Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wizards Eliminate Bulls in Game 5, Advance to Next Round

"The Wizards were tied for the best road record in the East, with the Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors, at 22-19 in the regular season. It's not the playoffs, but it's an indicator that this backcourt of Wall, 23, and Beal, 20, might be young but doesn't necessarily make either afraid of the moment. When Wall signed his $80 million extension in the offseason, this is what he wanted: Pressure to perform."
CHICAGO -- The full extent of the Wizards' playoff run, which now has led them to at least the East semifinals, remains to be seen. There's a ripple effect that will come after this run is done, when they'll be about $18 million under the salary cap this summer with a chance to land a max player or several quality free agents. That's when the fun really starts.

The Wizards won 44 regular-season games, secured a No. 5 seed and eliminated the Chicago Bulls 4-1 on Tuesday night, winning three of those games at United Center.

Owner Ted Leonsis greeted coach Randy Wittman outside the Wizards' locker room, embraced him and said: "Proud of you."

Regardless of what happens from this point forward, the Wizards are in better position to retain their key free agents, Trevor Ariza and Marcin Gortat, and lure new ones to get even better.

It's not about the additional revenue playoff games bring in because of the extra home games, but the playoffs showcasing the franchise. Do well, even in defeat, and it can create a positive impression that a corner has been turned. For teams such as the Wizards, who didn't have a single national TV game, that's especially important. Lip service is one thing. Seeing is believing.

Quality, big-name free agents tend to not sign with non-playoff teams with little playoff prospects. Where did Andre Igoudala end up this year. Golden State. Why? The Warriors had beaten his previous team, the Denver Nuggets, in a first-round playoff series. Where did Jamal Crawford end up two years ago? The L.A. Clippers. Why? With Chris Paul they suddenly became a playoff team. Paul Millsap left Utah for the Atlanta Hawks, a playoff team a year ago, too. See a pattern emerging?

Seasoned veterans have two objectives: Cash in on what's likely to be their last big contract and compete in the postseason. There won't be a lot of depth out there this summer in free agency, but the Wizards are in position to meet both needs. Their chances of retaining Gortat or Ariza have multiplied, though the demand outweighing supply could be the fly in the ointment.

This run isn't done yet, but when it is the bar for the 2014-15 season already has been raised to heights previously assumed to be unthinkable -- but still in reach.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Mapei - "Don't Wait" (2013)

The 29-year-old premiered the song in early October via Downtown Records, and it quickly caught the attention and love of the internet, taking the top spot at Hype Machine for weeks. A lot of what makes “Don’t Wait” really appealing is how rich and varied the global influences are — which makes sense, given the singer’s background. Born to a Liberian mother and an American father, Mapei moved to Sweden with her mother when she was 10, and later spent time in Brazil, Tunisia, and Portugal. These influences all come through in her music, as do the club sounds of Sweden, where she got her start in the underground hip-hop scene. Her first EP, 2009’s The Cocoa Butter Diaries, showcased her as a rapper, but now Mapei’s gotten over her fear of singing to really communicate what’s in her heart. And luckily, it works really well.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Colbert Says Goodbye to Colbert, on The Daily Show

CBS announced on April 10th that Stephen Colbert will take over for David Letterman when he retires next year. Meanwhile, Comedy Central released their own statement, congratulating Colbert on two decades with the network and toasting to "the next eight months of the ground-breaking Colbert Report. Colbert told ABC News that he will ditch his current alter ego for his new role. "I won't be doing the new show in character, so we'll all get to find out how much of him was me," he said. "I'm looking forward to it."

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Sunny Day Real Estate - "Lipton Witch"

In 2011, Sunny Day Real Estate revealed they were heading back into the studio to work on a new album. It would have been their first with the original lineup since 1995's LP2, and their first new material overall since 2000's The Rising Tide. The sessions followed a 21-date Sunny Day Real Estate reunion tour in 2009, but unfortunately the hoped-for album never surfaced. On Record Store Day over the weekend, the band released "Lipton Witch," a holdover from those sessions, as half of a split single with Circa Survive. It's a powerfully stormy track that serves as a fine 20th-anniversary commemoration of 1994's emo-associated landmark Diary.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Spotlight: Calvin Harris

Official Charts:
Scottish DJ and producer Calvin Harris has broken Official Chart records by scoring eight Top 10 hits from one album, and in doing so overtakes the King of Pop himself, Michael Jackson.

