Monday, October 31, 2011
The New York Giants avoided a post- bye week collapse Sunday, with a 20-17 victory over the winless Miami Dolphins. Now perched atop of NFC East, with a 5-2 record, Big Blue’s early season success is not only attributed to the stellar play of quarterback Eli Manning, but to the breakout performance of second-year wide receiver, Victor Cruz. Down 17-13 to the lowly Dolphins, with six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, the Giants took their first -and only- lead of the game when Manning -as he’s become accustomed to doing all season- connected with Cruz, who broke a tackly by Miami cornerback Will Allen, for a critical 25-yard touchdown catch that capped off the G-Men’s late rally.
Despite their woeful play, the 24-year-old, unheralded player out of Umass, led New York receivers with seven receptions for 99 yards, including the game-winner (his fourth TD on the year). Cruz’s performance Sunday afternoon was just another display of how fortunate the Giants were to snatch the undrafted receiver. The Paterson, New Jersey native has been the talk of the NFL since his number (80) was called back in Week 3 against the Giants’ conference rivals the Philadelphia Eagles. Cruz had three catches for 110 yards and his first two professional touchdowns- including an extraordinary leaping, game-winning, catch over the “Dream Team” star cornerback Nnamid Asomugha. Since then, the budding superstar has been brilliant making miraculous plays week in and week out. He’s even become a fixture on SportsCenter.
In Week 5, his dazzling 68-yard one-handed snag, tipped touchdown reception -with two defenders draped all over him- against the Seahawks, made Giants fans at the MetLife Stadium roar his name. His controversial “fumble,” in what has become known as the “Victor Cruz Rule,” in Week 4 versus Arizona has sparked debates throughout the league. And heading into Week 6, the slot receiver was fourth in the league among wide receivers averaging 9.2 yards after each reception. With all the entertaining plays Cruz has completed, he’s also remembered for the plays he didn’t make. In the Giants’ 27-24 victory over the Buffalo Bills in Week 6, the upstart had his lowest numbers on the season with two receptions on four attempts for 12 yards. His slip in the fourth quarter cost New York the game against the Seahawks. Giants’ quarterback Eli Manning, who has had his share of controversy in his career, knows what the young receiver has to endure to play on this stage. “He’s doing well. He’s doing really well. He made a lot of big plays and he’s entertaining,” Manning told ESPN. “But he’s still a young player and he’s still got room to grow.”
Life + Times recently caught up with Victor Cruz before the Giants embark on a daunting six-game stretch -that includes facing the Patriots, the Packers, the Cowboys and another showdown with the Eagles- to talk about his recent success, breaking ankles, LeBron James, his love of family, his new clothing line and his penchant for salsa dancing.
Life + Times: At the beginning of the season many experts doubted the Giants, due to injuries and other factors. They predicted you guys to be at the bottom of the NFC East. You guys are now sitting atop of the conference. What inspired your team’s great start?
Victor Cruz: The motivation was just listening to all those naysayers and all the negative comments. We put up stuff [in the locker room] everyday to fuel us. We put it up there and we look at it and we understand that week in and week out that will be our motivation. There’s going to be doubters, but we just have to go out there and prove them wrong. I feel like we’ve done that thus far, but it’s not over yet. We have a long way to go, but we’re going to put some good things together every week.
L+T: This year has been a wild ride for you. Since Week 3, you’ve been the talk of the league. How excited are you to finally get that starting role?
VC: I’m very excited. Just too finally be able to break through all the adversity with being injured last year and not have any real playing time to be out there and be one of those guys Eli looks for on third downs, in those pressure situations. It’s just a great feeling, man. I’m just glad to be out there and to have great teammates behind me. Every day I come in there and kind of pinch myself because it’s crazy to be on the same field with all these guys I used to watch on TV. It’s a great feeling.
L+T: What advice has Eli, and especially Coach Tom Coughlin, given you?
VC: They just told me to work hard. If I could be one of those guys that doesn’t complain; doesn’t come in expecting anything, and just comes in and works hard, and once I do that I’ll be able to work myself on that playing field. I believe I’ve done that and all the hard work is paying off.
L+T: That hard work seemed to pay off against the Eagles. You by far made one of the top plays’ of the season. The TD conversion was kind of reminiscent of Eli’s Hail Mary during Super Bowl XLII. What was going on in your mind while you were sandwiched between the two Eagles defenders?
VC: It was a great play, man. Initially, while I was running the route, I didn’t think Eli was going to throw it to me ‘cause I saw two guys over the top, but once he did, he threw it up there and allowed me to make a play, I tried to get in between those two dudes and get some wiggle room. I tried to make the best play on the ball. I came down with it and was able to score to put my team ahead in the fourth-quarter.
