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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Shark Week!

Shark Week!

Tonight is the first day of Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. Great white attacks and plenty of crazy scientists in shark cages are sure bets for the premier evening.


Andy Samberg, SNL host and recording artists, is this year’s “Chief Shark Officer”. Expect plenty of cheesy lines and overreaction to the footage, but I expect a few genuinely funny promotional shorts may actually make an appearance this year.
….He has to be better than last year’s host: Craig Fergunson. He does have more experience on the high seas.


In order to up the stakes in SW2011, the Discovery Channel will be airing “special live coverage” of sharks. Personally, I never find live footage during specials to be up to par with the rest of the programming. Maybe the Discovery Channel won’t disappoint, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

Overall, even this year’s lineup isn’t as great, it will still be enjoyable.

Because it’s Shark Week!

And that’s Beast!


Jeff with another non-political story

Images From:
http://www.buddytv.com/articles/saturday-night-live/andy-samberg-named-shark-weeks-40045.aspx
http://theworldisshaking.blogspot.com/2010/08/blog-post.html
http://broz10.wikis.birmingham.k12.mi.us/Sharks+by+Joseph

Paul Menard wins the Brickyard 400

I have never really been a fan of NASCAR. I have always thought, “how interesting can it really be to watch cars only turn left?”

Actually to my surprise, very exciting.

Starting in the 15 spot, Paul Menard managed to maneuver his way to win his most important race of the year. He celebrates his first ever Sprint Cup series win. “I have been trying to win this race for 35 years,” he explains. “I can’t believe we won Indy.”


It was a very interesting experience watching the race. I always thought that it was a simple race, it’s only cars going around in the same circle a few hundred times. But it’s incredible to watch and listen to the crew and the driver. It is all planned out when to go to pit lane and how to drive their way to kiss the bricks. The race is all about fuel amounts, stickiness of tires, and keeping the engine primed and ready for your last push to the finish.

To get into watching a race, pick your favorite right off the bat and just watch him move his way to the front. I picked the young and new Trevor Bayne in the 21 car. After winning the Daytona 500, he has been a wild card to make the Sprint Cup Finals. He made his way to 5th place with 10 laps to go but unfortunately needed to make a pit stop with 7 laps to go to get more fuel and make his final surge for the finish. Unfortunately, it did not work out for him and really hurt him in the final standings, ending in 30th.


I can honestly say I am a new fan of NASCAR.

Pictures from:
http://worldcarpictures.com
http://rubbingsracing.com

Alex with sports

Blink 182 - Up All Night

Blink 182 has been entertaining the American youth for decades, with such albums as "take off your pants and jacket" and "enmma of state". Recently they released a single called "up all night". This is their first project together since breaking up. Since the break up lead singer/guitarist Tom DeLonge (also of Box Car Racer) went on to start the popular band Angels & Airwaves. Mark Hoppus (vocals and bass) and Travis Barker (drums) went on to start +44.



While Up All Night shows major signs of the old Blink 182, it still could seem more closely related to Angels & Airwaves. This is in no way a bad thing for Angels & Airwaves was and is a major success. This is for sure a song Blink followers can enjoy. Since this single was made by Mark, Tom, and Travis (Blink 182) loyal Blink followers could have been expecting more of the old feel. Despite its Angels feel it is still a great song true to its punk roots and should be listened to. As I’m sure it did other Blink followers, this song made me anticipate Blinks up coming album.



your general writer,

Andrew


Images from: simpsons.skewsme.com, and Myspace.com

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Thank you,


your general writer,


Andrew.

Andrew's Movie Quote of The Day

"I've been listening to my gut since I was 14 years old, and frankly speaking, I've come to the conclusion my guts have s**t for brains." - John Cusack in High Fidelity










Image from: www.lostinreviews.com

The Debt Ceiling Debate – An American Issue

As Jeff has stated the national debt is around 14.3 TRILLON DOLLARS, which is actually 14,351,716,371,575.20 dollars according to the national debt website. It’s sad that we even have a said website, but I digress. On this website it also estimates how much each American share of the debt, which is around 46 thousand dollars. That is how much every American out of the 311,031,901 Americans would have to pay even little Johnny who was just born would have to pay. Jeff discusses how the Tea Party needs to back down from their principals and actually raise the debt limit for the 103rd time. And yes Jeff is right about what would happen to the United States if the debt limit isn’t increased, but on top of that the US could lose their triple A rating, which is a rating used by other nations to determine whether or not that nation is a good investment and therefore determines whether or not other nations would be willing to lend money to the US. A triple A rating is the best rating and the rating scale also determines what interest rates are when people receive loans from banks. So losing the triple A rating would increase interest rates as Jeff has said. Jeff also states that “the Tea Party might have good intentions “, but in reality does the Tea Party or for that matter any party have let alone good intentions or even the right intentions at heart.




