Friday, June 25, 2010

Eminem - Recovery Review by Josh Grattan

Eminem's highly anticipated new album Recovery hit stores last Monday, June 21. When critics and fans think there is nothing else he can say to shock and surprise, think again.

For over a decade now Eminem has never stopped coming out with new original material with every album. Eminem aka Marshall Bruce Mathers III aka Slim Shady has run the rap game for years, when his albums hit the stores the fans go crazy and when he goes on hiatus they cant stop begging for his return.

In the past few years Eminem has been through a very dramatic part of his life, from the death of his best friend and fellow rapper Proof in April 2006, to another marriage and divorce to Kim Scott Mathers in 2006, and more drug abuse resulting in an overdose and rehab. Back in August 2005 I personally saw Eminem live in Massachusetts and even then I could tell that he was looking strange and kind of sickly. Despite that he still put on the most amazing performance I have ever witnessed, and shortly after that show he took a long hiatus from the world of rap leaving the fans and media to wonder if he was retiring or if it was merely a break. Once he announced his return the fans lined up for him once again... but what he delivered was nothing like what the public expected.

Mr. Mather's first studio album after his time away was Relapse. A very different album full of lyrical punchlines and ludicrous accents to blend new words into incredible rhymes. Many did not understand what Eminem was going for and thought that he had lost his touch. But when you sit down and really listen to the lyrics to each song you will find that he never missed a beat, just switched it up a bit. The best example was in his song Insane where he reaches a new level of offensive lyrics and disturbing concepts but when looking closely to each line you can see the genious behind the madness.

Less than a year later Eminem released Recovery which truly showed that his talent never left. Each song is a lyrical masterpiece, throughout the whole album he raps much faster than in the past and with more intensity and passion than we've seen from him since Lose Yourself. In his past albums, each song was different and went from serious to playful, from dark to light, fast to slow, and from harsh to passionate. In just one album he would call women some of the most foul names possible but in another song deeply express his love for his daughter, profess his true love for Kim, and show a sweet side that he usually hides.

A very shocking change that I, a long time fan, found in this album was which other artists he chose to feature on his tracks. In the past he frequently collaborated with 50 Cent, Dr. Dre, D12, Obie Trice, and other rappers in the "Shady/Aftermath family". But in Recovery none of these artists were featured, instead he worked with Rihanna, Lil Wayne, and P!nk. A very suprising decision that Eminem kind of explains in his song Going Through Changes where he says, "My friends just can't understand this new me, that's understandable man".

In Recovery none of these patterns held true. Eminem released material unlike anything he's released in the past. Each song had the same intensity, the same fast paced beats with quick words so hard to follow you need to focus to catch the lyrical genius behind each bar. One thing that remains the same is Eminem's joy for the shock value, it's undeniable that Mr. Mathers has an uncanny ability to say things to grab his fans attention and say, "What the $%&#?"

1. Cold Wind Blows
2. Talkin' 2 Myself
3. On Fire
4. Won't Back Down
5. W.T.P.
6. Going Through Changes
7. Not Afraid
8. Seduction
9. No Love
10. Space Bound
11. Cinderella Man
12. 25 to Life
13. So Bad
14. Almost Famous
15. Love the Way You Lie
16. You're Never Over

(Photos courtesy of Google Images)

Oprah Winfrey Network's show contest: vote for Aimee Allison!

Aimee Allison
While others fight it out between Doctor Phyllis and Zack Anner, Oakland, California has a contestant who should win the right to have her own TV Show on the Oprah Winfrey Network: Aimee Allison.

Aimee Allison is a friend of this blogger (let's get that out of the way, first) and has a long career in broadcast communications.  She's interviewed scores of San Francisco Bay Area personalities on the Comcast Network and as the morning show host on KPFA, as well as via her blog 

But this isn't a blog to post her resume; it's just to say she would be a great fresh new face on the national scene and on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

Aimee just likes to help people tell their stories, which she's done in Oakland for some time now.

Check out Aimee's video presentation and vote for her, which you can do with a click here: vote for Aimee Allison for the Oprah Winfrey Network.

