Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Virginia Tech Grad Builds Beer Cannon

0:22 to 0:31 seconds

"We thought it would be awesome to use compressed air to propel the cans, but we had no idea how much pressure to use. We started with 100 psi and destroyed a can of beer on the ceiling of a garage. After that, we started at 10 psi and worked up."

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sean Taylor, Five Years Later, Still a Strong Presence

Washington Post:
Last month, just before the Washington Redskins hosted the Carolina Panthers at FedEx Field, Sean Taylor’s father was invited to join the team in a pregame huddle.

It’s a touching moment as Pedro “Pete” Taylor shakes the hands of men who should have been his son’s teammates.

Also that weekend, Sean Taylor, who died after a shooting in his Florida home five years ago today, was honored as one of the 80 greatest Redskins. He accepted the honor, along with Jackie, Sean’s now 6-year-old daughter.

At the University of Miami, where Taylor played, freshman running back Duke Johnson wears a hoodie with Taylor’s photo and the words “When it’s all you have, it’s no longer just a game.” The ACC's Rookie of the Year isn’t the only player who looked up to Taylor as youngsters and were deeply affected when he was shot to death in Miami.

Johnson was 14 when Taylor died and said, “It was like someone in my family had died. I couldn’t focus,” he said. “I couldn’t concentrate. I actually didn’t go to school. I stayed home with my mom and she just talked to me about life.”

A.J. Highsmith plays Taylor’s former position and is another South Florida kid. “A lot of us grew up looking up to him as a football player,” he said.

“Man, Sean Taylor is really legendary,” Miami senior cornerback Brandon McGee said (via the Sun-Sentinel). “A lot of people, when they think UM safeties, he’s the first thing that comes to mind. It’s just honor and respect for those who paved the way.”

If you think there’s a chance that, after this group of players moves on, Sean Taylor will be forgotten, well, that seems unlikely. And Gabriel Taylor, Sean’s 10-year-old brother, is pretty good at basketball and football.

More information:
» YouTube: "Remembering Sean Taylor"
» Sean Taylor Tumblr
» TIME: Sean Taylor's Death: A Miami Curse?
» ESPN: "Taylor dies after being shot at home"

Sunday, November 25, 2012

(W) Virginia Tech vs. UVA

"The Hokies are going to a bowl game after Saturday’s 17-14 win against rival Virginia, which extended Tech’s winning streak in the series to a record nine games. The win also moved Beamer into a tie for sixth-place on the all-time career victories list among Football Bowl Subdivision coaches."
Placekicker Cody Journell kicked a 29-yarder with 4 seconds to play, and the Hokies beat their in-state rival 17-14 Saturday, a victory that qualifies them for a bowl game for the 20th consecutive season and was their ninth straight against the Cavaliers.

"On the second one, I just tried to push it through the wind," Journell said.

Cornerback Antone Exum set up the winning drive when he intercepted Michael Rocco at the Cavaliers' 36 with 3:21 remaining. Exum brought it back to the 24, and Virginia (4-8, 2-6) inexplicably held on to two timeouts as the Hokies ran the clock down and positioned the ball. The Cavaliers used both timeouts to try to freeze Journell, but to no avail.

Rocco finished 14 for 29 for 177 yards and was sacked twice. Virginia managed just 30 rushing yards.

Logan Thomas ran for one touchdown and threw for another for the Hokies (6-6, 4-4 ACC), who have also won 13 of the last 14 in taking command of a once-close rivalry. Thomas carried the ball 29 times for 89 yards, and at times seemed to be using all of his 6-foot-6, 260-pound body to be as punishing as he could to would-be tacklers.

"I always try to run the ball that way. We weren't moving the ball the way we wanted, and we're frustrated," he said. "I think they started getting worn down. They were in a fight, and we just kept bringing it to them all game long."

The Hokies finished off the victory that ensures they will extend their streak of seasons ending in a bowl game to 20, third longest in the nation behind Florida State (31) and Florida (22).

The ACC’s bowl pecking order after the Orange and Chick-fil-A bowls is Russell Athletic (Orlando, Big East No. 2), Sun (El Paso, vs. Pac-12 No. 4), Belk (Charlotte, vs. Big East No. 3) and Music City (Nashville, vs. SEC No. 7).

Game Notes:
  • Tech’s 95 plays were the third-most it has ever run in a game. The Hokies ran 98 in a game against Cincinnati in 1985 and 96 in a game against Wake Forest in 1975. They also ran 95 plays against South Carolina in 1972.
  • Tech had a 37:30 to 22:30 advantage in time of possession.
  • Thomas now has 20 career rushing touchdowns, one behind Bob Schweickert for second on Tech’s all-time list for a quarterback. Tyrod Taylor is No. 1 with 23.
  • A.J. Hughes punted a career high nine times, averaging 39.1 yards. He only punted once in the second half, though.
  • Demitri Knowles and Marcus Davis tied for the team lead with four catches for 33 yards apiece.
  • Exum had a big day. He also stripped the ball loose from UVa running back Perry Jones in the first quarter and recovered the fumble. He finished with five tackles, a TFL, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and an interception.
  • Tech only notched two sacks, but it pressured UVa’s quarterbacks throughout, particularly in the fourth quarter. The Hokies have 24 sacks in the last six games.
  • Bonner led the team with 10 tackles, adding two pass breakups. Tyler was next with nine stops.