As I watched President Obama’s address about the national debt and then House leader Boehner’s response to Obama’s address, they both made it clear to me that there was 2 options to raise the debt ceiling, A republican option and a democrat option. But what about America’s option that betters America as a whole and represents the general population of America and not one political party? My understanding of how the government should work is once the politicians are elected into office, they are supposed to come together and resolve issues together and be bipartisan. Not be so consumed with their ideology and thus say no to whatever goes against that said ideology when dealing with current issues. I’m not saying that people shouldn’t have their opinions but they shouldn’t be so consumed in an ideology that they can’t come together and compromise and give and take from each other to deal with an issue. It’s a two way street meaning one party can’t always get what they want.

Both parties agree on the debt limit should be raised, but one is for and the other against tax increases and are on different ends on how to cut spending. But the Debt Ceiling isn’t a republican or democrat issue, its an American issues that not only affects the people in Washington but every single American. A deal may or may not get done by August 2nd and I hope one does just for the sake of America in general, but the reason a deal may not happen is because of one simple fact, The Political Party system in general is the sole reason a deal might not get done and that is utterly awful in my opinion.




In George Washington’s farewell address he mentioned the harm of political parties.
“All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations under whatever plausible character with the real design to direct control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction; to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common councils and modified by mutual interests. However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion." We all knew Washington was a great man, but who would of thought he could predict the future so well because what he discussed about political parties is what we have now.

The political party system has made our government fail. Once the elected official gets elected regardless of political party will first try and help out the interest groups that helped them get there, not the voter who actually voted for them even though the voter was probably swayed to vote for the said official due to campaign adds funded by those interest groups. Nowadays officials look the same and sound the same and the election process has turned into a popularity contest. Instead of dealing with the issues of how will the official help benefit the voters that voted them in, they are more concerned with helping out the interest groups that gave them money during the campaign. Do we really think that the stimulus packages really helped out the everyday American still? Politicians today are like that of a NASCAR driver, but unlike the NASCAR driver, they aren’t so visual with who is giving them money, just look at Jimmie Johnson.




I wonder who is funding Mr. Johnson here. Anyway politicians honestly don’t give a damn about the average American even if they say they do, we aren’t the ones who gave them the millions as they were campaigning. It looks as if the Debt limit will be raised and things will be ok, but there is still a problem with our government, its political parties in general and them being influenced by interest groups. Washington didn’t have a political party, he represented the United States, America was his party. Politicians need to get in touch more with the average joe and talk to them more and actually listen to them and not the interest groups. The tax system in America needs to be fixed as well, it should become a flat tax where everyone gets taxed the same with the tax percentage between 20 and 30 percent and the government should cut military spending. The US spends 500 billon more than the next highest nation on military spending. The US needs to return to its roots of isolationism and fix up the mess at home before helping out others. How can we help out others before helping out our own citizens? America needs to change now so the next generation may actually be ok because my generation of the early 90s is already behind the 8 ball.

Images from(listed in order as they appear):
http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0711/59883.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Washington
http://finallapradio.com/2009/07/16/jimmie-johnson-grabs-best-driver-espy-award/

Ian with his take on politics

Saturday, July 30, 2011

America and International Sports

America and International Sports

First I want to say that I have played American football, football, volleyball, and water polo throughout my life and I know the rules of the other world sports that I am going to reference. I’ve started off this way because what I have to say you may not agree with and I encourage people to watch these other sports, try them out, and talk with others before writing in disagreement.

In the United States, especially in the Mid-west men are told as young boys to concentrate on “American” sports. These are your basic American football in the fall, basketball in the winter, and baseball in the spring and summer. Although these sports are popular and difficult in their own respects, I have watched other sports throughout the world that don’t get as much face time in the United States and if there was more media attention on them I feel they would gain almost immediate popularity.

Today’s post is about the international sharing between countries of sports like Football (soccer), Rugby, and Water Polo. I’ve picked these sports because our viewers are from the UK, Australia, and EU countries. As these viewers know and most people are now aware football is the most popular sport in the world. Other than the Olympics, the FIFA World Cup is one of the world’s most popular spectator’s events. The best football, in this writer’s opinion, is played by EUFA’s Champions League teams. For those of who do not know, the Champions League is a league within itself that encapsulates the best clubs in the world. These clubs are from the English(Barclay’s) Premier League, Spain’s La Liga, the German Bundesliga, Italy’s Serie A, et cetera. Although football (soccer) in the United States is quickly gaining a large fan base, we need to start calling it by its’ name, football: because of its original name and rename American Football something more universal that refrains from stealing the name of other sports. As football is growing in the United States, American football is also gaining an international fan base as clubs are popping up in Europe. Also, Wembley Stadium wants to host an NFL Super Bowl in the next 10 years to expand the sport’s popularity and gain a foothold in the international community.