L+T: What were you thinking towards the end of the play?
VC: It was an amazing feeling. I was so happy. A lot of people were saying, ‘did you know it was on Nnamdi Asomugha?’ But, I didn’t care who it was on. I just knew that I made a play. I was just excited, jumping up and down, yelling. It was just a great feeling. I wouldn’t trade that game in for nothing.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Friday, October 28, 2011
Here’s a glimpse into what Jay and Ye got in store for us at the two South Florida dates for the Watch The Throne tour coming into town November 14th and November 15th. This snapshot of a “pending” setlist was released early today.
Fox is bringing back its groundbreaking 1990s sketch comedy series In Living Color with the series’ creator and star, Keenen Ivory Wayans, on board as host and executive producer. Fox has ordered two In Living Color half-hour specials to air as part of the network’s 25th anniversary celebration in midseason with a series option behind them, meaning that in success, the reboot will join Fox’s schedule as a regular series next season. I hear it was Wayans’ idea to revive the popular sketch comedy series with a new cast. The new In Living Color will be produced by his production company Ivory Way Prods. in association with 20th Century Fox TV’s Fox 21.
NEWARK— Gotham may be modeled after New York City but for two days next week Batman will be fighting crime in Newark.
"The Dark Knight Rises," the third film in the popular Batman remake, will film on Nov. 3 and Nov. 4 including one day in City Hall, according to a city official.
The official said the city was incurring no cost and Warner Brothers would be paying Newark $43,500 for the use of City Hall as well as additional costs for police and fire personnel that will be required on site.
On Tuesday city officials sent out a cryptic press release saying next Thursday and Friday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., "there will be extensive traffic delays in the area around City Hall and Downtown Newark along McCarter Highway, Market Street, Raymond Boulevard, Broad Street, Mulberry Street, Halsey Street, Washington Street, and University Avenue, due to street closures and the re-routing of buses."
The film crew is likely to have armies of trailers and equipment trucks along with elaborate set-ups in and around City Hall.
With talks between the NBA's locked-out players and owners breaking off, commissioner David Stern has announced the cancellation of games through Nov. 30th.
Stern said it is "not possible, practical or prudent" for the league to play a full 82-game schedule.
Stern said while the two sides made progress on system issues during talks on Friday, progress halted when the topic turned to revenues.
Reiterating the league's offer to a 50-percent split of basketball-related income with the players, Stern said union executive director Billy Hunter said "he was not willing to go a penny below 52 (percent.).
"He closed up his book and walked out of the room. And that's where we are," Stern said.
No further talks have been scheduled.
"We're not sure when we're going to meet again, but we're hopeful that soon enough we can get back at this and try and close this out," union president Derek Fisher of the Los Angeles Lakers said. "Today wasn't the day."
Both sides had pointed toward Friday as the day they hoped to close the gap on the finances. Owners are insistent on a 50-50 split of revenues, while players last formally proposed getting 52.5 percent, leaving them about $100 million apart annually. Players were guaranteed 57 percent in the previous collective bargaining agreement.
Hunter said the league initially moved its target down to 47 percent during Friday's six-hour session, then returned to its previous proposal of 50 percent of revenues.
"We're not quite sure if they're at 50 or if they're really at 47," Fisher said.
But Stern challenged that characterization, saying the league's offer was 50 percent.
The players will not accept a 50-50 split, Hunter said.
"Derek and I made it clear that we could not sell the 50-50 deal to our membership. Not with all the concessions that we've granted," Hunter said. "We've got to have some dollars."
"We feel like we've made concessions," Fisher added. "Right now it's not enough."
Discussions about the salary cap system also proved problematic.
"You get there and then all of a sudden they say well, we also have to have our number," Hunter said, referring to the 50 percent revenue split proposal. "And you say, well you're not negotiating in good faith. We trusted you one more time."
Though they will miss a paycheck on Nov. 15, Hunter said each player would have received a minimum of $100,000 from the escrow money that was returned to them to make up the difference after salaries fell short of the guaranteed 57 percent of revenues last season.
What the players won't do is rush into a deal they might regret later, Fisher added.
"We're trying to really remain focused on the fact that this deal, whether it's on system or BRI, has to be one that our players for the next ten years can operate under," he said. "We didn't want to rush through this today just to close out a deal that's going to impact our members for the next ten years."
After two days of making some progress on salary-cap issues, the two sides turned their attention back to the revenue split Friday, the 120th day of the lockout. Talks broke down last week over that issue, and they had not attempted to deal with it since.
