October 22, 2004

Anthrax Scare at OSU

The Ohio State University football practice was delayed nearly two hours yesterday after a player reported finding an unknown white powdery substance on the practice field. Head Coach Jim Tressel immediately suspended practice while Columbus police and federal investigators were called to investigate. After a complete analysis, FBI forensic experts determined that the white substance unknown to the players was the goal line. Practice was resumed after special agents decided the team was unlikely to encounter the substance again.

Go Bucks!

Go Bucks!

Posted by Ron at 01:59 PM | Comments (0)

October 18, 2004

Kelly finishes the Columbus Marathon

One of Shelley's friends completed her first Marathon today. Awesome!
Congratulations Kelly!!

Kelly
date: 10/17/2004
location: Columbus, OH
bib number: 3486
age: 34
gender: F
location: Westerville, OH
overall place: 3324 out of 4313
division place: 177 out of 252
gender place: 1052 out of 1594
time: 4:46:52
pace: 10:57
10mile: 1:40:36
half: 2:13:17
20mile: 3:30:47

Columbus Marathon

Posted by Ron at 08:18 PM | Comments (0)

October 17, 2004

Roethlisberger helps Steelers win again

Steelers battle back to defeat the Cowboys
The Steelers fought hard for an impressive come-from-behind win in Dallas, defeating the Cowboys 24-20 to improve to 5-1 on the season.

Ben Roethlisberger

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger won his fourth game in as many starts, completing 21 of 25 pass attempts for 193 yards and two touchdowns, despite being hobbled after getting hit from behind in the second quarter.

“I can’t say enough about Ben,” said head coach Bill Cowher. “I thought this was going to be a good test for him and it was. He made some plays. He stays in there versus the rush, he eludes it. He sees guys that are open. I thought he played a really solid game. He stood in there, got his ankle and knee hit, and fought through it.”

The Steelers defense came up huge in the waning minutes of the game, with Kimo von Oelhoffen recovering a fumble to set up the winning touchdown and then stopping the Cowboys on their final drive.

“It was a very good football game,” said Cowher. “We kept battling back. Our defense made some stops at the end of the game when we had to. It was a hard fought game. Neither team was going to beat itself.”

The Cowboys came out firing first with Vinny Testaverde hitting Keyshawn Johnson for a six-yard pass and then Johnson took it on the ground on the end around for a 13-yard run. Testaverde kept the offense moving, completing five of six passes in the drive, four of them to Johnson. But it was Richie Anderson who got the Cowboys on the board when he broke loose for a 21-yard touchdown run, giving the Cowboys and early 7-0 lead.

It didn’t take long for the Steelers to come right back. Roethlisberger hit Jay Riemersma for 10 yards to get things started. Faced quickly then with a third-and-five Roethlisberger went to Plaxico Burress who laid out for a one-handed 32-yard reception to the Dallas 28-yard line. Roethlisberger connected with Hines Ward for a 15-yard completion and then capped the seven-play, 75-yard drive with a five-yard touchdown pass to Burress to tie the game at 7-7.

After a quick offensive start, both team’s defenses picked it up a notch. The Cowboys weren’t able to do anything on two drives and the Steelers on one, before the black and gold got the ball back with 8:50 to go in the half. Duce Staley broke free for a 24-yard run to the Cowboys’ 41-yard line. But Staley came up hobbling and went to the sidelines, bringing in Jerome Bettis to carry the load.

Roethlisberger, who got banged up on the previous drive, hit Ward for an 11-yard gain, but the running game was unable to get going, forcing a third-and-seven situation. Roethlisberger was sacked for a seven-yard loss, bringing on Jeff Reed to attempt a 51-yard field goal. Reed’s attempt went straight through the uprights, giving the Steelers a 10-7 lead.

Neither the Cowboys nor the Steelers did much on their next drives, although the Steelers got a boost when Staley returned to the field. The Cowboys got a final shot before the half ended and made it count. Even though they were backed up to their own nine-yard line because of penalties, Testaverde lead them down the field and set up Billy Cundiff for a 47-yard field goal, sending them into the half tied at 10-10.

The Steelers got the ball to start the half with Ike Taylor returning the kickoff in place on Ricardo Colclough, who suffered from dehydration in the first half. Keith Davis hit Taylor, who forced a fumble, which was recovered by Antwaan Randle El at the Steelers 15-yard line. The offense was unable to get rolling, though, and had to punt.

It was the Cowboys who then came to life as they started their drive with a seven-yard reception by Terry Glenn and a run by Eddie George. Testaverde hit Johnson for 12 yards, but was sacked by Deshea Townsend two plays later for a loss of eight-yards. They rebounded quickly with a 20-yard completion to Glenn and an 11-yard run by Dedric Ward. They capped the drive with a 39-yard field goal by Cundiff, giving them a 13-10 lead.

After the Steelers went three-and-out the Cowboys came firing back and fast. Testaverde connected with Glenn for a 48-yard gain and then two plays later he found Johnson in the end zone for a 22-yard touchdown, digging the Steelers into a 20-10 hole.

Roethlisberger fought back with the poise of a seasoned veteran on the next drive. He ran for nine yards, hit Ward for gains of seven and five yards, and just when it looked like he would be sacked tossed the shovel pass to Riemersma for a 14 yard gain. He continued to move them down the field and got the Steelers back in the game when he finished the drive with a seven-yard touchdown pass to Jerame Tuman, cutting the lead to 20-17.

After exchanging possessions without a score the Cowboys got the ball back and had the chance to put the Steelers away. They converted a third-and-three with just under three minutes to play, but the defense stepped it up a notch. George was stopped for no gain and then Glenn knocked for a three-yard loss. The Cowboys had third-and-13 and a conversion would have closed the door. But Testaverde was under pressure from James Farrior, fumbled at his own 45-yard line, and Oelhoffen picked it up and rumbled for 21 yards to the Cowboys 24-yard line.