Congratulations to Calvin Harris who yesterday (Sunday, April 21) clocked up an incredible eighth Top 10 hit from his latest album, 18 Months, with "I Need Your Love" with Ellie Goulding.

Making its chart debut in February 2013, "I Need Your Love" climbed four places to enter the Official Singles Chart Top 10 at Number 7 in April 2013, making Harris the first artist in the 60+ year history of the UK’s Official Singles Chart to score eight Top 10 hits from one album.

Michael Jackson was the previous record holder with seven Top 10 hits from his 1987 album Bad; he also had another seven Top 10 hits from 1991’s Dangerous.

“Eight Top 10s from my album 18 Months now! So happy!!!” tweeted the Scottish DJ and producer last night.

Calvin Harris’ impressive run began in June 2011: "Bounce" with Kelis (which peaked at Number 2), followed by "Feel So Close" (Number 2), "We Found Love" with Rihanna (Number 1), "Let’s Go" with Ne-Yo (Number 2), "We’ll Be Coming Back" with Example (Number 2), "Sweet Nothing" with Florence Welch (Number 1) and "Drinking From The Bottle" with Tinie Tempah (Number 5).

Meanwhile, Katy Perry has scored seven Top 10s from her second album Teenage Dream (2010), which includes the 2012 deluxe edition Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection.

The Voice star Jessie J is the first British female to score six Top 10 hits from one album (including "Domino" and "LaserLight" from the Platinum edition of her 2011 debut album Who You Are). She is tied with Lady Gaga, who also achieved six Top 10 hits from 2008’s The Fame and 2009’s The Fame Monster expanded edition.

Take That are the only group to score six Top 10 singles from one album with 1993’s Everything Changes.

Monday, April 21, 2014

CollegeHumor: "The Social Consequences of Everything"

"This Video Explains Why In 2014 It's Socially Unacceptable To Do Anything Anywhere"

Sunday, April 20, 2014


The pilot was written by Walt Becker (Wild Hogs) and Michael LeSieur (You, Me and Dupree), who received a cast-contingent pilot commitment from TBS in late January 2010. On May 14, 2010, TBS announced it had picked up the series with an eight episode order. The order was increased to ten episodes in early November 2010, a week before the series premiere.

The series aired from November 16, 2010, to January 18, 2011 on TBS. On February 24, 2011, TBS announced that the series would not be renewed for a second season due to poor ratings.

When speaking of the series, Michael Wright, the executive vice president and head of programming for TBS, TNT, and Turner Classic Movies said: "Glory Daze is a sharply written, laugh-out-loud comedy with a talented ensemble cast, including comic veteran Tim Meadows. The time is right for this feel-good, funny, and fresh take on college life in the '80s."

Set in 1986 in the state of Indiana, the series revolves around a group of friends entering their freshman year of college at Hayes University. The young men must deal with being on their own for the first time and preparing for what is to come in their college years.

Chris D'Elia stars as William Xavier "Bill" Stankowski, an upperclassman who has lived in the Omega Sigma house since 1976 and inhales a lot of cannabis.

Glory Daze was filmed at USC's Mudd Hall of Philosophy and on both the UCLA campus and the former Ambassador College campus in Pasadena, CA.

The show's theme song, "Police on My Back", is performed by The Clash.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

As you know by now, Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier opened to a record-shattering $95 million domestic, while overseas it scored massive back-to-back weekends, bringing its worldwide total to $302 million in ten days. Through the following weeks, it continued to performer stronger than expected, winning its second weekend in North America with $41.3 million. By Tuesday of this week, the foreign totals were updated and Captain America’s newest outing has passed $500 million worldwide.

If none of this impresses you much, then here’s the kicker context to consider: By the end of April, Captain America’s second solo outing will have topped the box office of five of the seven modern Batman feature films, five of the six modern Superman movies (and will likely end up passing the sixth one), all six of the X-Men franchise films and Wolverine spinoffs, and by the end of his run the star spangled super-soldier’s sequel will also bring in more bucks than two of the three Iron Man movies and both Thor movies as well.

Should Captain America: The Winter Soldier top $670 million, then among solo superhero franchises only Spider-Man, Christopher Nolan’s last two Batman movies, and Iron Man 3 film will have performed better. That’s some mighty impressive company to rub elbows with.

But here’s why this is so particularly impressive and relevant, dear readers: This is a character whom most pundits and fans assumed had limited appeal in light of his overt U.S. symbolism and old fashioned values, remember. The fact he amassed $200 million from foreign audiences in ten days is thus not only stunning, but rather telling as far as the potential of this character and of the Marvel brand in general are concerned.

