Author: B. Harlow

Artist Of The Week: ZZ Ward

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One of the most unique sounds coming out of the music industry is Oregon’s, ZZ Ward. I also took some time to download her four track EP, Criminal, and was blown by its overall style and soul. It had modern hooks like those you’d hear from Adele or Grace Potter, but also the sole of Janis Joplin, Tina Turner, and Big Mama Thorton. Needless to say I was impressed.

Her song, “Til the Casket Drops” was what originally drove me towards Ward, but once I discovered her song, “Put the Gun Down”, I was hooked. She has a unique energy that is all her, but takes modern music and combines her blues influences that were instilled by her father at a young age, and creates a magical mix of new and old, a perfect combo. By far my favorite track that shows Ward’s melting of the two styles is the soulful, “Criminal” which features a hip hop like beat, but keeps a very classy R&B feel.

Hollywood Records has something special on their roster with Ward. I hope they let her grow as an artist in a natural way. She has a lot of talent, and I also believe she will have a great deal of crossover appeal. It’s rare to see that combination, but Ward has it and knows what to do with it.

Ward will be playing Bonnaroo this summer so be sure to check her out!

Check Out The Music Video for “Put The Gun Down” Below:

 

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Could There Really Be A Ghost at This Gilford, NH Store?

 

SO… A few days ago this video was uploaded to the internet, and since then it has been racking up views. Apparently a ghost comes into the store at the 53 second mark, and shortly after a bowl falls. Is this just pure coincidence? Is it a ghost? Or was it fishing line?

Could it be a coincidence that there was a flash of light and a bowl falling. Yes that is plausible, but in such a quick motion I would say that it’s very doubtful. So could it be a ghost? I’m not going to try to even rap my head around ghosts, but thats the only thing I can think of. I’ve also watched it over and over again, and its definitely not fishing line or string… SO the only thing I can think of is a ghost…. Better call Ghostbusters

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Pastime: Can Baseball Stop Slipping From The Top Spot

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Well we’re a week away from the beginning of baseball season, and to me this signals an important transition in weather. If you can play baseball at Fenway Park then the horrible New England winter weather is most likely over; and thank god for that. But something is truly troubling to me, and that is that it feels like Baseball is being replaced, as our national pastime by football. We’re seven days away from baseball season, and all anyone can talk about is the NFL draft. And look, I don’t blame them this is one of the best draft classes of all time, but hey the boys of summer are back, and its time to hit the diamond not the gridiron. To me there are many contributing factors to why this is happening, but I wonder could the two co-exist as the national pastimes.

First of all lets look at baseball. Baseball is a pastoral game developed in the 1800’s and eventually moved into the cities of America in the early 20th century with the massive industrialization and urbanization . You could go see a game for a little money. Up until they started playing multiple night games a week Chicago Cubs fans would leave work mid-day to watch the Cubs play nine innings, and return to work.

But now things like this are impossible with the average ticket costing a literal arm and a leg, and unless you have a group-on your not getting into the stadium without shelling out a hefty amount of cash. First of all you have your ticket. Then you have transportation you have to figure in gas, tolls, parking, and possibly trains and buses. Then when you get in the stadium everything is incredibly expensive. One beer and a hot dog can run you up to $20. Ridiculous if you ask me. But it’s like this in every sport, but the thing about baseball is that they have the longest schedule out of all the Major Sports. Thus attending a baseball game multiple times a week has become a far off dream for many baseball fans.

Fortunately as a Red Sox fan we usually don’t have to see Fenway Park barely full, but other teams can barely get fans in the door. Why? Because of the expense and frequency. Think about it if you go to a game do you want to spend a king’s ransom to see the Astro’s play terribly against whatever team they’re playing against, or do you want to go see the Rockets who have one of the highest winning percentages in Basketball play against any team in the NBA? Easy choice…

As for frequency I would say that 162 games is too long of a season. The typical MLB season lasts 180 days. This leaves players only 18 off days, and about 15 off days if they’re partaking in All-Star Game festivities. This frequency to me is what is deterring fans from getting into baseball, as it is just too hard to keep up with if you have a life. Plus the scheduling is quite confusing with teams playing 19 games against four opponents in own division which adds up to a whopping 76 games. They then play 6 games against 11 opponents in other divisions within their league which adds up to 66 games. And then there are 20 inter-league games. To be able to schedule that must be quite the task, let alone being a casual fan or someone new to the game.