Roanoke Times:
After Saturday's performance, Marcus Davis is only 71 yards shy of Andre Davis' single-season school record 962 receiving yards. Marcus Davis has team highs with 47 catches for 891 yards and five touchdowns this year.

Virginia Tech is one of six established Football Bowl Subdivision teams never to have a 1,000-yard receiver, joining Army, Navy, Nebraska, South Florida and Temple.

"But when asked how this team differed from the one that rebounded after starting 0-2 in 2010, the redshirt senior was reminded of a practice tirade by former cornerback Rashad Carmichael following Virginia Tech’s shocking loss to James Madison. Davis believes one of the main reasons these Hokies have struggled is due to the lack of a leader like that."

More information:
» Five Thoughts About the Hokies' Season
» Jack Tyler, James Gayle and Antone Exum earned second team All-ACC honors

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Rolling Stones - "Doom And Gloom" (2012)

"Doom and Gloom" is the lead single taken from GRRR!, the 50th anniversary compilation album by The Rolling Stones. Released on 9 November 2012 in Europe, and the rest of the world on 12 November. The album features two new songs titled "Doom and Gloom" and "One More Shot", which were recorded in August 2012. The album debuted at No. 3 on the UK Albums Chart.

"Doom And Gloom" marks the first time that Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood have been in the studio together for seven years, since the recording of their last album, A Bigger Bang. The single was recorded in Paris and produced by longtime Rolling Stones producer Don Was, who has worked with the band on five previous albums (Voodoo Lounge/ Stripped/ Bridges To Babylon/ Licks Live/ A Bigger Bang), with the radio mix produced by Jeff Bhasker. The song charted at number #64 on the UK Singles Chart, #36 on the Billboard Japan Hot 100 & number #30 on Billboard US Rock chart in October 2012.

The song's opening riff is played by Mick Jagger. Keith Richards commented on Jagger being the driving force behind the song and Jagger playing the opening riff: "I don't give a damn. He'd never have learned how to play that without me teaching him how to do it."

Friday, November 23, 2012

Maryland To Join Big Ten Conference in 2014

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Choosing to look toward the future rather than honor the past, Maryland joined the Big Ten on Monday, bolting from the Atlantic Coast Conference in a move driven by the school's budget woes.

Maryland was a charter member of the ACC, which was founded in 1953. Tradition and history, however, were not as important to school President Wallace D. Loh as the opportunity to be linked with the prosperous Big Ten.

"By being a member of the Big Ten Conference, we are able to ensure financially stability for Maryland athletics for decades to come," Loh said, speaking at a news conference with Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany and Athletic Director Kevin Anderson. Delany said Maryland's entry was approved unanimously by the conference's 12 presidents.

Maryland officials also touted an academic element to the shift. Big Ten schools participate in an academic exchange known as the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, and Loh was adamant that element was a key in considering a move. ACC officials used such an argument when they originally pursued conference expansion in 2003, taking the University of Miami and Virginia Tech from the Big East.

Loh and other school officials involved in the decision decided that the potential money to be made in the Big Ten was more significant than the $50 million exit fee and the tradition associated with belonging to the same conference for 59 years.

"I am very aware that for many of our Terps fans and alumni, their reaction is stunned and disappointed. But we will always cherish the memories, the rivalries, the tradition of the ACC," Loh said. "For those alumni and Terp fans, I will now say this: I made this decision as best as I could ... to do what is best for the University of Maryland for the long haul."

Maryland eliminated seven sports programs earlier this year, and Loh said the shift to the Big Ten could provide enough of a windfall to restore some of those sports. Discontinued were men's tennis, women's water polo, men's and women's swimming, acrobatics and tumbling, men's cross country and men's indoor track and field.

Maryland will become the southernmost member of the Big Ten member starting, in July 2014. Rutgers is expected follow suit by Tuesday, splitting from the Big East and making it an even 14 schools in the Big Ten, though Delany would not confirm that.

Maryland gives the Big Ten a presence in the major media market of Washington. D.C. Rutgers, in New Brunswick, N.J., and about 40 miles south of New York City, puts the Big Ten in the country's largest media market, and most heavily populated area.

Delany said demographics were a huge part of this decision. The population is not growing as quickly in the Big Ten's current Midwestern footprint as it is in other areas of the country, and it has hampered the Big Ten's ability to recruit, especially in football, its signature sport. The Big Ten felt it needed to change that.

For both schools, the move should come with long-term financial gain. The Big Ten reportedly paid its members $24.6 million in shared television and media rights revenues this year.

There will be some financial matters to resolve in the short term though. After the ACC added Notre Dame as a member in all sports but football and hockey in September, the league voted to raise the exit fee to $50 million. Maryland was one of two schools that voted against the increased exit fee.

The Big East's exit fee is $10 million, but the league also requires a 27-month notification period for departing members. That means Rutgers will not be able to join the Big Ten until 2015 without working out some kind of deal with the Big East.

Syracuse, Pittsburgh and West Virginia have all negotiated early withdrawals from the Big East in the past year.

The ACC could now be in the market for another member and it would not be surprising if it looks to the Big East, yet again. Connecticut would seem a perfect fit after Pitt and Syracuse join next season.

The Big Ten added Nebraska in 2010 to go to 12 members, and Delany had given every indication that the conference was happy to stay at that number.