Michael Vick in trouble again; NFL looks into shooting in VA

The NFL's Philadelphia Eagles Star Quarterback Michael Vick is in big trouble, again. Yes. Again. Just when you thought, well, OK, this blogger thought, Vick was finally doing the right thing, he goes and screws up again. Or so it seems. This space was happy to see the return of Vick to the NFL:

What Michael Vick was accused of doing is shooting a friend of his, well, a former friend. But it was someone, Quanis Phillips, Vick supposedly shot. Phillips is injured and was discharged Friday afternoon. It happened after a fight at a party called "Michael Vick's ALL WHITE 30th Birthday Bash."

Here comes the Dog comments, Mike...
Quanis Phillips is a Vick friend who was one of the co-defendants in the federal dogfighting case that landed Michael Vick in jail for an 18-month federal sentence. He's also someone Michael Vick was to stay away from.

The Vick Party was thrown by a number of his friends including Alan Iverson, who's name is on a web page that reads:

Newport News’ biggest export, Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Michael Vick, is returning to his home state for his 30th birthday party – the “All White Birthday Bash.” The former Falcon and Hokie is going to be bringing a few of his celebrity friends along to his party, which is going to be at Guadalajara in Virginia Beach, and you’re all invited! The only catch – make sure you’re only wearing white!

103Jamz’s own DJ Les and MC JaPharii will be providing the soundtrack to the party, and there are a ton of special guests lined up to come, including DeAngelo Hall, LaShawn Merrit, Allen Iverson, Mia Michelle, Delicia Cordon & the De Creme Models, and Pusha T (one of the members of Clipse), who’s also from the area.

If you want to hang out with this star-studded crew, who will also be decked head-to-toe in their finest white attire, make sure you get your tickets right now, as they’re selling out as we speak!

Thursday June 24th, at 9pm
Guadalajara Town Center
4611 Columbus Street
Virginia Beach, VA 23462
Get tickets.
General admission $30

What seems to have happened is Quanis Phillips crashed a party he was not supposed to attend. It's not likely Vick would invite someone he's not supposed to be seen with. Especially at a point where Vick's one great game from starting for the Eagles.

Here's the thing: Vick says he wasn't at the party. And no witnesses are talking.

Stay tuned.

Albert Haynesworth, Ray Lewis, Lavar Arrington: Redskins DT sit out update

Albert doesn't want to be the NT or the DE in the 3-4
Washington Redskins Star Defensive Tackle Albert Haynesworth has held out of required minicamps because of his disagreement with Head Coach Mike Shanahan's planned use of the 3-4 Defense. The way Haynesworth approached the issue - taking the $22 million the Redskins owed him after the trade period past and not seeking a trade to another NFL team, then holding out - has made Albert the bullseye for a number of irrational comments from a media that generally doesn't understand football strategy or the NFL player's concern for injury.

But what's different this time is that some of Albert Haynesworth's teammates, and some NFL Legends, have come down on him too. Most notable was Baltimore Ravens Middle Linebacker Ray Lewis, who said on a radio show that what defense he played in wasn't an issue to him and that Albert should essentially just do his job.

That caused this blogger to call out the linebacking legend for being a hypocrite because in 2005 Lewis said that he preferred to play in a 4-man front defense and be a middle linebacker and not an inside linebacker as in the 3-4.

That was picked up by my friend Mike Florio at Pro Football, and then seen by the great, retired NFL Middle Linebacker Lavar Arrington, who was on the same radio show as Lewis. Arrington contacted me via Twitter to air a few choice words in my direction:

@zennie62 can agree to disagree take care
June 22, 2010 1:29:52 PM PDT via web

@zennie62 at the end of the day if youve ever played a team sport you know sometimes "u have to take one for the team" be well educated men
1:29 PM Jun 22nd via web in reply to zennie62

@zennie62 are they wrong?are his teammates wrong for feeling like hes selfish and sold them out?hes the only one not in camp?did his team
1:24 PM Jun 22nd via web in reply to zennie62

@zennie62 forget about the coach and the money how about his teammates that have defended him for all this time?
1:23 PM Jun 22nd via web in reply to zennie62

@zennie62 he has for me is a embarrassmentto everyone who sacraficed for him to even have the opportunity to make that type of money
1:22 PM Jun 22nd via web in reply to zennie62

@zennie62 u can disagree and like i said not in malice you can take or leave it but defending haynesworth for handling his issues the way
1:20 PM Jun 22nd via web in reply to zennie62

@zennie62 than just yourself! take care i did not do this in malice i did this because your opinion on this is not correct
12:56 PM Jun 22nd via web

