Monday, February 28, 2011
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Friday, February 25, 2011
By Rick Reilly
Don't laugh. You could be next.
This is what the NBA has become: very tall, very rich twenty-somethings running the league from the backs of limos, colluding so that the best players gang up on the worst. To hell with the Denvers, the Clevelands, the Torontos. If you aren't a city with a direct flight to Paris, we're leaving. Go rot.
There's no rule against it, so they do it. Ray Allen and Paul Pierce beg Kevin Garnett to please come to Boston. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh connive to play in Miami. At his wedding in New York City this past July, Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Chris Paul toasted to all three playing in New York someday. Stoudemire switched this past summer. Anthony was traded there Monday. And Paul is set to enter free agency next season, bags already packed.
Great for Spike Lee. Sucks for the game.
"The question is, will the fans support players whose egos are bigger than the game?" asks Denver Nuggets coach George Karl, who suddenly finds himself coaching a locker room full of nobodies. "Will the fans support all these players and agents manipulating things? Because if they don't, if the switch [by fans] is abrupt enough, the league could be at a crisis point."
Hello, David Stern? Did you leave a wake-up call for the 21st century? Your clubs need to be able to protect their great players with a franchise tag, as the NFL does. If that isn't priority No. 1 in your lockout talks, you need the Wite-Out.
Anthony stuck it to Denver because he could. Teams are powerless against it. He got the city he wanted, the teammates he wanted and the money he wanted, and he got it before the lockout. It's good to be king.
The only power Denver had was to yank Melo's chain.
"Carmelo," Nuggets general manager Masai Ujiri said Monday night, "you've been traded …"
Melo held his breath on the other end of the line.
"… to the Nigerian national team."
Question: When all the Denvers and Memphises and Sacramentos fold because all their stars leave, whom are these SuperFriends teams going to beat? Baylor? A strong league is strong throughout, not just at the top. In other words, how will you get them to care in China, Mr. Stern, when they don't in Portland?
"The whole foundation of this massive thing called pro sports is the fan," Karl said. "You got to make the fan happy."
We are not happy in Denver. Here's why:
1. What we're left with: We gave up a surefire Hall of Famer, who is only 26, for four New York Knicks starters. This is like acquiring the four best mountain climbers in Nebraska. Among Wilson Chandler, Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari and Timofey Mozgov (who, I believe, doesn't even exist), not one is in the top 35 in scoring or rebounding.
2. The utter, sickening irony of it: Anthony insisted the most important thing to him was not (A) getting his starlet wife, LaLa Vasquez, to Broadway, nor (B) dunking with his friends, nor (C) cranking up his Q rating on Madison Avenue. No, he said his main priority was (D) "playing for a champion."
Why New York, then?
Stoudemire and Anthony will go together like peanut butter and microscopes. Stoudemire is a pick-and-roller. Anthony never picks and rolls. Stoudemire likes the ball in the same spots Anthony likes it. Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni lives to run. Anthony likes to set up on the wing, freeze it, look it over, freeze it some more and then unleash some weapon from his incredible one-on-one offensive arsenal. It works plenty, but Stoudemire is not going to enjoy standing there and watching it.
Remind me: How did it go with Anthony and Allen Iverson sharing one ball?
"If [Anthony would] have stayed with us, he'd have had a much better chance of winning a championship," Nuggets president Josh Kroenke said. He's right.
If Anthony had really wanted to play for a champion, he should've stayed put. The Nuggets had two big contracts expiring (kneeless Kenyon Martin's and brainless J.R. Smith's), which would have allowed them to sign the fresh-legged big man and the shooter they needed.
Prediction: Anthony will never get closer to winning an NBA title than he did in Denver.
3. The lousy thing all this does to Chauncey Billups -- our native son: Billups was sucked into the vortex of a trade he wanted no part of. He deserved to end his basketball career in Denver, where it began. Instead, at age 34, he's being fitted for a Knicks jersey and wondering how he tells his three little girls.
