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The Vox Box

Archive for November 2007

Quote of the Week - Nov 27, 2007:

“Hillary Clinton Stop Running For President And Make Me A Sandwich.”

Name of Internet campaign group on the social-networking site Facebook.

Current Events Quiz for Nov. 26-30

1. What was used to help identify the body of a little girl found in Texas as a missing Ohio toddler?

2. Another high profile case is back in the news again when police in what country jailed suspects in the 2005 Natalee Holloway disappearance?

3. An apparent break-in led to the death this week of a high-profile professional athlete in what sport?

4. There is some peace in the news this week ­ or at least an attempt at a peace conference to start negotiations again. Who invited participants to come to the U.S. to meet for this?

5. Name one of the foreign parties with leaders participating.
Extra Credit: Name a second.

6. Where did the questions come from that Republican Presidential candidates debate(d) Wednesday night?

7. Why was Vice President Cheney in the news earlier this week?

8. What European city¹s suburbs have riots going on for the third straight day as of Tuesday?

ANSWERS POSTED LATER… How do you think you did?

Vox cartoon by Rachel Cox…

I thought this cartoon by Voxer Rachel Cox of RiverCity Leadership Academy was more appropriate here than in the print edition. I thought it was fitting. I hate it when I have to fill these boxes out…

Stalkers: The Classics

I recently posted a dude playing a wicked sweet Pachelbel Cannon guitar solo, so it’s only appropriate that I follow up with this:

Pachelbel Rant

It’s so true. I’m afraid.

Teacher resigns due to controversy after cheerleading in class

Since this clip aired, this teacher resigned due to the controversy.

Some say the whole thing was blown out of proportion—others say the teacher was being innapropriate.

QUESTION: What do you think? Did this teacher deserve to lose her job?

Favorite Heros!

Vote for your favorite real life hero here!

In the meantime, who’s your favorite hero, real life or not?

I like spiderman! He sacrifices his own well being for the greater good of those he cares about and complete strangers. He understands his power, and responsibility.

Batman is not a favorite, because although he’s a normal human, he’s a rich guy. You don’t need money to do good, use your natural (or unnatural powers).

Therefore Spiderman is much better. How about you?

SWAT Team Raids Wrong Home

I thought the headline was funny, but when I saw the rest of the story I was less than thrilled.

Thus ends my mindset of the infallible security force that was SWAT. But what are childhood fantasies for besides being crushed?

Ok, that’s a little extreme, but the fact that the team raided a house, left it in shambles covered with tear gas, and did nothing to help clean up was somewhat shocking.

While we’re on the subject, has anyone seen the movie “SWAT”?
It’s funny. No, it’s not supposed to be.

Cannon Rock

No, we’re not launching geological projectiles from dated weaponry, we’re making music.

duh. You should stop thinking everything is a violent weapon. It’s not healthy.

Third grader saves best friend…

…with the Heimlich!

If any of my friends are reading right now, y’all suck compared to THIS kid. Jeesh… My friends would have laughed while I gasped for breath.

Third grader saves best friend
Third grader saves best friend

QUESTION: Have you ever had to use a life-saving technique like this?

And here’s our “nice jump!” of the day…

Check ‘er out…

Deer clears police cruiser
Deer clears police cruiser

Question: Have you ever hit a deer?

And… your creepy, big-time of the day…

Met Zach Dunlap. Brain dead after and SUV accident and while being prepared for organ transplant, he grabbed a nurse’s arm…

See the details, here…
Pronounced dead, man lives on
Pronounced dead, man lives on


Neighbors and family say this miracle was the result of the power of prayer.

QUESTION: Have you ever witnessed a miracle?

New Stem Cell Method

On Nov. 19, two teams of scientists declared their triumph that was a new method of harvesting stem-cells. Using skin.

All they had to do, the scientists said, was add four genes. The genes reprogrammed the chromosomes of the skin cells, making the cells into blank slates that should be able to turn into any of the 220 cell types of the human body, be it heart, brain, blood or bone. Until now, the only way to get such human universal cells was to pluck them from a human embryo several days after fertilization, destroying the embryo in the process.

This should halt any further ethical discussion on whether stem cell research is right. Turns out that now it is, regardless.