Here’s something else you probably haven’t noticed about the Marvel Studios films: With five franchises so far, four of them became billion dollar franchises by their second films. That’s assuming, of course, that Captain America: The Winter Soldier tops the $630 million mark, but it will. Those same four all topped $500 million in either their very first outing or in their second outing. The trend overall is for Marvel films to surpass $500 million at the box office from now on — nine films in, six of them passed $500 million, including the last four in a row.

If Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man continue the trend this year and next (and I bet they will), Marvel will be sitting on eight franchises averaging more than $500 million per film and all likely to be billion dollar franchises, aside from the single exception of the Hulk’s series (and at some point, that will change, I’m guessing). Most studios would kill for seven franchises that perform that consistently. We’re reaching a point where Marvel will soon be releasing three films during some years and raking in easily $1.8 billion to $2 billion per year at the box office, and some years (Avengers years) closer to the $3 billion range.

More information:
» Captain America Made Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Better, But Still Not Great

Monday, April 14, 2014

Manny Pacquiao Hands Timothy Bradley Jr. His First Defeat

"Manny Pacquiao regained his welterweight world title, avenging his 2012 loss and handing Timothy Bradley Jr. his first defeat Saturday night. All three judges had it for Pacquiao, 118-110, 116-112 and 116-112."
Boston Globe:
The old Manny Pacquiao returned for bursts, hounding Timothy Bradley onto the ropes and battering the welterweight champion with whip-quick combinations that recalled the Pacman’s magical prime.

The older Pacquiao, now 35, couldn’t finish the trick, however.

Although he tried mightily, Pacquiao didn’t stop or even really hurt Bradley during 12 mostly exciting rounds Saturday night, settling for the lucrative revenge of a unanimous-decision victory.

‘‘I didn’t want to get careless,’’ Pacquiao said.

Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38 KOs), who was guaranteed $20 million plus upside on the pay-per-view profits, appeared to hurt Bradley (31-1, 12 KOs) late in the sixth round when he closed the round unloading a sustained flurry with Bradley backed into the ropes. Then he had a huge seventh round. He hurt Bradley and had him hanging on after firing about a dozen unanswered punches with Bradley in a corner. Moments later, he let another flurry fly, although Bradley motioned for him to come to him. Pacquiao obliged and the round ended.

Pacquiao proved he is still one of the world’s most exciting boxers with his second straight win, even if he might never recapture his most destructive form. His hands and footwork are still inimitable, but the eight-division world champion’s power and timing weren’t good enough to stop Bradley (31-1) — or any of his opponents since late 2009, the date of his last knockout.

Pacquiao showed up to his postfight news conference with a large bandage concealing 32 stitches in a deep gash on his left eyebrow from a head butt. Trainer Freddie Roach had praised his fighter while acknowledging Pacquiao’s days of highlight-reel knockouts have faded.

‘‘I think he was doing his best to stop him,’’ Roach said. ‘‘He was throwing combinations. I told him, ‘All you have to do is outbox this guy. You can outbox him in and out, all night long.’ I thought he had the killer instinct. It just didn’t seem like he had the power he usually has. It was a little bit slower than he seemed in the past.”

Bradley, still classy after his first career defeat, gave a mixed review of Pacquiao’s physical skills in comparison with their first fight.

‘‘He still has the real sharp snap on his punches,’’ Bradley said. ‘‘[But] I believe in the first fight, his punching power was way harder.”

Pacquiao still beat up one of the world’s best boxers with relative ease, and his next bout in the fall will be among the biggest happenings in sports. His most likely opponent is a fifth meeting with Juan Manuel Marquez, who fights Mike Alvarado May 17.

But Pacquiao and promoter Bob Arum still hold out hope of a fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr., even while the distance between the fighters appears to grow.

‘‘It’s really hard to talk about that,’’ Pacquiao said. ‘‘How many years, days, months we’re talking about that? The line is open 24 hours. If he’s awake and he wants to fight, the fight will be.’’

Arum became nearly apoplectic when asked about the possibility of a Pacquiao-Mayweather bout, claiming Pacquiao already has agreed to all of the unbeaten Mayweather’s conditions.

‘‘The only people that can make Floyd Mayweather fight Manny is the public,’’ Arum said before urging fans to boycott Mayweather’s bout against Marcos Maidana May 3.