Roethlisberger took over and continued to be cool under pressure. He completed passes of 11-yards to Burress and six yards to Tuman. Staley ran for five, giving them the ball on the two-yard line. It was then Bettis time, as he found his blockers for an easy jaunt into the end zone, putting the Steelers up 24-20.

The Cowboys made a valiant effort to come back, and with just one second left Testaverde launched it into the end zone where it was tipped and finally knocked to the ground by Farrior to give the Steelers the win.

Posted by Ron at 08:10 PM | Comments (0)

October 16, 2004

The Buckeyes are in for a Looooong Big Ten Season

They blew another one. This time they never even got close. Buckeyes drop to 3-3 on the season.

Drew Tate passed for three touchdowns and ran for another to lead Iowa to a 33-7 victory over No. 25 Ohio State on Saturday, the Buckeyes' third straight loss.

Lydell Ross just sucks

Iowa (4-2, 2-1 Big Ten) held Ohio State's offense to 27 yards rushing and 177 total yards in beating the Buckeyes for just the fourth time in 42 years. And the Hawkeyes had never beaten the Buckeyes quite like this.

Ohio State (3-3) is 0-3 in the Big Ten for the first time since 1988 after its worst loss since a 46-20 setback to Illinois in 1999. Only a touchdown with 2:19 remaining kept the Buckeyes from being shut out for the first time since 1993.

Posted by Ron at 08:03 PM | Comments (0)

October 15, 2004

Endangered species: US programmers

Say goodbye to the American software programmer. Once the symbols of hope as the nation shifted from manufacturing to service jobs, programmers today are an endangered species. They face a challenge similar to that which shrank the ranks of steelworkers and autoworkers a quarter century ago: competition from foreigners.

Smash

Some experts think they'll become extinct within the next few years, forced into unemployment or new careers by a combination of offshoring of their work to India and other low-wage countries and the arrival of skilled immigrants taking their jobs.

Not everybody agrees programmers will disappear completely. But even the optimists believe that many basic programming jobs will go to foreign nations, leaving behind jobs for Americans to lead and manage software projects. The evidence is already mounting that many computer jobs are endangered, prompting concern about the future of the nation's high-tech industries.

Since the dotcom bust in 2000-2001, nearly a quarter of California technology workers have taken nontech jobs, according to a study of 1 million workers released last week by Sphere Institute, a San Francisco Bay Area public policy group. The jobs they took often paid less. Software workers were hit especially hard. Another 28% have dropped off California's job rolls altogether. They fled the state, became unemployed, or decided on self-employment.

The problem is not limited to California.

Although computer-related jobs in the United States increased by 27,000 between 2001 and 2003, about 180,000 new foreign H-1B workers in the computer area entered the nation, calculates John Miano, an expert with the Programmers Guild, a professional society. "This suggests any gain of jobs have been taken by H-1B workers," he says.

H-1B visas allow skilled foreigners to live and work in the US for up to six years. Many are able to get green cards in a first step to citizenship. Another visa, L-1, allows multinational companies to transfer workers from foreign operations into the US.

The H-1B visa has been highly controversial for years. This fiscal year, Congress set a quota of 65,000 visas, which was snapped up immediately after they became available Oct.1. Now, US business is pleading for Congress to let in more such workers.

The US Chamber of Commerce (news - web sites), for instance, wants Congress to revisit the cap "to ensure American business has access to the talent it needs to help keep our economy strong."

That rationale makes no sense to the Programmers Guild and other groups that have sprung up to resist the tech visas. Since more than 100,000 American programmers are unemployed - and many more are underemployed - the existing 65,000 quota is inexcusably high, they argue. H-1B and L-1 visas are "American worker replacement programs," says the National Hire American Citizens Society.

Further, the H-1B program, set up in 1990, is flawed, critics charge. For example, employers are not required to recruit Americans before resorting to hiring H-1Bs, says Norman Matloff, a computer science professor at the University of California, Davis.

And the requirement that employers pay H-1Bs a "prevailing wage" is useless, he adds, because the law is riddled with loopholes. Nor are even any remaining regulations enforced.

The average wage for an American programmer runs about $60,000, says John Bauman, who set up the Organization for the Rights of American Workers. Employers pay H-1Bs an average $53,000.

A programmer, Mr. Bauman was out of work for 20 months before finally taking a job with a 40% pay cut. His experience is common enough that programmers are organizing to fight in Congress against H-1B and L-1 visas.

But they face an uphill battle, says Mr. Miano, as business groups are far better organized and funded than the smattering of programmer groups. "They have the best legislation money can buy," he says.

Miano sees such a dim future for programmers that he decided to enter law school. "I saw the handwriting on the wall," he says.

Copyright 2004, The Christian Science Monitor

Posted by Ron at 02:46 PM | Comments (0)

October 14, 2004

Looks like this would hurt

Lioness

A lioness in the Aalborg Zoo carries one of her newly born cubs in her mouth in northern Jutland, Denmark, October 11, 2004. Today was the first time the cubs and their mother were let out in their cage for the public to admire the little family. The lioness gave birth to her cubs at the age of one and a half years.The usual age for the first birth of a lioness in captivity is three or three and a half years.

Posted by Ron at 07:45 PM | Comments (0)

The George Foreman iGrill?

Cooking For The Web Set

iGrill (click for larger image)

The low-fat, high-bandwidth solution to your networked cooking needs is finally here. The George Foreman USB iGrill conveniently connects to your home or office PC using USB 2.0 technology, and provides a sophisticated web-based cooking interface.

Posted by Ron at 07:36 PM | Comments (0)

Alonzo Bodden is Last Comic Standing (3)

Alonzo Bodden won Last Comic Standing: Battle of the Best Tuesday night, but don't tell Comedy Central. A week after NBC canceled the increasingly low-rated reality show, Comedy Central picked up the one remaining episode--the finale--and slated it to air Saturday at 8 p.m.

