Sumo baby : University student sumo wrestlers attempt to make babies cry during the “Baby-cry Sumo,” an annual contest which is supposed to bring good health, at Tokyo’s Sensoji temple in Tokyo.(AFP/Toshifumi Kitamura)
It was bound to happen…it starts in Vegas and now we will start to see it elsewhere. The foreclosure rate has been skyrocketing for a while now. Our economy has been pumping dreams from debt for about five years. Get ready for the big decline….cd
LAS VEGAS – In the rampant real estate speculation of the Las Vegas valley three years ago, people lined up outside Pulte Homes sales offices overnight as if they were waiting for the release of the latest video game console or hot new movie.
Having seen his house in an upscale part of suburban Henderson, Nev. jump $200,000 in value in 18 months, Sam Schwartz felt he couldn’t miss any part of the boom.
He spent the night in the parking lot with TV, snacks and drinks, along with about a hundred other people.
Schwartz intended to buy a new home and then quickly sell it within the year — for a huge profit. Most people waiting were flippers just like him, he said.
“We had seen real evidence of what was possible in this crazy, inflated market, and we just wanted to get a piece of that investment equity,” Schwartz said.
But when home prices unexpectedly took a backward step, many investors seeking to cash in quickly were left “upside-down,” or owing more on their mortgages than what their homes were worth.
The result was a glut of homes in the marketplace, communities spotted with empty houses and for sale signs — and a foreclosure rate in Nevada that leads the nation as owners unable to sell became saddled with unbearable debt payments.
Foreclosure filings across the United States rose 47 percent last month from a year ago to 149,150 — one for every 775 households, according to statistics from Realty Trac Inc., a foreclosure listing service. And for the third straight month, Nevada’s foreclosure rate led the nation when it rose 220 percent from a year earlier to 4,738 filings, or one in every 183 households.
In Clark County, which encompasses Las Vegas, one of every 30 homes began the process toward foreclosure last year.
I was in a class today where the instructor and I were the only two people in the class that were alive when Reagan was elected. I was only in the third grade but still, all that aside, I’ve got nothing on this chick… her career plans are way cooler than my own…I still don’t have any…
HAYS, Kansas – When 95-year-old Nola Ochs graduates next month, she will be the world’s oldest college graduate. The record Ochs will break, according to Guinness World Records, belongs to Mozelle Richardson, who at age 90 in 2004 received a journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma.
On Thursday, the Kansas Legislature honored Ochs with praise and standing ovations.
Ochs did not plan to break records. She started taking classes at a community college after her husband of 39 years, Vernon, died in 1972. A class here and there over the years, and she was close to having enough hours for an undergraduate degree.
Last fall, Ochs moved the 100 miles from her farm to an apartment at Fort Hays State University to complete the final 30 hours to get a general studies degree with an emphasis on history.
An added joy for Ochs is that her 21-year-old granddaughter, Alexandra Ochs, will graduate with her.
“How many people my age have a chance to hang out with their grandmothers? She’s really accepted by the other students,” Alexandra said. “They enjoy her, but probably not as much as I do.”
With her white hair pulled into a bun, Nola Ochs walks purposely down hallways to classes with her books in a cloth tote bag. Students nod and smile; she is described as witty, charming and down to earth.
“Everybody has accepted me, and I feel just like another student,” she said. “The students respect me.”
She added: “I don’t dwell on my age. It might limit what I can do. As long as I have my mind and health, it’s just a number.”
Todd Leahy, history department chairman, wondered at first if Ochs could keep up with the other students. After her second week, all doubts were gone. Now he wants to record oral histories with her after she graduates.
“I can tell them about it, but to have Nola in class adds a dynamic that can’t be topped,” Leahy said. “It’s a firsthand perspective you seldom get.”
For instance, Ochs offered recollections of the 1930s Dust Bowl — skies so dark that lamps were lit during the day, and wet sheets placed over windows to keep out dust that sounded like pelting sleet hitting the house.
“We should all be so lucky and do such amazing things. Her achievement challenges us all to reach for our own goals and dreams,” said Tom Nelson, chief operating officer of the American Association of Retired Persons.
Ochs is proudest of being the matriarch of a family that includes three sons — a fourth died in 1995 — along with 13 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren.
After graduation, Ochs might travel or take some more classes at a community college. And after that, “I’m going to seek employment on a cruise ship as a storyteller,” she said, smiling.
I love film festivals. I love films. Watching films is one of my favorite things to do. So when I am in proximity to a film festival, it means that I am going to be going to some movies. I just wish I had the time and money to see them all. Someday. For now, I try to pick the ones I will enjoy the most. In this case, since it is almost finals week and I am a very broke student, I opted to see four movies out of the more than 20 that the Hawaii International Film Festival brought to Honolulu for the 10th annual Spring Showcase. My choices were:
Bamako– a film from Mali that is about how the world bank has and continues to exploit, degrade, and abuse third world nations in Africa and around the world. The story is essentially a trial held in a Mali courtyard in which it is Africa vs. The World Bank. The secondary story, which is billed as the primary is the story of a couple who live in the house attached to the courtyard are struggling to survive in the poverty that surrounds them. A bizarre third story is a movie shown on the TV they watch in which Danny Glover and a cast of odd cowboys have a shootout in Timbuktu. All three stories are demonstrations of how the World Bank is using debt to enslave Africa and Africans. A scene in the court plotline in which an elderly shaman/farmer chants to the court brought me to the edge of tears. Awesome film, heavy handed on the politics, worth watching at least once. Great music.