@zennie62 are correct they think you are making yourself look like you dnt know what u r talking about you should be more careful for more
12:54 PM Jun 22nd via web

@zennie62 your post is not accurate nor is appropriate and you should really rethink retracting this mess you posted people dnt think you
12:50 PM Jun 22nd via web

@zennie62 haynesworth? if you want some fame do it the right way not speaking out of term of things you have limited knowledge of
12:47 PM Jun 22nd via web

@zennie62 your article makes no sense u seem to have a decent bio but for you to call one of the best lbs of all time a hypocrite over albrt
12:46 PM Jun 22nd via web

Well, OK, a lot of choice words. Arrington and I agreed to disagree. I simply hold that the 3-4 in the Oklahoma-style (with a nose tackle and ends over the tackles) that some teams employ will ruin the career of a lineman and a defensive tackle. I didn't always believe that, but increase in the size, strength, and speed of offensive linemen has made me alter my view. You have to fight fire with fire and that means more, big defensive linemen who can take on the offensive line.

This, the 4-3, or 4-something.

Haynesworth will be back to the skins

Albert Haynesworth issued this statement according to The Washington Post:

Despite my current differences with the Redskins, I have always planned to attend training camp and honor my contract. As I have previously said, I am continuing to prepare for the season individually and will report on time, in shape and ready to play football. Any issues I have with the club I will discuss privately and therefore do not plan to make any further public comments about this matter.

So it looks like Al's coming back. But Coach Mike should rethink his defensive ideas. The 3-4 is just plain stupid to play in the Oklahoma style.

When The New England Patriots played the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football, the Saints just nuked the Pats base 3-4 Oklahoma Defense. Frankly, I enjoyed it, as the Saints used every basic trick in the book a good offense employs to beat the 3-4, and yet the Pats stayed with it. Wild.

Stay tuned.

Twitter is better for Journalism than Facebook - Nikky Raney

Nikky Raney's Top Five Reasons Twitter is better for The Future of Journalism thanFacebook.
(In no particular order).

5. Privacy: This is going to sound quite ironic, but in regards to journalism Facebook's privacy is a problem. Facebook has gotten slack for its lack of privacy, but when it comes to journalism Facebook is far too private. Facebook status updates can only be seen by friends/networks. Even when status updates are chosen to be shown to "everyone," it will not be shown to "everyone." Twitter's lack of privacy is what causes it to be a better tool than Facebook in regards to the Future of Journalism. Twitter allows private accounts, but any news outlet/journalist is not going to make a private Twitter account. It doesn't matter who is following or who is a follower, the post is likely to be seen by more people via Twitter than Facebook. Even the public accounts on Facebook are not comparable to Twitter in popularity.

4. Update Frequency: Friends get very annoyed when other friends constantly update Facebook statuses. 10 tweets in 20 minutes is more acceptable than 10 status updates in 20 minutes. That's a problem, because journalists & news outlets need to be constantly updating. There is a lot that needs to be said. Breaking news happens, and interacting through tweets is allowed to be frequent. I am not saying that 20 status updates in 5 minutes is appropriate, but it would be a lot more acceptable on Twitter rather than Facebook.

3. Retweets: This one is simple. On Facebook you can't retweet. Retweeting is very important, because it passes around information and allows others to share news. Retweeting is a way to get information out to a larger audience. Reposting someone else's Facebook Status would just seem strange.

2. 140-words: 140 words is the length of most texts messages (some phones allow 160). 140 characters is the maximum length of a Twitter status. Facebook allows for 240 characters. The limit allows for easy for easy reading. It forces users to only post the most important things. Other than Sarah Palin, most users are able to find a way to say everything within the 140 characters without needing to use too many abbreviations, wordsmushing, or numbers 4 words. Especially when it comes to news/journalism those users are very good with word count. Journalists are learned that a word count is very important. Someone says an article is 153 words. It is going to be exactly 153 words. Twitter makes the maximum 140, and that makes tweets easy to read, quick to read, and more enjoyable.

1. Sharing: Sharing news on Twitter is so much easier than sharing news on Facebook.Shareaholic is the best thing in the world. Everyone should have that on dashboard, internet browser, etc. That thing is life. Without Shareaholic sharing sites/links/etc via social networking would be a pain.