Now lets look at Football where there football is a 16 game schedule. This makes football an easy thing to keep tabs on, and every Sunday (or Monday and Thursday) is an event. As a fan you know your team is playing that day, and you know against which team, and you’ve been breaking down the matchup all week in your head, and probably are planning on watching multiple games, as you want to watch your players on your fantasy team play.

Now these two sports are like comparing apples and oranges, but lets look at one of the other contenders for America’s national pastime, Basketball. The NBA is interesting because it’s regular season is almost half the length of the MLB’s. During the regular season, each team plays 82 games, 41 each home and away. A team faces opponents in its own division four times a year which adds up to 16 games. Each team plays six of the teams from the other two divisions in their own conference four times which adds up to 24 games. They then face the remaining four teams three times which adds up to 12 games. Every team also plays all the teams in the other conference twice adding 30 games.

Now this cut in frequency is something that baseball should consider. 82 games might be a little low, but somewhere around the 110-120 mark would not be bad, and it would allow more rest for players, and would increase attendance at many parks. I’d also beef up the MLB playoffs, as they are quite boring we all know which pool of teams are going to be a viable choice for the playoffs by June, but by adding a longer playoff it would make the game more interesting, and would make playoff races better, as teams would be fighting even harder to make it into the playoffs.

This would make baseball go through the roof, and bango we have our national pastime back, and it can co-exist with Football….

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Who Wants To Buy A Replica of a 17th Century Cannon?!?!?

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(T&G)- In 1625, Sweden’s King Gustav II Adolf ordered four new ships to be built. Vasa, the first of the four, was his vision of the greatest warship that had ever existed. Sadly, that vision collapsed when Vasa sank in 1628, during her maiden voyage. Centuries later, when Millbury native Thomas Ward was tasked with re-creating one of Vasa’s 24-pounder cannons for the Vasa Museum in Stockholm, he faced a daunting endeavor of his own.  After receiving his bachelor’s of fine arts in sculpture from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2011, Mr. Ward sought a new challenge. He applied for and was awarded a prestigious Fulbright research grant. Originally, he had planned to work with “historical reproduction axe and tool smithing.” 
However, that “opportunity fell through and by some very good luck and sending a lot of emails, I fell into this project at the right time,” Mr. Ward said.  He arrived in Stockholm in 2012 and embarked on a creative journey that lasted a little more than a year.  The Vasa Museum, which houses the salvaged naval ship, challenged Mr. Ward to put his sculpting skills to the test. Not only did the museum want Mr. Ward to reproduce one of Vasa’s 24-pounder cannons, it wanted him to make a functional reproduction that could be tested on a firing range. Because the Vasa 24-pounder cannon was the heavy weapon of choice by the Swedish military during the Thirty Years’ War, the museum hoped to better understand the capability of the cannon and, consequently, naval warfare in the first half of the 17th century.  Mr. Ward soon realized what an immense task he had before him. While “24-pounder” refers to the weight of the cannon shot, the Vasa 24-pounder cannon itself weighs approximately 3,000 pounds and is 10 feet long. Since the original cannons were in very rough condition, Mr. Ward was charged with making the patterns to create the cannon and all of its intricate parts and ornamentation. He also needed to help solve the many technical problems that arose from re-creating 1620s heavy weaponry. “The main challenge was reverse engineering a 17th-century piece of technology,” said Mr. Ward, who is now back in Millbury. “I had to take a 17th-century object and learn about its process of creation; take that and apply it to modern foundry technology to make a functionally identical object.” 

 

Alright so lets look at this from two angles the serious, and the not so serious. First the serious. This is amazing! To take all this time to create something that is so unique is truly a special thing, and the artists is for sure a brilliant man. The intricacies of this Cannon must have been hell to recreate, but amazingly Ward did it.

Now the less serious side: How awesome would it be to own a cannon? I’d wake up every morning and blast the 1812 overture like it was the fourth of July at the Hatch Shell! I mean thats better than coffee or a wake up call, and it sure as hell beats a rooster. Imagine how fun having this at a party would be too.  Just shooting beer cans and anything else you want into the ether.

Is This Kurt Cobain Statue The Creepiest Thing You’ve Seen Today?