The reprogrammed skin cells may yet prove to have subtle differences from embryonic stem cells that come directly from human embryos, and the new method includes potentially risky steps, like introducing a cancer gene. But stem cell researchers say they are confident that it will not take long to perfect the method and that today’s drawbacks will prove to be temporary.

Here‘s the rest of the story at the NY Times.

What does this mean for stem cell research? Was it all worth destroying those embryos for this result? What can this mean for humanity as we know it?

Don’t throw out your broken iPod; fix it via the Web

Published: November 8, 2007/New York Times

A FEW months ago, Stephen Ironside, a student at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, confronted a minor but modern tragedy: the iPod that filled his life with song stopped working.

The device was out of warranty, and Apple would not fix it free. So he left it in a drawer until he happened to read a blog posting on that described how he might fix it — with a small, folded piece of paper. Mr. Ironside celebrated by posting thanks on the blog: “I’ve been on CDs for months. You saved my life (and my iPod).”

The article goes on to say that one needs to think of an iPod as something that simply has a short life span, and that if you get four years out of it, great.

There are some tips and more sites, however, if you are needing iPod CPR.

QUESTION: How many of you use this sort of device? Do you think of the item as “disposable” and with only a few years life span?

Not your English teacher’s Beowulf: Grendel’s mom was a hottie?

I taught “Beowulf” to seniors for seven years… I also had to read/interpret/analyze/compare/contrast the crap out of it in college… I don’t remember Grendel’s mom being a MILF.

In fact, she was a nasty old sea hag. Ahh well, bygones…

Beowulf opened this weekend. Review here

Review excerpt:

Published: November 16, 2007/New York Times

You don’t need to wait for Angelina Jolie to rise from the vaporous depths naked and dripping liquid gold to know that this “Beowulf” isn’t your high school teacher’s Old English epic poem. You don’t even have to wait for the flying spears and airborne bodies that — if you watch the movie in one of the hundreds of theaters equipped with 3-D projection — will look as if they’re hurtling directly at your head. You could poke your eye out with one of those things! Which is precisely what I thought when I first saw Ms. Jolie’s jutting breasts too.

QUESTION: Has anyone seen it or do they intend to? How was it compared to the epic poem you were forced to read in English class?

Fake MySpace friend drives girl to suicide

In a very tragic story on CNN, parents of a 13 year-old Missouri girl are alleging that a fake MySpace friend’s rejection drove the young girl to suicide.

Megan, a 13-year-old who suffered from depression and attention deficit disorder, corresponded with Josh for more than a month before he abruptly ended their friendship, telling her he had heard she was cruel.

The next day Megan committed suicide. Her family learned later that Josh never actually existed; he was created by members of a neighborhood family that included a former friend of Megan’s.

Now Megan’s parents hope the people who made the fraudulent profile on the social networking web site will be prosecuted, and they are seeking legal changes to safeguard children on the Internet.

Do you think cyber bullying is a real problem? Do you have any experiences with it? Should more be done to stop it?

Do people raise Darfur awareness for attention?

How Can We Raise Awareness In Darfur Of How Much We’re Doing For Them?

QUESTION: Do you think some celebrities (and non-celebrities) raise awareness for Darfur simply for the attention and to just have a cause?

This video is from the Onion, by the way. It IS a parody…

Traffic school would dismiss tickets

Deputy Mike Brooks of the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office Traffic Unit aims his radar gun at cars along Ft. George Wright Drive in Spokane on Wednesday. The county is considering a new traffic school where motorists could get minor tickets erased. (DAN PELLE The Spokesman-Review)

With the approval of county commissioners, you may soon have a chance to have traffic tickets dismissed by completing a six-hour classroom traffic course taught by Spokane’s finest.

The class would cost $115, but the real savings is with insurance premiums as the tickets would be erased from your driving record.

full article…

The Sheriff’s Office sees the possibility of “interacting positively” with up to 3,000 citizens a year as a good opportunity.

The Spokane County school at the sheriff’s training center on the Spokane Community College campus will offer information about local traffic problems and a refresher course on traffic regulations.

They’ll also get some math: If it takes 1.5 seconds to react to danger and 3.9 seconds to stop a car going 40 mph, how far will the car travel before it stops? (Answer: 260 feet.)

And some physics: How tall a building could you jump from to achieve the same result as crashing at 30 mph without a seat belt? How fast does an unrestrained motorist need to go to break an arm? How fast to break a thigh bone? (Answers: Three stories, 25 mph and 35 mph.)