More information:
» USA Today: "The Big Ten has the biggest TV contract in college sports."
» USA Today: "ACC Faces Uncertain Future"

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Redskins Beat Cowboys 38-31 on Thanksgiving

Week 12:
Robert Griffin III turned in a statistically perfect passing performance last Sunday and backed it up with a 311-yard, four touchdown performance today. The Redskins scored 28 points in the second quarter. That was their most points in a quarter since Oct. 3 of 1999. Most importantly, it helped seal the Redskins’ first win in four games at Cowboys Stadium, and their first win over the Cowboys in seven games on Thanksgiving.
  • With his 68-yard touchdown pass in the first half, RG3 became the first player in NFL history to throw for four touchdown passes of 60-plus yards and rush for a touchdown of greater than 60 yards in a single season (also, all four passes were to different receivers: Pierre Garçon, Leonard Hankerson, Santana Moss, Aldrick Robinson).
  • Griffin became the first Redskins quarterback in franchise history to throw four touchdown passes in consecutive games. 
  • Griffin’s four passing touchdowns in a Thanksgiving game are also the most by a Redskins quarterback, surpassing the three Thanksgiving touchdowns thrown by Jim Ninowski on Nov. 28, 1968 and Danny Wuerffel on Nov. 28, 2002.
  • Griffin broke Washington’s single-season team records for passing yards by a rookie and passing touchdowns by a rookie. Until Thursday, Norm Snead held the single-season yards record (2,337 in 1961) and Eddie LeBaron the touchdown passing mark (14 in 1952). For the season, Griffin III is now 206 for 305 (67.5 percent) for 2,504 yards with 16 touchdowns.
  • He now leads the NFL in touchdown passes of 25 yards or longer (9).

After driving from inside their own 10-yard line, Griffin found Aldrick Robinson deep, hitting him stride for a 68-yard touchdown. This was the first meaningful reception of the day, and opened up the entire offense for Kyle Shanahan and company to work for the rest of the game.

Alfred Morris turned in another stellar performance, rushing 24 times in the first half for 113 yards, a 4.7-yard per carry average. He also scored his first touchdown since Week 6 and his sixth score of the season.

Pierre Garçon is a threat to score every time he lines up, evidenced by his 59-yard catch and run touchdown in the third quarter. Despite nursing a lingering foot injury and not practicing all week, Garçon was even with three defenders when he caught the pass and outran each of them on his way to paydirt.

Santana Moss had an impressive encore to last Sunday’s 61-yard catch. With 10 seconds remaining in the first half and the ball at the 6-yard line, Moss sprinted for the corner and turned to find the ball on his inside shoulder. Spinning around, he snagged the pass and dragged his toes, earning the team’s fourth touchdown of the second quarter. With his seventh touchdown of the season, Moss extends his team lead and has the most since scoring nine in his first season in Washington.

Niles Paul fell down while grabbing a 29-yard pass on a flag pattern but backed up untouched into the endzone.

London Fletcher was uncertain to play today after suffering an ankle injury in Sunday’s win over the Eagles. After sitting out practice this week, Fletcher was cleared to play pregame and turned in a gritty three-tackle performance with a pass defensed and interception. Fletcher is now the third active player in the NFL with 20 interceptions and 30 sacks, joining Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher. Fletcher is the emotional leader of the team, and his presence in the game goes beyond the stat sheet to the very heartbeat of the Redskins. The legend of his 235 consecutive games-played streak grows every time he shakes off injury to suit up and play.

And finally, when the Cowboys got within a touchdown and really had people thinking back to Clint Longley's miracle TD to Drew Pearson in the final seconds of a one-point Dallas victory over Washington on Thanksgiving in 1974, Robert Griffin III calmly led the Redskins on a clock-killing drive to a field goal and a 38-28 lead in his first pro game in Texas since his sparkling run at Baylor.

“He is my new favorite player to watch in the NFL,” Michael Strahan said at halftime. “The most valuable player in the entire National Football League,” Jimmy Johnson said. “It’s amazing. I’m not getting carried away. I haven’t seen anything like this.”

Week 11:
In the Redskins’ 31-6 victory against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 11, Robert Griffin III completed 14-of-15 passes (93.3 percent) for 200 yards with four touchdowns, finishing the game with a perfect 158.3 passer rating. He also contributed 84 rushing yards on 12 carries. He was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week.
  • RG3 became the first rookie in NFL history to pass for 200 yards, pass for four touchdowns and rush for more than 75 yards in a single game. 
  • His 93.3 completion percentage was the highest by a quarterback with at least four touchdown passes since Pro Football Hall of Famer Steve Young on Oct. 16, 1994.
  • He is the first rookie quarterback to win two Player of the Week awards in a season since the league began awarding them in 1984.
  • He also became the first Redskins rookie at any position to win two Player of the Week awards in a season.
  • Griffin III reached 2,193 passing yards and 613 rushing yards on the season, making him only the third rookie in NFL history to surpass both 2,000 passing yards and 500 rushing yards in a season.

More information:
» NFL Videos: Redskins-Cowboys Highlights
» Redskins-Cowboys Best and Worst
» Cowboys were 3-Point Favorites
» Redskins vs. Cowboys Game Predictions

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

"WTF with Marc Maron"

“To me, the nuts and bolts of the political process are less relevant than the pain and aggravation and sense of futility that we’re all feeling,” Maron explains. “What I always wanted to do, in radio and now in the podcast, is to face the existential predicament of living in this world, and the type of insecurities and frustrations we all experience.”
Marc Maron, a stand-up comic by trade, has cast himself as an unlikely celebrity interviewer — one who is angry, probing, neurotic and a vulnerable recovering addict. And somehow he’s able to elicit from his guests, mostly other comedians like Sarah Silverman and Ben Stiller, the same level of vulnerability.