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(Vice)–  As you may have seen from the Facebook statuses of your friends who haven’t bought a new album in 15 years, yesterday would have been Kurt Cobain’s 47th birthday. But of course, he is not 47. He killed himself in 1994. He’s dead. People stop aging when they’re dead and that’s sort of how age works. But in honor of the day, Cobain’s hometown of Aberdeen, WA, a place Cobain once called “Twin Peaks without the excitement,” a town he said he was run out of and “chased up to the castle of Aberdeen with torches just like the Frankenstein monster” named February 20 “Kurt Cobain Day” and honored their hometown “hero” by a performance from local band, Gebular, a speech by his first guitar teacher, Warren Mason, and an appearance by original Nirvana drummer, Whatshisface McReallyblewit. Oh and also the unveiling of a horribly gaudy statue of him at the Aberdeen Museum of History

 

So I’m a big fan of tributes. The Bill Russell tribute statue and the Bobby Orr statue are two of my favorite things, but to be honest they’re both still alive so their statues aren’t creepy. Neither is the Late Ted Williams’ statue outside of Fenway Park, but this; this is creepy… I mean first of all the statue is very realistic looking. But the tear… That just adds this odd aura which I don’t like. It really freaks me out to the point that I could only look at it for a short while.

So this leads to another important debate. Should people be allowed to create images of deceased people, and interpret them with this type of emotion? Are the tears necessary?

Kid Pushed Out Of Window During Fight At Shrewsbury High School

Apparently today (Tuesday 3/18) two students at Shrewsbury High School got in a fight. The altercation got so messed up that one kid got pushed out of a second floor glass window and landed on a ledge that sits on the side of the school, and had to be hospitalized. No further word is known about what happened in terms of disciplinary action.

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This story is so shocking. When you think about it there are so many things that could have gone wrong. First of all lets think about the glass. Now I’m not an architectural person, but I imagine the glass they use in buildings of this type is strong, so imagine the force needed to break the window. The second thing is the ledge. How lucky was this kid that the window he fell out of had a ledge. I mean just if he fell two stories it could have been much worse.

This is just shocking horrible news.

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Taxachussets Living Up To Its Name… (Get Me To New Hampshire Pronto)

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(T&G)- The Massachusetts Department of Transportation board of directors voted Wednesday to increase Registry of Motor Vehicle fees to raise an additional $55 million annually, with substantial increases in vehicle registration, inspection and driver license road test fees.  Under the new fee schedule, regular passenger vehicle registration fees will go from $50 to $60, while motor vehicle inspection fees will rise from $29 to $35 and road test fees will increase from $20 to $35, starting July 1.  The fee hikes were decided by a unanimous vote of the board that oversees all state transportation agencies, without any public notice of the specific fee increases and before any public hearings on proposed fee hikes. DOT officials said they will hold a public hearing in May before the pre-approved fee hikes take effect. The new fee structure would be included in a regulatory change that would be implemented by the Registry of Motor Vehicles by June 6, in order to allow the fee increases to begin July 1. In addition to the registry fee hikes, transportation officials said they expect to hike MBTA and commuter rail fares by 5 percent later this year.  DOT officials said initially the registry fee increases were not expected to be needed until July 2016. However, they said they have realized a $55 million funding gap for the coming year, in part because transportation officials were counting on new state revenue from expanded casino gambling, which is not yet coming into the state. Also, the Legislature directed the DOT to raise $40 million in new revenue for the coming year from its own fee systems to better fund transportation needs, according to state Transportation Secretary Richard Davey.  He said the fee hikes would not be needed if the Legislature had included a larger tax increase in the transportation funding bill proposed by Gov. Deval L. Patrick last year.  The Legislature approved a 3-cents-per-gallon hike in the gas tax, and raised cigarette taxes to provide an increase of more than $500 million annually in state transportation funding.  Mr. Davey said the need for the fee hikes reflects chronic under-funding of state transportation projects for decades and reliance on borrowed transportation bond funds to cover a portion of its payroll, a practice DOT hopes to phase out completely in the future.  “This is a matter of choices. Balancing needs and wants with our ability to pay for them,” Mr. Davey said.  He told the board the governor and Legislature assumed registry fees would increase 10 percent every five years, when the transportation funding bill was passed. But, “rather than raising all fees by 10 percent, we have targeted three fees for simplicity’s sake that have not been raised in several years,” he said.  “There is never a good time to ask people to pay more, but there is also never a good time to be stuck in traffic, to blow a tire driving over a pothole, to be trapped in a broken-down train or to be cut off from a good job and economic opportunity because you live in a part of the state isolated from good transportation and mobility options,” Mr. Davey said.  Board member Alan MacDonald said the Finance Committee viewed the registry fee increases as an alternative to further hikes in the gas tax. “This does represent something more acceptable in terms of how to pay for the system as an alternative to the gas tax,” Mr. MacDonald said. 