QUESTION: Would you take the course? Or the traffic ticket?

Best Prank Ever

Ok, so there are better ones, but I still like this one a lot.

Anyone fluent enough in Japanese to tell what they’re saying?

Reaching out to students with text messaging

A school district in New York is trying to convince thousands of low-achieving students that school is cool.

The city is planning an intensive campaign that would use cellphones to help motivate students, most of them minorities and from poor families, in two dozen schools. The pilot program will include mentoring and incentives for high performance, like free concerts and sporting events and free minutes and ring tones for their phones. Every student in each of the schools will be given a cellphone.

Parts of the program including having mentors to call the students as well as celebrities and Internet so that they can check homework assignments.

QUESTION: Would an ecouraging text message from a celebrity inspire you to do well in school?

Attack of the Show builds world’s largest arcade machine

I saw the post about the US’s tallest man below, and thought, “Why didn’t I do this earlier?” On what so happens to be the best programming on the air to date, Attack of the Show on G4, yet another world record was established. In the past, they’ve built the world’s largest and smallest working Super Nintendo controllers, and now they’ve done it again.

The show built the world’s largest working arcade machine in their lobby. Here’s an article posted by Engadget, and the actual website (it takes a minute to load) here.

Global Warming a Scam?

John Coleman, the meteorologist who founded the weather channel, wrote a heavy handed article calling global warming a scam.

This is interesting that a major, respected scientist would go so solidly against such a majorly supported scientific “fact,” so it’s a fair assumption that there’s some truth to it.

The only beef I have with his article is that there are no sources or specific examples of findings that prove global warming isn’t so hot.

Either way, as much as I hate the politics that have gotten involved with global warming, as well as the fact that Gore won a nobel prize over someone more diserving with facts either exagurated or falsified, I kinda hope the global warming scare sticks around.

What else is going to motivate us to become less dependant on oil?

Tallest US man is 7-foot-8 Virginia deputy

George Bell, a 7’ 8” sheriff’s deputy in the City of Norfolk, Va, works on his day off providing security at a park. The 50-year-old was recognized Thursday, Nov. 7 by the Guinness World Records as the Tallest Man in the United States.(AP Photo/Gary C. Knapp)

“Wow. You’re tall.”

George Bell, recognized by Guinness World Records as the Tallest Man in the United States, knows it and hears it a lot.

The lanky, 7-foot-8 Norfolk sheriff’s deputy wears “size-19 shoes, pants with a 43-inch inseam and shirts with 45-inch sleeves.”

Full article…

Bell hit 5-foot-4 at age 9. In middle school, he topped 6 feet. By the end of high school, he was 7-foot-6. He played basketball until, at 30, he lost interest in the sport and switched to law enforcement.

His height doesn’t intimidate jail inmates — it helps him develop a rapport.

“They’ve never seen anyone this tall before, so they’re amazed,” Bell said. “They want to talk.”

Bell focuses on the perks of being tall. For example, he usually gets free upgrades to first class on flights when the ticket-counter attendants realize he’s going to need a lot of leg room.

He credits his late great-aunt, Etonia Johnson, with his positive attitude: “She always told me, ‘Don’t feel ashamed of yourself. Stand tall. God made you. Be happy and show your pride.’ “

QUESTION: Who is the tallest person you know?

How much of an issue is diversity in Spokane?

David Brookbank, in another post, posed the following question:

…perhaps there would be some interest generated by discussing how the Vox Box staff ends up being 17 white individuals in a with an approximately 10% minority population? If it is the process of selection or self-selection, then perhaps the discussion should turn to how to increase the diversity of voices. Don’t me wrong, the group of you is not necessarily much less diverse than any other organization or group in the area, nevertheless it is as disproportionately uniform as the rest of the town.

In general, do you think Spokane’s diversity, or lack thereof, is a problem in the community? If so, is it something that can be fixed? Within the Vox, are there ways we could increase the “diversity of voices?” Or is this even a goal worth pursuing?

I will say our selection process for staff positions is based solely on paper applications; we only know as much about our applicants as they tell us, so race is not a factor. Editors are chosen based on experience and qualifications for their position.

