There was an error in this gadget

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Followers

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Finances force sale of beacon Chez Vous

Dorchester venue behind on loan

Greer Toney, owner and general manager of Chez Vous, could lose her business to auction.

Greer Toney, owner and general manager of Chez Vous, could lose her business to auction. (Matthew J. Lee/ Globe staff)
By Matt Collette

After years struggling to provide a haven for city youths, Chez Vous roller rink has again fallen prey to fiscal troubles and is set to go on the auction block on Wednesday, Greer Toney, the rink's owner and general manager, said yesterday.

The 77-year-old Dorchester landmark will be sold, Toney said, because she failed to pay the latest mortgage bill. Chez Vous has faced foreclosure in the past and was operating on an agreement with its creditors that it would be auctioned off if it missed a mortgage payment. A letter from creditors at the beginning of the month warned that the auction would go forward if the payment is not made.

Toney said she doesn't have the money to pay.

She said she used the money, about $10,000, to finance the rink's second annual Peace Night, held last Wednesday. Rapper Bow Wow was slated to perform, but his manager cancelled the performance at the last minute, citing safety concerns.

"I couldn't believe it," she said. "I can't believe that any superstar like Bow Wow would do this."

She said she had to refund 500 tickets, which cost $35 each. Because some expenses had to be paid for in advance, Toney said that she had to use personal funds to reimburse ticket-holders. Neither Bow Wow, whose name is Shad Gregory Moss, nor his manager could be reached for comment last night.

Toney said that Rhodes Street, where the rink is located, was shut down by police the night of the concert and that there were close to 50 people working security inside. The rink is behind the Area B-3 police station, which is at Blue Hill Avenue and Morton Street.

The rink is an important part of the community because it offers an alternative to the gang culture that has dominated Dorchester and Mattapan, Toney said.

The Peace Night concert was held to encourage youths to abandon violence. "I've gone to so many funerals, and I'm tired. I'm sick and tired," Toney said. "We came up with the idea to bombard these kids with peace."

In 2006, Chez Vous owed the city more than $80,000 in unpaid taxes, but city officials said they were committed to keeping the business open and set up a payment plan for the rink.

In the past, Mayor Thomas M. Menino helped secure money to keep Chez Vous in business. But now, because of the financial problems plaguing the city, officials are unable to step in and help the rink stay open, said Nick Martin, a spokesman for the mayor. "This time around, the city is not in a financial position to help them out," he said.

Toney said teens often bring their homework to Chez Vous, and older students help younger ones with difficult coursework. She said parents are allowed in for free to encourage adults to be more active in the lives of their children.

"They may be fighting [on the streets], but now you get to know someone in here," she said.

Chez Vous has not always been a haven for peace. In January 1994, hooded gunmen stormed into the rink and opened fire, injuring seven people.

Bruce Wall, pastor of Global Ministries Christian Church, conducted outreach and church services at Chez Vous from 1988 to 1992, when the rink was under different ownership. He described the venue as one of the last places teens could go to escape the streets.

"It was one of the few places left where young people felt like they had a place, like they had a home," Wall said. "To not have that anymore, I feel like it's a major death."

At the rink last night, teens described Chez Vous as an alternative to gang culture.

Ty Avonterogers, 14, said a friend brought him to Chez Vous a few years ago. Now he comes so frequently that he owns his own skates.

"I come here a lot. There's a gang on my street," Avonterogers said last night. "There used to be nothing for me to do."

"To me, it's a family," said 16-year-old Gerald Vick. He said he is afraid more young people will wind up back on the street if Chez Vous closes. "I think more kids will get in trouble. They won't have things to do," he said.

Original here

Time Magazine Throws Up Its Hands As It Gets Pwned By 4Chan

by Erick Schonfeld

The hackers of 4Chan have succeeded in completely gaming Time Magazine’s online poll for its Time 100 list of the most influential people on the planet. At the top of the list is Christopher Poole, aka Moot, the founder of the 4Chan online forum, whose members used some coding to get his name to the top of the list. Not only did they help moot win the poll, but they also arranged the next 20 names to spell out “Marblecake, also the game.” Marblecake is a lewd sexual reference, but is also supposedly the name of the chat room where one of 4Chan’s online collective actions, Project Chanology, originated.

This is just the “people’s choice” list, not the official list picked by Time’s editors, but still it makes you wonder whether the editors at Time bother to read anything on the Internet. It is pretty well-documented that the 4Chan community was trying to manipulate the poll results. Nevertheless, Time just threw up its hands and named Moot the winner. Time is obviously aware of the controversy, but tries to justify the choice nonetheless by writing that:

Moot denies knowing about any concerted plan by his followers to influence the poll, though TIME.com’s technical team did detect and extinguish several attempts to hack the vote.