Thanks for the ride, Karl texted him when news of the megatrade hit. You're one of the best winners I ever coached.
He didn't mention texting Anthony.
4. The grinding unfairness of it all: The NBA used to work on a turn system. You will lose, but if you hang in there, you'll be rewarded with a very high draft pick like an Anthony, and your turn at glory will arrive.
Not anymore. The superstars are in charge now. Now, you lose and you get a pick, and that pick immediately starts texting his pals to see where they'll all wind up in three years. Pretty soon, you're back losing again.
Get ready, Oklahoma City.
You wonder why the NFL continues to pull away from the NBA in this country? Three words: Green Bay Packers. Two more: Indianapolis Colts. The NFL finds a way to let cities that don't happen to have a Versace store hang on to their great players like, oh, say, Peyton Manning.
"Melo was a big part of our team, but he wasn't irreplaceable," Karl said. "I think we're still going to make the playoffs, and I think we're going to be good when we get there."
Now why on Earth would he think that?
"Because I believe in my guys," Karl said.
I'm sure he does.
And soon he'll meet them.
Let that sink in.
If it’s not resonating, here are some tidbits. It was the worst single-game field goal percentage in Heat history with a minimum of 15 shots attempted. In the past 25 seasons, only Tim Hardaway (0-for-17, for the Warriors in 1991-92) and Rodney McCray (0-for-15, for the Kings in 1988-89) have shot worse with a minimum of 15 field goal attempts.
Needless to say, it was ugly. But it didn’t have to be. In the Heat’s to-do list that I wrote coming out of the All-Star Game, I noted that Bosh had migrated to the perimeter this season, dampening his overall efficiency as a result. When the Heat bring up the ball, coach Erik Spoelstra has planted Bosh on the right elbow to facilitate the offense and space the floor, so Bosh’s court orientation isn’t completely his own doing. However, once he receives the ball on the elbow, the choice is his: attack, facilitate or shoot. And more often than not, he has settled for the latter.
He certainly settled Thursday night. Take a peek at his shot chart. You’ll notice that 11 of his 18 field goal attempts came outside the paint. Some of those shots were missed jumpers that Bosh normally drills, but there also were plenty of forced pull-up jumpers taken outside the flow of the offense.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
The province is looking at changing its liquor laws, including doing away with beer tents at festivals.
The governing Liberals say they’re going to start consultations on a number of changes, such as allowing people to wander freely with drinks at events and festivals.
They’re also proposing extending the hours that booze can be served at special events, such as weddings and charity fundraisers, to 2 a.m. from 1 a.m.
Under the proposed new rules, all-inclusive vacation packages could also be sold in Ontario.
Attorney General Chris Bentley says it just doesn’t make sense to be stopped from walking around a local festival just because you have a beer in your hand.
The move comes just a few weeks after Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak mused about missing the days of buck-a-bottle beer, last seen in 2008.
Bentley says the government also wants to expand its enforcement options against people who violate liquor laws, including fines.
Featuring our very own Uncle Paulie!!! It's funny hearing your peers at work!
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
OK, so the thing that confused me the most with this whole "Who is Skylar Grey" thing is the fact that she's apparently Black according to Diddy's "Coming Home" video featuring Skylar Grey.
Fact: "Diddy Dirty Money" consists of Diddy, Dawn, and Kalenna. Skylar Grey is featured on the song in addition to those 3. If you listen carefully, you can clearly hear when Skylar Grey is singing (not featured in the video) - like at the beginning of the song - compared to when Dawn and Kalenna are singing in the chorus. So when I previously said, wow, I totally thought it was a white girl singing... I wasn't completely wrong.
Before that song, she penned Eminem's "Love the Way you Lie." Rihanna took over the singing on that one. That occured through her relationship with Super-Producer Alex da Kid.