The sides met for 7½ hours Thursday following a 15-hour marathon the previous day. Though no specifics have been offered, they both said there had been some compromise on system issues.
That seems to be a lot more certain than Jobs was last year at the D8 conference when he took a question from an audience member. In it, he laid out some very important things that no is really talking about.
The whole clip is much more fascinating than much of what I’ve been reading over the past week. The interface that Jobs is talking about isn’t whether Apple will use Siri or 3D gestures or not. It is how to put a layer on top of everything else with a consistant UI. He gets down to the nitty gritty at 1:30 -3:00
Add a box on to the TV system. You can say well gosh I notice my HDTV has a bunch of HDMI ports on it one of them is coming from the set-top box I’ll just add another little box with another one. Well, you just end up with a table full of remotes, clutter of boxes, bunch of different UIs, and that’s the situation we have today. And right now there’s no way to do that. So that’s the problem with the TV market. We decided what product do we want the most, a better TV or a better phone? Well the phone won because there was no chance to do the TV because there’s no way to get it to market. What do we want a better TV or better tablet. Well a better tablet because there’s no way to get the TV to market. The TV is going to lose until there is a better go to market, or there’ll just be a bunch of TIVOs. That’s the fundamental problem. It’s not a problem of technology, it’s a go to market technology. Steve Jobs
How sexy is this TV.....WOW
How sexy is this TV.....WOW
At the Nokia World show here, the Finnish mobile phone maker showed off its "Nokia kinetic device" with a flexible display. Gripped with two hands, it would scroll through music collections or photo albums when twisted. Bowing it inward or outward zoomed photos in and out or paused and played music, while tapping the corners panned through photos.
While it was a real computing device with a real OLED display, it's most definitely not a real product anyone could buy today. More firmly in the prototype category was a related flexible device that looked like a slim remote control; it could be controlled with a single hand.
Comparisons, be it with athletes, politicians, musicians or anyone else, are an integral part of our society. When someone or something appears before us that we have no experience with, we grasp at familiarities that might help us understand the unknown. Before this editorial turns into some sort of weird psychobabble science lecture, let me get to my point.
White rappers seem to be flourishing in this current rap climate. Yelawolf is a part of the mighty Shady Records. Mac Miller’s debut album is about to drop. Machine Gun Kelly is a Bad Boy. Ritz, a heavy set, bearded emcee who raises mischief with Yela, is just starting to get some shine. Music journalists (or below average ones at least) find themselves in a pickle. Besides Eminem, there are no other prominent white emcees from yesteryear that these writers can conjure up to figure out just who these new batch of whiteys sounds like. So, not wanting to do any time consuming and grueling research (if I read this sentence aloud you could hear the sarcastic tone I’m trying to emit), these writers find some way, any way to slide an Eminem reference into their stories about these youngsters.
Yelawolf sounds nothing like Eminem. In fact, Yelawolf sounds like absolutely nobody in the game right now. With his strong southern drawl and off kilter flow, what makes Yelawolf so intriguing is so few people have heard anything like him. But since he is signed to Shady, the easy, lazy route to take is drop one of the most cliche lines in hip-hop journalism: “Is he the next Eminem?” That line bothered Asher Roth so much he wrote an entire song about it on his first album. Machine Gun Kelly doesn’t sound like Eminem either. Nor does he sound like Yelawolf. Sure, they both enjoy rapping a mile a minute for spurts. And yes, they both sport a ton of tattoos. And yes, they are both white. But the intricacies of their flows are so different, as is their subject matter. Yela spits about growing up in the deep south and the culture that surrounded it. Kelly, residing thousands of miles away, raps intimately about his personal life and his penchant for raging. No individual with an eardrum would ever mistake a Yelawolf song for a Machine Gun Kelly song. Mac Miller’s raspy voice and smooth rhymes don’t come close to Eminem’s subject matter of murder, homophobia and general debauchery. That’s the beauty of good hip-hop. These new white rappers may have borrowed aspects of their style from other emcees, but their voice is their own. It’s like J. Cole says on Sideline Story:
“You never play me like LeBron versus Jordan/20 years running who they gon’ say was more important?/Both changed the game, came through and made a lane/Who’s to say that who’s greater all we know is they ain’t the same.”
So this is a call to all music journalists. Let white rappers live. None of them sound like Em, and most of them will probably never approach Em’s ability or legend. But they are all talented in their own right, and stripping their styles down to just “trying to be the next Eminem” takes away their originality and individuality. Let’s get this fixed.