The interviews, usually taped in his garage in Los Angeles, often end up feeling more like therapy sessions. Take, for example, Robin Williams talking to Mr. Maron about the dark side of dealing with audiences: “I guess it’s that fear that they’ll recognize — as you know — how insecure are we really? How desperately insecure that made us do this for a living?”

Thanks to moments like these the podcast has, over the last year or so, become a cult hit and a must-listen in show business and comedy circles. The success of the show has everything to do with its perceptive, prickly host and his ability to coax surprisingly revealing things from his guests.

Comedians, Mr. Maron said, are temperamentally complicated — otherwise they probably wouldn’t be comedians.

“Most of them live difficult lives,” he said. “So that was always more in the forefront than ‘Let’s talk about the business of comedy.’ ”

Each hourlong episode begins with Mr. Maron riffing in the style that has characterized his comedy over the years: unscripted banter layered with humor, narcissism and anger, directed both outward and inward. But after about 10 or 15 minutes he turns to a long-form interview. And that’s when the show really takes off.

“People say stuff to him that you can’t imagine them saying to anyone else,” said Ira Glass, host of the public radio show (and podcast) “This American Life,” and a recent guest of Mr. Maron’s. “And they offer it. They want to give it to him. Because he is so bare, he calls it forward.”

In a recent interview in New York City, where he was performing a series of stand-up shows and recording interviews for his podcast, Mr. Maron talked in his usual manner: candidly, verbosely, intensely. At 47 he is lean (though he obsesses over his weight and eating habits) and sports ever-changing facial hair. (He obsesses over that too, theorizing that the lack of a consistent look has held his career back. “I don’t think Jon Stewart’s changed his hair in 25 years,” he said.) He lives in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles — just across town from Hollywood, but a world away — and has three cats. He calls his house “the cat ranch.”

Many of the comedians he came up with have passed him by. In 1995 he shared a photo spread in New York magazine with Dave Attell, Louis C. K. and Ms. Silverman, all of whom went on to have TV projects. He never got that sitcom, those major movie roles, a spot on “Saturday Night Live.” (He famously showed up stoned to an interview with Lorne Michaels; he didn’t get the gig.)

His personal life was — and still is — tumultuous. He has battled addictions to alcohol, cocaine and nicotine. He’s twice divorced, and has consistently included details about his relationships in his stand-up and on the podcast. During the first of four shows last month at Union Hall in Brooklyn, which were being recorded for a CD, he talked about changing the locks on his house because of a fight with a girlfriend.

Over the years he’s also struggled with jealousy and hostility toward other comics. Many of the podcasts begin with an apology from Mr. Maron — or at least a half-hearted attempt at one. And conflicts that have developed over the years crop up regularly, most notably during a recent two-hour interview with Louis C. K. The two had drifted apart in the last few years, and Mr. Maron expressed envy — though also enormous respect — toward his old friend, who has his own show on FX.

Mr. Maron began doing comedy in the early 1980s as a student at Boston University. Over the next decade or so he performed at small clubs. He moved between the East and West Coasts in these years before settling in New York in 1993. There he helped lay the groundwork for what became known as the alt-comedy scene (a term he says he’s never really understood), alongside Louis C. K., Jon Stewart, Janeane Garofalo and others.

He had a few short-lived TV jobs, including comedy specials. He had a minor role in the film “Almost Famous.” In 2000 he had a modestly successful one-man show, “The Jerusalem Syndrome,” Off Off Broadway. He appeared several times on “The Late Show with David Letterman” and more than 40 times on “Late Night With Conan O’Brien.” But, as he put it, “America didn’t notice.”

In 2004 he found a temporary home at Air America, the left-leaning radio network that went off the air last January. It didn’t work out. “I really began to believe that the struggles of most people are existential, not political,” he said, “and my biggest struggles were existential.” He was canceled by Air America — twice.

A third project with the network, a Web-based show with the comedian Sam Seder, also failed. In September 2009, after that show was canceled, he and Mr. McDonald began to sneak into the Air America studios after hours to record his podcast, bringing guests up in the freight elevator. Soon, he moved from Astoria, Queens, to Los Angeles, where he had spent time on the comedy circuit. And so his garage became the new home of the podcast.

On the early episodes he interviewed — sometimes awkwardly, thanks perhaps to all that hostile jealousy — old friends and comedy personalities he had intersected with over the years: Zach Galifianakis, Bob Odenkirk, Dave Attell.

Last April he interviewed Robin Williams at Mr. Williams’s home in Marin County, Calif. (Using a technique repeated in later episodes, on the drive up he talked through and recorded his anxieties about the interview.) Mr. Williams, usually an unstoppable riff machine, mostly laid off the jokes, and the discussion was notably raw and real.

The Williams show “put the thing on the map,” Mr. Maron said. “It was unlike any other interview with him. We talked about addiction, divorce, joke theft, about his reputation, about his career.”

The podcast may be a success, but financially it about breaks even. Mr. Maron solicits donations from listeners, and the show has occasional sponsors.

“I’m getting by,” Mr. Maron said. “But I’m not making a living.”

