2008

Nobody likes paying taxes, but the way we Americans complain about them you’d think they were the only way we’re getting skinned. Reality: We’re getting nickel-and-dimed all the time, and in lots of ways we don’t even notice. And yes, it really adds up. If we counted the cost, most people would be stunned. OK, tax is center stage right now. Last week was April 15. This week will come “tax freedom day,” the notional point in the year when the average citizen starts working for themselves. Many people are eagerly awaiting their rebates and their $600 stimulus checks. (Note: Thanks to the deficit, these aren’t really rebates. They’re just loans from your kids. Something to think about before you blow the money on a flat-screen TV.) And the presidential campaign may very well hinge on taxes and how to balance the budget.

So here’s a radical idea: A do-it-yourself tax cut. Don’t wait for the politicians to pass a law or some bureaucrat to mail you a check. Don’t wait for Uncle Sam to put more money in your pocket. Here are 14 ways to do it that you do tomorrow on your own.

1. Change bank accounts. You could be earning at least 3% interest on the balance in your checking account. Instead you’re probably earning virtually nothing — and maybe paying a “relationship” or “account maintenance” fee while the bank has free use of your money. tracks the best deals around. Savings: An easy $100 a year. At least.

2. Stop using other banks’ ATMs. Sure it’s a pain to have to remember to go your own bank and get enough cash. But you’ll live. If you use other banks’ ATMs you may be getting dinged for fees twice — once by that bank, and one by your own. It adds up. Do it three times a week and it could easily cost you $300 a year.

3. Brown bag it to work. No, I’m not kidding. Just look at the sandwich shops near your office every lunch hour. They’re probably packed, recession or not. But if you spend just $8 a day extra eating lunch, that costs $2,100 over a year. Do the math. Just brown bagging once a week, at an $8 saving, saves $416 a year. That’s from making your own sandwich once a week.

4. Change your household and car insurance. Shop for a better deal. And raise your deductibles. Savings: Maybe $200.

5. Sign up for rewards credit cards. Outraged at what you’re paying for groceries and gasoline? You can often get 3% back on a lot of purchases by signing up for the right cards. It sounds trivial, but these are real savings. Savings: Maybe $200 a year.

6. Get rid of your POTS. That’s “Plain Old Telephone Service.” If you already have high-speed Internet at home, why are you also paying $40 a month or more for a phone? Switch to a Voice Over Internet Protocol provider like Skype. It costs a few cents a call. Easy saving: At least $400 a year.

7. Change your cell phone plan, or your provider — or both. You’re almost certainly paying too much. If you don’t believe me, call your provider and threaten to leave. I’ll bet they offer you real savings to stay. What does that say about your current bill? Some companies — like T Mobile — are competing aggressively on price. There are plans that can stop you getting skinned when you go over your monthly minutes. Most people can probably save a couple of hundred bucks a year on their bill. And while we’re on the subject, do you want the latest phone with all the bells and whistles? Fine, that will be $200. Alternatively you could keep your old phone, and sell the subsidized new one to some other sucker on eBay. That’s worth another $100 a year. Total savings: Maybe $300.

8. You pay how much for TV? When you count the cable or satellite service, often in several rooms, premium channels, and TiVo, some people spend well over $100 a month. Basic cable, a Netflix account and a DVD recorder can easily save $600 a year. And DVDs come with an amazing new technology that lets you watch them on any room in the house at no extra fee. You pick the disc up and carry it.”

9. The biggest waste of money for most people? “No. 1 on the list is eating out and drinking out,” says Jan Geiger, a veteran financial planner in Atlanta, Ga. “That’s absolutely, by far, No. 1.” She says most people never add it all up. When she makes her clients do just that, “They usually freak out. It can easily be $400, $500 or $600 a month.” No, you don’t have to live on noodles. Just cutting one $100 meal, or two $50 meals, a month will save you $1,200 a year.

10. Buy a cheaper car and pay cash. Yes, that brand new luxury car says “smart and rich.” Unfortunately, it only says that about your car dealer. About you it says “pretentious, and probably in debt.”