Except Time.com’s technical team didn’t do a very good job, because the top 21 names still spell out the Marblecake sentence. Time knows it was pwned by 4Chan, but simply throws up its hands. Time.com’s managing editor Josh Tyrangiel tries to defuse criticism by admitting that the poll is meaningless. He says, “I would remind anyone who doubts the results that this is an Internet poll. Doubting the results is kind of the point.” Or maybe the point is to name an Internet celebrity and create a controversy so that people click through to read the results. Well played.

Original here

'Put your dead baby in the fridge': What nurse told mother who suffered miscarriage

Sophie Hill with daughter Marnie-Faye

'Traumatised': Sophie Hill, with her seven-month-old daughter Marnie-Faye, stored the foetus in a Tupperware box

She had just endured the trauma of a miscarriage.

But when Sophie Hill phoned her hospital with her dead child next to her, she was simply told to put it in the fridge for two days until her scheduled appointment.

Confused and in shock, Miss Hill followed the nurse's instructions and stored the foetus in a Tupperware box in her fridge so it could be kept cool for testing.

Last night, as hospital bosses investigated, Miss Hill said she had been 'betrayed by the NHS' and her father called for the nurse who gave the advice to be suspended.

Miss Hill, 21, was overjoyed when she become pregnant for a second time with boyfriend Jamie George, 29, and the pair had been planning for the arrival of what they hoped would be a second daughter.

The 12-week scan showed the baby was growing well but subsequent tests revealed problems.

She was told in February, when she was four months pregnant, that the baby had died.

Weeks later, she miscarried.

Miss Hill, from Crawley, West Sussex, said: 'I was woken up at three in the morning with horrific pains in my stomach.

'I was in agony and went to the toilet and that's when it happened. I thought I should keep it and next morning I spoke to the hospital to find out what I should do.'

She phoned the early pregnancy unit at East Surrey Hospital in Redhill and spoke to a nurse.

'I said to the woman what had happened and asked what I should do,' she said.

'I don't think she really understood what I was saying or believed me. She replied that I was not due back in for my next appointment for another two days so I would have to wait until then because they were unable to see me.

'She said I had to keep the child cold for testing reasons and I should keep it in the fridge until my appointment.

Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

Let down: East Surrey Hospital where Miss Hill sought help is managed by the Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

'At no point did she say I should go to hospital. I was really upset, my head was a mess and I did what she said. When you call up a pregnancy unit at a hospital you expect them to give you good advice so I took it as gospel.

'I put it in a Tupperware box and sealed it up and wrapped it in a plastic bag because I could see the arms and legs and some of the head and put it in the fridge towards the back.

'It was horrible. Every time I went to the fridge I had to look at it.'

Miss Hill took the child to her appointment two days later.

Later on, her health visitor said the nurse's guidance was entirely wrong and she should have sought immediate medical attention.

She added that in 25 years of midwifery she had never seen anything like it.

Miss Hill, whose daughter Marnie-Faye is seven months old, said: 'I'm furious at how I've been treated and I can't understand why on earth the nurse told me what she did.

'I'm haunted by what happened to me and shudder every time I look at my little girl because it reminds me.

'I want her to have a sister one day but I will wait because I'm so traumatised and let down by the hospital.'

Miss Hill's father Paul, 45, a cargo handler with British Airways, last night attacked the hospital for their 'neglect' of his daughter.

He said: 'I'm disgusted with the way they treated her and that nurse should at least be suspended.

'She had no support, no counselling and has had no apology.'

It is understood the nurse who advised Miss Hill is on holiday and has not been disciplined.

A Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust spokesman, said: 'We acknowledge and
appreciate that Sophie Hill has been through a very difficult time and would
like to express our sympathy for her loss.

'Our Early Pregnancy Unit provides care to women during the early stages of their pregnancies and we strive to offer responsive, supportive and sensitive care to a high standard.

All our nurses are specifically trained to offer advice and support to women at
varying stages of pregnancy.

'Our early Pregnancy Unit advice is that in exceptional circumstances in
order to find out why a woman has miscarried the foetus will need to be
examined at the hospital. The woman will be advised to come to the hospital
immediately. If she is unable to come to the hospital, she will need to keep
the foetus preserved for it to be suitable for examination.

'We are unable to discuss the individual circumstances of this case, but
would welcome Sophie contacting the hospital to arrange a meeting with her
and offer our support.'