After the show goes up on Mondays and Thursdays, it regularly appears on the iTunes Top 10 podcasts list. According to Brendan McDonald, the producer of the podcast, which is free, the show averages 230,000 downloads a week from iTunes and the podcast’s Web site. On May 6, 2012, WTF with Marc Maron won the award for "Best Comedy Podcast" at the 2012 Comedy Central Comedy awards.

Mr. Maron said he was working with a production company on a TV project that would combine his interviews and some of the back stories around them. But because the podcast is the perfect format for what he’s doing, allowing for all that intimacy and depth (and raw language), it’s easy to imagine some of the appeal being lost in the translation. For now, though, he’s content — or at least as content as he ever gets — with doing the podcast.

Backstage at Union Hall, he conceded that he can be his own worst enemy. “I’m wired to destroy myself,” he said, “so fighting that wiring is always challenging.”

More information:
» WTF Podcast Official Site
» Marc Maron on Being the Comedians' Therapist
» Sundance Channel: Top Ten Reasons to Love Marc Maron

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Deadmau5 - "Professional Griefers" w/ Gerard Way (2012)

"Professional Griefers" is a song by Canadian electronic music producer deadmau5, featuring vocals by Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance. It is the third single from his sixth studio album > album title goes here <. The song is featured in the game FIFA 13 and its soundtrack.

The video, featuring both deadmau5 and Gerard Way, was directed by Paul Boyd and Jeff Ranasinghe and produced by Dave Stewart’s Weapons of Mass Entertainment production company. It debuted on August 29, 2012 via Ultra's YouTube Channel. It is currently the most expensive electronic dance music video of all time.

Recorded between 2007 and 2012, the album was primarily produced by deadmau5 whilst featuring guest appearances from Wolfgang Gartner, Gerard Way of American rock band My Chemical Romance, American hip hop group Cypress Hill, English recording artist Imogen Heap, and Chris James. According to deadmau5, the album is partially a compilation of songs that were previously recorded and not released as singles. Musically, while the album primarily uses influences of progressive house and electro house, it also incorporates genres such as downtempo, ambient and hip hop.

Selling 58,000 copies in the United States in its first week, > album title goes here < debuted at number six on the Billboard 200 and at number one on the Dance/Electronic Albums chart, becoming deadmau5's first number-one album on the latter chart. It entered the UK Albums Chart at number nine on sales of 14,325 units, his highest-charting album in the United Kingdom to date.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Best Star Trek Films

"J.J. Abrams’ second feature film based on Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek universe will be called Star Trek: Into Darkness. The movie, which should hit theaters on May 17, 2013, reunites the cast of Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek, including Chris Pine as Captain Kirk, Zachary Quinto as Spock, and Karl Urban as Dr. Leonard 'Bones' McCoy."
5. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
A murder mystery in space where all of the classic Trek characters are in character, have something to do, and legitimately save a galaxy on the brink of war? And the bad guy is a Shakespeare-quoting Klingon played by Christopher Plummer? Yeah, I can work with that. The dialogue is a bit hammy, and the mystery a bit un-mysterious, but this one hits all its marks and treats the franchise with respect. It was a more than serviceable way to send out the original Enterprise crew, although why we couldn’t get at least a TV miniseries of Capt. Sulu’s time aboard the USS Excelsior I’ll never know. All in all, a worthy apology for Star Trek V.

4. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
Star Trek always had its comedic episodes (A Piece of the Action and The Trouble with Tribbles) but “the one with the whales” is perhaps the favorite film of non-Trekkies that’s enjoyed by hardcore Klingon-quoters, as well. The Voyage Home is the exact opposite of The Motion Picture, as the Enterprise is almost entirely absent, and the crew spends most of its time in 1986 San Francisco, rather than the eye-candy future. Strip Star Trek of all the trappings of Star Trek, and you’re just left with the people, and that’s a good thing. While Voyage Home played the show’s premise for a few laughs and some enviro-preachiness, it’s still well worth your time. Also, “hello computer” and “nuclear wessels” for the win.

3. Star Trek: First Contact
Picard versus the Borg on the big screen, with bonus Starfleet origin stories. While it may represent the moment Star Trek jumped the shark, it also was the first, last, and only time the Next Generation crew shone brightly on the big screen. The villain was an adequate foil, the stakes were high (as in the foundation of the Trek universe and the survival of everyone in it), and every character had a moment of competence and character growth. Plus, the battles were cool, and we finally got some rock & roll into the Trek canon. If you’d never seen a NextGen episode before, you could still enjoy this movie on its merits. There is no higher franchise compliment.

2. Star Trek (2009)
A Hail Mary reboot of the franchise that still tried (if unsuccessfully) to be faithful to canon — and it worked. Kirk and Spock were cool again, the Enterprise was once again the starship everyone wanted to fly, and Star Trek was about doing things rather than saying things for the first time in a long time. While some fringe criticisms that this was an action film dressed in Roddenberry drag are not entirely unwarranted, J.J. Abrams’s take on Trek breathed some much needed vitality — and public interest — into the franchise. And if nothing else, Karl Urban’s version on Dr. McCoy is a treat that cannot be missed. Honestly the second best Star Trek movie (not story) ever released.

1. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
The undisputed champion 30 years running, The Wrath of Khan remains the seminal Star Trek film of all time. Kirk is at the height of his powers. He has a villain — from canon, no less — who is his equal. At stake is the most dangerous technology in Federation history, with moral implications worthy of a classic McCoy-Spock debate (which happens). Moreover, the film gives depth where even the TV series often didn’t. Kirk’s infinite dalliances with galactic girlfriends at one point produced a son — one with a complicated opinion of his father. Kirk’s cowboy-style problem solving in years past catches up to him in the form of Khan. The crew is acknowledged to have aged, and not always gracefully. The allegories of Moby Dick and A Tale of Two Cities and the introduction of the still ingenious Kobayshi Maru test expertly inform the action without overpowering it. Finally, even while it was later reversed, the most compelling, pivotal, and emotional death in Trek history make The Wrath of Khan the best Star Trek film of all time.

More information:
» Cracked: The Best (and Worst) Star Trek Films of All Time
» Star Trek: First Contact, at $146 Million, is Highest Grossing

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Phoenix Jones & Real Life Superheroes

"Phoenix Jones didn't know this when he first donned the suit about a year ago, but he's one of around 200 real-life superheroes currently patrolling America's streets, looking for wrongs to right. There's DC's Guardian, in Washington, who wears a full-body stars-and-stripes outfit and wanders the troubled areas behind the Capitol building. There's RazorHawk, from Minneapolis, who was a pro wrestler for fifteen years before joining the RLSH movement. There's New York City's Dark Guardian, who specializes in chasing pot dealers out of Washington Square Park by creeping up to them, shining a light in their eyes, and yelling, "This is a drug-free park!" And there are dozens and dozens more. Few, if any, are as daring as Phoenix. Most undertake basically safe community work: helping the homeless, telling kids to stay off drugs, etc. They're regular men with jobs and families and responsibilities who somehow have enough energy at the end of the day to journey into America's neediest neighborhoods to do what they can."

Phoenix Jones

More on Phoenix Jones and the Rain City Superhero Movement:
» The Day Phoenix Jones Revealed Himself to the World
» Full Phoenix Jones Interview

DC's Guardian

More on DC's Guardian:
» The Real Life Super Hero Project
» Washington Post: Capital City Super Squad

Master Legend

More on Master Legend and the Justice Crusaders:
» Orlando Sentinel: Master Legend
» Rolling Stone: The Legend of Master Legend

More information:
» Wikipedia: Real-Life Superheroes
» "10 Real Life Superheroes Who Have Actually Made a Difference"
» YouTube's Real Life Superhero Channel
» DC's Guardian Angels!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

(W) Virginia Tech vs. Boston College (OT)

The victory snapped Virginia Tech's seven-game losing streak away from Lane Stadium. It was the longest since nine straight in coach Frank Beamer's first two seasons -- 1987-88.
BOSTON -- Logan Thomas threw for two touchdowns -- the second a 7-yarder to Randall Dunn in overtime -- and ran for another score to help Virginia Tech keep its bowl hopes alive with a 30-23 comeback win over Boston College on Saturday.

Virginia Tech, which trailed by 10 at the half, took a 17-13 lead on Thomas' 37-yard TD pass to Marcus Davis late in the third quarter. The play came on a third-and-17 after BC elected to accept a holding call and move the Hokies out of field goal range. The Eagles had stopped Thomas on a scramble up the middle on the prior play near the 22.

With Tech holding a 20-16 edge, BC grabbed the lead when David Dudeck, a freshman, took a handoff, hesitated at the line and burst through an open hole for his first career a TD run -- a 12-yarder with 4:11 to play.

The Hokies then marched 62 yards in 10 plays, with Cody Journell's third field goal of the game -- a 41-yarder -- tying it at 23-all with 65 seconds left.

The crowd booed when BC elected to run the ball three times on its next possession, starting at its 17.

Boston College won the toss before overtime and elected to play defense first. Virginia Tech scored on its initial possession.

The Hokies then held BC, tackling Dudeck five yards short after he collected a swing pass from Chase Rettig on a fourth-and-11 play. Rettig was 13 of 30 for 129 yards and one touchdown for the Eagles.

The Hokies (5-6, 3-4 ACC) need to beat rival Virginia at home next Saturday to become bowl eligible for the 20th straight season.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Bryce Harper, Mike Trout Named Rookies of the Year

Washington Post:
On Monday, the top overall pick in the 2010 draft who became a mainstay in the Washington Nationals’ lineup was honored as the National League’s rookie of the year. He became the first Nationals player to earn the distinction, validation that all the hype and expectations that have surrounded Harper for years were indeed well placed. Harper received 112 points, with 16 first-place votes, narrowly edging Arizona’s Wade Miley who finished with 105 points and 12 first-place votes.

“This is a great award, and I’m so excited and proud of it,” Harper said. “But my biggest thing is I want to win a World Series. I want to put that ring on my finger and give that to the town and city of D.C. They deserve that.”

Harper, who turned 20 in October, is the youngest position player to win the award and second youngest overall, after New York Mets pitcher Dwight Gooden in 1984, who was one month younger. He became the third player in franchise history to win the award, joining Andre Dawson in 1977 and Carl Morton in 1970, both of whom won it when the team was in Montreal as the Expos.

Despite missing the first month of the season, Harper played in 139 games and finished atop many major categories among NL rookies. He was second among NL rookies with 22 home runs, fourth with 59 RBI, tops with 98 runs scored, second with 18 stolen bases, fourth with a .817 on-base plus slugging percentage and first with nine triples. Only Tony Conigliaro (24) hit more home runs as a teenager.