11. Change your investments. If you’re like most Americans, a lot of your money is invested poorly. That means you’re not maximizing your investment in tax-free vehicles like 401(k)s and IRAs. And it means you’re paying rip-off fees for mediocre mutual funds. Few are worth them: Most of the time you’re better off in index funds. Savings: maybe $500 a year.

12. Shop online. When you see something in the stores, don’t buy it. Go home and check out the price online. I’ll bet it’s a lot cheaper, even when you include the shipping. You may also skip state sales tax. Sometimes the savings can be staggering. And if you get an online loyalty credit card, such as the one offered by Amazon, you can save an extra 3%. If you just save 10% this way on a mere $2,000 worth of spending a year, congratulations: You have just made $200.

13. Cutting out crap. Remember before we paid for “iced tea” and water? And half of what people buy has no obvious purpose or merit. If you don’t believe me, go to the mall and look around. And most gifts are a total waste of money. I’ll bet the typical household could save $500 a year just cutting out crap.

14. Stop wasting energy. No, you don’t have to shiver through the winter or swelter in the height of summer. But a handful of simple steps can probably save you $200 a year. Among them: Switching off electronics at the socket overnight so they don’t keep draining power. These are only ballpark figures. The actual savings will vary enormously by household. But just the steps above can save a household thousands a year. That is, for most, a far bigger number than any tax proposals you will hear about in the campaign. This is not a political column. The debate about higher taxes or lower spending can be carried on elsewhere. But it does seem to make sense to tackle costs everywhere we find it, and not just in our tax bills.

Posted in Interesting Article | 1 Comment »

History Happened Today … Cool!

Posted by kerenmelissa on June 3, 2008

I’m not a history buff and I don’t really keep up with THAT much going on in the news/world on a daily basis.  BUT, when something happens in my lifetime and I know I’m living through history, I get little chills down my spine.  9-11 was one of the most horrific things that has ever happened to America (if not THE most horrific thing) and although I was broken-hearted over it, I still thought it was a tad bit neat to live thru that.  Now I have a story like my parents had … my parents would always say “I remember exactly where I was when Kennedy was shot” … well, “I remember exactly where I was when the 9-11 happened.”  That memory will never leave me. 

I digress …

Today, we witnessed history in the making.  The first African American Presidential nominee has been named – Barack Obama.  No matter where you stand politically, I hope you can see how big that is for our country.


AP: Obama has delegates to clinch nomination

Clinton sources say she’s ready to acknowledge rival has delegates

Chris Carlson / AP
Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., meets with the media during a campaign stop in Waterford, Mich., on Monday.
MSNBC staff and news service reports
CHICAGO – Barack Obama clinched the Democratic presidential nomination Tuesday, becoming the first black candidate to lead a major party into a campaign for the White House, according to an Associated Press tally of delegates.

Obama arranged a victory celebration at the site of this summer’s Republican National Convention — an in-your-face gesture to Sen. John McCain, who will be his opponent in the race to become the nation’s 44th president.


What’s more, if things keep moving the way they are, it seems like we will have two very historical presidential nominees.  An African-American Presidential Nominee and a Woman Vice-Presidential Nominee.  Very cool.

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Shocking headline

Posted by kerenmelissa on April 28, 2008

Father Confesses to Imprisoning Daughter for 24 years



As seen on

Posted: 2008-04-28 09:53:25

Filed Under: World News




Austrian police say the father of a 42-year-old woman identified as Elisabeth F. confessed to holding her captive for 24 years in this hidden bedroom in the cellar of a house in Austria. The room had a thick soundproof door leading to it.

A police officer outside house in Amstetten, Austria, where woman says she was kept prisoner

A police officer looks toward the house. Elisabeth F. had been missing since Aug. 29, 1984, and was found by police in the town of Amstetten on Saturday evening following a tip.


AMSTETTEN, Austria (April 28)  A man has confessed to imprisoning his daughter for 24 years in windowless cell with a soundproofed door and fathering seven children with her, police said Monday.