“I opened up the email, and I sang a melody, and those lyrics came out. I didn’t totally understand them to be honest with you. They just came out, and I was like, ‘Whoa, that’s kind of cool, actually,’ and I sent it off. [Eminem] took it to a very abusive relationship place. That’s definitely where I saw it going from the beginning when I listened to it, but I didn’t know how extreme. People ask me, ‘Have you been in abusive relationships?’ No. I haven’t.
From there she worked with Alex da Kid to come up with "I Need a Doctor". This would be her first real featured vocals.
She and Alex da Kid showed up in Detroit to present the track and chorus to Dr. Dre and Eminem, who didn’t know what they were about to hear. “That was an amazing moment in my life,” she says. “They loved it. Eminem took the song back into the back of the studio and locked himself up for awhile. Alex and I were just sitting out in the studio waiting for him to come out with his verses. Two hours later, he said, ‘Okay, I’m ready.’ He brought us into the studio, and he had already laid down everything. He played us the verses, and I literally started bawling. There’s so much passion and honesty and vulnerability in his verses talking to Dr. Dre, and they were both standing there in the room, and I could see years and years of stuff — of sh– and great stuff, of their lives — just come pouring out into the song. I guess I’m really empathetic because he played it twice, and I bawled the second time, too. I had the idea that Dr. Dre has been kind of dormant in the music industry as an artist for 10 years, and people were really wanting him to come back. I didn’t know how far they would take it on the personal level.
As for her Grammy performance in the dark, it was apparently intentional.
My whole roll-out as Skylar Grey has been this mysterious being,” says the artist formerly known as Holly Brook.
She even released an album in 2006, Like Blood Like Honey and the 2010 EP O’Dark Thirty under that moniker.
“If you’ve seen the website, even the pictures are very shadowed because we’re slowly easing me out. I’m not a big fan of trying to be a sex symbol or any of that stuff because I really like the music to speak for itself. And so I wanted to make that clear from the very beginning.”
Either way... I'm a fan.
The photos, taken for a Supreme advertisement to appear in Purple Magazine, were apparently shot at the same time Richardson took the meaty photos of Gaga for Vogue Hommes Japan. But the now-released video from the shoot is more revealing than any of the photos produced or so far shown to the public.
Friday, February 18, 2011
The actress, 27, will play the title character in Wonder Woman, David E. Kelley's pilot for NBC.
The project, from David E. Kelley Prods. and Warner Bros. TV, is a retelling of the DC Comics title in which Wonder Woman (Palicki), a.k.a. Diana Prince, tries to balance her life as a vigilante crime fighter, a successful corporate executive and a modern woman.
Realizing neither he nor Brad Rutter could possibly beat Watson at the final "Final Jeopardy," Jennings added a little note to his correct answer:
The line is, of course, from a classic Season Five (1994) "Simpsons" episode, "Deep Space Homer," in which humanity appears to be threatened by a race of giant ants. News anchor Kent Brockman reports the news solemnly, and then takes a surprising turn.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Irina Shayk, girlfriend of international soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, is the cover model for the 2011 Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. The announcement was made Monday night on "The Late Show with David Letterman."
It will mark Shayk's first time on the cover of the annual issue. She has posed for the magazine for the past four years in addition to work with Armani and Guess.
The 25-year-old Russian said she was surprised when she was revealed as the cover model during the taping of Letterman.
"There were 10 models to do the Top 10 List, and nobody knows until the last minute who the cover will be," Shayk said, sticking to her story. "And then I saw it, and I couldn't believe it."
Though the announcement was supposed to wait until the end of Letterman's show, word of Shayk's cover got out on Twitter late on Monday afternoon. Because "The Late Show" films in the afternoon, the billboard was uncovered briefly for taping and then recovered moments later. In that brief time, a woman took a photo of Shayk's cover, which let the cat out of the bag a few hours early.
Shayk (whose real last name is Shaykhlislamova) has been dating the Portuguese soccer star since last spring. The two are said to have met while working on a photo shoot for Armani Exchange.