Mike Trout, the Los Angeles Angels’ super rookie who is also a top contender for the AL most valuable player award, was unanimously named the AL rookie of the year. Trout and Harper were teammates, and became friends, on the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League last year, and both players will continue to be linked together.

Trout, who turned 21 on Aug. 7, received all 28 first-place votes from the AL panel of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. The Los Angeles Angels center fielder was the eighth unanimous AL pick and the first since Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria in 2008.

Trout hit .326, second-best in the league to Miguel Cabrera's .330, with 30 homers and 83 RBIs, and he led the majors with 129 runs and 49 steals. He joined Ted Williams, Mel Ott and Alex Rodriguez as the only players to hit .320 or higher with 30 or more homers in seasons they started as a 20-year-old.

Trout, taken by the Angels with the 25th overall pick in the 2009 amateur draft, still lives at home with his parents during the offseason. The award will join others in the family house.

More information:
» Bryce Harper Memorable Moments Gallery
» ESPN: Mike Trout, The Phenom

Sunday, November 11, 2012

James Johnson Starts First Season as Head Coach

"Johnson walked into the middle of that bungled mess. He had who spent five years in Blacksburg, Va. on Greenberg’s staff. The hope was his presence and continuity would help make the transition go more smoothly for the players. Except that didn’t pan out entirely. Dorian Finney-Smith, the team’s leading rebounder, transferred to Florida and Montrezl Harrell, the Hokies’ big recruit, opted for Louisville."
Hokie Sports:
“I am very pleased to welcome James Johnson as the new head men’s basketball coach at Virginia Tech,” Virginia Tech Director of Athletics Jim Weaver said. “He is an individual with 19 years of coaching experience, who has spent the last five years here at Virginia Tech. He knows and has recruited most of our current players. We believe that he is the right person at this moment in time.”

No stranger to the Hokie Nation, Johnson spent the last five seasons on the men’s basketball staff at Virginia Tech. He was an assistant coach from 2007-2011 before being promoted to associate head coach prior to last season. He had accepted an assistant coaches’ position at Clemson on April 13 of this year, but returns to Blacksburg to take over the reins of the men’s basketball program.

“Virginia Tech and the Hokie Nation have a special place in my heart and I am blessed and excited for the opportunity to become the head basketball coach,” Johnson said. “I look forward to working with a great group of young men and moving forward with this program.”.

Johnson joined the Hokies following two seasons as an assistant at George Mason. While at Mason, he focused on organizing the team’s defensive efforts in practice and games. The Patriots were a combined 45-23 in his two seasons and advanced to the 2006 NCAA Final Four. Before GMU, Johnson spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Penn State. He was the recruitment coordinator for the Nittany Lions. Prior to Penn State, Johnson had a one-year stint as an assistant at the College of Charleston and he spent two years as an assistant at Elon.

Johnson, a native of Powhatan, Va., was a four-year player and three-year starter at Ferrum College. A three-time Defensive Player of the Year, he helped guide his team to two conference championships and a berth in the NCAA Division III Tournament. He was also voted his team’s Most Valuable Player in 1993. In 2001, Johnson was selected as one of the Top 10 players in Ferrum basketball history. In September of 2009, Johnson was elected into the Ferrum College Athletic Hall of Fame.

After graduating from Ferrum with a bachelor of science in psychology in 1993, he immediately stepped into the coaching ranks at his alma mater and served as an assistant for two seasons. Johnson helped guide the Panthers to a regular-season conference title.

In 1995, Johnson moved on to Longwood College as an assistant and then spent one year at Hargrave Military Academy, where he worked with the post-graduate team. In 1997, he began a three-year run as an assistant at Old Dominion. Johnson is a member of the Black Coaches Association (BCA) and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC). In March 2001, Johnson was named one of the Top 20 Assistant Coaches at Mid-Major Division I Schools by He was a squad leader in the Army National Guard from 1989-91.

More information:
» Hokie Sports: The James Johnson Story
» Hokie Sports: Johnson's First Recruiting Class

Saturday, November 10, 2012

(L) Virginia Tech vs. #8 Florida State

After his first half interception against Florida State, Virginia Tech quarterback Logan Thomas has now thrown a pick in 8 straight games. It is the longest such streak in the country this season.
BLACKSBURG, Va. -- E.J. Manuel and Florida State had no reason to panic when they got the ball with 2:19 to go needing to score.

That fearlessness might have had a lot to do with Manuel being the one in charge.

Limited to minus-15 rushing yards for the game, the Seminoles got 7 from James Wilder Jr. on a fourth-and-1 play from their 41 on the final drive, and Manuel, a Virginia Beach native, hit Greg Dent for 13 yards two plays later. After Manuel threw a pass away under pressure, the senior quarterback hit Rashad Greene with a slant pass that Greene took 39 yards for a touchdown with 40 seconds to play, and the Seminoles survived a scare to beat Virginia Tech 28-22 on Thursday night.

Manuel was sacked five times, but finished 25 of 42 for 326 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. Greene caught six passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns.

The Seminoles (9-1, 6-1 ACC) won their fourth straight and moved within a victory against Maryland on Nov. 17 of securing a spot in the ACC championship game Dec. 1. And they did it in dramatic fashion.

The Hokies (4-6, 2-4) lost for the fifth time in six games despite holding Florida State to 311 yards, more than 200 below its average, and will have to beat Boston College and Virginia to qualify for a bowl game for the 20th straight year.