Family dog at the center of a legal storm

Marcia and Rich Graham of Marshall, Washington lost their dog Harlee, a 2 year-old Pomeranian. The dog was adopted out by SpokAnimal to a new owner who refuses to return the dog. Marcia, holding Harlee’s collar and leash, carries them in her car in hope of getting her dog back./DAN PELLE The Spokesman

Meet Harlee, a black Pomeranian that went missing from the home of Marcia and Rich Graham of Marshall in July.

The dog was later adopted out by SpokAnimal C.A.R.E. to a new owner who refuses to return the dog.

The Grahams found Harlee’s new owner due to chance and research; their brief reunion with their pet is described here:

By S-R staff writer By Kevin Graman

When the couple entered the yard, Harlee sprang into Marcia Graham’s arms as Richard knocked on the front door.

The Grahams say Notti would not discuss ownership, and sternly ordered them off his property. He also was apparently unmoved by two letters from the Grahams saying how important the dog was to the family and offering to compensate him for his expense in acquiring and caring for Harlee. They also offered to buy him a replacement Pomeranian.

Notti never responded. Nor has he returned calls from a reporter seeking comment.

Full article…

QUESTION: What do you think is the answer, here? I’m sure Notti loves his new pet… but should Harlee be returned to the Graham’s?

The Grahams also have a lawsuit with SpokAnimal C.A.R.E. Read the article for those details—it complicates the situation

Illinois girl gets detention for hugging

A thirteen year-old middle school student received detention for giving two hugs to her friends. The actions, according to the school, violated a ban against public displays of affection.

The superintendent justified his decision, saying “hugs lead to other things” and that they are “distracting” to other students.

See the video here.

Is the school’s decision justified?

From jail to hotel

After a five year, $150 million renovation, a jail in Boston is now a luxury hotel.

Here is the full article.

Would you feel comfortable staying here? Would you mind spending $319-$5500 a night?

The Call To Action

60 percent of Americans, according to approval rating, will want to see this video.

Tired of cell phone yappers? Are “jammers” the answer?

Kumaar Thakkar of India says he exports 20 jammers a month to the United States. His clients include a school bus driver./Prashanth Vishwanathan for The New York Times

Today from Poynter:

Cell phone lovers may see a rise in cell phone “jamming” as pocket-sized cell phone jammers are becoming more common.
Jammers are a subtle but illegal way to stop the users sitting around you from using their phone.

Click here to see how a jammer works. You can easily find a jammer that says it will silence cell phones within a 10-meter radius for less than $200.

According to the New York Times:

The buyers include owners of cafes and hair salons, hoteliers, public speakers, theater operators, bus drivers and, increasingly, commuters on public transportation.

“If anything characterizes the 21st century, it’s our inability to restrain ourselves for the benefit of other people,” said James Katz, director of the Center for Mobile Communication Studies at Rutgers University. “The cellphone talker thinks his rights go above that of people around him, and the jammer thinks his are the more important rights.”

Using the jammers is illegal in the United States. The radio frequencies used by cellphone carriers are protected, just like those used by television and radio broadcasters. explains:

Jamming is seen as property theft, because a private company has purchased the rights to the radio spectrum, and jamming the spectrum is akin to stealing the property the company has purchased. It also represents a safety hazard because jamming blocks all calls in the area, not just the annoying ones. Jamming a signal could block the call of a babysitter frantically trying to contact a parent or a someone trying to call for an ambulance.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Is Jamming theft? Would you use one, or is this just a bad idea?

You Matter (Round Two)

CNN has been running a regular feature called “CNN Heroes,” providing accounts of everyday people who have done extraordinary things.

Their current focus is on young heroes, and they have an amazing array of teenagers whose accomplishments range from helping to free slaves across the world (Zach Hunter, pictured right) to encouraging people to properly inflate their tires to preserve gas.

The impressive gallery is here.

Have you ever been involved in some sort of charitable effort or group much larger than yourself? What are your experiences like?

Court reviewing firing of Air Force nurse

Maj. Margaret Witt

Associated Press
November 6, 2007

SEATTLE – A lawyer for a highly decorated military flight nurse from Spokane, who was fired for being gay, asked a federal appeals court panel Monday to reinstate her lawsuit against the Air Force, saying her discharge violated her right to be free from governmental intrusion in her private life.