The man, now 73, also told investigators that he tossed the body of one of the children in an incinerator when the infant died shortly after birth, said Franz Polzer, head of the Lower Austrian Bureau of Criminal Affairs.”We are being confronted with an unfathomable crime,” Interior Minister Guenther Platter said.
The daughter, who is now 42, had been missing since 1984 and was found by police in the town of Amstetten on Saturday evening after police received a tip.

Police on Monday released several photos showing parts of the cramped basement cell, with a small bathroom and a narrow passageway leading to a tiny bedroom. Investigators said an electronic keyless-entry system apparently kept the daughter from escaping from the cell, which was made of solid reinforced concrete.

The suspect, identified by authorities as Josef F., was expected to appear in court later Monday.

“He admitted that he locked his daughter, who was 18 at the time, in the cellar, that he repeatedly had sex with her, and that he is the father of her seven children,” Polzer told The Associated Press.

Three of the surviving children lived with the grandparents and were registered with authorities. The other three apparently were held captive in the cellar with their mother, Polzer told reporters.

Hans-Heinz Lenze, a senior local official, said the suspect’s wife apparently had “no idea” of what went on and was devastated.

“You have to imagine that this woman’s world fell apart,” he said.

Austrians — still scandalized by a 2006 case involving a young woman who was kidnapped and imprisoned in a basement cell outside Vienna for more than eight years — expressed disbelief at the latest case.

“The entire nation must ask itself just what is fundamentally going wrong,” the newspaper Der Standard said Monday in a commentary.

Guenter Pramreiter, who owns a bakery just down the street, told The Associated Press that the suspect and his wife would regularly buy bread and rolls, though never in large quantities.

“They appeared normal, just like any other family,” Pramreiter said. “I’m totally shocked, this was next door. It’s terrible.”

The case unfolded after a gravely ill teenager was found unconscious on April 19 in the building where her grandparents live, and taken to a hospital in the town of Amstetten, about 75 miles west of Vienna. Authorities publicly appealed for her to come forward to help diagnose the young woman’s condition.

After receiving a tip, police picked up the 42-year-old woman — identified as Elisabeth F. — and her father on Saturday close to the hospital.

Police said Elisabeth F. appeared “greatly disturbed” during questioning. She agreed to talk only after authorities assured her she would no longer have to have contact with her father and that her children would be cared for.

On Sunday evening, police said investigators had found the area where Elisabeth and three of the children were held captive. Investigators said the rooms were at most 5 feet 6 inches feet high. The area had a TV and small hot plates for cooking.

In a chronology of events outlined in a police statement, authorities said Elisabeth F. told them her father began sexually abusing her when she was 11. She told police that some years later in 1984, he sedated her, handcuffed her and locked her in the cellar.

Police said a letter written by Elisabeth had apparently surfaced a month after her disappearance, asking her parents not to search for her.

The Austria Press Agency reported that the surviving children are three boys and three girls, the youngest of whom is 5. DNA tests were expected to determine whether Josef F. is the father of the children.

Sunday’s developments recalled another case that shocked Austrians in the summer of 2006, when a young woman escaped after being largely confined to a tiny underground dungeon in a quiet Vienna suburb for more than eight years.

Natascha Kampusch was 10 years old when she was kidnapped in Vienna on her way to school in March 1998. Her abductor, Wolfgang Priklopil, threw himself in front of a train just hours after her dramatic escape.

Kampusch, now 20, issued a statement Monday saying she wanted to contact Elisabeth to offer emotional and financial help.

Oleksyn reported from Amstetten, Austria, and Kole from Vienna.




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I can’t get it out of my head!!!

Posted by kerenmelissa on April 24, 2008

Subway is running a nation-wide “five dollar footlong” campaign.  I’m sure you’ve heard the annoyingly-mezmerizing jingle on TV.  I can’t STAND when this commercial comes on.  I try VERY hard to switch the channel before the jingle begins.  Below is an interesting article about the jingle.

And dang-it if I don’t want Subway for lunch!!!!  UGH



Jingle Hell


The diabolical geniuses behind Subway’s “five-dollar foot-long” song.