Alonzo Bodden

But the day after the deal was announced, NBC scooped the cable network that was airing its castoff.

That made the Final Four Dave Mordal, John Heffron, Alonzo Bodden and Rich Vos.

Jay Mohr and company filmed the half-hour finale at CBS Entertainment City in Los Angeles on Tuesday, and the winner--Bodden, respected for his well-written material and TV-friendly looks--was announced on NBC's Website shortly thereafter. Way to take the suspense out of the finale, Peacock! Bodden won $250,000 for his trouble.

The deal to air the finale was presaged by Comedy Central's existing arrangement to air "encore presentations" of Last Comic Standing eps. The basic cable net also offered a one-hour special as a prize for the winners--Dat Phan in season one and John Heffron in season two.

However, when NBC canceled LCS last week, it was unclear what would become of the third-season competitors, in which a "Battle of the Best" had pitted the casts of season one and two against each other. At the time NBC shut off Mohr's mike, John Heffron, Alonzo Bodden, Rich Vos and Dave Mordal were the final four.

The original post-cancellation plan was to announce the winner in a brief interstitial during a three-ep Father of the Pride marathon. Mohr nodded to the net's apparent preference for the talking lion show when he signed off his original announcement of the Comic's cancellation: "I have to stop typing now because I have to go TiVo Father of the Pride."

According to Mohr's Web message, the show's producers had resisted a third installment so soon after the second, but NBC insisted that it needed to fill its schedule. "We argued that having a separate version of Last Comic so soon after season 2 concluded would burn the audience out and damage the franchise. Well the network insisted we move forward and we came up with LCS Battle of the Best." LCS3 did tank against tougher fall programming, averaging just 6 million viewers, down from 8 million-plus for both season one and two.

An NBC spokeswoman refused to comment on whether Last Comic Standing might return for a fourth round of hilarious hijinks.

Bodden, a former aviation mechanic, has some on-screen credits already. In addition to Lost Comic Standing, he played a brawny bouncer named Steel in The Girl Next Door and Bear in the Steve Martin-Queen Latifah comedy Bringing Down the House. He's also made guest appearances on the WB shows Angel and Grounded for Life.

On whis Website, Bodden wrote, "This thing hasn't sunk in yet, it's sort of surreal to hear you just won 250 grand but its true. Love you guys." And then he got in the obligatory Father of the Pride dig, "As for NBC, no one knows why they jerked around the show at the final episode. Some say it's ratings, others say it's DreamWorks, the producers of the animal puppets have lots of clout. Animal puppets, all I can say is somewhere out there is a great salesman."

Posted by Ron at 12:05 PM | Comments (0)

October 13, 2004

Gwen Stefani

Gwen Stefani's new single "What You Waiting For?" will be featured on her upcoming album Love Angel Music Baby. In stores November 23rd.

Gwen Gwen single

Gwen Stefani.com link

Posted by Ron at 01:13 PM | Comments (0)

October 12, 2004

Tennis benefit with Anna

Tennis star Anna Kournikova of Russia at the World Team Tennis Smash Hits event in Irvine, Calif., on Monday Oct. 11, 2004. Proceeds benefit the Elton John AIDS Foundation and National AIDS Fund.

Anna and Andre

see more pictures in the extended entry

anna6.jpg anna5.jpg

anna2.jpg

Posted by Ron at 10:29 AM | Comments (0)

October 11, 2004

Ken Caminiti Dies of Heart Attack at 41

Former National League Most Valuable Player Ken Caminiti, who in 2002 admitted he used steroids, died of a heart attack in New York on Sunday, Major League Baseball reported on its Web Site.

Ken Caminiti - number 21 (larger photo)

Caminiti, 41, won the award in 1996 while playing for the San Diego Padres.

I'm absolutely devastated," Padres majority owner John Moores, was quoted as saying on MLB.com. "I don't know what to make of it."

Caminiti was a three-time All Star third baseman, though his career was blighted with the admission that he had taken steroids during his MVP season when he batted .326 with 40 home runs and 130 RBIs.

He also had well-documented battles with alcoholism and drug abuse. MLB.com reported that Caminiti said in a Houston court last week he had breached his probation by testing positive for cocaine.

Caminiti played 10 of his 15-year career for the Houston Astros before leaving baseball in 2001 after splitting the season with the Atlanta Braves and Texas Rangers.

MLB story

Ken Caminiti Ken

Posted by Ron at 08:15 AM | Comments (0)

Superman Passes Away

"Superman" actor Christopher Reeve, who turned personal tragedy into a public crusade and from his wheelchair became the nation's most recognizable spokesman for spinal cord research, has died. He was 52.

I had the privilege of seeing him speak several years ago in Milwaukee.

Superman dies

full story

Christopher Reeve

Posted by Ron at 07:28 AM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2004

Findlay QB Helps the Steelers Beat the Browns

With the 11th pick in the draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers select... Ben Roethlisberger, QB Miami University(Ohio).

Ben Roethlisberger

Attended Findlay (Ohio) High, but only played football as a senior. Physical Education major at the Miami University (Ohio)…Son of Ken and Brenda Roethlisberger…Born 3/02/81… Resides in Findlay, Ohio.

Making his third NFL start against the Browns at Heinz Field, Roethlisberger gored the Browns defense with big plays created by his improvisational skills, and the Steelers went on to defeat Cleveland, 34-23, to hold onto first place in the AFC North, one-game ahead of the 3-2 Baltimore Ravens.