Though she's on magazine covers and 40-foot-high billboards and is in a relationship with one of the most famous soccer players alive, the 25-year-old Russian says she's shy and doesn't seek out attention. (Other than the posing on magazine covers and 40-foot-high billboards.). In a further blow to the stereotype of models-as-divas, Shayk plays piano concertos, volunteers with orphans and reads Dostoevsky.
Monday, February 14, 2011
Friday, February 11, 2011
Monday, February 7, 2011
The New England Patriots quarterback on Sunday became the first unanimous choice for The Associated Press NFL Most Valuable Player Award since the AP began using a nationwide panel of media members who cover the league.
He surpassed himself, too: In 2007, when Brady won his first MVP, he got 49 votes; one voter went for Brett Favre.
"It is always flattering to be chosen for such a prestigious award," Brady said. "But I also look at it as a team award, as nothing in football gets accomplished without the mental toughness and determination of every player and coach associated with that team.
"I am very humbled to be a part of an organization where winning comes first, and our goals are based around the success of the team."
Those successes, including three Super Bowl titles in the last 10 years, are in great part due to Brady's excellence.
Although he didn't set nearly as many passing marks as in '07, Brady by far was the league's top performer in leading New England to a 14-2 record, best in the NFL. He had a record streak of 335 throws without being intercepted, and passed for 36 touchdowns with only four picks.
Not that the 33-year-old Brady would compare this season's Patriots to any others.
"Every team every year is different," he said, "and over the course of 100 practices and many games a team establishes its identity. Players change, schemes change, opponents change, which is why the game is so exciting year in and year out.
"The fact that 32 teams start out each year with the same goal is why the popularity of the sport is at an all-time high. The great part about our sport is that nothing comes easy, and wherever you stand at the end of the year is the exact place that you deserve to be."
Individually, Brady stands above all others. The only Patriot to win the award, he and Peyton Manning, his rival for the NFL's best quarterback, have split the last four MVPs.
Aguilera tried to make up for it by combining two lines -- "What so proudly we watched," instead of "What so proudly we hailed" -- but let's just say that it was too late to reverse the error. Twitter blew up, and all Aguilera could do was to oversing every word from there on out, which she most certainly did.
It was a fitting tribute for a Super Bowl that has seen procedural errors all over the place, from the inability of the city of Dallas to deal with unusual weather to the last-minute news that 400 unlucky people would not get to sit in their paid-for seats.
In case you haven't seen it yet, here's the full performance:
On Monday, Aguilera explained her gaffe.
"I got so caught up in the moment of the song that I lost my place," she said. "I can only hope that everyone could feel my love for this country and that the true spirit of its anthem still came through."
Thursday, February 3, 2011
The 24 Clue game is the first and only Clue game that allows die-hard 24 fans to work with Jack Bauer and prevent an imminent attack on the U.S. by solving: Who the Traitor is; What kind of attack is planned and where inside CTU will it happen.
Intelligence has revealed an imminent attack on the U.S. that will occur within 24 hours. CTU is ordered to LOCK DOWN. Six agents are left inside and one is the Traitor who is planning the attack. Do you have what it takes to expose the Traitor and save the country?
* 9 custom pewter weapons
* 6 CTU agents as the suspects and their security badges as the movers
* Intrigue and Clock cards - new to the Clue brand, they provide directives that add fun and intrigue as well as faster game play
* Deck of Personality Cards, Deck of Rumor Cards
* Custom game board features a map of the inside of the CTU offices
Some bait from taxpayers will help lure tens of thousands of fish — and millions of visitors — to the aquarium planned for the base of the CN Tower, the Star has learned.
Approvals and design work for a long-sought aquarium have gone swimmingly since details were announced a year ago, say Ripley’s Entertainment, the City of Toronto and the federal Crown corporation that controls the three-acre parcel of land just south of the tower.
Contracts could be signed as early as this summer, triggering construction to get the 150,000-square-foot watery attraction —Toronto’s first big new tourist magnet since the Hockey Hall of Fame almost 20 years ago — ready for July 2015, when visitors will stream into Pan Am Games events at the neighbouring Rogers Centre.