By Seth Stevenson

as seen on
Posted Monday, April 21, 2008, at 7:21 AM ET

The Spot: Various people and creatures (a police officer, a flight attendant, a Godzilla-type monster) hold up five fingers and then, using their outstretched palms, indicate a distance of roughly one foot. Meanwhile, a song plays. The lyrics, repeated again and again: “Five. Five dollar. Five dollar foot-long.”

For a limited time, Subway is offering a special deal: foot-long subs for $5. Foot-longs were once Subway’s “stock in trade,” according to Chief Marketing Officer Tony Pace, but in recent years the smaller 6-inch subs have overtaken them in popularity. (The 6-inchers are often sold as part of a package deal—including a drink and a snack—designed to compete with other fast food outlets’ value meals.) “We wanted to get back to our heritage,” says Pace, “as a place where you can get a foot-long sub.”



How to convey this vital information to the public at large? To ad agency MMB, the advent of a $5 foot-long seemed in itself momentous and compelling enough that elaborate persuasive efforts could only cloud the issue. The key was to be as straightforward as possible. So the team devised a simple hand gesture to symbolize the $5 price and the ample length of the sandwich. This semaphore had a pleasing parsimony. But it still required some explanatory copy.



“We didn’t want any blabbing,” say Jerry Cronin and Jamie Mambro of MMB. “It was just, let’s see how many times we can say ‘five dollar foot-long.’ Let’s mention it as many times as possible without making someone hurt us. We wanted to make sure no one would miss the message.” They quickly realized the best way to accomplish that goal (barring an embrace of the controversial “HeadOn: Apply directly to the forehead” method) was to embed the phrase in a jingle.



The resultant, maddeningly catchy ditty has spawned, among other responses, a YouTube horror-parody video titled “$5 Curse,” in which a man goes slowly insane as he attempts to dislodge the tune from his skull. Comments posted by viewers of this video include: “I have this exact same problem. Thank you for making this video!”; “LOL. yes!! dude. this is me in my apartment”; and “I, too, am a victim of the $5 curse. My daughter and I were singing it together with the harmonies while doing the dishes after dinner tonight.”

I think the song’s genius (I myself have been known to hum along) lies in its blending of stubborn repetition with a haunting and imploring chord progression. It’s a far cry from the pat, upbeat vibe of your standard jingle, and it’s this unexpected quality that perks up our ears and sticks in our minds. I called the composer, Jimmy Harned (of the boutique music outfit Tonefarmer), to see whether he might confirm my notion that there’s something ominous going on in his work.



“The chord structure does imply something dark,” he agreed, getting out his guitar to demonstrate over the phone. “On the word long, it goes down from a C to an A-flat,” he said, strumming, “which is kind of a weird place. It’s definitely not a poppy, happy place. It’s more of a metaly place. But at the same time, the singing stays almost saccharine.”

(I didn’t get the sense that there’d been a conscious strategy at work here. Tonefarmer’s songwriters whipped up seven or eight jingle candidates for Subway—including a Weezer sound-alike and a ska-inflected number—with the hope that one tune would be chosen and, in a best-case scenario, develop into an earworm. Harned paused to self-analyze only after the fact, when I requested that he look more closely at what he’d wrought.)

More and more, ad agencies don’t bother to commission songs; they instead just buy up cool indie tracks to run behind ads. (A recent example—and an ad I love: the Nike Sparq spot in which footage of athletes is expertly edited to a Saul Williams track.) When original music does come into play, it’s often instrumental, mood-setting wallpaper. The in-your-face jingle, with product-specific lyrics, is something of a lost art.



But take heart, jingle fans—they’re still out there. Dunkin’ Donuts hired They Might Be Giants to pen a series of short songs about coffee and smoothies and such. And the current campaign for makes bold use of infectious musical storytelling. While the Subway jingle is more a demi-jingle, with very little build and no verses, the songs are full-blown ballads—which of course include carefully enunciated mentions of the brand, in this case literally spelled out. The songwriter for these spots was David Muhlenfeld of the Martin Agency, who says he “went away with my guitar and some cheap Chianti” to find inspiration. When I asked Muhlenfeld whether he used any particular tricks to make the tunes catchy, he replied: “Repetition alone will make something stick in a listener’s head. The question is, once your song is in their head, will they want to stick that head in an oven?”