The second sport I would like to bring to light is Rugby. This year will be the first year in which an American TV broadcasting company, NBC, will broadcast the Rugby World Cup LIVE. This sport is one of the roughest games on the face of the planet. For those who have never seen a game, imagine it being like American football, without ANY PADS, and the only way to advance the ball forward, is by running and passing it back. Furthermore, each time you are downed, there is no huddle, you grab the ball from the ground and continue your charge to your opponents’ goal line then touch the ball down. This is actually where American Football gets the name of the phrase “touchdown”. My high school did not have a rugby team but my college does. It is a brutal sport that I think if the young men in the mid-west started playing it at a young age, it would catch on and we would be a top competitor on the world scale. As of now The Eagles, the American Rugby team, are certainly one of the best as they qualify for most of the World Cups, however; just like football (soccer) in America, to be great in these sports, children need to be exposed to them early, and honestly, I wish I was exposed to Rugby as a kid, I would have loved it.
Another sport that I would have loved even more than I do now is water polo. Although USA water polo is large in the world venue, inside the US boarders it’s only respected as a sport in California. Growing up in the mid-west I didn’t hear of water polo until my senior year of high school and that was when I found my true calling. The United States is a great power house in Water Polo especially in the women’s field. The USA men’s team hasn’t done poorly themselves, but when there are more people to choose from that enjoy the sport, there is a greater chance of winning. Water polo is huge in eastern European countries such as Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, Lithuania, etc. These entire countries adopt this sport as a national icon, something to aspire to do every 2 years whether at the FINA world’s tournament or during the Summer Olympics, to win.

As Americans in a ‘super power nation’ we are taught at a young age to win. If we want to REALLY win, I think we should invest more time in sports that are in the global spotlight so that our wins are more impressive as we could be the best in the world, not just the best at a sport based upon others and accomplished with padding.

your international writer,

Matthew

Is a Chapter Closing on Harry Potter?

Is a Chapter Closing on Harry Potter?

According to multiple media sources, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 is expected to make a billion dollars this weekend. This is obviously very impressive and an outstanding feat for everyone involved in the making of these movie. And of course none of the success the franchise has achieved could have occurred without the support of the loyal fans.

But what does this mean for the fan base?

I, for one, think that it shows that the fans will not go away quietly. The large crowds that showed up to the theatres show that they are still passionate and involved into the fandom. And they have plenty of avenues to continue their experience.

1)
Pottermore is JK Rowling’s new Harry Potter project. It’s a new web-site that will have a ton of new information regarding the series, in an interactive experience. A million people will be selected to participate in the Beta period. A MILLION. That’s how strong the fandom is.

2)
Another possible way the fans can continue the experience is to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Florida. This theme park is the most visited portion of Orlando Studios and is expected to expand in size and scope in the near future.

Overall, the Harry Potter fandom has a great chance of staying strong in the future. Many of the fans grew up with the series and probably will not abandon the trio anytime soon.

Jeff with a non-political story

Photos From:
http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/166808/20110621/pottermore-mystery-clues-hidden-meaning-j-k-rowling.htm
http://www.dancewithshadows.com/movies/the-wizarding-world-of-harry-potter-theme-park-opens-on-june-18/

Hope Solo to be in Pace Car for Brickyard 400

Tomorrow, the Brickyard 400 begins at 1:19 p.m. and it can be seen on ESPN. Something that you may not know about the race is Hope Solo, U.S. Women’s soccer goalie will be driving the Pace car for the race.



First of all, we need to take a step back and look at this. Hope Solo, the U.S. women’s soccer star is going to be represented in the Brickyard 400 for what she did in the World Cup. I think 2 big things can be raised.

1) Women’s sports: Women’s sports is up and running. People are beginning to watch Women’s sports. I went to a buddy’s house to just watch a women’s soccer game. It is rather crazy to think that I could have been watching the college world series but I decided to watch the women play.
2) Soccer aka football - “football”: An article that is going to be posted later today, Matt is going to explain to you about the rise of soccer in the United States. I couldn’t agree with him more.

I believe that Women’s basketball, softball, soccer, and many other sports will improve tremendously in its ratings. Because of the FIFA Women’s world cup, women’s sports is on the rise.

Photo courtesy of http://ussoccer.com

Alex with sports

Tea Party Problems – Why The Debt Ceiling Debate Isn’t A Debate

Tea Party Problems – Why The Debt Ceiling May Debate Isn’t A Debate
To preface, my political beliefs are right-centered, as you might determine from the article. Comments from both sides are appreciated.

When the Tea Party conservatives got elected in the last election, they ran on smaller government, fiscal responsibility, and an anti-Obama agenda. The public seemed to agree with their pitch. With their help and energy, Republicans gained a net of 6 Senate seats to a minority of 47. They won a net of 63 House seats to a majority of 242. The Republicans had their largest majority in the House since the 1947-1949 elections!

The Tea Party brought the Republicans back from the brink of irrelevancy. The all-knowing talking heads on cable news and the big-mouths on the radio dials had predicted that the Republicans were finished – most likely taking years, if not decades, from becoming a national player again.

With the Tea Party’s help, it took 730 days to once again have a force in DC.

And did I mention that the Republicans swept state elections too? 23/37 states went Red, and the vast majority of Blue winners were in the bastion of liberalism, New England and California.
But this is where America and the Tea Party’s honeymoon ended.

The Tea Party stuck by their guns and continued to demand smaller government spending and lower taxes.

But then came along the debt. It was the 800 pound gorilla in DC. No-one talked about it because it was politically necessary to continue governmental spending and keep taxes low, which is what kept the politicians in office.