The spokesman added the Trust hadn't received a formal complaint from Miss Hill and if they received one they would have a full internal investigation.

Original here

5 things I fear more than the swine flu

By: Bobby Finstock

WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!! Of course we all are eventually. But if you have watched any cable news in the last week you would know that it is going to happen soon and it is going to be from swine flu. More people have died from being struck by lightening in the US than have died of swine flu but we need to ramp up the hysterics. (Thanks 24-7 cable news with nothing to talk about!) It cracks me up to think that if the outbreak stayed to Mexico we all would have listened to the 20 second news story which would be buried 18 minutes into the nightly news broadcast and just thought, “Meh… maybe it will clear up the drug cartel problem down there. I want ice cream.”

I have determined that there are actually five more things that I fear more than swine flu right now.

5) Getting HIV from playing basketball with someone wearing a Magic Johnson jersey

magic-johnson-ball-in-left-hand-posters

When Magic returned to the NBA a few players said they feared getting HIV from him if they sweated on by him, if he bled on them, or if he had anal sex with them while fighting for a rebound. (Maybe that last one wasn’t a reason.) Of course none of this was really possible but the fear and rumors were out there. I will never play against him but the dangers could possibly be transmitted via his jersey.

I think though I have a better chance of getting HIV from playing basketball with someone wearing a Magic Johnson jersey than getting swine flu.

4) Heidi and Spencer procreating

heidi_montag-spencer-pratt-hungry-kid-taco

The idea that children will be born with giant teeth, plastic noses, and a disgusting desire to be the largest attention whores possible.

“Mom I am going to take my diaper off and shove shit through the screen door at about 11 am. Can you make sure the paparazzi are there so they can ‘catch me in the act’? Thanks babe, whip out your tit at noon and we will do lunch.”

Through there constant attention whoring they will come media moguls and eventually will enslave the entire human race through mind control.

3) Getting hit by a piano/safe that has fallen from an apartment window

un-falling-piano-symbol

Shit these things happen on cartoons… Cartoons are on TV…. And ANYTHING on television HAS to be true. (Except anything said by Glenn Beck. He makes Charles Manson seem well adjusted.)

I don’t know about you but the last thing I want to happen is to walk down the street and get crushed by a large object that 97% of America doesn’t have in their apartments anymore. But that is more likely to happen than me getting the swine flu.

2) Becoming retarded because I got vaccinated from swine flu

Apparently according to some people that are super intelligent:

vj-jenny6

There is a major link between autism and vaccinations. I don’t know if it is true or not but when a chick that posed naked in Playboy and has contributed such important things to my life like “Singled Out” well I know I should listen to and fear what she says.

So if it gets to the point where we all need to get vaccinated in order to prevent the spread of swine flu I worry that I could possibly become retarded and have to wear a diaper for the rest of my life because I was vaccinated.

(Note: If you have autism it does not make you retarded. But listening to Jenny McCarthy does.)

1) A Zombie Chuck Norris

chuck-norris-zombie
I think that threat speaks for itself. Not only would our way of life be endangered but the internet would implode when two stupid and annoying memes unite. Remember Chuck Norris jokes suck.

What do you fear more than swine flu?


About the author

Bobby Finstock

Bobby Finstock is the founder of pointlessbanter.net and writes here on a semi-daily basis. He enjoys scatological humor, pop culture, politics, and is a closet watcher of the Bachelor. Finstock hopes to one day be able to write under his real name again and to cure his issues with premature ejaculation.

Original here

6 Ways That Porn Runs The World

By Ian Cheesman

This world is rife with moral decay. Doubters need only look to the vacant church pews and surging Cracked readership for confirmation. That, and the fact that the porn industry utterly dominates all others.

Think we're exaggerating? We've got the numbers to back it up. As big as you think porn is, it's bigger, and its influence on modern society is deeper. As Jules Verne once said, "Some day, this whole thing is gonna be titties."

#6.
Porn > Hollywood

The Long, Hard Facts

Hollywood cranks out around 500 movies a year to an international audience of 2.8 billion. Its closest competitor, India's Bollywood, makes about 1,000 movies a year, but 50 percent aren't released and 95 percent of those released are financial flops. This is unfortunate considering every Bollywood clip we've ever seen has been absolutely amazing.

In 2008, The Dark Knight alone grossed $533 million domestically and over $1 billion internationally, certifying it in the top five highest grossing films of all time and a crown jewel in the Hollywood empire. It's just further evidence that the institution of Hollywood cannot possibly be bested in any way, and certainly not by the data in the following paragraph.