For more about how Twitter is a great tool for journalism go to

I do love Facebook; Facebook has resources for journalists that Twitter does not. But I think that when it comes to the top 5 mentioned above - Twitter has Facebook beat.

Sorry that I went so long without posting.
I was enjoying spending a few days without going on the computer.
It's good to know I can still survive without Internet if I had to. :)

I know that I said I would no longer blog about Tila Tequila, but I read from Tila's Rot Spot that Tila's suicide attempt was a joke. I saw screen shots of her blog entry where she admits that it was all a big funny joke. That really isn't funny to me. It's a serious topic, and my jaw dropped when I found out. That is the lowest thing that someone could ever do, and I don't even want to blog about her, because anyone who jokes about suicide is obviously looking for attention. She admits that it's a joke. Oh look what I did, I blogged about her without blogging about her. Others did the blogging for me TilaTruth & Spiked Tequila covered it as well. She also decided to go ahead and attack me for not being on TMZ's blogroll...when she isn't on it, and us at are.

Sidebar Oakland Cocktail Competition Monday June 28th, 7:30 PM

Sidebar Oakland
Sidebar Oakland, the bar and restaurant at 542 Grand Avenue in Oakland, CA, is hosting a No. 209 Gin Competition featuring some of the best bartenders in Oakland.

What's cool about this event is it's a showcase for Oakland's new food scene, as in the past you had to go over to San Francisco to get a great drink. Not any more.

The list of bartenders competing is a who's who of Oakland mix-a-lots: Matt B from Sidebar, Brian M also from Sidebar, Marjon B from Era Art Bar, Josh P from Pican, Alex S from Marzano, Matt from The Wood Tavern, Brian M from Lavende East, Jon C from The Grand Tavern, and Eric from Adesso.

The best bartender will win a great prize, I'm told, and the winner will be selected by a professional panel of judges.

Come on down to Lake Merritt, where Sidebar is located, this Monday.

Brazil vs Portugal World Cup 2010 | USA v. Ghana Saturday

The Brazil vs Portugal World Cup 2010 match ended in a tie Friday. The long-anticipated match pitted the Number one Brazil team against the number three ranked Portugal team, so while you'd expect an epic battle, the actual result was described as "lackluster".

Brazil, playing without three it its stars, performed at a lower level with their replacements. Julio Batista, Dani Alves, and Nilmar put in a good effort, but it wasn't enough to win. Portugal, which obliterated North Korea 7-0 earlier in the week, showed none of the form expected after such an amazing performance.

Instead, what we got was sloppy play by both sides.

There were seven yellow card cautions, four for Portugal and three for Brazil, and that was in the first half. There were a total of 29 fouls.

USA v. Ghana Saturday

The USA Soccer team takes on the Ghana Black Stars in a single elimination, do-or-die match Saturday at 11:30 AM PDT / 2:30 PM EDT. President Barack Obama paid a call to the USA team Thursday to congratulate them on their victory and give them vocal support leading to the battle against Ghana.

If you're in Oakland, a great place to watch the match is the Era Art Bar in downtown Oakland near the corner of Grand and Broadway. Here's the video from Wednesday's great win:


Adam Sandler, Gabourey Sidibe, Anna Kendrick newest Academy members

Adam Sandler
Adam Sandler, who stars in the movie Grown Ups, Zoe Saldana, who played Lt. Uhura in Star Trek and "Neytiri" in Avatar, and Anna Kendrick from Twilight, join James Gandolfini, Mo’Nique, Carey Mulligan, Gabourey Sidibe and 128 others as The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) has announced that 135 entertainment industry luminaries have been invited to become members in the Academy.

The organization that presents the annual Oscars telecast has assembled a combination of stars
both young and old as well as public relations specialists, artists, executives, and others.

Within the list there are some surprises. Gabourey Sidibe is just the second actress in the 21st Century that within three years has went from not acting, to acting, to being an nominee for an Oscar, to becoming an Academy member.

Three years ago, Sidibe wasn't an actress. Then she was picked to play the title roll in Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire, which became a hit last year. This year, Sidibe was honored with a nomination for the award of Best Actress in A Leading Roll, which eventually went to Academy-member Sandra Bullock.