And the American people in debt. Oh, did I say 800 pound gorilla? I meant a $14.3 pork monstrocity. That’s $14,300,000,000,000.00


So the Tea Party saw that the debt ceiling was about to reach its limit in August of 2011. They decided to fight to the death over this rather than raise it for the 103rd time since 1917 (and NO that’s not a typo).

Here’s the problem: we are still not out of a terrible recession. My article is not to try and play the blame game on whose fault it is that we’re in this (cough cough – every single president and congress since we decided to start spending more than we have the ability to pay for, coupled with unprecedented unregulated financial markets and Congress’ obsession that all Americans own a house without the ability to pay for it, in relation with the fact that American corporations have been off shoring jobs that can’t be downsized, such as producing materials necessary for the growth of the American economy which is needed to keep up our power and standard of living, and the 300,000,000 American citizens who stood back and didn’t demand that the Federal government act to try and prevent catastrophic consequences for their actions and to try and prevent their decedents form having to deal with a worse situation than they could have fixed during their time– cough cough)

As I said, we’re not out of the recession. Which means the American public and business sector need all the help they so that we can grow our way back to normalcy and prosperity. The biggest things they could use are:

Not raising taxes – we need taxes low so that the public and business can spend more of their incomes and therefore kick the economy back into gear. The more money that flows into the economy, the better it performs.

Keeping interest rates low – low interest rates allow people and businesses to borrow money from banks cheaply. Low rates encourage both these parties to borrow and spend, giving other businesses income and allowing people to stay employed. It also allows businesses to invest in new software, machinery, vehicles, etc that make their products better, cheaper, and more efficient. All of these are great ways to help the economy afloat. If the feds don’t pay their bills, interest rates go up because investors need more incentive to take a riskier move, lending to the government.

Keep paying federally promised checks – Federal Law dictates that millions of citizens receive money from the government monthly. (Not debating philosophy or morality here. Law dictates that this occurs so I’m going with it for now.) People who get these checks can spend them in the economy, which once again keeps people employed. Also, things like Medicare allow the medical industry to gain profits, which they can spend on investment to create more drugs or treatments as well.

Government Spending – (Once again, not arguing preference. I’m for small government but governmental spending is a factored part of GDP) spending by the government can act like grease on gears. This influx of capitol can help the machinery of the economy keep running when it otherwise may temporarily slow down. When the government helped create the problem, it should at least help keep businesses running if the government’s own mistakes would have shut down the company all on its own. This would also help keep people employed.

But if the Debt Ceiling doesn’t get raised for the 103rd freaking time, then all of those things would stop. Kinda like this:


Not raising the limit would not allow the government to pay its bills.

YAY Defaulting on our obligations!

This would stop the government from:
paying checks to citizens (strike one)
government spending (strike two)
keeping interest rates low (strike three)
and now that the US needs more money, they might raise taxes (strike four).

As I remember form my Little League days, you only three strikes to get out. But I digress.

Basically, here’s my opinion. The Tea Party might have good intentions, but with only roughly 72 hours until default, STOP. Just STOP. Raise the debt ceiling so the sky doesn’t fall on the economy. Give DC and the American public more time to hold a real debate on how to cut spending and raise more revenue so that the US can successfully prosper, reduce the deficit, and keep its obligations to senior and other groups protected by federal law.

Jeff on politics/world events


Photos from:
http://www.demotivationalposters.org/59188?ppp=2
http://usawatchdog.com/page/2/
http://www.tupwrestlingforum.com/what-is-a-great-match_topic14274.html

Guest post of the day

Hello Friends,
I am your guest of the day Matthew. Basically my whole function on this website, and my friends will say in real life, is to throw a wrench into any argument. Being a man of Italian, Mexican, Spanish, and Colombian descent, I naturally like to argue and try to prove my friends wrong, eventhough I myself am not completely informed on the topic that is being argued. My high school friends will also ask me if I am sick if I have nothing to say for about 15 minutes and will always wonder what actually goes on in my head. The reason I'm doing this with my high school friends is because I haven't ran out of things to talk about. With my college buddies,I can go without speaking for a while because I literally ran out of things to say. I kept repeating myself and just gave up. So now that you know a bit about me, I hope that you will be entertained by my commentary and banter.

the Mexican,

Matthew

Guest of the day

Check out today's guest writer later on, Matthew. He will be discussing an overview on himself and other guest posts he plans on making later!


Your general writer,

Andrew.

Andrew's Movie Quote of The Day


"Sometimes nothing is a real cool hand" - Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke

Terrelle Pryor should be an NFL QB

As Alex has stated earlier, Terrelle Pryor is waiting to hear back from the NFL to enter the Supplemental Draft.  However, Terrelle Pryor in my opinion has the ability and talent to succeed in the NFL as a quarterback.  In the Rose Bowl game against Oregon Terrelle started to show glimpses of living up to the expectations everyone placed on him. He built on the momentum from the Oregon game and statically improved in his junior year. He completed 65% of his passes and while he matched his interception totals(11) from his sophomore season, he threw for 9 more touchdowns. Whose to say that if he had a senior season that his numbers wouldn't improve further. 