The Moneyshot

As early as 2002, about 11,000 adult movies were released per year--more than 20 times the mainstream movie production. Of course, it's not really fair to compare them in that regard since Hollywood has to worry about dialogue, special effects and plot, while porn only requires a handcam, titties, and maybe a pizza delivery guy costume. To meet current demand, a new pornographic video is being created every 39 minutes in the U.S. We don't know if that includes filming Giada De Laurentiis handling zucchini, eggplants or eclairs for various shows, but it damn well should.


I'm not sure that eggplant is clean yet, Giada. Give it another quick rubdown, wouldya?

When it comes to cinematic preferences, people let their money do the talking. Since mainstream theater chains won't show The Crotchmen in wide release, we're forced to use other means of comparison. And every time, porn wins.

For example, in hotel chains that offer in-room X-rated content alongside major Hollywood releases, porn movie rentals represent 55 percent of the overall pay-per-view usage. Porn consistently generates more revenue than the hotels' mini-bars, though that probably wouldn't be the case if the hand-lotion was locked up in there too.

In 2005, there were approximately 425 films released in Hollywood, including a Star Wars prequel and a Harry Potter movie, with domestic grosses of $8.597 billion. That's very impressive. In 2006, the cumulative grosses for porn videos in the U.S., leveraging video sales, rentals, mobile phone content and Internet revenues--came out to....

Are you ready?

$8.65 billion.

About the same, and that's minus the billions Hollywood spends on promotion. Oh, and we're going to take a wild guess and say that the combined budgets of every porno shot that year wouldn't even pay for the CGI in the opening credits of a Harry Potter movie. So, yeah, we're thinking that $8.65 billion is pretty much all profit.

#5.
Porn > Barack Obama

The Long, Hard Facts

In the digital age, there is no better snapshot of the zeitgeist than Web search trends. They allow you to view the ebb and flow of fads and news stories, as well as identify moments of hysteria:

If you examine top search trends in the U.S. over the last year an unsurprising amount of traffic was dedicated to coverage of the presidential election. We could have probably saved the electorate a lot of time by declaring Obama the winner when the search term "McCain" was trailing in popularity behind "American Idol," but apparently the constitution doesn't have those kinds of provisions.

The Moneyshot

Barack Obama was not only the front-runner for much of the presidential race, he garnered some attention as a "celebrity" along the way, particularly among the young people and internet users.

But it wasn't enough to make him number one. Most people just didn't feel they could fully absorb the nuances of presidential politics without rubbing one out first.

To illustrate this, we compared the volume of searches over the last year for "Sex" to those for "Obama" and "Iraq." We also added "Color Me Badd" because we thought it'd make them feel good just to be included, despite effectively serving as a statistical baseline:


Source.

Look a the poor red Obama line, looking like the ocean floor under blue sea of sex. It's no surprise, considering that in any given second, approximately 372 Internet users are typing "adult" search terms into search engines. Note the brief spike for Obama at point E up there. That's election day. It took a black man becoming leader of the free world to wrangle the collective consciousness away from sex for roughly 23 minutes.

#4.
Porn > Diamonds

The Long, Hard Facts

To further illustrate how utterly porn dominates the internet, let's give you one more.

Domain names are to Internet commerce what location is to real estate. That's why corporate giants like Toys 'R' Us shelled out $5.1 million for Toys.com. The difference between toys.com and toysrus.com is the difference between a house in Hawaii and a house in Dipshit, Michigan.


We do apologize to the good people of Dipshit.

The Moneyshot

So toys.com, that's got to be the most expensive domain name ever, right?

Not even close. Not even the 1999 sale of business.com at $7.5 million (a record at the time) makes the top. No, topping them all is, you guessed it, Sex.com, at a jaw-dropping $14 million.

Courtesy of sex.com and porn.com, smut sits pretty in the top five most expensive domains, trumping the keyword-monsters diamonds.com and creditcards.com. One could even argue that diamonds.com likewise qualifies as porn, if the sensation of being vigorously boned in the wallet while browsing there counts.


#3.
Porn + USA > Everybody Else

The Long, Hard Facts

If Michael Phelps demonstrated anything in the 2008 Olympics, it was that the United States Of America is pretty much the best at everything. OK, not so much education or health care or manufacturing things. But we rule at swimming. Oh, and internet porn. We produce more than anybody on the planet. Even adjusted for population, not even Japan can touch us.