More information:
» Bleacher Report: Manny Pacquiao's Biggest Potential Challengers

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Ovi Records Fifth 50-Goal Season, Caps Don't Make Playoffs

Washington Post:
For the first time since the 2006-07 season, the Washington Capitals will not reach the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Capitals were mathematically eliminated from reaching the postseason Wednesday night when the Detroit Red Wings earned a point for their shootout loss in Pittsburgh and the Columbus Blue Jackets captured two with a win at Dallas. Those results gave each team 91 points, which is the maximum Washington could acquire if it was to win its final three games. But because the Capitals don’t hold the first tiebreaker of more combined regulation and overtime wins, they have been ousted from the race.

This postseason absence ends the Capitals’ stretch of six consecutive appearances in the playoffs, which was tied for the fourth longest active streak in the NHL entering this year. Only Detroit (22), San Jose (9), Pittsburgh (7) and Boston (6) had as many or more, but all four of those teams will add another season to their totals having all clinched playoff berths.

It also marks a low point in the Alex Ovechkin era, considering that the star winger only sat out from the playoffs his first two years in the NHL. A day after becoming just the 11th player in league history to record five 50-goal seasons, Ovechkin will have an early summer with plenty of questions facing the Capitals as they determine how to get back on track after an inconsistent year.

More information:
» SBNation: "Washington Capitals collapse leaves huge questions looming"

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Connecticut Beats Kentucky to Win Fourth NCAA Title

USA Today:
ARLINGTON, Texas — The University of Connecticut, a basketball program left behind in conference realignment and ineligible for the NCAA tournament just one year ago due to academic sanctions, won its fourth and most improbable national title on Monday, beating Kentucky 60-54 at AT&T Stadium.

Getting a clutch performance from senior guard Shabazz Napier and a lot of help from the Wildcats at the free-throw line, the Huskies were left standing at the end of a physical, ugly game and secured a number of historic markers, including becoming the first No. 7 seed to win it all. Ryan Boatright added 14 points.

"You're looking at the hungry Huskies," Napier told the crowd and TV audience. "Ladies and gentlemen, this is what happens when you ban us."

Kevin Ollie, who took over the program from Jim Calhoun right before the 2012-13 season, became the second coach ever to win a national title in his first NCAA tournament (Steve Fisher, 1989).

And in doing so, Connecticut gave the American Athletic Conference, which was forced to split from the Big East in a messy divorce 15 months ago, a national title in its first year of existence.

"I thought this conference was good and if it held together, we could do great things," said AAC commissioner Mike Aresco. "It helps you attract kids, helps you attract coaches."

Asked whether he felt like the AAC got the last laugh this season, Aresco said, "No, not all all. What I have is a feeling of quiet satisfaction.​"

Ollie also became the 13th coach to win a title at his alma mater and the fourth African-American coach to lead a team to an NCAA Division I men's basketball championship, joining Georgetown's John Thompson, Arkansas' Nolan Richardson and Kentucky's Tubby Smith. "We always did it together and always played as a group," Ollie said.

About missing the tournament last year, Ollie said: "I told you the last will be the first. Last year we couldn't get in the tournament. But we kept believing."

Though Connecticut never trailed, Kentucky threatened to come back a number of times. Ultimately, though, the Wildcats — who made their own improbable journey to the championship game as a No. 8 seed — couldn't overcome shooting 13-of-24 from the foul line.

Napier, a senior who was on the 2011 UConn national championship team, scored 22 points on 8-of-16 shooting. He made a three-pointer with 6:50 left from the top of the key that seemed to halt Kentucky's momentum. Then DeAndre Daniels, who struggled all game and made just 4-of-14 field goals, gave Connecticut a 58-52 lead with 2:45 left on a hesitation move under the basket that put the Huskies in position to close out the title.

It was a disappointing end for the Wildcats, who began the season with a No. 1 ranking and fans dreaming of a highly regarded freshman class leading the team to a perfect record. They struggled through the regular season, but began to play extremely well in the NCAA tournament.

"We had our chances to win," Kentucky coach John Calipari said. "We just didn't have enough."

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Redskins Sign DeSean Jackson (Three-Year, $24M), Ryan Clark (One-Year, $1M), and Colt McCoy

USA Today:
There’s a new number 10 in town and RG3 is ready to feast.