"Obviously, this is a great win for our team," said Coach Bill Cowher. "It’s a divisional game at home. I thought we started fast. Ben (Roethlisberger) made some plays in the first half out of the pocket. I thought that we did a good job with our red zone defense particularly in that first half, holding them to field goals on the couple of occasions that they were down there. That was big."

full story

Posted by Ron at 04:43 PM | Comments (0)

October 09, 2004

Ohio State is not playing well

Shelley and I went to the Ohio State vs. Wisconsin game today. The Buckeyes did not look too good. Offensively, they were horrible. Justin Zwick really had a bad day. As I have said numerous times, they need a running back, bad. Pittman played a little more this game instead of Ross, but not enough to make any impact. Needless to say, the Buckeyes lost.

Wisconsin vs Ohio State

Ohio State (3-2; 0-2 Big Ten) lost to Wisconsin (6-0; 3-0 Big Ten), 24-13, in front of 105,090 fans at Ohio Stadium, the fifth-largest crowd in stadium history. The Badger victory snapped an 18-game Buckeye home win streak, dating back to a 34-22 loss vs. Illinois Nov. 17, 2001. Ohio State's Mike Nugent tied a personal and stadium-long record with a 55-yard field goal as time ran out in the first half. It was Nugent's second field goal of the game and 60th career FG, which moves him past Dan Stultz into the top spot for career FGs made by a Buckeye.

On a positive note, the kids stayed with grandma and Shelley and I went to see Friday Night Lights. Excellent movie! Well worth it.

Posted by Ron at 11:26 PM | Comments (0)

October 08, 2004

Friday Night Lights Opens Today

The movie opens today. I read the book some time ago and it was excellent. I'm really looking forward to seeing the movie. It's about a high school football team in Odessa, Texas.

Full Poster (#1) Full Poster (#2)

Posted by Ron at 08:34 AM | Comments (0)

October 07, 2004

Ohio State's Neutron Man Dies

Orlas King, fan who danced to OSU Marching Band during games

Neutron Man

Orlas King, a local restaurant owner who was known to thousands as "Neutron Man" at Ohio State sporting events, died Thursday in Florida.

King died at his home in Florida while preparing to play golf.

King, 62, danced to the Ohio State University marching band's rendition of the Pointer Sisters' "Neutron Dance," for decades.

King, was one of Ohio State's most recognized fans for years. Four or five times during Ohio State football games, King danced to the song.

For years, "Neutron Man" sat along the 30-yard line in the first row of "B" deck, and would dance in front of Ohio Stadium fans. In the last few years, King was relocated to the southeast corner of the stadium where he continued to perform.

King also appeared at dozens of Ohio State football road games, including bowl appearances and alumni functions.

King owned the End Zone in Newark, and also some Ponderosa Steakhouse franchises in Central Ohio.

According to the general manager of King's Newark restaurant, King had suffered heart failure during the past couple of years.

Bandleaders were to meet to decide if they will officially retire King's signature song in his honor.

Orlas King

Posted by Ron at 06:49 PM | Comments (0)

October 06, 2004

Penguins heading to Columbus

A flock of penguins is scheduled to head south to Columbus this weekend, meaning a delegation of students might not be far behind.

Click for a larger view

The details still need to be ironed out, but six of the decorated penguins from the Penguin Parade are to go on display in the state house rotunda in mid-October, said Tom Green, Youngstown State University's legislative lobbyist in Columbus. Green spoke before the YSU Board of Trustees during last Thursday's external affairs subcommittee meeting.

YSU President David Sweet first brought up the idea of taking the five-foot tall fiberglass penguins during his state of the university address last month.

Penguin Parade

The delegation of penguins will attract attention and could provide YSU with a much-needed jolt of publicity in Columbus, said Green, who attended YSU during the early 1960s.

"I don't think anybody is saying there is good news in Columbus these days, least of all higher education," he said. "It is not a pleasurable thing to be representing higher education in a difficult, difficult budget situation."

Ohio will have $1.3 billion less to work with next year after a temporary 1 percent sales tax expires, Green said. According to some estimates, higher education could face a 20 percent funding cut after its expiration, Green said.

"The legislature is extremely conservative. They have an awful lot of folks down there, rightly or wrongly, that are very anti-tax," he said.

But, he said, state representatives can be swayed when faced with real student testimonials.

"There is nothing better than one on one contact. When you have really aggressive students that get all the students from all the campuses together and then approach the legislature in a uniform way, it works. It really does. But it almost depends on who's going to take the lead and do it," he said, adding that his firm could help coordinate such a lobbying attempt.

Green said state university lobbyists could possibly help organize the students to make more lobbying attempts at the right time.

In a phone interview, Student Government Association President Angela Mavrikis said she thought the idea of coordinating state university students was a good idea. She said she thinks state legislators need to hear more from students because they are the most affected groups of people when it comes to state cuts.

"I'd be all for it. I would be very willing to send a delegate, or go myself, down to Columbus to talk to the legislators," Mavrikis said.

But until a student delegation is organized, the penguins will have to do.

A reception will likely be held when the penguins arrive at the state house rotunda. Legislators, dignitaries and alumni will be invited.

"It will attract an awful lot of attention," Green said.

Posted by Ron at 02:31 PM | Comments (0)

Had lunch at Perry's today

This is the first time I had been to Perry's Deli. Excellent! Highly recommended for lunch. Especially if you're hungry.

Perrys Deli

I had the The K.O. Club - "Tons" of roasted breast of turkey, piled three layers high, crispy bacon, shredded lettuce, tomatoes with lots of hand-whipped mayo or Russian if you prefer. And when they say "Tons" of turkey, they're not exaggerating.