And that pretty much captures the risk inherent in jingle usage. It also perhaps explains why jingles enjoy limited popularity with today’s advertising execs. When a jingle’s bad, it’s very bad. Or as Cronin and Mambro put it: “Done wrong, it can make your eyes bleed.”

Grade: B. No great shakes here, but anyone watching the ad will 1) probably be arrested by the colorful visuals and memorable tune and 2) almost certainly receive the message that $5 foot-longs are available at Subway. So, mission accomplished. Granted, the song does grow irritating with repeat exposures. (I won’t be sad when it disappears from the airwaves, and I won’t be listening to the extended dance remix available for download at the Subway Web site.) But thanks to its atypical harmonies, I think this jingle manages to stop just shy of encroaching on eye-bleeding, head-in-oven territory.

Posted in Interesting Article | 2 Comments »

Organ Donation – Saves a life or haunts a new one?

Posted by kerenmelissa on April 14, 2008

I’ve always been a strong believer in organ donation.  My whole take on it is, if I’m medically dead, but some of my organs are working properly, why not give my organs to someone who will use them.  Through my death, a life could be saved!  How cool is that!?  I know this is morbid, but when you die and are embalmed, your remains are just taken out of you and thrown away.  So again, organ donation has always seemed like a no-brainer to me.

I’ve often had this argument with people.  You’d be surprised how many people are against organ donation. 

Well, I just saw this article on the internet, it’s pretty interesting.


Suicide Links Heart Donor, Recipient

Posted: 2008-04-07 12:25:03
Filed Under: Health News, Weird News
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (April 6) – A man who received a heart transplant 12 years ago and later married the donor’s widow died the same way the donor did, authorities said: of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

No foul play was suspected in 69-year-old Sonny Graham’s death at his Vidalia, Ga., home, investigators said. He was found Tuesday in a utility building in his backyard with a single shotgun wound to the throat, said Greg Harvey, a special agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Graham, who was director of the Heritage golf tournament at Sea Pines from 1979 to 1983, was on the verge of congestive heart failure in 1995 when he got a call that a heart was available in Charleston.

That heart was from Terry Cottle, 33, who had shot himself, Berkeley County Coroner Glenn Rhoad said.

Grateful for his new heart, Graham began writing letters to the donor’s family to thank them. In January 1997, Graham met his donor’s widow, Cheryl Cottle, then 28, in Charleston.

“I felt like I had known her for years,” Graham told The (Hilton Head) Island Packet for a story in 2006. “I couldn’t keep my eyes off her. I just stared.”

In 2001, Graham bought a home for Cottle and her four children in Vidalia. Three years later, they were married after Graham retired from his job as a plant manager for Hargray Communications in Hilton Head.

From their previous marriages, the couple had six children and six grandchildren scattered across South Carolina and Georgia.

Cheryl Graham, now 39, has worked at several hospices in Vidalia. A telephone message left Sunday at a listing for Cheryl and Sonny Graham in Vidalia was not immediately returned.

Sonny Graham’s friends said he would be remembered for his willingness to help people.

“Any time someone had a problem, the first reaction was, ‘Call Sonny Graham,’ ” said Bill Carson, Graham’s friend for more than 40 years. “It didn’t matter whether you had a flat tire on the side of the road or your washing machine didn’t work. He didn’t even have to know you to help you.”


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Another great TIGERS article

Posted by kerenmelissa on April 7, 2008

I found this article at


SAN ANTONIO – With the championship of college basketball still a week away, John Calipari was heard to proclaim: “This is our time.”

It was not the kind of remark you’d have heard from coaches of the other Final Four teams. Those men have similar personas, and are all regarded as circumspect potentates. After all, UCLA, North Carolina and Kansas represent the game’s aristocratic houses. By contrast, it seemed inevitable that Memphis would be cast as the interloper, and its coach, with some justification, as the hustler.

But now, with a week gone by, UCLA is gone. Same for North Carolina. But the hustler remains ascendant. He believes it’s his time, and so do his players.

What’s more, who can tell the hustler from the prophet? The nature of this game requires him to be both.