Maj. Margaret Witt, 42, was suspended in 2004 after the Air Force received a tip that she had been in a long-term relationship with a civilian woman. She was honorably discharged last month, after having put in 18 years – two short of what she needed to receive retirement benefits.

Full article

Question: Is don’t ask, don’t tell fair?

How to tell when someone is lying to you.

Here’s the top eight list of suspicious behaviors:

1. A change in the voice’s pitch.
2. A change in the rate of speech.
3. A sudden increase in the number of “ums” and “ahs.”
4. A change in eye contact. Normally, one makes eye contact one-quarter to one-half of the time. If suddenly, at the convenient moment to lie, he’s staring at you or looking away, beware.
6. Turning his body away from you, even if just slightly.
7. Suddenly being able to see the white on the top and bottom of a person’s eyes, not just the sides.
8. A hand reaching, even if momentarily, to cover part of the face, especially the mouth.
9. Nervous movement of feet or legs.

I’d like to point out how “he” is constantly used.

Here’s the full article.

For when you don’t know if you can trust a friend. Or what NOT to do when lying to your parents ;)

As much as I don’t like generalities… hooray for Youtube!

This is a video of Russian drivers in a tunnel somewhere in… well, Russia. It’s pretty funny. Still, this shows nothing about what other Russian drivers are like. Let’s avoid stereotypes.

Would you feel comfortable driving through this tunnel?

Cheap Dating

Interesting CNN story.

This story is about something I believe, and that this story puts nicely:

A good date is about spending time with a person and being able to talk to and get to know that person, and I don’t think that has any correlation with how much money you spend

So in other words, I don’t like movie dates much since you don’t really get to know or grow closer to someone while staring at a screen.

But what are some good dates? One fun one I went on recently involved making French Bread pizza’s at a friends house, going salsa dancing at a place on Sprague (I think it’s called Simply Dance, someone tell me the real name!), and making and having a lemon creme pie at the end. Not very expensive, but it was a blast!

What are some other fun dates? Obviously they’re different for everyone, a couple that likes biking can get their jollies pedaling for a while, but that’s not for everyone. What’s for you?

High School Musical

Sorry about the several hundreds of you that either just freaked out in excitement or vomiting, but I’m talking about real high school musicals, not the Disney Channel legend.

For those that pay attention to who posts what, some may notice that I have been fairly absent as of late. This is because my time has been sucked into the black hole that is my High School Musical.

Shadle Park is doing the musical “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.”

Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard about it before, I hadn’t either.

I have the opportunity to play a young J. Pierrpont Finch.

I officially invite you all to come see it at Shadle Park on November 15-17 at 7:00 for $6.00.

It will definitely have its shinning moments.

But enough about me, I know there are other High School Musicals out there, and they are nearly always good. I recently saw St. George’s rendition of Dr. Seuss’s show about the elephant and the egg. I really wish I could remember what it was called. The important thing is that it was really really good.

So! What musicals are out there to be enjoyed, what is your favorite musical you’ve seen, and if you could have refreshments afterwards, what would you have (CYT is included in this topic.)

They’re baack.

The Spice Girls!

Do you like it? Is it better than the new Britney Spears song? Do you think they will hit it big like they once were?

Beat your wife—but not in front of the kids

A friend just sent me this:

They are pretty evolved, huh?

From CNN: Pirates tell US Navy to back off

Some pirates off the coast of Somalia captured a tanker and its crew hostage in a way. A US Navy ship got too close, and they’ve warned the ship to back off.

“Apparently the navy ship was getting closer to them,” Tess Villanueva, wife of the crew’s foreman, Laureano, told The Associated Press in the Philippines. “The good news would be if they (pirates) leave the ship.”

So far, no demands have been made for the crew, but negotiations have started for their release.

See the whole thing here.

Did anyone else know that pirates still existed? Other than the music pirates, of course.

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About this blog

In 2006, then-editor Steve Smith of The Spokesman-Review had the idea of starting a publication for an often forgotten audience: teenagers. The Vox Box was a continuation of the Vox, an all-student staffed newspaper published by The Spokesman-Review. High school student journalists who staffed the Vox made all content decisions as they learn about the trade of journalism. This blog's mission was to give students an opportunity to publish their voices. The Vox Box and the Vox wrapped up in June 2009, but you can follow former staffers' new blog at

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