There was even one guy that had a cell phone. He had to leave or turn it off. Located at 174 N Franklin St. Chicago, IL 60606

Posted by Ron at 01:27 PM | Comments (0)

Top HS Football Teams (History)

Best of the Best

Cleveland St. Ignatius

Using its final high school football rankings from 1982 to 2003, USA TODAY identified the nation's top 25 programs (actually the top 26 because of a tie at No. 25) over that 22-year span. Schools were awarded 25 points for a first-place season finish, 24 points for a second-place finish and so on:
Rank/school Times ranked Highest finish(es)

1. Concord (Calif.) De La Salle 14 1 (1998, 2000, 2001, '02, '03)
2. Valdosta (Ga.) 7 1 (1984)
3. Cleveland St. Ignatius 8 1 (1989, '93)
4. Central Bucks (Doylestown, Pa.) West 8 3 (1991)
5. Berwick (Pa.) 6 1 (1983, '92, '95)
6. Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei 5 1 (1994, '96)
7. Long Beach Poly 5 2 (1997, 2000)
8. Union (N.J.) 6 4 (1991)
9. East St. Louis (Ill.) 5 1 (1985)
10. Evangel Christian (Shreveport, La.) 6 2 (1999)

Continue reading the entended entry for the rest of the list

11. Odessa (Texas) Permian 4 2 (1989, '91)
12. Cincinnati Moeller 4 1 (1982)
13. New Lenox (Ill.) Providence Catholic 5 8 (2001)
14. Farmington (Mich.) Harrison 6 5 (2001)
15. Indianapolis Ben Davis 4 4 (1988, 2001)
16. Chicago Mount Carmel 4 6 (1988, '96)
17. Jenks (Okla.) 4 2 (2001)
18. Pittsburgh North Hills 4 1 (1987)
19. Hampton (Va.) 4 2 (1996)
20. Brockton (Mass.) 4 5 (1987)
21. Charlotte Independence 3 3 (2002)
22. Richmond County (N.C.) 4 5 (1989)
23. West Monroe (La.) 4 5 (2000)
24. Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic 4 9 (1998)
25. DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) 5 6 (1986)
25. Midland (Texas) Lee 3 1 (1999)

The next 10: 27. Honolulu St. Louis; 28. Brentwood (Tenn.) Academy; 29. Kansas City (Mo.) Rockhurst; 30. Louisville Trinity; 31. Pensacola (Fla.) Woodham; 32. Jefferson City (Mo.); 33. Athens (Ga.) Clarke Central; 34. Montvale (N.J.) St. Joseph Regional; 35. Joliet (Ill.) Catholic; 36. Katy (Texas).

Cleveland St. Ignatius

Posted by Ron at 08:44 AM | Comments (0)

No Respect

I tell ya I get no respect from anyone. I bought a cemetary plot. The guy said, "There goes the neighborhood!"

Rodney Dangerfield

Legendary US comedian Rodney Dangerfield, best known for his phrase "I can't get no respect," died in Los Angeles after several weeks in a coma, his publicist announced. He was 82.

story

Posted by Ron at 05:55 AM | Comments (0)

October 05, 2004

Concealable weapon

Click for larger view of the gun

A new twist on the idea of concealable weapons, the credit card-sized shotgun, is shown Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2004 at Koscielski's Guns and Ammo, the only gun shop in Minneapolis. It's a two-shot weapon machined from a block of metal the height and width of a standard credit card, and about a half-inch thick. Each barrel fires seven standard steel BBs. It will retail for $100. Mark Koscielski, owner of Koscielski's Guns and Ammo, and Patrick Teel, who makes the guns in suburban Blaine, gave The Associated Press a preview Tuesday night ahead of a news conference scheduled for Wednesday. They said the guns are meant to be used only for close-range self-defense and wouldn't be effective as offensive weapons.

Posted by Ron at 01:00 PM | Comments (0)

Yawning, Snoring Could Be Sleep Apnea

Do you yawn throughout the day or get sleepy while driving? Does your family complain about loud snoring? You might be one of the millions of Americans with undiagnosed sleep apnea, which causes more than fatigue — it also seems to spur heart disease and other serious illnesses. Not to mention up to a sevenfold increase in the chance of a car crash.

Now Medicare is considering paying for home sleep testing, to make diagnosis easier. And federal health officials are hunting ways to get the people at highest risk of this stealthy disorder tested and treated.

"We need to develop some very aggressive strategies," says Dr. Carl Hunt, sleep chief at the National Institutes of Health.

Often dismissed as bad snoring, sleep apnea is far more serious: Sufferers actually quit breathing for 10 to 30 seconds at a time as their throat muscles temporarily collapse. They jerk awake to gasp in air more than 10 times an hour, exhausted each morning because their brains never got enough deep sleep.

An estimated 18 million Americans have sleep apnea, and more than half aren't diagnosed, according to NIH estimates. Patients don't remember the nightly breathing struggle, and often don't see a doctor unless a family member complains about the snoring and choking.

Apnea is most common among middle-aged men, but can even strike children if they have enlarged tonsils and adenoids. Being overweight increases the risk, as does having small airways or apnea in the family.

Some 1,400 deaths from car crashes each year are caused by drivers with apnea, notes a study from the University of California at San Diego.

Worse, research suggests apnea sufferers are at significantly increased risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, congestive heart failure, stroke and diabetes. Why? Apnea stresses the body by preventing important blood-pressure lowering that occurs during normal deep sleep, and seems to alter blood chemistry in ways that can spur cardiovascular disease.

Research is just starting on whether alleviating apnea prevents those serious diseases, cautions Dr. David White, director of sleep disorders at the Harvard-affiliated Brigham & Women's Hospital.

There are a variety of apnea treatments that relieve the fatigue, however. The most common is called CPAP, a mask that blows air through the nose while sleeping. Dental devices can hold airways open; the Food and Drug Administration has begun considering whether any should be sold without a prescription. Surgery can widen or prop open airways.

But to get treated, people must know to seek testing. NIH is considering a campaign to get people at high risk screened; CPAP manufacturers recently launched an apnea education Web site, www.sleepapneainfo.com.

And Medicare is debating whether to pay for home sleep testing, a move proponents say could also spur more interest by both patients and other insurers.