Consider Calipari a ward boss of the new age. In the past several days, he’s turned his strolls on the Riverwalk into targets of opportunity for adoring fans and sympathetic journalists. But this is the same guy who had one of his assistants call my colleague, Jeff Goodman, telling him he was not welcome in Memphis. Goodman’s crime: He had written about some of the Tigers’ thuggish proclivities.

It was a legit story. Calipari, of all people, should know that. Still, his response was the kind of move that diminishes the man.

Still, there’s this: He can coach. Though most college coaches regard their “systems” as sacrosanct, Calipari is unburdened by dogma. The system he advocates isn’t designed to maximize his glory so much as his players. In this case, the dribble-drive stratagem he’s adapted is an advanced scheme for abundantly talented players with great basketball aptitude.

For all the talk of student-athletes, Calipari actually trusts his players to be students of the game.

“These guys feel unleashed,” he said. “There’s more freedom for them to make choices. You have to count on your team to be unselfish, you have to count on your team being able to make great decisions on the run. … They never feel like they can’t make a play.”

Calipari’s is not an unjustified faith. The Tigers — averaging almost 84 points in the tournament — have turned the ball over just 42 times in their five victories.

Finally, as shabby as Calipari’s treatment of Goodman has been, I feel obliged to acknowledge a debt of gratitude to the coach. If nothing else, he’s dispatched with the insufferable false modesty that emanates from the interview podiums. His team is 104-9 over the last three seasons. There’s no need to soft pedal how good they are.

“This is what a dream team is,” he says.

On the talented of his junior guard, Chris Douglas-Roberts: “Ridiculous.”

On his freshman point guard, Derrick Rose: “He reminded me of Earl the Pearl. … There are going to be people five years from now talking, ‘Is he like a Derrick Rose?’ This kid is a unique program changer, probably, in my opinion, at all levels.”

Lastly, as it concerns Rose, consider this: “If he wants to do what’s right for him and his family, he’ll go pro. If he wants to do what’s right for me and my family, he’ll stay.”

At this level, the line between amateur and professional is as obscure as the distinction between prophet and hustler. At least Calipari knows the game he’s playing. A lot has been made lately of his relationship with William Wesley, a man best known as “Worldwide Wes.”


Worldwide’s ostensible occupation is a mortgage broker. More to the point, though, he is an expert facilitator, cultivator and manager of relationships. Among Worldwide’s relationships are those with Michael Jordan, LeBron James and Bill Clinton.

Calipari has called him “a goodwill ambassador to our program.” Of course, such goodwill has helped Memphis acquire the services of players like Rose and, before that, Dajuan Wagner.

“He’s my friend of 20 years,” Calipari said Sunday afternoon. “This stuff on recruiting is about relationships. … That’s what recruiting is … I have a lot of relationships. That’s why I’ve been able to recruit pretty good players.”

Here the hustler was talking. The hustler can chalk up his recruiting successes as a matter of people skills. Similarly, he can dismiss Joey Dorsey’s penchant for brawling on Beale St. as a series of youthful “screwups.”

“Joey is the first person in his family to graduate from high school,” Calipari said.

I didn’t know quite what to make of that. But it got me thinking: Who’s really getting hustled?

Joey Dorsey stayed in school. Does that make him a hero or a sucker? And what of Derrick Rose? Should he stay, too, and play for Myles Brand and Dick Vitale?

The NCAA has a $6 billion deal to televise March Madness. The same dons who cut that deal have no problem pimping out their so-called student-athletes in dunking contests sponsored by Of course, it’s all done under the guise of amateur athletics.

So maybe Calipari is right. Maybe it’s his time. Time to win one for the hustlers.

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Absurd headlines:

Posted by kerenmelissa on February 5, 2008

 (Feb. 5) – At least nine people — five of them children — were killed after a fire gutted an apartment building in southwestern Germany while revelers were celebrating carnival, police said Monday.
Rene Werse, Getty Images

Fatal Blaze
In Germany 

Seeing no other way to save his 2-year-old son, a father in Germany throws him from the window of a burning apartment building to firefighters below on Sunday. The toddler survived, but nine people, including five children, were killed in the blaze.