Now, we know what you're saying: as a country we probably just produce more websites in general, and porn happens to be one variety. Not so. As early as 2003, Germany was producing 84.7 websites for every 1,000 members of their population to America's 63.7. In 2006, Israel was number one in the monthly hours spent on the Internet. Even Luxembourg, Germany, and Ireland lead in broadband penetration, a statistic so upsetting that we refuse to use it as a segue to a perfectly tuned dick joke.


And this is just a picture of Germany.

Things aren't looking much brighter going forward. China overtook us in total users by nearly 30 million in 2008 (of course, everyone knows the Chinese multiply by binary fission, so raw usage doesn't count). At least we're number one in is percentage of population using the Internet ... well, as long as you don't count Japan, Australia and Canada. That's right, we're losing the Internet war to our freaking hat.

The Moneyshot

But then, we have porn.

America has produced the most pornographic webpages of any country, or any 10 countries for that matter. At last count, we were responsible for 244,661,900 pages of perversion. Our nearest neighbor in that respect is Germany with 10,030,200 pages, but given the depraved material they're renowned for one can safely assume most of those pages have only been visited once or twice.

But we probably just lead because we have a higher population, right? Wrong; based on the current U.S. population, there is approximately 0.8 porn pages per U.S. citizen, six times the average of Germany. And if you think we're stopping before it's a one to one ratio, don't forget that there's a little Michael Phelps in ALL of our pornographers. U-S-A! U-S-A!

#2.
Porn > Productivity

The Long, Hard Facts

It is nearly impossible to quantify the effect that the desktop computer has had on production in modern business. Their capacity to automate, error-check, schedule tasks and intercommunicate are the very core of productivity. Even the inclusion of solitaire on most systems is vastly more efficient than breaking out a deck of cards and clearing the desk to play.


Three monitors, two towers and a laptop. Fuck you, procrastination.

The Moneyshot

There is no question that computers make our lives more efficient. After all, the staggering amount of pornography browsed at work probably cuts down on the time finding it at home significantly.

According to a 2008 Nielsen Online study, 25 percent of employees with internet connections use them to visit porn sites, which is up 23 percent from the previous year. M.J. McMahon, publisher of Adult Video News Online, further reports that hits on adult content peak during office hours. Its prevalence at work is blamed on the availability of non-subscription sites, a growing sentiment in the younger generation that pornography is not taboo, and those hydraulics on office chairs that let you ride low enough to facilitate covert wanking.


"Titties!"

It's not just a syndrome here in the Land of the Free (hand). Queen's University in Belfast conducted a survey of employees at 350 businesses in the U.S., U.K. and Australia for the porn-filtering firm SurfControl. Overall, 28 percent admitted to downloading sexually explicit content from the Web while on the job, though U.S. employees were slightly less likely to do so. Or they were smart enough to deny it.

The good news is you don't have to worry about that lagging work ethic hurting the economy. The porn industry employs about 12,000 people in California and pays over $36 million in taxes every year, so every clandestine tug is helping, really.

#1.
Porn > Everything

The Long, Hard Facts

Remember at the beginning when we said as big as you think porn is, it's actually bigger? We meant it.

Microsoft, purveyor of the operating system used on most of the computers in the world, reported 2008 profits in excess of $16 billion. ExxonMobil, the world's largest publicly traded company and number five on Forbes' top 2000 companies, posted 2008 profits of $40.6 billion. Though there is little in common with their industries, they do share one common bond: porn revenues spank them both, and then poop on their chest.


Secretly, Microsoft kind of enjoys it.

The Moneyshot

In 2006, the sum of international revenues from pornographic videos, sexual novelties, magazines, "dance" clubs, pay-per-view and Internet was approximately $97 billion.

Can you even wrap your mind around that number? Try it this way: that's larger than the combined annual revenues of the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball. Think about how many stadiums full of furiously masturbating people that is. Just don't think of it the next time you're at a game.

Still not impressed? Well, our domestic revenues for pornography are larger than the revenues of Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo!, Apple, Netflix and EarthLink combined.

This means $3,075.64 is being spent on pornography internationally every second. To put that in perspective, when ExxonMobil posted a quarterly profit of $11.7 billion last year, the largest in American history, they were effectively making $1,947 less per second than the world of filth mongers. Worse, Astroglide is water-based, so Exxon isn't even getting a cut of the lube commodities market.

When you start talking about money this big it's not even fair to compare individual companies, so we just made the jump to entire fucking countries. If you compare porn revenues to Gross Domestic Product, the market value of all final goods and services from a nation in a given year, it is bigger than Morocco. And with mobile porn estimated to grow to become a $3.3 billion business by 2011, it's only a matter of time before Kazakhstan goes down like...

Well, you know.

Original here