Well it may not be a tax, but the Massachusetts DOT are going to be dipping into your pockets even more. Six dollars more per car. Absolutely ridiculous, and another reason to move to NH. I mean my grandfather is going to pack the car up and camp out in NH till this thing gets shot down by the general public. I mean this is against us, and the DOT went about this totally wrong. Yet they justify it by having public hearings! COME ON MASSACHUSETTS!!!!! WHY DO WE NEED PUBLIC HEARINGS AFTER YOU’VE VOTED ON THE FEE INCREASES?  Shouldn’t you ask the public before you dig into our pockets. Tax and spend liberals…. I’m moving to New Hampshire. NH-Seal-LFoD

When Your School and The Judicial System Stab You In The Back With Your Own Pocket Knife

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(opposingviews) An 18-year-old Ohio high school student and EMT-in-training at Ashtabula County Technical and Career Campus spent 13 days in jail and has been charged with a felony after police found a pocketknife in his car. Jordan Wiser is an aspiring public servant, training to become an EMT and planning to be a firefighter, so when school officials found his series of YouTube videos in which he discusses self-defense and law enforcement, it shouldn’t have been a big deal.  It was. The school alerted police with concerns that he might carry weapons with him to school. Police searched Wiser’s vehicle and discovered a stun gun, airsoft guns, and a pocketknife. The pocketknife was what got Wiser arrested, charged with a felony, and landed him in jail for 13 days. “I didn’t think anything of the Airsoft guns,” said Wiser. “Our school is a technical school, and I was planning on meeting with my Airsoft team after school. My stun gun was locked in the glove box, and the knife was in my EMT medical vest. I bought it at K-Mart and have it as part of my first responder kit for cutting seatbelts.” The school says their zero tolerance policy against weapons on school grounds prohibits anything, including a pocketknife, from being on the property. Since the discovery and subsequent consequences, the promising young student is facing the fact that his whole life may be ruined because of this one incident. “If I am convicted of a felony, I’m never going to be a police officer. I’m never going to be a fireman. I’m never going to be in the military,” said Wiser to The Huffington Post. “I won’t even be able to be a janitor. I’m 18 years old, and this is going to ruin my entire life.” “There are kids at my school all the time who get caught with knives and are suspended,” he continued. “My school is very rural, and people carry knives. I can accept the fact that there was a lapse in judgment, and I can accept a punishment, but I have already been expelled from both the tech school and my home school. The Army — I was enrolled in the Future Soldiers program and was scheduled to ship out in August — has discharged me, pending a not guilty verdict or dropped charges without prejudice.” Ashtabula County assistant prosecutor Harold Specht says that they did what they had to do in this situation, but maintains that if the case goes to trial, he doesn’t think it will wind up being as bad as it seems. “We charge [people] with everything that we feel they are guilty of, and in this case, he is guilty of a felony,” said Specht in a statement. “I know that there’s a load of people out here that just think we’re the devil because we’re allegedly ruining this young kid’s life, and that’s not the case at all. If this goes to trial, it will certainly come out in the wash.” Wiser says that it’s already affected his life negatively. A judge decided not to allow him contact with his grandparents, and currently, his grandfather is dying. “The one judge I went in front of told me to remove any firearms from my parents’ house and put them at my grandpa’s house,” Wiser said. “The next judge freaked out about me even knowing what a gun is and put a no contact order against me and my grandparents. My grandfather is dying right now, and I am not allowed within 500 feet of him.” “Never in my life did I think this would happen,” said Wiser. “I dedicated my life to public service, and now a four-inch pocketknife could ruin everything.” A trial is tentatively scheduled to begin on June 11, with a pretrial hearing set for April 1.

Let me get this straight…. This kids like is essentially over if he’s convicted…. Well fuck me… I’m going to try to spring this kid if he gets any time. I mean this is plain ridiculous I carry a pocket knife, but since I don’t go into schools I don’t get arrested, but once he’s in the school bango this kids life is over. God damn… Shows you a lot about our country, and our justice system. A clear example of the school prison pipeline. Jesus Christ someone get this kid Zimmerman or Casey Anthony’s attorney.

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