Gabourey Sidibe

The only other actress to have enjoyed such a fast rise was Jennifer Hudson, who went from American Idol in 2004 to Dreamgirls in 2006, which landed her the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

Academy allowed 135 members not the 180 maximum members

AMPAS policy is to extend membership invitations to as many as 180 people. This year, just 135 got the nod because, as the AMPAS press release reports "the several branch committees endorsed fewer candidates than were proposed to them." President Tom Sherak said "The work of these individuals has been appreciated by moviegoers all around the world. The Academy is proud to invite each and every one of them."

The new members will be welcomed into the Academy at an invitation-only reception at the Academy’s Fairbanks Center for Motion Picture Study in Beverly Hills in September 2010.

Academy Membership isn't a guessing game

How a person becomes an Academy member isn't a guessing game. From personal information, if a person is associated with a movie that's nominated for an award they get automatic consideration in a kind of spreadsheet, systemic format. Not just actors and actresses, but producers and cinematographers and animators. Here's the full list, below, with more blog posts to follow.

The New AMPAS Members

Tobin Bell – Saw, The Firm
Vera Farmiga – Up in the Air, The Departed
Miguel Ferrer – Traffic, RoboCop
James Gandolfini – In the Loop, Get Shorty
Anna Kendrick – Up in the Air, Twilight
Mo’Nique – Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire, Phat Girlz
Carey Mulligan – An Education, Public Enemies
Jeremy Renner – The Hurt Locker, 28 Weeks Later
Ryan Reynolds – The Proposal, X-Men Origins: Wolverine
LaTanya Richardson Jackson – Mother and Child, Losing Isaiah
Peter Riegert – Traffic, Crossing Delancey
Sam Robards – A.I. Artificial Intelligence, American Beauty
Saoirse Ronan – The Lovely Bones, Atonement
Zoe Saldana – Avatar, Star Trek
Adam Sandler – Funny People, Punch-Drunk Love
Peter Sarsgaard – An Education, "Boys Don’t Cry"
Gabourey Sidibe – Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire
Shaun Toub – Iron Man, The Kite Runner
Christoph Waltz – Inglourious Basterds
George Wyner – A Serious Man, American Pie 2

Ken Bielenberg – Monsters vs Aliens, Shrek
Peter de Seve – Ice Age Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Ratatouille
Steve Hickner – Bee Movie, "The Prince of Egypt"
Angus MacLane – Toy Story 3, WALL-E
Darragh O’Connell – Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty, Give Up Yer Aul Sins
Simon Otto – How to Train Your Dragon, Kung Fu Panda
Bob Pauley – Toy Story 3, Monsters, Inc.
Willem Thijssen – The Aroma of Tea, A Greek Tragedy"

Art Directors
Kim Sinclair – Avatar, Cast Away
Dave Warren – Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Bridget Jones’s Diary

Darcy Antonellis
John Lowry

Casting Directors
Laura Rosenthal – The Messenger, I’m Not There

Barry Ackroyd – The Hurt Locker, United 93
Christian Berger – The White Ribbon, Cache
Hagen Bogdanski – The Young Victoria, The Lives of Others
Shane Hurlbut – Terminator Salvation, We Are Marshall
Tom Hurwitz – Valentino The Last Emperor, Ghosts of Abu Ghraib
Dan Mindel – Star Trek, Mission: Impossible III
Tobias Schliessler – The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, Hancock
Stephen Windon – The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, House of Wax
Robert Yeoman – Get Him to the Greek, The Squid and the Whale

Costume Designers
Catherine Leterrier – Coco before Chanel, Avenue Montaigne
Janet Patterson – Bright Star, The Piano

Jacques Audiard – A Prophet, The Beat That My Heart Skipped
Juan Jose Campanella – The Secret in Their Eyes, "Son of the Bride"
Lee Daniels – Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire, Shadowboxer
Claudia Llosa – The Milk of Sorrow, Madeinusa
Lone Scherfig – An Education, Italian for Beginners
Adam Shankman – Bedtime Stories, Hairspray

Nancy Baker – Rehearsing a Dream, Born into Brothels
Rick Goldsmith – The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, Tell the Truth and Run: George Seldes and the American Press
Davis Guggenheim – It Might Get Loud, An Inconvenient Truth
Tia Lessin – Capitalism: A Love Story, Trouble the Water
Cara Mertes – The Betrayal, My Country, My Country
Frazer Pennebaker – Al Franken: God Spoke, The War Room
Julia Reichert – The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant, Seeing Red
Morgan Spurlock – Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden?, Super Size Me