Diagnosing apnea requires measuring how people breathe as they sleep, often performed in professional sleep laboratories that many sleep-medicine specialists — who run them — consider best. It does provide more measurements, including tracking of brain activity.

But, "there is a major access problem," says Dr. Terence Davidson, director of the UC-Davis sleep laboratory, who petitioned Medicare to make the change.

Sleep labs are expensive — testing costs $900 to $1,500 compared with $250 to $500 for home tests — and there are long waits for openings in some parts of the country, Davidson says. "An Iowa farmer may have to drive 300 miles and wait three months."

With home testing, either a technician or the patient hooks up a portable version of a sleep-lab's respiratory machine at bedtime, and a doctor later checks the recordings. Fourteen studies of more than 700 patients found home testing reliable, Davidson told Medicare advisers last week.

Medicare's advisers voted that they had "moderate confidence" in the effectivness of home testing. Medicare officials will analyze that vote and public comments on the issue before a decision expected early next year.

Don't wait to get tested, advises Coleman Flaherty, 43, of Dorchester, Mass. Fatigue snuck up on Flaherty after he put on weight when an injury stopped his usual workouts. Finally, he mentioned snoring to his doctor, and is enrolled in a major study of CPAP's long-term effects.

"I've gone back to the gym, my quality of life has improved," said Flaherty, who popped out of bed before 7 a.m. last weekend to spend time with his kids. "I don't know why I waited."

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Posted by Ron at 07:31 AM | Comments (0)

October 04, 2004

Man Mistakenly Cuts Off Penis, Dog Eats It

BUCHAREST - A elderly Romanian man mistook his penis for a chicken's neck, cut it off and his dog rushed up and ate it, the state Rompres news agency said Monday.

It said 67 year-old Constantin Mocanu, from a village near the southeastern town of Galati, rushed out into his yard in his underwear to kill a noisy chicken keeping him awake at night.

"I confused it with the chicken's neck," Mocanu, who was admitted to the emergency hospital in Galati, was quoted as saying. "I cut it ... and the dog rushed and ate it."

Doctors said the man, who was brought in by an ambulance bleeding heavily, was now out of danger.

Posted by Ron at 10:34 AM | Comments (0)

Who let the dogs out?

They did it themselves...

Staff at Battersea Dogs Home were baffled after an apparent troublemaker released dozens of animals night after night, allowing them to raid the kitchen and cause chaos.

Red

Little did they realise it was an inside job.

It was only after video surveillance footage was studied that the culprit was revealed to be Red, a lurcher who had been brought to the London refuge as an emaciated stray several months earlier.

Red had somehow learned to undo the bolt on his kennel, before then freeing a group of chosen companions for a raid on the kitchen, staff at the home said Monday.

The mystery break-outs had happened about a dozen times, Becky Blackmore told GMTV.

"They had lots of food, lots of fun and games, and caused loads of mess. We weren't too sure what was going on," she said Monday.

"There are lots of stories about Battersea being haunted so we wanted to make sure that there was an explanation for what was going on and we managed to catch the culprit."

She added: "It is amazing really because lurchers aren't particularly renowned for their intelligence. It is amazing that he has worked out how to get out of his own kennel but then also that he goes and lets all his friends out."

Red -- whose hungry life as a stray is believed to lie behind his obsession with food -- has now had his kennel made more secure.

Posted by Ron at 07:43 AM | Comments (0)

October 03, 2004

Chicago Mass Transit

Angry public transit riders vent about those who groom, hog and reek

Years ago the Chicago Transit Authority advertised for riders with the slogan, "Why drive and cuss; ride the bus."

But based on what more than 200 readers had to say when solicited by the Tribune say about their fellow commuters on the CTA and Metra rail lines, they frequently cuss other riders for being rude, inconsiderate or inappropriate.

Even reading a newspaper ticks off others if it encroaches on their territory.

A CTA Blue Line rider from Jefferson Park gets so irked by newspaper readers who congregate around the exits with arms spread wide that she suggests, "If they are blocking the doors, they should be shot."

A Metra rider complains of daily affronts from parents who let screaming kids run amok, snorers, coughers who don't cover their mouths and loud, foul-mouthed cell-phone gabbers. Here's how she feels about her fellow riders: "My advice to those people is shut up, cover your mouth and get the hell out of my personal space."

Space is precious on packed rush-hour trains and buses, and commuters mark territory in a number of ways.

Some hog a two-place seat by plopping down on the aisle side. Others park their briefcase, packages or laptop on the seat next to them, a passive-aggressive signal to sit elsewhere.

Women complain that men hog space by sitting with their legs splayed wide. That inspired one woman to demand that a man prove his anatomy required him to sit that way.

Though most commuters are afraid to confront another, some relish the challenge.

"That makes them a target because I have the nerve to ask," says Rick Kozak of Mt. Prospect, who seeks out space hogs. "Even if there are open seats around them, I stand next to them and politely ask, `Is this seat taken?' as I am already getting ready to sit down."

Territorial disputes can escalate into war.

Chicagoan Rob Clinite says a fight broke out last year on the CTA's No. 76 Diversey bus because a woman blocked two seats with her legs and refused to let a package-laden man sit down.

"When she refused, he began pulling on her legs to pull her off the seats," Clinite said. That set off a tussle that lasted half a mile before another passenger separated them.

"It was like two cats fighting," he said, giving the woman the edge in the four-block bout. "He got clawed pretty good by her."

Who is to blame for all this anger?

Everyone, says Pauline Wallin, a clinical psychologist in Camp Hill, Pa., and author of "Taming your Inner Brat: A Guide for Transforming Self-Defeating Behavior."

"We want everyone else to change, but it is the responsibility of both the perpetrator and the victim," she said.

Wallin says it's wrong to blame the anger on crowded conditions because there is far less agitation among Bears fans packed into a bus headed for Soldier Field.