“I’m optimistic” there won’t be any snags, said Jim Pattison Jr., president of Orlando-based Ripley’s, a division of his billionaire father’s Vancouver-based The Jim Pattison Group.
“There will be tens of thousands of different (marine) animals, and some features that will be unique to Toronto,” Pattison added, including a moving walkway taking visitors through “the largest underwater tunnel in North America,” with fish, possibly including sharks, all around them.
Councillor Adam Vaughan, who believes the aquarium will enhance John St. redevelopment, said he was told there will also be a room with tanks of live jellyfish, special lighting and mirrors to create a “psychedelic visual experience.”
The New England Patriots coach won The Associated Press 2010 NFL Coach of the Year award on Wednesday, the third time Belichick has earned the honor. Belichick, who also won in 2003 and 2007, now trails only Don Shula, a four-time winner of the award.
"I accept the award on behalf of the entire organization -- ownership, our assistant coaches and certainly the players -- they're the ones that stepped up and made the plays this year," Belichick said in an NFL Network phone interview. "We had a lot of new people on the team, young players that contributed. It's certainly an honor to receive this award on behalf of our performance in the regular season. Unfortunately, we weren't able to carry that over into the playoffs."
For leading the Patriots to a 14-2 record, the best in the league, Belichick received 30 votes from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the NFL. That easily beat Raheem Morris, who led a turnaround in Tampa Bay and got 11½ votes.
Belichick has overseen a transition in New England to a younger team, particularly on defense. Of course, he still has Offensive Player of the Year Tom Brady at quarterback.
"I will say the foundation of the Patriots organization, which starts with [owner Robert Kraft] and Coach Belichick, has not changed since the day I arrived," Brady said. "They have and will always do what is in the best interest of the team, and they will continue to find selfless players that love to work hard, compete and strive to be the best they can possibly be."
Then Belichick makes them even better.
"He really stays on top of us," wide receiver Wes Welker said. "He makes sure that we're not getting overconfident or believing in the noise outside the locker room and understand that every game's tough in the NFL."
Belichick's record with the Patriots is 126-50, plus a 14-5 mark in the postseason, with losses in the last three tries with teams that went a collective 40-8. His career winning percentage of .716 ranks eighth, tied with Hall of Famer Paul Brown, and no other coach has four 14-victory regular seasons.
This might have been Belichick's most impressive work as the Patriots retooled much of the roster, yet had a dominant regular season in which they won their final eight games.
"When you have so many things that go into a team, so many things that go into what's happened over the last decade, which ones do you point to?" he said. "You can make an argument for a lot of different things. In the end, it's each individual team and that collection of players that particular year and that particular time during the season or whatever it is, that was able to go out there and be successful."
Belichick basically rebuilt the defense, particularly the secondary, where rookie Devin McCourty made the Pro Bowl.
He showed confidence in BenJarvus Green-Ellis as his main running back, and Green-Ellis rushed for 1,008 yards. Belichick claimed Danny Woodhead when the Jets cut him, and Woodhead was a dynamic piece of the offense and special teams.
Then there was the Randy Moss case.
Eager to remove the recalcitrant receiver, Belichick stole a third-round draft pick from Minnesota in early October for Moss, who lasted a month with the Vikings, then was cut.
Meanwhile, Belichick traded with Seattle for Deion Branch, the 2005 Super Bowl MVP with the Patriots. Branch had a rebirth in New England, making the Moss deal look even better.
And making the Patriots a better team -- typical of what Belichick has done since getting his second chance to be a head coach. The first was a flop with the Browns, where he went 37-45 in four seasons and alienated nearly everyone in Cleveland.
"When I chose him, people at the league office, people in this town, sent me tapes of him in Cleveland and said, 'You don't want to hire this guy,'" Kraft said. "And, remember, he went 5-11 [in his first year with Patriots] and we gave up a No. 1 draft choice [to the Jets to get him]. People thought we were nuts.