Four days after his surprising release by the Philadelphia Eagles, DeSean Jackson found a landing spot just down I-95 with his former NFC East rivals, signing a reported three-year contract with the Redskins worth $24 million, including $16 million guaranteed, a person familiar with the pact told USA TODAY Sports. That person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the club has yet to announce the deal.

Jackson's $8 million average per year is higher than the $7.5 million average that Eric Decker received in his five-year, $36.25 million deal with the New York Jets.

Jackson, 27, was cut despite posting career highs with 82 receptions for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns last season in coach Chip Kelly's high-revving offense. The three-time Pro Bowler has averaged 17.2 yards per reception during his six-season career. The Eagles took a serious salary-cap hit for releasing Jackson, who was due to earn $10.5 million in base salary and will count $6.25 million against Philadelphia's salary cap in 2014. He signed a five-year, $51 million contract in 2012.

"He's the right kind of guy we need in our locker room. Fierce competitor and player, but great guy and humble guy that wants nothing more then to show people the real him,'' Redskins veteran cornerback DeAngelo Hall texted USA TODAY Sports. "And there's no better place then in the nation's Capitol.''

First-year Redskins coach Jay Gruden now has the game-breaking vertical threat he had the past four seasons as Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator in big-play receiver A.J. Green.

Jackson figures to help RG3 regain his 2012 offensive rookie of the year form when he led the Redskins to the division title prior to suffering a major knee injury in that season's playoffs. Jackson will ease double team pressure on Pierre Garcon, who set a single-season franchise record with 113 receptions for 1,346 last season for the 3-13 Redskins.

Add to the mix emerging tight end Jordan Reed and free agent pickup Andre Roberts in the slot and Griffin suddenly has a plethora of vertical options to match his impressive arm strength, not to mention Pro Bowl back Alfred Morris to balance out the offense.

In signing free agent linemen Shaun Lauvao and Mike McGlynn, the Redskins also made an effort to keep Griffin more protected after their line allowed 43 sacks and 96 quarterback hits in 2013.

Washington Post:
The contract with the Washington Redskins that Ryan Clark signed on Wednesday is a one-year deal worth $1 million, a person with knowledge of the situation said.

In 2013, Clark registered 61 tackles and two interceptions. For 13 years, Clark has made big plays and big hits, and he will give the Redskins secondary a veteran presence and a solid tackler. Safety was a sore spot for Washington last year, where the team lined up a bunch of different players in 2013, including Bacarri Rambo, Reed Doughty, Brandon Meriweather and Jose Gumbs. While those players have value, only Meriweather is considered a starting talent, and Clark will likely slide right into a starting role for Jim Haslett's defense.

The cap hit for Jackson’s contract in 2014 will come out at $4.25 million. Subtracting that, plus Clark’s $1 million would leave the Redskins with roughly $1.05 million in cap space.

Washington on Thursday also signed quarterback Colt McCoy, but the terms of his deal weren’t immediately available.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Janelle Monáe - "What is Love"

Janelle Monáe's voice will be heard as a veterinarian in the movie Rio 2, released in the U.S. on April 11th, 2014, and her song "What is Love" will be featured on the soundtrack.

In August 2012, Monáe was chosen as CoverGirl's newest spokeswoman. In September 2012, Monáe performed at CarolinaFest in support of President Obama, just before the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. In October 2012, Monáe starred in a commercial for the Sonos Wireless HiFi home audio system, and appeared in a Sonos commercial in 2012 with Deep Cotton.

The Electric Lady, her second studio album, was released on September 6, 2013 by Wondaland Arts Society and Bad Boy Records. It is the follow up to her critically acclaimed debut studio album, The ArchAndroid (2010), and as the aforementioned, it has received universal acclaim from music critics. This album serves as the fourth and fifth installments of her seven-part Metropolis concept series. Musically, The Electric Lady incorporates influences of hip hop soul, funk, gospel, jazz and rock.

The "short film," as Monae bills it, is perhaps the most vivid picture we have yet of her Metropolis. The scene: a droid sale, part fashion show, part slave auction, in which dozens of riding-gear-clad Cindy Mayweather clones strut for an audience including fanged "tech dandy" Chung Knox, Neon Valley crimelord Mousey, jealous Metropolis police commander 6ix Savage, and "punk prophets" (Deep Cotton, musicians from the present and Monae's collaborators). Against this backdrop, Cindy does what she's destined to do: rock out with a superhuman energy that ultimately short-circuits her. The video ends with a quote from Cindy that evokes the Underground Railroad: "I imagined many moons in the sky, lighting the way to freedom."