Christopher W. Aronson
Jim Berk
Philippe Dauman
Sheila DeLoach
Donald Peter Granger
Nathan Kahane
Andrew Karpen
Ryan Kavanaugh
David Kosse
David Andrew Spitz
Emma Watts

Film Editors
Robert Frazen – Synecdoche, New York, Smart People
Dana E. Glauberman – Up in the Air, Thank You for Smoking
Joe Klotz – Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire, Grace Is Gone
Bob Murawski – The Hurt Locker, Spider-Man
John Refoua – Avatar, Reno 911!: Miami

Live Action Short Films
Joachim Back – The New Tenants
Gregg Helvey – Kavi, The Knife Grinder’s Tale

Makeup Artists and Hairstylists
Kris Evans – X-Men The Last Stand," Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Jane Galli – Knight and Day, 3:10 to Yuma
Mindy Hall – Star Trek, World Trade Center
Joel Harlow – Star Trek, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
Jenny Shircore – The Young Victoria, Elizabeth

Christophe Beck – The Hangover, Bring It On
Bono – Gangs of New York, In the Name of the Father
T Bone Burnett – Crazy Heart, Cold Mountain
The Edge – Gangs of New York, "GoldenEye"
Brian Tyler – Fast & Furious, Aliens vs. Predator Requiem

Stephanie Allain – Black Snake Moan, Hustle & Flow
Gregory Jacobs – The Informant!, The Good German
Jon Landau – Avatar, Titanic
Marc Turtletaub – Away We Go, Little Miss Sunshine
Glenn Williamson – Sunshine Cleaning, Hollywoodland

Production Designers
Kirk M. Pertruccelli – The Incredible Hulk, The Patriot
Edward S. Verreaux – G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Jurassic Park III

Public Relations
Dwight Caines
Suzanne M. Cole
Tommy Gargotta
Sophie Gluck
Josh Greenstein
Pamela Levine
Wendy Lightbourn
Michele Robertson
Tony Sella

Set Decorators
Maggie Gray – The Young Victoria, Ella Enchanted
Douglas A. Mowat – Role Models, The Sixth Sense
Caroline Smith – The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Match Point

Frank Eulner – Iron Man 2, Hellboy
Adam Jenkins – I Love You, Man, Crash
Tony Lamberti – Inglourious Basterds, Sideways
Dennis Leonard – Disney’s A Christmas Carol, The Polar Express
Tom Myers – Up, WALL-E
Paul N.J. Ottosson – The Hurt Locker, Spider-Man 3
Resul Pookutty – Ghajini, Slumdog Millionaire
Gary A. Rizzo – How to Train Your Dragon, The Dark Knight
Michael Silvers – Up, Ratatouille
Gwendolyn Yates Whittle – Avatar, The Simpsons Movie"=

Visual Effects
Matt Aitken – District 9, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Karen Ansel – Angels & Demons, Men in Black II
Richard Baneham – Avatar, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Eric Barba – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Zodiac
Paul Debevec – Avatar, King Kong
Russell Earl – Star Trek, Transformers
Steve Galich – Date Night, "Transformers"
Andrew R. Jones – Avatar, I, Robot
Dan Kaufman – District 9, Ocean’s Thirteen
Derek Spears – The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Superman Returns
Steve Sullivan – Avatar, Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith
Michael J. Wassel – Hellboy II: The Golden Army, The Bourne Identity

Neill Blomkamp – District 9
Mark Boal – The Hurt Locker, In the Valley of Elah
Geoffrey Fletcher – Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire
Nick Hornby – An Education, Fever Pitch
Alex Kurtzman – Star Trek, Mission: Impossible III
Tom McCarthy – Up, The Visitor
Roberto Orci – Star Trek, Mission: Impossible III
Terri Tatchell – District 9

NBA Draft 2010: NBA Draft grade disparity reveals guessing game

You know guessing who had the best NBA Draft is a subjective process when you have AOL Fanhouse' Tom Ziller giving the Boston Celtics an "A", while The Bleacher Reports' Joe Slowik gives the Celtics a C-minus.

That kind of grading disparity shows that two reasonable people can disagree, but also shows the inexact nature of the NBA Draft or the NFL Draft for that matter.