"So I think that probably was one of the best decisions I've made in football."
Belichick is a disciple of Bill Parcells, the only other New England coach to win the award.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Russell Brand and Chris Brown are set to make their Saturday Night Live debuts on Feb. 12, NBC has announced. Brand will serve as host, and Brown as the musical guest. Humor is one way to diffuse celebrity scandals, but do you want the show to go there with Brown, or should he just perform his two songs and stay out of sketches and shorts?
And how does this dude still have a career?
There are plenty of things we guys would like to know about Minka Kelly—like whether she needs a hand with those stockings—but here's the only thing we really need to know. Back in September, the former Miss Friday Night Lights got herself mixed up in a twenty-four-hour gossip tempest involving her dog, some flight attendants, an argument in first class, and a supposedly frantic call to her famous shortstop boyfriend. Such stories exist to be blown out of proportion. The only part that still irks Kelly? The idea that she'd call Captain America for help. She is not that kind of girl. "Do people think that somewhere in my brain, I think Derek can save me from someone telling me my dog can't fly?" she asks. "If that's the way I worked, he would have left me a long time ago." Fortunately the man is no fool. After all, Kelly's big-screen career is just beginning to lift off. This month the 30-year-old actress gets her first starring role, in The Roommate, an update of Single White Female that promises to be a zillion times more delectable because (a) it's set in college, and (b) the Bridget Fonda and Jennifer Jason Leigh roles will be played by Minka Kelly and Leighton Meester. She also has a pivotal role in Adam Sandler's new comedy, Just Go with It, in which he plays a single dude who pretends to be stuck in a bad marriage to score sympathy lays. And after that? We hate to pry, but since this magazine doesn't come out for weeks, can Kelly at least spare us any embarrassing surprises about her endlessly rumored nuptials? "I promise you, I'm not getting married in the next month." And she wouldn't lie, right? She's not that kind of girl.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
On Jan. 23, China's state broadcaster, CCTV, ran a story about an air force training exercise that contained some suspicious footage.
Around the segment's one minute 12 seconds mark (see below), as the China-U.S.-oriented blog Ministry of Tofu pointed out, "the way a target was hit by the air-to-air missile fired by a J-10 fighter aircraft and exploded looks almost identical to a cinema scene from the Hollywood film Top Gun."
Viewers were led to believe that what they were seeing was a live fire exercise. But according to Ministry of Tofu: "A net user who went by the name "刘毅" (Liu Yi) pointed out that the jet that the J-10 'hit' is an F-5, a US fighter jet. In Top Gun, what the leading actor Tom Cruise pilots an F-14 to bring down is exactly an F-5. Looking at the screenshots juxtaposition, one cannot fail to find that even flame, smoke and the way the splinters fly look the same."
What's more inhumane... disturbing these people... or letting them pretend the outside world doesn't exist?
Brazil has allowed the release of rare photographs of an uncontacted Amazonian tribe to bring attention to the plight of indigenous people who rights groups say are faced with possible annihilation.
The astonishing images, showing curious adults and children peering skyward with their faces dyed reddish-orange and toting bows, arrows and spears, were taken by Brazil's National Indian Foundation (FUNAI).
Rights group Survival International, which accompanied the government agency on the overflight near the Brazil-Peru border, said their baskets were full of papaya and manioc grown in a communal garden.
"Illegal loggers will destroy this indigenous people. It is essential that the Peruvian government stop them before it is too late," warned Survival's director Stephen Corry.
FUNAI has released similar photographs in the past and acknowledged that Peruvian loggers are sending some indigenous people fleeing across the border to less-affected rainforests in Brazil.
The coordinator of Brazil's Amazon Indian organization COIAB, Marcos Apurina, said he hoped the images would draw attention to the plight of the indigenous peoples and encourage their protection.
"It is necessary to reaffirm that these peoples exist, so we support the use of images that prove these facts. These peoples have had their most fundamental rights, particularly their right to life, ignored -- it is therefore crucial that we protect them," he said.