"It's not the crowd itself. It's our expectation: I'm the most important person here, I can do what I want and I am not to be inconvenienced," she said, describing it as "our inner brat."

Wallin advises just let it go.

"Why get so mad over little things that won't matter in an hour? This anger drains your energy and creativity," she said. "If you're upset about something and keep talking to yourself about it, you magnify how bad everything is."

But sharing a small space with strangers frequently exposes riders to things they would rather not see or hear.

Among incidents Tribune readers reported were a drunk passed out in urine-soaked pants, someone devouring a finger-lickin'-good catfish dinner and a severely agitated man ranting at a half-empty plastic garbage bag.

"Hearing a person screaming, `I'm going to hurt you,' at a garbage bag did not make me feel comfortable as I rode home on a Friday evening Red Line," Chicagoan Kathy Rojahn says.

Mass transit riders can bank on hearing cell-phone gabbers discuss business or intimate details of their lives. Even doctors blithely share private patient information.

One Metra rider heard a doctor dictate cancer patient files into a recorder on the train.

"He included the patients' last names, their ages and their cancer-related symptoms," the reader reports. "He could have been talking about a relative of anyone in the car."

What really riles commuters is being exposed to their fellow passengers' grooming or lack thereof. Among the activities they see are applying makeup, flossing teeth, clipping toenails and picking at blackheads.

"A little touch-up of lipstick is OK, but the eyelash curlers, mascara and eyebrow plucking is going too far," complains Elizabeth Keller Katzman of Chicago. "I've even seen a woman plucking hairs out of her chin on the Evanston Express. Do this at home or in a restroom."

Even if commuters close their eyes they can't close their noses.

Jorie Honigschmidt say she passed out from riding a packed Red Line train on a sweltering day when the air conditioning wasn't working.

"We were so crowded, and a man with terrible body odor and a sleeveless shirt was behind me," she recalls. "Every time I moved, he kept getting closer. The heat and the man behind me caused me to faint. I gave up and got in a cab."

Then there are the sneaky ones who silently pass gas and pretend not to notice.

One regular on the Metra West line says "Thankfully, I've learned to recognize some of the repeat offenders and make sure not to sit near them."

What else bugs commuters? Plenty.

Among offenses cited by Tribune readers were clods who push their way onto buses and trains instead of waiting in line or congregate around exits so others can't get on or off, and able-bodied people who don't give their seat to pregnant women, the elderly or the disabled.

One Chicagoan got so fed up with other commuters that she and her husband moved last April to the River North area downtown from near Cumberland Avenue and the Kennedy Expressway. Now, she walks 14 blocks to her job.

Deborah (who didn't want her last name used) said she moved after a string of indignities, including being sworn at by a beggar and witnessing a man urinating in an elevator at the Cumberland station.

The final straw: She reported the incident the day it happened, but it took the CTA more than two weeks to clean the elevator.

"It just got so bad that I just dreaded going to work because of that subway ride," she said.

Neither Metra nor the CTA tracks the number or type of beefs that riders lodge against other riders, though the CTA says it receives "very few" complaints about commuters.

John Deutsch, a conductor on Metra's North line, says he frequently steps in when people hog seats on crowded trains, but he says some commuters resolve the issue themselves.

"A lot of times passengers are pretty gruff. They just plop right down on someone else's briefcase," he said.

Metra allows passengers to eat on trains (the CTA doesn't), and Deutsch's biggest gripe is that some don't clean up after their meal.

"You walk right by a garbage can to get off the train, but they leave their garbage at their seat," says Deutsch, a conductor for 31 years.

How has commuting changed?

"It's more stressful now," Deutsch says. "The trains are more crowded."

article

Posted by Ron at 09:57 AM | Comments (0)

Northwestern student dies after Ohio State game

A Northwestern University student with a heart condition died early Sunday after running onto the school's football field after a victory over Ohio State University.

Frederick E. Lieb, 20, of Crestview, Fla., was pronounced dead at 12:35 a.m. at Evanston Hospital, according to the Cook County medical examiner's office. Lieb died of hypertensive cardiovascular disease, a spokesman said.

Lieb, a third-year chemical engineering student who had a pacemaker from a previously diagnosed heart condition, ran from the upper deck of Northwestern's Ryan Field to the field late Saturday, according to a university news release. He complained to a friend of shortness of breath and collapsed on the field. After being administered CPR by security personnel, he was taken to the hospital, where he died, the news release said.

Posted by Ron at 08:15 AM | Comments (0)

October 02, 2004

The Buckeyes decided to take the day off today

Lost to Northwestern in OT 33-27

Noah Herron scored on a 2-yard run in overtime and had two other touchdowns, and Northwestern backed up its pregame trash talk with a 33-27 upset victory over No. 7 Ohio State on Saturday night.

NW logo

The victory was Northwestern's first over Ohio State (3-1) since 1971, snapping the Buckeyes' 24-game winning streak in the series and handing them their first loss in Evanston since 1958. After Herron broke through the Buckeyes at the goal line, his teammates piled on him in the corner of the end zone and Northwestern students ran onto the field, turning it into a purple mosh pit.

Ohio State rallied to score 10 points in the final nine minutes to force overtime, but kicker Mike Nugent, who bailed the Buckeyes out in two games earlier this season, failed. His 40-yard field-goal attempt sailed wide right on the first overtime possession.

Posted by Ron at 11:50 PM | Comments (0)

October 01, 2004

Top 100 Sites for Men/Women

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Ex-Steelers lineman leads police on deadly chase

A former player for the Pittsburgh Steelers led troopers on a 65-kilometre high-speed chase Thursday before driving into oncoming traffic and dying in a fiery head-on collision with a tanker truck.