Pryor has shown that given time and the proper training he can improve as a quarterback. Terrelle would be best suited for a west coast offensive team like that of the Philadelphia Eagles, heck the Eagles should draft Pryor in the Supplemental Draft. Even though they just signed Vince Young and now have three quarterbacks on the roster, one more wouldn't hurt especially someone as talented as Pryor. Michael Vick in 2006 when he was with the Falcons had 53% completion percentage and nearly 2500 passing yards with 20 touchdowns and 13 interceptions with a quarterback rating of 76. Just last season Vick, had an MVP caliber season with a completion percentage of 63% and threw for 3000 yards with 21 touchdowns and just 6 interceptions and a quarterback rating of 100. Vick went from a decent passer and a deadly scrambler to a prolific passer and is still a deadly scrambler. Defenses actually hoped Vick would throw it on them, not anymore after last season. 


The Eagles took a chance with Vick when he was reinstated into the NFL and are taking a chance with Vince Young this year. Why not take another chance with Pryor who could be just as good as Vick if he plays to his potential. All Pryor needs is a chance and a good head coach and a good offensive coordinator. He would be given this said chance in Philadelphia where he would be learning from Andy Reid and Marty Mornhinweg. Also, he would be able to learn from both Michael Vick and Vince Young pertaining to issues both on and off the field.


Vick was able to go from being labeled as a scrambling quarterback who could hurt you more with his legs than his arm to a quarterback who can run. Vick can hurt you both ways now and has improved his decision making. The Eagles are hoping Vick can help Vince Young out and unlock his potential. Why not draft Pryor and allow both Vick and Young to help unlock Pryor's potential. In doing so the Eagles could get another great trade asset like that of Kevin Kolb. All Pryor needs is the right team and right situation to learn from and improve his skills. The Eagles offer that because they wouldn't be asking too much from Pryor and in the meantime Pryor can improve his abilities as a quarterback. The Eagles would be wise to draft Pryor and Pryor should want to go to the Eagles.


Ian with his take on sports 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Guest

Watch for our first guest Ian to make a response to Alexs' post "Terrelle Pryor into the Supplemental Draft", a political post, and possibly a response to "Chad Ochocinco to the New England Patriots"

Your General Writer,

Andrew.

Spotify has Landed!

I was recently fortunate enough to be invited to Spotify, and for those of you who don’t have it yet, register. Now!

Spotify is similar to Grooveshark in the sense that you can search music online through Spotify's massive database. You can then build playlists of this music, and whenever you have internet access, you can listen to all of it. I forgot to mention the best part though: it’s free. There are subscriptions that you can pay if you want to avoid ads or download the music to your phone or iPod, but if you just enjoy listening to as much music as you want to on your laptop for free, with the ability to save playlists, then Spotify is perfect for you.

Another thing I love about Spotify is its connection with Facebook. Any of your Facebook friends who have Spotify show up on the right side of the screen, and you can drag and drop songs on their icon to send them music. So, if you want your best friend to know that you’re listening to “Party in the USA”, just drag and drop it into their profile. You can even send a message along with the song. For instance, in this example, you’d probably add, “I have terrible taste in music. I hope your ears bleed as much as mine do when I listen to this song on repeat. Have a nice day, buddy. <3”. Luckily, your friend doesn’t have to listen to the song if they don’t want to, but maybe it will be the perfect addition that they never even thought of for their Gangsta Rap playlist.

Another cool feature is the ability to share entire playlists, along with displaying your top songs and artists based on what you’ve listened to. Just a warning though, Spotify has some strange fascination with “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People. I listened to it twice and it’s my top song. Yet, no matter how hard I try, I can’t get Snoop Dogg on my top artists list…



So maybe they’re a little racist, but regardless, it’s a fantastic service and I would encourage everyone to sign up if they haven’t already. It’s a great way to discover new music and keep track of it so you can keep enjoying it.

You can register for Spotify here:  http://www.spotify.com/us/hello-america/

Image courtesy of: www.celebrityhotnews.net

Carlin with Music

Andrew's Movie Quote of The Day

"Inside each and every one of us is our one, true authentic swing. Something we was born with. Something that's ours and ours alone. Something that can't be learned. Something that's got to be remembered" - Bagger Vance in The Legend of Bagger Vance played by Will Smith. Also starring Matt Damon.


Image from: http://movies.701panduan.com/movie.php?id=1807

Barcelona

Several nights ago, I had the pleasure of visiting Barcelona. No, not the beautiful Spanish city unfortunately, but rather the restaurant located in German Village that features entrees with a Spanish influence. Upon entering the building, you can’t help but notice classic, worn hardwood floors and high tin ceiling. Though the restaurant looks small at first, it opens up into a single large dining room with subdued orange walls and a patio towards the rear. While all diners are in the same room and each table is located as close as possible to the next, the dining room is surprisingly ambient. There is noise, but I by no means felt like I needed to raise my voice to talk to the people sitting at my table, making for a comfortable atmosphere.


The menu offers a variety of options each featuring traditional Spanish cuisine and also includes an extensive list of appetizers. There is a main dish for any diner with options ranging from filet to chicken to scallops. Spanish rice or potatoes and vegetables accompany most entrĂ©es. There are also a number of appetizers including, but definitely not limited to, soups, cheese, and calamari.  