Police told The Associated Press that a wooden staircase in the building gave way soon after the fire started and that some residents tossed their children to rescue crews before jumping out of the building themselves.Getty Images and Agence France-Presse published photos of a baby thrown from the building’s fourth floor, reporting that the child was rescued by firefighters and survived.A fire official in Ludwigshafen told CNN at least 60 more people were injured in the blaze. Twenty-four of them remained hospitalized Monday, he said. The rest of the wounded have been treated and released.

“Unfortunately, we cannot exclude further victims,” police spokeswoman Simone Eisenbarth told the AP.

The carnival tradition stems from the Roman Catholic regions in the west and south of Germany. Like Mardi Gras in New Orleans and Carnival in Brazil, it is a time when residents dress up and take to the streets in celebration.

The fire broke out about 4:23 p.m. on Sunday in a four-story apartment building, city police said in a statement. Its cause was unclear.

Firefighters battled through the evening and into the night to bring the blaze under control. Two adjacent apartment buildings were evacuated as a safety precaution, the statement said.

Fearing that there may be other victims, rescue crews brought in a large crane that lowered fire fighters into the shell of the building to conduct an initial check for additional bodies.

Rescue crews have been unable to thoroughly search because the damage to the building was so severe that authorities think it may no longer be structurally sound.

Ludwigshafen is a port city on the west bank of the Rhine River. It is noted for its large chemical industry and is a gateway to the wine-growing region of the Rhine.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

See, miracles happen every day!!

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Absurd headlines:

Posted by kerenmelissa on January 29, 2008

Along with personal thoughts about my day-to-day life, I would also like to post the upsurd things that happen in our world. 


Mother on Trial in Microwaved Baby Case

Associated Press

DAYTON, Ohio (Jan. 28) – Investigators believe China Arnold killed her infant daughter by putting her in a microwave oven. Arnold’s attorneys argue she had nothing to do with the baby’s death in 2005.

Jury selection for Arnold was scheduled to begin Monday in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court. Arnold, 27, has pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder. If convicted, she could face the death penalty.


China Arnold in court on Jan. 23, 2007
Al Behrman, AP

China Arnold has been charged with killing her month-old daughter by burning her in a microwave. Her defense team said she had nothing to do with the child’s death.

Police investigators believe Arnold killed 1-month-old Paris Talley by putting her in a microwave at her home. Coroner’s officials have said the baby suffered high-heat internal injuries and had no external burns. They have ruled out scalding water, open flame or other possible causes of death that could have damaged the skin.Defense attorney Jon Paul Rion has said Arnold had nothing to do with her daughter’s death and was stunned when investigators told her that a microwave might have been involved. Arnold took the baby to the hospital after finding her unconscious and does not know how she died, Rion said.During a pretrial hearing in July, police Detective Michael Galbraith said Arnold told him she arrived home in the early morning hours after drinking, fell asleep and was awakened at 2:30 a.m. by the baby’s crying.

She said she warmed a bottle in the microwave oven, tried to give it to the baby, changed the child’s diaper and then fell asleep on the couch with the baby on her chest.

Arnold said she and her children were the only ones in the apartment until her boyfriend arrived several hours later and noticed something was wrong with the baby.

Galbraith said Arnold told him: “If I hadn’t gotten so drunk, I guess my baby wouldn’t have died.”

When cross-examined by Rion, Galbraith acknowledged that Arnold told him she did not know how the baby suffered the burns and that she had nothing to do with it that she could recall.

Earlier this month, defense witness Robert Belloto, a staff pharmacist at Good Samaritan Hospital, testified he does not believe it would have been possible for Arnold to place the baby in the microwave because the woman was so intoxicated.

Belloto said Arnold told him she had consumed about 40 percent of a pint of high-proof rum in 90 minutes. But he acknowledged that he had no other corroboration for her claim.

I can not even express what thoughts come to my mind when I read that headline!!  What has our world come to?  How does someone EVER think it’s ok to put their sweet 1 month old in a microwave.  It’s beyond explanation.

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