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Reka Forgach

Westminster Dog Show kicks off the nation’s most attended dog days

NYC has gone to the best-smelling dogs in the business

Westminster Dog Show is an annual aggregation of over 2,700 perfectly coiffed and coached pups in New York City.  Over 187 breeds will compete in this year’s Westminster dog show, with the most recent additions of the Russell terrier and the Treeing Walker coonhound, only one of which this writer is currently able to visualize.

The Westminster Dog Show is a vewy, vewy sewious event, which anyone who has watched “Best in Show” will acknowledge and will either avoid or gape at this upcoming week.  The 137th annual show will unfold from 8 to 11 p.m. on CNBC, and best in show will be announced Tuesday night after hours of bated pants and dog-eat-dog competition.   Each dog is separately judged in relation to its breed, with a checklist for excellence in grooming, gait, size and temperament.  Judges also base their decisions on a pooch’s certain “je ne sais quoi” says former judge Cindy Vogels.  She admitted, “I think that’s doggy charisma, plain and simple.” 

Tips and speculation for Westminster Dog Show victory are manifold.  In general, complicated breeds tend to be more successful than breeds like America’s favorite Golden Retriever, because good dogs are all the more rare and eye-catching.  This year, crowds should keep an eye on a certain Doberman named Veni Vidi Vici, and an American foxhound named Pandora’s Box, both successful returnees to the Westminster Dog Show.  Banana Joe, an affenpinscher, has already earned three-peat status at this year’s Westminster Dog Show, and undoubtedly has his eye on the grand prize as well.

Pope resigns, shocking both inner circle and the global Catholic community

Pope Benedict XVI resignation causes speculation and worry about the future of the Catholic Church.

Pope Benedict XVI announced his forthcoming resignation on February 28th, becoming the first supreme pontiff in nearly 600 years to do so.  The Pope cited his advanced age (85 years) as the reason for his abdication, and released a statement saying, “After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.”

Pope Benedict has certainly faced a tumultuous and dramatic papacy since day one, charged with handling the sexual abuse crises and allegations against his Church, and continuous backlash to his conservative doctrine and controversial statements.  The Pope has faced considerable anger from the Muslim community after he compared Islam to violence, as well as upset from the Jewish community over the rehabilitation of a Holocaust denier.  Pope Benedict XVI also stepped up the Catholic Church’s official opposition to gay marriage, female priesthood and embryonic stem cell research.

Pope Benedict will not be involved in the election of the new pope, although analysts fear the consequences of the dual presence of a newly elected reigning Pope and an ex-Pope.  The Pope’s predecessor, Pope John Paul II refused to step down for just such a reason, despite his quickly deteriorating health, fearing a “schism” in the church caused by instability and confusion of two living popes.  This issue will be extremely controversial, especially if the newly elected pope is progressive and liberal compared to ex-Pope Benedict, aka “God’s Rottweiler.”

The Pope’s decision to resign was a surprise even to his brother, a priest in Regensburg, and Vatican spokesmen Father Lombardi Federico, who both confirmed that Pope Benedict had reached this decision on his own.  The Vatican has announced that a new Pope will be elected as soon by Easter, March, 31.  Pope Benedict will first retire to the Vatican summer residence at Castelgandolfo, before joining a monastery in Vatican City.

Grammys 2013 provides drama and daring

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Grammys 2013 was a proper conflict of mainstream versus out-of-the-box and conformity versus controversial in both winners and wardrobe.  Taylor Swift kicked off the night with her latest song-that-sounds-like-every-song-she’s-ever-written, aptly named, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.”  Anyone that knew anything about Grammys 2013, however, were buzzing heavily about the return of Justin Timberlake after a four year hiatus, the Frank Ocean v Chris Brown popularity face-off (no-brainer), and celebrity response to CBS’s appropriate dress code plea.  Thankfully, the “forbidden fruit” theory continues to work as stars blatantly ignored pleas for “no side-boobs” and “adequately covered buttocks and female breasts (and genitalia) with plunging necklines and bikini length dresses.

The classic “best-and-worst-dressed” got a bit of a boost at the Grammys 2013, as CBS begged the quirky constituency for some propriety.  “Ha!” thought Jennifer Lopez as she flashed the cameras her entire right leg.  “Ha-ha!” followed Katy Perry as the twins enjoyed ample sunlight in her Gucci floor-length with a suicidal plunging neckline. Meanwhile, Kelly Rowland bumped Beyonce for best-dressed Destiny’s Child girl, and Rihanna blew everyone out of the water in her red-carpet camouflage colored Alaia halter dress.