A cheese plate and tray of Spanish cured sausages was the perfect introduction to Spanish flavors for someone who had never had Spanish food. The cheese plate consisted of three cheeses—Rosemary Manchego, Olive Manchego, and Cabra al Vino. Queso Ibericho and Covadanga were additional options that could be added to the plate. A small triangle of each of the semi-hard cheeses was topped with a thin slice of a baguette. Alone, the plate would not have been satisfying. Pairing the plate with the tray of Spanish sausages allowed for unique combinations and added some depth to both appetizers. The sausage tray featured around 10 different sausages, each varying greatly from the others. Accompanied with the sourdough bread provided at each table (3 loaves in total for my table. Hey, I’m Italian, what can I say?), the cheese and sausage could almost have been a meal for those with smaller appetites. Though delicious and satisfying together, I’m not sure the cheese and sausage were completely worth the $15 price tag apiece.




The main dish, Filet con Queso Azul, was both pleasing aesthetically and generous in portion. A large piece of filet cooked to a perfect medium and topped with bleu cheese lay over a bed of mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus. The filet was tender and juicy and went well with the mashed potatoes as they kept the smoky flavor from the grill from becoming too overpowering. All entrées ordered by the others at the table were presented well and would fill up any hungry diner.

Barcelona provides a relaxing dining atmosphere and good service, especially considering the size of the restaurant. Though expensive, the restaurant offers generous portions and flavors you’re not likely to find anywhere else in Columbus. It is a good choice if you like unique flavors and just want to enjoy a nice dinner.

Location: 263 East Whittier Street, Columbus, OH

Website: http://www.barcelonacolumbus.com/

Erin with Restaurants

Barcelona on Urbanspoon

Images from:
www.barcelonacolumbus.com

Limitless - psychology 101

Let me start this off by saying, Limitless is a good movie. It keeps the viewer involved and Bradley Cooper is his usual quick witted affluent self. That's not what my issue is with this movie. It's the psychology. The saying "we only use 10% of our brain." (not to mention at another point in the movie they say 20%). As a psychology buff this does nothing but aggravate me.

You use 100% of your brain, 100% of the time. While its not all dedicated to higher consciousness and cognition (in fact true to the saying that is highly limited)... A plethora of functions we don't want to think about. Such as breathing, blinking, swallowing, and involuntary reflex. Other things we CAN NOT think about or we would DIE. Such as heart rate, nerve impulses etc. Right now your brain is receiving impulses through your eye which sends messages to the occipital lobes of your brain, which is then sent to your prefrontal cortex- which allows you to think. Do you really want to have to tell your brain to send the message from your eye to occipital lobes to the prefrontal cortex, THEN think about it. Your brain is an instant processing machine with up to FOUR POINT EIGHT TERABYTES OF INFORMATION.... that's 4.8... Your computers usually work with 1... sometimes 2. Just by reading this and scrolling you are using a greater portion than 10% of the brain, your corpus collosum is sending messages between the right and left hemisphere, your hippicampus is formulating memories, your limbic system is controlling your heart rate and bodily functions, your brain is in constant flux, even when you sleep you use more than 10% of your brain. The pons sends messages to the prefrontal cortex, where information is interrupted and sent to your higher consciousness, and new memories are being formulated. Your brain re-visits the days encounters.

Please, don't buy into "you only use 10% of your brain" .... You're selling it short, it does more for you than you can imagine! (So wear a helmet when biking)

Your general writer,

Andrew

Terrelle Pryor into the Supplemental Draft

Terrelle Pryor is awaiting to hear from the NFL to enter the Supplemental Draft. The draft will allow him to play this year in the NFL or otherwise he would just sit at home and wait a year before he can enter the real draft.

He should be allowed to enter the supplemental draft. He was banned by Ohio State to go back on campus for 5 years. So he needs a place to go. The NFL cannot refuse putting this guy in the supplemental draft.

But here is my issue. Pryor is in no way, shape, or form to be a NFL quarterback. He lacks accuracy and his throwing motions are just poor. Don't get me wrong, he was one of the best quarterbacks in college last year and the scariest 3rd down back last year, but that will not transition to the NFL.



Pryor is a wonderful athlete. Therefore, if I would to take him in the draft, I would move him to Tight End. Pryor, 6'6" and 223 pounds, would be a little small for tight end but would make for an incredible recieving tight end.

Honestly, if Pryor is given the chance to play in the NFL this year, he would fit with the New York Jets. Mark Sanchez needs recieving threats. We know the jets can run the ball and are one of the best defenses in the NFL, but you need an attack on offense. Pryor would make a good WR/TE for the Jets and allow for Sanchez more options down field.

Photo is from http://fantasyknuckleheads.com/

Alex with sports

Libya - Why This Sucks

(To preface, I support the Obama administration's decision to enforce UN 1973 and Operation Odyssey Dawn.  The following is a summary of the situation and my views on several aspects of the situation)

Earlier this year, the Arab Spring started in the Middle East.  Across the region, protesters began taking to the streets to demand political changes.  Governments fell in Tunisia and Egypt as other leaders successfully suppressed the revolts in places like Bahrain.
Libya is different – and that’s why the situation sucks.