We really don't know how great a player will be until that person in any sport actually plays the game. Before Le Bron James entered the NBA, he was called "The Golden Child" and "The Chosen One"; the man who would take any team to the NBA Finals. But after failing to reach the NBA Finals for the second year in a row, the man once called King James is now called "Queen James" by some.

It's all a guessing game. In drafting any player, the most likely success comes from picking someone who has enough training to be effective, is from a culture such that he can step in and learn, and has a background that indicates he will not cause trouble and can handle making a lot of money well. That's the template.

It's a template that produces a lot of great players, but even then one can't calculate how a person handles fame. Look at Tiger Woods. His rapid rise gave him the idea that he could do anything and have any woman as long as he could flash the cash. And he did. But it's impacted his game. Being outed for fooling around on his wife a whole bunch of times has changed him into someone who can't win Golf tournaments with the ease he once did.

It's hard to calculate how all of that will impact rookies in any sport. While it's fun to guess, a really good NBA Draft evaluation has to be done with time and research.

Stay tuned.

"Oprah riggs contest in favor of african american" is spam blog work

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Democrat Dodging Debates?

Probably only in Minnesota, home of the late, great Senator Paul Wellstone, could you find a story of an inexperienced candidate relying on money and ads rather than using debates to get his message and face out via free media coverage:

Minnesota Democrats have a real problem in their 2nd District: The party endorsed a candidate with no experience who is scared to debate before the primary. He dodged debate offers before the convention and it worked; delegates bought his slick, managed appearances as a sign he had substance. But if he's scared to confront a fellow Democrat before the primary what tool will he use to get the media and the voters to take him seriously?

While interviewing former state Representative Shelley Madore, cable TV host Alan Miller of "Access to Democracy" offered to moderate a debate between the two Democratic candidates in the upcoming Democratic Primary on August 10th - Madore and her opponent Dan Powers. Excerpts from the show will be available online in the next few days. 
Shelley Madore on Alan Miller's ACCESS to DEMOCRACY

Powers had dodged debate offers from the former state legislator prior to the early April convention, so it comes as little suprise that his campaign manager, Mary Breitenstein, has opted to decline on his behalf.  Her statement Thursday side-stepping the issue concluded with:
Powers campaign manager Mary Breitenstein"Dan will be focusing his time on beating John Kline and bringing the people of CD 2  [Minnesota's Second Congressional District] the sort of representation they deserve."

Mary Breitenstein,
Campaign Manager
Whichever Democrat wins the primary and goes on to challenge incumbent Kline will want to draw contrasts between themselves and a well-known incumbent.  Logically it might seem an excellent opportunity to practice a skill Powers hasn't exercised, and create a little more buzz for the party, much the way the Obama-Clinton contest helped keep Democrats in the spotlight well after it became a foregone conclusion that McCain would garner the 2008 GOP presidential nomination.

So much for "practice makes perfect."

Political novice Dan PowersEvidently Powers fears debating a fellow Democrat could outweigh the media exposure he'd get going into the primary. The only conclusion voters and pundits can draw is he worries that revealing how he handles himself in front of the media would convey significant advantage to Shelley Madore.

In this case, I agree with his fear despite her much greater name recognition; having spent time with both candidates I'm hard-pressed to see how he could possibly outshine Madore.  I've donated time and money to both campaigns, and I know it's much safer for Powers to rely on talking points and spend money on slick ads than it would be to engage in a debate. 

A debate would obviously reveal how relatively difficult it is for a rookie to talk issues, policy, and procedure on the same stage with a former legislator.

Still, I'd like the chance to see Powers fielding questions in an unscripted appearance, and see if he can think on his feet. As a voter in the District and the former elected party official I can't help but wonder if he's scared Shelley Madore might reveal something about him that Congressman Kline wouldn't. She's been taking the high road so far, and if there's one thing Minnesotans have learned about Kline's campaign style it's that he will research his opponents thoroughly, and attack relentlessly.

Shelley Madore at the DFL Senate District (SD) 37 Convention, 27 Feb 2010

Thomas Hayes is an entrepreneur, journalist, political strategist, and photographer who contributes regularly to a host of web sites on topics ranging from economics and politics to culture and community. It is a matter of public record that he has donated to both candidates featured in this story, and recently accepted a staff position on the Madore For Congress campaign.
© All photographs in this story are copyright Thomas Hayes, 2010