Crash

State police identified the dead motorist as Justin Strzelczyk, 36, an offensive lineman with the Steelers for nearly a decade until the team released him in 2000. The tanker truck driver was treated for minor injuries and released, but no one else was hurt, police said.

Troopers said Strzelczyk was traveling at nearly 150 km/h before the rush-hour collision on the New York State Thruway in upstate New York. He was ejected from his pickup truck and both vehicles burst into flames.

“It could have been so much worse. We're fortunate that only one person died,” said Trooper Jim Simpson, a state police spokesman. “It looked like an airplane crash. The pickup was almost unrecognizable.”

State police said they put out an alert for Strzelczyk's pickup Thursday morning, after it was involved in a minor hit-and-run accident just west of Syracuse. Police spotted him about 40 minutes later, headed east on the thruway about midway between Syracuse and Utica.

Strzelczyk drove 25 kilometres on three tires after one of his tires was punctured by metal spikes thrown into the road by troopers, police said.

A second unit tried to stop the pickup by booby-trapping the road with the “stop sticks,” but Strzelczyk just kept on going, Trooper Simpson said.

“He was going down the road, flipping off the troopers. He even threw a beer bottle at them,” Trooper Simpson said.

Police said a trucker whom they were unable to identify Thursday tried to help them by pulling his rig across the road. Instead of stopping, the pickup drove across the grass median into the westbound lanes and travelled about five kilometres in the wrong direction before the deadly crash.

The pickup collided with the tanker truck near Herkimer about 8:15 a.m., while the highway was busy with morning commuters. The tanker was carrying no cargo.

Commenting on the actions of the “good Samaritan” trucker, State Police Capt. Donald Faughnan said, “it's always a judgment call. Sometimes the actions work out, sometimes they don't. We prefer civilians not get involved unless we ask them to. But maybe (the trucker) helped prevent something worse.”

Troopers said they were unsure why Strzelczyk fled.

Strzelczyk, who grew up in the Buffalo suburb of West Seneca and played for the University of Maine, spent nine years with the Steelers and played in the 1995 Super Bowl.

Nine months after his release by the Steelers, Strzelczyk was arraigned for illegal possession of a gun. Police said he slammed a loaded handgun onto a bar in Pittsburgh when discussing the presidential election with a friend.

Posted by Ron at 03:27 PM | Comments (0)

Northwestern riles Ohio State before kickoff

Then Northwestern had to go and rile up the No. 7 Buckeyes.

It didn't take long for the Buckeyes (3-0) to get wind of a remark Northwestern defensive tackle Luis Castillo made Monday. Asked about differences between the various Ohio State teams he's seen, Castillo said, ``They've always been a great defense and a mediocre offense that finds ways to make plays when they need points. They know how to win. That's just Ohio State for you.''

Castillo really didn't mean it as an insult. But teams look for motivation anywhere they can find it, and this was good enough for the Buckeyes.

"We heard it. We've got bulletin boards in there,'' fullback Branden Joe said. "Our goal is to not have them say that after the game. They can say anything they want before the game, but at 12 a.m. when the game's over and they're still saying we have a mediocre offense, then we did something wrong.''

The Buckeyes ARE built on defense, holding opponents to 261 yards of offense per game and just 3.9 yards per play. They've allowed four offensive touchdowns in their first three games.

They already have six sacks and three interceptions, and also have forced two fumbles. Against N.C. State two weeks ago, they scored 16 points off of five turnovers.

And Ohio State's offense hasn't exactly been awe-inspiring. The Buckeyes needed a 55-yard field goal from Mike Nugent as time expired to beat Marshall, and Nugent kicked five field goals in the victory over N.C. State.

Ohio State's average of 334 yards of total offense a game doesn't put the Buckeyes in the top 50 in the country. The Wildcats (1-3), meanwhile, are 12th in the nation with 479 yards of offense a game.

"I'll be flat honest, the numbers don't lie,'' Joe said. "We definitely haven't put up the numbers that other teams in the nation are putting up. But we have the personnel to do that. We have depth at receiver, running back, we have a young offensive line that continues to get better.

"I guess you say numberwise we are mediocre right now,'' Joe added. "But this is Ohio State. We have talent. We get talent here. I don't think we're mediocre in the talent aspect.''

It's also one thing if someone from Oklahoma or Southern California calls the Buckeyes mediocre. But not only are the Wildcats 1-3, they haven't beaten Ohio State since 1971.

"Sometimes teams at a Northwestern or an Indiana, they get caught up playing the traditions,'' running back Noah Herron said. "The tradition of Ohio State. The tradition of Michigan. The tradition of Penn State. We're not playing those years of tradition. We're playing the 2004 Ohio State Buckeyes, so we can't look at it like we haven't beat them in 33 years. What's that matter? Thirty-three years we were unlucky, so we've got to go out and change that.''

The Wildcats gave the Buckeyes quite a game in 2002, the last time the two teams played at Northwestern. Though Ohio State won 27-16, Northwestern missed two field goals and had to settle for field goals on two other possessions inside the Ohio State 10.

The Wildcats also had a touchdown wiped out by a questionable call in the second quarter.

"They were national champions that year and we were 4-7, something like that,'' Castillo said. ``We gave them a great game, and that let us know they are beatable. Going into that game, I don't know if many guys believed we could (beat them). And we gave them a great game. Going into this one, we know we can play with them.''

But the Wildcats will have to clean up their act. After making progress with their first victory of the season, they lost to No. 18 Minnesota last weekend, hurt largely by their own mistakes.

Northwestern still isn't executing as well as coach Randy Walker would like, and penalties are costing the Wildcats on both offense and defense.

"That doesn't minimize, however, my belief that we can be a good football team and play well,'' Walker said. "But we have to play with consistency that all football teams strive for. It needs to get better, because we're playing the Big Ten. You need to play your 'A' game and you need to bring it every week.''

Posted by Ron at 06:25 AM | Comments (0)