As for the hardware winning selection, Grammys 2013 was a testament to the enduring power and popularity of pop(!), with victories by Fun. and Gotye, already-has-beens who never shirked their duty to provide instant-gratification hits for the crowd.  Alternatively, timeless pop stars like JT and Elton John got their own fair share of recognition and spotlight, even despite their lack of new material, giving hope to the ongoing legacy of relevant mainstream music. 

Finally, Grammys 2013 was the stage for the tense rivalry between Chris Brown and Frank Ocean.  Just weeks after a parking lot fight, where a homophobic slur was thrown Ocean’s way, the two faced the audience polls in separate performances.  Brown’s Grammys 2013 nomination was met with a smattering of claps throughout the front lines of the audience, in comparison with the roaring applause Ocean met for his win in the “best urban contemporary album.”  Ocean clearly took the Grammys 2013 most-loved award, and closed out the night with an unconventionally non-poppy and pure performance of his single “Forest Gump.”

MSNBC to cover Obama’s 2013 State of the Union Address

News networks are heavily anticipating one of the President’s most important speeches of the year

MSNBC gears up to give continuing coverage and analysis of newly re-elected President Obama’s State of the Union Address, as well as the Republican response from Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL).  Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is also set to deliver a Tea Party response to the speech.  MSNBC hosts Rachel Maddow and Chris Matthews will be joined by Reverend Al Sharpton, Ed Schultz and Lawrence O’Donnell, along with several other guest commentators and contributors, to compliment the President’s speech.

MSNBC is not the only network to cover the highly anticipated State of the Union Address—ABC, NBC and Fox News are all set to provide wall-to-wall coverage of the speech.  This year’s State of the Union is expected to deviate from the commander-in-chief’s second Inaugural address, by focusing on the economy, jobs, and possibly addressing hot topic issues such as gun control and immigration reform.  Both of these last issues require bi-partisan efforts in DC to see any kind of reform, and will likely be the most hot button issues on the presidential agenda this year. 

MSNBC.com has compiled a list of past historic presidential speeches and has also compiled an analysis of past State of the Union Addresses in anticipation of Tuesday’s event.  Most politico’s and political analysts agree that due to the absence of shadows of a failing economy or upcoming election, this year’s speech will be aggressive, and a clear outline of what the President is truly thinking and planning for the upcoming year.

Tune in to any of the covering news networks on Tuesday, February 12 at 8 p.m. ET to listen to the speech.

“Last Pope Theory” conspiracy resurfaces with resignation of Pope Benedict

Pope Benedict XVI is prophesied to be the second-to-last Pope

Last Pope Theory dictates that the recently resigned Pope Benedict XVI is to be the last legitimate pontificate of the Catholic Church, and will be succeeded by an image of Satan.  Penned by Saint Malachy, the first Irish saint, in the 12th century, Last Pope Theory is a series of 112 mysterious Latin phrases that correspond with attributes of each pope (and anti-pope) until today.  According to Last Pope Theory, Pope Benedict XVI is the second-to-last pope, and next we shall see the advent of someone called “Peter the Roman” whose reign will end in the destruction of Rome.  And all these prophecies do coordinate with the Mayan calendar…Get your underground bunkers and canned food pantries stocked, folks.

College News rendition of Last Pope Theory not chill-inspiring enough? Here’s the original:

“In the extreme persecution of the Holy Roman Church, there will sit [i.e., as bishop].
Peter the Roman, who will pasture his sheep in many tribulations:
and when these things are finished, the city of seven hills will be destroyed,
and the terrible judge will judge his people.
The End.”

Connections between existing popes and Last Pope Theory have been made regarding the birthplace, timing of life events and coat-of-arms of past popes.  Most recently, Pope Benedict XVI, prophesied as “Glory of the Olive” was a member of the Benedictine Order, whose crest contains Olive Branches, and who was intent on “extending the olive branch” to promote peace. 

As is common practice with most conspiracy theories, scholars have done their best to debunk the legitimacy of Last Pope Theory and confirm the ancient writings as either forgery or first-class quack material.  While most critics agree that earlier popes seem to fit their categories perfectly up until Pope Urban VII, succeeding popes seem to require quite a stretch to fit the mold.  If you’re getting shivers, or universal nudges to pack up and prepare, keep an eye on the next papal election due to take place this Spring.

Bobby Bones Show heads to Nashville

Bobby Bones Show moves from weird to grand

Bobby Bones Show, formerly hosted in Austin, Texas, is a nationally syndicated mainstream top-40 show, hosted by the one and only Bobby Bones weekday mornings on KISS FM.  For the past four months, Bobby Bones has been hiding a secret that he was finally able to let fly this Monday, the Bobby Bones Show is moving to Music City, that is Nashville, Tennessee, starting Feb. 18.