Imagine it like this:



Not fun.
Libya is run by a dictator, Colonel Muammar Qaddafi.  For decades he ran the country of only a few million people in a fairly large nation with a lot of inhospitable terrain.  Kinda the Alaska of the Middle East.  Well, more like a desert version of Canada.
I digress.
So countless Libyans took to the streets to demand that the colonel relinquish power.  For weeks they braved lethal repression from the regimes military until they realized that Qaddafi would not relinquish power.  Citizens grabbed any weapons they could find and started to overtake small towns across the nation.  The second largest city, Benghazi, became the rebel stronghold, and quickly became their new capitol.  The rebels seemed to be gaining strength and the US demanded that Qaddafi relinquish power.  The all-knowing talking heads predicted Qaddafi’s downfall was imminent.

Did that happen?  Nope. You see, dictators don’t like to give up power.  It’s kinda the hallmark of dictators.
His military began a counter-offensive and seemed poised to destroy the rag-tag group of rebels (and slaughter everyone suspected of being disloyal to the regime).  Panicked that Qaddafi was going to remain in control of the nation (and also the Libyan oil), the US pressured the UN to issue a resolution that allowed for foreign force to be used to protect civilians.
Immediately, NATO (aka mainly the US) began bombing Qaddafi military targets across the country and the rebels began retaking small cities across the nation.  The current situation looks like this:

File:Libyan Uprising.svg
(The rebels control the red villages and Qaddafi still holds strong with the green areas.)Does this map look like a nice and pretty?  Do you see well defined battle fronts and lines?

To make you feel better, neither do I.
Or the US
Or NATO
…………YAY

So this brings us to our Hard Place.  The rebels aren’t moving fast enough or with great enough tactics to win even remotely soon.  Like I said, they’re citizens with captured guns (or sometimes broken or decades old weapons) facing a well equipped, proficiently trained, professionally paid army.  The rebels can’t legally be given weapons or advisers to help them fight.  But we can give them non-lethal aid, like canteens and food. 

Don’t get me wrong, you need those things to continue to survive and fight a military campaign.  But you can’t destroy a tank or artillery crew with a bottle of water or hot meal. 

Oh and did I mention that factions (a minority but still a worrisome group) among the rebels have been linked to Al Qaeda?
…………YAY
So our situation looks like this.  We need Libyan oil to help our struggling economy get back on its feet.  So when the protests broke out, we supported the side that was looked close to victory and promised a more democratic future.  A win-win! But our new-found buddies overplayed their hand and overstretched their lines and almost got annihilated. 

So we got involved in another combat theatre in the Middle East; and we can’t seem to swing the tide of the battle so we may be stuck there without an exit strategy.

To be clear, I think the US had good intentions going into this.  We did protect millions from a humanitarian disaster because Qaddafi vowed to go house to house to wipe out any resistance and seek vengeance on his populist.

My only disappointment is that it seems that we haven’t learned our lesson.  For all the controversy regarding the Iraq War, we supposedly learned that we should not become cocky with our military.  We have the strongest military in the world, but a well thought out and defined plan is still necessary before we wage war.    I think that at a time of great economic hardships in the US, and our military  fighting openly in Iraq and Afghanistan (and not so openly) in Pakistan and Yemen, without a well thought out plan and well financed mission, maybe we’ve bitten off more than we can chew and its going to leave a nasty aftertaste to boot.
Jeff on politics/world events

Pictures from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Libyan_Uprising.svg
http://www.lowbird.com/all/view/2009/11/a-hard-place

New Comer!

We're welcoming the addition of our new blogger, Erin - she will be contributing on the topic of restaurants.

Remember to look for posts by Alex with sports, Jeff with politics, Carlin with music, and my posts as well!

Your general writer,

Andrew

The Movie: Paul

I know these posts can detract from one another, so for sports go to the right of the page and look for two posts titled "North Carolina? Seriously?" and "Chad Ochocinco to the New England Patriots" - both contributed by our sports writer Alex. For Music look to the right of the page and check out Carlins' post just below this "The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie"... for a brief description of ourselves look to the right and click on "First Post." Thank you.

Now for my post. The movie recently released called Paul was by no means a terrible movie, but due to the cast I expected more. It was written by Nick Frost and Simon Peg, with a staggering cast list of: Simon Peg, Nick Frost, Jeffery Tambor, Jane Lynch, David Koechner, Sigourney Weaver, Seth Rogen, Bill Harder, and others a viewer may recongnize. With a cast such as this the viewer would expect nonstop laughs.... It just isn't so. While it is humorous and good for a few laughs here and there, it is no where near the potential of this cast, and these writers. If you're looking for an entertaining movie, Paul is a good movie to watch. If you're looking for outstanding....I suggest finding another movie.

For cast, and summary reference I suggest going to http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1092026/

Your general Writer,

Andrew.

The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie

I would like to start by mentioning that I’m a guitarist who has been playing for over 14 years, and a lot of what I’ve played over the years has been greatly influenced by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. I have always loved their combination of funk, rock, punk, and the ability to generate some of the catchiest songs ever written. Despite my love for them, I’m genuinely worried about their next album, I’m With You.
                        