The Cats of Mirikitani– this documentary is about Jimmy Mirikitani and Linda Hattendorf. Hattendorf, a documentary film maker, befriends homeless artist Mirikitani. After 911, she takes him into her Manhattan home and together they deconstruct his internment in a WWII concentration camp in Tule Lake, California and work together to reconstruct his life. The most touching film I have seen in a long time. The friendship, the emotion, and the reality of it all is awesome. Reminds you that America put its own citizens into concentration camps during WWII and that we still do.
Exiled– a Hong Kong gangster film about five friends that defy the Hong Kong mob is my favorite kind of movie. One of them anyway. Great shootout scenes, unlikely coincidence, funny mishaps, blood everywhere, and a strange sort of happy ending. A really fun film by director Johnny To.
finally…last night we watched David Lynch’s most experimental film to date:
Inland Empire– This 3-hour psychological bizarre flick left me and everyone I saw it with feeling like we had just woke up from a twisted dream, dropped acid, or been mentally molested. Laura Dern plays an actress who meets her freaky polish neighbor and then is transported to the past or the future as she accepts a part in a film where the leads were murdered the first time it was produced and seems to unravel a polish folk tale, or curse, that involves a room full of anthropomorphic bunnies, chorus line prostitutes, surreal transitions, and otherworldy atmosphere. I liked it, but I can’t really tell you what it was about. Lynch is distributing the film in an extremely small number of theatre showings and then going to DVD. This one will become a cult classic. No doubt about it. I can’t wait to read about it in five years when it has been totally unraveled. As it was, I had to get a shot of tequila asap after seeing it. Check it out and be sure to watch to the very end of the credits. My favorite scene from the film is when Dern is bleeding on the sidewalk and a homeless strung out Japanese chick is telling about how to get the bus to Pomona and her friend who has a pet monkey, a blond wig, and a hole in the side of her vagina but who turns tricks because she is on hard drugs. Wow.
WASHINGTON – For the first time astronomers have discovered a planet outside our solar system that is potentially habitable, with Earth-like temperatures, a find researchers described Tuesday as a big step in the search for “life in the universe.”
The planet is just the right size, might have water in liquid form, and in galactic terms is relatively nearby at 120 trillion miles away. But the star it closely orbits, known as a “red dwarf,” is much smaller, dimmer and cooler than our sun.
There’s still a lot that is unknown about the new planet, which could be deemed inhospitable to life once more is known about it. And it’s worth noting that scientists’ requirements for habitability count Mars in that category: a size relatively similar to Earth’s with temperatures that would permit liquid water. However, this is the first outside our solar system that meets those standards.
People will call for the impeachment of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney at over 100 actions planned across the country on Saturday, April 28.
The creative actions include rallies, banner drops on freeways, “guerrilla slide shows” on the sides of New York City buildings, skywriting, and “human murals” of people spelling out “IMPEACH!” with their bodies at Ocean Beach in San Francisco, Coney Island in New York, the foot of the Washington monument in Washington, D.C., and other locations.
“George Bush and Dick Cheney lied the nation into an illegal war of aggression, are spying on millions of innocent Americans, and have authorized the use of torture,” said Jacob Park, the national coordinator of the April 28 impeachment actions. “The time has come for all Americans–particularly our representatives in Congress–to decide where they we stand. To turn a blind eye to lying, spying, and torture makes a mockery of our most basic values and the very notion of democracy.”
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) plans to introduce articles of impeachment for Vice President Dick Cheney at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.
“Cheney spokeswoman Megan McGinn responded to Kucinich’s announcement by saying that the vice president has served the nation honorably for almost 40 years,” reports the Associated Press.
“The vice president is focused on the serious issues facing our nation,” McGinn said.
On Friday, Vermont state senators passed a resolution calling for the impeachment of both the president and vice president for actions that have raised “serious questions of constitutionality.”
Inspired by the exploration of the virtual world in a couple of books I’ve read recently ( Snowcrash and Play Money), I’ve decided to begin a second life of my own and blog about it here. Rather than the massive multiplayer online role playing games, I’ve opted to go for Second life…(www.secondlife.com). I’ll let you know more when I know more….I’m nervous…and I am about to begin…below is some information about second life….
Second Life is a 3-D virtual world entirely built and owned by its residents. Since opening to the public in 2003, it has grown explosively and today is inhabited by a total of 5,818,780 people from around the globe.
* From the moment you enter the World you’ll discover a vast digital continent, teeming with people, entertainment, experiences and opportunity. Once you’ve explored a bit, perhaps you’ll find a perfect parcel of land to build your house or business.
* You’ll also be surrounded by the Creations of your fellow residents. Because residents retain the rights to their digital creations, they can buy, sell and trade with other residents.
* The Marketplace currently supports millions of US dollars in monthly transactions. This commerce is handled with the in-world unit-of-trade, the Linden dollar, which can be converted to US dollars at several thriving online Linden Dollar exchanges.
Welcome to Second Life. We look forward to seeing you in-world.