The new Bobby Bones Show location will definitely be picking up the Nashville flair, and Bobby has promised that “well, we are going country. Going to be the biggest country show in the US. Crazy” on his Facebook page.

Bobby is taking co-hosts Lunchbox and Amy with him, so listeners are guaranteed the classic flair and antics that accompany the popular morning show.  His show will also still be broadcast in Austin on KASE 101, so that faithful listeners can keep up with the Bobby Bones Show, and in fact the move means that the DJ will extend his reach far beyond the dozens of cities he can be heard in so far.

Regarding his move from the Weird City, the DJ has nothing but love for Austin as he moves away to Tennessee.  “This was my first ever morning show right after college,” Bones said on this morning’s Bobby Bones Show. “Austin is my home and I’m proud to represent the city and the fans that made the show so popular.”

Listeners will remember the spontaneity and fun the Bobby Bones Show brought, like Lunchbox’s personal marathon, undertook to prove that he could run the full 25+ miles with no training.

Cydia Sources top 2013 apps

Hackers and the jailbreak community hail a new year with Cydia Source’s latest

Cydia Sources is a must-have for any miser or hacktivist hopeful looking to jailbreak their iPhone and join a flourishing community of jailbreakers in the cyberworld.  Cydia itself is a software application for iOS (that is anything i-related, including iPhones, iPads, iEtc) that enables jailbroken phones to find and install software packages.  Cydia Sources is a digital distribution platform that provides Cydia users with apps, games, HD themes, ringtones and other tricks and goodies for their procured electronics.

Cydia Sources releases a list of its 10 most popular or must-have apps, and 2013’s top dogs offer no shortage of ways to procure apps, games, ringtones and more for free, not to mention packages that allow you to hack deeply into your phone to modify, tweak and change hidden settings.  At this point the whole Cydia Sources website got real deep and “gray area,” so I advise only the brave hacktivists to travel far into the murky legalities and dangers of the Cydia scene.

Hackulo.us, xSellize, iHacks, Hack your iPhone and BiteYourApple all return to the Cydia Sources top 10 this year.  Their strengths include multi-faceted uses including procuring the good stuff as well as cutting deep into your technology, consistent and frequent package updates, and packages specifically geared towards gamers or packages that help you sort through all the other packages offered.  The last are like a vortex in a dream in a vortex in an endless spiral of mind numbing possibility.

Cydia and its partner platform Cydia Sources is so popular, that within the first few minutes of releasing the latest version, 100,000 downloads caused the website to crash.  Hackers are no slow group to mess with, but the speedy recovery by the site is the kind of techie troubleshoot every business should be looking for.

Fall Out Boy calls a comeback

America’s suitehearts wake up from their hibernation

Fall Out Boy fans enjoyed a pleasant surprise this morning as the Wilmette, IL pop punk band surprised the world with a new single and tour announcement, beginning ASAP.  Like, tonight.  Fall Out Boy band members Pete Wentz, Patrick Stump, Joe Trohman and Andy Hurley released a message on their website, along with their newest single “My Songs Know What You Did In the Dark (Light Em Up)” featuring 2Chainz.  The band writes,

“When we were kids the only thing that got us through most days was music. its why we started fall out boy in the first place. this isn’t a reunion because we never broke up. we needed to plug back in and make some music that matters to us… the future of fall out boy starts now. save rock and roll…”

Save Rock and Roll is the Fall Out Boy 2013 tour title by the way, as the boys have apparently taken on the mantle and responsibility of salvaging an entire genre of music.  Fall Out Boy tour dates have also been released, so fans can go ahead and plan accordingly.  In a rare musically advantageous moment for the Midwest, the group’s tour begins tonight at a surprise show at Chicago’s Subterranean club.

Not from the heartland? Check out the other dates here, because sugar, it’s going down:

Surprise Shows
2/4 Chicago, IL @ Subterranean (On Sale TODAY 9am CST)
2/5 New York, NY @ Studio at Webster Hall (On Sale TODAY 10am EST)
2/7 Los Angeles, CA @ The Roxy (On Sale TODAY 10am PST)
2/25 London, UK @ Underworld
2/27 Paris, FR @ Nouveau Casino
3/1 Berlin, DE @ Bi Nuu
3/25 Sydney, AUS @ Metro Theatre
3/27 Melbourne, AUS @ Palace Theatre
Spring Tour Dates – On Sale February 8 & 9
5/14/13 – Milwaukee, WI @ Rave
5/16/13 – Chicago, IL @ Riviera Theatre
5/17/13 – Columbus, OH @ LC Pavilion
5/21/13 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE
5/22/13 – Detroit, MI @ The Fillmore
5/24/13 – Toronto, ON @ Sound Academy
5/25/13 – Montreal QC @ Metropolis
5/26/13 – Boston, MA @ House  of Blues
5/28/13 – Niagara Falls, NY @ Rapids Theatre
5/29/13 – New York, NY @ Terminal 5
5/30/13 – Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory
5/31/13 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
6/01/13 – Charlotte, NC @ Fillmore Charlotte
6/02/13 – Atlanta, GA @ The Tabernacle
6/04/13 – Lake Buena Vista, FL @ House of Blues
6/05/13 – Miami Beach, FL @ Fillmore
6/07/13 – Houston, TX @ Bayou Music Center
6/08/13 – Dallas, TX @ Palladium Ballroom
6/09/13 – Austin, TX @ Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheatre
6/11/13 – Tempe, AZ @ Marquee Theatre
6/13/13 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Wiltern
6/15/13 – Las Vegas, NV @ House of Blues
6/16/13 – Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater
6/18/13 – Portland, OR @ Roseland Theatre
6/19/13 – Seattle, WA @ Showbox SoDo
6/20/13 – Vancouver, BC @ Commodore Ballroom
6/22/13 – Salt Lake City, UT @ In The Venue
6/23/13 – Denver, CO @ Ogden Theatre
6/25/13 – Kansas City, MO @ Uptown Theatre
6/26/13 – St Paul, MN @ Myth
6/28/13 – St Louis, MO @ Pageant
6/29/13 – Indianapolis, IN @ Egyptian Room at Old National
6/30/13 – Nashville, TN @ Ryman Auditorium

Coweta Intermediate High School freshman student commits suicide

Resounding shots accompany the untimely death of a high schooler

Coweta Intermediate High School responded like clockwork to a tragic incident early Monday morning.  At around 9 a.m. Coweta police received a report of  “shots fired,” whereupon two Coweat Public Schools were immediately put on lockdown.  While the scare and danger to other students turned out to be a false alarm, the Coweta school district superintendent confirmed that a freshman tragically committed suicide in a bathroom.

As soon as the report was received by the Coweta police early Monday moring, all ninth graders at the school were escorted immediately to the gymnasium, where parents could pick their children up at any time.  The incident put two Coweta Public School on lockdown, and demonstrated the well-oiled-machine of Coweta schools to ensure student safety in emergencies.

Coweta school superintendent Jeff Holmes released the following phone alert Monday:

“This is Jeff Holmes, Superintendent of Coweta Schools. I regret to inform you that we have a tragic incident at our intermediate high school today.
All 9th grade students have been moved to the high school gymnasium where they will be able to checked out from the northwest lobby by a parent at this time. All other schools will remain in session throughout today.
All bus routes will run at the normal time at the end of the day for students including any 9th grade students who have not been checked out from the high school gymnasium. We will have press conferences soon to release more information.”

A press conference will be held at 2 p.m. for further details and investigation.

Bear gallbladder uses are manifold and lucrative

You didn’t know?

Bear gallbladder is not a term that is inordinately likely to show up on your everyday prescription sheets, that is unless you’re visiting an oriental pharmacy, in which case you might end up ingesting bile from belly of the beast to cure your ills.  Bear gallbladder is one of many traditional medicines prescribed by oriental doctors to treat a variety of illnesses.  Traditional medicine dictates that ingestion of parts of animals will allow patients to share some of the physical traits of the organism, so “strong like bear” has some real import in the alternative medicine world.

Unfortunately for our furry friends, the popularity and promised potency of bear gallbladder puts them high on the list of invaluable medicines—one bear gallbladder can fetch upwards of $3,000.  This heady price has put a global bounty on bear heads, with poachers venturing outside of the borders of Asia in search of lucrative prey.  In early November, a mutilated bear cub was even found near a road in Virginia with its small bear gallbladder removed.  This unexpected incentive adds to an extant list of other bear woes, including global warming, pollution, ordinary hunters and scarcity of prey.

The demand for bear gallbladder, while incredibly bizarre, is not wholly unfounded.  The Humane Society of the United States stated on their website that,

“Bear gallbladders and bile are used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of illnesses including fever, liver disease, convulsions, diabetes, and heart disease.  Clinical research analyzing the medicinal properties of bear gallbladders indicates that they may be effective for treating a number of ills. However, other natural substances already accepted in traditional medicine, as well as synthetic substances, can be substituted.”

Poaching to procure ingredients for traditional medicines has risen drastically in the past few years, resulting in dangerous numbers of animals hunted down and habitats destroyed.  Other animals victimized for medicinal purposes include rhinos, whose horn is used as an aphrodisiac, and tigers, whose bones, whiskers and teeth provide luck and virility.  Both animals are now on the endangered species list, with tigers nearing extinction.