With all due respect, and I mean with all due respect, “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie” is terrible. Okay, let’s be fair, it’s not the worst song ever written, but after 5 years of wondering whether RHCP would ever write music again, this is the song they release? It’s almost as bad as “Original Fire” coming out ahead of Audioslave’s Revelations album. For those of you who forgot about that, you’re the lucky ones. I still think about that atrocity every time I hear Chris Cornell’s voice.

So why is “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie” so bad? I mean, it has cowbell, Flea, and the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s name behind it. Unfortunately it also has terrible lyrics and it lacks John Frusciante. Kiedis was always good at compensating for bad lyrics by singing fast or having the other band members harmonize, and when there were great lyrics, he would belt them out. This time, he attempts to belt out subpar lyrics and his voice doesn’t have the same power anymore. As for the guitar part, it’s mediocre at best, and the solo is a pathetic attempt to emulate Frusciante over a span of 17 seconds by playing a few notes with a chorus effect. Josh Klinghoffer, if you’re reading this, listen to me. Play your own style. Frusciante was one of the more revolutionary guitarists of the past couple of decades, so trying to copy his sound will only lead to disappointment.

Overall, the song doesn’t strike me as memorable, and it has no attitude or presence, which was always the best aspect of the Chili Pepper’s music. I still have my hopes up for my favorite band, but if “I’m With You” is an album full of “The Adventure of Rain Dance Maggie”s, you won’t see me in line to buy it. I’ll just keep listening to Californication.

You can listen to the song on youtube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8QoB3sifzw

Carlin with Music

Thursday, July 28, 2011

North Carolina? Seriously?

If you haven't heard, North Carolina Coach, Butch Davis, was fired after an incident with a few players already signing agents while playing college football (Very illegal just for those who don't know). This happened earlier last year and the team played without the players who have caused themselves ineligible. They still ended the season 7-5 with a thrilling overtime win over Tennessee in the Motor City bowl.

Before Butch Davis, North Carolina was nobody. The only thing that mattered to North Carolina is "Did they beat Duke?". They were worthless and not good in the ACC. Just not a good team at all. But once Butch Davis came in, they did extremely well. Winning games, going to bowls, fighting for ACC Championship titles. I mean What was wrong with this guy.

A man was being interviewed on the news this morning and he said that it was a good thing that he was fired because it showed "integrity"... which is utter bullshit. If they were gonna fire Davis over the situation, they should have done that at the beginning of the year when this was all coming out. Even worse is that Davis came out with the information and gave it to the NCAA (unlike Ohio State). So he did the right thing, which shows integrity...

Davis may not bring the classiest men into North Carolina, but he sure does win games. And that is what matters. Davis's contract, which still has some years left on it, says if he is fired with no purpose, then he is awarded his guaranteed money, of $3,000,000. So North Carolina, cough up the money. There is no reason for him to be fired.

Alex with sports

Chad Ochocinco to the New England Patriots

First off I would like to say welcome to the start of my sports rant. I am very involved with sports, since practically the only thing I watch is ESPN. So I try my best to stay informed and make my own arguements.

Now to the big news, Chad has moved on and has made a deal with the New England Patriots for a 3 year deal. The Cincinnatti Bengals now get 2 draft picks in replacement for Ochocinco. Last year, Ochocinco caught 67 passes for 831 yards and 4 touchdowns.

That is rather unimpressive if you ask me. But I do feel this is a win win for both teams. The Patriots earlier last year traded away Randy Moss, their deep threat man. Without him, the Patriots had no reciever to reckon with in the deeper part of the field. So this deal to pick up Ochocinco, who has proven earlier in his career he can run, is going to be the Patriots deep threat man. Thus this pick up for the Patriots makes them one team to have on your radar to win the Superbowl, like every other.

Now to the Bengals, good old Ohio. I actually do like what they did here. I thought the combination of Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco was too much. Too much talk for one team to handle, hence why they fell apart throughout the season and late in games. By getting rid of Ochocinco, they opened up a spot for Jordan Shipley to step up and make a name for himself in the NFL. But Bruce Gradkowski has to get him the ball. By also getting 2 draft picks, they will maybe in the draft be able to find answers to their Offensive line and their poor defense, especially at stopping the run.

All in all: good trade for both teams.

Alex with sports

First post

Hello Readers!

We are a group of bloggers writing about various topics including (but not limited to): sports, politics, music, and pop culture. The blog will feature several authors, and regarding multiple topics. The next blog will be posted shortly by our sports talk specialist - a collegiate football player, Alex.

As of now our authors include:
Jeff (Politics)
Alex (Sports)
Andrew (Various)
Carlin (Music)

Our authors come from various backgrounds and age sets to give you insight on all topics.

Various planned guests that will contribute will be named later. Our first will most likely be a political consultant with more than 30 years of experience, working with local government all the way to presidential candidates. He is also an author of an award winning book - The Butchers Thumb.

Your comments and Emails are appreciated. Don't forget to follow us on Twitter, find us on Google+, and subscribe to our YouTube channel!

Sincerely,
all our blogs