The game was delayed for about 10 minutes in the third quarter when Virginia Tech safety Michael Cole was hurt and lay face-down and motionless on the field. As the crowd stood in silence, Cole was taken away by ambulance. The school said he had a neck sprain, but had feeling and movement in his extremities.

"Michael Cole suffered a cervical neck sprain this evening," head trainer Mike Goforth said in a statement released after the game. "He was conscious on the field, able to move all extremities, but had neck pain and numbness in the upper extremities."

Goforth said a CT scan was negative for any fracture and Cole was to be released from LewisGale Montgomery Hospital.

More information:
Hokies Face Uphill Battle as 14-point Underdogs

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Eminem - "Mosh" (2004)

"Mosh" is a protest song by Eminem and Guerrilla News Network, released on October 26, 2004 as a digital single, just prior to the 2004 presidential election. The track was produced by Dr. Dre and Mark Batson, and appears on Eminem's fifth studio album Encore.

Encore sold 1,582,000 copies in its first two weeks of release in the United States in November 2004, and was certified quadruple-platinum there in mid-December. The album made digital history in becoming the first album to sell 10,000 digital copies in one week.

The album earned Eminem three Grammy Award nominations at the 48th Annual Grammy Awards: Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for the song "Encore", Best Rap Solo Performance for the song "Mockingbird", and Best Rap Album, but lost to Kanye West's Late Registration, making it the only Eminem major studio album not to win a Best Rap Album award.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

(L) Virginia Tech vs. Miami

With his 73-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, Logan Thomas moved past Michael Vick for the third-most rushing touchdowns by a Virginia Tech quarterback.
Virginia Tech ran 82 plays to the Hurricanes' 58, held the ball for more than 34 minutes, picked up 24 first downs to Miami's 15, and still lost. The Hurricanes were outgained 421-347, went 1 for 12 on third down, and managed exactly 3 yards on 12 plays in the third quarter.

Turnovers hurt the Hokies all night, particularly in the red zone. Thomas threw a pick at the Miami 11 and fumbled at the 1. Both took points off the board.

For years, special teams were an absolute strength of Beamer's teams at Virginia Tech -- so much so, they earned the moniker "Beamer Ball." But on Thursday, not only did the Hokies allow the blocked punt (a play where Virginia Tech's A.J. Hughes mishandled the snap before trying to get the kick away) and an 81-yard return by Duke Johnson, but kicker Cody Journell also missed a field goal and a point-after attempt.

And eventually, Miami broke through.

The Hurricanes failed to convert any of their first nine third-down attempts, but when Stephen Morris connected with Rashawn Scott for 26 yards in the fourth quarter, Miami was in business. Duke Johnson had a 7-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter and finished with 217 all-purpose yards for the Hurricanes (5-4, 4-2), who snapped a three-game slide by winning 30-12 on Thursday night.

"It's a weird feeling," Hokies linebacker Jack Tyler said. "Things are not going our way."

Logan Thomas had a 73-yard scoring run on a quarterback draw for Virginia Tech (4-5, 2-3), which lost to Miami for just the third time in the last 10 meetings. The loss also ensures the Hokies' streak of eight straight 10-win seasons will end this year.

Thomas was 19 for 37 for 199 yards and two interceptions, and rushed 22 times for 124 yards. Morris completed 13 of 28 passes for 170 yards.

"I don't fault our effort," Hokies coach Frank Beamer said. "I fault our execution. We didn't do the things to win the football game."

The win puts Miami a half-game ahead of Duke and North Carolina in the Coastal race, though the Tar Heels are ineligible for postseason play, including the ACC title game.

"We haven't got it fixed yet," said Beamer, whose team is 0-5 away from home this season. "But I'm not going to give up trying, I'll tell you that."

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Naked And Famous - "Young Blood" (2010)

Directed by Joel Kefali and Campbell Hooper of Special Problems.

The Naked and Famous are a New Zealand post-punk revival band from Auckland. They formed in 2008 when Thom Powers and Alisa Xayalith recorded two EPs with engineer Aaron Short, a fellow student at Auckland's MAINZ music college.

The group then set about recording the single "Young Blood" and their debut album, recording mostly at home and at Auckland studio, The Lab. The Naked and Famous released their debut studio album, Passive Me, Aggressive You, on September 6, 2010 on their own label, Somewhat Damaged. The album was produced by Thom Powers and Aaron Short and mixed by Billy Bush. "Young Blood" is set in the key of F#, and follows the chord progression of B–F♯–B–F♯–C♯–B–F♯–B–D♯min–C♯.

"Young Blood" debuted on the New Zealand chart at number one on June 14, 2010 – the first New Zealand artist in three years to do so. In Australia, "Young Blood" peaked at number twenty-six on the ARIA Singles Chart, while in Austria it appeared for ten weeks on the Ö3 Austria Top 40, reaching number fifty-three. The song made number fifty-nine on the Dutch Mega Single 100, lasting five weeks.

On September 8, 2010 "Young Blood" won the APRA Silver Scroll, a New Zealand peer-judged songwriting award. On December 6, 2010, the BBC announced that The Naked and Famous had been nominated for BBC's Sound of 2011 poll. In 2011, the band garnered six nominations at the New Zealand Music Awards for Album of the Year, Single of the Year, Best Group, Breakthrough Artist of the Year, Best Alternative Album and the People's Choice Award. They were also nominated for the NZ On Air Best Music Video and won the MAINZ Best Engineer Award and the MAINZ Best Producer Award.